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The far right's war: Our probes are treated as criminal

by Jeremy Hooper

So the following doesn't have a direct LGBT connection. However, it most certainly speaks to the myopic worldviews that fuel this so-called "culture war." This from Baptist Press:

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Alright, so why do we think it speaks to our own issues with the religious right? Well, because it highlights their constant refusal to draw a distinction between an endorsement and an examination of a concept. And of course it also provides yet another example of their desire to define morality for the whole world.

To the first point: We see these folks all the time making flawed connections between people's exploration of specific topics and the people themselves. When The Advocate does a cover story on polygamy, groups like the American Family Association and Traditional Values Coalition try and make it sound like the news magazine is endorsing the multi-partnered notion simply because they dared to probe it. Or when a highly regarded artist like Tony Kushner puts a racist character in his work, some on their side try and connect that racism with the artist. They frequently shun the idea of using analytical thought to examine controversial ideas, or employing less-than-upstanding characterizations to tell a certain story. So a show like "Dexter" comes along, and they immediately say the creators are trying to portray him as a "hero." In doing so, they are doing a disservice to both the creatives who are presenting a complex story about a flawed anti-hero, as well as the audience members who are intelligent enough to realize that a lead character's not necessarily a knight in shining armor.

When dealing with LGBT issues, this short-sightedness manifests itself all the time. Not to directly connect serial killers with gays, but we do see similarities in this narrow view of "Dexter" and the ones we encounter on a daily basis. Just like the producers and writers of "Dexter" are painted as pushing depravity by putting out this show, we are condemned as foisting our sinful lifestyles onto unsuspecting children whenever we encourage respect. Our progress is written off as "indoctrination." Our well thought out arguments are trivialized as being parts of a "militant agenda." And our decision to see the world as a complex realm that all humans are free, nay, commanded to explore is treated as if it's a moral liability. The war on cognitive journey is simply enraging!

To the second point: Why won't they realize that their remote control works as well as ours?! Why do they feel that rather than changing the channel, putting up a parental block, or banning TV from their own homes, they must save the rest of the viewing public from themselves?! Why must they be so hostile towards any art that lies outside the narrow confines of their value system?

This point is directly tied to LGBT issues. They make every one of our issues all about them, rather than accept the fact that some people view this world differently than themselves. Gay marriage? It's going to destroy their own unions. Hate crimes protections? Gonna silence Christian views on homosexuality. Employment non-discrimination? It's going to force them to have copier conversations with a transgender coworker. So what do they do? They fight to ban these concepts for everyone, because they've appointed themselves the guardians of all that is righteous. They see themselves as the hall monitors, with the rest of us at the mercy of their constraining whims.

To the whole situation: If the far-right were honest, they'd say that "Dexter" is an adult television drama that delves into the mind of a complex serial character. They should absolutely keep their kids from watching it, just as we would. But they should not be fighting to get it off the air. Where do they get off?!

Look, we were deeply troubled by "The Sopranos" during the story arc involving Vito, the gay mobster who was eventually murdered for being 'mo. But did we see the harsh treatment and eventual killing as an offense to our pro-gay sensibilities? Of course not! These were nasty characters who had orchestrated unbelievably inhumane acts. And you know what? The characters were also very compelling! Because the human spectrum is undeniably flawed. People do horrible things. Life can be dark. And throughout all of history, some of the best works of art have been mined from this darkness. One is not a bad person for creating such art, or for enjoying the same.


The only way we will get past this whole "culture war" is if their side will stop reducing art to only one acceptable standard, morality to only one compass, and life to only one definition.

Urgent action needed against CBS' 'Dexter' [YouTube]

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Your thoughts

I don't know what their problem is! I'd much rather be locked in a room with a serial killer than I would a fundamentalist "christian". At least serial killers are capable of rational thought a few minutes out of the day, which is more than I can say for the other group.

Posted by: Scott | May 5, 2008 3:29:47 PM

I was wondering how you were going to make the connection-very well done!

"The only way we will get past this whole "culture war" is if their side will stop reducing art to only one acceptable standard, morality to only one compass, and life to only one definition"

The problem with that is it will never happen - Evangelicals believe every single word in the bible is the TRUTH and it's that single mindedness that will keep this "culture war" going.

The only hope we have is the fact that the upcoming generation is starting to see through the BS and they realize you can’t live in this world without asking questions.

Posted by: Alonzo | May 5, 2008 3:44:43 PM

At least he isn't going around kissing people.

Posted by: DCN | May 5, 2008 4:31:14 PM

These 'pro-family' advocates (albeit straight, Baptist families) actually do me a favor with their action alerts. I haven't seen Dexter yet, but now that they're harping on it, I might just check it out! Just like I did with "The Book of Daniel". Just like I did when they used to warn people about the evil rock bands that put backward messages in their music. I had never liked Led Zeppelin up until they introduced me to "Stairway to Heaven" - albeit backwards. But I really grew to like the song played frontwards.

Posted by: Larry | May 5, 2008 5:42:19 PM

Larry, I honestly believe that you are right, at least to a certain extent. I think that when the bible-thumpers rail against something (especially entertainment related) they sometimes do more to advertise and promote it than they do dissuade.

But, in my opinion, their truest purpose isn’t to dissuade as much as it is to appease the appetites of their supporters. I just wish that they would concentrate on the thousand other things that they hate (and that they could be attacking), and that they would just leave us the frak alone.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 5, 2008 9:15:13 PM

They've been mad since "blue laws" were ruled unconstitutional. They represent the last railings of the dead.

Posted by: Bill Ware | May 6, 2008 1:10:46 AM

Well they obviously didn't do a very good job at it seeing as the last two episodes of the First season of Dexter aired last night , so good.
Yet again they seem to be complaining about something they probably have seen yet,based on the way they described the show (seeing as it seems to be one of the best written and acted shows CBS has bothered airing in a while). Though i do find it funny that they wait to close to the end of the season to bitch and complain about it. They don't do anyone any favors. Their right to there beliefs and ideas about "morality" don;t translate into the right to control what can be seen on tv (heaven knows by feeling that the bible is disturbing an d equally violent doesn't translate into getting it banned).. I know its a novel concept but if you don't want to watch it or you don't want your kids watching it, don't watch it. Its on at 10 pm anyway, change the channel or better yet get an early start to bed (that way you can get up all the earlier to save the world form some immoral pitfall).

As to what Larry said, if it weren't for the Catholic league's warning that the move The Golden Compass was so dangerously anti-christian anti-god i would have probably not gone to see it and missed out on the killer polar bear fight scenes.

Posted by: Patrick B | May 6, 2008 2:58:51 AM

Actually, I think they should complain about other shows makig heroes of serial killers...like Murder, She Wrote, very popular in reruns!! That crazy old dame killed half the population in her small town and everywhere she went, more bodies turned up. Yet no one EVER connected the dots!!

Posted by: Laura | May 6, 2008 10:24:22 AM

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