Now That They’ve Lost The Culture War, Will Hard-Core Homophobes Turn To Violence?

gunthreatThe signs of defeat for opponents of LGBT people are everywhere. Marriage equality is the most obvious, but corporate America, the entertainment industry and even mainstream religions have all accepted lesbian and gay people as part of the nation’s fabric. (Whether the acceptance goes far enough is another question. It still doesn’t for transgender people.)

The number of people who think homosexuality is abnormal is dwindling, as society rapidly moves toward acceptance. Even evangelicals are moving away from the red-meat homophobia that characterized the Christian right of the 1980s and 1990s.

But there will always be a hard-core few whose beliefs lead them to oppose LGBT rights as a hideous violation of God’s law. In the face of defeat, how are they likely to respond?

According to a report from Political Research Associates (PRA), those folks might turn to violence.

“Some Christian Right activists have lost hope that a Christian Nation can be achieved in the United States through the formal political process—including a high-level GOP operative,” the report argues. “They are calling for martyrs and thinking about religious war.”

Sound far-fetched? Just a few weeks ago, a couple in Las Vegas shot and killed two police officers, draping one cop’s body with the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag adopted by Tea Partiers. (While the couple, Amanda and Jerad Miller, apparently had ties to the white supremacy movement, there’s nothing to connect them to the Tea Party.) “The revolution has started,” Jerad Miller declared at the start of the killing spree.

The religious right has always been prone to extreme language because it feel it’s engaged in a struggle between God and Satan. But the rhetoric has taken an increasingly apocalyptic turn as Americans’ values have changed. And that rhetoric has the potential to fuel people with a tenacious hold on reality.

Take as an example the writings of David Lane. Lane is an influential GOP operative. He was one of the masterminds behind Rick Perry’s prayer rally in 2011 and has been courted by presidential hopefuls Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz. But, according to the PRA report, Lane increasingly despairs that his version of Christianity will succeed in today’s political system. As a result, his rhetoric has taken a distinctly violent turn.

Last year, Lane posted a piece titled “Wage War to Restore a Christian Nation” on the far-right World Net Daily website. Even for WND, known for its crackpot conspiracy theories, the essay must have gone too far, because it quickly disappeared, but not before it was captured for posterity. What Lane wrote is a call to battle for Christians — literally.

“Where are the champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage, homosexual scouts, 60 million babies done to death by abortion and red ink as far as the eye can see on America?” Lane complained. “Who will wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands and restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture?”

You could argue that Lane was speaking metaphorically about political battle, except that he also quoted another Christian right extremist, Peter Leithart: “Churches must repent of our Americanism and begin to cultivate martyrs — believers who are martyrs in the original sense of ‘witness’ and in the later sense of men and women ready to follow the Lamb all the way to an imperial cross.”

It’s hard to interpret that language as being simply metaphoric. Leithart is talking about physical martyrdom. And Lane doesn’t shy away from talking about violent means. In a radio interview after his essay was yanked, he said that “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa” would be appropriate punishment for abortion and  for “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration [of President Obama’s second term].”

There is a long, sad history of violent religious extremists. Eric Rudolph, the Christian extremist best known for the 1996 Olympic park bombing in Atlanta also bombed a lesbian bar. Frazier Glenn Miller, who is accused of killing three people outside of Jewish community centers in Kansas City last spring, is not just anti-Semitic but also homophobic.

Moreover, the language that even less extreme religious right figures has violent implications. Christian leaders are casting themselves as modern-day abolitionists. Ralph Reed compared the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA to the Dred Scott decision, that ruled slaves were not U.S. citizens. It’s a ruling that played a major role in sparking the Civil War, which claimed the lives of roughly two percent of the U.S. population.

Let’s be clear. The vast majority of conservative Christians will never resort to violence, no matter how loathsome they find us. But when the air is filled with hatred from antigay preachers at the local level and the Bryan Fischers of the world on radio, the odds that it will fertile ground in a disturbed mind increase. So even as we celebrate our victories, there’s reason to be wary. Those who still do hate us might find violence the logical reaction to a lost cause.




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  • Dakotahgeo

    I had the distinct pleasure of wearing my Obama T-shirt into a (Ugh!) WallyWorld one day back in 2010. some right wing bozo chided, “You voted for him???” I said “Absolutely! We had no other choice… we needed someone so new to clean up the Bush messes. He proceeded to rant and rave and i said, “Look, we have a nice FEMA camp for re-education not far from here. Would you like a tour? It’s free! The look of terror on his face was priceless… I’ve never seen anyone disappear so fast. I just snickered and enjoyed the verbal intercourse immensely. It doesn’t take much to set thee firecrackers off, and when they go “boom”, ya jus’ gotta enjoy the confetti!

  • hotboyvb81

    will it lead to violence- yes it will, as their numbers strink and our rights expand, they will get desperate. Look at NYC’s rash of hate crimes last year- who expected that?

  • RIGay

    In this era of “Open Carry”, “Stand Your Ground” and “Gay Panic”, I have to say this but I have come to the realization I have no interest in traveling to parts of the country where my life can be placed at risk simply because I am gay (and legally, interracially married, and a Democrat). All I ask is to be shown the same respect from people in those areas.

    Keep your hate in your State, don’t bring it to mine.

  • barkomatic

    I’ll be interested to see who the next GOP Presidential candidate will be. Will it be a *relatively* sane Republican or a frothing at the mouth Tea Party person? I think things are going to get ugly regardless of who wins the election in the next term. We might end up with our very own Christian version of ISIS right here.

  • abuelo

    The old mentality of “Kill A Queer For Christ” is still with us. It scares me for our your gay kids who don’t know just how deep the hate runs. Some of them have grown up in a rapidly changing and accepting society. RIGay is right about the open carry crazy shit…way too easy for some twisted bible freak to start the war

  • BJ McFrisky

    The Big Bad Christians might be delusional but they’re not dangerous like other religions, i.e. those that fly jets into buildings, mow down soldiers at Ft Hood, kill military recruiters, bomb a marathon, and murder anyone who doesn’t believe in their religion, all in the name of Allah.
    Some Christians may not approve of us, true, but at least their religion doesn’t call for our collective deaths. Just ask Mark Bingham.

    @RIGay: The only reason people ever go to Rhode Island is because 95 runs through it, so I think you’re safe.

  • RIGay

    @BJ – You got that right! Don’t blink, you might miss us!

  • Captain proton

    @Dakotahgeo: This guy ran. another might have attacked, with fists or a knife or a gun. When you begin a verbal intercourse, how can you be sure it won’t end badly for you?

    • Dakotahgeo

      @Captain proton: I generally am pretty careful and can tell a lot about a person by their size, demeanor, and stupidity. This poor olde rman couldn’t change his Depends without assistance. You are correct though… people have said a lot less and given their lives.

      PS: I’m not commenting too fast, Queerty… YOU’RE POSTING way too slow. Get with the program, and quit taking so many long smoke breaks!!!

  • DistingueTraces

    You mean violence like, blowing up a federal building with a homemade bomb?

    Or murdering abortion providers?

    Yes, I believe that the right wing could, in the future, turn to violence.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky: said…

    “The Big Bad Christians might be delusional but they’re not dangerous like other religions, i.e. those that fly jets into buildings, mow down soldiers at Ft Hood, kill military recruiters, bomb a marathon, and murder anyone who doesn’t believe in their religion, all in the name of Allah.”

    See BJ, this is why you can never make a valid point. Rememind me of something. What religion was Timothy McVeigh? Ted Kazinski? Oh more recently, those two Tea Party members that mowed down those cops in Nevada? I’ll give you a hint, one of them worked for “Hobby Lobby”.

    So lets see, you continually defend any anti-gay politician and now you are defending violently anti-gay right wing Christians. The amount of self hatred is truly staggering.

    As for whether or not the right wing Christians will get violent. Actually violence is FAR more likely when you have dehumanized a group like gays. In that case, every day there is the possibility of violence. With gays normalized in society there will be isolated incidents, but the every day threat that all gays used to be under will be gone. So overall, the violence will be lessened. And if it happens, the attackers will be punished, unlike before.

  • TrekBear

    What does Queerty mean “turn to violence?” These bigots are already violent enough against anyone and anything they don’t like.

  • Bad Ass Biker

    It would not surprise me at all if some of the so called “christian’s became violent. If they can go around shotting abortion providers, don’t think that they will not come for us. More and more of the wingnuts are yelling about “war on christians” and they will soon start going after anyone who they hate, which includes us.

    And RIGay, I agree with you completely; there are some parts of the country that you could not pay me to visit.

  • Bad Ass Biker

    Oops! My bad; it should have been “christians”.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    The Republicans will now ride the muslim horse to the bank, collecting hate-dollars all the way. They exhausted the gay community, so who’s next????

  • Mezaien

    HOMOS, brothers and sisters! get guns we`ll need it. The white Christian, republican, are not our friend & will never going to be.

  • QuintoLover

    I’m going to my first Pride this Sunday in San Francisco and… I’m terrified something horrible could happen. If people can bomb a marathon in Boston or shoot up anyone in a five foot radius undetected, what could happen in a huge place like San Francisco??

  • DickieJohnson

    @QuintoLover: Don’t live in FEAR. Another clue: Don’t act like a *[email protected]* in public; attention whores usually get attention, sometimes not in the way desired, or expected. And, yes, I am gay!

  • jockjack5

    As a gay United States Army veteran, I also possess a South Carolina Concealed Weapon Permit(CWP).

    I’m also a recovering alcoholic and no longer drink, so I do not go looking for trouble of any kind. I have been ‘out’ for a number of years and love living in the south. I live in the so-called Upstate of SC not far from Greenville. It is definitely red-state country, but the people are very nice for the most part.

    If, however, I ever find myself or a loved one in imminent danger or feel threatened with bodily injury or death, my tormentor(s) will quickly find out that they fucked with the wrong faggot!

    I am an excellent shot with my 9mm sub-compact.

  • vklortho

    I worry about this sort of thing all the time. I’m pretty sure we’re one crashed economy away from ending up like certain other developing countries with a large religious population. :/

  • BJ McFrisky

    @jockjack5: Bravo. And thank you for your service.

  • phy123

    Are they given up their white sheets for a cross and a bible shades of thge deep south in the 60’s

  • jar

    @phy123: They sell all three as a set. Have been for the last 100 years at least. The KKK and their allies have not just been anti-black, but anti-many other groups, including catholics. Nothing new here.

    As for the question posed, I think it is unfortunately commonplace for people who feel threatened to become increasingly more anxious and violent. There was certainly a significant increase in race-based violence for several years following the enactment of the 1964 civil rights act. We’ll need to look out for each other if this comes to pass.

  • ZionMoulder

    I’ve been worrying about the extreme right turning violent. Especially with the Conspiracy Theories that Fox News likes to perpetuate. I just hope we don’t end up falling into another civil war. It’s not likely, but it can’t be ruled out. We are talking about the Tea Party here.

  • Ruhlmann

    @BJ McFrisky: Christianity tortured, burned at the stake and drowned witches a much longer time than they haven’t been doing same. Don’t kid yourself that they wouldn’t do these things again if it weren’t for the rule of law and their own apathy. Give these superstitious savages a determined zealous leader, especially in armed America and watch the fun begin. There is no difference between an Osama Bin Laden and a Brian Fischer.

    • Dakotahgeo

      @Ruhlmann: So, SO true!!!

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Ruhlmann: . . . the only difference being that al Qaeda wishes us dead, and Brian Fischer only wishes us to remain single. If you think there’s no difference between the two, I’m not surprised (you are a liberal, after all), so I’m happy to send you over to Iraq to test your theory (where, ya know, there aren’t any armed superstitious savages).
    I roll my eyes at your stupidity, sir/madam. Roll my eyes, I say!

  • EdgarCarpenter

    @QuintoLover – we live in a world where violence against us for just being ourselves is always possible. I’ve had friends murdered, beaten, and burned out of their houses for being gay.

    That said, you can’t live your life well if you are always fearful. Live your life today in whatever way seems right to you, and let tomorrow’s potential danger take care of itself. Of course, don’t walk down dark, deserted streets in a dangerous part of town, etc. etc. etc. – take normal precautions to avoid violence as you move through the world. But don’t stay home out of fear. And wear wings or a boa or whatever you want to the parade, if not this year, next year.

    The whole point of gay bashing is to “put us in our place”, meaning back in the closet. If you say, no, I’m not going to let fear of gay bashing (or anti-gay bombs, or whatever) stop me from living my life properly, you have won against all the gay-bashers who have ever been, since their real target was not just their immediate victim, but me and you, too.

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