Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Bigotry Test

Like Joe Huffman with his "Jews in the Attic" test, for some years I've used a simple test to determine whether someone is busy making a bigoted (and thus, most likely despicable) statement.

The test is easy enough - take a statement that someone makes about a group of individuals, and substitute either a group you're actually a member of or a group that's generally acknowledged as having been selected out to put up with truly egregious amounts of crap, historically.

For me, variants of the phrase "gay" work. For others, words like "christian, white, muslim, heterosexual, etc" may provide the needed sting to burn through cultural assumptions.

Fortunately, the folks over at the The Oregonian ( and members of the Portland LGBT community have been gracious enough to provide us with a good demonstration.
Ok, so far, pretty darned neutral. Mars Hill Church is, in fact, an evangelical set of congregations.
Again, the Oregonian and writer Steve Beaven are doing a great job reporting objectively. No meat here, yet.
You wonder why Deumling would feel a need for a good neighbor agreement, but still no meat. The test has yet to show naughtiness.
Ok, so far we're still exploring the wonderful world of fact (and good reporting on the part of The Oregonian). Darn it, surely there's got to be some meat here SOMEPLACE.
There we go!! Let's try the test...

“A inter-racial couple walks into your group, you’re supposed to tell them to repent,” Driscoll said in a sermon posted on the church website. “And if at any point you don’t tell them to repent, you’re not faithful to Biblical Christianity.”

Hmmm. The thud you hear is the lead balloon hitting the ground. No, that *fails* the bigotry test. But to be fair, let's keep trundling through and see what passes or fails, shall we?

Suffice to say a whole bunch of background that you REALLY should read the article for (it's good perspective, I promise) before we get to our next test-worthy bit.

Regarding the Mars Hill Church:

What, you mean like a Pride Parade?

The faces and costumes change, but bigotry is fairly evenly distributed across every demographic you'd care to name. Based not only in fear and unfamiliarity, it's based in laziness - it's EASIER to just lump folks into a group and stick them under a set of labels and expected behaviors.

The problem with bigotry isn't only that it's "not nice" in so very many ways, but that it lays a cornerstone for a delusional view of reality. Whoever you are, try the "test"...and if you catch yourself or others *failing*, then wake up and rejoin reality.

Now, go read the article and even browse through the paper. The way the writer handled this article actually eroded, a tiny bit, my cynicism regarding the journalistic profession.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Interesting point... so what do you do when they purposely obfuscate the article to 'protect' someone/something/some (fill in the blank)... I've noticed that a LOT more in the last three years...