THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

James Peron Headshot

Hate the Sin, Blame the Victim

Posted: Updated:

The anti-gay religious movement often makes absurd statements. Hurricanes in the South are "God's judgment" on gay people, in spite of them knocking down fundamentalist churches and usually sparing the infamous French Quarter of New Orleans. When droughts or floods hit, gays are being judged, yet victims are rarely identified as gay. Instead, they often middle-American families with children, trapped in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There is no shortage of religious people who yearn for "sinners in the hands of an angry God," as the infamous Rev. Jonathan Edwards put it in 1741. To this day, some fundamentalist ministers love to quote it word for word.

What they consider sin, is so evil that all blame for the consequences of the "sin" belongs to the sinner. Even when the "sinner" is the victim of the actions of the righteous, it is the "sinner" who bears responsibility.

Consider the horrid comments by schoolteacher Shirley Brown (above). When Lawrence King came to her and discussed his issues with gender identity, she told him he had the responsibility to hide it.

Her "advice" was to, "Keep it private." She described his acceptance of his gender identity as being "regressed."

When specifically asked about the murder, she put the blame on the kid who was executed. "I do believe in Heaven and Hell and I do believe Larry honestly didn't even have a clue, uh, the consequences of his actions." See, the killing is Larry's fault, not the fault of the killer, Brandon McInerney. The problem was Larry didn't understand and the killing was the "consequence of his actions." She clearly believes the bigoted boy who pulled the trigger is NOT responsible. She relates to him.

"I relate to Brandon because I could see my own self being in that very same position." Brandon's position was that King had asked him to be his Valentine. Wow! How aggressive and violent that was!

Then Shirley says: "I DON'T KNOW if I would have taken a gun, but a good, swift kick in the butt might work really well." I'll tell you, if this woman doesn't actually KNOW if she would have taken a gun to King, then she shouldn't be working with children. Her suggestion, if you want an alternative to a gun -- and she leaves it ambivalent as to whether or not she does -- is that Brandon instead physically assault King instead. She laughs when she suggests that.

Remember the context of her comment is what McInerney did. She was unsure of whether a gun was the best thing, but does advise assault in its place. In other words, her solution for transgendered children appears to be that they must either suppress their gender identity, or should be beaten by other students to teach them to suppress it.

When a very slight, young, transgendered teen is executed in cold blood in class, this teacher identifies with the killer and is quite clear King brought it on himself. The real victim, in her eyes, is the white supremacist who pulled the trigger.

Meanwhile, another figure, who like Shirley Brown believes in Heaven and Hell, spoke out about the growing scandal in Poland regarding priests using children as sexual playthings. Polish Catholic Archbishop Jozef Michalik, explained why there is a crisis, and how priests are the victims.

The blame, says the Archbishop, belongs to the parents and the children. He said:

Many of these cases of molestation could be avoided given a healthy relationship between parents. We often hear that this inappropriate attitude, or abuse, manifests itself when a child is looking for love. It (the child) clings, it searches, its gets lost itself and then draws another person into this.

The chain of responsibility, says Michalik, starts with parents divorcing. That causes the child to want love, so then the child goes out looking for love. The child then clings to a priest and the child "then draws another person (priest) into this."

Once you understand the logic, you understand the inevitable conclusion: the priest is merely a victim. Aggressive children molest priests because mommy and daddy got a divorce. There is no problem with the church; the problem is refusal to obey the church and not divorce. Apparently, children in violent, hateful homes where divorce is shunned feel loved and won't go around seducing priests.

I often hear that religion teaches people responsibility. That is not necessarily so. The earliest myth of the Old Testament has Adam blaming Eve for his agreeing to eat from the tree, and Eve blames the snake. The entire central doctrine of Christianity is that we are all sinners and someone else had to die for our sins -- that Christ was made the scapegoat for the sins of the world.

Islamic law knows who to blame when it comes to rape and it isn't the rapist. Over and over, they punish women for being raped by men because women tempt them. Shirley Brown says that Lawrence King didn't understand the "consequences of HIS actions." King's actions were the problem, not those of his executioner. Archbishop Michalik has concocted a defense for priests who molest children, where it is the children who are responsible, and they do what they do because their parents disobeyed the church by getting divorced.

It seems that all their "responsibility" and damnation goes in one direction. It simultaneously justifies their own hatred and actions, while assuring everyone that the victim got what they deserved.