National Commentary

The Immoral Habit of Homophobia

besen-Mug

The most revealing question of 2015: Do you support gay marriage?

At once, it divulges whether a person, nation, or faith is modern, wise, and decent. Those who oppose marriage equality are often vulgar and mean-spirited. It is not coincidental that moral cesspools – such as Iran, Uganda, Russia, Jamaica, and ISIS – are all homophobic. You simply will not find a respectable nation where LGBT people are treated as second-class citizens. This issue has become a contemporary mark of civilization.

It wasn’t long ago that anti-gay viciousness was considered virtuous. It was a difficult stigma to overcome because the feelings were couched in religious indoctrination. However, experience taught thinking, civilized people that oppression of the LGBT population was a form of grave evil.

During the incendiary culture wars of the past few decades, conservative religious groups sought to destroy the nascent LGBT rights movement. They spread lies, promulgated hate, and harmed countless LGBT people. These “moral authorities” abused their power and caused senseless tragedies by promoting “ex-gay” ministries, teen suicides, and opposite sex marriages that ended in painful divorces.

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As more LGBT people came out – the true extent of the collateral damage became apparent. For no good reason, people saw their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members, unjustifiably assaulted by crusaders who destroyed families in the name of family values.

About a decade ago, (two decades in parts of Europe) the American people started catching on to the divisive and vindictive charade that homophobia had always been. It was a cheap, lazy imitation form of virtue, where preachers gratuitously gay bashed to make the majority feel morally superior. After all, most people in the pews didn’t have to deal with homosexual attraction – so they could easily tut-tut and wag fingers – without having to personally sacrifice. It was a way for degenerates, such as the burglar, drunkard, and wife beater to sit upright in the pews and say, “At least I’m not queer.”

But after decades of education – the war against LGBT people has backfired. Instead of abandoning their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender loved ones, people are dumping the church or politicians who court “the base” through anti-gay bigotry.

Anti-gay attitudes are no longer mere “issues” that can be papered over by saying “we must agree to disagree.” To be homophobic is to be viewed as stupid, dishonest, or politically opportunistic, as there is simply too much empirical evidence to continue to hold such anachronistic opinions. There is too much blood on the hands of politicians and religious institutions to continue down this destructive road.

Those who won’t evolve appear untrustworthy and instantly lose credibility, particularly among young voters. Their opposition to LGBT equality isn’t just considered wrong, it is considered wicked, and a deal breaker for involvement with such malevolent entities.

A new Pew Research Center poll confirms the self-inflicted damage done by the Christian Church. In 2007, the last time Pew conducted a similar survey, 78.4% of American adults called themselves Christian. In 2015, the number of Christians plunged to 70.6% of the population. More than one-third of millennials now say they are unaffiliated with any faith, up 10 percentage points since 2007.

No one should be surprised by these numbers, given that hate preachers like Rick Warren, Pat Robertson, and Mike Huckabee have loudly waved the banner of Christianity. Who in their right mind would want to be associated with such ignorance, arrogance, and extremism?

The latest example of our new world is Ireland, where Irish voters just approved gay marriage with a whopping 62% of the vote. This was a demoralizing defeat for the Vatican, and a rejection of its past intolerance and hypocrisy. Voters in this once-traditional Catholic enclave sent a barbed message to the hierarchy: Change or wither.

At the moment, the media is fawning over youngish Sen. Marco Rubio. They naively believe that his relatively “fresh face” could lure younger voters. But they are kidding themselves. Appealing to social conservatives, he claimed this week that gay marriage was a “real and present danger” to America.

“We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater,” Rubio whined.

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With such inflammatory rhetoric, Rubio won’t get the youth vote, and his campaign theme song might as well be “Old Man River.”

Finally, Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw won the 60th Eurovision Song Contest, defeating a Russian artist, whose nation was showered with boos for its absurd anti-gay “propaganda law.” Vladimir Putin can have all the tanks in the world, but Russia’s reputation will continue to tank as long as his nation continues its ugly gay bashing.

While homophobia is far from over, the ability wrap the sickening habit in a shroud of morality is clearly not as easy as it once was.

 


Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”

Comments

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36 Comments

  1. Is it possible to be both rational and not endorse gay marriage? Is there anyone on the other side of the aisle that you see as a respectful and reasonable when debating the issue?

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      Is it possible for someone to be a staunch and stalwart defender of traditional marriage for the heterosexual majority, without any need to oppose gay marriage for the homosexual minority?

      The answer is obviously “Yes”.

      • I agree, especially if they don’t feel compelled to, or “need” to, but that doesn’t answer the question.

        Is it possible to defend traditional marriage (minor things, like voting for it at the ballot box, etc.) without being a bigot?

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          Sorry, I don’t understand. Where and when has anyone had to vote for traditional marriage at the ballot box in order to defend it? Where has there been a referendum on whether traditional marriage should be retained or abolished?

          • Guglielmo, When did they vote for it? In 2006, with the The Marshall-Newman Amendment, ratified directly by the people and passed by a 57% majority, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

          • By even attempting to define marriage in such a manner is to act in an oppressive fashion. Not to mention the fact that claiming that opposite sex marriage has always been the norm runs counter to the historic record. There are numerous examples of same sex marriages in many cultures, even the current intolerant society of Christianity.

            It is possible for people to have a marriage tradition. However, it is not possible to enforce that tradition on literally everyone else and not be a bigot.

          • Doesn’t defining marriage as being between two men just as oppressive as denying it to three loving, committed, adults? Why do you deny the throuple this same human right?

            It is nearly impossible to know what something is by simply defining what it is not. That’s why we create definitions. Would you permit a 12-year-old to marry a 47-year-old, or for two siblings of the opposite or same-sex to get married? Probably no; you see? You just started creating a definition.

            Did you listen to the oral arguments of the most recent marriage case? The proponents couldn’t name a single civilization before 2001 that recognized gay marriage. But, since you said there are numerous examples, can you name three?

            From your response, to be clear, then 1.4 million Virginians are bigots.

          • A same-sex union was known in Ancient Greece and Rome,[2] ancient Mesopotamia,[3] in some regions of China, such as Fujian province, and at certain times in ancient European history.[4] These same-sex unions continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Same-sex marital practices and rituals were more recognized in Mesopotamia than in ancient Egypt. The Almanac of Incantations contained prayers favoring on an equal basis the love of a man for a woman and of a man for man.[6]

            In the southern Chinese province of Fujian, through the Ming dynasty period, females would bind themselves in contracts to younger females in elaborate ceremonies.[7] Males also entered similar arrangements. This type of arrangement was also similar in ancient European history.[8]

            An example of egalitarian male domestic partnership from the early Zhou Dynasty period of China is recorded in the story of Pan Zhang & Wang Zhongxian. While the relationship was clearly approved by the wider community, and was compared to heterosexual marriage, it did not involve a religious ceremony binding the couple.[9]

            Some early Western societies integrated same-sex relationships. The practice of same-sex love in ancient Greeceoften took the form of pederasty, which was limited in duration and in many cases co-existed with marriage.[10]Documented cases in this region claimed these unions were temporary pederastic relationships.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17]These unions created a moral dilemma for the Greeks and were not universally accepted.[18]

            Among the Romans, there were instances of same-sex marriages being performed, as evidenced by emperors Nero who married an unwilling young boy [19][20][21] and (possibly – though it is doubted by many historians) the child emperorElagabalus,[22] who both supposedly married a man, and by its outlaw in 342 AD in the Theodosian Code,[23] but the exact intent of the law and its relation to social practice is unclear, as only a few examples of same-sex marriage in that culture exist.[24]

            In Hellenic Greece, the pederastic relationships between Greek men (erastes) and youths (eromenos) were similar to marriage in that the age of the youth was similar to the age at which women married (the mid-teens, though in some city states, as young as age seven), and the relationship could only be undertaken with the consent of the father.[citation needed] This consent, just as in the case of a daughter’s marriage, was contingent on the suitor’s social standing. The relationship consisted of very specific social and religious responsibilities and also had a sexual component. Unlike marriage, however, a pederastic relation was temporary and ended when the boy turned seventeen.

            At the same time, many of these relationships might be more clearly understood as mentoring relationships between adult men and young boys rather than an analog of marriage. This is particularly true in the case of Sparta, where the relationship was intended to further a young boy’s military training. While the relationship was generally lifelong and of profound emotional significance to the participants, it was not considered marriage by contemporary culture, and the relationship continued even after participants reached age 20 and married women, as was expected in the culture.[citation needed]

            Numerous examples of same sex unions among peers, not age-structured, are found in Ancient Greek writings. Famous Greek couples in same sex relationships include Harmodius and Aristogiton, Pelopidas and Epaminondas and Alexander and Bogoas. However in none of these same sex unions is the Greek word for “marriage” ever mentioned. The Romans appear to have been the first to perform same sex marriages.

            At least two of the Roman Emperors were in same-sex unions; and in fact, thirteen out of the first fourteen Roman Emperors held to be bisexual or exclusively homosexual.[25] The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions. First with one of his freedman, Pythagoras, to whom Nero took the role of the bride, and later as a groom Nero married a young boy to replace his young teenage concubine whom he had killed [26] named Sporus in a very public ceremony… with all the solemnities of matrimony, and lived with him as his spouse A friend gave the “bride” away “as required by law.” The marriage was celebrated separately in both Greece and Rome in extravagant public ceremonies.[27] The Child Emperor Elagabalus referred to his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles, as his husband.[28] He also married an athlete named Zoticus in a lavish public ceremony in Rome amidst the rejoicings of the citizens.[29]

            It should be noted, however, that conubium existed only between a civis Romanus and a civis Romana (that is, between a male Roman citizen and a female Roman citizen), so that a marriage between two Roman males (or with a slave) would have no legal standing in Roman law (apart, presumably, from the arbitrary will of the emperor in the two aforementioned cases).[30]In pre-Christian Rome and Greece, there had been some debate on which form of sexuality was preferable. While many people seemed to not oppose bisexuality, there were those who preferred to be exclusively heterosexual or homosexual. For example, a debate between homosexual and heterosexual love was included inPlutarch’s Moralia.[36]

            Historian John Boswell claimed the 4th century Christian martyrs Saint Sergius and Saint Bacchus were united in the ritual ofadelphopoiesis, which he calls an early form of religious same-sex marriage

            After the Middle Ages in Europe, same-sex relationships were increasingly frowned upon and banned in many countries by the Church or the state. Nevertheless, Historian John Boswell argued that Adelphopoiesis, or brother-making, represented an early form of religious same-sex marriage in the Orthodox church. Alan Bray saw the rite of Ordo ad fratres faciendum (“Order for the making of brothers”) as serving the same purpose in the medieval Roman Catholic Church. However, the historicity of Boswell’s interpretation of the ceremony is contested by the Greek Orthodox Church[citation needed], and his scholarship critiqued as being of dubious quality by theologian Robin Darling Young.[37]

            In late medieval France, it is possible the practice of entering a legal contract of “enbrotherment” (affrèrement) provided a vehicle for civil unions between unrelated male adults who pledged to live together sharing ‘un pain, un vin, et une bourse’ – one bread, one wine, and one purse. This legal category may represent one of the earliest forms of sanctioned same-sex unions.[38]

            While the church father, Augustine of Hippo, presented marriage as an important sacrament of the Christian Church in the 5th century CE,[39] it wasn’t until the “Sentences” of Peter Lombard, in the middle of the 12th century, that marriage became a part of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Christian Church.[40][41]

            A same-sex marriage between the two men Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz in the Galician municipality of Rairiz de Veiga in Spain occurred on 16 April 1061. They were married by a priest at a small chapel. The historic documents about the church wedding were found at Monastery of San Salv

          • I have little desire or need to look up the number of people that voted to enact the various layers of laws against same sex marriage in Virginia. And, given the history of the actions of the state legislature of Virginia my only response to your accusation concerning the bigotry of the state is DUH! Though, I have noticed that the actions of governing bodies tends to lag far behind and much more conservative than the attitudes of the governed.

            As for your assertions that I would be discriminating against thruples, an aspect of polyamory, if I did not rush to their defense. I take no position one way or the other on the subject of polyamory, provided all parties are of consenting age and have freely entered the relationship.

            Such relationships were a common practice in biblical times and fell into disrepute about the same time that same sex marriage began to be frowned upon.

            The following regions commonly had same sex marriages prior to being influenced by Christianity: the Roman Empire prior to 342 AD under the Christian Emperors, the nation states that made up what is considered to be the cradle of civilization by the Western world, Bronze Age of Mesopotamia included Sumer and the Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires, the southern Chinese province of Fujian through the Ming Dynasty allowed both women and men to marry. During the Early part of the Zhou Dynasty, the story of Pan Zhang & Wang Zhongxian serves as an example of a relationship that was clearly approved by the wider community, and was compared to heterosexual marriage, notably it did not involve a religious ceremony binding the couple.

            The attitudes of the Tribes of the Ancient Celts toward same sex relationships is clearly documented in the famous Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge. The hero of the Táin, Cú Chulainn, who is considered to be an Irish national hero had a well documented sexual encounter with an adversary during his quest. There is a larger than life size bronze statue to the honor of Cú Chulainn in the lobby of the Main Post Office in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city.

            Shall I go on?

          • So you want to take us back to biblical times, really? How backwards-thinking of you ;-)

            Really, I just wanted to see you state your belief of what marriage is; that there should be no limits on the number of parties involved in a marriage (2, 3, 14, 87, etc.) and that you have zero problem with incest (love is love, right?). So, your contributions for advancing this debate takes us in a direction that vast majority of homosexuals I’m sure do not share.

          • Wow! You have an interesting way of twisting my words that I have not encountered since I debated with Ben Carson. Go away and try to bully someone else.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            In other words, they didn’t vote to defend traditional marriage: traditional marriage had not been under threat, since there had been no move or proposal to abolish it. What they voted for was that traditional marriage should be the only kind of marriage allowed.

    • Wayne Besen

      The idea that traditional marriage needs a defense, particularly against gays, is bizarre and preposterous.

      Normal, healthy heterosexuals who are emotionally secure and sexually functional understand that marriage is just fine without self-righteous right wing Supermen flying in like crackpot superheroes to “defend” it.

      No, Tom – there is no reasonable argument to deny loving gay couples equality under the law. When one strips down the fancy, strained arguments, it comes right down to animus, religious persecution, and bigotry.

      • I agree that “defend” was perhaps a poor word choice, especially seeing how poorly many heterosexual couples view marriage.

        It is impossible to have a meaningful debate if you truly believe the other side is simply fueled by animus, religious persecution, and bigotry.

        Serious question: Should homosexual and heterosexual groups band together to at least deny thruples this same equality — to be to marry whom one (or two) loves? I’d love to hear your reasoning.

      • Thoughts on my last question regarding number of persons that should be able to marry eachother?

      • Hey Wayne, do you have any answer for this?

      • Still nothing? Are you not confident or embarrassed by your answer?

  2. flyingvee

    So we’re like Uganda or Iran due to a reticence to allow 2-3% of the population redefine the definition of marriage that has existed for millennia? Rubio is right. Leftists are coming after Christianity. No big surprise. And those in this thread who try to act as if they have a unique understanding of Christ’s teachings and tenuously imply He’d have no problem with homosexuality, clearly have a very poor understanding of the Bible. To be fair, in additional to homosexuality, adultery and sex outside marriage are also considered sin. Societal disapproval of those things has faded already. It used to be scandalous if couples “shacked up” and even more so if they had “bastard” children outside of marriage. Now it’s commonplace. Would you argue the world would is a better place because of more extramarital affairs, or young people becoming sexually active before having any real emotional maturity, or the huge numbers of children born out of wedlock without the benefit of a stable home with a mother and father?

    • Wayne Besen

      The more we we persecute gay people — the more we ACT with cruel Iranian or Ugandan values — the more we head in their backward direction.

      It isn’t mere coincidence that places like Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi are in the vanguard against gay rights. Anti-gay = Backwards

    • Leslie Gray

      With respect, but for the record, can you please provide for this debate any quote of Jesus’ that says anything about homosexuality, homosexual relationships or homosexual marriage. Can you honesty and accurately explain how the word homosexual even got into any bible in the first place; since it did not in fact exist in biblical times?

  3. Ken Hoffman

    Thanks for a post that confirms what Rubio just said. Its not enough that the nation is making marriage legal for gay couples. The shrill loudest part of the movement has no tolerance for descent, they the thought police of Orwell’s 1984.. checking to make sure everyone is aligned in thought. I voted for Gay Marriage in WA.I think it is the right move . I would not again unless the law had some protection for people of faith in SMALL businesses could choose not to be part of an event. I disagree with them but also support their right to be different from the majority. Mature liberty looks to give as much freedom to as many people, immature liberty just wants what it wants and will run over others to get it. I would also support a Gay or Atheist who wants to use personal morals to not serve a religious event.

    • Wayne Besen

      Interesting way to define “liberty.” Are you denying a member of the Christian Identity” movement his “liberty” if you force his restaurant to serve interracial couples?

      • Lenie Lenape

        Being a different color skin is not the same as performing actions which a religion holds to be immoral. At the very least the Catholic church did help with Civil Rights. So yes I agree. Wholeheartedly with Ken. The movements blatant intolerance and demand that religions change their key doctrines or whither is certainly in line with 1984.

        The Christian churches have been persecuted much worse before and have survived. Orthodox Catholicism will survive. No matter how many times people spread ill informed viewpoints on what it teaches.

        • Wayne Besen

          How convenient Lenie. You are exhibit A hot why so many people have left religion.

          • Is there any physical harm be determining what marriage is? No.

            Notice I said teaches?

            Yes I know all about the problems of Catholic clergy and parishioners but not on doctrine. And those terrible crimes weren’t committed by the Catholic Church they were committed by people IN the Catholic Church. Which is very different from the Church itself.

            I’m doubting how much you actually know about Catholicism. Because once people stop following the magisterium and make their own doctrines based on what THEY want, they’re not Catholic anymore. Modern Catholic thought is from the Magisterium, so really sir I am in line. Those people who dissent are making their own denomination.

            Thirdly Gay people have all their basic rights (at least as of a few years ago which was a good thing), as they should, their equal as anyone else. They can get married to a woman (or man if they are female) just like anyone else. The “right” your fighting for is to change that, to whatever you want and then if anyone says something you don’t like you throw around the world bigot and homophobic like if you say it enough it will actually make that person it. I know I’m not a homophobe, or bigot. I know because I have friends who are gay and it really doesn’t bother me and they good moral lives. I wish people would stop and listen to what the Church teaches and stop hammering those who don’t, just talk to them.

            In conclusion yes there have been really bad people in the Church but that doesn’t compromise it’s teachings. Secondly “modern Catholic thought” isn’t what people “want” it’s what IS. Thirdly as evidenced by the response to me posts. You people don’t want to understand Catholicism you want it changed or shut down. As if HUMAN BEINGS are the ultimate moral authority. Which is totally false, even from an atheistic point of view.

          • Pony plop by the cart load.

        • Leslie Gray

          I was there is the 1960’s when the race riots broke out. In the dark days before the rocks started to fly, I saw hateful signs in cafe windows and on walls over water fountains declaring for “WHITES ONLY’. When desegregation finally came the defense to try and stop it was the use of the very same ugly, empty excuses being used today. Conservatives then cried for the very same things conservatives now are whining for. Those conservatives want to preserve their bigotry at the expense of anyone else.

        • Bruce Eyster

          Yes the young, french aristocrat, who so many journalists and politicians like to refer to; Alexis De Toqueville, who also wrote “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.”

          Certainly you cannot expect to capture infinity in any book, rite, ritual, temple or church. God is not a concept, God is an experience and trying to base the quality of your experience in the amount of time you’ve been given, on something you read or were told is like, mistaking the directional for the destination

          And if you place the importance of a “belief system,” over the well being of your fellow human being by denying him the same privileges you take for granted, then I seriously think you may be misinterpreting your own credo.

    • Lenie Lenape

      Here, here. As a devout Catholic and follower of Roman Dogma (I guess the term “papist” will be back in use again) I am almost more worried about the social stigma that Christians who refuse too bend their knee to 21st century morality. Instead of trying to force dissenters out of public opinion LGBT should enter into a dialogue with the Catholic Church to at the very least get a legitimate understanding of their dogma. What I’ve read on different articles the past couple days has been so misinformed that I have laughed . (This is coming from someone who has read decent amount of the original documents that discuss matters pertaining to marriage.

      • Wayne Besen

        Gay marriage is supported by a majority of Catholics in the U.S. And, Catholic nations such as Spain, Brazil, and Ireland are leading the way on gay marriage worldwide.

        In other words, stop trying to hide behind your religion to mask your ugly intolerance. You are not the victim here. You are the victimizer.

        • Lenie Lenape

          Those who don’t follow the Pope and teachings aren’t really “Catholic”, their missing a huge part of their identity and what has helped Catholicism survive.

          I don’t see how I am the victimizer. How well do you even know what the Catholic church teachings? Or do you just read what people SAY it teaches?

          • I have a question for you. How well do you know the history of the condoned acts of destruction, terror and murder committed by and for the Roman Catholic Church?

  4. Todd Cagle

    Apostasy.

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  6. Wayne Besen

    As if on cue, another homophobe reveals his true sick self. Homophobia is the refuge for creeps and freaks who try to conceal their pathology by gay bashing.

    http://www.edgemedianetwork.com/news/crime/news//177879/anti-gay_tea_party_founder_busted_for_kiddie_porn_in_brooklyn#.VWdernXOnqA.facebook

  7. Wayne Besen

    Dennis Hastert SCANDAL. Another anti-gay Family Values fraud. When will Republicans wise up and abandon this party of “moral” Charlatans? I’m not sure GOP voters will ever learn. Are they capable of learning? These voters seem to thrive on being suckered and used by ambitious, sanctimonious politicians who pretend to be holier-than-thou.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/29/politics/dennis-hastert-indictment-questions/

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