November 08, 2008
Inner bigots come out of the closet and into the streets
When I wrote yesterday's post about the overwhelming black support for Prop 8, I had not read about the vile and sickening displays of racism displayed by gay demonstrators in Los Angeles.
So, when I clicked this morning on Glenn Reynolds' link from last night to Pam Spaulding's post -- "The N-bomb is dropped on black passersby at Prop 8 protests," I was shocked. I won't quote the epithets, but to see such awful hatred directed by people who obsessively claim to be against "hate" -- against members of a minority which has suffered more hate than any other group in American history -- forces me to ask some basic questions about tolerance, diversity, and humanity.
Sometimes I wonder whether the dirty little secret is that we all hate each other, and that what is often derided as "civilization" is the only thing that keeps us in line.
By any standard, the conduct displayed by the bigoted gay demonstrators is outrageous, inexcusable, and indefensible. However, speaking as an individualist, I don't think it any more reflects on gays as a whole than it would reflect on blacks as a whole if some angry black demonstrators hurled epithets at gays or Jews. The people who do these things are the ones who do them. That they are in a crowd of demonstrators might reflect poorly on the other demonstrators, but the problem with extrapolating from angry demonstrators to the group they claim to "represent" is that they are rarely more than a small percentage of that population. So, if a half a dozen gay bigots use the N-word at a demonstration, it no more reflects on all gays than something shouted from a crowd at a McCain rally would reflect on all Republicans.
Where I must disagree with Pam Spaulding is with her view that these awful incidents somehow constitute an "escalation of the 'blame the blacks' meme that has been swirling about the blogosphere and the MSM." She also refers to "the desire to scapegoat blacks for Prop 8's defeat" as "not-so-latent racism in our movement." Well, at least she said "in our movement." Because, at least in my case, I don't see how observations based on a statistic can constitute a "blame the blacks meme."
Statistics are not memes. Saying that 70% of blacks voted for Prop 8 is no more a meme than saying that 30% of gays voted Republican. As far as blaming or scapegoating goes, while I'm against Prop 8, I'm more or less neutral where it comes to gay marriage, because I'm highly distrustful of government involvement in a minority lifestyle which, like it or not, goes to the heart of human privacy. Gay marriage advocacy is inextricably intertwined with forcing people out of what is called "the closet." The closet (as any regular reader of Andrew Sullivan knows) is said to be at the root of much evil. Therefore, closeted gays need to be liberated -- for their own good and for the good of society. Because of the nature of the hegemonic bureaucracy which surrounds family law, family courts, family services, once gay marriage is established it will inevitably have a spillover effect, and gays who want to live their lives in privacy will be unable to do so. Sure, there will continue to be sexual flings, but once lovers move in together, there will be no way to guarantee privacy, because the state will have created not merely a sense of entitlement, but legal rights of the same sort which customarily flow to heterosexuals thanks to the evolution of family law. There are many gays who want privacy and who live in the closet. While I realize that this is immoral to Andrew Sullivan's way of thinking, I think it's fair to ask, how would they opt out?
What are the implications to the right to simply to be left alone?
The closet being what it is, though, I don't think this concern is likely to be voiced. I mean, who's going to voice it other than a kooky libertarian theoretician? Angry, in-your-face, "in-the-closet-and-proud" activists. (What this means, of course, is that whatever the extent of the right to be "in the closet," it will remain largely undefended, no matter how many of its immorally discreet members are taking advantage of it. This leaves Andrew Sullivan and other activists are free to blame people who are in "the closet" for almost anything they can think of -- the latest being Prop 8.)
To return to the idea of the "blame the blacks" meme, I'm not sure blame is the right word to describe their numerical support of Prop 8. I doubt very much that supporters of the initiative would "blame the blacks"; more likely they'd say "credit the blacks." (The point of my post was not to blame or credit, but to highlight the anamoly and note that politics is all about strange bedfellows.)
But speaking of blame (and scapegoating), I noticed that in other posts, Pam Spaulding looks at Mormon and Catholic churches and sees them (unlike blacks or black churches) as proper targets of Prop 8 protests. While I don't know what she thinks of angry gay demonstrators chanting "Mormon scum!" (and I do not suggest that this compares to the use of the N-word), she does not hesitate to condemn the Mormons as bigoted:
The amount of hot air and vapid defensiveness from an institution that has a history of bigotry and oppression against black people has earned every second of this bad press brought on by this media exposure and demonstrations. That the Mormons have trained that bigotry onto gays and lesbians families only confirms that the LDS is what is erroneous and it is repeating that sorry history.Both Catholics and Mormons are accused of calling for theocracy:
These extremist statements and positions are nothing less than a call to establish a theocracy. Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be moved to name this behavior of these institutions for what it is -- and question the tax-exempt status of these institutions.By that logic, taking a religious position against abortion is also a call to establish theocracy. That is not what the word "theocracy" means.
And if it is "theocracy" to invoke a religious argument against gay marriage, then why isn't Barack Obama a theocrat, as Glenn Reynolds suggested? [In ironic imitation of the left's standard.] I don't think Barack Obama is a theocrat, any more than the Mormons or the Catholics are theocrats. But you can't just draw a line and say that Mormons and Catholics who voice religious objections to gay marriage are theocrats, but Democratic United Church of Christ members who voice the same objections are not.
There's altogether too much bigotry for comfort and too many double standards for comfort.
I can't help notice that completely left out of this debate are Muslims. While an LA Times article in April noted that "U.S. Muslims share friendship, similar values with Mormons" and that "the connection is based not on theology but on shared values and a sense of isolation from mainstream America." Can there be any doubt about the Muslim position on gay marriage? While there are no statistics on the Muslim vote, I would be flabbergasted if support for gay marriage mustered more than the single digits.
Yet Mormons have been singled out as bigots.
I'm wondering whether some bigots are more equal....
MORE: There's something else worth keeping in mind that some people are forgetting. Prop 8 was not a referendum on gay marriage, but on amending the California Constitution to prohibit it. Thus, it is entirely possible that there are people (I have no way of knowing how many) who might have reservations about gay marriage -- along with some who even oppose it -- but who nonetheless do not support the Constitution being amended over it.
What that means is that voting "NO" on 8 was not necessarily a vote in favor of gay marriage.
There will be equality between gays and straights; let's try not to burn too many bridges on our way there.And there's a lot more in this must-read post:
Peace between the LGBT community and people of faith is on the way--but it requires each group to respect the other's right to exist, and a commitment to try to stay out of the other's face. Neither group has an exclusive claim upon the public square, and we are all Americans, with the right to live our own lives, free from harassment. I'm not making an argument for living in the closet, or straightening one's hair for reasons other than personal preference: just that we all calm down a bit and stop trying to force others to live according to our own moral codes.It's kind of hard to argue credibly for "tolerance" if you cannot tolerate disagreements. Or "closets."
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and for quoting from this post.
Comments are always appreciated, agree or disagree.
MORE: Fascinatingly, I am being taken to task in the comments for (among other things) not condemning a threat to burn down churches by "the gay community."
Eric's "outrage" at gay racism is merely self-serving. That's why we didn't see any calls for tolerance when the gay community first called for the burning of Christian and Mormon buildings.I replied that I condemn whoever said that, and I cited Michelle Malkin's post.
It turns out to have been an anonymous commenter at the JoeMyGod blog.
So, yes, of course I condemn the JoeMyGod commenter. But is he the "gay community"? He could be anyone.
This is a bit ridiculous. Like trying to identify a voice yelling in a crowd.
AND MORE: If I didn't know any better, I'd swear a lot of people don't want an alliance between libertarians and social conservatives.
MORE: Please bear in mind that there are plenty of statements floating around that I have not condemned. But my failure to condemn them does not mean I approve of them. This is a blog, and I write about things that occur to me, and occasional posts and news items of interest.
I can't believe I'm having to say this, but what I do not write about does not indicate anything about what I think about what I don't write about.
MORE: Via Glenn, Dale Carpenter notices the tendency of some religious people to confuse criticism with bigotry, which it is not:
Religious leaders and their adherents are of course free to oppose gay marriage. But when you enter the political fray, you are not exempt from public criticism and protest just because you are a religion or have religious reasons for your advocacy. It's not anti-religious bigotry to call attention, loudly and angrily, to what you have done.He notes that while the protests have been mostly peaceful, targeting Mormons should stop:
Moreover, despite the focus on a few extremists whose words have indeed crossed the line into religious (and racist) bigotry over the past few days, the anti-Prop 8 rallies have been peaceful and mostly respectful. Frankly, if marriage had been denied to blacks, Mormons, Catholics, or almost any other group, it's hard to imagine the reaction would have been as mild as it's been.I couldn't agree more. If you are falsely accused of attacking religion, I can't think of anything more stupid to do than actually attack religion.
MORE: Speaking of the double standard, check out the horrendous tactics displayed in these pictures. And the question. "How come no one is marching on this place?" (There's a picture of the King Fahd Mosque, and no one is marching, of course. For obvious reasons.)
Via Glenn Reynolds.
MORE: It seems obvious, but I think one last observation is in order. I think that the demonstrators who are abusing their First Amendment rights (as they damage their own cause) would do well to think about what would happen to angry gay demonstrators in Muslim countries. I mean, here we are, in a country where nearly half the voting public is cool with gay marriage, while in many Muslim countries, gays are routinely executed.
Not even the same century.
posted by Eric on 11.08.08 at 12:43 PM
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