Monday, January 22, 2007

Fundies Just Don't Get It

When I sat down to write this post, I intended to focus on Matt Barber's attack of H.R. 254 which would provide stiffer penalties for those convicted of committing a hate crime. Barber whined and essentially suggested that this bill (which covers ALL hate crime...not just crimes against homosexuals) put the life of a homosexual over the life of a murdered child. The more I thought about all he had to say, the angrier I got.

Barber and other outspoken fundies are touting this bill as an attempt to create some version of thought police, making even anti-gay thought punishable. While this bill does nothing of the sort (and I wouldn't be supporting it if it did), it does raise an interesting question that every fundie should seriously consider. Even though it's a perceived threat rather than an actual one, I want to ask every single fundie how it feels to have their personal freedom threatened.

The rhetoric emanating from fundies contradicts several fundamentals of personal freedom, and those coming from the more anti-gay factions are seemingly more deliberate. Specifically, fundies tend to trample on anything that might benefit the GLBT community in the areas of free speech, and legal issues affecting family life.

For all of his ranting and raving, Barber cannot assert that H.R. 254 will in any way curtail the speech of any American. He and other fundies seem to be preoccupied with retaining the right to say whatever they wish about homosexuals that they cannot see the entire issue of free speech and censorship as a whole. For the record, censorship of any kind cannot be allowed in a free society, and will only result in incongruent application. I've always said that we can't simply censor speech or ideas we disagree with because, sooner or later, one of our own closely held beliefs may be targeted. Organizations such as Barber's want to claim moral superiority and legislate that morality by making it difficult for GLBT issues to be discussed in certain public arenas, yet wail and gnash their teeth the moment they perceive their own right to free speech infringed upon.

How does it feel, Matt?

In addition to the issue of free speech, fundies are intent on keeping the legal rights of GLBT individuals/couples at a criminally discriminatory level. Everything from the basic right to marry to inheritence laws are either nonexistent or inadequate, leaving homosexual Americans with very little legal recourse when it comes to this cornerstone of human life. Fundies justify this gap in the law by quoting the Bible or regurgitating some rewarmed talking point, but fail to acknowledge that their inaction and their resistence to action violates the simplest of human rights standards...the right to marry and raise a family, free of government influence or interference.

Ironically, Matt and his fundie buddies claim the aforementioned, cornerstone right any time a liberal politician or media figure suggests anything that is contrary to their set of beliefs. Their insistence on their portrait of the American family is promoted incessantly and is, apparently, under constant attack by the so called 'homosexual agenda.' This agenda, which is really nothing more than gross ignorance allowed to fester, supposedly attempts to subvert the rights of Americans by imposing the specific ideas of one sector upon the whole of society.

Stop and think about that for a second...Subverting the rights of some by imposing a set of ideas on the whole. If Matt were being honest, surely he would see that his fundie friends are the ones trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of the country.

When was the last time a GLBT group called for Christians to lose the right to marry because of their beliefs? When have GLBT groups called for supervision of children in Christian households or asked for adoption restrictions?

The hasn't happened, and this is where Matt and his friends completely miss the point. The only 'agenda' being pushed is theirs...that every family should look like and behave in the same manner as theirs.

We don't agree with each other on many issues, but we don't believe that our ideas MUST be the same as everyone else's. Part of what makes this country so much different and so much more ideologically advanced is that we can disagree and still manage to peacefully coexist. Unfortunately, until people like Mr. Barber have the chance to see life with the tables turned to discriminate and punish them, it's doubtful that anything will change.

Americans For Truth...Or, So They Say

Over the weekend, Peter LaBarbera (President of Americans For Truth) released an unbelivable article aimed at Wayne Besen and his efforts to debunk the so called 'ex-gay' movement. To give a bit of background, the 'ex-gay' organization is supposedly comprised of men and women who have decided to stop being gay and now encourage others to do the same. What jumped out at me when I went to their site was their opening statement:

You are not alone.
If you are struggling with gay, lesbian,
bisexual or transgendered feelings, you need to know that there are millions of
us who have shared your journey.
You do not have to believe what are you
being told about yourself in your counseling or restorative

The funny thing about that statement is that it's missing a disclaimer about the veracity of it's own content...something Wayne Besen and Ex-Gay Watch have been so good at pointing out. He's right, a person doesn't have to believe what they're told in therapy, just as I don't have to sit and swallow this anti-gay drivel. But I'm left wondering how someone with nothing in his credentials bank except for some insane desire to vilify anyone who has a differing opinion can sit there and tell a person to ignore what their health professionals are telling them and embrace some self-loathing philosophy based on his ideology instead. Mr. LaBarbera (I'm just gonna call him Babs, lol) launched this ridiculous article after Besen pointed out that Mike Johnston, an Ex-Gay 'success' story, had lost his ministry due to a homosexual 'relapse.' Babs lashed out with this...

Besen and his fellow homosexual activists have everything invested in the
politically correct idea that people are naturally (born) “gay” -– and that
“sexual orientation” (another misleading term inspired by homosexual activism)
is unchangeable. They are downright cruel in hoping for and exploiting failures
in the ex-“gay” movement.

It seems that Babs, himself, is so overly invested in demonizing the GLBT community that he refuses to see anything else. Besen isn't hoping for or exploiting anything, but he is intent on debunking the false 'science' on which the Ex-Gay movement has based their entire ideology. Johnston and the others that Besen has written about are simply examples of the fact that one's sexual orientation is something that is encoded within an individual's genetic make-up and isn't something a person can just decide to ignore or walk away from.

The next little tidbit is even more mind boggling...

Why do “gay” advocates celebrate failure? Because sadly, like the
pro-abortion lobby, they are on the side of sin and against God and nature,
having convinced themselves that homosexuality (“being gay”) is a big part of
“who they are.”

Ah, but you protest: homosexuality is so complex. How can we judge it?
Why would a person “choose” that lifestyle with all the hardships that come with
it? Well, why does a man or woman “choose” to embrace any wrong
lifestyle/behavior: bulimia, porn addiction, alcoholism? We can sympathize with
the person who faces intense personal struggles, but it is not our right to
normalize and celebrate homosexuality or ANY aberration/sin just because we
don’t fully understand its genesis. Doing so runs counter to several millennia
of understanding of humanity as fallen beings whose hearts tend toward

Damn right, we protest! How Babs can equate bulimia, porn addiction or alcoholism with a person's sexual orientation is beyond me. I suppose that during his extensive education, none of which is listed on AFT's site, Babs never learned how to make valid comparisons.

*Shaking my head*

Come on, Babs!!! A person's genetically determined sexuality...APPLES. All that other stuff you listed...ORANGES.
If the Ex-Gay organization and AFT want to continue floating these feeble arguments then people like Wayne Besen will have no choice but to be incredibly vocal in quashing them. With enough practice, maybe...just maybe...Babs will learn how to respond with some degree of intelligence.