It looks absurd to any rational person, but this is precisely the claim that at least one (doubtless not the only) Evangelic Christian organization, the American Family Association, is making. A New York Times article reports on the influence of conservative religious groups like the AFA on the coming 2012 elections, including drumming up support for candidates that explicitly take stands against gay marriage.
Groups like the AFA go on the offensive against what is perceived to be a “homosexual agenda,” combining the far-right’s usual fondness for paranoia and conspiracy with a tendency to blame a narrow group, social trend, or belief system. They provided support to California’s proposition eight, which sought to ban gay marriage, and were behind the successful effort to unseat the Iowa Supreme Court judges who had supported gay marriage.
But the [American Family Association] has sharpened its edge over the years, moving from its well-known crusades for public “decency” to harshly opposing what it calls an anti-Christian “homosexual agenda” — not only same-sex marriage and the acceptance of gay troops in the military, but any suggestion that homosexual “behavior is normal.” The association also campaigns against anti-bullying programs that teach tolerance and corporations (like Home Depot, a current target) that support gay pride parades.
This is just spiteful and petty. It’s enough that people make such a fuss about gay marriage, which does no harm to anyone whether you care for it or not. But to campaign against efforts that promote tolerance and fight anti-gay bigotry? They’re essentially condoning discrimination and bigotry against homosexuals.
Furthermore, as is typical among the Christian right, there is the usual rhetoric decrying the loss of Judeo-Christian values and drawing a link between America’s current state of decline and the growing secularization of society (never mind that most secular countries in the world – the Scandinavian nations, Australia, South Korea, and others – are doing rather well in terms of low crime rates, high levels of education, high standard of living, and so on). The AFA goes as far as to claim that there is a Manichean conflict between an alliance of gays and secular elites and the religious community.
Mr. Wildmon [AFA’s founder and chairman] warns that if current social trends go unchecked, “homosexuals will become part of an elite class” and “Christians will be second-class citizens at best.”
This is nothing short of a delusional conspiracy, to say the least. Anyone who thinks that homosexuals are out to control the masses and keep the rest of us down is just rehashing the same old nonsense that’s been said about some minority or another for centuries (most notably Jews). Such an absurd claim is a complete non-sequitor for me. It’s also akin to how past movements concerned with the rights of women or blacks were similarly derided, with claims that they were trying to shake up the stable and wholesome social order (which was great if you were a white male).
As if this statement isn’t upping the ante enough, one of the organization’s talk radio hosts – who I cringe to add is probably reaching at least 2 million of the groups’s members and sympathizers, if not more – heightens tensions up even more with this little gem:
“I don’t think we are exaggerating the dangers to the country, the culture, the American family,” Mr. Fischer said in an interview. “The stakes are as high as they could be.”
Dangers to this country? To our culture and families, with high stakes involved? These folks might as well just declare war on homosexuals and be done with it. It’s bad enough that this group makes a point to curtail any effort to promote tolerance and understanding of homosexuals; it’s bad enough that they go the next step and claim LGBT people are part of some nefarious anti-Christian plot. But now they’re inciting some sort of existential threat to our entire society and it’s well-being?
Of course, it hasn’t even begun to get worse. On top of their war against America – which is essentially what these AFA people are stopping just short of saying – homosexuals bear one another concerning threat: they’re tyrants and Nazis in the making. To quote the NYT article once more:
Perhaps most notably, Mr. Fischer trumpets the disputed theory that Adolf Hitler was a homosexual and that the Nazi Party was largely created by “homosexual thugs” — evidence, he says, of the inherent pathologies of homosexuality. Mr. Fischer has also said that no more Muslims should be granted citizenship because their religion says to kill Americans, and that welfare recipients “rut like rabbits” because of what he calls welfare’s perverse incentives.
So every homosexual is a potential murderous tyrant in the making? Chalk that up with similar claims about gays being innate pedophiles, sexual predators, and abusers. This isn’t just vapid and inane drivel – it’s frightening. Claiming that the Nazi regime, and everything it did, is an inherent feature of homosexuality “run amok” is not a light claim by any stretch. This is a vile and disturbing connection that no group of people, even those behind such a remark, should be tainted with.
Am I the only one that sees the danger in all this? It is one thing to have some personal gripes about homosexuality (though I find that silly and baseless, to put it nicely). But going on about some paranoid scenario pitting homosexual elites against the entire country is insane and possibly perilous. The AFA, which is just one of dozens of similar groups, is proliferating these hateful claims to millions of people around the country – and at a time of inflamed passions, fears, and divisions. People are already quite misinformed about homosexuality and other non-heterosexual identities as it is. This just lessens the dignity and humanity of LGBT people even further.
I’ll never for the life of me understand why people are so inflamed and hateful towards a small minority with different sexual identities and orientation. With all the real problems facing our society – poverty, inequality, debt, crumbling education and infrastructure systems, and so on – we’re putting all this energy, vitriol, and attention on gays marrying or seeking civil protections? With all the real crooks and monsters out there, we’re framing people – guilty of nothing more than having a different sexuality than most of us – as malicious elites and Nazis?
The idea that a politician’s career can be made or broken by whether they at least tacitly take a stand against LGBT people is disheartening, as is accepting that millions of people vote with this “issue” being foremost on their minds, ahead of many other considerations. I don’t think any rational and decent person, whatever their political or religious persuasions (if any), could not feel, at the very least, perplexed by all this, if not disgusted.
Also, before I receive the usual feedback that not all Christians believe or endorse these kind of statements, let me make clear that I acknowledge this and am in no way claiming all religious people are guilty of this sort of bigotry and stupidity. I’m focusing merely on those that do, although I advise the moderate or tolerant religious readers among you to reflect on where such trends are coming from, and to perhaps consider reigning in on your co-coreligionists’ frightful rhetoric.