Wednesday, January 07, 2009

the janus face of homophobia

(Note: Jesus' General is satire. It's like if Stephen Colbert's right-wing persona had a blog. Just had to clear that up before anyone gets all weird. But the church it links to? So not satire. And, Dad, if you know anyone from this congregation, please don't tell me. I'd be sorely, and angrily, disappointed.)

homophobia has a janus face.

on one side its face is affable, smiling and with only a hint of the steely intolerance within showing through the eyes. (see rick warren or your average straight homophobe who doesn't care who folks sleep with, but just don't 'agree' with the 'lifestyle' and would rather the gays stop whining about being special.) but the other face is less likable - it's twisted in anger, spittle flying while hurling words like 'faggot.' (see bro. stucky.)

i believe this is homophobia's true face.

let's go back to the link on Jesus' General site; on one hand, bro. stucky's ideas are ridiculous (rudolph the red nosed reindeer is an allegory of heterosexual oppression? really??) but on the other hand, they are dangerously problematic ("The death penalty should be enacted for the queers.") it's useful to take such ideas seriously because it forces us to follow the religious argument against civil rights for gays and lesbians to its bitter, violent end.

it forces their own terrible fears and tendencies out of their religous closets, into the glaring light of day.

but it also shows us the limited scope of their hatred. homophobes have nothing new to say, ever. they never progress, never move forward, never innovate even in their hatred. theirs is a retarded (as in stunted) sensibility.

and they are, and will always be, wrong.

i watched the movie "Milk" with a couple of friends last week; vaguely, i recalled seeing the fight for gay rights and anita bryant's fight against on the news when i was a kid. but what struck me most was hearing the argument for discriminating against gays 20-30 years ago is pretty much the same as the arguments against gay rights now: they'll ruin the family, they'll force churches into collapse, they'll corrupt children, they'll kill my faith - and in all this time hence, gay people have never been the cause of any of these things, nor will they ever.

families implode under the weight of their own dysfunction; churches collapse mostly because of pastoral misconduct or scandal; children are corrupted because of neglect and apathy. one's faith dies perhaps because one never had it in the first place.

to the brother stuckeys and the rick warrens, a word (or several):
civil rights for all - gay and straight. this is our chance to fully embrace the promise of our national heritage - all men (and women) are created equal, regardless of skin color, creed, religion or sexual orientation. it's time for all of us to share the benefits of being a citizen of this country. you don't have to like the gays but you must recognize that they are equal participants in this country just like you and are due the same legal protections and recognition as you.

those purges will never happen, brother matthew stucky. no matter what face you put on it.

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