Friday, September 28, 2007

Gay homework assignment - Research the ‘pro-family’ groups for an eye-opening look at their strategies.

From time to time some readers ask me why I allow the Christianist far Right elements to cause me to show "anger." They suggest that I basically ignore them. This column in the Washington Blade ( suggests not only why it is appropriate to get angry, but also why LGBT citizens need to "know their enemy." A regular perusal of their web sites reveals a concerted, deliberate campaign of hate and disinformation that, unfortunately, too many of their readers are fooled into believing is the truth. It is one thing to argue a point of view on the basis of one's religious belief. It is something else entirely to knowingly and deliberately disseminate lies and false information. Particularly while professing to be a follower of Christ. Here are some column highlights:

Then I remind myself that I am a second-class citizen. I’m not quite like all the other parents who waved goodbye to their kids this morning. I can’t forget that. Nor can I take the warm, cozy and comfortable life I have for granted. And I don’t mean that in some paranoid way. We always need to be reminded of what we are up against.

So in that spirit, I’d like to suggest that each of you to do a little homework. TAKE A FEW minutes and have a look at some web sites. I don’t feel great about driving traffic to some of these sites but I feel there is some upside, so here goes. Google the word “family.” The No. 1 entry is Think about that for a minute.

The No. 1 entry when you Google “family” belongs to James Dobson. He is well funded, has access to extraordinary media platforms and raises millions of dollars instilling fear about gay Americans into his army of followers.I perused that site and stumbled upon a piece offering advice to parents whose son or daughter has just come out to them. It starts out quite nicely and it isn’t until the end that the true colors come shining through. Would you like to know how many millions of Americans hang on James Dobson’s every word? Millions and millions.

NOW LET’S TAKE a look at the Traditional Values Coalition ( Andrea Lafferty (I wonder if she made lunch for her kids this morning) is the executive director and is one of the stable of anti-gay spokespeople sought out by national media. Here is her take on the upcoming vote on ENDA:

“Democrats have a serious problem with this legislation and that is why they are hiding the truth about what ENDA will do. They know that ENDA will give drag queens, cross-dressers, she-males, etc., the same protected status in American law as African Americans or other legitimate minority groups. Yet, they kept these individuals hidden from view at a recent hearing on ENDA.”

Next time you find yourself wondering how a bill as benign as ENDA has not been passed, visit any one of these sites and know that the talking points you find there are being widely disseminated by well-funded organizations.I repeat: I am not a paranoid personality. I like to be well informed. I’ll take that a step further: I believe I have an obligation to be informed.

If you do as the writer of the column suggests, I believe you ill conclude (1) these "Christians" are truly our enemies and (2) getting angry is justified.


Anonymous said...

Assume these Christianists are hostile to all things gay; that's a fair assumption. But so are most Jews, Muslims. The Hindi, too. Africa, Asia, Middle East.

Now express your anger.

What purpose has it served? Are you going to be angry with much of the world? Does anger change their views? I don't get the purpose of becoming angry over it?

I detest racism, too, and do my best to eliminate it when and where I can, but I don't wallow in anger over the fact that some people are racists, homophobes, or hypocrites. What purpose does it serve? Angry people are usually unhappy people. It's very hard to be angry and happy at the same time, which is why "gay" was chosen over "queer." Queers get unhappy, gay do not -- at least not over the fact that some people love to hate, just as some people love to be angry, etc.

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

I do not "wallow" in anger. My view toward these people is that if you do not like me, go F**K yourself. However, I do try to educate people as to the dishonesty and pathology of these far right groups.

Having lived for years in the upper middle class suburbs, never under estimate how incredible uninformed and gulible allegedly educated people can be. Having worked the polls at election time, the number of clueless voters was likewise distressing.

Anonymous said...

Anger for anger's sake is not productive. However, if you start with an issue that makes you angry and then channel that anger into a positive outlet -- awareness, then you've made a positive difference and done a good deed. Let's face it, though, if we all dance around as happy little Mary Poppinses, then the whole world would be entertained, but few would take us seriously. Get angry or mad as "hell" to the point of not taking it any more and action begins. It's a good thing to have fire in your belly. As you well point out, there are many people who live in a surreal world and believe they and their select few are the only ones who have the right to breathe. They look down on those who are different even to the point of overlooking the fact that many of the societal ills would be overcome if we were to accept everyone as they are. Anger is good if focused and channeled positively. Likewise, having a positive outlook and accepting yourself leads you to be happy as well. But, at times, anger is definitely necessary.

Anonymous said...

Precisely, mad as hell. Anger that is directed toward constructive action that ameliorates the situation serves a purpose. Anger for anger's sake serves no purpose. Anger turned into vindictiveness only consumes the angry one.

If anyone doubts the existence of hate, homophobia, racism, injustice, prejudice, poverty, illiteracy, plutocracy, etc., one is worse than Mary Poppins. But, what purpose is served by spreading the obvious "meme" behind the hate, homophobia, racism, etc.

I see lots of finger pointing, which we can all do, but not any solutions suggested. I see "piecemeal" efforts, "appeasement" efforts, and other "action," which only serves to divide, which is what all fractious disputes intend to do.

The most GLBT can hope for is our EQUAL civil rights. That can be accomplished in a single move: Amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include "sexual orientation." One stroke, one solution.

We can hope for nothing more insofar as our government is concerned. But who is advocating such a simple move? HRC? Lamda? NGLTF? ACLU? No, it's not even mentioned. A direct solution to a real problem, and we all avoid it? Why? We prefer anger? How about a solution instead?

No, the black politician incredulously tells us to "accept something better than nothing," as if Rosa Parks should accept the back of bus? Two Democratic candidates support Gay Equality, fiercely, but where's the gay voices in support of them? Solmonese wanted to bar both from participating in the Logo-HRC forum. Why? Because it exposes HRC as a PAC, not a human rights organization. Solmonese and HRC have no interest in GLBT issues, only in perpetuating their partisan networking. Could not spend a dime on the 7 anti-gay-marriage initiatives, but financed 7 of HIS favored candidates, and is involved in the Jana controversy, but not in a word in amending the 1964 Civil Rights? Why?

Anger expressed, but not constructively, only serves those who provoke it. It gives them the press they would never get if people did not express anger, but so what? Now that anger is expressed, has anything changed? We'll fight over ENDA, which is precisely where THEY want the fight, so we never raise the solution: The amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They enjoy the silliness of their ex-gay games, but what does anger over that nonsense address? Apparently, enough people think being ex-gay is worth the effort? Why? Why would anyone not want to be in a loving gay relationship? Why? Why be "cured" from such a blissful state?

If an angry person threw a party, but did not invite anyone, who would show? No one. No one would know. But if he invites everyone, and no one cares to show, then what? He knows they know, but don't care. Great knowledge, if you need it.

As Aristotle observed long before us, anger that redresses an injustice properly directed is the "mean" to an ethical and just way of life, but to simply express anger at "them" versus "us" only serves to divide, not proffer any solutions. Start with solutions, offer solutions, otherwise the expressions of anger only fuel the division, which exacerbates the problem, rather than solves it.

I've offered a solution. Amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

When is the last time any reader hereof, or blogger thereof, wrote his representative asking to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation? When someone DOES that, then their anger has been productive. Otherwise, it merely wallows in itself. Why won't the APA ban reparative therapy? Because it has no theory of the mind by which it can arbitrate, so any licensed "therapist" can profess anything -- and have, including aiding the CIA in its torture. Is attacking reparative therapy going to "solve" a field or discipline that LACKS a governing hypothesis of why it does what it does? The problem is not just reparative therapy, it's the INDUSTRY that is licensed to practice so arbitrarily its voodoo.

Solutions see the problem where the solution works; anger merely reacts to a sense of impotence. Anger constructively engaged leads to justice. I have not seen justice on Michael's or anyone else's page. Just more "see what the bad guys are doing." Oh, "but we're not a problem, no, our closets are clear and clean." Right. Odd how anger seems unilateral towards THEM before I.

If people enjoyed being gay, the need for an "ex-gay" ministry would evaporate. If the Civil Rights Act were amended, we'd have equality, but we prefer "piecemeal" symbolic gestures? If religious fanatics did not tap into something disturbing, they'd be out of BIG BUSINESS -- tax free! We can point to the vinegar, but until we SHOW honey, we're merely stirring the pot which serves THEIR interests, not ours.

Anonymous said...

Now, doesn't that feel better? But, honestly when you're trying to eat an elephant, it's best to take it one bite at a time. Go for the gold, but don't overlook the possibility of silver while you're at it. What a perfect world it would be if we all held hands and agreed to accept each other. Wake up. That's not the way of the world. We're trying to change them as much as they want to change us. Change is best taken slowly -- or did you forget about that when you had your first experience?

Anonymous said...

You can eat elephants, I'll eat men who want to be eaten. You accept "something better than nothing," I accept no such impoverishment. While you "piecemeal," I'll LIVE. I hope your proxies give you some comfort, I accept nothing but the best. Maybe that's why I'm "not mad as hell," and you are. You settle for proxies, I WON'T.