Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Gays are not persecuting Christians - The moral panic exposed

Did you hear the one about the church that was forced to allow lesbians to hold a commitment ceremony on its property?

How about the father who was dragged away from his son's school in handcuffs because he wouldn't let teachers "indoctrinate" his child in the alleged gay agenda?

Well how about the secret plan of gays to take over America via a six-point plan put out by a 1980's book?

I can't believe you haven't heard of these things? Haven't you been keeping up with the news? There is a HUGE conspiracy by gays to silence Christians.

I kid you not and I know for certain that this is true because the American Family Association and other religious right groups created a "documentary" proving it.

Okay, realistically, this claim about gays trying to silence Christians is an unadulterated fraud not unlike the equally phony "War on Christmas" moral panic perpetrated by religious right groups every December.

And like the "War on Christmas," this lie about gays plotting to silence Christians is built on deceit, intentionally misrepresented anecdotes, and the inherent laziness of the media and public in general for not seeking out the truth behind said anecdotes.

Creating a moral panic about the gay community is nothing new to the American Family Association (AFA) or any other religious right group for that matter. In the 80s and early 90s (and even now), these groups pushed shockingly inaccurate studies that masqueraded as scientific facts. The purpose of these studies was to give the false impression of gays as diseased hordes obsessed with gerbils, carrots, public sex, blood, and children.

And the idea of presenting anti-gay innuendoes in a "documentary" (thereby giving them a fake air of truth) isn't a new concept either. Religious right groups (AFA included) took those pre-mentioned studies and packaged them into propaganda films such as The Gay Agenda and Gay Rights/Special Rights.

So what's happening now is just a new version of the same tired game. In the past, the religious right tried to make the issue of gay rights into that of a public health menace. Apparently the gay community have gotten savvy to this game so they are now trying to slink their lies into another inaccurate talking point - gay rights will increase religious persecution.

Now all that is left is for a public religious right figure (i.e. Mike Huckabee) to push these lies with an unassuming frame of mind and say things like "you gays can't seem to understand that we Christians don't hate you" while his friends in the background (AFA and company) accuse gays of everything BUT attempting to bring back the Spanish Inquisition.

It's a nifty way to poison the case for gay rights in the eyes of the public while at the same time leave gays sputtering in anger over the wanton evasiveness of such tactics.

The end result being gays will look pushy and threatening while Huckabee and company will come across looking like St. Peter and smelling like a Rose of Sharon.

And let's not forget the anecodotes because they play a crucial part in this game. No matter how farfetched or deceptive they are, random stories about gays allegedly persecuting Christians are effective. No matter how many times they are discredited, there is always a crowd ready to believe them - especially when these anecdotes take centerstage in "documentaries" that will repeat them ad naseum.

But for the sake of bringing things back to the beginning, let me return to the anecdotes I mentioned at the beginning of this piece:

The incident involving the church had to do with the church receiving tax breaks for a pavilion it owned. But a requirement of the tax breaks was that the pavilion had to be open to all, gays included.

And that father allegedly dragged away in handcuffs? Well he objected to his son bringing home a book on different families on the grounds that one family in the book was of a same sex nature. The school accommodated his anger via private meetings, but he used the occasion to orchestrate his arrest - even to the point of having people waiting outside to take pictures when the police led him away in handcuffs.

Lastly, that book about gays taking over America? The majority of gays have never heard of it.

And that's the true story behind just three of the stories regarding gays allegedly persecuting Christians. But you won't find this truth featured in any religious right "documentary."

And that's a shame because it's proof that to some people who claim to fight for moral values, truth is an expendable casualty.
The most telling thing Peter LaBarbera will ever say

"I think they (young conservatives) feel that they have to do something for these gay unions. We have to bring it back to the behavior, the unhealthiness of the behavior, but also the entire gay agenda . . . " - Young conservatives misled on homosexual issue

How long will it be before we see this sort of thing again (Hat tip to Goodasyou.org):

Tennessee bill going after the 'adopting gays'

Here we go again:

Tennessee bill would ban adoptions by unwed couples

They don't have Karl Rove. They no longer have James Dobson. But the religious right are bound and determined to create another campaign issue like the push against marriage equality.

Of course the bill doesn't mention anything about gays, just unmarried couples. But as the article and comments under it demonstrate, this bill is all about keeping gay couples from adopting children.

We know what may happen next. The bill passes, the court strikes it down, and we get to hear the standard blather about "activist judges trying to redefine the notion of family," thereby bringing a shitload of voters to the polls which the media (in all of its overdramatic glory) will give some stupid name to (i.e. values voters).

The need to engage in subterfuge over what this bill truly does should be enough to tell its supporters that it's not necessarily the Christian thing to do. That, and the fact that if the bill passes, it will put Tennessee in a financial bind and deny more children good homes.

But you know these folks. They have that special Bible - the one that says that God permits lying and dishonest if it is done in His name.