Where men are men and sheep are scared

According to a blogger named Greg Griffith, there is finally a place where men can feel free to be men.

(Hint: he's not talking about the local gay bar).

I am normally reluctant to cast stones at another--particularly people like the folks at this blog, as calling them out only inflates their sense of GRAND IMPORTANCE in the world. However, several sources (Including Fr. Jake, the Anglican Scotist) have pointed out some very disturbing comments by commenters, contributors, and the manager of the blog. Forgive me if I’m a little intense, but unlike Mr. Griffith and his friends, I don’t think that threats of violence are a laughing matter. Here it is, in a nutshell:

(original thread is here; it’s a response to some notes from the House of Bishops Meeting and anger at the Presiding Bishop; I’m not fully schooled in blog code yet, so I’ll just reproduce the more violent comments verbatim—boldface emphases are mine. You are welcome, if you can stomach it, to take a gander at the entire thread):

Greg Griffith wrote:
I’m already reaching for my pistol…

Bigjimintx wrote:
P.S. Texas is a “concealed carry” state. No telling who was packing heat in the meeting.

Virg wrote:
“they don’t realize most of us have guns, know how to use them and nobody’s gonna mess with our bishops!...”
At last…a perfect solution to all this bickering going on in the church. We’ll just kill the sobs.

Frances Scott wrote:
Frankly, Mr. Maxwell, I wouldn’t waste a bullet on [the Presiding Bishop].

Greg Griffith wrote:
I won’t criticize those who think the best course is to play the pacifist, but they shouldn’t find fault with those who want to pick up their sword along with their trowel.

Greg then responds to a critic:
The only way you can visit SF and come away thinking “all testosterone blazing,” is to have spent WAY too much time in the extreme, hyper-feminine wing of the Episcopal church. You and Jake’s girls need to get out into the real world more often. You know… experience more diversity.

Greg then responds to the outrage his statements have caused at Fr. Jake’s blog:
While I appreciate your advice about watching our p’s and q’s, I refuse to conform my posts to the delicate sensibilities of Jake and his gals. This will always be a place where men can feel free to be men… the kind of place our church used to be, once upon a time.

It is a common tactic of the self-styled reasserters at Mr. Griffith’s website to use words and phrases that provoke an emotional response: feminist, gay agenda, extreme, Louie Crew, Jack Spong, Bishop Pike, etc. But I don’t think I’ve heard anyone being called a “girl” since my grade school days. (What’s next, Greg? Gonna call me a poopy-pants?) Those tactics have garnered Mr. Griffith a large audience (although the commenters seem to be restricted to the same 7 or 8 people), and he’s welcome to continue to use them (the people and the tactics). If these threats are truly indicative of how their web community feels, then Stand Firm is indeed a place where men are men; and the sheep who follow the website contributors do so out of fear.

There are two possibilities here:
Mr. Griffith was just joking and it was all in good fun. He had no idea that the talk of guns, violence, and misogyny was in the least bit threatening or harmful.
Mr. Griffith knew exactly what he was doing.

Either way, this is yet another example of religion used as a tool for stirring up anger and violence against a minority. (Yes, in the Church, ordained women are a minority, and gays even more so). Maybe I am giving this website too much power, but I think that straight white males (including me) have more than enough power in the church and in the world. (What we need to do about that is going to have to wait for another post, but, in a word, “surrender.”)

Words are powerful, and those with any power must be gracious and noble with their use.

After all, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” However, given the name of his website and his “manly” nature, I think Mr. Griffith would better enjoy Darrell Hammond’s SNL interpretation:

“The Penis Mightier.”

Yep. After all, the name of Greg’s website, “Stand Firm in Faith,” has some obvious allusions to old Priapus and his domain in the Greek pantheon. What Greg espouses is not the pinnacle of being created in God’s image, but its opposite—“manliness” at its basest form—the manliness that keeps women in their place in the kitchen; the manliness that espouses rape; the manliness that makes men into lesser beings.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you live. It’s dangerous to be gay—more dangerous in some areas than others. It is also dangerous to be a woman in many parts of the world (and many parts of our nation). Let’s not heap more verbal or physical violence on them than they already must endure.

Lesbians are frequently gang-raped and murdered in South Africa. The idea is apparently to either “turn” them or kill them. Gays in Nigeria are arrested simply for being what they are.

Oh, and let’s not forget Matthew Shepard. This “church” would be only too happy to tell you where Matthew is spending his life. (This link is not for the faint of heart or the easily angered). Contributors to Stand Firm have said, on numerous occasions, that not only are the gays going to hell, but so is anyone who shelters them. Shame on the fearmongerers!

I hope Mr. Griffith would express his shock and horror at such crimes. However, by his comments (and those he has allowed to remain on their site), he has effectively taken one giant step beyond the mere language of violence. When is it EVER OK, acceptable, even laudable to joke about using guns; when is it ever manly to insult someone by calling them a girl? This is the same language used by those who support the jailing, rape, and murder of gays and lesbians. And Mr. Griffith thinks it’s funny. Just havin’ a little fun.

I wonder what Mr. Griffith’s wife thinks about all this? I wonder what the women who contribute to Mr. Griffith’s blog think about his statements?

Violence + misogyny + self-righteousness + homophobia +humor=?

Apparently that is Mr. Griffith’s definition of a real man, Anglican style.

I’m not making a “slippery slope” argument here; nor am I attacking a “reasserter” view of the Bible; nor am I making any attempt to defend inappropriate tactics used by progressive Christians. I am calling on Mr. Griffith to repent of his words, and of those he has encouraged on his website.

After all, Mr. Griffith, it takes a real man to admit his mistakes.

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