Monday, December 31, 2012

A Sorii State

In one day, it will be 2013. Not for Torii Hunter, though. He's living in an antiquated world where gay people are monsters who creep around trying to snatch you up and bring you to the gay kingdom where they'll gayly have gay sex with you until you become gay too. He said:

"For me, as a Christian ... I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it's not right. It will be difficult and uncomfortable."

That's right, people, Torii Hunter thinks it's "not right" who you are!

This is why I don't practice any religion. Because you're forced into someone else's beliefs. Hunter is an intelligent guy who should be able to figure out that the sexual orientation of his family, friends, and co-workers have no effect on him. Instead he's reading age-old quotes written by who the hell knows, that tell him "these people are doing it wrong." Of course it goes without saying that this same religion preaches loving your fellow humans and how supposedly this long-hair died on the cross for...well I really don't know what the hell these people believe but I'm pretty sure they're taught to love, not hate.

Looking at Torii's recent Tweets, I see he quoted the former slave (do I even need to bring up the irony in this department?) George Washington Carver:

"How far u go in life depends on ur being tender to the young,compassionate with the aged,tolerant of the weak n strong."

Looking up the actual quote, I see Torii left out* the line about being "sympathetic with the striving." Interesting. Torii showed today he has no interest in doing that.

I should add that he never said "gays shouldn't be allowed to play" or anything like that. He's even been responding to Tweets accusing him of similar things by saying "I never said that." (Though he also thanks people who are congratulating him on sticking with his faith.) But what makes me mad about this is that he is a well-known public figure with influence over a lot of other people. It's a dangerous thing when you've got someone like that saying what he said. Which, in 2013, is something I'm still having trouble believing anyone would think, let alone say out loud.

And I should also add that there are many Christians who don't believe gay people should be treated any differently than anyone else. And there are many non-religious people who do. I just personally feel that it's impossible that there would be any religion/philosophy with the exact views as mine, so if I were to follow one to the letter, I'd be guaranteed to be going against what I really think at some point. And worse, it might cause harm to others.

*In case you're thinking he only left that line out to fit it all into one Tweet, note that there's one final line to the quote ("Because someday in life you will have been all of these.") that Torii added in a separate Tweet. So he could have written the whole thing.

P.S. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I've had my issues with Torii, and I always felt kinda guilty because so many people, Joe Castiglione for one, speak so lovingly about him, and I always thought he might be one of those guys who I'd love if her were on my team. Now I can believe he's a prick without the guilt!

This reminds me of a quote by physicist Steven Weinberg: "With or without [religion] you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." This sounds like a perfect example of religion poisoning the mind of someone who would probably be decent without it.
As an equally unrepentant liberal and Catholic (in the mode of Daniel Berigan), I must confess I see a danger in remarks like "it's 'not right' who you are!"

Just because someone "is" something doesn't justify the behavior ipso facto. Would you offer the same reasoning towards someone with a bad temper or an addictive personality towards alcohol or gambling? This is not to directly compare homosexuality with those two examples, but merely to demonstrate that broad, sweeping generalizations like, "be who you are" can have unintended effects from those whose behavior, in my two examples, can lead to others being hurt. There's a great line in Updike's 'Rabbit, Run' where he reminds the reader of the dark side of impulsive behavior: "If you have the guts to be yourself, other people’ll pay your price."

Don't forget: This allows Hunter's defenders to refer to his homophobia as him simply "being who he is!" and then YOU are the bigot who wants people to change "who they are" to fit in with your belief system. This just creates an "Us v Them" attitude that doesn't really resolve anything or move anyone forward.

I must also add that just because he's using "age-old quotes written by who the hell knows" that it does not mean that is the real source of his prejudice, which, if he takes the Bible as seriously as he claims, I would love to ask him if he is equally umcomfortable playing with the wealthy, as Jesus says far more about them than he does homosexuals.

While you might have issues with him voicing these opinions, this is far more than just Hunter. It is the entire cult of celebrity that our culture revolves around (well, that and money). Do you have a problem with celebrities voicing opinions you support? Whether it's Bill Maher on the left or Rush Limbaugh on the right, the whole notion of taking someone seriously simply because they're famous is ridiculous, but I know I'm much more likely to tolerate uninformed bloviating when I agree with the conclusion. You want Chris Kluwe to be championed when he talks about gay rights? The same attitude that gets him coverage in 'Rolling Stone' is going to lead to people like Hunter being supported for voicing the opposite opinion. I think we'd probably be a lot better off if we worried about the substance of issues rather than who is supporting them.

Happy New Year
But being gay doesn't hurt anybody and that's the specific thing I'm talking about.

Also Hunter is directly related to the issue, it's not like he's just a celeb talking about a cause or something.
(Ryan): I've read that quote frequently from the New Atheists, and frankly, it's the type of saying that is chewed and passed from mouth to mouth but never swallowed. Weinberg is a physicist, and a respected one at that, but that quote does require some demonstration, otherwise it's pure dogma. He is a scientist, after all, so one would hope he doesn't just think because he "believes" something that it makes it true.

Jere: Beware generalities, as Hunter's beliefs that certain behaviors are immoral do not in and of themselves hurt anybody either. You admit in your post that Hunter never has claimed that these people should be denied the right to a job in baseball, simply that it would make him uncomfortable.

And I apologize, but I don't understand your second point. He's directly related, but he's also a celeb, and that's the only reason he's getting any attention for his comments. If he was a pipe-fitter in Pine Bluff, you nor I would likely have ever heard of him or his beliefs.
I think his saying that it's "not right" hurts people. All anybody wants is to be able to live their life/do their job without being discriminated against. And his words, as a person who is part of the MLB establishment, only keep us from getting to that point. Being gay is not a character flaw nor does it lead to any behavior that hurts anybody else. Keeping them from being able to live their lives is as discriminatory as telling a certain religion/color of people they're not allowed in the club. Is he saying he'd stand at the door and not let them in? No. But what he's saying (as opposed to a bricklayer from Boise) does help keep the door closed. Him saying the opposite would have been a huge step toward opening that door.

It's funny reading his tweets now where he's trying to say he was misrepresented but will not deny that he thinks it's "not right" no matter what--just keeps saying how he's never gonna talk about it again.
See, the problem I'm having is I'm not getting how you move from "homosexuality makes Torii Hunter uncomfortable" (that is, from your quote of him, all he said, not "I don't think they should be allowed to play" or "they're not human" or "I hate gay people" or how he fears they'll "have gay sex with you until you become gay too") to how his behavior is "keeping them from being able to live their lives?" It's his opinion, prejudicial and uninformed as it is, and I'd personally rather him expressing himself honestly than parroting a PC response he doesn't believe. You can't move in chess until your opponent lets go of their piece.

As per his not talking about the issue again, you have been rather cynical towards the media at times, is it really that big a stretch to imagine they took his quotes out of context?

Bottom line is that Hunter has offered what he thinks about a type of behavior, not what he wants done about it in private or public life.
If you think of being gay as a behavior, I don't think we're gonna come to any sort of agreement on this. Saying "being gay isn't right" is no different than saying "being black isn't right." What Hunter did is tantamount to standing at the clubhouse door with a megaphone saying "we don't want your "kind" in here." Isn't that the message it sends to young gay baseball players?

About the media, Hunter is saying he was "misrepresented," but instead of saying exactly what it was he meant, he just gave a general statement and refused to say anything that would mean he doesn't feel what he said in the original thing that was quoted.
The Weinberg quote is an extraction from a longer quote about the use of religion to justify intolerance and evil, and I suppose if you don't understand it, it's because it's the kind of thing you can't fully understand unless you're viewing religion from 10,000 ft, as it were. And I'm going to go out on a limb and just state that being a physicist *does* make you an expert in how the universe works.

The source of his quote is here:

And as for that other stuff, no, being gay is not remotely equivalent to 'believing it's ok to not accept gayness' and it IS hurtful to claim that being a certain type of person is immoral.

If it isn’t behavior, what, exactly, would make Hunter uncomfortable? To repeat: His thoughts are prejudicial and uninformed, but if he isn’t talking about homosexual behavior making him uncomfortable, I don’t know what he’s speaking to. Can he read minds?

Remember that not all intolerance is uniform in thought or deed, nor is it an essentially static state of mind within an individual. Hunter’s thoughts are not what I am defending, but rather that he seems to need education and exposure to what his words can do rather than just dismissing him as an ignorant homophobe. Not as sexy or self-righteous, but I think this issue serious enough to demand attention, but we’re never going to effect change by simply dismissing those who disagree without trying to understand the thought process that creates these ideas.

And as an educator, I can tell you that I’ve never taught anyone anything by calling them names, embellishing their words beyond what they said or skimming the surface of their thoughts.


Physics is the study of matter, energy, motion, and force. Human behavior is composed of those things but what can guide a random individual’s actions it is a mystery is any honest person.

I’ve read Weinberg’s lecture, and his claim is specious. It breaks apart when even the slightest weight of thought is put to it. Yes, he offers anecdotes of people using religion to justify immoral behavior, but offers no statistics to demonstrate a correlation between religious belief and “good” people doing “evil” things. Nor does he mention the Tuskegee Experiment, eugenics, or any of the other examples of “good” scientists dismissing moral issues with a stern, “That’s not my department!”

Plus, he raises far more questions than he answers. Who are “good people” and what makes them “good?” How does one measure this? Are there factors beyond religion which can make “good” people do “evil?” What about greed, envy, lust, rage? None of those show up in “good” people? Temptation and circumstance don’t play a role? Just watch Errol Morris’ ‘The Fog of War,’ a documentary about the life of Robert McNamara, and you’ll see how quaint and naïve Dr. Weinberg’s thesis is.

This is the base of my comment about Weinberg being a physicist and not a sociologist, psychologist, criminologist or even just a police officer, firefighter or social worker, any of whom may have encountered evil performed by “good” people during the course of their day that has nothing to do with religion.
I am trying to understand what he thinks and I do want to educate him, that's exactly what I want. As for behavior, if he's made uncomfortable by watching gay sex, fine, but he's uncomfortable with men--who WHEN they have sex have it with other men--being around him. I'm gonna do a whole "nother" post about all this.
Mom here:

Oh, man, "homosexual behavior" stopped me in my tracks too. Homosexual behavior is exactly the same as hererosexual behavior. Or as someone once put it: It's not who you love or how you love, it's that you love.


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