Monday, November 12, 2007

Watchmen on the Walls: How Could They *Possibly* Be Seen as a Hate Group?

Today, I want to write about hate.

Oftentimes, people deny that they hate groups of people even though their words and behavior cannot be construed as anything but hate. Perhaps they just don't know the meaning of hate.

Hate. It's a tricky concept. A big word, I know. Let's look at it a little more closely.

Wikipedia contributors cannot agree on what "hate" means as the "neutrality" of the "hate" entry is disputed. As a related aside, an interesting Wikipedia study would look at how a person's politics go into a definition and usage of a word, as there are many Wikipedia contributor debates about a word's entry.

Nevertheless, the present Wikipedia explanation of "hate" is this:

"'Hatred' is also used to describe feelings of prejudice, bigotry or condemnation (see shunning) against a class of people and members of that class."

Wikipedia's definition of "hate" represents a common usage in the US of the word.

Wikipedia, however, is not too convincing an authority for many (usually when they disagree with the definition). When in doubt, it is usually better to look up a word in a "real" dictionary. (Which dictionary is most authoritative is also subject to its own debate). The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has these definitione of "hate":

[a noun] 1 a: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury b: extreme dislike or antipathy : loathing


[a verb] 1 : to feel extreme enmity toward [hates his country's enemies]
2 : to have a strong aversion to : find very distasteful [hated to have to meet strangers] [hate hypocrisy]
intransitive verb
: to express or feel extreme enmity or active hostility

Let's explore "hate" in the context of an anti-gay group that the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group whose rhetoric can lead to violence, but who resists being classified as such: The Watchmen on the Walls

I became interested in learning more about this group after reading an article about this group on Jane Know's blog. After conducting my own independent study, I have decided to present some key phrases of this group and its members. You, dear readers, are free to form your own opinion as to whether this group is hateful or not.

Exhibit A. In Their Own Words.

In the words of one prominent Watchman:

"Homosexuality is 'morally, physically, psychologically and socially wrong, unnatural and harmful,' he said, adding that Watchmen view homosexuals 'like we view alcoholics: unfortunate people trapped in a bad lifestyle.'"

Looking at this statement in the context of our various definitions of hate, readers, does this look and smell like a condemnation, aversion, and dislike of a group of people to you?

Not so fast!

The Watchmen don't really see gay people as a "group" of people. Homosexuality is a behavior. So the Watchmen's hatred is of a behavior, not a group of people. Therefore, it doesn't count. See:

"...[W]e are especially focused against homosexuality, because those who practice this self-destructive vice, and have organized themselves into a political movement, are the chief enemies of the natural family."

Those who engage in homosexual behavior have organized themselves into a created "political movement." And that's what the Watchmen hate. The behavior and the movement. Not the people in it. Even though, of course, the people who comprise the "gay" movement are "enemies."

(Coming soon to a blog near you: The "There Are no Gay People in Iran the World" Myth)

Moving along...

"There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals."

A war? But gay people aren't even allowed to serve in the military!

And, technically, if the Watchmen "hate" homosexual behavior (as opposed to homosexuals) shouldn't this alleged "war" be between Christians and "homosexual behavior," and not between Christians and homosexuals?

But I digress. Let's think about this war quote in the context of the Merriam-Webster definition of hate:

"1 : to feel extreme enmity toward [hates his country's enemies]"

Interesting example that happens to be next to the definition of hate. In a war, one usually feels extreme enmity towards one's enemies. Do the Watchmen not feel extreme enmity towards those with whom they are engaged in a war? Perhaps they see themselves as beacons of love in a war-torn world, showing us all how to be compassionate toward our "enemies."

Exhibit B. In the Words of the Founder

Watchman founder Scott Lively, it seems, is highly concerned about the "homosexual takeover" of society. In his own words:

"The takeover of a corporation begins with the placement of an activist (usually in-the-closet) homosexual into a hiring position. Other undisclosed 'gays' are then hired to fill strategic positions in the company. When the ability to control the process is assured, some of the activists come "out-of-the-closet" and form a 'Gay and Lesbian Employees Association.' That group then introduces an amendment to the company anti-discrimination policy to include 'sexual orientation.'"

Hate? Or genuine concern that gay people will infiltrate our nation's corporations and run amock with gay groups and anti-discrimination policies?

Lively continues:

"Once the control group has consolidated power, the organization is plundered for its available resources. These include tangible resources such as money and property, but also intangibles such as advertising and vendor contracts and even community goodwill. Charitable giving, too, is exploited, as gifts and grants are diverted away from previously-favored beneficiaries like the Boy Scouts to "gay"-controlled organizations. While some resources benefit the internal control group (i.e. domestic partnership benefits and employee perks), most are focused strategically outside of the organization to further the "gay" political agenda in the community."

Hate? Or genuine concern about the homosexual-take-over-and-eventual-gay-plundering-of-societal-goods?

Whatever the case, this sort of networking and strategic placement of people of a particular political persuastion is just wrong, and un-American, right? Clearly. Except the Watchmen mission says this:

"We will help people who share our views became the leaders of academia, business, government and media in every nation of the world."

Er, umm.... moving on...

Exhibit C. Taking the Gay Mafia Theory Even Further

But worse than this impending societal takeover, perhaps, is the theory that takes the gay mafia to a whole new level. Watchman Founder Lively's take on the Holocaust and its infamous gay "pink triangle" prisoners:

"The actual number of pink-triangle prisoners, estimated at 5,000-15,000 by Joan Ringelheim of the US Holocaust museum (Rose:40), was a tiny fraction of the total camp population. Of these, an undetermined percentage were heterosexuals falsely labeled as homosexuals.....More significantly, many of the guards and administrators responsible for the infamous concentration camp atrocities were homosexuals themselves, which negates the proposition that homosexuals in general were being persecuted and interned."

You can see that supposedly only a "tiny fraction" of the total concentration camp population was gay, and not even all of them really were gay. And, supposedly many Nazi guards and higher-ups (even Hitler, Lively suggests) were gay. Lively, even says that the "grandfather" of gay rights is a Nazi.

Interesting, I know. [note to Pride Parade planners: We should not mourn the gay victims of the Holocaust, but should celebrate the Holocaust as the birthplace of gay rights!].

Is this Holocaust revision theory of the Watchman founder evidence of hatred of gay people?

To answer that, I would have to know this: Is Lively blaming the Holocaust on gay people?

In his own words, Lively says:

"Yet, while we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism. To the myth of the 'pink triangle"-the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted-we must respond with the reality of the "pink swastika.'"

See, everyone. Lively doesn't claim that gays caused the Holocaust, he claims that gays had a central role in Nazism! See the difference?

(Me neither).

The Verdict.

Just as criminals in real-life trials get to decide the verdict of their own trials, the Watchmen decide the verdict of this mock one:

"I'm really tired of this constant accusation of hate," Watchmen co-founder Scott Lively said. "There are some people who hate homosexuals, but I'm not one of them."

Lively's self-decided verdict begs this question, however: Why would one NOT hate a group of people that is morally, physically, psychologically, and socially wrong, that is taking over our corporations, looting our societal goods, and that had a central role in Nazi-ism?

Lively, it seems, is truly the poster boy for tolerance.

You know, sort of like how the KKK is the poster group for racial tolerance- because, in their own words, the KKK is truly about "bringing a message of hope and deliverance to white Christian America! A Message of Love NOT Hate!" As the KKK says of itself, "We are NOT bigots or haters!"

Well, if they say so, it must be true, right?

Readers, you be the judge.

And finally. Yes, much of this article is sarcastic. I refuse to take any group seriously that says what this group says and yet claims with a straight(!) face that it's not a hate group. As I have said before, many groups that cannot be construed as anything other than hateful are more concerned with being labeled "hateful" than they are with actually being "hateful." The biggest fear of these groups is that label of "hater" or "bigot", because it (rightfully) takes away their credibility.

What emotion but hate would explain why a man would create a book about the supposed homosexual roots of the Holocaust, a theory that is widely discredited among actual historians (including the Director for Holocaust and Genoicide Studies at the University of Minnesota)? Why else would he promote such a theory if he did not want to spread hatred of gay people by making them out to be centrally involved in one of humanity's worst atrocities?

What word, I wonder most effectively captures the Watchmen's sentiments? Surely, it is not "love" is it?

And if they think it is, they would do better to ponder this quote:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis [emphasis added]

They torment us and do so with the approval of their own consciences. Because in their minds, they do not see themselves as "hating."

And that is what is scary about groups such as these.

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