Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When They Came for the Homosexuals…

Chris Hedges offers this compelling piece on Truthdig focused on the recent attacks on the Soulforce "Equality Ride" where young people working to build gay-straight alliances had their bus defaced with hateful graffiti including “God does not love feary fags.”

So do read Chris's whole commentary here ... and for anyone still out there thinking that "pausing for a season" will have any impact whatsoever on these idealogues who are convinced that their position is "absolute truth" "ordained by God" I recommend revisiting the illustrious career of Neville Chamberlain.

From "When They Came for the Homosexuals ..."

I spent two years reporting and writing “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” At the numerous gatherings I attended around the country, one of the driving forces and most effective mobilizing agents was the issue of sexuality. This mass movement, led by figures such as James Dobson, claims that tolerance of “alternative lifestyles” is eroding the American family. They describe “same-sex attraction” as a disease that can be cured. And they condemn all sexual love that is not heterosexual as an abomination in the eyes of God. Gays and lesbians still within the church, seeking desperately to deny their sexuality and remain in the Christian collective, often suffer severe depression and blows to their self-esteem.

The U.S. surgeon general’s office has published data indicating that those who are young and gay are two to three times more likely to commit suicide. Those who conform, no matter what the personal cost, will find acceptance. Those who remain militant, who stand up for another way of being, must be silenced. The methods that will finally sever them and their supporters from a Christian America are often left unmentioned, but the rhetoric makes clear that there will not be a place for them. Gays and lesbians, like other enemies of Christ, are not fully human. They are “unnatural.” And preachers in the movement argue that if America does not act soon to eradicate homosexual behavior, God will punish the nation.

These attacks mask a sinister agenda that has nothing to do with sexuality. It has to do with power. The radical Christian right—the most dangerous mass movement in American history—has built a binary worldview of command and submission wherein male leaders, who cannot be questioned and claim to speak for God, are in control and all others must follow. Any lifestyle outside the traditional model of male and female is a threat to this hierarchical male power structure. Women who do not depend on men for their identity and their sexuality, who live outside a male power relationship, challenge this pervasive cult of masculinity, as do men who find tenderness and love with other men as equals. The lifestyle of gays and lesbians is intolerable to the Christian right because its existence is a threat to the movement’s chain of command, one they insist was ordained by God.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this, I was lead here by another journal. I am a divorced man, now living with my partner. I have 50% custody of my children. That means they live with me 50% of the time.
I was raised Assemblies of God, and have struggled greatly since first accepting who God made me to be.
My children, their Mother, my partner and I work very hard to ensure households full of love, understanding, open communication and kindness.

I thank you very much for this information.

-Andy Miles

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone should send this article by Chris Hedges to Madame PB and other bishops who would prefer to maintain the unity of a collection of national churches forged by British imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries rather than protect the rights and physical well-being of GLBT persons around the world. Come on, Katharine, get a life. Just because you have a little power now, don't turn your back on the people who cared for you. "Pausing for a season" is plain old fashioned bigotry in a pious guise.

Jim said...

I have for sometime been refering to the ABC as Archbishop Neville Williams. It is stunning how few people catch the point. The English appear to have learned nothing from the attainment of "peace in our time." ;;sigh;;

The "Christian Right" is neither.

Ah the good old days when men were men, women were women and men got to decide (this is actually in the history!) how big a stick was appropriate when beating one's wife. That is what they want to take us too. Jesus wept.


Anonymous said...

It has been hypothesized that one of the other reasons that the Hirschfeld Institute was made a target early on was that it dealt with all manner of sexual issues (not just gayness), and that blackmail material, either about the Nazi leaders, or about the well-to-do lukewarms (industrialist and merchant class) was to be found in the clinical records. I don't know if somewhere in the bowels of the records repository there might be a remnant of hte Hirschfeld clinical files.


W said...

"and for anyone still out there thinking that "pausing for a season" will have any impact whatsoever on these idealogues who are convinced that their position is "absolute truth" "ordained by God" I recommend revisiting the illustrious career of Neville Chamberlain. "

Susan, I feel compelled to make a counterargument. in the Anglican context, "those ideologues" are only the Primate of the Global South ... and not even all of them. it could be that if we fast for a season, the moderate Global South Anglicans will end up being more repelled by Akinola's hatred than by us.

that said, I would only support a fast for a season if heterosexual couples and bishop-elects joined in. after all, if we're operating on a model of equality, then everyone in the church has to do what whatever minority is asked to do. few would find this reasonable.

of course, if we started now, then no one could reasonably question us about denying consent to Mark Lawrence. the Diocese of SC had 55 consents from Standing Committees last I heard; they need 56, which must be postmarked by yesterday, and the PB's office needs to verify the consents, so we won't know for a while.

Anonymous said...

From Hedges' piece:

The Christian right has begun to strip gays and lesbians of their constitutional rights and render them second-class citizens.

Say what? Hedges doesn't mention what rights have been stripped from gays, can you help me out here? Speech? No, I see plenty of gays speaking out as gays. Religion? VGR is still bishop of NH, no? Assembly? Petition? The right to keep and bear arms? (well, yes, but no more than heteros are)...exactly what are these Constitutional rights?

Then Hedges hyperventilates for us:

The radical Christian right—the most dangerous mass movement in American history...

More than the Confederacy? The Bund? The Klan? Communists in Foggy Bottom? Hedges is as blinkered as the typical HoD member.


Anonymous said...

quoteThe U.S. surgeon general’s office has published data indicating that those who are young and gay are two to three times more likely to commit suicide./quote

How sad. We can't fix the young part; what's left?

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Hedges doesn't mention what rights have been stripped from gays, can you help me out here?

The right to contract and protect one another in Virginia, for a start...

Anonymous said...

The right to contract and protect one another in Virginia, for a start...

Gays cannot enter into contracts in Virginia? Pardon my skepticism, but can you show some proof of A - this claim and B - that gays somehow used to have this right but lost it under an assualt by mouth-breathing right-wing Christian fanatics?

As for the right to protect each other, I checked the NRA/ILA website ( http://www.nraila.org/statelawpdfs/VASL.pdf ) and there's nothing in the state's CCW law pertaining to heterosexuality being a prerequisite for concealed carry. Restrictions include:

"A disqualified person includes one who is ineligible to purchase, transport, or possess a firearm; a person who it is alleged, in a sworn written statement submitted to the court, that in the opinion of such sheriff, chief of police or attorney for the Commonwealth is likely to use a weapon unlawfully or negligently to endanger others based upon personal knowledge or upon the sworn written statement of a competent person having personal knowledge; a habitual drunkard or an addict or unlawful user of a controlled substance; dishonorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces; an illegal alien; a person who in the preceding three years has been convicted of drunkenness or a violent misdemeanor; or a person who within the preceding 5 years was involuntarily committed."

Which I think is deplorable, since aren't drunkards and addicts simply God's children who are, by no fault of their own, afflicted with the disease of substance abuse? Gays are quite free to protect one another, however, as it should be.

Care to expand?


Anonymous said...

Susan, I sense a sort of panic or fear in this posting. My experience, and I'm guessing your experience as well, is that the majority (I would say the vast majority) of Christians / Episcopalians who are opposed to the innovations in TEC's "theology of sexuality", are gentle, faithful, family-oriented people who practise a discipline over their own sexuality, and see nothing wrong with expecting similar discipline from all God's people. Let's be careful that we don't foster negative stereotypes - remember how the GLBT community has been wounded by negative sterotypes in the past.

Unknown said...

My comment over at Jeff's:

Well, it certainly was thoughtful of these mindless, vicious vandals to very carefully write only on the windows, so removal of the graffiti wouldn't damage the bus. Particularly when spraying that way is so much more difficult than simply squirting the side of the bus; you have to use a ladder or stool. Which means, if you're a dumb noisy lowlife homophobic radical-Christian-right vandal, you have to be, uncharacteristically, very quiet and careful about guards -- since this is happening right next to a large hotel.

Amazingly resourceful, these radical-Christian-right- homphobic rednecks.

The Pilgrim said...

I looked at the pictures of the bus. There is absolutely no permanent damage to the vehicle, especially the paint surface. The window writing is done with those large markers that used car dealers use to put prices on the windshields of their vehicles, and are very popular with cars full of cheerleaders and pep squad members on their way to state basketball tournaments.

They come off easily with soap and water. Awfully considerate of those midwest homophobes. . . .


for craig and "pilgrim" ... I've got a pretty vivid imagination which is increasingly immune to being staggered by the arrogant ignorance of those who presume to stand for "traditional family values" and then condone or encourage the kind of hate-filled demonstration exhibited by the Equality Ride bus vandals.

So, gentlemen, my hat is off to you this morning as your venturing once again into the land of "I can't believe Christian people would treat each other so" has given us yet another example of why there is no "season" or "pause" long enough to mend the rent in the fabric of the communion that your absolutism has wrought.

Anonymous said...

How very "christian" of you, Craig and pilgrim.

Are we to take it that its acceptable for Christians to vandalize and slander, writing anti-gay messages, so long as the ink or paint washes off?

If that's so, please allow me and my chalk unfettered access to your sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

Susan, you have no evidence that this was done by anyone in particular, let alone a right-wing, hate-filled religious zealot. Indeed, the vandalism seems to have been done with a keen eye to keeping deposit-jeopardizing damage to zero...not exactly what one would expect from seething, rage-blinded homophobes.

Ask yourself: Who would benefit from an act where offensive images and words were scrawled on this bus, but where no substantive property damage occurred? I think you can see the writing on the bus, no? See the link at Jeff's site to the Advocate column for confirmation that this would not be the first time such a tactic was employed.

Is bearing false witness now condoned on the revisionist side?


Wormwood's Doxy said...

Jeffersonian--on the off-chance that you are being sincere, I'm going to point you to the constitutional amendment that Virginia voters approved in November:

Ballot Question Number 1

Legal experts from all over the country have interpreted it as abridging the rights of gays and lesbians to contract privately and protect themselves and their families.

Anonymous said...

Wormwood, that is possibly the most strained and ridiculous interpretation of that amendment imaginable (though I am, in principle, against such anti-gay marriage measures).

Gays are still free to contract with others and each other to create binding and enforceable agreements that, in reality, are more robust than any marriage would be. Furthermore, there is nothing that prevents anyone, gay or otherwise, from physically, emotionally, financially or elsewise protecting anyone he or she wishes.

Finally, since gays in Virginia never had the right to marry in the eyes of the law, it is not possible to contend, as you did, that this right had been stripped from them.

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia, to dispel the ignorance of some previous commentator:

Domestic violence/discipline

It is often claimed that the term originally referred to the maximum thickness of a stick with which it was permissible for a man to beat his wife.[1] This explanation for the origin of the term was popularized in the opening of the 1999 movie The Boondock Saints.
Caricature condemning Buller: Judge Thumb - Patent Sticks for Family Correction - Warranted Lawful!
Caricature condemning Buller: Judge Thumb - Patent Sticks for Family Correction - Warranted Lawful!

Linguist Michael Quinion, citing the research of Sharon Fenick, notes that there are some examples of a related usage historically — most notably with regard to a supposed pronouncement by a British judge, Sir Francis Buller, that a man may legally beat his wife, provided that he used a stick no thicker than his thumb. However, it is questionable whether Buller ever made such a pronouncement and there is even less evidence that he phrased it as a "rule of thumb"; the rumoured statement was so unpopular that it caused him to be lambasted as "Judge Thumb" in a satirical James Gillray cartoon. According to Quinion, the term "Rule of Thumb" was first documented in English in 1692, long before Buller's reported pronouncement. The first known usage of the phrase "rule of thumb" in direct reference to domestic violence was in 1976, in the book Battered Wives by Del Martin.

Anonymous said...

Not to hijack the thread with this linguistic examination, but it's possible that the phrase "rule of thumb" came from the engineering world. Electrical engineers (of which I am one) can determine the direction of the rotation of a magnetic field around a conductor (i.e. wire) by orienting one's right thumb in the direction of current flow along the conductor, with the fingers wrapping around in the direction of the magnetic field's rotation.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have fundamental right to marry as a citizen of the United States according to the US Supreme Court, so that fact that in many jurisdictions I cannot marry the person of my choice is a limitation on those rights.

I think the theory that bigotry has reduces overall intelligence may have some merit.