25 October 2006

Authors of Confusion (Part Two)

Mike Airhart responded to Randi, Jerry and I at the same time. How did he respond? By aiming hysterical attacks at us, refusing to address the concerns Jerry and I raised, citing ridiculous justifications for a policy we never questioned, and attributing to us wild accusations we never made. Dude managed to sprinkle a little "ex-Gay" rhetoric into the mix as well:

All three of you are (1) off-topic, and (2) issuing straw man arguments . . . (you're) lying about the position of "Ex-Gay" Watch regarding the "ex-Gay identity", and all of you are acting about as bigoted as the Exodus leadership. We have explained our usage of "ex-Gay" many times. For lack of alternatives, we use "ex-Gay" without quotes because this blog would look ridiculous if we did use quotes, or if we prefaced every instance of the word with "self-identified." We do not encourage anyone to suppress their sexual orientation; we do not allow predominantly same-sex-attracted "ex-Gays" to deny that they are still homosexual; we maintain that there's nothing wrong with celibacy for those who choose it. We are an incredibly busy all-volunteer web site, and are too busy analyzing "ex-Gays" to waste hours re-defending and re-explaining ourselves ad nauseam to intolerant individuals (Gay or ex-Gay) who refuse to think outside their own boxes, or who refuse to tolerate individuals that are Gay and celibate, or that discover their sexual attractions (through no deliberate choice of their own) to be fluid.

Randi, as you have been warned and subjected to temporary bans before. I find it necessary to make your ban permanent. Stuffed Animal and Jerry, please follow our guidelines for comments to remain on-topic and free from straw man argumentation. This page and its comments will relate solely to "ex-Gay" websites that think outside the box of the religious Right and that do not necessarily claim that orientation can be changed. No further off-topic comments will be permitted on this page.

A retroactive threat, to be sure! As I noted earlier, Airhart had already initiated bans against Jerry Maneker and I by the time he posted this incoherent "defense" of his topics. I must say, I disagree with him about what constitutes wasted hours. I think it's a waste for him to presume to "analyze" the "ex-Gay" movement when it's clear that he himself is the one in need of analysis. Timothy Kincaid and David Roberts belong on the analyst's couch right beside him! Their unhinged responses to serious social concerns reveal them all to be suffering from delusions! Here's the response to Mike Airhart that I was unable to post:

How dare you equate Jerry Maneker and I to Exodus International crazies? How dare you accuse us of "straw man argumentation?" What the Hell is that supposed to mean, anyway? Which one of us erected a "straw man"? Did you think we were criticizing your topics just to be argumentative?

When did we ever suggest that (your) blog encourages people to suppress their sexual orientation, etcetera? What's bigoted about us asking you to take the issue of homosexual persecution more seriously? Since when is disagreeing with the choice of a topic "going off-topic?" Since when is it "thinking inside of a box" to say that sexual orientation is inherent? Why would you even say something so inflammatory? It sounds just like something an "ex-Gay" ideologue would say!

Heterosexist hatred and the self-hatred it produces rate something better than the frivolous treatment you're giving it with topics like "What's your favorite 'ex-Gay' blog" and "What are your favorite 'ex-Gay' books, movies, etcetera"! When I saw those fluffy headings, I couldn't believe you were for real! How much more frivolous could you get? How much more offensive could you be? How could you possibly be so naïve about the negative symbolism the term "ex-Gay" carries?

When it comes to LesBiGay issues, I am not flexible. I admit as much! I grant no quarter for "friendly" interchange of ignorance, even when the ignorance is disguised as moderation and reason. Especially not then! Maybe I could excuse your being irresponsible and naïve about "ex-Gay" rhetoric, but I can't, and won't, excuse your being unrepentant of your irresponsible behavior! I don't know what your agenda is, Mike, but reality sure doesn't seem to figure into it. Neither does Gay liberation!

What happens when you sow seeds of confusion? Naturally, you confuse people! An anonymous poster tried in vain to clarify matters:

I am confused. Are there really "a few 'ex-Gays' and 'ex-Gay blogs'" that disagree with the "change is possible" message? If they don't think change is possible, how would they consider themselves "ex-Gay"? Am I missing something?

David Roberts' response confirmed that the Mad Tea Party was still in full swing:

Some "ex-Gays" are open to the idea of celibacy as a way of satisfying their desire, regardless of motivation, to live a life without intimate same-sex relationships. These people often come under the "ex-Gay" banner . . . a Gay blogger who believes in celibacy as the answer to their moral code, for instance, and therefore considers themselves "ex-Gay" would be one match to Mike's request . . .

Did you ever suspect that the terms "Gay" and "Ex-Gay" were interchangeable? Neither did I! What an edifying revelation. I'm not sure I understand the Airhart/Kincaid/Roberts mentality, but if I had to summarize their position, I'd say it amounted to this: Some of us call ourselves Gay, and some of us call ourselves "ex-Gay", but we're really all the same! Why should we get ourselves in a lather arguing about sin and morality and bigotry and discrimination? Let's all just get along with one another. Let's have fun discussing and debating one another's status! Nobody's position is necessarily right, nobody's position is necessarily wrong, and nobody, but nobody, is allowed to question the way we do things around here.

Let me rephrase what I said before: I definitely don't understand this mentality!

After Jerry Maneker and I were so vehemently discouraged from participating in it, the conversation degenerated into a meaningless "intellectual" discussion of what constitutes Gay (or "ex-Gay") identity, with occasional asides about the valid placement of quotation marks. One self-identified heterosexual male suggested that becoming "ex-Gay" is a boon to one's mental health! Last I saw, this outrageous suggestion had not been challenged.

Sure, neither you nor I would fall for such a ludicrous premise, but what about a vulnerable teenager who's struggling to understand his feelings? Ironically, the staff of exgaywatch.com would probably defend these kinds of forums on free speech grounds, but there's a difference between free speech and hate speech! Do they know the difference? Do they care if the two kinds of speech get confused on their blog?

What do these talk show-styled discussions accomplish other than promoting more confusion? More distortion? Perpetuation of harmful, false ideologies? How can blogmasters who profess to be foes of ignorance and falsehood encourage such discussions in good conscience?

exgaywatch.com bloggers boast about hosting debates with the likes of Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. They actually invite him to post on their topics so that they can match wits with him; if you don't believe me, check the blog archive. They think this kind of exchange is somehow helpful to the cause of LesBiGay equality! How could they be so foolish? You can't reason with unreasonable people, and Alan Chambers is as unreasonable as they come! Committing oneself to the eradication of LGBT identity is an unreasonable act. That's what Alan Chambers is committed to!

There's no evidence that engaging him in friendly debate has had any positive effect on his behavior. On the contrary! He still claims that conversion to heterosexuality is God's will for Lesbians and Gay men. He recently condemned celibate Gay people as sinful. He most recently went on National Public Radio to say that Gay people secretly want their quest for equality thwarted. Dude is as bad a liar and manipulator as ever, if not worse!

Airhart, Kincaid and Roberts make a grave mistake to assume they're building bridges when they dialogue with Chambers and his ilk. They're doing nothing of the kind! What they're doing is helping such people sharpen the rhetorical knives they plunge into the hearts of Lesbians and Gay men. The only bridge they're building is one that facilitates the transport of poisonous cargo!

"Ex-Gay" ideology, regardless of whether it comes from those who promote it or those who've been victimized by it, is a form of poison! My mother taught me that if a bottle has poisonous contents, I'd best handle it with care if I handle it at all! Even an "ex-Gay" blogger who "thinks outside the box of the political religious Right" is dangerous. Is he less dangerous than a stone Right Winger? Who the Hell cares?

The amount of poison in the bottle is of no consequence. What matters is that the poison is in there. It doesn't take much of it to do harm, and many questioning LGBT folk (especially young people) are ill-equipped to withstand any amount of exposure to lethal rhetoric. Hosting repeated "open forums" with religious bigots is even less of a benign act than flippant use of the word "ex-Gay". Ditto for treating "ex-Gay" bloggers and their tainted product as if they were trendy collectibles!

Mike Airhart later claimed to have rescinded his bans on comments from Randi, Jerry and I, and to explain himself, he posted this reluctant "apology":

I failed to notice that I had made this page an open forum. So the protest of "Ex-Gay" Watch's policy against using quotation marks around "ex-Gay" was allowed . . . I am sorry for acting so aggressively. I remain disappointed in our commenters for demanding politically correct labeling, for expressing intolerance toward sexual strugglers, and for seeking to suppress the fact that a few "ex-Gays" and "ex-Gay" blogs disagree with the religious Right and "change is possible" messages.

Yeah, dude is sorry. Like Osama bin Laden is sorry! He's just as unrepentantly dishonest as ever. Sure, he "forgot" that the forum was supposed to be open. I guess he also "forgot" that no protest against the use of quotation marks was ever mounted in that forum! How asinine! Talk about "straw man argumentation!"

What are we to think of Gay advocacy that resorts to diversionary rhetoric and outright lies when challenged on its tactics? What are we to think of "friends" whose public statements jibe so closely with "ex-Gay" philosophy? And what does it really mean to be accused of "political correctness?" I've been seriously thinking about what causes this accusation to be thrown at people.

If you object to rude behavior, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to racist jokes and music, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to language and humor that demeans women, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to the demonization of non-Christian religions, you're guilty of "political correctness".

If you object to the vilification of LGBT people by religious leaders, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to the scapegoating of poor people, you're guilty of "political correctness". Could it be that the word "political" is now being substituted for the word "moral"? I think it's not only possible but probable! I've used the phrase "politically correct" in the past. May God punish me if I ever use it again!

It's always a big letdown to discover that those who claim to be supporters of LesBiGay equality have an agenda that suggests otherwise (see my previous post, "Bad Tree, Bad Fruit"). The exgaywatch.com agenda includes providing a free platform for anti-Gay ideologues (as if they really needed another one)! There's no doubt about it; don't the blogmasters say as much in the quotes I've provided here?

I'd prefer to believe they're just a bit twisted in their thought processes, but I have an uncomfortable suspicion that there may be a sinister method to their madness. I can't say for sure. However, what I am sure about is that exgaywatch.com is not a safe space for Lesbians and Gay men! I used to think it was, but no longer.

Christ, The Gay Martyr is and will always be a safe space. This blog is a virtual altar to the Lord, and I wouldn't be honoring the Lord if I allowed His altar to be polluted with blood offerings to false doctrine. I'll never pander to people who want to drive my kind off the face of God's Earth! I'm not going to encourage my LGBT brethren to join hands with them and sing "We Are The World" when I know damn well they don't want us in the world!

Today, they try to pray us out of existence, and counsel us out of existence, and legislate us out of existence. What will they try tomorrow, when they realize these methods aren't effective? I have a fairly good idea of what they'll try. It'll be something similar to what they tried sixty years ago in places called Dachau, Buchenwald and Auschwitz!

It will do us all well to remember that many of the innocents who died in those places were lured to them by authors of confusion. Nazi sympathizers promised them they'd be taken to safety if they'd just co-operate and climb quietly into those nice box cars. Are some of the bloggers at exgaywatch.com the modern embodiment of Nazi sympathizers?

If any of them read those last statements of mine, they'll undoubtedly take offense. I'm sure I don't care! In fact, I hope they do take offense! Then they'll know how Jerry Maneker and I felt about being compared to the leadership of Exodus International!

However, I'm not trying to be deliberately nasty, like Mike Airhart was. I'm dead serious about what I'm saying. Airhart and his cohorts have shown themselves to be unreasonable people, so I'm not about to "waste hours" trying to reason with them anymore. If I can shock them into thinking more responsibly about what they're doing, then may God help me do so. If I can't, then may God help me warn as many vulnerable people away from their blog site as possible!

"Authors of Confusion" concludes with Part Three.