Saturday, January 16, 2010

Truth is the real victim

Of all the lies told by the christianist right in America, the claim that they’re “victims” is one that ought to go nowhere. It’s so demonstrably false, so obviously a propaganda ploy, that it should be a no-brainer for the mainstream media to call them out on it. That never—ever—happens.

The lie, in a nutshell, is a claim “Christians” (by which they mean exclusively far right fundamentalists like themselves) are “victims” because of their beliefs. Who’s behind this “victimisation”? Why, the dirty homos of course!

As the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case to overturn California’s Prop 8 was about to get underway, the anti-gay bigots went to court to block TV cameras because, they said, their supporters would be “victimised” by the homos. They went to the US Supreme Court carrying that absurd claim and won a stay. Then the conservative majority on the court blocked cameras indefinitely.

Since then, plans to post clips of the trial to YouTube have been dropped, and the bigots want all video of the trial destroyed. The logical question is, what are they trying to hide?

These far right religious extremists are waging two wars: First, to block the civil and human rights of GLBT people (and, ultimately, to repeal what already exists). Second, they want to hide all the interconnections between and among them. This latter goal can be seen in their constant attempts to keep the donors to their political campaigns secret, in violation of campaign finance disclosure laws, and even to keep the signatures on anti-gay ballot measures secret.

They know that their violation of law and extreme secrecy looks bad—and would rightly be viewed as anti-democratic—so they need a scapegoat to blame for their secrecy. Who better than the people they hate the most—homos?!

Typical of far right christianist hategroups is the “Family” Research Council. In customary overheated, bombastic style, head bigot Tony Perkins wrote recently about banning cameras in the Prop 8 trial and pompously declared:
“This isn't a question of whether conservatives will face harassment but how much. After all, this is a state where militant homosexuals have a long rap sheet of ‘harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, angry protests, violence...death threats, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry’ against locals who vote or donate to pro-marriage causes. In truth, the only video this court should allow are security cameras outside the defendants' homes. Maybe then the country could see what these ‘agents of tolerance' are really capable of."
And what is Perkins’ proof of this “long rap sheet”? A propaganda paper from the radical right group Heritage Foundation (the paper was funded, by the way, by the family that founded the rightwing mercenary army company Blackwater). The paper looked at supposed “harassment” during the Prop 8 campaign in California and absurdly lists all sorts of alleged minor “harassment” like stolen or vandalised anti-gay yard signs—Oh no! The message in the propaganda is that individuals here and there claimed they were harassed because of their “Christian” views, therefore they were so therefore gay people lead an anti-“Christian” conspiracy (with liberal enablers).

This is defamatory nonsense. There’s absolutely no equivalence between what GLBT people suffer each and every day and what these self-righteous people claim to have experienced. Joe Jervis at Joe.My.God. summed it up this way: “They make zero mention of the Christianity-fueled anti-gay incidents that occur every day of every year, including non-Prop 8 years. Because Christianist privilege means stolen yards signs trump beatings, bashings, and murder every time.”

The christianist extremists’ constant claims of victimhood ring shallow, as well as hollow, compared to what GLBT people actually experience. In reality, it’s the extremists’ rhetoric that leads inevitably to violence against GLBT people. Joe pointed out the realities of such violence in his post (emphasis in the original):
FACT: According to the FBI, during 2008, the year of Prop 8, there were 1617 hate crimes committed against LGBT persons. A similar number of hate crimes were categorized as being motivated by religion. The victims in almost every one of those attacks were Jews and Muslims. Now ask yourself, what do gays, Jews, and Muslims all have in common??? The Family Research Council knows.
The hatred and lies spread by Perkins’ group is repeated throughout the far right christianist movement, of course. But they wouldn’t be so successful if the mainstream media would stop cowering before their bluff and bluster and instead called them on their lies. I can—and will—hold the radical right accountable at every opportunity, but that will do nothing to stop the march of evil. We need people of conscience to stand up to radicals’ hatred and the bigotry.

And so I end this particular rant, as I have before, with Edmund Burke’s warning: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.


Roger Owen Green said...

nteresting to me in this case are the lawyers in this case for the correct side. My pal Paul Rapp writes: "... David Boies and Ted Olson.

Olson’s participation is simply mind-boggling. He would appear as solidly Republican as anyone on Earth. He was an assistant attorney general under Reagan, led the charge against Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones case, represented the Republicans in the “hanging chad” case that decided the 2000 presidential election (Boies, incidentally, represented the Democrats), and was solicitor general under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004.

So, what’s he doing arguing for gay marriage? He explains it in an essay appearing in the current issue of Newsweek titled “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.” I could stick quotes in here, but I won’t. Instead, just go to newsweek.com and read it. It’s fantastic, rational, and impassioned."

his whole article can be found, until Thursday, at http://www.metroland.net/rapp_this.html, and later in the Metroland back issues for Jan 14. Paul also touches on the cameras in the courtroom issue.

toujoursdan said...

Nothing new here but there is a strong sense that they are losing steam. Even younger fundamentalists/evangelicals aren't as obsessed as their parents were. A Pew Survey recently showed that 39% of African American Protestants and 25% of evangelicals/fundamentalists believe that homosexuality should be accepted. Not a majority, but not insignificant either.

Most Mainline Protestants Say Society Should Accept Homosexuality

BTW, now that Civil Unions have passed in NZ, is there any push for full marriage?

Arthur Schenck said...

Roger: That link was interesting—thanks. The thing about Ted Olson is that he's basically arguing what I always used to say—there's no more conservative or traditional Republican issue than gay rights because it's about what traditional Republicans always used to hold as the ultimate civil right—the right to be left alone.

toujoursdan: You're right that younger Evangelicals are less homophobic than their elders (and Pew has excellent data on this and so many other things), but in many cases we're talking only about degrees of difference. The older Evangelical leaders are both rabidly homophobic and in control of the Republican Party, which is why they remain such a big deal, and such a threat to freedom and liberty.

There's no huge push for full marriage equality in New Zealand, but it's still on the agenda. Since NZ has no provinces or states, the nationwide law is enough for now. There is, however, a big push for changing adoption laws to make them treat Gay or Lesbian couples the same as married heterosexual couples.