Speak Compassion

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Anatomy of Hate Speech: A Closer Look at the Writing of Peter LaBarbera and Americans for Truth Part 1

by @ 8:20 pm. Filed under Americans For Truth, Gay News, hate speech

Here on this site, and in the upcoming book, “Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters“, and at Box Turtle Bulletin, we have seen time and time again how the so called medical dangers of homosexuality by John Diggs, MD has been refuted.   The whole idea that being gay is some sort of deathstyle is just and old tired claim of those who wish to paint gays and lesbians with a negative and broad brush. They say we all live the same exact lifestyle and write us off as the evil in the world.  A claim that invites violence against GLBT folks.

No one does this better than the misguided and misinformed, Peter La Barbera of the group Americans for Truth (AFT).  (Of course, from this writer’s point of view, I think Peter’s group is as far from truth as you can get).    His entire site is just one huge negative picture of GLBT folks.   We all know that a rational person who is only shown one side of a group of people and that side is painted as a threat to children, marriage and society, is going to have hostile emotions towards said group.   We also know that words have power and that this type of propaganda is passive violence.   It is also a form of structural violence that leads to hate crimes, discrimination and bullying for GLBT folks, but Peter can’t seem to see that from where he is standing.   He sadly rejects any attempt to show him the view from the other side.  This post is my latest attempt at stopping this violence.

Today, AFT has two articles posted on their website that push the idea of homosexuality being “dangerous” and unhealthy, including links to the overused and highly refuted work of Dr. John Diggs.   While both of these articles of filled with venomous remarks about gays and lesbians, they are also filled with inaccuracies about GLBT folks.  I will address the specifics of these articles posted today because they display so well the myths, hate and misinformation that so easily come out of these organizations like Americans for Truth.

The first article addresses a school in Chicago where a substitute teacher showed the film, “Brokeback Mountan” to a group of 8th graders.  Mr. La Barbera states in his article:

Alas, more corruption of youth at the hands of pro-homosexual activists. The movement that once asked just to be left alone is now pushing homosexuality on middle school students.

I am not sure what Peter was thinking but I see one substitute teacher who showed this movie.  She doesn’t appear to be a homosexual activist and she may not be homosexual herself.  So what movement is Mr. LaBarbera talking about?   Is every person that supports equality part of the same movement?   What is Peter’s fascination with lumping all gays and lesbians into one group? 

I have no idea why she would choose to show a group of 8th graders, “BrokeBack Mountain” since it is filled with bad language, sex and violence.   I don’t condone showing kids “R” rated movies when they are not accompanied by an adult.  I also don’t condone showing movies filled with violence to adults let alone children.  On the other hand, I have taught 8th graders and know fully well  that many of them have seen things in real life far worse than anything in that movie.

Where this article takes a turn for the worse on Peter’s part is his language.  He uses words like venom on a knifed tongue.  A sample excerpt:

I saw Brokeback Mountain in the theater because I had to. It is a highly effective propaganda film well-suited to exploit today’s widespread confusion over “sexual orientation” and “same-sex love.” The film is about two male cowboys who “fall in love,” and features a sudden sodomitic encounter in a tent that is, well, let’s just say, biological and medical fantasy. The film, of course, seeks to advance the fiction that “gay” romantic love is just like the normal variety except with different genders. But that ignores, for one thing, the terrible damage that sodomy (i.e., anal sex) exacts on the body. That’s why many male initiates into homosexual sex get high on drugs or alcohol first — to dull the pain (and the shame) of this unnatural and sinful behavior.

A few points about this paragraph: 

This is the analysis of only one paragraph of Peter’s writing skills.  While he is a terribly effective writer, his words are filled with misinformation, lies and hate.   While I know he jumps up and down screaming that he is not engaging in hate speech, that doesn’t change the fact, he is.

The next paragraph:

Predictably, in Brokeback, one of the male lovers is savagely murdered by homosexual-hating hetero cowboys - another lesson I’m sure the militant Chicago teacher wanted to impress on her captive audience: if you disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, you are a “hater” and mean-spirited “homophobe.” Never mind that the vast majority of people who oppose homosexual behavior do not hate people but merely agree with God about harmful and changeable behaviors that do not define a person; and decent people are rightfully outraged at the idea of promoting this dangerous homosexual lifestyle to impressionable children.

Here are the talking points of why this is just hate speech:

He then goes on to ask people to take action:

TAKE ACTION:  If you are an adult, dedicate yourself to educating the young people in your sphere of influence about the truth about homosexuality. Tell them about former homosexuals like Charlene Cothran and Steve Bennett. Visit NARTH’s (National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality) excellent website. Show them Professor Rob Gagnon’s site, which ably refutes the nefarious “gay theology” that seeks to negate the Bible’s clear proscriptions against homosexual acts. 

Now keep in mind, I am only dissecting one article to show you and Peter, since I am sure he will read this, how and why this is hate speech and not “truth” as Peter claims.

Here is Peter’s last paragraph before giving you the story about the teacher from the news:

We have no choice but to be aggressive with the truth, because our foes are so aggressive in promoting their lies – even to innocent kids in the classroom. I’m afraid that in our society, even children brought up well by moral-minded parents will have drunk some of the pro-”gay” Kool-Aid by the time they reach adulthood - so saturated is our culture with politically correct, activist nonsense on this issue.

The talking points on the last paragraph:

This is the amount of untruth in just one of Peter LaBarbera’s articles and he has an entire site of this.  The time to take action is about the only thing Peter and I agree on in this article.   We need to take action as every great movement of oppression has in the past.  Learn the art of nonviolence in the spirit of Gandhi, King, Chevez, Thich Nhat Hanh and fight back with love.   It has worked in the past and it will work again.

2 Responses to “Anatomy of Hate Speech: A Closer Look at the Writing of Peter LaBarbera and Americans for Truth Part 1”

  1. Pink Pitbull Says:

    The following excellent piece by exgaywatch goes into detail as to what Joe is talking about with NARTH using Paul Cameron’s distorted work – http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/04/narth-web-site-promotes-discredited-research-of-paul-cameron/

     

  2. Josiah Says:

    Wait, he said that the ending of Brokeback Mountain was predictable? Wasn’t that the ending of the original short story? He’s pretty much chastising them for staying faithful to the original storyline. You might as well say the ship sinking in Titanic and Jesus dying at the end of The Passion of the Christ being predictable. >.>

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