20 January 2009

Anytime You're Ready (Part Two)

Rick Warren

You'll never be disappointed underestimating your fellow human beings! Case in point:

I doubt (Warren) will mention Gays (sic) in his invocation because that is not why he was chosen to pray.

I wouldn't touch this comment with my gloves on!  I'm too scared the idiocy might rub off!

The queer (sic) community needs to show him and others like him the error of their ways, not shut them up. I favor the whole "Gay agenda" . . . ending Don't Ask/Don't Tell, enacting Gay marriage, adding the GLBT community to federally-protected classes in civil rights, and so on. But we have to convince the majority in this country that these are good things, that they make for a solid community and improve the lot of all . . . God does not make trash!

Don't know about you, sugar, but I don't feature playing professor to Straight knuckleheads anytime soon! The only thing LGBT folk have to "convince the majority" of is that we won’t tolerate institutionalized heterosexism anymore! If they don't already know why full equality is desirable in a democracy, then they're too damn dumb for us or anybody else to waste time educating!

We'll show the Rick Warrens of this world "the error of their ways" by telling them to STFU, picketing their public appearances, targeting their churches’ tax-exempt status, filing group slander suits, and anything else within legal limits we can do to silence their vicious anti-Gay falsehoods! Hate speech hurts! When you’re hurting, you’re in no mood to schmooze! As for "adding" us to "federally-protected classes", there's no class with more Federal protection than that of American citizen, and contrary to what this joker may think, we're already in it!

As I came to the end of his letter, I began to question the motives of "C. Hunter." Was there a method to his madness? Could this correspondence have been sent to CAMP's editors by a stealth Right Wing propagandist? If so, he’s not very skilled at covering his tracks! Anybody who borrows the inflammatory religious Right Wing term "Gay agenda" to describe equality goals has got to be a heterosexist sympathizer. What's more, anybody who says "God does not make trash" but at the same time calls Gay people "queer" is talking trash out of both sides of his mouth! This is how "C. Hunter" closed out his disturbing commentary:

In short, the Warren invocation crisis is a tempest in a teapot. Let's get angry about stuff that matters: The economy. Don't Ask/Don't Tell. The violent, vicious homophobia that killed Matthew Shepard. Torture. The gutting of America's reputation. Fiscal responsibility. Marriage rights. Racism that still runs deep. Wars that don't make sense. Don't get angry about inviting a nitwit reverend . . . to say a two-minute prayer that will be forgotten in a matter of days.

How many days did it take "C. Hunter" to forget that malicious rhetoric like Rick Warren's feeds into the creation of unjust policies like DADT? That it sparks the murderous violence that robbed Matthew Shepard of his young life? That it justifies the torture called "ex-Gay therapy" which thousands of LesBiGay Christians are pressured to undergo? That it fuels the bigotry that makes millions of Americans mob their polling places in support of Proposition 8-style marriage and adoption bans? Not to mention the way it helps direct our tax money into social services run by anti-Gay religious organizations, or the role it recently played in making our United Nations Ambassador oppose a worldwide resolution to decriminalize Gay identity!

Tempest in a teapot, my Black Gay Christian ass! Talk about gross understatement! Religious hate speech is the swollen nipple that all anti-Gay expression takes nourishment from. The connection couldn't be more direct, or more obvious. Anybody who's too blind or too stupid to see the extent of harm it does has no business calling anybody else a nitwit!

Opening another local Gay publication called The Liberty Press, I found an editorial that was just as bad as this letter. On pages 6 and 7 of the January 2009 edition, columnist Sheryl LeSage mounted a convoluted defense of the Warren pick:

Yes, (Rick Warren) has said that we are proof that evolution is not real. He has likened our relationships to pedophilia. He says our right to marry is not even debatable. But he is a major voice of the younger Evangelicals. Choosing him to speak at the inauguration may be a signal to those folks that they are welcome in the Big Tent. If this is a way to defuse the old, tired rhetoric of the Culture Wars . . . then I'm for calling a wary truce.

So the Obama administration makes Evangelicals feel welcome at the expense of our respectability, but that's OK? What about Christian parents who believe Rick Warren's slander and start persecuting their LGBT kids? What about the corrosive effect a celebrity preacher's lies can have on our work relationships, our friendships, our families? What about the beatings, murders and suicides inspired by such despicable talk? Do we characterize that as "collateral damage", like Iraq War defenders characterize the deaths of innocent civilians?

It’s chilling, the way Ms. LeSage casually dismisses the demonization of Gay identity! Does this clueless woman understand what a vile thing pedophilia is? Does she understand what it means to be equated with a pedophile? Where's her sense of horror? I know where mine is. I feel it when I read her words and those of "C. Hunter"! People who express such bizarre opinions are monsters in my eyes: Self-hating, bigotry-accommodating, oppression-loving monsters who blindly hurt themselves and their own kind!

You just can't overestimate the internalized shame of LGBT folk! Every time you think you've seen it at its worst, it sinks to a new low. Comedienne Lily Tomlin knew what she was talking about when, some years ago, she quipped: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!"

Who knew we'd be debating each other over a bigot's "right" to call us human vermin? Who knew, with all the violence that's regularly visited upon our persons, that we'd have less of a self-preservation instinct than Jews in Nazi Germany? Who knew veterans of '60s protest marches had valid reason to question whether Gay Rights is a true Civil Rights struggle? When they read "progressive" opinions like those of "C. Hunter", Sheryl LeSage, Alan Cumming, Chris Crain, Dale Carpenter, James Kirchick, Melissa Etheridge and so many others, why wouldn't they question it? Anybody in his right mind would!

Anytime we're ready, we can start having a Gay Rights movement that declares zero tolerance for any kind of anti-Gay expression. Anytime we're ready, we can start demanding respect as fully entitled human beings. Anytime we're ready, we can start acting like people worthy of a champion like the late Coretta Scott King (see my previous essay, "Echoes From A Birmingham Jail", Parts One and Two). As long as we make excuses for heterosexist hatemongers, adopt the wicked insults they impose on us, "counsel" one another on which Constitutional rights are desirable or not, and rank LGBT equality lower than any other national goal, then I'll know we're not ready!

"Anytime You're Ready" continues with Part Three.

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