"We quickly learned that according to some, there are some questions you just can't ask -- or you'll suffer the consequences." - Jim Daly, Focus on the Family
Do you have a moment? Would you mind entertaining a humble question?
Here it is: Is it really so wrong to believe that white people really are superior to all other races in every way imaginable -- just as, you know, an obvious and general truth?
Before you answer, let me also ask you this: Why has it become improper to suggest that men really are better and more capable than women at just about everything in life, except maybe needlepoint, soothing a wailing baby and making margaritas while wearing booty shorts and twerking?
Hey, I'm just asking. Am I wrong to even pose the question? Are you trying to censor me? Are you suggesting that I, a straight white male of boundless cultural privilege, inherent power and obvious superiority to females and minorities and (most) dolphins, can't force such ugly discussion points into the national dialogue? Whatever happened to free speech? What did Jesus die for, anyway? So I can say anything I want, that's what.
Besides, I'm hardly out of line. My humble questions stand proudly alongside those of another pious patriot, Jim Daly, president of America's very own fundamentalist Christian sect, Focus on the Family, "Brutally judging you in the name of a spiteful and terrified God. Since 1977." I'm pretty sure that's their slogan.
Do you remember Focus on the Family? James Dobson's famously malicious, anti-everything crew from the Bush years? You might. Next to the Heritage Foundation, FotF established itself as one of the nation's foremost fundamentalist hate groups, advocating everything that makes you just a little embarrassed to be an American: abstinence education, creationism, school prayer, Prop 8 -- and opposing all the usual Christian phantasms: abortion, gay marriage, gay adoption, pre-marital sex, gambling, porn and all flavors of basic human joy you can name. Remember?
FotF is still here, only with a new president, the slightly nicer, less openly antagonistic Jim Daly. What's more, it turns out they just made a movie. A "documentary," called Irreplaceable, featuring a sad-looking Aussie guy named Tim Sisarich (good luck finding a bio), wandering the world, asking questions very similar to mine -- except his all zero in on one topic and one topic only: family. And there's only one right answer.
Let me confess one thing right now: The trailer for Irreplaceable, while completely absurd in its premise, is actually quite lovely. There is no sign of FotF's usual hate speech, misogyny or homophobia. It's just Sad Aussie Guy, looking sort of lost, asking a bunch of carefully chosen humans why the idea of "family" is being so horribly destroyed (Hint: it's not -- it's just being reinvented).
Sad Aussie Guy talks to various white people. He speaks with cute children. He speaks with "experts." He seems to genuinely want to know if God-sanctioned Christian families really might be the balm that can heal the world's nastiest woes -- despite how many of those woes were caused, in large part, by organized religion, numb groupthink and fundamentalist dogma. Whoops, sorry -- getting ahead of myself.
So, fair enough, yes? Hey, I'm all for a curious soul -- even an evangelical soul whose organization aggressively condemns everything you and I stand for -- honestly asking profound questions of the world.
But here's the thing: ...
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Mark Morford is an award-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate, the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, and the creator of the Mark Morford's Apothecary iOS app. He's also a well-known ERYT yoga instructor at San Francisco's Yoga Tree, and the creator of the Yoga for Writers series of workshops and retreats. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...