In response to Jim West’s “narrowly concerned” spittle

A Haredi man spits at a passerby.

In response to Jim West’s continued, passive-aggressive attempts to defend his oppression of the civil rights and privileges of same-sex couples by taking every chance possible to turn any news story into a shot against those who support marriage equality, here’s my response to his latest rhetorical spit-curse in the direction of those whose blogs he feels ‘to narrowly’ focus on the defense of the rights of same-sex couples. (And it is a spit-curse: an unprovoked shot at those with whom he disagrees on a certain issue while routinely passing by a completely unrelated topic. Some Haredim do it to tourists in Jerusalem; Jim does it to other bloggers online.)

Jim wrote:

Today’s term:  ’Narrowly concerned‘.

Narrowly concerned: n. a person who is terribly concerned for ‘marriage equality’ but totally silent about the deaths of 1000 Bangladeshis.

My response:

I’m guessing it’s because no one rallies to the defense of the Bangladeshi sweat shop owners, advocating to suppress the rights of the sweat shop workers. No one calls the near slave-like conditions the “natural order” of business in a capitalistic society, and no one argues that calling for workers’ rights is “angry advocacy” by quoting passages instructing slaves to obey their masters, parables teaching workers to work for their agreed upon wages (Matt 20), and instructions for women to remain silent.

EVERYONE realizes that this is a tragic situation and EVERYONE is calling for reform and punitive action to be taken against those who oppress these women, UNLIKE those who oppose marriage equality, who grasp for reasons to continue to deny gay couples the civil rights and privileges their oppressors enjoy.

The reason you don’t see a fight over this is that people are smart enough in THIS scenario to realize that one group is suffering under oppression/lack of civil justice, unlike same-sex marriage, where there are still people (believe it or not) who think that it’s OK to oppress another group because either their religion or their tradition (usually as the result of religion) tells them to do so.

CAN YOU IMAGINE someone rallying to the defense of the Bangladeshi sweatshop owner? CAN YOU IMAGINE a scholar arguing that these women “had it coming” because “they knew what they were getting into”, while quoting Matthew 20:13 over and over and over again, claiming it’s the “revealed” word of God. Because THAT’S what those who oppose same-sex marriage look like to the now majority of Americans who support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

That’s probably why. It’s easy to condemn the universally condemnable. It’s much more difficult to stand up for the oppressed minority and condemn the establishment. If I’m going to be “narrowly focused” on a blog (as if I have the free time to “report” redundantly on and condemn everything in the news as some do), may it ever be in defense of those who must fight against a bigoted populace AND the religious authorities who empower and perpetuate their oppression.

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10 Responses

  1. some folks will be known for being on the wrong side of right and history….

  2. Jim West seems to scan the wires for the most salacious news event for his blog to spin. It’s very creepy and makes one wonder about his intention. I guess a biblical scholar can regurgitate any prurient news article as long as he labels it “totally depraved”. Is he doing this for his readers or for his own satisfaction?

    Edmund Jordan, the Army officer posting on the “Awkward Moment” entry, wrote a moving rebuttal to Jim West. Anyone who reads his post and is not moved has a heart of stone.

  3. that’s MY man!!! :)

  4. Susan, can you provide the link to Edmund’s post again?

  5. What I find interesting is the cognitive dissonance that Dr. West entertains. He is well known among the OT “minimalists,” hence “literal word of God” cannot enter the picture in his arguments. And if it cannot be found in the OT, how can it be argued to be present in the NT?

    If he cannot call upon the “literal word of God” as an argument against same-sex marriage, what can he call on that is consistent with his scholarship?

  6. Yes, that is the referenced post. I would also like to thank Edmund Jordan for his service to our country.

  7. It would seem that when it comes to Abrahamic theological discussions, one must remember that the Biblical character usually referred to as “God” or the “Lord” is a tribal deity who’s the property of the descendants of Abraham, at least in the original (Old Testament). The New Testament is actually about a totally different god, Jesus or “Christ”. Since his emphasis was not solely on the tribes descended from Abraham, his (as compliled by the Roman Emperor, Constantine) teachings are quite different. To try to compare the two gods is an exercise in futility. What the Old Testament god wanted the tribes of Abraham to do doesn’t fit in well with what the Romans wanted the New Testament god to promote. The Old Testament god promoted freedom for his own tribes and slavery for anyone else. That was quite moral in his view. Afterall, would you want your tribal god to insist on being nice to your enemies? Of course not!
    Once you differenciate between the two gods involved, everything makes a lot more sense.

  8. Well, because I had nothing better to do before bed, I paged back through Jim West’s blog and found that since April 24th, he’s posted stuff like the following:

    *) soccer games he has watched
    *) pictures of cats
    *) his bibliography
    *) a seminar he isn’t interested in because it has a picture of a guy wearing a headscarf on it
    *) gerbil showing
    *) a list of things he sarcastically says he won’t be posting about any more because it offends his few remaining friends.
    *) the aforementioned post declaring anyone who talks about marriage equality rather than the Bangladesh disaster

    things that he hasn’t posted:

    *) volumous posts decrying the Bangladesh disaster, exhorting people to donate to charities, calling for international agreements to shore up workplace safety — or anything at all like this

    in fact, i can’t find a single post about the Bangladesh disaster, although I haven’t looked too extensively.

    What are we to make of this?

    Is West perhaps a little narrowly focused himself?

    Or is he broad-mindedly occupying himself with the important moral questions of the day, and although the Bangladesh disaster obviously morally eclipses gay people wanting legal recognition or whatever they’re going on about now, but equally obviously it is itself eclipsed by gerbil showing?

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