Tom Sullivan over at Hullabaloo brought my attention to this charming letter to their neighbor at the Unitarian Universalist church in Mountain Home, Arkansas. It came with a window shot out following the publication of a letter to the editor saying that they welcomed everyone regardless of “race, religion, or sexual orientation.” It is bizarre that this would cause such a violent response because this is the very definition of the Unitarian Universalists. This is why other Christians tend not to like them. Go to a universalist church and you are bound to meet some Buddhists. My take on universalism is that it means everyone is saved, everyone has God’s grace, everyone is going to heaven. It’s kind of like the Oprah Winfrey of religions.
But the response doesn’t seem much concerned about the welcoming of all the LGBT community. The problem seems to be that the darkies are welcome. I mean, that letter is filled with charm like “Chi-Congo.” But the best part is surly, “the nigger commie, Muslim, scholiast destroying the USA.” If it hadn’t come along with a bullet, I would assume parody. First, there is the fact that the description of the president is longer than my own parodies of an ignorant conservative. Usually, I just go with, “Muslim Kenyan socialist.” But then there is “scholiast.” What’s with that?! I had to look it up. It means: a commentator on ancient or classical literature. But commenter islandbrewer at Patheos put it brilliantly, “I think I have an old muslin scholiast that my grandmother made. It’s very pretty.” Anyway, it is just a clever way to throw in “pointy headed intellectual.” But it is clever.
The whole thing could have been reduced to a bumper sticker, “I’m a bigot, and I vote!” And this has been something we have known for a long time. Although they try very hard to hide it, the only reason conservatism in its current form is competitive is fear and hatred of “those” people. And the conservative elite know this. They are smart people. They know that voters don’t rush to the polls to vote for the party’s economic policies, which the voters largely disagree with anyway. It is more along the lines of this old joke:
I’m not saying that Republicans are primarily dependent on bigots. But I think at least 10% of their coalition is only there because of their bigotry. And without that 10%, the party would be at best a regional power. Bigotry is doubtless more important to the Republican coalition than are tax cuts. And that’s sad.
I would have thought that by now we would be past such blatant racist and homophobic appeals as in the letter above. I still think that the most important form of racism in America is white privilege as I discussed yesterday. But especially since Obama (and in reaction to him), we’ve seen a huge increase in this kind of base racism. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is good to have it “out in the open.” Because what we’ve seen is regression. And if we have people willing to apply the n-word to the president, it means the less obvious forms of racism are also ascendant.
But I do appreciate the letter. I think I will start referring to President Obama as the Scholiast in Chief. It isn’t a bad moniker — and I do mean it with great respect.