The Common Good
June 2006

Accepting Incivility

by Michael Melendez | June 2006

The April 2006 issue was well-written, especially the articles on abortion and immigration. Janet Parker’s article, “Can These Bones Live?” especially moved me.

The April 2006 issue was well-written, especially the articles on abortion and immigration. Janet Parker’s article, “Can These Bones Live?” especially moved me. I agree that the world’s disregard of what occurred in Rwanda was rooted in racism and blindness to Africa’s needs. How we ignored this genocide, myself included, shames me. I have just finished Jean Hatzfeld’s Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak. What this author underscored was that similar to Nazi Germany there was a long period of casual public demeaning and dehumanizing of a group of people. Hutus even joked with each other about eradicating the “cockroaches”—it was part of radio, TV, and political propaganda.

It made me consider the Christian Far Right’s attempts to dehumanize gay and lesbian people. They do so by asserting that gays and lesbians are threats to children, a centuries-old canard used to demonize every historically despised minority. Phrases such as “no special rights,” “love the sinner, not the sin,” and words such as “predators,” “death merchants,” “perverts,” and “sexual beasts” are all supposedly spoken in the name of the Savior. This casual acceptance of incivility creates an atmosphere that fosters violence and a willingness to do harm to “the other.”

Michael Melendez
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

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