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The Christian Right and the "Gay Agenda" - Fact vs Fiction
Has anyone other than me noticed that Fundamental and Traditional forms of Christianity are absolutely obsessed with Homosexuals, their "lifestyles" and what they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms? While this trend may not be surprising, considering the fact that this is the same facet of Christianity that also attempts to assert itself into bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, this obsession with homosexual behavior, arguments and living arrangements presents a disturbing - and growing trend. Why spend your time arguing against something that you disagree with or find distasteful? If the thought of a gay couple loving and being affectionate with each other repulses or disgusts you, why do you spend so much time thinking about it? What's really happening beneath the thinly veiled veneer of hatred? Oh yes, the Christians call it "love". They love the "sinner" yet hate the sin - and they demonstrate this love by saying hateful, derogatory things - yet when they're called out on it, they cry victim and claim that their rights are being trampled.
The Notorious "Gay Agenda"
When I first game out of the closet and told my parents that I was a lesbian, the proverbial poop hit the fan. My parents are Southern Baptists. My mother was a Sunday School teacher, and my Father (as well as the rest of our family) went on multiple mission trips. One of the first things out of my mother's mouth as we were sitting at Dennys after I dropped the bombshell quite unceremoniously on her breakfast was about the dangers of the "homosexual agenda". My question was sincere - and remains sincerely asked today. What agenda? I didn't get a membership booklet the day that I announced that I was a lesbian. I never got a membership card, and I don't get perks or rewards for straight women that I seduce and convert to my "dangerous, insidious lifestyle". In fact, I find it difficult to believe that any single person can convert any other person to homosexuality. For me, it was never a matter of choice. I understand that this is a point of contention, and that the Christian right wants to force everybody to accept that, at some point, every gay or lesbian on the planet made the conscious decision to throw away their old attractions and make the choice to suddenly be attracted only to people of the same sex. This doesn't happen. If it was as easy as waking up one morning and deciding that, come hell or high water, I was going to be attracted to a man that day, sexual orientation wouldn't be such a hot-bed of contention.
As far as my personal journey goes, I remember distinctly the first time I had a crush on a girl - it was when I was five. Of course, I didn't know what it was. I didn't know what it meant. A girl kissed me on the cheek for the first time in fourth grade after I had fallen off of the swing set, and I remember how hard my heart pounded in my chest when she did. I don't know any heterosexual that could force themselves to be genuinely attracted to a member of the same sex. They may be able to stomach their revulsion long enough to be with someone physically, but it wouldn't be genuine or real. Yet they maintain that homosexuals have that choice - the choice that they never consciously made themselves. This kind of double standard is absurd when you put it in such black and white terms, but no matter how you try to explain the concept to them, they simply won't see it any way other than what they were taught to believe.
Why the Obsession?
As an atheist with a background in Christianity, Christian Education, research and years of study both in and out of college under my belt as well as first-hand experience in the mission field, I am often asked why I spend a fair amount of my time discussing a god that I don't believe exists. While the answer to that question is simple, it is not the subject of this hub - but it kind of fits in its own proper context. I talk about Christianity because it interests me - regardless of whether I believe it or not. If homosexuality is so incredibly repulsive to fundamentalists Christians, they can hardly argue that the subject interests them. In fact, it seems like they're close to vomit even thinking about seeing two men kissing in public. So why waste all their time fighting against equal rights for gays and lesbians? Because in some regard, a lot of fundamentalists view the homosexual lifestyle as a potential last-stand in a dying, evolving breed. They see this battle as an opportunity to dig their feet in and hold on tight to what they claim are "traditional, biblical values". They are fed a bunch of lies and stereotypes from right-wing media, and in many cases they buy these lies hook, line and sinker. Some of these lies will be expanded on within the contents of this hub.
While the obsession may not be interest-based as is my enjoyment of religious discussions, I imagine that it may be fear based. When conservative media talks about the gay agenda, the dangers of a "homosexual lifestyle" and all of the snowballing effects that go along with it, it is natural to feel some fear - and when people are afraid of something, they will react strongly to it, and find ways to battle against it. The problem is the fact that they're fighting a non-existent war - and like it or not - the battle has already been won.
It's So Unnatural
One of the leading arguments against homosexuality - specifically their behavior in the bedroom - is that it's unnatural. This concept comes straight from the typical interpretation of one specific verse in the Bible penned by Paul - and it's one of the most hotly controversial and debated verses when it comes to homosexuality and the church. Consequentially, it's one of the only two verses in the New Testament that deals with homosexuality at all. The entire rest of the New Testament is strangely silent on homosexuality - and Jesus himself had nothing at all to say about it. This hub is not a Biblical debate, however.
If unnatural means "against the natural world" or "against nature" then this argument could not be further from the truth. According to fundamentalist Christian teachings, humanity is the only life on this planet that faces the punishment of original sin, and the only species that has been singled out for God's love and salvation. That aside, however, homosexuality is RAMPANT in nature. In fact, a large number of mammal species practice some form of homosexuality. Anyone who has ever owned two male dogs is very aware of this fact. It's found from penguins to primates and even in intelligent animals like Dolphins. It would seem that there's nothing unnatural about homosexual behavior in nature itself, which makes this argument virtually indefensible from the onset. Since human beings are mammals and a large number of mammal species engage in these types of behaviors for multiple reasons, it would seem that our species is simply a part of life on this planet.
Protect the Children
One of the leading lies coming from the mouths of religious fundamentalists is the absurd idea that "the gays" are out to further their cause - by recruiting young, impressionable, heterosexual children. Nothing could be further from the truth. One does not lure children into the "gay lifestyle" with promises of candy and a dark, windowless van. Those people are pedophiles - and despite what Christian fundamentalists would like the general public to believe, homosexuals cannot reasonably be compared to pedophiles, rapists or people who practice bestiality. Homosexuality is consenting affection from two adults. I don't want to "recruit" children.
Ironically, the only known producer of homosexual children is heterosexual parents. If the Christian Right wants to stop future homosexuals, the answer should be simple. Stop having children. Not because we aim to convert and corrupt them - but because gay children come from straight parents - as no other union can biologically produce a child.
Do you Believe in a hidden, subversive gay agenda
Forced Acceptance and Free Speech
Another myth that the Religious right likes to perpetuate is that "the gays" are out to force people to accept their "sinful and disgusting" lifestyle. Again, this is hardly true. No one is barging into Christian homes and forcing them against their will to watch gay porn - although it is arguably true that most straight men (even self-professed Christians) enjoy watching lesbian action on the internet. If you don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle (whatever that means - I don't have a lifestyle, I just have a life - which, incidentally can still be in jeopardy in some parts of the world and even this country just because I am a gay woman) that's fine. If you don't like gay marriage, don't have one. It's really that simple.
What we ARE doing is looking for equal rights and equal protection under the law. We are fighting for the right to marry (and winning, incidentally) because we want the protections that marriage offers - and no, marriage is not an arrangement between you, your spouse and god - it's a legal contract with Federal benefits, protections and commitments.
The other part of this argument is that Christians play the victim and try to pretend that their rights to "traditional Christian values" are being trampled when they discriminate or speak out against homosexuals. No, you are not being persecuted. You are being forced to abide by the law. If the law states that it is illegal to discriminate against someone based solely on their sexual orientation, you can expect to face consequences if you discriminate with someone on that basis. It's really that simple. In this country, we all enjoy personal freedoms - but those freedoms come with personal responsibilities as well. Free speech does not give you the right to say whatever you want anywhere at anytime and not face possible repercussions. There are consequences for negative actions and words - and sometimes these consequences include a rather hefty price. You can lose your job (and in many places in the country, homosexuals can still be fired for no other reason than the fact that they are gay). You cannot walk into your office and call your co-worker a racial slur without expecting some kind of fallout. Many businesses are fighting against this concept by refusing to serve gay and lesbian couples. Unfortunately, in many areas this falls inside the realm of anti-discrimination laws - and they can be fined for that action. While I'm unsure of what I'd do if faced with that situation, I would certainly not want to force someone to do business with me if they feel that strongly about who I am as a person. I wouldn't sue them - but they may be fined for discrimination. Under anti-discrimination laws, I would agree with that fine.
Christians in the last several decades have claimed the "moral majority". Here's a piece of advice for them. It is simply impossible to be the moral majority AND the persecuted minority simultaneously. I personally don't care what position you take - but please choose one and run with it. It will work out much better for all of us if you could just be decisive.
My Marriage is Better than Yours
This kind of taunt is common on schoolyard playgrounds, but it truly has no place in mature, adult conversations. One of the main slogans that the Conservative Christian Right likes to parade around is that homosexual marriage somehow diminishes the "institute" of marriage and trivializes it - but when pressured, no one can truly explain how.
I've been married to my wife for over a year, and we got married in a state that legally recognizes our marriage - and now it is federally recognized as well. In that year, I have not once heard that one of my heterosexual friends' marriage has been compromised as a result. I don't personally care who you marry. Heterosexual marriages do not detract from mine in the least little bit. The don't affect me. I attend them. I celebrate them with my friends and family members. Doing so does not chip away at the foundation of my own. There is nothing about a gay marriage that reduces the value of a straight one. No one is forcing religious organizations to perform any weddings that go against their religious beliefs - nor is anyone trying to, to my knowledge. That would interfere in the separation of church and state. And not one heterosexual marriage has been harmed by the fact that I am legally married to my wife - nor will one ever be. Then again, with the heterosexual divorce rate higher than 50% (and strangely higher than that in certain Christian denominations when the Bible specifically condemns divorce) gay marriage may HELP heterosexual marriage out of a downward spiral of disaster and at least attempt to equal the scales..
In Conclusion - Fact Check
When hearing supposed facts from any news source, it's all to easy to just believe what you are told - and then run with that knowledge and spread it to as many people as possible. As a skeptic, I would encourage you to fact-check your sources. Do some research. Look up alternative views and then don't be afraid to draw our own conclusions - even if those conclusions may make you feel uncomfortable initially. There is nothing wrong with applying critical thinking to any piece of information that you hear, read or are told. Look beneath the surface. Find a credible rebuttal and examine both sides of the issue. While both polar extremes will likely add a bit of bias to the subject at hand, the truth will most likely be found somewhere in the middle - and sometimes more on one side than another. This is not a bad thing! It's actually a positive thing that is very worth the time and extra effort that it requires.
There is no nefarious homosexual army out there that is aiming to criminalize heterosexual behavior. There are no pink angels coming to abduct your children and indoctrinate them with gay propaganda to try to turn them gay. Don't fall for the hype. The church as an institution has a long history of torture, murder and hatred for all who do not automatically fall in line with their preconceived ideals. You believe that Christianity is the basis for morality - that's fine. That's your belief, and you're entitled to it. Having that belief, however, does not mean that you have the right to enforce your beliefs on others who do not share them - or justify discrimination. Just think about it - if it was done in reverse, you would be crying persecution - heck, sometime you already are.