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05/13/2008

Gays are anti-religion, says he who keeps religion anti-gay

by Jeremy Hooper

Peter Labarbera NewPeter LaBarbera and Box Turtle Bulletin's Timothy Kincaid (a frequent and much loved commenter here at G-A-Y) have been having a back-and-forth regarding the way Pete is presenting the "facts" in an alleged hate crime case that realistically put a young gay man in the hospital. But since the debate is their own, we aren't going to address Pete and Tim's spat. And since the actual events of the case are up for debate and are currently being sorted out in court, we're also not going to delve further into the minutiae of the case or speak in the certain terms that those on Pete's side are currently doing. Instead, we want to address a comment that Pete has written on his website regarding the gay activist community's reaction to his own handling of this case.

In a post addressing the matter, Pete makes the following sweeping statement about gay activists:

"Scratch a homosexual activist, find an anti-religious bigot."

A comment that really says so much about the way folks like Pete view this so-called "culture war." For they are so drawn into the idea that one cannot be gay and religious that they simply cannot separate one's resistance to their anti-gay rhetoric from "anti-religious" bias. They are so overconfident about the infallibility of their own personal "Biblical truth" that anyone who challenges their views or lashes out against the unnecessary hostility they hold for the LGBT community is said to be attacking faith in general. This is a mindset that is not only offensive to the gay activist community, but also to the millions of people of faith believe both in God and in the idea that LGBT people are a normal part of Earth's petting zoo.

As with all communities, the gay activist community is not a monolith. There are surely some in the pro-gay world who, due to their own religious study, are hostile to religion. But the point is that one's personal relationship with God is not the same thing as their personal bodily desires, attractions, and capacities for love. Folks like Pete desperately want this to be a battle between Godliness and unrighteousness, which is precisely why they present "Gay" and "Religion" as being in separate corners waiting for the fight bell to sound. The truth, however, is that if you scratch the vast majority of gay activists, what you will find is someone asking society to employ reason in their Biblical outlooks towards a rich, vibrant population sect, rather than to write them all a one-way, non-cancellable, non-refundable ticket aboard Lake of Fire Airways (sitting in coach, no less). We're asking ALL people of faith, gay and straight, to look not only to a scant number of passages whose one-sided interpretations have been ripped out of their historical context and elevated to an exaggerated place of prominence, but also to the reality of the world. And we're asking everyone to employ the gift of analytical thought that was graciously installed into all of our brains, as we think that any God who was capable of creating all this would want us to do.

If Pete is comfortable reducing his opposition to a bunch of unruly Bible haters, then he's free to do so. We, however, will continue to challenge those who affront our lives and loves on the basis of their gay-centric arguments and rhetoric, rather than cast sweeping generalizations vis-à-vis their personal liasions with the big guy.

Hateful Homosexual Spin Machine Ramps up Against Brett VanAsdlen [AFT]

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Your thoughts

"Scratch a homosexual activist, find an anti-religious bigot."

Denouncing someone, for what you say they are, is bigotry.

Denouncing someone, for what they say they are, is not.

Posted by: KipEsquire | May 13, 2008 12:22:21 PM

I believe it's probably confounding to people like Peter that many gay people ARE people of faith.

What he doesn't understand, and this is typical of fundamentalists of all stripes who fear engaging with civil society, is that in a true marketplace of ideas, people who can be on the same side on one issue (such as equality) may have very divergent views on another (faith).

Despite the potty language I throw around on my blog, I'm actually a person of deep faith, a follower of Christ, and I have no problem proclaiming it. One of my best friends is a staunch, staunch, staunch atheist (though I'm not always sure whether he knows why...). The point is that I understand my friend and I aren't going to agree on that point, and that's okay, no harm, no foul.

I believe people like Peter and Bam-Bam actually fear the idea that one can be simultaneously of deep Christian faith and also authentic to who he/she is regarding sexuality. That implies a bigger God than they're prepared to worship.

Posted by: Evan | May 13, 2008 1:18:11 PM

Unofrtunately, I think for Pete and many others of his ilk the issue actually transcends the LGBT issue. I think anyone who challenges their brand of faith whatsoever is on the bad list. Pete is just focusing on LGBT people ( me thinks he doth protest too much?) but I'm confident he would extend his argument to include people of faiths not his own.

Growing up Catholic I faced this a lot. I knew people who felt that if Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, UCC, Episcopalian, and so on, you were damned. Pretty much if you didn't have the seat next to them in their church, you better be stocking on marshmallows for the eternal fires.

You hit the nail right on the head Jeremy when you said "their biblical truth." While their anger towards us is a symptom of their intolerance for anyone who disagrees with them, we are by no means that only people that experience that intolerance.

Posted by: Ed | May 13, 2008 1:37:21 PM

Sometimes I get a lot of flak from other gays for being Christian, still I do know a lot of other gay Christians. I don't blame the guys who have turned their backs on Christianity. When countless so called Christians constantly lie about us, a little Bibleburn is understandable. If they would just limit their rhetoric to the truth, the LGBTQ community wouldn't look at them with suspicion.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | May 13, 2008 2:07:30 PM

That, Jeremy, is the best post I have ever read on G-A-Y to date. Your response was much more succinct and comprehensive than Peter's incitement was simplistic and cheap. Bravo!! As a gay man of faith, who also likes to think of himself as an advocate for GLBT equality, I couldn't have said it better myself. Spot on.

Posted by: Larry | May 13, 2008 2:36:47 PM

I happen to be of the opinion that Christians (fundamentalists mostly) tend to be some of the most "anti-religious bigots" on the planet. If one doesn't believe precisely what they believe, the brand of heretic is stamped on the forehead. And this can be the person sitting two pews up from them in the same congregation - not to mention the hundreds of other religious sects (Muslim, Buddhist, etc.) that don’t even believe in the same god.

Me, personally, I believe in God, but that he cannot possibly resemble the picture that most organized religions paint of him (or her.) I happen to rail against the people who make it their life purpose to demean and minimize my existence – that happens to be, by and large, the religious community. They can call that bigotry if they want, but my “bigotry” ends the same day that they stop attacking me.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 13, 2008 3:29:08 PM

I went to AFTAH's website and followed their links to some reporter and legislator and here's what she wrote:

Mr. OZed,
Thank you for your e-mail. Although they continue to send e-mails and make calls, I am not at all interested in the opinions of Mr. LaBarbera and his followers. They do not know the facts, do not understand the law, and are not my constituents.
Sincerely,
Julia Rietz

On Tue, May 13, 2008 at 1:34 PM, John Ozed johnozed wrote:

Please continue to prosecute the felony hate crimes against Brett Van Asdlen. If LGBT students aren't safe on their campus, where can they be safe? I understand the right wing from Concerned Women for America Matt Barber (who oddly enough isn't a concerned woman), and AFTAH's Peter LaBarbera, Bob Knight of the Culture and Media Institute are pressuring you to drop the case so they can continue to use religion to further the LGBT bashing that they do frequently, and I hope you see through the charade of justified hate. Brett Van Asdlen is an adult who must be held accountable for his actions.

sincerely,
John OZed

Just thought you might want to know....

Posted by: john | May 13, 2008 4:06:51 PM

Jeremy,

Thanks for your comments on the story. As a Christian who has many gay Christian friends I can give an amen to what you say about the diversity of the gay community.

Yeah, Pete isn't much fond of me at the moment. However, identifying me as a leftist anti-Christian bigot is just downright funny. But I'm sure that Pete defines those terms other than we do.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | May 13, 2008 5:52:17 PM

Wow, John. That's pretty revelatory.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 13, 2008 6:19:38 PM

Question for the right wing:

If one is an "anti-religious bigot" for disagreeing with and opposing the demands of some Christians to institute "Biblical law" on social issues while also personally disagreeing with the validity of those religious beliefs...

...then isn't one also an "anti-religious bigot" for disagreeing with and opposing the demands of some Muslims to institute "sharia law" on social issues, while also personally disagreeing with the validity of those social beliefs?

In other words, why is opposition to Christian theocratic values "anti-religious," while opposition to Islamic theocratic values -- a core driver of the right wing -- isn't "anti-religious?" After all, isn't Islam a religion as well?

Posted by: Brian Miller | May 14, 2008 3:58:14 PM

Shut up and go back to your closets! Nobody cares if your a fag - just put up with the consequences of being different - by pointing out to the world your sexual orientation you breed the bigotry that exists. We don't care! Velasguez was the agressor in this situation, and it is being proven in court.

Posted by: Guido | Aug 6, 2008 6:03:50 AM

Guido: It should be "you're" not "your" in your first line.

Also, who the hell is Velasguez (by which I assume you mean VelasQuez with a "q")?

Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 6, 2008 6:50:56 AM

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