Monday, September 22, 2008

Rightwing Roundup: Wiccans, Meanies, and Ex-Heteros

1. Another Reason to Love Buffy

Because the cult tv classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer holds a special place in my heart, the following news makes me so very happy. Apparently, Buffy, which included characters who were witches has caused thousands of women to leave "the church" to become "Wiccan"- at least, so says a headline from the UK's Daily Mail. The money quote:

"[Dr. Kristin Aune] also said television icons such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who promote female empowerment, discourage women from attending services."

I'm pretty sure she just said that once women are strong and empowered, they no longer attend patriarchal male-centric Christian churches.

Well done, Joss. Well done.

2. So, What Are You Saying?

I have become emotionally numb to many things that homobigots say about us. Yet, this next bit of rightwing news just outright shocked me. It is amazing to me how insensitive and distasteful people who consider themselves "loving" and "Christian" can be.

I'm sure many of you heard of the tragic commuter train accident in California that left dozens of people dead. Unfortunately, marriage defenders have stooped so low that they are using this accident for political purposes. Observe, a headline highlighted in yellow and placed at the top of the Campaign for Children and Families' website:

"LA train engineer was unstable homosexual"

(I am linking to the screen-shot of this headline captured by Good-As-You (G-A-Y) I refuse to provide a link and, consequently, revenue to this mean-spirited organization.)

Obviously, to normal people, the sexual orientation of a train engineer is simply not relevant to any article about the tragic crash. It would only be relevant to those who are desperate to promote their anti-gay agendas by vilifying gay people. See, in general, when those seen as "the other" are involved in tragedies, notice is made of their "otherness." Implicit in this notice is the message that their "otherness" somehow explains something about the tragedy that occurred. As though, maybe if the train engineer had not been an "unstable homsexual" he wouldn't have gone and wrecked that train. Clearly, therefore, being "homosexual" is bad and explains everything. Yet, when those whose identities are seen as "the norm," and consequently whose identities are largely invisible, are involved in tragedies, it's just an unfortunate tragedy that doesn't reflect upon that person's entire race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality.

This sort of political opportunism is just plain mean. I don't care what religious or spiritual code you live by, I think reasonable and sane people can agree that it's morally wrong to opportunistically invoke tragedies for political purposes. Jeremy Hooper of G-A-Y writes,

"But of course this means that we can put up a big, bold-texted exploitative headline the next time an evangelical "pro-family" Christian and 25 others tragically lose their lives in a accident. Except, wait -- oh yea, that's right: WE WOULD NEVER, EVER CONSIDERING DOING SOMETHING LIKE THAT! And why? BECAUSE HUMAN LIVES AND DECENCY ARE FAR MORE IMPORTANT TO US THAN OUR POLITICAL ENDEAVORS!"

"Pro-family" organizations like this one are the soul of the marriage defense movement. Take a good look everyone, because it's not pretty. This hateful, opportunistic, judgmental movement is utterly without redeeming social value. Perhaps it knows that its goal is so worthless that the only way it can win is through lies, vilification, and propaganda.

3. Gay People Should Not "Just Marry" People of the Opposite Sex

In news that's been circulating throughout Christian communities, gospel singer Ray Boltz has come out as a gay man. The Washington Blade reports:

"His 33-year marriage to ex-wife Carol was, he says, largely a happy one. It produced four children — three daughters and a son who are now between 22 and 32 — but family life and going through the motions of being straight had grown so wearying to Boltz, he was in a serious depression, had been in therapy for years, was on Prozac and other anti-depressants and had been, for a time, suicidal.

'I thought I hid it really well,' he says. 'I didn't know people could see what I was going through, the darkness and the struggle. After I came out to my family, one of my daughters said she was afraid to walk in my bedroom because she was afraid she'd find me — that I'd done something to myself. And I didn't even know they'd picked it up.'"

Boltz's account is honest, touching, and heart-breaking. He reports that his way of dealing with being gay was to become a Christian. He believed the anti-gay message that Christianity and prayer could change who he was.

It saddens me to read stories of heterosexually-married people who come out late in life after struggling to conceal who they really are for many years. It saddens me because those who flippantly tell gay people that they already are free to get married (to people of the opposite sex) and therefore, do not require the "special" right to marry people of the same sex, perpetuate these situations.

Ray Boltz exercised his right to get married to a woman and, due to the depression caused by living a lie, he almost lost his life because of it. I just don't think some people understand or care about what being gay is. That lack of compassion and understanding are good for no one.

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