It�s an election year; the GOP is in trouble; fundies are in a funk -- time for gay bashing
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 21, 2008, 00:51

While wrapped in their self-righteous robes, leaders of the holier-than-thou Christian Right and their political sycophants are once again cranking up their Call to Hate. Ignorance and fear define their rhetoric. Discrimination and violence seem to be their goals, yet again.

According to Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern, gay people are �a bigger threat� to America than terrorists and will be �the death knell of this country.� Ms. Kern had even more to say:

They [gays] want to get our young children into government schools so they can indoctrinate them. They�re going after our young children, as young as 2 in age, to try to teach them that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable. . . . One of my colleagues said, �We don�t have a gay problem in my community, and that�s why I voted against this bill [which bill she was referring to is uncertain] . . . To me, that is so dumb. If you�ve got cancer in your little toe, do you say, �Well, you know, I�m going to forget about it because the rest of me is fine.� It spreads, and this stuff [gay people] is deadly. It�s spreading, and it will destroy our young people.

Rep. Kern�s remarks to a Republican club can be heard here. The inappropriate, vile, nonsensical nature of Kern�s statements are obvious to anyone with at least two functioning neurons. And as for her unsupported assertion that �studies show that no society that has embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades,� perhaps Ms. Kern has never heard of classical Greece or Rome, both of which lasted for more than �a few decades,� as did medieval Christian monasteries where homosexuality was quite common and not condemned.

After the YouTube clip appeared rumors started flying that Kern�s 31 year-old son, Jesse, was gay. The confusion was cleared up by Jesse in a March 14 article in Tulsa World: �Kern, who said he is affiliated with the Des Moines School of Metaphysics, said that he chooses to be celibate, but he is not homosexual. �First of all, no one�s sexuality is anyone�s business. It is not even my mother�s business,� he said.� Too bad his mother doesn�t hold the same view. She thinks everyone�s sexuality is her business.

Not surprisingly, the Christian Right defended Kern�s arrogant ignorance and call to hate.

Gary Schneeberger is vice president for media relations at James Dobson�s Focus on the Family. He had this to say in an inflammatory March 13 FOF CitizenLink article titled �Lawmaker Faces Death Threats over Statements on Homosexuality�:

What is truly outrageous here is that a Christian elected official can be vilified -- even have her life threatened -- over simply speaking about the Bible�s view of homosexuality . . . Critics can quibble if they want about her comments that homosexual activists are more dangerous than terrorists, but that is certainly not something that would warrant her being forced to resign. It�s her opinion, and she�s entitled to it in our country.

Besides, if I had a cup of water for every time some journalist, pundit or elected official compared evangelical conservatives to the Taliban, I could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. No online polls are asking if those on the Left who express that opinion about us ought to step down.

A �Christian elected official�? Aren�t elected officials civil servants who are supposed to represent and work for the good of all citizens? Or is a �Christian elected official� only concerned with �Christians� who share her jaundiced views? In her remarks Kern said not all religions are equal. Does this �Christian elected official� then believe that Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists do not deserve equal civil rights?

Mr. Schneeberger cast the whole matter in terms of free speech. Yes, every American does have the right to vent his/her opinion, but there�s a substantive difference between that right and an elected public official using personal religious beliefs to demean, denigrate and encourage violence toward American citizens.

Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, made the point in his open letter to Rep. Kern:

What you said was not okay, but that�s not because most sensible people disagree with it. It's because your words give aid and comfort to those who would hurt, maim and even kill people who are different from you . . .

Just this past fall, Steven Domer, a 62-year-old gay man was brutally murdered right in your home state of Oklahoma. . . . Authorities believe that Domer was strangled Oct. 26 by two members of a white-supremacist group who targeted Domer because he was gay.

The point of the Victory Fund�s releasing your speech was to draw attention to the fact that even elected leaders like you are saying some nasty and potentially dangerous things about your fellow citizens. . . . Our mission is to elect people to counter your hate and bigotry with honesty and courage.

Mr. Schneeberger went on to assert that Kern has had �her life threatened.� The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations disagreed:

OSBI reading Kern e-mails

They reportedly fall short of making actual death threats against the anti-gay lawmaker.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations is sorting through nearly 7,000 e-mails that were sent to a state lawmaker after she said homosexuality is a bigger threat to the United States than terrorism.

Comments by Rep. Sally Kern, recorded several weeks ago but placed on the Internet site YouTube only late last week, have caused a national outcry, resulting in more than 500,000 hits on the Web site.

A fellow lawmaker contacted the OSBI on Monday and suggested that agents go through the e-mails, some of which might be threatening, OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.

Kern said Monday that she had not received death threats. On Tuesday, she said, �It�s changed,� but she did not elaborate.

Brown said Tuesday, �There are a lot of e-mails to the representative that say, �You ought to die,� rather than, �I am going to kill you.�� . . .

�I wouldn�t characterize them as death threats,� she said. [italics added]

Kern said Monday that she had not received death threats. On Tuesday, she said, �It�s changed,� but she did not elaborate.� How typical of the sanctimonious. When they victimize others, the first thing they do is claim to be victims. It�s a scenario that has played out time after time, as it did when Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell and president of the Catholic Education [sic] Commission, asserted that gays were inappropriately showing up at Holocaust memorial ceremonies and that the Catholic Church was being targeted by an evil international conspiracy of homosexuals. The latter is a standard tactic of the Christian Right and was also used by Sally Kern, as People for the American Way pointed out:

Religious-right activists have been pushing idea for years that there is a nefarious �homosexual agenda� behind political efforts for equal rights for gays and lesbians, usually taking the form of �indoctrinating� children or shutting down churches. So it�s no surprise that when pressed to back up her rant, Kern provided as �proof� links to statements by the usual far-right activists -- such as Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality -- claiming that politically active gays are part of a conspiracy to �gain power� and �promot[e] homosexuality among young people.�

But back to the bishop�s statements:

The homosexual lobby has been extremely effective in aligning itself with minority groups. It is ever-present at the service each year for the Holocaust memorial, as if to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution. . . .

I want to ask you if you are able to see the giant conspiracy that�s taking place before our eyes? It�s a very small group of people, but very active and organized, and extremely indulgent.

If the good bishop wants to root out a conspiracy, perhaps he should look into the Catholic Church�s decades-long practice of keeping pedophile priests �on the job.� And if the Christian Right and their GOPers want to expose a conspiracy, perhaps they should investigate the Council for National Policy: �a secretive forum that was formed in 1981 by Tim LaHaye as a networking tool for leading US conservative political leaders, financiers and religious right activist leaders. . . . Mark Crispin Miller states that the CNP is a �highly secretive . . . theocratic organization -- what they want is basically religious rule� (A Patriot Act).�

The bishop�s assertion that gays are inappropriately attending Holocaust memorial services is nothing less than ignorance on parade. As Alan MacDermid pointed out in his March 14, 2008, article in The Herald, �According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, approximately 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals by the Third Reich between 1933 and 1945. Estimates of the number of homosexuals who died in internment camps range upwards from 10,000.�

How appropriate that the bishop concluded his remarks with this: �Like Mel Gibson, who said, �I�m going to pick a fight,� so am I.� That�s Mel Gibson, the sanctimonious Catholic fundamentalist and mega-millionaire who didn�t want to pay taxes because some of the money went to things �his religion� opposed and who was arrested for drunk driving and an anti-Semitic rant.

And how appropriately ignorant for a Catholic Church spokesman, following the bishop�s performance, to say, �The Bishop was accusing the gays of today of trying to adopt the mantle of victimhood of those who were persecuted by the Nazis.�

Perhaps the bishop and his spokesman should take a trip to the University of Rhode Island where the exhibit �Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945� is currently on display. From Eric Tucker�s Associated Press story:

A traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uses photographs, documents, and artwork to chronicle the Nazis' arrests and persecution of tens of thousands of gay men from 1933 to 1945.

In Nazi Germany, some gay men were castrated and prosecuted by the Gestapo under Draconian laws prohibiting homosexuality. Others were subjected to crude medical experiments purported to correct their sexual orientation. Gay men in concentration camps were singled out with distinctive pink triangle badges and assigned backbreaking labor that often killed them.

The exhibit, on display through the end of the month at the University of Rhode Island, gives voice to what its curator describes as "one of the lesser-known stories of the Nazi era."

�You could substitute the word homosexual and put in any minority group and see a story of how easy it is to persecute somebody who is outside of the norms of the society,� said curator Edward J. Phillips, also acting director of the museum's division of exhibitions.

The German government is building a memorial to the gays persecuted by the Nazis. As the article about the memorial noted, �Adolf Hitler declared homosexuality an aberration that threatened the German race.� Remember Rep. Kern�s statement that �The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation�? Quite similar, aren�t they?

Kern thought she was speaking only to those who shared her theofascist views. Same for Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America when he recently addressed CWA�s Culture Conference. Using stereotypes and gross generalization to increase the crowd�s homophobia -- and hate -- Barber responded to a �good Christian�s� question/suggestion. Suffice to say the Good As You report about the exchange is titled �Christian: Let�s encourage gays to snuff each other out!� To read about and hear what the questioner and Barber had to say, click here.

The ultimate irony -- not to mention blasphemy -- came when Barber invoked WWJD: �What Would Jesus Do.� No one could possibly know what Jesus would do, today. But given what little is known of his activities then, it�s more than likely he�d be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the disenfranchised in their fight for civil equality and against the perverted religion propagated by today Pharisees who, like then, say they and they alone know �God�s� will: a claim that is, by definition, the ultimate blasphemy.

Just as Kern and Barber do now, no doubt more than a few of the guards at the Nazi concentration camps justified their actions and made jokes about the human beings they were demeaning, persecuting and torturing. Enter George Kocan, �a writer based outside Chicago,� whose recent attempt at sadist humor appeared on the web site of Americans for Truth." AFT is run by Peter LaBarbera whose whole life, whose whole �professional� career is devoted to propagating hate, fear, and discrimination. He and his organization exist solely to demean, denigrate, dehumanize and hurt as much as possible gay and lesbian Americans, their children and their families: a perfect fit for Kocan�s �article�:

Genetic Disorders Like S.A.D. Deserve Treatment, Not Acceptance

by George Kocan

I refuse to use the g-word [gay], in this discussion. I prefer SAD (Sodomy Attraction Disorder) because it describes a pathological condition in clinical and descriptive terms. The g-word is clearly prejudicial and self-serving. I, therefore, refer to a person suffering from SAD, a �SADist� or a SAD person.

What�s truly SAD is that this pathetic excuse for a human being takes please in mocking and demeaning others. Schadenfreude personified.

Mr. Kocan ended his �piece� with this suggestion: �Such manifestations of a personal and social pathology [being gay] should motivate behavioral scientists and mental health providers to intervene in the development of SAD and find therapies to moderate its effects.�

Read some history, Mr. Kocan. Read some medical journals. The Nazi �doctors� at the camps did as you suggested, as did prison psychologist in the U.S. during the Eisenhower administration. All failed, and for good reason. All -- that�s ALL -- legitimate medical associations in the United States agree that homosexuality is not a mental illness or pathological, and all have spoken out against so-called �ex-gay therapies� as counterproductive and harmful.

According to the American Medical Association, �there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one�s sexual orientation.� The AMA �does not recommend aversion therapy for gay men and lesbians.�

The American Psychological Association has stated that �groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called conversion therapy are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm to those they say they are trying to help.�

The American Psychiatric Association concurs: �gay men and lesbians who have accepted their sexual orientation positively are better adjusted than those who have not done so.�

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, �therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.�

Ex-gay therapies have been publicly decried as unethical by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. The National Association of School Psychologists and the American Counseling Association concur.

Reparative therapy unnecessarily tampers with the mind
Saturday, July 01, 2006

In response to Harlow J. Keith�s June 23 letter, which addressed a June 11 article on the ex-gay ministry Exodus International, I address a couple of Keith�s misconceptions regarding homosexuality, reparative therapy and the �only way out� Exodus International and the evangelical Christian community portray.

Reparative therapy, the psychotherapeutic process pioneered by Joseph Nicolosi and Charles Socarides, is widely condemned by the vast majority of mental health professionals, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association. In addition, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers and the Royal College of Nursing also have renounced it. . . .

The supposed need for reparative therapy derives solely from this assumption, that homosexuality is a mental illness and, therefore, in need of treatment. The fact that this assumption is based on spiritual-scriptural interpretation, rather than on scientific research and evidence, is apparent in that most reparative-therapy practitioners and centers are financially backed and supported by conservative Christian transformational ministries. They maintain that homosexuality is a socially destructive and undesirable chosen behavior, and that change is necessary and possible. Despite contradictions with current mainstream research results, reparative-therapy supporters continue to use biased research to purport this therapy to be an effective and safe alternative to an unhappy lifestyle.

Reparative therapy is, in short, a tampering and manipulation of the mind and conscience, the psychological well-being of a human being, something that we as humans do not have the right to tamper with. It is interesting and peculiar that this segment of the Christian community, which claims confidence in the power of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, would stoop to and participate in such medically unsound, potentially psychologically harmful techniques simply to satisfy their own egos and scriptural understanding. . . .

Even �ex-gay� counselors admit the fraud and harm done:

Former leaders of ex-gay ministry apologize for �bringing harm� and causing shame
June 28, 2007

Three former leaders of a ministry that counsels gays to change their sexual orientation apologized, saying although they acted sincerely, their message had caused isolation, shame and fear.

The former leaders of the interdenominational Christian organization Exodus International said Wednesday they had become disillusioned with promoting gay conversion.

�Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families,� the three said in a statement released outside the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center.

The statement was from former Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee, who left the group in 1979, Jeremy Marks, former president of Exodus International Europe, and Darlene Bogle, the founder of Paraklete Ministries, an Exodus referral agency.

The arrogance of Mr. Kocan is matched only by the depth of his ignorance. No doubt he still believes epilepsy is caused by demonic possession. That is, after all, what the Bible says.

Self-righteous arrogance, ignorance and what can only be called a pathological need to hate and hurt others underwrite the new wave of anti-gay rhetoric. The timing of this latest wave of hate-mongering is not surprising. It�s an election year, and although Karl Rove is out of the spotlight and George W. Bush will soon be out of office, the tactics they used are still very much front and center in the GOP�s playbook, even more so now that the Republicans� evangelical base has splintered.

Kingmaker� James Dobson is on record saying he could not vote for John McCain, but the acknowledged GOP presidential nominee did pick up the endorsement of influential Texas televangelist John Hagee. However, as The Advocate noted,

Evangelical or born-again Christian voters were key to George W. Bush�s victories, but so were Roman Catholics, who chose Bush over their fellow Catholic John Kerry in 2004 and over Al Gore in 2000.

The televangelist, San Antonio megachurch leader John Hagee, has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as �the great whore� and called it a �false cult system� and �the apostate church�; the word �apostate� means someone who has forsaken his religion.

He also has linked Adolf Hitler to the Catholic Church, suggesting it helped shape his anti-Semitism. . . .

Catholic groups are pressuring McCain to . . . reject the endorsement, which he announced at a news conference with Hagee last week. . . ."Indeed, for the past few decades he [Hagee] has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church,� said Catholic League president Bill Donohue. . . .

When faced with such a dilemma, what else would self-righteous Christianists and their GOP sycophants do but claim to know �God�s� will and start gay-bashing.

It�s what comes natural to them. Rev up those campaign to �protect marriage� from those who want to get married (despite the real-world benefits), sling stereotypes that hurt adults and their children, claim to be victims of an international conspiracy, and write silly articles about �SADists� for a web site whose sole (and soulless) purpose is to sadistically propagate hate and discrimination while claiming that anyone who disagrees with them is �anti-Christian.�

When will America live up to its billing?

When will people of true faith denounce and distance themselves from those who use a twisted version of politicized religion to foster hate, discrimination and the violence that inevitably follows?

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