Monday, March 21, 2011

Determined to be Scandalized

About once a week, an “action alert” arrives in my mailbox from an organization called “change.org.” They’re basically a left-wing slactivism web-site; occasionally they achieve useful results, but a lot of the time they’re worked up over very little. Rather like most right-wing slactivism sites in that respect.
Yesterday’s alert really brought this into focus. Last week, the big news was that a change.org campaign against corrective rape in South Africa had produced hundreds of thousands of signatures, and sparked a furore of interest within the international community at large, causing the South African government to promise to do something about the issue. Corrective rape is basically a form of sexual violence deliberately inflicted on lesbian women, either as punishment for their homosexual behaviours, or as a means of “curing” them. Often this is done with the consent or complicity of family members, or by family members themselves. (How, exactly, a traumatic heterosexual experience is supposed to encourage someone to abandon a lesbian identity, I don’t know. But there are people who think this way – and not just in Africa. I personally know of one person who it happened to in the States, and am peripherally aware of others.) Needless to say, this is a serious human rights abuse, genuinely deserving the attention of the human community.
So yesterday, following on the heels of this victory, the change.org action alert was (roll drums, strike up the fanfare) Exodus International has released a Smartphone applet. Yes folks, that’s right, time to get out your little clicky finger and petition Apple: the evil ex-gay organization is now making it’s resources available to its members on their cell-phones. This controversy is almost equal to the pro-life Krispy Kreme donut protest (yes, it’s true, we actually successfully petitioned to have the word “choice” removed from a donut add, even though it had nothing to do with abortion) in terms of its asinine petty-mindedness.
I’m not going to bother defending the applet. As far as I can make out, all it really amounts to is that Exodus members will be able to use their phones to get information and resources that are already available on the net. It’s should hardly be a scandal. Yet the LGBTQ community is determined to be scandalized.
This is an important point. I talk a lot about the fact that Christians often scandalize gay and lesbian folks with hypocritical, judgmental or homophobic behaviours – and this is certainly true. I have talked a lot less about the fact that sometimes people who identify as homosexual are hell-bent on being outraged by anything that the Christian community does, regardless of how inoffensive it actually is. To argue that Apple is promoting homophobia, or that Exodus International is contributing to gay teen suicide by producing an applet, is not only hysterical, it stretches credibility beyond the point of the absurd.

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