Monday, April 23, 2007

Planet of the Hate

So my buddy Ben wrote up a blog posting in answer to Larry Kramer's L.A. Times Op-Ed "Why do straights hate gays?" In it, he goes over some of the reasons that he can think of that various members of the heterosexual community have used for their mishomophilia (okay, so it's not the word for hatred of homosexuals, its the best thing I could think of - sue me... I've never agreed with using homophobia when one's really taking about hatred). But he missed a big one, that Kramer calls out in the Op-Ed.

I'm going to bite Ben's idea and present: Another Straight issue with Gay People:

  • My Holy Book Says That You People Are Sinful: The scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all (as I understand them) expressly forbid homosexuality, with at least Judaism and Christian scriptures calling for the death penalty in such cases. I suspect that this had something to do with the idea that the early Isrealites lived in a very harsh environment, and needed all of the children they could get. Sex that didn't lead to more little Isrealites was really frowned upon - they weren't nig fans of masturbation, either. While I've never been able to get anyone to give me a straight (sorry) answer as to what the hatred in the name of the divine thing is all about, I suspect that it has a lot to do with belief in an Adversary. My grandmother was quick to see the influence of the Devil everywhere, enough so that for a very long time as a child, I was uncertain as to her sanity. I think that many heterosexuals vastly overestimate the "seductiveness" of homosexuality. (I'm with Ben on this one - um... ewwww.) Not wanting to think that their children could have been born that way, or chosen it of their own accord, they imbue it with a powerful allure. And I think that there is a thought process that attributes that seductiveness to an evil supernatural force, whose goal is to lead people away from God. (In much the same way that the Portugese, when they encountered Shinto, took its superficial similarity to some aspects of Christianity as a Satanic plot to fool people into following false gods, and mounted an attempt to eradicate it.) If you see a group of people as being tools (willing or not) of a literal force of ineffable evil, it's pretty easy to hate on them.
I'm also with Ben on the idea that nobody likes a whiner. Passivity is a poor virtue, when action does a much better job of bringing about change. But action costs, and it isn't guaranteed. Ben astutely points out "Nothing's fair." If the huge time lag between the end of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement taught us ANYTHING, one of the lessons must surely be that: "Your so-called 'rights' don't mean squat if you, or someone else with some muscle isn't ready, willing, and able to fight, and possibly die in the service of defending them." The Civil Rights Movement in the United States was remarkable for its relative lack of bloodshed. (Keep in mind that an event on the scale of the Rwandan Genocide in the United States, would [depending on who's estimates you use] result in a body count of nearly 30 million people.) But I think that part of the price for that lack of bloodshed was a very long time of second-class citizenship for black Americans.

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