Monday, October 04, 2010

Tyler Clementi

Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, a young gay man, killed himself after suffering extreme violations of his privacy. The media coverage has been such that most everyone has heard the story, but not so over the top that it has filled the airwaves or received much coverage on the commentary side of the news industry. The media has framed the story accurately as this is more a case of being bullied than a conscious act of hatred towards homosexuals. As many would wonder why one would kill himself when being Gay hardly holds the same stigma as even twenty years ago and is staunchly defended by many including some Christian churches.

But would it have received the same coverage if the young man had not been Gay? Have not others submitted in similar ways to being bullied and received far less coverage not to mention  a complete lack of international coverage? Perhaps some in society deserve the protection of their human rights and dignity while others do not.

In fact in Japan there is a group that is targeted by Christians, at least those claiming the name Christian, going far beyond what was done to Mr. Clementi. A practice that up to thirty years ago was common in the United States until our courts put an end to the abuse. An abuse also instigated here in the name of Christ.

That is the kidnapping and de-programing, or forced de-conversions, of members of the Unification Church. In days gone by a practice in the United States targeting any group that could be labeled a cult, and today in Japan almost exclusively directed to the Unification Church. Lead by Japanese churches that have become predominantly made up of those the pastor/de-programing expert supposedly saved from the Unification Church. That's some witnessing program.

And many in Japan have been documented to have committed suicide after the ordeal, exclusively young women. The offenders clear knowledge of the importance of keeping one's purity, sexual relations allowed only in marriage, as a central doctrine of the Unification Church use rape as an instrument to break the faith of young women. The faith of those whose parent's hired these de-programers to get the job done. A father who paid the equivalent of $20,000 dollars to have his daughter deprogrammed had no idea of their practices. After his daughter committed suicide and he realized what had been done he also killed himself. A documentary of these abuses is said to be coming out before the end of the year.

In other cases victims have been held for months and years. One man being held against his will for over twelve years. The Japanese authorities never doing anything over the decades to stop these practices, claiming it to be a family affair.

If you read this blog regularly you should know that I am also a member of the Unification Church. I suspect similar, if not more severe, invasions of my own privacy than suffered by Mr. Clementi. Though I have no resources or means to investigate the issue it is something known by many including elected officials. And since much of these abuses are driven by family and my cousin being a police officer living less than a mile away I think I can safely say law enforcement also is aware.

And I'm not even touching on the discrimination one experiences in the work place. If you hear a person in your work place mentioned in relation to the terms cult, brainwashed, or mind numbed robot over and over and think that isn't detrimental and discriminatory...


To steal some phraseology of a popular talk show host.

Yes, Mr. Clementi's death was very tragic and the coverage was well warranted. But do we reserve such compassion and social outrage only for those political activists or, on a more personal level, one's particular religion, deem important? Deem human?

Or perhaps I am the villain for using this young man's death to draw attention to the ordeals of those of my faith.... because it is just different... because...?