Monday, June 13, 2016

Where Is Evil? First Thoughts on the Orlando Massacre.

A continuously updated list of those who died in Orlando, Florida can be found here.

Tell me, you with your holy books*, where is evil?

Is it in the needs of two men I know, men who love each other, who serve each other, who care for each other, but who have also adopted a child whom nobody wanted, who love that child, who tend that child, and that child, he flourishes?  Is it in their small family that I should look for evil?

Or is it in the life of a woman I knew who loved other women?  Is she the Evil One?  Does it weigh so heavily on your scales that her love was for women?  Heavier than her anonymous funding of two college degrees for needy students?  Heavier than all the coins she donated to AIDS research? Heavier than the coffin she paid for to bury a neighbor who had nobody left to pay for her funeral and nobody else left to attend it?

Tell me, you who are so heavy with your religious knowledge, how do you measure evil?  A stone of violence falls into the dark, murky waters, yet you seek ripples elsewhere, seek for borders violated, look for rules broken, even when those rules deserved to be broken, even when that breaking hurts no-one but helps someone to finally breathe fully, to finally be fully human, to even make a willing difference for good.

You measure your evil with a magnifying glass, carry your petty findings to a vindictive god you have imagined into being, while real evil rolls over the landscape of humanity, a dark, menacing cloud of wars and violence. 

And it is that dark, looming cloud you watch with approval and admiration, it is that dark cloud you want to rain down blood and pain, to wipe out those small imaginary crimes you so treasure, because they are not your crimes, because you are not one of the sinners you have defined!

No, your crimes are the declarations you make, the way you choose yourself as the judge, the jury and the executioner, the way you interpret your imaginary warlord god's desires to stomp, to destroy and to keep oppressing those always oppressed, the way you usurp the role of a divine power, interpreting the languages you hear in your head as the commands of your thunder god.

So tell me, you with your holy books, why is some love evil?  This world is dying, its flowers and trees, even the very grass is dying, because of our insufficient love for it, because of our inordinate love for power and for greed and for our tribes,  and, yes, because of our inflamed love for having the exactly correct ancient letters and words obeyed without a question, to silence those questions, to win, for our tribe, for our created gods, for ourselves.

It is that lack of love which is killing us all, not the love between two women or two men. 

*  This 'you with your holy books' is not meant to be a religious person or a person who believes in some divine power.  Those are not the people I address my rant to.

They are the people who gather together all available data about the cultural rules and norms which prevailed two thousand or fifteen hundred years ago, who decide that those cultural norms are some god's everlasting law for all humans and who then decide that those who disagree with these beliefs should be put down because the odd god thus imagined would want it, because that odd god finds pain and blood and the eradication of humans less insulting than loving the wrong person, with kindness and with care.

The 'you with your holy books' is not the person responsible for the massacre in Orlando, Florida, and my rant doesn't argue it or explore the role of mental illness or the role of guns available as freely as candies. 

But anyone interpreting ancient writings literally falls guilty of the crime of abetting, of justifying and of glorifying violence against the innocent, just as anyone interpreting ancient writings literally also falls guilty of the crime of misogyny and the oppression of women.