Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Suffering Germans and Oriental Carpets

I was reaching the end of the Q and A episode with Cardinal Pell and Richard Dawkins. I started writing a post inside my head.  I do that sometimes. I mean I start planning out what I'd say.

What I was going to say is that I'm neither Catholic nor atheist.  I'm a spiritual person who hopes (but sometimes doubts) that we have souls; that there's an afterlife; and that all these weird coincidences, I encounter, have some sort of deep metaphysical meaning. 

I get annoyed by atheists.  I get annoyed by organized religion.

So I came to the episode of the show with no bias, or a lot of biases that were distributed equally.

That being said. If I had to pick a winner, I'd pick Pell. 

I thought he was much more tolerable than Dawkins.

That is until....

He said,  It is interesting through these secondary causes probably no people in history have been punished the way the Germans were. It is a terrible mystery.

What?!

Tony Jones responded. There would be a very strong argument saying that the Jews of Europe suffered worse than the Germans.

Pell said that might be right. MIGHT be right?


What?!

Should I give Pell the benefit of the doubt and imagine he's referring to something I'm ignorant of and don't understand?

I don't know much about early German history, besides the fact that they blamed Jews for a lot of things.  Maybe really bad things happened to them in past centuries? 

But was it worse than what happened to the Jews?  African-Americans? Aboriginal Australians?  Native Americans?

And there are other groups who've endured a huge portion of shared suffering.

While I was still trying to recover from my shock over that remark, Pell compared homosexuals to a flaw in an oriental carpet.

Oh my.....

I will say this, though.

I definitely don't agree with that viewpoint. I don't see homosexuality as a flaw. 

But I do have some understanding for people who do.

How we view homosexuality is really a social construct.  The popular notion these days is that it's okay to be gay.   Yes, there are some haters out them; some of them dangerous and violent.  But I think acceptance of those intolerants, by the general population, is probably about the same as society's acceptance of homosexuals a few decades ago. 

I guess there could be a scale of homosexual acceptable. Let's say 10's would support gay marriage, and full equality.  1's believe gay people are sinners and belong in hell. 

There's a lot of 10's these days. There are some 1's.

Then there's a lot of people in-between.  Included in this would be people who don't hate gay people, but they see homosexuality as a flaw.  They see it as an illness.

Prior to the 1970's, homosexuality was classified as a mental illness.  These days some people still believe that.  But most people don't.   Lord Wiki says the official position of the American Psychiatric and American Psychological Association is that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexuality.   

I follow that viewpoint. In that area of life, I follow the crowd.

But I move away from the crowd when it comes to another psychological issue.

That would be Aspergers and mild levels of autism.  

It's seen by many as a disorder. 

It's seen by many as a sad and unfair thing.

To me, it's just a variation. 

It makes me cringe when Cardinal Pell compares homosexuality to a flaw in a carpet.   In the same way, I cringe when someone expresses sympathy for people with Aspergers.  I don't even like writing it that way, because I'm making it sound like Aspergers is an illness.  To me it's like saying,  My friend has homosexuality.   

I do think it's difficult to deal with Aspergers, but I think it's difficult for the same reason it's difficult to be homosexual.  It's all about society—attitudes and acceptance. 

People don't commit suicide because they're gay. They commit suicide because they feel alienated and rejected.  They feel abnormal. Their community may give them the idea that they're evil or sick.   They may feel defective.  

Fortunately there's a loud crowd that's shouting out a message of acceptance and hope. But sometimes they can't counteract the cruel messages. 

I can't perfectly compare Aspergers with homosexuality, because I don't think Aspie people are often labeled as evil. I don't think there are people who go to funerals with signs that say, People on the Autism Spectrum belong in Hell!!!!

Still though.

The basic idea that bothers me is that we have this general consensus about what is normal and what's not. OR what's okay and what's not okay.  

No, wait. That's wrong.

I'm not bothered by the general consensus, because sometimes I agree with it. Sometimes I like it.

I like that it seems most people accept, if not gay marriage, then at least gay civil unions. 

I like that vegetarianism is no longer seen as being overly radical, and I can find vegetarian menu items at most restaurants.

I like that homeschooling is more accepted by society these days. 

I like that most people are against slavery. 

I like that most people agree that it's wrong to hit your spouse...(though I'm mystified that some of these people would think it's okay to hit their children).  

So....

What I should say is that I look forward to the possible day in which the crowd sees Aspergers as a normal variation of human personality. 

I want the general consensus to be that it's fine to have Aspergers. It's not a problem. It's just a difference.

I can understand the viewpoint of people who see homosexuality as a disorder. I can understand the viewpoint of those who see Aspergers as a disorder.  But understanding does not equal agreement.

In my eyes, Aspergers and homosexuality help make the carpet beautiful. They're not flaws at all.