You Can't Put Labels On Good and Evil
What I’m about to write about is unbelievably horrible and disgusting, but it’s something that actually happened, and I think it’s worse to ignore something evil than to possibly upset someone by speaking frankly about it.
Lisa Biron is a New Hampshire lawyer who is associated with an anti-gay Christian group called Alliance Defending Freedom and she was recently arrested by the FBI for criminal sexual activity, possession of child pornography and coercing minors to engage in sexual acts. The more facts that come about about Ms. Biron, the more creepy and well, downright evil, she sounds. Essentially she would take underage girls to Canada and urge them to perform sexual acts while she taped them. She was in possession of illegal drugs that she would give to these minors and she even divulged to a friend that in order to escape the law, she was planning on fleeing the country to Cuba.
Of course, what makes this story even more scandalous and shocking is the fact that Lisa Biron is associated with a group that takes active legal measures to block gay rights, marriage equality, reproductive rights and gay adoption. Alliance Defending Freedom identifies themselves as a Christian group and they see their pursuit of their anti-gay mission as a sort of moral mission.
I’ve written before here about how my own personal beliefs on gay rights are founded in my Christian upbringing. To put it briefly, I was personally taught in church that Christ offered love to everyone he met and tried to forgive them if they had done anything in their life that society considered a sin. I don’t personally think homosexuality itself is a sin. It’s just about whom you love and love isn’t a sin. I do think coercing someone against their will in any sexual circumstance is an especially evil sin, however. Rape, sexual assault, child pornography…these are sins in my opinions–and they are most definitely crimes.
Of course, here’s where the situation with Lisa Biron gets tricky.
According to her organization’s beliefs, homosexuality is a sin and crime. She not only engaged in homosexuality with these teen girls, she also participated in sexual assault and child pornography. She pretty much crossed not only her own moral lines, but the ones I would say almost all people have. And if I use my own logic–that to be Christian and noble, one must love and forgive people their sins–do I have to love and forgive Lisa Biron? Because I really don’t want to. I want to pretty much cast her off of humanity as an evil monster–you know, the way she and her organization want to cast off wonderfully upstanding gay and lesbian members of our community.
That’s the tricky thing about good and evil. Morality is hard, you guys!
People want to put evil in a billowing black cloak. We want to imagine that murderers are madmen living on the fringes of society. We think the threat of assault comes from some monster lurking in the shadows, and not our dearest friend. Our fairy tales tell us that evil walks proudly and boasts of its depravity. Good people are the ones who live in the light. People who go to church on Sundays are full of charity and honor. The men and women who work for our social justice are filled with righteousness and only ever act in good conscience.
We want evil to be “them”, not “us”. Some people want everything that threatens our livelihood and moral fiber to be something easily recognizable: a religious minority, a different race, a homosexual, a child pornographer. You can’t paint these people as monsters though because they aren’t. They’re people. And you can’t turn someone like Lisa Biron into a monster, either, because, well…she isn’t. She’s a person.
You have every right to disagree with me and say she is an evil, twisted monster. The evidence is there. My point is though that evil doesn’t come from monsters; it comes from human beings. And the most noble and good things in life don’t come strictly from saints; they come from human beings.
We’re human. We’re flawed. We’re capable of doing good and bad things. We’re also capable of doing downright evil things. In order to stop evil things from happening, we have to stop presuming that it comes from monsters that aren’t human. It comes from inside of people like us–people we interact with all the time. You can’t stop evil with a manufactured witch hunt. You can only stop it by doing your best to quell it inside you and the people you’re close with. Don’t curse, judge or hate others.
Act with love. React with mercy. Live with forgiveness.