Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Is It A Choice? Um, Does it Matter?

I love Netflix. You find something you like, watch it, and then it suggests other things you might like. I call this "Netflix Crack" because it's so damn addictive. Christy and I recently watched a documentary called "For the Bible Tells Me So", director Daniel G. Karslake's examination of the ways in which ultra-conservative Christian organizations exploit scripture to justify the denial of human rights, specifically to the LGBT community.

Another film, "One Nation Under God", explored (neƩ exposed) the practices used by various groups to "cure" gays of their homosexuality. Likening homosexuality and lesbianism to alcoholism or drug addiction, these groups' untrained "counselors" sought to correct gay behavior through behavior modification, aversion therapy and counseling, among others. (One ministry asked hairdressers and manicurists in the community to volunteer their time to give lesbians makeovers. In a karmic twist, one of the hairdressers was flamboyantly gay but none of the counselors seemed to notice.)

Naturally, this is absurd. By the end of a very informative weekend, I'd watched 4 documentaries and learned much. For example, there are many ministries that offer this service; Exodus International is one of the largest. (Another far-reaching group, Love in Action, closed its doors in 2011, succumbing to pressure from protestors and the state of Tennessee.) Many of them feature as their spokespeople, "ex-gays" that have successfully completed their programs. I actually laughed out loud when I saw how un-cured these sad, self-delusional people were.

Their groundless premise is that homosexuality is a choice. One can choose to – or not to – be gay. During a Q&A on an episode of "Donahue", a normal-looking woman stood up in the audience and asked the guests, "Why do you feel the need to sleep with men?", to which one guest calmly replied, "Why do you feel the need to sleep with men?" Rousing applause.

For those still wondering if it's a choice, please watch the following educational video:

What struck me even more than the absurdity of these organizations and their so-called curative therapies was the people who created and continue to support them. They're some of the most hateful people in the United States. These are the Christians that picket gay pride rallies and parades with signs that read such godly proclamations as "GOD HATES FAGS!" and "JESUS KILLS FAGS!" and "DEATH TO HOMOS!" These are the people who want to dictate the Christian values that we, as a nation, should live by. These people want to be our moral compass.

Nowhere in the Bible does it state that it's a good Christian's duty to insult, beat, and kill homosexuals because there were no Greek or Hebrew words for "homosexual" or "sodomy" in the original Bible. Those words were added in the 1946 Revised Standard Version [RSV] of the Bible. ("Homosexual" wasn't even a word until Austrian-born novelist Karl-Maria Karbeny used the term in 1869.) They compare the "sin" of homosexuality as akin to murder, rape and pedophilia. I think it's curious that being gay isn't even one of the Ten Commandments. But murder is. So is adultery. And theft. And lying. But, presumably, these lying, cheating, sign-toting homophobic thieves feel it's their duty – their God-given right – to terrorize the LGBT community.

Most of all, these hateful soldiers in God's army seem to be scared. But what the hell are they scared of? Certainly not the wrath of God. If they were, they wouldn't be murdering gay people. Or cheating on their husbands and wives, and then lying about it. Or stealing from their employers. Maybe they're scared of their own perversion of His Word. Maybe they're scared of what they don't understand. It wouldn't be the first time that ignorance bred fear. Maybe they're scared of change. Their narrow ideal of family values is being challenged. Our society is marching forward and maybe they're scared of getting trampled under its feet.

Or maybe they're just desperate for someone to hate more than they hate themselves. And that is scary.