Father Gabriel goes to Indiana

After watching TWD finale last night, then skimming the headlines of the last several days, a couple thoughts bounced off each other this morning as the coffee kicked in.

1. Fr. Gabe as a weak character. I cringe every time he comes on screen. I don’t mean the obvious in-show cowardice. (Even Eugene has shown more backbone) The good Rev strikes me as a cardboard standee, a typical ‘last-refuge-of scoundrels’ sniveler trying to prop himself up with religious bravado. Yes I know such people exist, (I’ve met them) but as a Christian myself, that bothers me. In real life and on screen.

Now Hershel was devout. Genuine. Portrayed as misguided at first, he was nonetheless solid, smart and brave. I miss him. I’m just disappointed this latest Scripture-quoting, Bible-toting believer is plagiarizing a page from the ‘lame religious guy’ stereotype playbook. At least he has enough faith/depth of character to have a crisis-of-faith. Otherwise, just shoot him and move on.

Now contrast him with the show’s main homosexual character, Aaron – who is most definitely playing against type and trope – and I have to wonder if he were played as a ‘typical flamer’, would there be any social outcry and push-back? Any cries of ‘perpetuating negative stereotypes’, ‘painting with a broad brush’, and gross distortion? You betcha.

Double standard? Evil Liberal Bias? Probably not. But I did wonder what would happen if the roles were ‘reversed’, as it were.

2. What exactly is going on in Indiana? From the furor, you’d think after throwing Rick and crew under the bus, Father Gabe snuck off off and wrote Indiana’s Religious Freedom Bill.

If indeed the law is based on existing Federal laws signed by Pres Clinton and Obama, if it is indeed virtually identical to similar laws currently on the books in other states, then why have LGBT activists swarmed Indiana like a horde of hungry Walkers? Why THERE and why NOW? How is this one different or special? I mean, don’t rights work both ways?(BTW, you might want to lose the ‘Sodomize Intolerance’ sign there)

No, I’m not a lawyer but by my reading of news summaries and various sources, the law doesn’t target a specific group. At all. It does not give or create any ‘new’ right for owners and servers; it simply clarifies and codifies existing rights and responsibilities. This isn’t legal discrimination. That someone might use it intolerantly isn’t a valid reason to negate the law. Capability isn’t culpability.

3. This past half season of TWD, I’ve been more impressed by the writer/director choices than absorbed in the characters’ plight. Not that I wasn’t gripped, but from a story-teller’s point of view, there have been some remarkably well constructed episodes. Several times I was ‘wish-I-thought-of-that’ jealous. The Season finale held up that high standard; Glenn’s mercy and sobbing, Sasha’s restraint/Maggie’s intervention and prayer, (she is her own woman but she’s also Hershel’s daughter), and using the Rick and Morgan meeting to end the show.

In light of all that’s going on in America and our world right now, the scene that stuck with me was Daryl and Aaron in the car. Tricked, trapped, mobbed on all sides by danger and certain gruesome death, they decide to stick together. To go down fighting side by side if it comes to that. There’s no ‘hick/queer’ labels, no agendas, no blame-game. Just two human beings facing a much larger common threat.

You’d think with all the deep and lasting problems in our world – poverty, hunger, illiteracy, corruption, slavery/sex-trafficking, terrorism, ecological damage, etc, etc, we’d have a sense of proportion, be grateful and realize our nation, however imperfect, is a singularly remarkable achievement in human history. We have freedom and prosperity at previously unimaginable levels.

Both sides of this current issue need to take a step back, dial down the rhetoric, and remember respect and rights run both ways. Of course we’re not going to agree on everything. Who does? But it’s time to stop and look at the bigger picture. We’re all in the same boat here. Problems we’re facing, we need serious help.

And if I understand Jesus’ teachings and the New Testament  correctly, all of us, and I do mean all of us, need a Savior.

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