A recent post by my blogfather highlights an issue which, unfortunately, is not being addressed as it should by the so-called "gay movment":

...[I]n Germany, Islamists (you know, followers of the religion of peace) are attacking gays. And since it's "taboo" to ever say anything critical of Islam, the events go mostly unreported and discussed.
Other than blogs by gay gun nuts, where are American gays supposed to go to read about such things as Islamic attacks and Islamic attitudes on homosexuality? Do they have to have to read WorldNetDaily? (That last article is a must read, by the way!)

Well, why isn't the mainstream "gay movement" giving these things the attention they should?

Why is there so much silence about Islamic sodomy Laws and homosexuality?

Let's start by taking a look at the map of world sodomy laws.

In many Islamic countries (especially those under Shariah Law), the penalty for homosexuality is death. This should not surprise anyone who does the most minimal research into so-called "Islamic Law" -- especially as promulgated by "traditionalists." This, a translation from Ibn Taymiya, is typical:

The Companions of the prophet did not vary in opinion as to putting the sodomite to deathm, but they did differ about the form of death he was to suffer. It is related from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may Allah bless him, that he should be burned, others said that he should simply be put to death. Some others said that a wall should be caused to fall on him so that he might die under the falling stones. Others said that both the active and the passive sodomites should be shut up in the most rotten place until they died. Some said that he should be lifted to the highest wall in the neighbourhood and then thrown down and stones thrown at him, as Allah did to the people of Lot. This is one (saying) related by Ibn 'Abbas. Another, related also by him, is that the sodomite is to be stoned. This latter view is agreed upon by most of the early jurists from the pure analogy of the stoning of the people of Lot (with stones from Heaven).
Here's some background on Ibn Taymiya -- a man considered the father of Wahhabist Islam.

Jeff linked to this German story, which gives the following reason for the official silence about anti-gay attacks by Muslims:

the nearness of Islam to violence and oppression against minorities remains a taboo topic in Germany.
I guess that shouldn't be terribly surprising.

What is surprising is that American gay rights leaders downplay Islam's uniquely pathological, genocidal hatred towards homosexuals.

Here's Michelangelo Signorile, who, right after admitting that homosexuals are routinely put to death by Islamic governments, compares their struggle to that of gay Christians in the United States:

Like gay and lesbian Christians in this country who are embroiled in their own war with the religious right, Sulayman X and other gay Muslims maintain that Islam is being misused. “Islam is an elegant, simple religion that values humankind and places much emphasis on the here and now—creating just societies,” he says. “Islam has been hijacked by extremists, and when you read about Muslims in the newspaper, invariably it’s about Muslims who are killing people or resorting to violence to get what they want. But that’s not Islam. That’s people using Islam as a political tool to achieve political ends.”
Sorry, but I have to ask one question.

Is it really fair to compare the fate of being stoned or burned to death, or being crushed by walls, to the struggle over things like gay marriage?

Another group of gay activists against Israel compares the murderous Palestinian Authority to the City of San Francisco:

Palestine is by no means unique in being a place where gay people are threatened, abused or tortured by the police. It happens in every western society, including in San Francisco. Palestinian queers are also not alone in being in danger in the small conservative towns and villages where their families live, or in being threatened with violence from their own families.
Lest anyone think they spend their time targeting Islamic Law, their most visible target has been Starbucks!
The group selected Starbucks for the location of their first settlement in Berkeley because Starbucks founder and CEO, Howard Shultz, is a major supporter of the Israeli state and the corporation has become the prime target of an international boycott of corporations with ties to Israel ( “Since Mr. Shultz clearly believes it is okay for one group of people to grab land belonging to another and say they have a right to it, we figure he won’t mind if we take some of his,” a QUIT leaflet explains.

Workers in the café were surprisingly unruffled as the Queer Defense Forces entered the café and announced over a loudspeaker that the land had been confiscated by the Queer National Fund and curfew for straights would begin in five minutes.

Several “patrons” were forcibly ejected from the café by means of SuperSoakers (which were especially popular with a three-year-old settler). Many coffee drinkers quickly cleared out, but one group of chess players steadfastly ignored the group, who vow to set up more settlements in the coming months.

Fortunately, this swinish behavior didn't go unnoticed in the blogosphere. Little Green Footballs commented wryly that activist Kate Raphael (QUIT's cause celebre):
fights for the rights of those who want to execute lesbians and gays by stoning.
Need I remind my readers about the fate of homosexuals in Palestine?
According to Halevi, one young man discovered to be gay was forced by Palestinian Authority police "to stand in sewage water up to his neck, his head covered by a sack filled with feces, and then he was thrown into a dark cell infested with insects." During one interrogation Palestinian police stripped him and forced him to sit on a Coke bottle.

When he was released he fled to Israel. If he were forced to return to Gaza, he said, "The police would kill me."

An American who foolishly moved into the West Bank to live with his Palestinian lover said they told everyone they were just friends, but one day they "found a letter under our door from the Islamic court. It listed the five forms of death prescribed by Islam for homosexuality, including stoning and burning. We fled to Israel that same day," he said.

The head of a Tel Aviv gay organization told Halevi, "The persecution of gays in the Palestinian Authority doesn't just come from the families or the Islamic groups, but from the P.A. itself."

Palestinian police have increasingly enforced Islamic religion law, he said: "It's now impossible to be an open gay in the P.A." He recalled that one gay man in the Palestinian police went to Israel for a short time. When he returned to the West Bank, Palestinian Authority police confined him to a pit without food or water until he died.

A 17-year-old gay youth recalled that he spent months in a Palestinian Authority prison "where interrogators cut him with glass and poured toilet cleaner into his wounds."

Why the silence by gay activists? Is there a lesson to be learned from the fate of openly gay Pim Fortuyn?

Just as musical silences can be as eloquent as any note struck, political silences can speak volumes. The silence of America's national gay organizations after the assassination of gay Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn is revealing. Let me summarize it this way: If you are gay and perceived to be on the political right, do not send to know for whom the bell tolls. It does not toll for thee.

Fortuyn, an outspoken defender of the rights of gays and women against intolerant Muslims who enjoy his country's public benefits while attacking its values, was widely and falsely characterized by news reports as a racist, right-wing extremist -- despite the racial diversity in his own party. Responding to media distortions is normally the stock in trade of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, yet in this prominent case GLAAD has had nothing to say.

The Human Rights Campaign has been quick to issue press releases and organize vigils when it connected the killings of gay people to a climate of hate. Yet now, when an openly gay candidate is murdered after being demonized by establishment politicians and journalists, HRC is silent. And the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which considered the Persian Gulf War a vital gay issue, sees no relevance when a man who stood a good chance of becoming the world's first openly gay head of government is savagely cut down.


Whatever happened to the slogan "SILENCE = DEATH"?

At least I can trust that gay gun nuts like my blogfather will refuse to live under this deadly veil of silence.

Lastly, I have an idea. An old idea, really. But I think it's right for the times. I don't want the Islamic bigots and their supporters to imagine that the Pink Triangle can ever be used the way the Nazis used it.

So I offer a modest revision.


Thanks Jeff! (Sorry for the poor quality; I wish I knew how to use PhotoShop!)

UPDATE: A talented PhotoShopper just came to my rescue! Sol at Solomonia sent me this note along with a gif:

Was a bit bored so I made you a graphic. I'm not that great with Photoshop, either, but I thought what the hell. One's a .gif with a transparent background, the other is a .jpg. The AK says terrorist to me, so I did more of a "good guy" weapon. ;)
Here it is:


Wish I could do that! Thank you Sol! As to the "good guy" issue, well, even though many of the good guys traded their Colts for Kalashnikovs, what I think would really be a "good guy" weapon would be the Galil!)

Readers should check out Sol's blog; one of the most fascinating things I have ever seen is there right now: a very realistic baby dragon in formaldehyde.

Here's what the poor thing must have looked like when it was alive:


MORE: Sol just outdid himself by supplying a Galil!


I declare Sol the winner of this contest! And CHECK OUT SOL'S LINK!


UPDATE: Wow is right! My sincerest thanks to Roger L. Simon for kindly linking to this post, and adding his own invaluable insight:

...[W]e are engaged in a War on Islamofascism (or Islamism--call it what you will). The real question is--is this war (honestly named) worth fighting? To believe that, which I do, you have to believe that we are engaged on some level in a War of Civilizations against a dangerous ideology. Scheie's post, which is about the violent discrimination against gays under Sharia where homosexuality is punishable by death, speaks directly to this question. A vast proportion of the Islamic world does not share our view of basic human rights (women's equality, separation of church and state, etc.) and, to make matters worse, does not wish to coexist with us on this subject. I think these rights are worth fighting to preserve and, yes, to extend.
Precisely why gays are hated; their very existence is a reminder of the natural right to be different, and NOT to follow the herd -- which is the essence of simple human freedom.

Thank you Roger!

posted by Eric on 01.29.04 at 05:50 PM


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference SILENCE = DEATH?


» Classical Self-Defense from Solomonia
Eric Scheie has some thoughts about Gay Rights, Islamism and Self-Defense. I decided to help him out with a few graphics. Choose your weapon:... [Read More]
Tracked on January 30, 2004 1:08 PM
» Political correctness kills homosexuals from One Fine Jay
When I meet a Christian who considers homosexuals "sinners" and "lost sheep" who might "need help," when said Christian thinks their "lifestyle" is wrong, but nonetheless does not advocate actions against them, I do not consider... [Read More]
Tracked on January 30, 2004 7:01 PM
» No Surprise Here from Mind of Mog
That under Islam being gay is punishable by death. Quoting:Pakistan isn't the only Muslim state where homosexual acts are punishable by death. It's also Islamic law in Sudan, Afghanistan, the Chechen Republic, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emir... [Read More]
Tracked on January 30, 2004 11:58 PM


The picture may be flawed but the idea is perfect.

No, I'm not gay. Just female. We don't get murdered for our sex in Islamic states. Unless we are raped. Or fall in love with someone our family doesn't approve of... (sound familiar?).

As LGF says. "ROPMA".
(The first 4 words are "Religion of Peace, My" —, I'm sure you can figure out what the last word is.)

Kathy K   ·  January 29, 2004 8:29 PM

Beautiful picture. Thank you and Jeff for yet another wonderful post. Once again, you said it all. I have had it with Political Correctness and the Religion of Peace.

Homosexuals defending Islam is like Jews defending Nazism.
During World War II, do you think you'd be hearing a Jew saying to one of our soldiers: "Now, now, it's not nice to call Germans 'krauts'"?
Political Correctness = Slavery = Death

Find me a truly "moderate" Muslim and I'll show you a heretical Muslim.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  January 29, 2004 9:09 PM

The gay activists and columnists over at the Independent Gay Forum have had plenty to say about the threat that radical Islam represents to gays -- and democracy.

Check out IGF's foreign affairs, religion and terrorism sections.

Mike Airhart   ·  January 30, 2004 1:10 AM

Sorry about talking about "krauts". I don't mean to imply that Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, etc., were "krauts". I was just reacting against this servile "sensitivity" which some insist on showing toward their own murderers, making an analogy based on what would have been the typical attitudes of those most deeply immersed in World War II and the Holocaust.
I do love that symbol, the "assault" rifle superimposed on the Pink Triangle. Reminds me of your other juxtaposition, the Rainbow Confederate (or Rebel) flag.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  January 30, 2004 3:00 AM

Check your mail for a graphic. :)

Solomon   ·  January 30, 2004 11:13 AM

Glad you like! Galil and Tavor versions dispatched.

Solomon   ·  January 30, 2004 12:30 PM

David Lee (co-creator of "Frasier"), who was criticized by many on the gay right because he protested "Dr. Laura", spoke about this very issue at NGLTF's Creating Change awards dinner last year. He also wrote a piece in The Advocate about the danger of fundamentalist Islam and why more people should speak out. Obviously this is not enough. This is not an issue which should be shrugged off. I'm not sure what any of us can do to help, but there are gay Muslim organizations like Al-Faitha.

But one thing that worries me in your post is the undertone of shrugging off the menace of the anti-gay fundamentalist movement in America. To just suggest that we should be grateful because we are not being massacred in the street is putting a happy face sticker on the current climate in this country. Do you really think that if conditions in the US were on a level similar to in Islamic countries, that many Christians would not beat us, murder us, torture us? Over and over I have seen websites which call for us to be quarantined, to be murdered, to be raped. I even see traces of these attacks in the words of politicians. Gays and lesbians have serious struggles in the US, and part of that struggle is to make sure that America never becomes what Islamic countries are. I feel like you almost demean us when you contrast rape and torture in Islamic countries to gays and lesbians protesting Starbucks. That would be like me comparing the commonplace prostitution of teenage boys in Asia with the father's-rights radio talk show host in the US who is trying to get "Boys Are Stupid" and "Boys are Smelly - Throw Garbage Cans At Them" T-shirts banned from the market. I also have to admit that it's a bit disconcerting to see you criticize Signorile for not being hard enough on Islamists when you have been critical of him for wondering why Andrew Sullivan and Drudge work with Moonies (who called for the mass murder of gays not too long ago). Shouldn't the left and the right be held to the same standard?

And another hesitation before people say that the Christian and Islamic anti-gay movements are disparate is that the people who are behind the Federal Marriage Amendment willingly worked with an extremist Muslim group, ISNA, whose members have at different times called for the overthrow of our government, given money to Hamas, and who have called for the deaths of Jews (I'm sure they have about as much use for homosexuals). ISNA is currently being investigated by the government. Jewish World Review uncovered these ties and put them on their website, in spite of many e-mails and letters from Jews and Christians asking them to stay silent, because the end was worth the means. So, before we become too haughty with American activists, let's remember that all of these groups pose a danger, and we do ourselves a great disservice by minimizing the danger which Christian fundamentalists (and even their propoganda sites like WorldNetDaily) provide.

James Barber   ·  January 30, 2004 1:32 PM

And something else I wanted to point out is that there are thousands of gay-bashings in the US as well. Of course you know this, and I'm not implying you don't. But for the organizations out there which try their best to help these people, who don't get any press or money, I truly feel like they deserve as much mention as the few crazies who are protesting Starbucks. Honestly, that is a small portion of the community. Most gays and lesbians aren't even out to their families, much less out to their local brewer. Of those who are out or semi-out, many of the gay men I know only care about partying or hot bodies. It is a part of every minority that many in that minority are complacent or obsessed with minutia which does not benefit their lives. Instead of criticizing the fruitcakes who protest Starbucks, I think we'd be better served trying to get through to these people (if we can), and getting them to start focusing their energy on more important topics. At least they care. I know that some guy who protests Starbucks is more likely to give time or money to a worthy cause than some guy who wants to score some crystal and will do anything he can for the next hit. As conservatively as I lean, I think that the big wall between left-wing and right-wing gays HAS to be torn down if we are going to have any future voice in America. Every day I feel like more of the Stonewall crumbles, and the Log Cabin becomes a tasteful condo. We should do everything we can to push this forward and scream in one voice, instead of, as some gays do, get off on screaming matches and pissing contests. I remember reading the bitching between HRC and Log Cabin during the 2000 elections, and I keep thinking...if they had actually WORKED TOGETHER, would we be dealing with an administration and Congress which is such a lurking menace to our freedoms?

I have no idea how widespread gay-bashing is in Germany, or in France, or other European countries, but that only reaffirms for me that we need to clean up our own home turf first. A nation like the current America, which is (at best) vaguely tolerant of gays and lesbians, is far more likely to welcome and encourage Islamic violence against gays and lesbians than the Scandanavian countries which are currently in the midst of tough immigration fights because of their realizing the danger of Muslims who refuse to assimilate.

I also wanted to point out that has a great deal of information on the perils of Islamic fundamentalism and also the zealotry among Anglicans in Africa and Asia (where millions die of AIDS and the rich bishops sit around in their expensive robes and homes, not wanting to get involved with a "gay disease"). Bruce moved to the Netherlands in the late 90's and married his boyfriend, and he has been seeing the Dutch/Muslim struggles firsthand.

James Barber   ·  January 30, 2004 1:54 PM

Thanks for your comments, James!

(Now I feel obligated to address a few of your points.....)

From where in my blog do you get the idea that I am "grateful because we are not being massacred in the street"?

Or that I am "shrugging off the menace of the anti-gay fundamentalist movement in America"?

Have you been reading this blog?

(Partial list; sorry it's so tedious)

You asked me, "Do you really think that if conditions in the US were on a level similar to in Islamic countries, that many Christians would not beat us, murder us, torture us?"

Of course they would! That's one of the reasons I started this blog! Fortunately, though, conditions are NOT on a level similar to Islamic countries in that we have freedom, and a thing called the Constitution.

Minimizing the dreadful reality of Islamic Law while maximizing the less significant threat of Christian fundamentalism only serves, in my view, to help push these two closer together. Recognizing this reality is no more "shrugging off the menace" than, say, to recognize that modern Islamic slavery is a worse threat than those who might sympathize with American slavery or the defeated Confederacy.

As to the double standard you accuse me of vis-a-vis Sullivan and Signorile, there is a big difference between the two. Sullivan was attacked by Signorile not for his views, but for Moon's views, which Sullivan abhors. This struck me as unfair and illogical. If indeed the left and right are to be held to the same standard, fine. Would Signorile would offer a platform to a "gay Moonie" whose message was that Moon had been misunderstood, and that the Unification Church was the "religion of peace"? I doubt it. (Read Moon here:

and if you can make sense out of him, let me know....)

If we assume that Moon intends to incinerate homosexuals, Signorile is against guns, which offer a far better protection against bigots and bashers than the "angry gentle people" mentality.

If Matthew Shepherd had been armed, he'd probably be alive today.

Last, I must address your puzzling remark, "I feel like you almost demean us when you contrast rape and torture in Islamic countries to gays and lesbians protesting Starbucks." By their actions, these protesters support (or at least apologize for) the Islamic countries that rape and torture homosexuals. I MEANT to be "demeaning" -- to the protesters, of course. (But I don't understand your use of the term "us"; I did not mean you and me!)

Eric Scheie   ·  January 30, 2004 2:27 PM

Actually Eric I wasn't totally sure who you meant. On the one hand, I thought you were insulting one group, but on the other hand, I felt like you were indicting all of us who do not take an active role in curbing Islamic gay-bashing. The part where you linked to WorldNetDaily, as if to say that it's horrible that anti-gay lunatics are worried about this issue when gays aren't, really threw me. I think it sort of gave a black eye to your initially very compelling warnings of Islamic extremism.

As for Sullivan vs. Signorile, Signorile attacked him because Sullivan has positioned himself as someone who is very critical of the left when he feels that they are catering to lunacy or homophobia. Yet, here is Sullivan, who spends quite a bit of time railing against anti-gay animus, taking money from a man who wants him dead. Signorile's a nut, but I think he made a valid point. It just seemed to me that you were poking at Signorile for what you defended in Sullivan. To me, they are sometimes both quasi-insufferable, yet they will also say things in brazen, unapologetic ways that make them unique and important. For instance, I know that no gay conservatives would ever take the strong (and to me, necessary) stance on Mary Cheney that he did. Instead, too many gay conservatives seem to be saying, "the Democrats aren't any better!!!!" And that is a ship which sailed for me some time ago. Anyway, this is just rambling, sorry. My point is that they should be judged by the same standards. If you feel that is what you were doing, fine.

I guess what bothered me more than anything was that a very sound piece on a genuine threat became "gay us vs. gay them" after a few paragraphs. All the time I see this approach, where liberals sneer about Log Cabin and conservatives bitch about Human Rights Campaign, when in many ways, we're dealing with the same problems. Yes, I think that gay activists who carry on about the glories of Palestine or Islam are fools. Yes, I think that they should speak out against gay-bashing in any culture. The gay organizations which practice "enemy of my enemy" persuasion tactics and instead wind up aiding our enemies or possibly alienating allies (like NGLTF's incessant smearing of Ward Connerly) should wake up. But overall, I don't think that the main emphasis on this issue should be attacking the activist gay community. Much of the activist gay community that I know of is far more worried about the chaos in America right now than about defending murderous militant Muslims. Maybe it's because I don't live in New York or California, or other big liberal cities (I live in the South : O+) but I haven't seen any ardent defending of the policies which you describe. And I'm sure that my gay and lesbian and straight-but-friendly acquaintances will try to help on this issue (although scaling back the current theocracy ruining America is their #1 priority); it's no surprise to them either. But to combat this problem we have to do more than scream about flaky liberal activists. For instance (and maybe I missed this; I'm pretty sick), do you have any links to organizations or groups which can help fight this problem? What about contacting Amnesty International and asking what you can do, if there is anything you can do? Or what about contacting Al-Faitha and asking them?

In the end, they are not the ones who will be slaughtering us, and some of them are, like gay conservatives, just waiting for an extended hand, a sign that maybe we aren't so different after all.

James Barber   ·  January 30, 2004 3:03 PM

OK, James, I see your points, and appreciate your thoughts. Please remember, I highlighted the WorldNetDaily article to show how ironic it was that an outspokenly anti-gay site would have more to say about "Islamohomophobia" than so many gay organizations.

As to "poking at Signorile for what you defended in Sullivan" if Sullivan ever dares to apologize for (much less support) Moon, I promise to be all over him. I think it is disgraceful to see Republican leaders kowtowing to such a truly evil man (whose organization brainwashed a close friend and has held innocent people against their will); it reminds me of the German aristocrats and Hitler. I maintain that it would be a greater betrayal of his cause for Sullivan to quit writing for the Washington Times than to speak up there.

Please try to remember also that this blog engages in satire. My sense of irony sometimes carries me away. (And I am impatient with followers as I am with those who would lead.)

Eric Scheie   ·  January 30, 2004 3:35 PM

Your symbol of Freedom is even more beautiful than ever now. I liked all three guns on Sol's blog. But I think the one you chose is the best.

The triangle symbolizes the Holy Trinity*. No wonder the Mohammedans hate it.
(*Osiris, Isis, Horus? Krazy Kat, Ignatz Mouse, Offisa Pupp? Magenta, Yellow, Cyan? Green, Blue, Red? Wanda, Dawn, Norma?...).

If Andrew Sullivan ever calls Moonie-ism or the Westboro Baptist Church a "Religion of Peace", if he ever defends that Federal Anti-Marriage Amendment because Bush supports it, if he ever defends the Family Research Council because they vote Republican, if he ever defends Santorum, on that day I'll strike him from my blogroll.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  January 31, 2004 12:18 AM

He seems to have no problem defending Matt Drudge. That's not the same as defending murderers or despots, but that he had such a blase attitude about Margaret Cho being assailed with hundreds of "go back on the boat you fat pig gook, or get AIDS and die like all your friends" e-mails was very disappointing to me. More often than not he seems to write based on contrariness. Well, at least he is always outspoken against the FMA. I swear, I think that damn amendment will probably wind up uniting the gay community in a way it never has been in the past 30 years. At least that's my hope.

James Barber   ·  January 31, 2004 3:40 AM


I agree with you about the FMA. Singling out homosexual couples for special treatment in the United States Constitution will put the gay cause on America's map forever. Short-sighted moral conservatives would do well to remember that Anita Bryant (who thought that the way to stop homosexuality was to shout about it on the cover of Newsweek) did more to establish the modern gay movement than any single person.

I am not surprised that Cho was assailed by abusive emails, and not only because of what she said in her routine. Even in her blog, she calls Bush "that fucking shithead."

Here's what she said about Thanksgiving Turkey:

The turkey is stuffed with raped women, dead babies, warriors who were stripped of their ability to fight and could no longer protect their families - which to warriors - is a fate worse than death. Cranberry sauce is blood of Geronimo, Sitting Bull, the Comanches, the Braves- the warriors that despite all the odds, still had the spirit to fight for their land that was not only their home, but their God, that was spilt during Custer's Last Stand. They did manage to kick some colonial ass though and I am glad to that. They bled for their families, so much that it soaked the ground, shed for no other reason than we just took it upon ourselves to evict the original OG old school United States and create our own U - whited States. (Fuck you I could make a pun if I want.)

Interesting assumptions about my turkey (which I never knew contained raped women and dead babies) -- to say nothing of the words "we" and "they." She concludes by expressing the hope that Americans choke on turkey cartilage. I think she invites -- and gets -- vitriolic response.

Drudge pointed out that angry emails are the nature of the Internet.

I grew a little tired myself of being called things like "traitor" and "murderer" by people like Margaret Cho. But hell, if someone tells me to get AIDS and die, I might respond in similar fashion or I might just have a little fun baiting him in return. As they say, "sticks and stones." Words are not genocide.

But in case anyone wants to move from their threats to actual violence (or attack me physically for my words), the First Amendment is backed up by the Second.

That said, I disagree completely with the philosophy that words are analogous to torture and lynching:

It should be clear to any reader of the Cho-hate-mail archive that the writers of this drek enjoyed writing their nastiness, enjoyed sending it, enjoyed imagining the recipient's response. There's an inimitable gloating, gleeful quality to the prose, however stylistically barren it may be otherwise. This is not a dreary chore -- not like the painfully polite form letters we liberals and progressives send by the thousands to our elected representatives! It's quite clear that for the writers, this was great fun.

We know from account after account by victims and eyewitnesses, that professional torturers enjoy their work. We know that White people in America used to collect postcards of lynchings. We know about Roman games. We know that human beings have a appetite for cruelty, which they can indulge or struggle with. It is perhaps the worst thing we can say about the American Far Right, that its organisers and demagogues deliberately appeal and pander to this least attractive of human vices, and attempt to harness it to their pragmatic ends. The poison-pen letters collected here reveal with astonishing frankness the beating heart of contemporary barbarism, alive and well in America under the thin veneer of democratic and civic conventions. And let's have no illusions; the respectable American Right, the Right of business suits and golf clubs, assiduously cultivates this hardy perennial -- at one or two deniable degrees of separation.

I have seen incredibly abusive and vitriolic rhetoric by the left for many years. The chief difference is that they usually avoid overtly racist or anti-gay remarks. After all, they're supposed to be politically correct. But once a black man disagrees with the left, he's a an "Uncle Tom." Condoleeza Rice is a bitch-whore-slut ("skeeza") and a "murderer." Andrew Sullivan is an "Auntie Tom," etc.

I respect the right of people to disagree, even to insult me. It's when they want to move from that to killing me or putting me in prison that I am glad to be armed. Proponents of Shariah Law have already killed thousands of Americans here. Their sympathizers not only will not protect me, but many of them want to take away my guns. (I've been called a "traitor" just for having them.) To the extent that they would prevent me from defending myself, they are a greater threat than purveyors of even the nastiest email.

Steven, have you seen the photos of Al Gore with Fred Phelps?

Eric Scheie   ·  January 31, 2004 10:10 AM

Eric: Yes, I have. I heard about that long ago, I think during the 2000 campaign but it may have been earlier, I don't remember. Queer (if I may use that word in its old sense) juxtaposition: the soft-headed, tree-hugging liberal, and the fire-breathing, screaming, "kill the fags!" preacher. I recently read somewhere that Rev. Phelps was actually an advocate of black civil rights, an opponent of racism, in his earlier days. But his hatred of homosexuals and his Calvinist doctrines got the better of him. Too bad. Such a waste. With such conviction, such passionate intensity, I wish he was on our side.

Unfortunately, he serves a useful purpose for the other side. While somewhat of an embarrassment to them if he gets too close, his rhetoric, plus the supposed fewness of his followers, his "fringy-ness", allows all the other, more well-organized, more influential, more "moderate" homo-haters such as Santorum to contrast themselves to him, saying:
"While we advocate policies specifically designed to harm homosexuals, reading them out of the Constitution, denying them all protection for their relationships, denying them the right to privacy, fining them, throwing them in jail, whipping up hatred against them through our rhetoric about 'judicial activism' and 'culture wars' and a 'homosexual agenda', looking the other way while our thugs beat them up and kill them -- since we do not openly use the _WORDS_ 'fags', 'hate', or 'kill', you cannot dare to oppose us."

The "extremists" thus provide cover for the "moderates". "Moderates" -- such as Saudi Arabia.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  January 31, 2004 1:35 PM

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