In my previous post, I mentioned a few reasons why I don’t always feel proud of Australia, and felt that it was important to talk about that on Australia Day. My first point, for the record, was:
I am a second class citizen. This is the 14th year my partner and I have been living together. Yet a newly married couple who have just finished signing their names in some marriage book have more legal rights than the my partner and I. Why? Because my partner and I are of the same sex. We can’t adopt, we can’t marry, we’ve only recently been able to share public health benefits, and there’s a raft of other areas where we are legally discriminated against.
I was surprised to see my little personal blog attract the attention of some intolerant and hateful people. Apparently some folks have little else to do with their time other to shamble around the internet looking for people they are afraid of and making nasty comments towards them.
What it highlighted to me is just how intolerance, fear and vitriol are so often disguised as sweet concern. This often lets bigots and bogans get away with being nasty and spiteful, all while pretending to be nice or altruistic. It’s time though to be blunt: poison dipped in chocolate is still poison.
In particular, I seemed to attract the attention of the Über Bigots known as the Westboro Baptist Church. I also got another little ditty from someone who didn’t list an affiliation, but curiously had the same IP address as the person from the Westboro Baptist Church, leaving me to wonder the link.
Let me be blunt: I don’t think there’s much point in trying to engage with these bigots, which is why I’m not approving their comments. Approving their comments would (based on my current setup) give them carte blanche to post whatever vitriolic diatribes they wanted to, and I’m disinclined to change my comment approval system just to suit them. However, since they wanted to make their points, I’ll post them in their entirety in this entry to prove my point.
Let’s start with the first message, from one Edna Jane Prewitt (email@example.com), who wrote the following grammatically incorrect hate message:
Your an evil sinner and god will see you in hell
Since I’m an atheist (which may even be more horrifying to someone who makes the above statement), any talk of me ending up in hell seems pointless. I subscribe to death being death. When I’m dead, that’s it. My last gasp will see my consciousness extinguished, and I’m OK with that. I don’t need to fret about an afterlife to live a happy life. OK, so there’s not much sweetness in Edna’s little diatribe – it’s more outright spite. However, it does serve to prove how bigots expect that sitting under an umbrella of assumed rightfulness allows them to say whatever they want.
However, Edna was shortly followed thereafter by the charming Shirley Phelps-Roper (firstname.lastname@example.org), and plugging the abominable god hates fags website, who offered this “sweet” advice:
I will pray for your soul, please repent and save your soul.
God doesn’t love fags.
You can see that Shirley likes to disguise bigoted vitriol with sweetness and candy. Shirley obviously has a very checkered history – from the Wikipedia article linked above:
She is currently on the list of individuals banned from entering the United Kingdom for “fostering extremism or hatred”
There’s a tradition of allowing “religious” groups such as the Westboro Baptists getting away with whatever they want to say on the grounds of freedom of religious speech or just freedom of speech. I don’t subscribe to freedom of hate speech. I certainly don’t want anyone as twisted as a member of the Westboro Baptist Church to assume they have the right to “pray for my soul”. Based on the litany of evil conducted by that organisation, it’s at best a case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Since I don’t consider myself sinful for my sexual orientation, I’d suggest it’s more akin to a serial rapist and killer offering to pray for me because he discovered I was a habitual jaywalker.)
I will not allow unfettered hate speech on my own blog, but I will, as and when I see fit, choose to mock bigots who espouse such values.