My partner Rick called me this morning at work to be sure I read the paper. Of course, I always read the paper, but hadn’t yet. He pointed me to a “love story” as the paper is calling it, about a gay couple who have been together since 1975. I really enjoy hearing these stories and can see Rick and I being just like them.
The couple state:
“We never had to declare anything,” says John. “We didn’t march in parades. We were a couple with the same values as other folks in the neighborhood: being good neighbors and good citizens and not hiding the fact that we live together, that this is our home.”
It a great story, but it paints the Rosy picture of gay couples trying to steer through a heterosexual world. They have a nice house, nice things but what happens when one gets sick or dies? Does this cute romance turn into legal nightmare? It does for many.
The organization known as PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-gays) wrote an angry, open letter attacking the people at the ex-gay survivors conference on their myspace webpage. Here are some of the highlights of the violent words used by this organization in their open letter:
While you all claim in websites, protests, in organizations, or coalitions, to want to help people who are “trapped in the ex-gay movement,” you seem to be more concerned with sticking your nose in my business, and telling me the way you think I should live, along with who I am. You don’t know me, and you don’t know my needs and wants. While you go on and on with slogans like “I survived the ex-gay movement,” it’s actually the groups like you that make it harder for us to “survive” if anything. Thanks to you and your biased, inaccurate, and false claims, you’ve managed to help our existence fall below the radar. While you claim to be concerned, from what I can see, the only thing that you’re concerned about is not making you or your agenda look bad, solely at the expense of others. No wonder so many people want out of the gay lifestyle, not only do you shun people who don’t see eye to eye with you in your community, you as well hurl false claims at them through your lies and propaganda.
While this part of the letter doesn’t contain the hateful words that Stacy Harp and AFTAH use on a regular basis, the overall tone is very condescending and vindictive. Notice, nowhere in this paragragh does PFOX show evidence of what they call lies and propaganda. The only thing this letter seems to do is play on the readers emotions (invoking fear, hence the term homophobia). Now if their trully were lies and propaganda, they could have identified those in the letter and offered evidence to the contrary. These are people that really should be pitied.
Well when word got around about this letter, people started writing responses. This entry was one of their reactions:
The writer of “A letter from an “Ex-Gay” to “Ex-Ex Gay” Organizations!” comments:
After stumbling across comments to my blog, and finding rebuttals to my letter featuring bits and pieces of my article on the blogs of some of the very organizations I was writing about, I felt it to be nothing more then help resting my case. What I found in their comments about my article were nothing more but some of the same cunning lies and sly and fake explanations used in brainwashing the public along with people who want to leave homosexuality.
Notice how they still offer no evidence or proof that GLBT foks are lying. The very fact that the only rebuttal they can offer us is personal attacks and name-calling, shows that they have no case. I have been told many times by other people that you know you have won an disagreement when the other side resorts to slandering their opponent. It only shows that they agree with our side. Now in our reaction to their hate, let’s respond to them in love. Perhaps given enough time, PFOX will make the same decision that the courage and trust made when Jeremy Marks had his organization leave exodus and become a gay affirming organization. These people could do an awful lot of good if they would lose the “us vs. them” mantra. We should too as they are not our enemies. Misinformation is the enemy.
WITHOUT GSA ACCESS, STUDENTS ARE FORCED TO SIMPLY KILL CLASSMATES WHO TAUNT & BULLY - SHOOTING, STABBING AND POISONING ARE THE COMMON FORMS OF RETRIBUTION. FAR TOO MANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS LIKE BULLYING CHILDREN TO THE POINT WHERE RETRIBUTION AGAINST CLASSMATES AND FACULTY IS ONLY OPTION TO REDRESS RELENTLESS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MANY REGIONS.
I don’t support violence against anyone unless it is protective force. Yet groups like AFTAH will do anything to villify and demean our community just like the homophobic bullies at the schools. These people may not call us fags to our faces while the cameras are rolling like Fred Phelps but these people call us fags behind closed doors. AFTAH could have taken this and just said while they don’t agree with homosexuality, gay students deserve a place where they feel safe and where anti-gay bullies can come to understand gay kids, so kids don’t feel that violence is the only answer. In this post while he was trying to vilify our community he has unwittingly made the case for supporting GSA’s. Thank you Peter LaBarbera we couldn’t have done a better job to make the case for supporting the GSA’s.
Special note from Joe Brummer: While conflict in our world is not a choice, violence is a choice. Violence is never the only answer. Violence is never the only option. There is always nonviolence.
Today, Stacy Harp has posted an article about a former gay pride organizer who has been arrested for soliciting sex with a minor. The only reason Stacy is posting on this, is that a gay man has been arrested for soliciting sex with a minor. While Ms. Harp frequently claim she does not “hate” GLBT folks, her actions speak louder than her words. She personally may not hate gays and lesbians, but she working hard to make sure others hate and fear GLBT folks. As my criteria for hate speech outlines, It is all about “intention”. Stacy’s intention is to invoke fear by using the common myth that “gays are after the children” and this news article happens to fit her intentions. I won’t bore you with the details of this man’s arrest because I find it no more news worthy than the other thousands of stories of men being arrested for soliciting sex with a minor both straight and gay, male and female.
In the past few weeks the news covered the stories of Joseph P. Czekanski, John R. Boyette, and Nalin White. All of these men were arrested for soliciting sex with minor aged girls. Stacy was silent on these, but sure to point out the most recent story of a man arrested for soliciting sex with a young boy. Oddly, the press did not refer to the sexual orientation of these men when they were reporting the story, but when Stacy reports on a child predator who happens to be after young boys, she always refers to them as “homosexual” predators. Dr. Gregory Herek has this to say about that language error:
For the present discussion, the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women.
So again, as Jim Burroway would say, let’s test the premise. Are gays and lesbians anymore of a threat to children than straight people? No legitimate advocacy organization that deals with the sexual abuse of children agrees that gay men are more likely to prey on children then straight men. In fact, the vast majority of these organizations claim quite the opposite. Save our Kids, an organization that provides information on child abuse reports these numbers:
51% of men selected female children.
21% selected both. Females victimized 2-1.
83% of child molesters are heterosexual.
In a paper titled: The Child Molesters: Clinical Observations - Part I By A. Nicholas Groth, PhD, William F. Hobson, MS, Thomas S. Gary, MEd. the researchers write:
We have also observed that alcohol and drug abuse play a relatively minor role in the commission of such offenses, that females as well as males sexually molest children although such offenses are less socially visible and under-reported, that preadolescent boys and girls are at equal risk of being, sexually victimized, any that men who sexually molest boys are misidentified as homosexuals when they are in fact pedophiles.
We do a great disservice to children when we muddy the waters with myths about the sexual abuse of children. Children are at greater risk when the truth about who really commits these crimes is distorted. Stacy, sadly, knows all of this well as she is a marriage and family therapist, but she seems willing to forego the safety of children so she can invoke fear of gays with stories of how they threaten children.
As a side not: Stacy also claims in her post that someone has created a mock up of her video and gives a link. When you click the video and watch, it does not reference Stacy’s video, it doesn’t look like Stacy’s video either. So why is she claiming it is a “mock up” of her’s? I couldn’t tell you.
Today, I did my normal surf of the blogs I like and ended up on Stacy Harp’s YouTube page reading the comments. For those of you who might not know Stacy Harp, she is the President of Active Christian Media (ACM). ACM is a machine used to spread hate speech of gays and lesbians. It uses derogatory terms like “sodomite” and “militant homosexuals”. The site and its YouTube videos spread all sorts of misinformation about gays and lesbians, but also fits most of my criteria for hate speech.
The problem is our response to the hate, is with more hate. Here is a comment to Stacy left on here page at YouTube:
goodtimes217 | July 25, 2007
well first of all you are ugly as hell and need to go dye your hair and put some make up on and go to some speech therapy classes cuz i can berely understand yo ass. also that mayor of yours whom you love so much is talkin with his head up his ass and so are you because your narrow minded and try to make everyone listen to you and be the same when that would make shit boring as hell if we was all the same as your ugly ass so take some advice and get ya head out ya ass!
Now, exactly how is this going to stop hate against GLBT folks? All in one paragraph we gave a person who already hates us, more reasons to hate us. We also gave our adversary fire power to show other people like her why they too should continue to hate us. I can hear her next posts now, “look at the tolerant people showing tolerance” and you know what? She would be right.
Here is another comment left for Stacy:
materialrainbow | July 25, 2007
Why the fuck are you supporting someone that is hating homosexual people? If you gonna support someone that narrow minded then why the fuck should we like you??? I know you need to take your ugly ass off you tube and go under a rock and dye. :D
I am BHH and Im here to feel the fire we’re going to set under your ass .. BITCH!!!
Go do something useful and smoke some crack!
GET YOUR HEAD OUT YOUR ASS!!!
If you really want to win the fight for Equal Rights for gays and lesbians, you are going to need to learn to respond to hate with love or don’t respond at all. I spend so much of my time here on this blog responding to hate speech. I do not condone the hateful, dehumanizing speech of people like Stacy Harp, but I also know that giving it right back to her won’t stop her. It will only egg her on to hate more.
If I don’t condone hate from Stacy, why should condone it from ourselves! TEACH NONVIOLENCE! The sooner we get as many gays and lesbians hooked on this approach, the sooner we can stop the hate and violence against us.
DL Foster pens an interesting note on John Boswell, who was a Yale history professor until he died of AIDS. The book that Foster is referring to is Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. It is an amazing book, not just for the topic but just for the incredible research that was put into this work. The footnotes alone are like reading another book. Unfortunately, and as usual, it appears that Foster only quotes what other people have to say about it instead of actually reading and understanding the book. On the other hand, my copy is one of the most worn-out books that I own.
I first read this book years ago and I have to say that the most frustrating part of this book were the footnotes. Most of them contain the original languages, which include (among others) Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Boswell knew that his topic was controversial and gave his audience as much background information and supporting material as he could. When I first read the book I did not have the languages to fully appreciate what he did. But now I do and re-reading the book has been an eye-opening experience. That is not to say you can’t understand it if you don’t know the languages–that is not the case at all. It is an amazing piece of scholarship and anyone interested in Christianity and its history with gays and lesbians should really read it and the follow-up volume, Same-sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe.
About Boswell and the book Foster states:
Well, I had no intention of reading this book. Truth is, my partner and I were going to a coffee shop in Providence to “read”. I had intended on reading or re-reading “nonviolent communication” by Marshall Rosenberg since I could read it a hundred times and still find useful things. My partner has also been wanting to read Marshall Rosenberg, so I took his book, “How Full is Your Bucket?” by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, PhD. He said it was given to him by one of the workers at the non-profit organizations he works with and told it would be a good training material book. I took that bait and read it. It was a quick read. I finished it in a few hours.
The book was slow to get to the point, funny I should say that since the point of the book is positivity, but I couldn’t help but be honest that it took 84 pages of convincing me of the philosophy and 42 pages to tell me how I could use it. That frustrated me to say the least. In the end I found the overall of the book nothing short of amazing. A must read for anyone in the fight for gay rights or in that thought, anyone in the fight against gay rights.
The whole book revolves around the parable of “The Dipper and the Bucket”. The idea being that each of us has an invisible bucket. It is either emptied or filled. When the bucket is filled we feel awesome, when it is depleted, we feel like yuck!
Each of us also has an invisible dipper. When we use that dipper to fill others’ buckets, it also fills our own. This going hand in hand with the golden theory of Christianity that what we do unto others we do to ourselves. When we use our dipper to help enrich the lives of others, it enriches our lives and everyone around us. I like this theory since it so agrees with my thoughts and beliefs in nonviolence and Satyagraha.
The book suggests and proves through science that we should focus on positives in life, no matter what the circumstances. While the book focuses seemingly on “sales” people and workforce, noting that 65% of Americans receive no positive recognition in the workforce, the theory also lays in the science that 9 out of ten people are more productive when they are around positive people. This could be valuable to those in poor workforce situations, but I write a blog on gay rights and I am working at spinning this in the direction of how the theory is relevant to this blog. I can happily say it is very relevant.
The basic theory, which took way to many pages to explain for me (and yes I am aware I am focusing on a negative, but it is a review) is that focusing on the positive in people, even in negative circumstances, brings about better results than focusing on the negative. This theory holds that better change can come when we focus on what works as opposed to what doesn’t and that being in the positive. For instance, if a anti-gay writer should focus only on the negatives of being gay, the result of that are negative for everyone. BUT, if a an anti-gay writer decided to focus on positive on NOT being gay, then result would be different. I would prefer the later of the two since it is less destructive.
Anti-gay advocates could benefit a million times over from this book in their approach to expressing their opposition to gays and lesbians. If the focus was on positives and not all negatives, more would be opt to hear the message. Take the Hate Crimes Legislation. What if the conservatives focused on what the good is of this bill and then directed to what their concerns where. People might opt to listen to the concerns, rather than write them off as extreme right wing. Some of their concerns would be seen as valid, if they presented in a positive light rather than do dark and so gloomy. I would suggest this means less war like terms and more positive community terms. I would suggest this means presenting their arguments in a way that focuses on positives of the legislation while presenting their concerns.
The philosophy relies of five Strategies for Increasing positive emotions:
1. Prevent “bucket” Dipping: Ask yourself, if you are adding to or taking from another person’s bucket with your words or actions. Are you enriching the lives others or dipping into their “bucket” and sucking them dry of their positive energy.
2. “Shine a light on what is right”: I could get email today from someone who is venomous in the approach to GLBT folks and wanting me to become “saved”. I could approach this by focusing on the negative that their are disrespectful of my beliefs OR I could focus on the positive that in this person’s heart they truly believe they are doing something in line with what they think “god” wants. I could lash out at them or I could thank for their sincerity. It all depends on what I want to focus on.
3. “Make best friend”: I have to admit I struggled with this, but the theory says that we all best friends became friends our first interactions were positive. If we can keep all out interactions positive, even with negative people, we develop better relationships.
4. “Give Unexpectedly”: Even the smallest of “kudos” count for something. It is the little, individualized acts of appreciation that are the most effective. Just saying thank you isn’t good enough, but saying thank you with a sense of individualized appreciation to even those who have sent us negativity. Find the one positive think they have done or said and focus on that.
5. Reverse the “golden rule”: The book suggests that instead of “do unto others as you would have done to you” that you modify that to say “do unto other as they would have you do unto them”. The difference is slight in words but big in philosophy. It asks you not to think about how you would like to be treated, but how others would like to be treated and the results of such a thought. If you treat others how you think they would like to be treated and in a individualized, personal touch, so much more is to be achieved.
I would suggest like I do all books I like that everyone read this one. IN this case I suggest that anti-gay advocates take some time to read this and realize how this approach would be so much more effective than the one I see currently being taken. Those anti-gay advocates who currently feel attacked by pro-gay advocates may find a different response from GLBT folks when using this approach.
Read the book! The basic idea states that we shoud focus on the positive in even the most negative situations. It gives clear tools on how to do this. It claims, and I believe that it works, that focusing on the positives will enrich lives of even those you disagree with, while filling your own bucket and enriching your own life at the same time. We can work towards world peace one person at a time.
As I always say, and Gandhi said… Be the change you wish to see in the World!
Not all anti-gay speech is hate speech in my opinion. I believe there are certain components that make some speech hateful and other anti-gay speech, just anti-gay. I have been pondering this question for few days while driving and brushing my teeth, looking for a list, criteria or a set of rules that would define what is purely just hate speech and what is just someone opposed to homosexuality. Here is what I came up with:
Intention of the message is a big part of what makes something hate speech. If the intention is just to speak to ones belief that homosexuality is sin, that isn’t hate speech. That is just someones belief and they are entitled to have such a belief. The line is crossed is when the message is no longer about religious opposition, but then turns to painting an inaccurate picture of gays and lesbians through the misuse of research, facts or surveys. The goal changes in the message from having a religious belief to wanting the reader or listener to come to a conclusion that gay people are bad people.
We should also take into account if the speaker is trying “reach out” to GLBT folks or just inform others about how evil they believe gays are so others will believe gays are evil too! Is the speaker using a language of compassion, respect and humanism? If the goal is just to point out every negative thing one can find about homosexuality and uses derogatory terms, then chances are the real goal is to make the reader or listener hate GLBT folks as much as they do.
“Presentation is everything”
This has been a famous line about fine dining but seems like a useful statement when we are trying to identify hate speech. If the speaker or writer is using language that is derogatory, that is a pretty good indicator that it’s crossed the line from compassion to hate. Words like “Sodomite”, “Pervert”, “Deviant”, are words used to describe GLBT folks in a way that is hateful. There is nothing positive that can come from the use of these words. The only increase people’s dislike and hatred for gays and lesbians. These are fear words, as they tend to create fear in people. Who wouldn’t be afraid of deviants or perverts?
Occasionally, these types of words are mixed in with bible messages. That changes nothing. It is still hate speech. It does nothing to enhance the lives of anyone. It is vicious towards gays and lesbians and dehumanizing to everyone.
Use of the word “homosexual” as an Adjective
The word “homosexual” is a noun, not an adjective. While some dictionary entries included it as an adjective, you find the only people who really use it this way are anti-gay activist groups. In today’s world, it is about using respectful terms like “gay” or “lesbian”, but not everyone has respect for GLBT folks.
When the word “homosexual” is used as an adjective is becomes disrespectful and crude. To call ones relationship a “homosexual Marriage” is derogatory. It becomes a way of connecting gays to crime when you say “homosexual murder” or “homosexual hate.” The sole intention of a speaker or writer using such terms is reduce anything gay or lesbian and make it sound almost clinical or disordered. Such a tactic works. Adding the word homosexual as an adjective will make just about anything have a clinical or disordered sound to it since that is from where the term came. It continues the myth that anyone who is gay or lesbian has a clinical disorder.
The word “homosexual” also has long roots back to days when all gay people lived in the shadows and had secret lives. The word has mental connections to a dark, gloomy existence for gay folks that we have now moved away from in the last 25 years. Mostly, this is about compassion, respect and humanism. Why would people use a word as a descriptor that they know will offend, scare, or dehumanize others when they’re better words available that are compassionate, respectful and human? The answer is hate speech. If a writer is not speaking about GLBT folks in a respectful human way, then what way are they speaking or writing? Is that life enriching for anyone? It is possible to oppose someones life, but still be respectful. Anything short of that is hate speech.
Use of War Terminology
Anti-gay advocates who promote hate speech seem fond of the terms of war. Frequently, these terms are added to words that refer to GLBT folks. (For example “Militant Homosexuals” or “The War on Marriage”) Such terms of war promote violence. War is violent and to use the terms of war when discussing a group or community is to promote violence against said group. Sadly, many conservative groups use war like terms when talking about gays and lesbians. The generally use terms of war or declare that there is a war on something people hold as precious. This creates an enemy image of GLBT folks. Although the bible is pretty clear about how to treat an enemy, we all know that is not how enemies are treated. Enemies are usually on the receiving end of violence, since that is what TV, movies and the media have taught us about dealing with our enemies over the last 100 years.
Use of Doom and Gloom
Anti-gay activists engaging in hate speech may create fear of gays by using terms of destruction. Claiming gays are out to “destroy” or “infiltrate” society. These are nothing more than propaganda topics. Gays are seeking their relationships to be recognized the same way heterosexual couples are recognized by the law. Not god, not satan, just the law. When anti-gay folks use these terms, they are attempting to invoke fear. Think about how you view a hurricane or disaster scenario that would “destroy” something you love. There is fear involved, right? So why would someone use that tactic to speak of gays? Hate Speech is the answer again.
The perspective that the message is placed in also has much to do with the line between hate and opposition. If the message is speaking about a perceived quality of homosexuality, ask the question if this has been put into perspective. Has the information about GLBT or any other group been measured against the norms? Say the writer is talking about “lesbian gangs”, have they given you the information about all gangs as well? Has they information been put into the perspective of the whole story?
Deception by Omission
This is an illegal tactic in the world of advertising. To not tell someone the whole story to change the truth of it, is lying. Such dishonest tactics used against an entire piece of the population is also hate speech. Often you will hear about the “sexual” antics of gays from conservative groups, but are they talking about all the married men in strip clubs at lunch too? Are they showing you the pictures from spring break in Palm Springs? Are they showing you the whole story or just what is convenient for you to see?
The link to Evil
Anti-gay folks engaging in hate speech will often use this tactic. This was a popular hate tactic of the Nazi Propaganda in World War II, but also popular amongst pro-segregationist in the South during the civil rights movement. The tactic involves a created threat by attempting to link a particular group to a particular crime. The Nazi’s often portray Jews as thieves and murderers and used news and media to link the Jews with such crimes. Pro-segregationists used this tactic to paint black men as rapists. These types of tactics become even more hateful when you create the threat of harm against children.
I am sure that I didn’t cover everything and somethings could always be argued in 60 different way to something, but I think the biggest indicator of all, is the audience. Who is the audience of the writer, speaker of other? If it is not gay folks, do they speak of gay in a way that is respectful? If it is gay folks, are they speaking in a way that will “reach out” or “push away”.
I believe fully in the idea that we are all one big community. What happens to the least of us, happen to the best of us. We are like the cells in a body. When one discovers they have a disease, that disease is fought with the knowledge it is still part of us. That is how I hope we all learn to treat each other.
The next time you read a site that expresses opposition to gays and lesbians, ask yourself the questions:
We may never all agree on the morality of homosexuality, but we do need to start to agree about how the discussion is happening. Currently the debate is ugly, mean and hateful on both sides. Hopeful that will change. Hopefully those opposed to homosexuality will begin to change the tone of the conversation, but on the other side, I hope GLBT folks can respond the current tone with love, since there is already enough hate in the world. If you want to stop hate, you can only do it with love. More hate won’t help at all.
I felt really compelled to report this story as many in the gay blogosphere have ignored this. Over the weekend a mans body was found in a shallow grave the body burned beyond recognition leaving only the bones. The victim was believed to be targeted because he was gay. The Suspect Terry Mark Magnum told The Houston Chronicle:
Notice the last line doesn’t that sound familiar. Here is a quote from our friends at AFTAH:
“homosexual activists - and their allies in the media, academia and Hollywood - routinely promote half-truths and lies in their quest to normalize behavior long considered taboo and sinful. Chief among those lies is the claim that homosexuality is a healthy, natural and fixed ‘identity’ - as opposed to a harmful, immoral and changeable behavior.” - ,
For a man who hears these words coming from a supposed man of god believes that it is ok to kill gay men, after all they are sexual perverts so killing them would be ok with god.
Here is a quote from the AFA:
“There can be no doubt that most Americans would be repulsed if they could see the decadence within the homosexual community.” - www.afa.net, Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths.
By saying these words they are commiting murder by proxy. What I am saying is that they cannot say that they don’t advocate violence and then go on to spread hate and fear about them and not expect that things like this happen. In Church I learned a few sundays ago that Thoughts turn into beliefs/values and beliefs/values lead to behavior and behavior leads to consequences. Instill thoughts such as gays hate christians are out to destroy the family, leads to their followers believe us to be evil. Then when these followers get fed enough hate and fear it leads to behavior in this case murder, and the murder leads to consequences, in this case a life sentence or death penalty. The christian right has managed to destroy one family. Cummings parents will never again see the face of their child and the other will be in prison for the rest of his life or recieve the death penalty.
Isn’t it about time that the organizations like AFTAH and the AFA and Stacy Harp and DL Foster come to their senses. I don’t care who you are, making money while destroying lives and families is sinful. They should use their energies to really help families, they can still oppose homosexuality but they can leave the demonizing rhetoric behind. There are real problems in this world that need solving like poverty and ending racism and obesity etc. But all these people care about is gay marriage and abortion.
For those like Stacy Harp and Peter LaBarbera who love to truck out Mary Stachowicz murder their is a distinct difference between this murder and hers. With Mary’s murder the victim knew the killer and was harrassing Nicholas on a daily basis until he snapped, he didn’t go out looking for a Christian to kill. In this murder Cummings never knew Magnum and certainly never harassed him And he was targeted simply because he was gay, the killer even said that Cummings just happened to be the one he targeted. Read next what he told the newspaper and see the difference.
How many more gay people have to die before you come to your senses, does a guy have to go to a gay pride parade and blow him and 30 other gay men up before you realize you’ve gone too far? This is the very reason hate crimes laws are needed because anyone in the glb community could have been targets.
The Family Policy Network has listed five (5) supposed reasons Christians should oppose adding “sexual Orientation” to the existing hate crime laws. Sadly, their reasons are smoke and mirrors.
Reason #1: Providing Greater Protection to Selected Victims Violates the Constitution
In this reason FPN tries to claim that adding GLBT folks to the hate crime laws will treat them with more protections than non-gays. This claim is false. Adding sexual orientation to the hate crime laws protects everyone equally. If anyone gay or straight is the victim of a crime where the motivation is a bias against real or perceived sexual orientation, they are protected equally. If a gay man beats up a straight man for being straight, it is a hate crime. The largest thing to point out is that this law does protect all of us equally. It adds sexual orientation, not gays and lesbians. They only way for one not to be protected by this law is to not have a sexual orientation and we all know that is not possible.
Reason #2: Crimes Are Rarely Committed Because of Victims’ “Sexual Orientation”
This is a bogus claim and it mentions Matthew Shepard. It claims that Matt was not the victim of a hate crime, but a crime involving drugs. This has been debunked a thousand times over.
Crimes against gays and lesbians rank as the third highest hate crime group. 13% of all gays and lesbian self report being the victim of a violent crime because of their sexual orientation. 13% of a group that only represents 3% to 6% of the population sounds pretty high to me.
Reason 3#: The Most Common Perpetrators of Violence Against Homosexuals are Not Targeted
Here, the FPN is making the claim that GLBT folks are more of a danger to themselves and each other than heterosexuals against them. This is bogus as well. There has never been a study to prove this. This is another attempt at claiming gays are not the victims of violent crime and statistics show something else!
The prevalence of domestic violence among Gay and Lesbian couples is approximately 25 - 33%. It is as common as it is in heterosexual relationships. (Barnes, It’s Just a Quarrel’, American Bar Association Journal, February 1998, p. 25.)
See Good as You who took this domestic violence myth to task with some real numbers.
Reason #4: Adding “Sexual Orientation” to the Law Endorses Destructive Sexual Behavior
This myth tries its best to endorse the lower life expectancy of gay men due to sexually transmitted diseases. The myth started with Paul Cameron’s Obituary study which has been debunked and had Dr. Cameron thrown from the APA for unethical research practices. This has no merit and should be ignored. There is no evidence or researched that is accepted or peer-reviewed to suggest the lifespan of GLBT folks is any different than heterosexuals.
Reason #5: Christian Religious Freedom is the Unspoken Victim
Here is the same myth that adding GLBT folks to hate crime legislation will somehow trump the first amendment. That is a scare tactic used to motivate Christians and a poor on at that. I challenge any anti-gay advocate to point out the lines and language of the hate crime bill that could be used to silence Christians. Show me the language and I will give on this one!
The FPN goes on to give some “other reasons” to oppose adding sexual orientation to the current hate crime legislation:
Law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute violence against all citizens
The concept of “hate crimes” is also an affront to local law enforcement officials who prosecute criminals based on the crime they committed not their motives. It implies that officials don’t prosecute certain crimes sufficiently.
Motive has been used to determine the level of punishment for crime in this country for years. Motive is the difference between Murder I and manslaughter. Motive has always been a part of prosecution. Nothing new here.
Crime is already illegal
All crimes, no matter what the motivation, are already illegal under existing state and federal laws. The notion that some crimes should be “more illegal” because they were committed against certain persons is illogical and unfair.
In most states of this Country, killing a police officer in the line of duty carries a harsher punishment. Much like that of hate crime laws. If these people are concerned with logical and unfair, saying that some crime are more illegal then they should fight for equality all around, but they haven’t done that. What does that tell you? Reality is some crimes are more illegal because they were committed against certain persons. It many states it is “more illegal” to commit a crime against a child, a police officer, a fireman, etc. It most states, your speeding fines are doubled if you are driving in work zone because it is “more illegal.”
”Sexual orientation” can be widely defined
What will prevent the heinous acts of bestiality or pedophilia from being considered a sexual “orientation” and protected as such under “hate crimes” laws?
Sexual Orientation means “who” not what you are attracted to and these folks know that well. This is another Nazi like scare tactic to make you co-sign their rhetoric. Sexual Orientation means Homosexual, Heterosexual, Bisexual, or Asexual. That is it, the other things listed refer to fetishes. Fetishes are what, sexual orientation has to do with “who.”
Sex habits are changeable
Existing laws against “hate crimes” allow certain minorities to receive protection based upon inherent, undeniable characteristics such as race or sex, not on their lifestyle choices. Adding the phrase “sexual orientation” is an attempt to classify homosexual behavior as an inherent, genetic trait, even though no credible evidence exists to prove this. The stories of thousands of former homosexuals attest to the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sexual “habits” may be changeable, but who you are romantically attracted to, sexually attracted to is not changeable. Adding sexual orientation is making no scientific statement about genetics, it is making a claim about violence. We are talking about violence prevention, not genetics.
This entire article put out by the Family Policy Network is hate speech, fear tactics and myths. How sad that so many will buy into the myths when they can and have been refuted.
According to Box Turtle Bulletin and Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, Peter LaBarbera has exploited the death of a young man in his quest to paint all GLBT folks in a dark light. Peter’s article, which was suppose to end his support for Suregeon General Nominee, Holsinger, instead used the Death of Russel Groff as some example that GLBT folks who have HIV/AIDS have it because they are gay. It is a sad and inexcusable article.
Russell died at age 26 of HIV/AIDS after living in a homosexual relationship. How many future men will die young if the politically correct silence on homosexual health risks is not broken? Groff’s mother wants to use his life to warn other parents and children about the perils of embracing a “gay” lifestyle.
To Start with, in turns out Russell died of a staph infection after having his gallbladder removed. It is UNKNOWN if that was related to his HIV. Secondly, their is no “health risk” of homosexuality anymore than their is a “health risk” of heterosexuality. Unhealthy behaviors belong to both gay and straight people alike. Lastly, Groff’s mother disowned her son years before. She doesn’t want to warn other parents, she wants to blame her son’s death on someone and Peter helps to make gays and easy target for blame.
This article from LaBarbera is truly the hate we face from so-called Christians. LaBarbera wants all his readers to believe that homosexuality is the cause of this young man’s death. That has no factual or scientific basis. Being a gay man does not mean you will get HIV, die younger or have more disease than a heterosexual. Poor choices lead to unhealthy lifestyles. People make unhealthy choices when they don’t feel good about themselves. Living in the world Peter has helped to create for GLBT folks, it is no wonder so many make bad choices that lead to unhealthy behaviors. Not all GLBT folks make bad choices, not all GLBT folks live unhealthy lives. Many of us are living very healthy, happy lives. We are not the picture LaBarbera created for you.
RUssel’s parents are contesting his will which had him buried in a Quaker plot. His partner has been fighting them in the courts to protect his wishes. The legal battle with Russell’s parents has drained his partner Kevin of much, including cash. His legal fees are currently running $22,000, of which he has raised only $5,000. Anyone wishing to help out can read more here and make contributions to this address:
Kevin Olive Defense Fund
c/o Homewood Friends Meeting
3107 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
The O’Reilly Factor, as well as his Guest, Rod Wheeler have both offered apologies over the misrepresentation of lesbian gangs. This is important to note as the right wing is still touting this as true, when even the source of the information has clarified the information as inaccurate.
I hope all will make the proper corrections on their sites. There is NO epidemic of Lesbian Gangs. The original source of the information was Rod Wheeler and even he states:
“I mentioned in the segment that there is this “national epidemic” of lesbian gangs. A better choice of words would have been to say that there is a growing concern nationally, and especially in major urban areas, of increased gang activity, which includes some lesbian gang activity.”
On his website today, Rod Wheeler clarifies his misrepresentation on the O’Reilly Factor:
Clarification and apology:
First of all, let me thank you for your feedback surrounding the O’Reilly Factor discussion on Lesbian Gangs. I received several e-mails from viewers, some positive and some negative, offering comments and constructive criticisms. Some of the e-mails I received were threatening and simply hostile. Click here for a sample e-mail I received from one viewer.
During the O’Reilly Factor segment on June 21st, while engaged in a discussion on Lesbian gangs, I inadvertently stated that gang members carry pistols that are painted pink and call themselves the “Pink Pistol Packing Group.” I was not referring to the gay rights group “Pink Pistols” who advocates for the lawful rights of gays to carry weapons for protection. Further, I mentioned that there are “over 150 of these gangs” in the greater Washington DC area. What I actually meant is that there are over 150 gangs in the Washington DC area, some of which are in fact lesbian gangs. Lastly, I mentioned in the segment that there is this “national epidemic” of lesbian gangs. A better choice of words would have been to say that there is a growing concern nationally, and especially in major urban areas, of increased gang activity, which includes some lesbian gang activity.
I apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused.
Now the question is, will Bill O’Reilly, Stacy Harp, Peter LaBarbera and Lifesite News also correct this? Will they also apologize? If they are so interested in the truth, like they say, they should.
I had some trouble deciding if I would write about this since so many other bloggers are covering this story from a multitude of angles. I figured if I was going to put some time into Michael’s claimed conversion to heterosexuality, I should have some spin the other blogs don’t have. Of course as I start this article, I still have no idea what that spin will be.
For a little background, which by now you don’t need, Michael Glatze was the founder and editor of a gay youth magazine who in a recent article to World Net Daily announced that he is now “Ex-gay” through his faith. In his article he makes some pretty wild generalizations about “all” gays and lesbians that I suspect are really more about him than us.
“…homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within.”
“…under the influence of homosexuality, that lust is not just acceptable, but a virtue. But there is no homosexual “desire” that is apart from lust.”
“As a leader in the “gay rights” movement, I was given the opportunity to address the public many times. If I could take back some of the things I said, I would. Now I know that homosexuality is lust and pornography wrapped into one. I’ll never let anybody try to convince me otherwise, no matter how slick their tongues or how sad their story. I have seen it. I know the truth. ”
What we do know from his article is that Michael was engaging in drugs, porn, and lots of unhealthy sexual practices. From this, I can sense that Michael is projecting his experiences as a gay man on every gay man. I find this to be a bit bold since it makes every gay man sound like his experience is everyone’s and it is not. I can tell you mine hasn’t been that exciting. If I were to write my experiences as a gay man down, that would not be filled with lots of sex, drugs and drama like this man describes. Sure I have had some “fun” in my younger days but it wasn’t as exciting or dramatic as whatever he is trying to describe.
Oddly, some in the gay community of bloggers are seeing this as too “Donnie Davies” for them. You may remember the whole Donnie, “I use to be gay but now I am not” hoax from a few months back. Some are feeling like this is too similar to that for comfort. I don’t think it is so, but It wouldn’t be fair of me to leave that opinion out. Nowadays, anything is possible.
After reading some of the blog postings on this story, it seems that Michael decided to send all of those who posted on the story the same email, and asked them to post it. You can read the email here at Good as You. It does appear he likes the limelight as he is feeding the fire of the buzz about him. I think if he didn’t like the attention, he wouldn’t be feeding it. His new email makes even more wild claims about homosexuality. The most shocking of which is when he claims, “I know, in my heart, that all homosexuals desire to be free”. I can’t even imagine a person who grew up being gay would make this statement. For so many of us, me included, coming out to ourselves was the most freedom I have ever known. Finally just accepting myself and not trying to be something I was not was true freedom for me and so many others I know. Of course, I don’t want to project my freedom to be his. It wouldn’t be fair.
After reading his first article, and his replies, I left some comments over at Good As You. I have re-posted them after the flip. (more…)
I just finished reading Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg. The book examines our current way of communicating with each other and how it can lead us to conflict and even violence. I found it interesting that the process really nails how we as a society fail to express feelings, needs or observations, but instead make judgements, evaluations and diagnoses of each other. For instance, when one is asked what it is anti-gay activists “do” that bothers us many would respond with evaluations or judgements, “They’re bigots”, “They’re liars”. While these statements may express our anger, they fail to make clear observations of exactly what anti-gay proponents “do” that bothers us. We tend to hear the same type of responses from the other side. If we asked anti-gay activists what gay people “do” to annoy them, they tend to respond with evaluations or judgements like “They’re perverts” or “They’re sick”. This type of communication puts of serious obstacles to us being in touch with our true compassionate selves.
The process of nonviolent communication (NVC) involves four components:
1. Observation without judgements, evaluation, or diagnoses
2. Expression of feelings
3. Identifying and attaching needs
4. Making requests, rather than demands.
The book reveals how we as a culture and a society are just terrible at identifying and expressing our feelings. Instead we tend to deliver more evaluation of feelings. For instance when we ask someone how they feel, the response may be “good” or “Fine”, but neither of those is an emotion or feeling. Replying by saying “I feel happy” or “I feel sad” would be actually answering the question. By not really putting others in touch with our feelings in a conflict, we cut off the chance that others will be able to connect with us.
The book examines in great detail how our language is based on who is “right” and who is “wrong”. It looks closer at how we see each other in terms of “good” and “bad” rather than seeing feelings and needs. When we see someone do something to which we don’t approve, we tend to see them as a bad person ignoring the “needs” behind their actions. By recognizing and responding to people’s needs, showing compassion for others needs, and learning to express our own needs, we are more apt to live in harmony with our values and beliefs.
One of the most useful things I learned in this book was about making “requests” of others rather than making demands. Focusing on what you really want people to do rather than what you don’t want them to do is much more effective in getting what you need. Upon further thinking, I am aware I have mastered the art of asking people what I don’t want from them, but I am weak on asking for what I do want. This part of the process is described in the funny story about a women who requested her husband “not” spend so much time at work. So he agreed and joined a golf club. Upset by this she realized she never told him what she “did” want him to do, so she didn’t get want she needed. She came back with a clear request. “could you please spend one night a week at home with me and the children”. The more clear our requests are, the more likely we are going to have our needs met.
I highly recommend people read this book. You can pick it up on Amazon for about $15.00 and I would suggest grabbing the companion workbook to go along with it. (read the first chapter)
This video is of Marshall Rosenberg explaining NVC.
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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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