Wednesday, February 03, 2010

More bigotry on parade

Only two days ago I wrote about far right christianist bigots calling for gay people to be imprisoned. Now another rightwing christianist group is calling for homosexuality to be criminalised (near the end of the video above, and also on Right Wing Watch):

Matthews: Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?
Sprigg: Well I think certainly...
Matthews: I'm just asking you, should we outlaw gay behavior?
Sprigg: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned the sodomy laws in this country was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.
Matthews: So we should outlaw gay behavior?
Sprigg: Yes!!

It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Make no mistake: These people mean business. They’re powerful and have access to big piles of money. They’re also not as far outside the Christian mainstream as we might like to believe: Sodomy laws in the United States didn’t end because states finally realised it was the right thing to do, but because the Supreme Court reversed itself and struck them down—a decision Sprigg says was “wrongly decided”. There was no pressure from mainstream Christians for states to finally act, just as there isn’t now on marriage equality or any other issue, and just as the silence now among the mainstream Christians is deafening.

These extremists must be stopped: They’re the enemy not only of GLBT people, but of freedom and democracy. If people of good conscience don’t join in the condemnation of this sort of rhetoric, it will inevitably become part of the political mainstream for the ordinary right and from there, policy and law. It has happened before, it is happening now in Uganda.

After they’ve rounded up the gay people, and they’ve then switched their sights to mainstream Christians, it’ll be too late to stop them. Condemn and oppose them—while you still can.

Update: The video above has been deleted, but another source has it. Follow this link to the video on YouTube to get to the relevant part (the rest of the video is the entire debate).

Tip o' the Hat to Joe.My.God.


toujoursdan said...

These extremists are on their way out. America is secularizing just like NZ has. The population which is under 40 is pretty comfortable with homosexuality and thinks this is absurd. Even 30% of conservative evangelicals believe homosexuality should be accepted.

These people should be watched because as their influence shrinks they could turn to Muslim-like terrorism, but I think it's a mistake to give them more power than they have. It diverts resources and energy from the real issues. I do agree that we need to make sure they don't allow their extremist policies to be enacted in Africa and the Third World, though.

The fact that Chris Matthews kept pushing this guy to reveal his belief shows how absurd it is. America is changing quickly.

Roger Owen Green said...

I agree with Dan's 2nd point - as the world changes around them, those bigots will become even more virilent.

toujoursdan said...

I have a bigger worry about America's Teabagger crowd (which isn't necessarily the same group of people). The U.S. is going over a cliff economically (for reasons cited here: Marketwatch: 20 reasons Global Debt Time Bomb explodes soon) and my fear is that America could enter a Weimar Republic scenario where people look for a scapegoat. I don't think gays will be their principle target but think much damage can be done.

toujoursdan said...

errr.. principal

Arthur Schenck said...

toujoursdan: Excellent points, but I still see Evangelicals (especially in coalition with teabaggers) as real threat not just to GLBT people, but to America itself. I'll try and explain why.

Mindful as I am of Benjamin Disraeli's wry observation ("There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics"), I nevertheless need to rely on some studies. First, it's important to remember that Evangelicals of all ages are still very conservative compared to so-called mainstream Christians. Two-thirds of Evangelicals, for example, think that homosexuality is morally wrong. While that attitude is weaker among 18-29 year-old Evangelicals, it's nevertheless still negative.

About half of all Americans oppose same-sex marriage (a percentage that's remained little changed in 13 years), but that number zooms to nearly 80% among Evangelicals, and only a minority of 18-29 Evangelicals support same-sex marriage. However, a slim majority of Evangelicals would support civil unions, as long as they're both separate from and not equal to marriage.

But the greater risk is that about half of ALL Americans think that homosexuality is morally wrong. This suggests that the roughly 2/3 of Americans who say that gay people suffer discrimination feel it's justified. That's a danger. (all of the forgoing comes from various Pew Research poll findings).

The new Research 2000/Daily Kos poll found that 55% of Republicans opposed allowing gay people to serve in the military, 77% opposed gay marriage, 68% thought gay couples should not receive any state or federal benefits (suggesting that if they support civil unions, they must be inferior/unequal to marriage—maybe only hospital visitation rights) and a shocking 73 percent felt that openly gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools. These percentages were nearly identical across all age groups—young Republicans were not less anti-gay than their parents or grandparents.

The teabaggers take that religious-based fervour and turn it into a rightwing political force. Which is why I agree with you—they are a bigger threat than Evangelicals alone. But together, they're even more of a danger.

So, given the strongly anti-gay beliefs of Evangelicals, Republicans and teabaggers, it's entirely conceivable that an anti-gay crusade could result if their coalition took power (and given the racism of teabaggers in particular, racial minorities ought to be worried about this, too).

America is becoming more secular, but at a glacial pace and at the expense of mainstream Christians. The country is overwhelmingly Christian, and Evangelical and conservative Christianity is still a fast growing brand as mainstream Christian brands decline. Put another way, religion remains a very powerful force in America.

Also, one shouldn't put too much faith in young people in the short term: They don't vote. Older people (the most conservative) are the most likely to vote, which is why we keep losing elections. Long term, the young people of today will become the majority of tomorrow—provided the powerful rightwing elites haven't stolen their future by then.

Roger: I agree, too—I'm just not sure that they won't take power.

And to both of you: If I haven't been scary enough: 20% of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth. And they can vote.

Jason in DC said...

A couple of things.

There is a possibility that the economy will go in the tank. That could lead to the Republicans coming back into power. But if so they don't have are any solid ideas on how to make things better at all. They still are the party of no.

I think Obama has a chance to turn things around.

Also when the light of day is shown on these guys (besides immediately bursting into flames), people always step back and say really.

Because if you outlaw the behavior the next logical question is so you'd arrest people for being gay.

It's the same problem when they talk about abortion and the question is asked "so you'd arrest the woman going for the abortion." They then fall all over themselves saying well not but . . .

The biggest danger is if they feel backed into a corner. Feel like there is no way out. That they are losing their control on society. That's when the scary part could happen.

Arthur Schenck said...

I absolutely think that the light of day is a strong antidote (the bursting into flames part would be a welcome addition), which is why I keep talking about them. I want the majority to do the same so being one of these people will be seen as socially icky so people won't be tempted to join them.

Most of these religious extremists absolutely DO want to imprison gay people. Just the other day I wrote about one such wingnut who wants to imprison gay people and torture them by forcing them to go through the "ex-gay" scam.