Friday, April 23, 2010

An Ounce of Anti-Gay With a Dollop of Rape Culture

The evangelical Christian magazine Christianity Today recently posted an interview with musician Jennifer Knapp, a former Christian musician, who has come out as being in a same-sex relationship. Much of the interview discusses this "lifestyle choice" and is fairly unremarkable aside from Knapp's apparent painful journey in reconciling her homosexuality with her Christian faith.

This interview generated over 1000 comments, which seems to be a much higher number than what articles at this site usually generate. If there's one topic Christians love talking about more than Jesus, it's homosexuality. Anyway, in perusing the comments, I came across a common sentiment that is expressed among those opposed to LGBT equality. Observe:

"Betty B Posted: April 20, 2010 3:04 PM
If God wanted Jennifer to choose for herself which gender to fall in love with, he would have made her a hermaphrodite. He gave her female sex organs only. Just because she has no sexual attraction to men doesn't mean she gets to go around picking and choosing who to fall in love with. We need to get back to a more Biblical version of love... Back when marriages were arranged." (Emphasis added)

Setting aside the bizarre statement about "hermaphrodites" and its implication that human beings are only allowed to love those who have "sex organs" of the other gender, let's examine the portion of Betty's statement that I emphasized. See, those opposed to marriage equality for same-sex couples often recite the tired claim that laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman don't discriminate against LGBT people, because LGBT people are already completely free to get married (oh, to someone of the "opposite" sex of course).

This statement demands that LGBT people either live in unrecognized relationships that do not receive the myriad of benefits that the state doles out to married heterosexual couples or that LGBT people opt for the heterosexual lifestyle. It is an extension of the idea that men and women exist for certain purposes, purposes that transcend individuality, free will, and consent.

In short, the statement is a product of Rape Culture.

Note: Betty demonstrates that she knows a lesbian "has no sexual attraction to men," yet she carries the idea that men and women are complementary beings to its "logical" conclusion, and says that the lesbian can't just pick and choose who she wants to be with sexually. Because men and women are complementary, the canard goes, women must have sex with, marry, and reproduce with men. Even if they don't want to. And, as you see, Betty goes on to horrifically suggest that such women should be forced into marriages with men.

Yet, I think there's a word for what Betty's advocating. Welcome to Rape Culture, anti-gay, evangelical "Christian" style.

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