Thursday, September 21, 2006

Like trying to love sodomites


“It is healthy in our fallen world to keep the races separated.”

- TT publication “Alien Ant”

I live with my wife in an apartment complex in Ithaca. One thing we like about it is the diversity of people that live here. Opposite our front door live a Chinese family consisting of a young couple, their three young children and a grandmother who has taught the oldest child, 3 year-old Sophie, to blow us kisses and call us “sho-sho” and “ay-yi” (“aunt” and “uncle” in Chinese). There are numerous couples and families from different Asian countries. A Native American woman lives in the adjoining apartment and is a close friend. Our other neighbors, many of whom we know by name, are African-American, Peruvian, and Ukrainian. Almost every day, I see children of different “races” playing together outside. If you had come by on the Fourth of July, you would have seen quite a diverse bunch of folks sharing barbeque and cold beers, waiting for the fireworks at Ithaca College to begin. In a Twelve Tribesperson’s ludicrous terminology, we were the sons and daughters of Shem, Cham and Japheth enjoying each others’ company.

But according to the Twelve Tribes, this can’t be happening.

Here, from their online publication “Multicultural Madness” is the reality I’m supposed to be experiencing:
“Consider the rich young Yuppie in his multicultural neighborhood, sitting in his living room ready to enjoy an evening of classical music. Tonight it's Beethoven. From one side of his house comes the throbbing bass of his neighbor's stereo as they gather out back for some reggae. The house shudders to every note, while on the other side of his house the neighbors fire up their barbecue and boom box, laughing raucously over the grating syncopation of something called rap. Fleeing from the violent lyrics, our Yuppie hero, himself a multicultural enthusiast, shuts the windows, grits his idealistic teeth and dons his headphones, trying to convince himself that all music is good.”
Gee, is it just me, or do you think we’re supposed to infer that the “Yuppie hero” is white and the troublesome neighbors on either side are black, based on their musical selections? (I don’t suppose this guy has ever been bothered by “Shemmites” blasting this guy or this guy.)

Our reality at home is that on the rare occasion that someone is playing music too loudly, Virginia, our 62-year-old African-American neighbor and mother hen of the block, will publicly shame the perpetrator into being more considerate.

The not-at-all racist TT author then goes on to say:
“Let's face it. It is just not reasonable to expect people to live contentedly alongside of others who are culturally and racially different. This is unnatural, and sometimes forces people to go against what they instinctively know in their conscience.”

“Multiculturalism is birds of different feathers caged together and forbidden to squawk. It's an artificial scheme, a world vision crammed down the throats of a humanity that would rather live in its own neighborhoods if it could.”
Such great writing. I had no idea that a vision could be crammed down a throat (although Spriggs arguably demonstrates that one can be pulled out from the other end). Perhaps my favorite expression of the Twelve Tribes’ disdain for multiculturalism is found in their oddly titled brochure “Alien Ant,” published in the year 2000.
“Multiculturalism pressures people to cross boundaries that go beyond the realm of natural law, coercing them to be one with a neighbor that doesn’t even speak their language or have their culture. It goes beyond the realm of how God wanted people to live in separate nations for their own welfare and safety. Multiculturalism increases murder, crime and prejudice. It goes against the way man is. It places impossible demands on people to love others who are culturally and racially different. This is unnatural, like trying to love sodomites.”
Such skillful use of the helpful sodomite analogy to crystallize the point for the reader!

So what, then, could possibly explain our experience here? A thoughtful writer of their in-house publication “Intertribal News” provides what might be an answer:
“We know that since the days of Nimrod and the Tower of Babel our Father has effectively dealt with this fallen potential of mankind to act universally, by dividing men into separate languages and cultures. ...it has been our Father’s plan to keep man separated. Now, there is a conspiracy to break down the boundaries.” (ITN, July 2000.)
Could my apartment block really be participating in a global Nimrodian conspiracy against God’s plan for humanity? It seems a stretch. (But, I confess, exciting!)

So should sociology professors from Cornell and their graduate students descend upon our multi-hued, multi-lingual community to figure out how we are accomplishing the impossible feat of generally getting along and being civil to each other? I think not. Cheap rent has brought us together, not a governmental program of coercion. The atmosphere is tranquil because the neighborhood is dominated by couples starting families and elderly folks.

Of course the very fact that the TTers with their odd culture are tolerated in the “worldly” communities in which they reside gives the lie to their premise that tolerance is unnatural and must be coerced. It’s just a bit ironic that the live-and-let-live attitude they denounce is the same one they require for themsleves in order to settle and do business in places like Ithaca. While it may seem odd, it’s no accident that a group pedaling sexism, racism and homophobia finds a home in a municipality in which citizens have elected a female mayor and a Common Council on which 40% are female, 30% are African-American, and one is a gay rights activist. The diversity in local leadership here is related to Ithaca's comfort level with the non-traditional from which Twelve Tribes benefits.

The greatest irony is that Eugene Spriggs and his crew, these guardians of separation and difference in the outside world, remove not only all cultural differences among their adherents, but also all outward personal variation in hairstyle or attire, as any casual observer of TT men, women and children will note. A TT man doesn’t have the personal freedom to tuck his shirt into his trousers. They must even defecate in a prescribed way, with their legs propped up on stools because Yoneq the Great says so. (Care for a little scatology with your eschatology?) All their prescribed uniformity might seem a contradiction until you realize that in their view what’s best for “fallen man” (us) and what’s best for the “bride of Messiah” (them) are two very different things.

You might object that if TTers really find racial and cultural diversity so distasteful, they would have picked nearly any upstate NY town instead of Ithaca. (E.g., perhaps lovely Whitey, err, I mean Whitney Point.) You might also point out that the Ithaca TT community's web blurb seems to celebrate Ithaca for its diversity. (At least that's the way I read it the first time.) With the Twelve Tribes' appreciation of multiculturalism in mind, let's give it a re-read, shall we?
“To some it is considered an ‘enlightened’ city, due to the influence of Ivy League academia and the many ‘open-minded’ people who congregate here. Ithaca is a multicultural hub here in upstate New York, with many nations and cultures represented, as well as the many different facets that make up American culture. People of many different inclinations, orientations, and associations converge on this city, many looking for ‘enlightenment.’”
“Enlightened,” “open-minded,” “multicultural.” What most Ithacans would regard as complimentary descriptors are in fact put-downs by the writer of this text. This paragraph is like one of those geometric optical illusions in which the shape pops into or out of the page depending how you look at it. On an informed reading, it is dripping with derision & contempt for anyone who regards these things as positives. Hence the " " marks. They picked Ithaca not because they admire its multicultural flavor, but for two reasons: they knew they'd be tolerated and they knew they'd find lots of young potential recruits.

Time to sum up. The Twelve Tribes’ views on multiculturalism are shallow, flawed and transparent to the racism and prejudice at their core. Their belief that people from different backgrounds can't get along in the same neighborhood is contradicted by our everyday experience. In their publications they mock the very principles that allow those with unconventional views and lifestyles (such as themselves) to live unmolested in our community. Their prescription for society’s ills is anti-democratic and anti-American. The only version of E Pluribus Unum they acknowledge requires that we all dress and coif alike, beat our children with switches, never question the authority of Eugene Spriggs, and worship a white supremecist god.

FYI: the grilled veggie wrap over at Juna’s tastes about as good and comes pang-of-conscience free.

Boycott the Maté Factor!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am the writer of the blurb for the community in Ithaca. The TT communities do love all the different cultures and peoples of the earth, they just dont think it is within Natural Law that people of different races and cultures should live together outside of Messiah. The main reason for this is because the very distinct characteristics and qualities that different cultures possess will be eroded over time. Most people from other nations/cultures/races that come here to the US end up becoming assimilated (to some degree) and start to lose those distinct characteristics of their culture. Also the reason the TT came to Ithaca was because they were asked to come by some who live in Ithaca and because those people responded to their message.

Anonymous said...

Well, you're being asked to leave by many more who live in Ithaca and who find your message abhorrent.

Anonymous said...

It seems sites like this only serve to cloud that message further so the likes of the above , those who are wise in their own conceit find it 'abhorrent'

The word used here should be 'intolerant' perhaps . It is clear you dont understand , and sites like this dont clear the water, they muddy it even further, which in my opinion serves its purpose - to cause confusion about a group and turn such confusion to 'abhorrence' .

This site is not serving the community of Ithaca, it is serving against it - its own people.

Anonymous said...

Um, anonymous? I think this site has done the opposite of "clouding" issues. Rather, it has made the Twelve Tribes and most of what they stand for painfully clear. "Intolerance" suggests ignorance. But I am (thanks to this site) no longer ignorant of what the TT stands for. And like any intelligent person, having educated myself on a subject, I reserve the right to hold an opinion. And my opinion is that the Twelve Tribes--in their racism, homophobia, sexism, opposition to imagination and free thought, devotion to authoritarianism, preying on weak/lost souls as recruits, inculcation of very limited thinking under the guise of religious inspiration, and, finally, attempt to CLOUD all of these things in pseudo-peacenik guise--are abhorrent.

Anonymous said...

What is painfully clear is your judgement on the matter... no one I have ever met in the tribes is racist , homophobic , sexist or any of the other things you mention. This site certainly has achieved its goal. Its turns people like you on. The types that years later seem to deal with their 'opinions' by storming their location with a gun and killing people. Good job. Ill be looking for you on the headlines. You call this site an education? That is quite a laugh! An education in lunacy perhaps, and education in ignorance.

Bilbo said...

hmm, the tract on "multiculturalism" is ridiculously wrong, and is contradicted by communities and societies the world over.

Few (if any) societies are actually homogeneous, and all societies are made up of different cultures living together. If living together in the same community caused "erosion" of cultures, you'd think that every country in the world would be homogeneous by now. But they aren't.

I wonder how they define "culture"? They seem to have a pretty simplistic caricature that the most basic information on human society would show to be empirically wrong.

As for the boycott, good idea. I went into Mate factor once and what struck me most about it was some indefinable sense of oppression -- and that was before I knew anything at all about the group.