The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Little “C”, Little Me

This has been on my mind for a while now, but it took a private email from a friend to nudge me into saying something about it. Since it's something I do on my blog, it makes sense to address it here too. I think the saying goes "I broke it in public, so I gotta fix it in public."

For some time now, whenever I write about Christianity, I've been doing so with a small "c," while capitalizing the names of other faiths. I've been doing it for a while now. I don't remember when or how it got started. It may have been intentional the first couple of times, but I kept doing it after I became aware of it and at that point it became intentional.

Well, from now I'm I'm not going to do that anymore. It's wrong, antagonistic, non-constructive, small, and petty of me to do that. It probably stems from some personal issues with religion in general and Christianity in particular, that I've mentioned before. But that doesn't excuse it. In fact, that makes it worse because it's insulting, dismissive, hurtful, and frustrating to people who are sincere in their beliefs, and who have nothing to do with my personal history.

Beyond that, it smacks of painting all Christians with the same brush as my intended targets (far-right, fundamentalist, theocrats, etc.), when there are progressive Christians who don't fall into that category. It hypocritical of me to do that when I wouldn't appreciate someone doing the same to me as an African American or a gay man.

It also makes it hard for me to engage in a discussion about religion — which is something I still intend to do, because it's an issue that's inextricably intertwined with politics, and because it's a subject I'm still trying to come to terms with on a personal level — because it overshadows or otherwise overpowers anything legitimate I might have to say about the subject. That's something I'll probably be doing for a long time. From now on, I want to try to do it in a way that isn't hurtful to others.

And finally, it goes against what I claim or at least aspire to practice in terms of right speech. And, yes, there are certainly other aspects of my blogging in which I'd do well to be mindful of that principle.

That said, I want to apologize both for the practice I mentioned above and to anyone who was frustrated or in any way hurt by it. I'll definitely continue blogging about religion as it intersects with political issues I'm concerned with. While I haven't changed my mind on the subject, or my beliefs, I hope that I can at least contribute something positive to the dialogue from here on out.

5 Comments

  1. We seem to be on the same blog path. 🙂

  2. Between christianity [with a small c, you see] and being a Poofter with a capital P [ now that is something to c], I would rather much be Gay [hey, there’s a capital G].

    The C’s, The P’s and the G’s they all rhyme.

    Enuff of the funnies.. I rejected christianity [indeed, organised religion] along time ago. I wasn’t gonna give up my Gayness, nor was I gonna feel guilty about it.. and something had to go.

    It was christianity [with a small c. If you are a size queen, then make it a BIG C]

    In political terms, it’s hard not to use labels as a generic term… after all, it’s what they [a non specific pointer] do to us, continually, so it’s only fair [indeed, understandable] when fighting back, when we do the same.

    I will not dignify anything, that does not dignify me. Irrespective of whether there is a danger of tarring everybody with the same brush. If, progressives in any organisation/ group had any sense at all, they would see where you were coming from… after all, God has not struck anyone down for blasphemy [it is only the din of men who had their ego’s hurt]

    AND, what is religious maturity but a flowering of wisdom? So the progressive shsould be able to sort the wheat from the chaff in human discourse… the fact that sensitivites are broached says alot about their wisdom and insight, and lack thereof.

    It’s a lot like when I rant about heterosexuals, and some pipe, but not all of us are like that…. “Yeh, But I wasn’t referring to YOU, I was referring to the institution”…

    And while one should be mindful of not hurting/ alienating friends or potential friends… sometimes, it’s unavoidable, esp. when talking about personal experience.. come on, when I get exapserated with the heteros..the firts think I’m gonna say is “fucking arseholes..” NOT, “…..oh, except for you sweetie!”

    Cut yourself some slack Terence, yours is a personal blog that attempts to dignify everybody, and accord some respect for humanity in all its diversity, while talking about personal experience.

    Don’t worry about the small c’s, with global warming, the c levels will rise,

  3. You missed one little ‘c’ 🙂

  4. Very briefy, since I haven’t responded to your private email yet, I think what you said here was interesting and insightful and greatly appreciated.

    I was aware, of course, that you were singling Christianity out. I would’ve had no problems if you were being consistent and referring to buddhism, jainism, islam, etc., in lower-case, just as one might refer to humanism or atheism or existentialism in the lower-case. That would’ve been fairly counter-cultural (in an e.e. cummings sorta way) but also very egalitarian. In fact, there’s good precedent in other languages: French refers to boudhisme, christianisme, judaisme, etc.–there’s no reason the name of a religion hasto be capitalized, but you were clearly making a point in which convention you were singling out.

    And knowing you fairly well, I was aware somewhat of what you were going through and I saw what was being manifested–something you clearly acknowledged. (On that matter, your respondent who uttered “the fact that sensitivites are broached says alot about their wisdom and insight, and lack thereof” should get to know me better before making certain assessments.)

    I certainly had no problem with you leaving Christianity, because it seems that in your story, Christianity abandoned you. I did, I confess, have a problem with you being extremely un-Buddhist in your treatment of Christianity! , and what you’ve written addresses that issue with the contemplative awareness I know you are capable of. There’s more that can and will be said, but I’ll move it back to a private exchange. I wanted to publicly acknowledge what you’ve written with eloquence, compassion, and mindfulness.

  5. I’m a Christian, work for a Open and Affirming campus ministry (GLBT friendly in other words), and I appreciate the sentiments behind this pot. Though to be honest I had never caught the capitalization issue until you blogged about it *heh* But I think reaching out to people of good will across religious traditions is key. You’ve been a perceptive analyzer of a number of things in this country, including religion which is why you’re a regular read for me. Thanks

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