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Are we ever going to progress as a society or a species?

Aug. 21, 2014 | G. Michael Dobbs

Lots of things have risen to the surface this week; so let’s get started.

Springfield-based minister, anti-homosexual advocate and Bay State gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively was recently a guest on Channel 4 News in Great Britain speaking with well known Christian singer Vicky Beeching who recently revealed she is a lesbian – something her audience might not accept.

Beeching said that she has kept her sexual orientation a secret her whole life and that she accepts it as the way God made her.

Lively has made international headlines for his stance that homosexuality is a “option” people adopt and told the interviewer he was  “very sorry to hear that she has given in to the lie that she is a homosexual instead of continuing to try to overcome the challenge that is in her life.”

Lively, by the way, is one of the authors of “The Pink Swastika,” a book with the premise that gay men were responsible for the rise of the Nazi party in Germany.

Beeching calmly but forcefully defended her position. When Lively asked her “Don’t you care what God thinks, Becky?” she replied, “I do, and that’s actually why I’m taking this step today – so that young people don’t have to listen to the kind of teaching you peddle, because it damages.”

It saddens me that we have so much hate in this word and that people such as Lively achieve a certain level of prominence through the distribution of fear and ignorance.

It’s easy – blame the victim

Speaking of hate, I can’t fathom the reactions online about the domestic abuse case involving porn star Christy Mack, who was savagely beaten allegedly by her former boyfriend Jonathan Koppenhaver, a mixed martial arts fighter known as “War Machine.”

Koppenhaver was recently arrested by federal marshals for assaulting Mack, who suffered 18 fractured facial bones, a broken nose and ribs as well as a ruptured liver.

The investigation is ongoing and Koppenhaver has tweeted that he is innocent, but the jury of Internet trolls has come up with a verdict: Mack is somehow partially culpable because of her profession and because she might have been “cheating” on her former boyfriend.

There is no justification for domestic violence. It doesn’t matter what a person does for a living. It doesn’t matter if infidelity is part of the story. There is no justifiable reason for raising a hand to someone.

However this shouldn’t surprise me. We live in a society in which a beloved comedian suffering from depression can take his life and be called a “coward” on a national television broadcast.

When are we actually going to grow up as a society? As a species?

Yes, there’s good news 

Well I’ve got to look on the bright side and so I will by acknowledging the success of the recent jazz festival in downtown Springfield. Although I couldn’t go, thanks to the almost month long struggle with a kidney stone, I’ve heard from multiple sources about its success.

We need many more such events to help turn around the perception of Springfield.

We are entering the very busy “fair season,” in which a great number of fairs and festivals take place. Each of them shines a positive light on our region and should underscore that good things do happen here.   

One of those good things is the Bing Arts Center in Springfield and I’d like to give a manly hug and pat on the back should go to my friend Brian Hale, the executive director of the center. In a city of 154,000 or so people, the Bing is providing a wide variety of artistic programming from performances to music to art exhibit to sponsoring Bing Con – shameless plug – to classes about the arts.

He is doing this on a grassroots level and truly deserves financial support. Take a look at his website – www.bingartscenter.org – for a list of upcoming events.

Agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.

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