God hates fags and bankers


God Hates AmericaSenator John McCain's concession speech earlier this month was surely one of the most gracious of all time. It recalled an era when hate was the norm.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters.

He went on to declare that Obama's election demonstrates 'America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time'.

Despite the reality of an African American president-elect, McCain is undoubtedly overstating the distance we've travelled. Election day in the US also brought popular acceptance of California's Proposition 8, which effectively quashed a Supreme Court decision earlier this year that had legalised gay marriage in the state.

Arguably that result reflects continuing hostility towards homosexuals by a significant proportion of the population. It is also a reminder of acts of anti-gay violence that have occurred in the recent past.

One such incidence is the celebrated 1998 murder of Wyoming 21-year-old Matthew Shepherd, which is depicted in The Laramie Project, which is being performed in Sydney this month.

The current production grew out of two previous university productions. The first, in 2004, received threats from Westboro Baptist Church in the US, which had picketed Matthew Shepard's funeral with 'God Hates Fags' placards.

Director Chris Hay explains in the program notes: 'We perform this show in 2008, the ten year anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, in the hope that a significant change in attitude has occurred in the last several years.'

In fact attitudes can and do change. One that is perhaps as remarkable as the election of an African American president is the fall from grace of heavily remunerated CEOs, and wealthy players in the banking and finance sectors in the US. After the collapse of the economy of the western world, they are no longer envied and looked up to. Instead they are despised, and even hated, for the hardship their actions have brought to the lives of many people.

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told the National Press Club last month:

As we contemplate the impact of this financial crisis on real economies, real people and real lives, it must also galvanise us to act in the future that we never allow greed and lax regulation to put us in this position again.

It is certainly not a good thing if we have found another class of people to hate. And Kevin Rudd had a much more constructive and healing goal in mind, which he alluded to in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September:

Financial institutions need to have clear incentives to promote responsible behaviour rather than unrestrained greed.

Putting greedy bankers in their place represents a step towards the healing of division in society, and John McCain is hopefully right to suggest that hate is no longer the norm.

Michael MullinsMichael Mullins is editor of Eureka Street.



Topic tags: obama, mccain, gay, bigotry, matthew shepard, laramie project, bankers, economic collapse



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Existing comments

Can someone have a quiet word with the Eureka Street subbies? Would they get away with a headline like "God hates coons and clergymen"? It's the small steps that count!

Tony | 17 November 2008  

In reply to Tony, 'fag' is the word of choice of the Westboro Baptist Church, the source of much of the organised anti-gay hate. Our use of the term simply alludes to theirs, as part of our attempt to depict the ugliness of organised hate. The url of the church's website is ihatefags.com

Michael Mullins | 17 November 2008  

I once heard that, in at least some regions of mediaeval Christendom, same-sex relationships were celebrated and blessed in the local Church; whether this was within Western Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox, Christendom, I cannot recall. What I do recall is that the celebration and blessing did not extend to exchange of matrimonial vows.

Regarding bankers’ greed, I recall how, in the maelstrom of a previous credit collapse approximately two decades ago, the CEO of one of Australia’s great banks took responsibility for all the bad loans written by his staff by resigning. The bank cast a wide net, and appointed a citizen of one of Australia’s great and powerful friends as his replacement. The great and powerful citizen had the wisdom to direct his staff to assess all the bank’s loans, and brought all the bad loans to book within the first reporting period of his appointment. He was admired for his honesty.

Now, it just so happens that retail banking in Australia is, fundamentally, a profitable business. If you exclude bad loans, the business of banking is as safe as ... as ... a bank, I suppose you’d say. Having brought all the bad loans to book in one reporting season, and having explained the concept of prudence to the bank’s loans officers was all it took; the very next reporting seaon, the bank was returned to profitability.

There were ripples of plaudits up and down the financial district; banking as a profitable business, who’da thought? The great and powerful citizen was hailed throughout the land, and rewarded handsomely for his brilliant idea.

At the end of his contract and having cleaned up someone else’s mess, he returned to his Homeland, much enriched and admired for his sojourn in our land.

Me, I’d also have brought the bad loans to book as soon as we knew they were bad. As renumeration for telling them that honesty is the best policy provided it is accompanied by prudence, they’d have only had to pay me 2% of what they paid him.

David Arthur | 17 November 2008  

I believe that as Christians (Catholics) we should love our brothers and sisters but "hate" the sin - though this is hard to do!

In terms of gay marriages and relationships we have the duty to uphold the sanctity of marriage as God has blessed us with the union between a man and a woman.

cecilia | 18 November 2008  

I believe that we should love all our Brothers and Sisters. Cause when they come out of the closet they are still the same people.

They are no different from us they just like the same gender.

Chandra | 27 May 2009  

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