Generally we expect attacks on Matthew Shepard to come from the far right. The Michael Savages and the Tony Perkins, who are in denial about the homophobic element to his murder. But then along comes uber-progressive rag The American Prospect arguing we’ve erred in making Matthew the face of gay rights. Say wha’?
It’s not that Matthew’s death wasn’t a tragic one, or mom Judy doesn’t still feel the pain of his brutal slaying. But by turning Matthew into a martyr, into the face of hate crimes legislation, have we belittled the plight of other queer sufferers? The majority of LGBT victims?
Matthew was a good looking, college-y white boy, easily depicted as defenseless and wholly undeserving of his fate. That makes for good branding — which, don’t kid yourself, is what gay rights is all about. Everyone loves rallying around a wholesome member of traditional Americana, so it’s easy to see why, consciously or not, everyone from CNN to HRC made Matthew a cause celebre. This, despite him not being the first gay man murdered for being one.
But when the media and Gay Inc. branded Matthew as The Face Of Gay Victims Everywhere in the months and years since his murder, they also blocked other obvious sufferers. And it’s not that Matthew and his family aren’t deserving of our sympathy and shoulder, or that he shouldn’t be an example of why hate crimes legislation is so crucial, but by making him a gay rights mascot, scribe Gabriel Arana argues we’ve created a new class of victims: the invisibles. He writes:
Over 1,400 members of the LGBT community are victims of a hate crime every year, which includes violent attacks as well as harassment. Why, then, is Shepard the “face” of gay rights? The implication is that all the other candidates weren’t quite right: not urban New Yorkers dying of AIDS in the 1980s, not inner-city black adolescents whose parents kicked them out of the house, not leather daddies marching on Washington. The pictures of other gays, lesbians, and transgender people did not prove sufficiently salable to make it onto rally placards.
At worst, anointing Shepard the “everyday” face of gay rights is a concession to other types of bigotry — against trans men and women, racial and ethnic minorities, gay men with AIDS. At the very least, it demonstrates a willingness to appeal to mainstream tastes in order to earn political capital. It’s the type of pragmatic bargain that organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and Equality California make all the time: You give us rights, and we’ll hide the drag queens.
The “perfect icon” problem is not exclusive to the gay-rights movement. We revere Martin Luther King Jr. — a peaceful reformer who couched his calls for civil rights in terms of brotherhood and Christian values — instead of Malcolm X, a secessionist and Muslim who blamed whites for slavery and black oppression. There is also a reason the long-haired and beautiful Gloria Steinem is a better known feminist than Judith Butler, the androgynous queer theorist. All these figures have similar messages, but we choose to elevate those who are less threatening. Cast as a small, good-natured kid who loved everybody, Shepard is the epitome of nonthreatening.
[…] What hate-crime laws do provide are stricter sentencing guidelines, feeding a criminal-justice system that has imprisoned more than 1 percent of the U.S. population and unfairly targets minorities. The courts imprison blacks at six times the rate of whites, and Hispanics, at more than double the rate of whites; the rate of black incarceration under President George W. Bush was higher than it was in South Africa during apartheid. If the face of anti-gay violence were a racial or ethnic minority, would we still be pushing for hate-crimes legislation that props up the criminal-justice system?
Did hate crimes legislation need a face? Absolutely. It’s much easier to convince legislators, and the public, we need to protect someone rather than something. It’s why politicos trumpet out members of the working class, or health care sufferers, or war veterans, depending on their stump speech. Faces persuade; mission statements, less so. Matthew’s face is there to sell a cause, and it’s worked brilliantly. It’s hard, then, to criticize the strategy when it looks like it may finally pay off: Congress is en route to passing ENDA.
But there is something unnerving about the reluctance from so many of us to make a person of color one of our agenda’s faces.
Except, well, this might be changing.
While Matthew may be the face of hate crimes legislation, Jaheem Herrera and Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover (pictured), both young boys of color, are becoming the faces of anti-gay school bullying. This, even though there are plenty of good looking white kids targeted every day across America; they may even be killing themselves.
Must skin color play a role in who we anoint as a gay face? Yes, actually. Because anti-gay violence affects us all. Or maybe we should spend less time worrying about “branding” victimhood, and more time battling the influences behind what causes it.
The kid’s name is Jaheem Herrera.
Making Matt Sheperd the face of gay hate crimes wasn’t a bad call, per se, but it should never have stopped there.
The angle that you did take on the anti-gay bullying is interesting, though, since I do believe that there was a white kid in Ohio who also committed suicide.
So the face of hate crimes, IMO, shouldn’t have a color or a race (a totally meaningless concept in terms of biology), per se, but it should be constant.
There’s something incredibly distasteful about an article that so unapologetically refers to Matthew Shepard as a “brand”.
I don’t think “we” made Shepard a symbol, the mainstream media did that. One thing I’ve noticed about gay blogs is they make an effort to cover all bashing incidents including his.
Wow, talk about finding something to complain about! Yes, Matthew Shepard’s horrible murder became a rallying cry when other, similar events didnt get the spotlight. And yes, it probably helped that he was cute, white and young. But thats how the games works. Rosa Parks was hardly the first African-American to refuse to sit in the back of the bus, but the movement’s leaders decided she would make a better spokesperson than someone like Claudette Colvin, who was pregnant and unmarried at the time of her arrest. And Norma Leah McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) was chosen as the face of abortion-rights in Roe v. Wade for similar “branding” purposes. Its naive and moronic to sacrifice accomplishing something in the name of political correctness. Grow up!
This is a thought-provoking post.
You state, I believe correctly in a way, that Matthew Shephard was “the first gay man murdered for being one.” I imagine that in the course of history other men have also been murdered related to being gay, but the utter brutality and the circumstances of being tied to a fence, etc. make it understandable that this tragic case evolved with the public awareness that it deserved.
Should the public and the media have waited for the murder of a more politically-correct victim to come on board with support?
Not this one, we’ll wait for another murder.
“good looking college-y white boys” are just as human as anyone else, and thank God for Matthew’s mother’s campaign.
I think the face of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover is a beautiful face
for an anti-gay school bullying campaign. My heart goes out to Carl’s family. God bless them, and may he rest in peace.
“Its naive and moronic to sacrifice accomplishing something in the name of political correctness.”
Oh my! The political correctness charge! You go gurl! Why is it “politically correct” to wonder why Shephard’s murder was made into a symbol of gay oppression? Hell I notice not many of us were put out by the murder (lynching really) of Billy Jack Gaither. Makes sense though. He was “old” (39), not a looker, and not out. Not a man we could dream about.
And before anyone flips: I’m being ironic by half here. But let’s be honest folks. We are mighty selective when it comes to the victims we “cry” over.
Is this a joke? The reason that Matthew Sheppard became so well known is because there was something so outrageous about the crime. After being brutalized, he was left, tied to a fench in the middle of nowhere, in the freezing Wyoming night. When the police found him hours later he was unrecognizable as a human according to one, and yet, was still alive, they could tell because tears were still rolling down his face.
Gee, sorry he wasn’t a PC enough victim.
Race is no more of a factor that selectively choosing not to show the most fey people on these campaigns. Why not have a boy with dyed hair and makeup on? Because middle America wouldn’t get past the makeup. Same here. Matthew was an especially good mascot because he looks like everyone’s son/brother/etc. Granted, this is a multicultural country, but as the Tea Baggers have taught us this week, whitey is still in the majority.
While it was not, and still not, often talked about I believe that Matthew Shepard was in fact HIV-positive. While this does not negate the point I believe Aran is trying to make it does complicate it a bit.
“This, despite him being the first gay man murdered for being one”
*Sigh* Would it kill you to thoroughly proofread the stuff you write? I had to read that 3 times before I got what you meant.
Matthew Shepherd became the face of gay hate crimes by default and by his parents efforts.
What’s missing from the whole story is the fact that a Mormon tied him to a fence and a Baptist beat him to death. We always forget to mention the source of the hatred: Religion.
We may pass laws to provide more punishment for hate crimes, but they will continue until we end the “beliefs” that inspire them.
@Brian: You said “What’s missing from the whole story is the fact that a Mormon tied him to a fence and a Baptist beat him to death. We always forget to mention the source of the hatred: Religion.”
Wow! Facinating bit of info there, I wasn’t aware of that!!!!
Anthony in Nashville
It would be nice to say image doesn’t matter, but most of us know it does. Try getting a date or a job looking/acting just any sort of way and see how far you get.
The Shepard “brand” and the promotion of buff rich white guys as the “face” of the community made sense in terms of touching (white) people, but people of color notice when the gay community seems to only talk about buff rich white guys.
Lecturing whitey came early this month.
Yes, Matthew’s clean-cut, wholesome image did play a role in Matthew being a central figure in the fight to enact hate crimes legislation. However, his mother’s crusade to help other gay people is the main reason we remember Matthew. She has stayed in the public spotlight for more than a decade telling her story and urging people to end anti-gay bigotry. There have been many good-looking white gay men who have been killed for being gay but few know of them because their families receded away from the public spotlight.
Anthony in Nashville
I don’t know if it’s “lecturing whitey” but you have a good point about the role his mother played in making sure his name stayed in the spotlight.
@Brian: You got it exactly right on both counts.
Brian wrote, “What’s missing from the whole story is the fact that a Mormon tied him to a fence and a Baptist beat him to death. We always forget to mention the source of the hatred: Religion.”
You mean those two low-lifes were regular church goers? Let’s see. You claim one was a Mormon but they met Matthew Shepard in a bar, and devout Mormons don’t drink. The low-lifes claimed it was a robbery attempt, not a hate crime. While you can’t necessarily believe them as they were trying to get their sentences reduced, it would seem they were in violation of at least two of the Ten Commandments, so it doesn’t appear that they took their religions very seriously. Care to offer an explanation of why “religion” is the source of their behavior given all of that? Why would they ignore everything their religion professed to be true except for calling homosexuality a “sin”?
All you are doing is scapegoating, with no regard for facts. That’s pretty much what some religious people do.
It takes cohones for someone who spent thousands of dollars being a guinea pig for Joseph Nicolosi and helping define the ex-gay movement into what it is would desecrate the memory of Matthew Shepard.
“What have you done for me, Matthew Shepard?” is the only way one can sum up Arana’s column.
@B: It is not scapegoating at all to note that violence and hatred are grounded in religious belief. There is ample evidence that shows popular religiosity supports unhealthy social outcomes. Here is an excerpt from a paper recenly published at epjournal:
“conservative religious ideology apparently contributes to societal dysfunction, and religious prosociality and charity are less effective at improving societal conditions than are secular government programs. The antagonistic relationship between better socioeconomic conditions and intense popular faith may prevent the existence of nations that combine the two factors. The nonuniversality of strong religious devotion, and the ease with large populations abandon serious theism when conditions are sufficiently benign, refute hypotheses that religious belief and practice are the normal, deeply set human mental state, whether they are superficial or natural in nature. Instead popular religion is usually a superficial and flexible psychological mechanism for coping with the high levels of stress and anxiety produced by sufficiently dysfunctional social and especially economic environments.
The sad thing is AlwaysGay, is we agree on almost everything except race issues…occasionally.
You are dead on about the family factor. Like Judy Shepherd, Carl Walker-Hoover’s Mom also has been out there talking about school bullying, that’s one of the reasons that Hoover has become a public face for the issue.
I don’t think it has blocked out the suffering of others. What pointing to the extreme cases does is help get people to make the smaller shows of bigotry more seriously by displaying how deep the hate goes and what it can lead to. When the civil rights movement made a cause of the three little girls who died in the church bombing it did not make people dismiss everything less than a bombing death. When jewish people bring up the holocaust people don’t decide to dismiss other anti-semitism since it isn’t as extreme as the nazi final solution.
bghnow wrote, “It is not scapegoating at all to note that violence and hatred are grounded in religious belief.” In fact, it is scapegoating when Brian’s claim is made to explain the behavior of people who are obviously not religious.
You then quote some paper about conservative religion, ignoring the fact that Brian seems to blame everything on religion in any way, shape, or form. How is that relevant to the specific claim that Brian brought up, which involved two specific individuals?
Just because some guy’s parents sent him to sunday school when he was a kid doesn’t mean he paid any more attention than he did in his math class at school.
@mk: that was supposed to be “What pointing to the extreme cases does is help get people to TAKE the smaller shows of bigotry more seriously…”
Anthony in Nashville
I’ve read the entire Prospect article and feel it was using Shepard as an easy excuse to criticize Organized Gaydom for not being radical or PC enough.
The author should have cut to the chase instead of dragging Shepard’s name into the mix.
A wedge needs a point. The breadth of our community serves our effort in other ways. I had to laugh about the statement “You give us rights and we’ll hide the drag queens”. Laughed because we have been hiding behind them since forever. Here I am guilty, as guilty as anyone of cringing at the queens, embarassed by their antics, but apologetic, humbled, changed by the example of men and women on the point.
that is profiling. religion was never claimed to be the motive of the crime. You’re basically saying that because these two people were religious they killed Matthew Shephard.
There is no evidence that the crime was committed with religion as a motive, nor that the two murderers was even practicing, or merely claimed religion (and any statistics will show that the majority of Americans are Mormon, Baptist or some other form of religion, so the odds are in favor of them having been religious anyway)
This is no different from claiming that because both of the murderers are white, that all white people are to blame for homophobia.
@B: ” Care to offer an explanation of why “religion” is the source of their behavior given all of that? Why would they ignore everything their religion professed to be true except for calling homosexuality a “sin”?”
Yeah, it’s simple. It doesn’t matter how either of the misfits turned out later in their lives – when they were children the “hatred of homosexuals” was instilled in their minds. ALL religions place the belief that homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant into young minds. Those beliefs made Matthew Shepherd’s life “disposable.” That’s the problem.
Whether or not these two losers continued to go to church has nothing to do with those harmful beliefs.
+70% of Americans believe we are wrong. They got those beliefs from religion. We’ll never be equal as long as we’re wrong and hate crimes will not end until we extinguish those beliefs.
@Johnny: Hatred for homosexuals was expressed by both killers. they got that hate from religion. Look it up.
“Hatred for homosexuals was expressed by both killers. they got that hate from religion. Look it up.”
That’s a bigot for you.
Religion is a huge topic, one that includes most of humanity, more diverse than any other aspect of human culture, but the bigot blames religion itself, in its entirety, because of the actions of a few people.
Atheists make up between 3 & 9 percent of the U.S. population, according to this site:http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html
Yet support for GLBTQ rights in the U.S. is nearly 50/50, and routinely, more people chose not to vote at all in campaigns that target same-sex marriage, than actually vote to oppose same-sex marriage.
The truth is that most of the people who support civil equality for GLBTQ people, are people of faith. We would not have any of the protections we have now, if we’d relied on atheists and agnostics.
Most people who articulate atheist positions in public forums are simply another kind of religious bigot – deeply committed to a belief they cannot prove, one with no physical evidence or logic to support, but even more committed to punishing anyone who believes differently and eradicating dissent.
Given the horrific consequences of systemic atheism in China and the Soviet Union, to name only two examples, blaming all people of faith for the crimes committed by some people who claim religious affiliation, is so dishonest and corrupt that it validates the hypothesis that morality and ethics cannot exist in anyone who rejects spirituality.
@B: you said ” You claim one was a Mormon but they met Matthew Shepard in a bar, and devout Mormons don’t drink. The low-lifes claimed it was a robbery attempt, not a hate crime. While you can’t necessarily believe them as they were trying to get their sentences reduced, it would seem they were in violation of at least two of the Ten Commandments, so it doesn’t appear that they took their religions very seriously. Care to offer an explanation of why “religion” is the source of their behavior given all of that? Why would they ignore everything their religion professed to be true except for calling homosexuality a “sin”?”
Your post actually made me laugh. You missed the point. The point is EXACTLY that many churchgoers ARE hypocrites. i.e. they profess to be good Christians, Good Mormons, Good Muslims etc… they prove it by saying that gays are bad etc… and yet they divorce their wives, secretly drink, have girlfriends on the side etc… The fact that one of the killers was Mormon and one was Baptist isn’t negated by the fact that they weren’t pillars of their churches. What is important is….when a lowlife only goes to church once in a while and doesn’t incorporate all the tough to follow rules into their lives, they can STILL be taught to hate by the church. After all, hating who the church tells you to hate, is a MUCH easier way to be a member in good standing than actually living by all those pesky rules.
Don’t question why I’m quoting James Dobson because:
“you think you ought to lecture me on what a Christian is all about?”- James Dobson on his statement that Patrick Leahy hates god’s people:
So, “Dr.” Dobson, do you beleive in physical violence against others, even your own children? “Two or three stinging strokes on the legs or buttocks with a switch are usually sufficient to emphasize the point, ‘You must obey me.'”
All-righty then. How do you feel about teh Gay and homosexuality in general? “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It (homosexuality) will destroy marriage. It (homosexuality) will destroy the Earth.”
Southern Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Commission:
“Discrimination against gays and lesbians is proper…”
Mormon Church on how to deal with the homos:
Apostle Boyd K. Packer’s LDS General Conference address: Packer encourages teenage boys to avoid immoral activities, such viewing pornography, masturbating, participating in homosexual behavior. Young Latter-day Saints should “vigorously resist” any males “who entice young men to join them in these immoral acts” and then cites the example of a male missionary he had known who punched his missionary companion for making romantic advances. “I am not recommending that course to you, but I am not omitting it. You must protect yourself.”
That’s 5 minutes worth of research. You want 10?
“The point is EXACTLY that many churchgoers ARE hypocrites. ”
The point is that many people, from all walks of life, are hypocrites. The atheists here who vilify people of faith, while complaining about anti-gay insults, are hypocrites.
Overweight gay men who complain about lookism in the gay community, but won’t have sex with anyone who isn’t ripped, are hypocrites. Butch dykes who complain about the ‘sexist Barbi standard’ but won’t date a lipstick lesbian because she’s too pretty/skinny/coifed, are hypocrites.
There are hypocrites in the sciences, in the arts, in music, in construction, in leather bars and knitting circles.
People who whine constantly about how unfairly people like them are judged, because of some trait they have, and then turn around and judge everyone in some other group
are hypocrites too.
@B: “In fact, it is scapegoating when Brian’s claim is made to explain the behavior of people who are obviously not religious.”
You continue to miss the point, let’s try again. The killers were raised with religion – Mormon and Baptist. Both were taught (indoctrinated) that homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant. The result of this teaching clearly makes homosexuals second class citizens or “lesser” human beings.” That is not disputable.
Whether or not, when the killings took place, they were “religious,” is of no significance – the hatred was already planted. This hatred shows up in many forms, unfortunately for Matthew Shepard it took his life.
So, please stop trying to parse religion. The standard Christian belief that homosexuals are wrong IS the problem. If you want to help change that, get your Church or denomination to end the religious lies about homosexuals. It seems to me that’s what a”good Christian” would do.
We are Not Wrong. Matthew Shepard was Not Wrong.
Ignoring, or trying to rationalize, the deadly effects of religion is wrong -especially for LGBTQ persons. It actually contributes to the continued hatred of homosexuals.
@Leo: 1. I’m not an “atheist.” 2. I did not blame people of Faith – I blamed Faith.
Religion (in its 34,000 different forms) makes homosexuality wrong. That “belief” is what causes all our pain and suffering. Nothing else makes homosexuality wrong.
When +70% of Americans claim “homosexuality is wrong,” you must try to understand where they got that idea. It’s not hard – religion did it. Religion won in California and will likely win in Maine and Washington. Religion gave us DOMA (Senate Vote 85-14). Religion is the only thing that makes us wrong.
To deny the single source of LGBT hatred is to sanction the continued discrimination, abuse and even death of LGBT persons.
We must end the idea that we are wrong. We must confront religion and force it to change, willingly or not. They changed their positions on slavery, racism and even a woman’s “place.” Now, it’s our turn. Homosexuality is NOT WRONG.
@Brian: It’s a convenient scapegoat here, religion; however, it alone does not say much in and of itself. Religions have a bunch of tenants that not even the most religious person follows, for example a lot of them still gets haircuts even though the Bible says that too is an abomination; and last I checked Red Lobster is going Okay. So there has to be something beyond religious dogma that justifies for these people these acts of violence and that is the real enemy here.
@Leo: One further note: You, as a religious person, probably dislike (or regret) extremes or extremists, yet you go to the extreme and yell “Atheist!” As if to say there are only believers and non-believers. Well, try to understand this – the problem is the BELIEF that homosexuals are WRONG, not the believers or the non-believers. Think about that.
I actually don’t care what people believe EXCEPT for those religious lies about homosexuality. Those lies kill people.
As a believer I would think that you would also like to change that, instead of trying to blame atheists. Atheists didn’t create those lies – religion did.
Assuming you want to end the hatred of homosexuals – what have you done to get your particular Faith to end those lies? And, please don’t say “my Church is hiring gays and lesbians as Clergy,” or “welcoming” or “affirming,” we’ve had enough of that nearly meaningless action. If you want to end the hatred and discrimination of LGBT person you have to end those lies. The sooner the better, because each day young gay kids take their own lives simply because religion has made them wrong. That’s not forgivable.
We’ll never be equal as long as we’re wrong.
@J. Clarence: Religion is the only thing that makes homosexuality wrong. If you know of some other institution or method, please share.
I would invite you to imagine a world that didn’t have the “religious belief” that homosexuality was wrong. If you were to look back in history before religion, you would see it wasn’t wrong. For 2,000 years LGBT people have been branded by religion. That needs to change. Yes, many Faiths have so-called “outreach” programs for LGBT, but they need to reject the lies about homosexuals. Many members of liberal and progressive Faiths are ready to do that, but their Clergy has not yet had the courage to lead them. Good people put equality before religion.
Perhaps this Sunday morning you could stand up and proclaim that you are “not wrong.” Is your Church ready for that?
Dishonesty is typical of bigots.
“@Leo: 1. I’m not an “atheist.” 2. I did not blame people of Faith – I blamed Faith.”
So you are blaming an intrinsic trait possessed by billions of human beings. That is bigotry.
“Religion (in its 34,000 different forms) makes homosexuality wrong.”
No, Andrew – a particular religious belief held by some people of faith opines that homosexuality is wrong.
However, the existence of religion itself declares atheism wrong. Like Brian, you are confusing two very different things, and posting false claims.
“That “belief” is what causes all our pain and suffering. Nothing else makes homosexuality wrong.”
Wrong again. People acting on the idea is what causes the pain and suffering GLBTQ people experience. Just as people acting on the idea that faith is wrong causes pain and suffering.
“When +70% of Americans claim “homosexuality is wrong,” you must try to understand where they got that idea.”
Actually, when you and Brian make this false claim, there is nothing that I, or anyone ‘must’ do. How typical though of a bigot, to be telling me what I must do.
In the U.S. today, public opinion on homosexuality is split about 50/50 – it varies a few points back and forth, depending who does the poll, and when.
However, because somewhere between 97% and 90% of Americans are religious, it could be said that most Americans consider atheism to be wrong. Reading your posts, and the public statements of other anti-religionists, I can see where they got that idea.
“It’s not hard – religion did it. Religion won in California and will likely win in Maine and Washington. Religion gave us DOMA (Senate Vote 85-14). Religion is the only thing that makes us wrong.”
No. Some people from a particular subset of religious people ‘did it’. More people chose not to vote at all on Prop 8, then actually voted for it. Atheists do not have the best track record in terms of registering to vote, or voting. Most of the people who voted against Prop 8, were also people of faith.
“To deny the single source of LGBT hatred is to sanction the continued discrimination, abuse and even death of LGBT persons.’
To lie about the real nature of the primary, not sole source, is to exploit the bias against GLBTQ people in order to advance your own prejudice. To complain about one form of prejudice as you promote another, is hypocrisy in one of its rankest and most sociopathic forms.
“We must end the idea that we are wrong. We must confront religion and force it to change, willingly or not.”
As long as atheists insist that they are right and everyone else is wrong, and advocate the use of force, they will always be the mirror image of homophobes. Religion intrinsically states that atheists are wrong – since religion intrinsically states that God or Gods exist, and atheism states that there is no God or Gods.
Atheists here and elsewhere are trying to commandeer the struggle for GLBTQ civil equality to coerce and force your religious belief (that there is no God) onto billions of people, “willingly or not”.
So absorb this one fact – atheist are irrelevant to the battle for civil equality for anyone.
“You, as a religious person, probably dislike (or regret) extremes or extremists, yet you go to the extreme and yell “Atheist!” ”
What a dishonest thing to say. There is nothing extreme about using the term that atheists themselves use, quite proudly often, to describe themselves.
“Well, try to understand this – the problem is the BELIEF that homosexuals are WRONG, not the believers or the non-believers. Think about that.”
Now, there’s some fine condescension, there. Trouble is, Andrew, your condescension is entirely inappropriate, since you are condescending to tell me the very point I’ve been making in rebuttal of the anti-religious hate speech posted on this thread.
Whether you care what people believe is irrelevant, Andrew/Brian, what matters is if you actually know, and report accurately, what people believe.
You do not. Whether that is from ignorance or malice, only you can say, but neither excuses the overt, hypocritical prejudice that so many atheists here routinely articulate.
How about you stand up and declare that deceiving people with false information is wrong?
There are lots of clergy who have stood up and declared that homosexuality is not a sin.
You said “Good people put equality before religion.” and yet, that is not a standard you live up to here.
You and Andrew keep promoting that meme “Religion makes homosexuality wrong” – completely irrational, and false statement. There is only one thing that religion itself “makes wrong” or intrinsically rejects, and that is atheism, the idea that there is no deity.
If religion is right, atheism is wrong, and vice versa. If religion is right, homosexuality may be wrong, right, neutral, better, best, less good, irrelevant, and everything else.
You and Andrew are being dishonest, trying to commandeer the struggle for civil equality for GLBTQ people, as a weapon for forcing, willingly or not, your religious belief onto everyone else.
Just like the supporters of Prop 8 did.
For “both” of you, Andrew and Brian, there are plenty of atheists out there in the real world, and on the internets, who are rabidly homophobic.
The reality is that some people need someone to hate and abuse, and they target which ever group of people they think they can safely abuse. And they use anything, any belief system, any cultural construct, any idea, that will make their actions appear acceptable.
People use religion in religious countries, but GLBTQ people were no safer in the U.S.S.R, or communist China today, then anywhere else. In atheist societies, or by atheists in general,different excuses are used to justify the same old prejudices.
There are scientists who embrace homophobia and defend it vigorously. There have been scientists who embraced racism and defended it vigorously.
People who want to hate and abuse simply use whatever it at hand, as you two have used the civil rights struggle of GLBTQ people, to justify your attack on people of faith.
The problem is not “religion”, or science, or society, or culture, or any particular ism, really. The problem is that some people have a hunger to harm others, to vilify and abuse, to force others, willingly or not as Andrew admitted, to coerce and subjugate.
That is what makes someone a bigot, and religious beliefs and cultural norms and science and tradition and petty cherry-picked tirades about ‘they did it to us first’ – are just window dressing. Take the religious beliefs, or the science, or the culture, or the ignorance, or the false information, away from a bigot
and they still hate whoever it was they hated before.
Doesn’t matter if someone hates other people because of their race, or their ethnicity, their weight, their gender, or their religion – it is prejudice all the same.
Andrew wrote, “@B: ‘In fact, it is scapegoating when Brian’s claim is made to explain the behavior of people who are obviously not religious.’ You continue to miss the point, let’s try again. The killers were raised with religion – Mormon and Baptist. Both were taught (indoctrinated) that homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant. The result of this teaching clearly makes homosexuals second class citizens or ‘lesser’ human beings. That is not disputable.”
No, *you* continue to miss the point, which is that, since none of the other ‘indoctrination’ seems to have stuck (your “Mormon” was apparently drinking in a bar and into drugs according to some accounts), why should Mormon beliefs on homosexuality have much influence on this cretin. Also, according to http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=277685&page=2 “McKinney took Shepard’s wallet and his shoes, got back in the truck and told Henderson to drive to town. He says his plan was to burglarize Shepard’s apartment. But when they parked the truck they encountered two young men who police say were vandalizing cars. Hostile words led to a fight and for the second time that night, McKinney went on the attack. One of the men was struck so hard his skull was fractured. The injured man’s friend retaliated, slamming McKinney in the head with a small bat. Everyone fled, just before a police car happened on the scene.” Do you think that second skull fracture was due to McKinney being a (lapsed?) Mormon as well? Do you think homophobia was involved the second time given that he attacked a straight guy?
Your problem is that you have a conclusion and are ignoring everything that doesn’t support it – the exact same thing religious people do.
“So, please stop trying to parse religion. The standard Christian belief that homosexuals are wrong IS the problem. If you want to help change that, get your Church or denomination to end the religious lies about homosexuals. It seems to me that’s what a ‘good Christian’ would do.”
Well, that sort of lunacy also shows how you jump to unwarranted conclusions. What makes you think I have a church or denomination to influence? Do you want me to join one? Why don’t you join one instead and see if you can influence them?
Just to return to something relevant, and to the erroneous assertions in the article this thread started to discuss:
“Religion won in California . . .”
“More people chose not to vote at all on Prop 8, then actually voted for it.”
GLBTQ Californians lost on prop 8 because of apathy, not religion. More eligible voters chose not to vote at all, then voted for Prop 8. That has generally been the case for all of the anti-gay measures.
Apathy has been the biggest obstacle to any advance in civil rights, whether it is racial equality, gender equality, healthcare, or gay rights. Too many people not giving a damn about some bad thing that they perceive as only effecting other people.
Matthew Shepherd’s story caught center stage not because Matthew was white and cute and innocent looking, many white, cute, innocent looking gay men have been beaten killed, often with equal ferocity, and their stories have disappeared into oblivion.
There was one major difference, and it also factors in the recent attention paid to anti-gay school bullying.
When Matthew was comatose, when his attack hit the airwaves, the public picture of the crime was his mother and father articulating their loss and pain.
That was what America hadn’t seen before – parents who 1) accepted their gay son as is, and 2) actually grieved when he is injured.
Parents see other parents grieving over their battered or dead child, and relate, they could see themselves as the grieving parents. Hets watching an account of a bashed gay man, of any race, don’t tend to identify with the victim. But they do identify with other parents.
Bloggers and GLBTQ papers, journalists, could dramatically raise the visibility of anti-gay hate crimes just by interviewing the grieving or fearful or relieved that their kid survived parents. Ads supporting same-sex marriage need to feature parents from PFLAG, not policy wonks and appeasement monkeys.
It was Judy and Dennis that made the difference, not Matthew’s looks, race, age, etc. It is our parents and family we need to get involved, to have stand up to their clergy or employers or FOX lapdogs.
@Leo: People acting on the idea is what causes the pain and suffering GLBTQ people experience. “
Oh, just “acting” on the idea is wrong, not the idea itself? Who do you think you’re kidding?
I asked you to share with us “what made homosexuality wrong?” We both know it’s religion. But, instead of changing the religious teachings and subsequent “beliefs” that harm LGBTQ persons, you attack atheists again. Atheists do not believe homosexuality is wrong and, again, I’m not an atheist.
The purpose of this conversation is to obtain the elusive “equality” for LGBT persons. I suppose you think atheists have prevented that? Amazing.
The fact is Religion made Homosexuality wrong and all Christian denominations still do. Young gay teens are not taking their own lives because of atheists or non-believers. They kill themselves because religion makes them wrong. Doesn’t that give you pause?
It’s not just the “idea” that homosexuality is wrong – it is the “believers” who tolerate that idea within their Faiths. By doing so they sanction the continued hatred of LGBT people. They sanction innocent deaths. It seems to me that people with “faith,” might want to stop the hatred and deaths. Atheists can’t change your doctrine, the “faithful” must do that.
I am curious Leo, as a homosexual, are you wrong? Or has your particular denomination rejected that lie?
The face of hate crimes against the gay community should be the heterosexual victims who were targeted because someone thought they were gay; that way the average heterosexual realizes it is in their own self interest to have hate crimes legislation protecting real or perceived sexual orientation because some crazy hateful homophobe might attack them mistaking them as gay. That message will get through to lots of people who would otherwise be indifferent.
@Leo: “Apathy has been the biggest obstacle to any advance in civil rights, whether it is racial equality, gender equality, healthcare, or gay rights. Too many people not giving a damn about some bad thing that they perceive as only effecting other people.”
I will remind you that the institution of Religion made “black” wrong (sin of Ham), promoted slavery (only Episcopalians have changed their official doctrine and even apologized), made women subservient AND made homosexuality wrong.
We have fixed three of those religious wrongs, LGBT people are next. Homosexuality is Not Wrong. That belief, and perhaps some general apathy, prevents our equality.
It’s very odd that you refuse to reject the religious lie that homosexuals are wrong. Do you believe we are wrong?
@Leo: Ugh. Crazy Leo, again. Leo never answers any questions and just rambles on about the beauty of faith. He’s never made a single comment intended to “end the hate” of homosexuals. I wonder what his real motives are.
Matthew Shepard’s death still makes me very sad. It is symbolic of the thousands and thousands that have been hurt and even killed because of that religious belief that we are wrong or somehow defective people. I wish Christians would take steps to stop teaching that we are less than our fellow human beings. It turns my emotions from sad to angry and it’s not acceptable.
I know in my heart that Matthew Shepard was not wrong and neither am I. Why don’t Christians know that? Why do they keep preaching about how bad homosexuals are? After sadness and anger, I for one cannot forgive and forget – IT MUST CHANGE NOW. Religion has to STOP lying about us because it IS the PROBLEM.
The sense of being gay which I have and always will hold to is that which was part of my life for many years: that is gay life throughout San Francisco, from the Leather men North of Market , the diligent and rather amazing queens, the black people who lived on the same side street as me.
Being able to socialize with hispanics, People with some marbles in their nogins , the who works: a love of diversity is
what gay is.
That is why I pay little heed to the Andrew Sullivans, and other assimilationists who hate sex hate queens are afraid of anything that will make them look bad. People like that don’t really belong in my world: that’s where my tolerance stops. I’m really tired of putting up with narrow minded frightedned gays who reject everyonree who makes them look like anything biut a heterosexual-the” reterosexuals”.
I thnk that Mathhew Shepard is fine as a poster boy for hate crimes because he lookds like he could be nearly anyone’s son: especialy the people who have to pass the Bills. Unfortunately we don’t live in a fair world: far from it. To be fair in this case at the posible cost of losing a vote is silliness.
That is different though how we represent and understand us ourselves.
@Brian: The fact is Religion made Homosexuality wrong and all Christian denominations still do. Young gay teens are not taking their own lives because of atheists or non-believers. They kill themselves because religion makes them wrong. Doesn’t that give you pause?
But who or what draws the emphasis on those six references in the Bible that address the supposedly immorality of homosexuality?
I don’t think gay teenagers that kill them purposely go and look up what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and then see that it says it is an abomination and decide to take their lives. Instead, I think, in fact I know, it is people, whether parents or other authority figures such as teachers and members of the clergy, that force a particular ideology down their throats because they fundamentally believe in it. It is not the religious dogma per se but rather the extreme social pressure to confirm or feel bad about yourself for not being what those around you want you to be. Teenagers are emotional creatures and
have sadly taken their own lives for a lot of reasons such social pressure to excel in school, social pressure to conform to certain social customs. China for example has one of the highest suicide rates among teenagers because of all of the social pressure placed on them to pass a the state examinations. Based on your argument the state examinations should be abolished rather than parents and teachers being taught not to pressure their kids so much.
Extrapolate your hypothesis even further and see why it doesn’t make sense. The Bible says a lot of things that we do is wrong and an abomination, from sex outside of marriage to having bacon for Breakfast. If every teenager in a fragile emotional state killed themselves because they had a Bacon, Egg and Cheese McMuffin for breakfast our schools would not be as populated. But they don’t. Your argument suggests we should see be seeing more bacon related suicides, but for the life of me I haven’t come across one.
So why is it different for homosexuality!?
The fact is religion is used as a catalyst for homophobia and it is not its origin, and often it will be used to compound/justify internal homophobia.
Further, the assertion that it is religion, in particular Christianity, that is the origin of homophobia is ridiculous. Partly because someone had to have had a
homophobic ideology to include those homophobic verses in the first place or else they would not have been there for others to use to justify their own homophobia later.
If we were to remove religion there is no reason to assume marriage-equality would happen tomorrow, because for many people their opposition to homosexuality is not religious dogma but either because they think it is gross or believe it is unnatural–which is why they are Okay with other abominations
because they like them–their religious beliefs backs them up with the assertion that it is all those things because it goes against a supernatural master plan to everything.
@B: I stand by what I said. You apparently don’t read much and did not bother to read the study I linked. Yes, it is an actual set of facts and arguments so it may be a bit much to expect a random commenter to read with attention for more than a few seconds. Religious feeling, and the rationalizations that follow from it have profound and lasting effects throughout society. Any reasoning person should be able to see that.
@J. Clarence: You said: “It is not the religious dogma per se but rather the extreme social pressure to confirm or feel bad about yourself for not being what those around you want you to be.”
Really? So how would it work if there was none of that nasty “religious dogma?” The problem is the majority of Americans believe that religious dogma. So, you can’t just explain away the fact that religion makes homosexuality wrong.
As to your assertion that some Christians have rejected the lies about homosexuals – let’s see some evidence. Even the Lutherans can’t find a single congregation that has rejected those lies. So far, NO denomination has had the courage to un-wrong homosexuality. Not even MCC or UCC or those liberal Episcopalians.
Hateful and hurtful Christian dogma regarding homosexuals is still alive and well in our denominations and churches. A recent Gallup poll demonstrated that more than 70% of Americans believe “homosexuality is morally wrong.” Morally wrong. Got it? That is from religion and religion alone.
Instead of trying to make religion only half-bad, how about demanding they end the lies about us? We’re Not Wrong. You don’t believe you’re wrong, morally or otherwise, do you J. Clarence?
What do you you think we should do to end the senseless deaths of gay teens that believe they’re wrong? Wait for Jesus? I’m not waiting – religion is going to change or suffer the consequences. Yeah, fighting words. LGBT Equality is very important. Apologies are not enough, it’s too late for that. We’re Not Wrong. We’ll never have equality as long as the majority believes we’re wrong. Some of us are going to change that. It would be helpful if Christians, like yourself, joined the fight.
Too much talk about religion, not enough talk about people dying.
@J. Clarence: “Teenagers are emotional creatures and have sadly taken their own lives for a lot of reasons such social pressure to excel in school, social pressure to conform to certain social customs.”
Jesus Christ, are you kidding me??? Shouldn’t we care enough about those innocent “emotional creatures” to want to SAVE THEIR LIVES? The blame for young GAY teens killing themselves is directly related to religion making the “wrong.”
I guess YOU believe they are wrong. That makes the whole legacy of Matthew Shepard’s brutal death and those thousands of confused gay teens that take their own lives of no particular importance at all to you. Who’s side are you on? You should be ashamed of your inhumane and disgusting defense of religion and its effect on LGBT persons. With your words you have sanctioned those deaths. That’s disgusting and remarkable, mostly disgusting.
Your words will perhaps awaken those who do not believe it makes sense to force religion to stop the lies about homosexuals. We don’t have a choice.
@Brian: I don’t go to Church, Brian. Sunday is my sleep-in day.
“If you were to look back in history before religion, you would see it wasn’t wrong.”
There are a couple things wrong with this first. The first being the “before religion” part. I forget the exact quote, but it was from that movie about the Monkey Trials where the attorney for the teacher said “The minute man climbed down the treas and looked up he said Jehovah.” I don’t think any archaeologist can go back to the moment before organized religion–in fact it is a religious piece of text that we credit as being the first bit of evidence of an advanced civilization–and exact enough information to come to any specific idea about what early humans were doing.
But that’s not the only thing wrong with what you say. You assume that all religions have been anti-gay. The fact is we can look through history and come across many religious cultures that not only tolerated religion, but in fact advocated it. So you should not associate religion with being homophobic.
The majority of Americans do in fact believe in that religious dogma, but the majority of those Americans children do not kill themselves. So clearly there is a difference between the parents that believe and the parents that verbal torture their children.
Also I never said any Christian rejected what the Bible says. Most just ignore them like they do all of the tenants of the Bible that they disagree with, like sex before marriage, or converting your neighbors wife, etc; or they adhere to them but do not go to the extent some of those parents do.
And denominations are large bureaucracies, you try getting 2 billion people to agree on something. But yet you have many Church leaders on the local levels that protest and say they will wed same-sex couples from their church. Any progress will be made from the bottom-up and not top-down, especially on such a issue. But even that is besides the point as it is at the end of the day an individual choice about what practitioners will practice. You could be a staunch Catholic, but love your gay son.
Morals and religion are not the same thing. Plus, I do not tend to follow polls, simply because, well, they are polls. But let us accept that for what it says. Imagine what it would have said 20 years ago, or 50 years ago when gays were considered communist. Now imagine what it will say 20 years from now. People change. Do you think that Robins would have been made a Archbishop 20, 10, 5 years ago? I don’t. But now he is, which tells me that his congregation was able to overlook those six verses, just as I am sure most of them overlook the one that says sex before marriage is an abomination.
I’m not trying to make religion half-bad. I wouldn’t consider religion in and of itself (unless in the context of its role in a science class) as bad to begin with. Also this isn’t about demanding, but rather educating.
Also, what would have to feel wrong about?
I have now looked it up.
And I have not found mention on the part of either Aaron McKinney or Russell Henderson.
I see that they hate homosexuals, but that doesn’t mean that hatred was inspired by religion.
I don’t know about you,but I sure know plenty of Christians who don’t hate gays, and plenty of atheists who do.
@anonymouse: “Too much talk about religion, not enough talk about people dying.”
LGBT people are dying because of religious beliefs. How’s that?
@J. Clarence: Democracy knocked god out of the sky. A government for the people, by the people meant there was no room for a dictator sky god on a throne or any other monarch. No one is going to remove religion because people are afraid of death and want to think there is a hereafter. Especially people in government with big egos. They think god got them there.
There are passages in the holy books of Abrahamic religions that want us gay men dead. Lesbians have it a bit easier. No direction to Moses to stone two women to death, and one reason why Ellen can be a success on TV but not a gay male funny talk host. Our civilization is all about religion and it’s insidious affect on culture, even though the guys that killed Matthew Sheppard were not
Bible thumpers like their parents. Religion is the root of all evil towards us. We are targeted by religion, and why Obama has such a hard time with gay marriage. It’s all about “The Lard”.
It has to change otherwise our next generations of LGBT’s don’t have a future. Why do the MCC pastors stand before their congregation with the King James version of the Bible condemning us to death and not tear the fucking page out of the “holy book”?
because they think there is a supernatural world somewhere watching them. A time to get real and educated.
@Charles Merrill: Hitler arrested, raped, and killed thousands of gay men and women. He did not do it do because of some Aryan God, but because they did not fit into his model of building his Blond Blue Eyed army. A completely secular Holocaust and yet you, Charles, say that religion is the root of evil to us. Nice!
And what the hell does “Democracy knocked God out of the sky” mean. The Athenians created Democracy and they worshiped a goat. Abraham Lincoln, the herald of our Republic, gave a sermon at his inauguration.
There are passages that want us dead, but there are also passages that want us to kill people that eat bacon or people that get hair cuts. And yet I haven’t heard of a anyone killing someone for getting a Angus Burger at McDonald’s. So like I said it has something to do beyond religion why people have acted on those particular passages that refer to religion but not others.
How can you say the next generation won’t have a future if our country has been becoming progressively secular, more churches become more accepting, and marriage-equality has made more progress in the past 12 months than it has in the last 12 years?
“Why do the MCC pastors stand before their congregation with the King James version of the Bible condemning us to death and not tear the fucking page out of the “holy book”? because they think there is a supernatural world somewhere watching them.”
I don’t disagree agree with you, but I would like to point out that I haven’t seen those pastors, or any for that matter, protesting Barbershops. So what does that say? It says that pastors who believe there is a supernatural force somewhere routinely pick and choose what they like, and condemn gay people not because they are religious (or else they would do the aforementioned and attack Barbershops) but because they are homophobic.
But I must say I find it funny that some of you have discerned that I somehow don’t care about those gay teens, because I don’t think attacking religion for being religion is attacking the cause homophobia. Which must clearly exist outside of religion or else it would have never made its way into any of the Holy texts.
I do think those passages are wrong (and out of context); however, if I am picking a fight with someone it isn’t some Jewish Rabbi who has been dead for thousands of years but rather the parent that justifies their homophobia with a few passages here and there to verbally assault their children.
Brian, arguing with Clarence, wrote, “Really? So how would it work if there was none of that nasty ‘religious dogma?’ The problem is the majority of Americans believe that religious dogma. So, you can’t just explain away the fact that religion makes homosexuality wrong.”
Clarence is, of course, right about it – you can’t explain what make homosexuality so special, and the reason you can’t is that you are scapegoating religion. I know of individuals, now in their 60s and not particularly religious who were dragged to church regularly as children and who heard not one word about homosexuality in church. They did hear a lot from their peers, mostly involving adolescent name calling. Religious people didn’t say much about homosexuality until the gay-rights movement started, or at least until it got the public’s attention. Why is that?
A far more reasonable hypothesis than Brian’s is that conservative or reactionary elements in society are threatened by the thought of gay rights, just as they felt threatened by civil rights for blacks and other minorities. When these types are threatened, “God” is invariably on their side, and they will make up some religious excuse for the simple reason that an appeal to “divine authority” avoids the need for rational discourse. And, of course, televangelists will pander to them. That’s where the money is. Religious rants against homosexuality are not the cause of homophobia but rather a symptom of an existing condition.
@J. Clarence: “But I must say I find it funny that some of you have discerned that I somehow don’t care about those gay teens, because I don’t think attacking religion for being religion is attacking the cause homophobia. Which must clearly exist outside of religion or else it would have never made its way into any of the Holy texts.
I do think those passages are wrong (and out of context); however, if I am picking a fight with someone it isn’t some Jewish Rabbi who has been dead for thousands of years but rather the parent that justifies their homophobia with a few passages here and there to verbally assault their children.”
So, you still don’t believe those religious lies should be extinguished? Blame the parents, huh? My parents condemned me as a homosexual because that was what their Religion did (Baptist).
Listen – it’s not a “few passages here and there” it was the very clear Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong.
I’m just one gay kid that put up with religious bullshit and lived and you are clearly a chicken-shit weasel.
Enough of your bullshit – you don’t care about LGBT. You’re a mess. People my age know religion is the culprit and we’re not afraid to stop it. Soon, you and your crop of old mindless “believers” will die off any way. For that, and your insensitive, disgusting comments, please hurry. Die and save some lives.
The answer to Queerty’s question is that it’s the wrong question.
As the horrific facts about the murder of Matthew Shepard’s killing were widely spread by the press they produced a national sense of revulsion and anger that terrified the religious right, who jumped to say that although they think we’re less than human that his torture and murder were the ‘unfortunate’ acts of individuals.
We didn’t ‘appoint’ Sheppard, or L. King, or Sakia Gunn or any of the 20-30 annual victims of homophobic murder. They became victims because religion and politics dance the bigots dance in lockstep. Religion has historically been used as a cover for the excesses of racism, homohating and misogyny by the rulers of this country and the government and parties they own.
Those, like Brian, Andrew and Josh who blame religion alone while ignoring the fact that politicians contribute to the violence to an equal degree are blind in one eye. You can’t ignore the interpenetration of religious and political bigotry. Clinton’s DOMA and DADT, Bushes flirting with theocrats and Obama’s “gawd’s in the mix” are equally responsible with the bigotry of mormons, catholics and southern baptists. They can’t be separated.
Clinton, Bush and Obama are as much our enemies as Ratzi Der Papenfuehrer, Pat Robertson and James Dobson.
That said the point that unequal levels of violence are directed at people of color is correct. Which shows us that political and religious homohating, racism and misogynya are all the product of the fusion of cult and state.
Religion is a tool of the state and has been since rise of city states in Mesopotamia and Egypt thousands of years ago. The two cannot be seperated. One is not the greater enemy than the other.
@B: Do some research: Christians believe “homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant.” We must end those beliefs, not apologize for those that don’t take religion seriously. Those that support their religion, while failing to demand they end the wrong done to homosexuals, have Matthew Shepard’s blood on their hands, too.
Oddly, some Christians can belong to and even support religions that teach and support homophobia, then distance themselves by suggesting they are members but don’t share THOSE beliefs. You can’t have it both ways – you’re either for LGBT equality or against it.
Baptists shout what Catholics whisper. Both are damaging. The religious “idea” that homosexuals are wrong MUST end.
Agreed totally. In order to get reconcilation between two groups, one of the best ways to do it is to have an icon which appeals to *both*, like a ‘bridge’. If the face of gay rights was…I don’t know…had other elements that caused people to alienate them then it wouldn’t raise awarenss *at all*. The reason people like Matthew Sheppard and Martin Luther King are successful is because they ultimately have traits which people can connect to, when there is connection, empathy is much more likely, and empathy is extremely important in getting people to understand *why* gay issues are so important, it brings it home to people.
bghnow wrote, “@B: I stand by what I said. You apparently don’t read much and did not bother to read the study I linked.”
You apparently don’t read at all or even understand what you quote.
Nothing in that study has anything to do with the behavior of the two cretins who attacked Matthew Shepard, and one of the two, it seems, fractured two skulls that evening, the other one belonging to a straight guy. He was simply violent and looking for any excuse to bash someone. In Matthew Shepard’s case, it was probably for being gay; in the other guy’s case, it was for some ‘words’ that were exchanged. Religion simply had nothing to do with it. Neither of the religions of either of these guys say, “Go forth and fracture skulls as you rob your victims, for the sound of a cracked skull is pleasing to the Lord.”
@J. Clarence: You’re an ahistorical moron and an idiot for claiming that the root of facist anti-Semitism is not christer anti-Semitism.
Heres a bit of proof.
and a bit more
Cam wrote, “Your post actually made me laugh. You missed the point. The point is EXACTLY that many churchgoers ARE hypocrites.”
Well, any sensible person is no doubt laughing at you as none of you have provided one shred of evidence that either of Matthew Shepard’s assailants were churchgoers as adults. Being dragged to church as a child does not mean the child pays much attention to anything but the clock on the wall.
@Bill Perdue: “Those, like Brian, Andrew and Josh who blame religion alone while ignoring the fact that politicians contribute to the violence to an equal degree are blind in one eye. You can’t ignore the interpenetration of religious and political bigotry. Clinton’s DOMA and DADT, Bushes flirting with theocrats and Obama’s “gawd’s in the mix” are equally responsible with the bigotry of mormons, catholics and southern baptists. They can’t be separated.”
Ahhhhh, Bill. Politicians are religious. It is their “beliefs” that usually determine their votes. In fact, their votes about homosexuals (in their minds) could actually send them to Hell (also in their minds). Even party loyalty can’t beat religious beliefs – it’s personal and (again, in their minds)life-after threatening.
The majority of religious people, including politicians, are almost helpless – they didn’t choose those beliefs, they inherited them. Religion is a weakening, but still very effective “belief factory.” They have to stop the wronging of homosexuals or their factories will close. The sooner, the better.
@B: thanks for the reminder of why I don’t usually bother with the comment threads. God your stupid.
@B: Hey dip-shit, they were raised as a Mormon and a Baptist. When they were little the anti-gay crap was put in their heads. If you have a magical way of removing those beliefs, please share.
Both of them remarked (after their arrests) that they “hated homosexuals.” Where do you suppose that came from? The tooth fairy? Snow White? Try religion.
Josh wrote, “Do some research: Christians believe ‘homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant.’ We must end those beliefs, not apologize for those that don’t take religion seriously. Those that support their religion, while failing to demand they end the wrong done to homosexuals, have Matthew Shepard’s blood on their hands, too.”
Follow your own advice – some Christians believe that but hardly all and hardly all denominations or sects. And nobody is “apologizing” for those who don’t take religion seriously – rather what his being pointed out is that some obscure Biblical passages are not going to influence people who don’t take their religion all that seriously.
The Bible actually says very little to nothing about homosexuality. It has some prohibitions against anal sex, which was practiced at the time by nearby pagan tribes as part of religious ceremonies worshiping a fertility god or goddess. Those prohibitions applied only to observant Jews.
Paul didn’t think people should have sex at all, but he was obviously hung up about sex in general and some of what has been interpreted as referring to homosexual activity is a little vague – nobody knows exactly what he meant.
You can rant all you want, but from what I can tell, you don’t even know the facts.
@Brian: No Brian, politicians use religion to cover their asses when they want to do ugly things, like declare war or initiated a holocaust or bust unions. The two institutions are inextricably fused and interpenetrated.
Religion is not the ‘only’ enemy and if you say it is you’re excusing politicians, who, often as not, ignore religion when it means getting votes. As in John Kerry on abortion rights. Women vote in large numbers and he ignores his religious background.
You must not have paid attention in sophomore phych because your entire approach to the religious hold on people is wrong. Or maybe John Kerry gets off thinking that he’s about to have a lighting storm descend on him. Actually there a millions of lapsed and recovered christers, muslims and religious Jews.
Your theory is bankrupt.
Support the March on Washington!
@Josh: I’m 22! I know we are a youth obsessed culture, but I don’t think I’m that old. Jebus!
Josh, we don’t disagree on the fundamental point, those passages are wrong. Where we disagree is about the source of that homophobia. If you want to wage a war over a couple of Bible verses go ahead, but what I am trying to tell you is that would be not the crucifix to Homophobia. My preference is to address the actual cause of homophobia rather than its catalyst, religion, which is our innate fear of the unfamiliar, our misogynistic culture/ideology, and our tendencies to create rigid social structures and force people to conform. Those are the underpinnings of homophobia, not believing as someone commented a sky god.
And it’s not a very clear Christian belief. You can clearly read in the Bible, its usually highlighted in red, where Jesus of Nazareth is quoted as saying that all the other tenants of the Old Testament (where homosexuality being an abomination is first mentioned) is essentially bullshit and said that there were only two. Neither of which had to do with you have sex with. So where exactly you get this assumption that Christianity is by definition anti-gay is beyond. Plus if that was so, how come some churches have ordained gay clergy.
I am not saying it has not been a major topic preached about in Christian Churches for some time, but that is different that saying it is a fundamental tenant of what Christians believes.
Josh, I must say I adore how you make accusations about me without actually knowing who I am. I’m not a Fundie Christian and yet you call for my death.
Bill Perdue, when did I say Hitler was not influenced by Christian antisemitism? We know the basis of Hitler views of Jews came from a crazy Christian Monk. However, what does that have to do with fascism, and more related to the topic, his views that homosexuals where unnecessary and should a stain on the German people? I’ll tell you, it doesn’t.
Hitler went after the gays and disabled (mentally and physically) because he left they were a stain on the German people. Not because of some religious dogma.
And you call me the historical moron. Nice.
No one is debating that those six verses are crammed into people heads. All I am saying is that those are used to justify their homophobia, because you have some people who read/hear them but do not turn out like those killers, in fact some turn out gay. So to say that it is religion alone that is the linchpin does not account for it all. What’s so hard to get in that?
If Matthew, Carl, and Jaheem, haven’t been belittled and stereotyped enough from the mainstream media and the extreme conservative bigots, I think this article certainly makes up for that. Way to forget everything they went through and everything others are currently going through to make an inaccurate assertion.
Matthew Shepard isn’t just the face of hate crimes against gays. he was the face of one man who didn’t deserve the kind of hate he experienced no matter who he was. The point was it shouldn’t matter that he was gay a terrible and heinous crime was committed against him that just can not stand in American Society. And his face or memory no more shadows the face of others than does having Barack Obama as an African American president proves that the country has moved past the era of racism in American. One of the things I think you may be clueless on is that much of the reason Jaheem and Carl are not more in the spotlight is out of respect to their families wishes. Something that just isn’t the case in Matthew’s case.
bghnow wrote, “@B: God your stupid.” Given your third-grade grammar mistake, it would seem that what we have here is a classic case of projection, not to mention a boorish individual whose mother apparently never taught him how to behave in public.
Now, why don’t you grow up and try to have a civil discussion? It really isn’t that hard. Name calling to cover up your inability to produce a valid argument will not impress people.
Josh, reduced to vulgarities, wrote, “Hey dip-shit, they were raised as a Mormon and a Baptist. When they were little the anti-gay crap was put in their heads. If you have a magical way of removing those beliefs, please share. Both of them remarked (after their arrests) that they ‘hated homosexuals.’ Where do you suppose that came from? The tooth fairy? Snow White? Try religion.”
Try producing a valid argument! You haven’t shown that their “anti-gay” beliefs were due to religion, as opposed to what they heard in their 7th, 8th, and 9th grade boys locker room.
If you want to blame religion, you have to explain why the beliefs about the evils of alcohol and drugs didn’t sink in. You can also provide some documentation regarding both of these guys religious beliefs, if any. Hint: someone who murders one person and then fractures the skull of another in two independent violence-prone incidents all in the same night probably doesn’t take what any preacher says very seriously.
And @J. Clarence: What you said was that it was a “A completely secular Holocaust…” If you’re backing away from that idiocy good for you. Fascism in Germany was a product of the merger of imperialist ambition, an attack on unions, anti-communism and christer dogmas of Der Fuehrer, a leader fashioned on the jebuz myth, obedience to the state from and centuries of anti-Semitism both derived from the roman catholic and lutheran catholic cults. That’s why Hitler and the vatican rushed to sign the Reichskonkordat in 1933 which contained these provisions:
You can’t separate the two any more than you can separate the Clintons, Dobson, the Bushes, Pat Robertson, Obama or Papenfuehrer Ratzinger. They’re all on the same team.
@Johnny: “I see that they hate homosexuals, but that doesn’t mean that hatred was inspired by religion.”
Well, gee whiz, what could it be then? What else makes homosexuality wrong and inspires hate? There is no need to try and provide some cover for religion. It made us wrong. That’s going to end and we will redefine ourselves.
We’re not wrong. Don’t you agree?
@Bill Perdue: Cute graphic.
When I said a “secular Holocaust” I was addressing specifically the persecution of gays, and as I mentioned later the disabled. I’m not disputing that there were religious dogmatic ideology behind targeting the Jews, just that there was no religious motivation behind the Holocaust of gays and mentally retarded people. We have to remember that Hitler went after a lot of people for various reasons.
@B: “Where we disagree is about the source of that homophobia.” and then you said “No one is debating that those six verses are crammed into people heads. All I am saying is that those are used to justify their homophobia, because you have some people who read/hear them but do not turn out like those killers, in fact some turn out gay.”
70% of Americans believe we are “morally wrong.” That’s straight from the Bible. The “beliefs” inspire actions and they create the hatred or disapproval of homosexuality.
You can’t accuse “bigots” of simply using religion to justify their behavior – the behavior is the result of the beliefs. Most people understand that those beliefs are “implanted” at a very young, impressionable age and are hard to change, even if they no longer practice faith.
Phoenix (Still Fabulous and Anarchist, Bitches)
I was kind of under the impression everyone who died or was killed by homophobic lynch-mob or bullying was the face of LGBT rights and hate crime legislation.
@Leo: I was with you until the second to last paragraph
@J. Clarence: As I said before if you’re backing away from the idiocy that fascism and religion aren’t intimately connected then good for you. But back away from all of it.
The holocaust clearly refers to the mass murder of six million Jews. It was actively supported by the deliberate silence of the cults silence.
There were also other mass murders with large numbers of victims, beginning with Soviet Citizens and communists that resulted in twenty two million deaths. And well over a dozen examples of mass murder campaigns, all of which were approved of and derived from the cultists.
Centuries of burning gays by the cults had everything to do with the Nazi’s anti-gay mass murder and a similar campaign by the very catholic Spanish fascists.
We could find a common ground here but not if you defend the cults. Fascism has a religious component and religion has a fascist component. Google Opus Dei, Odessa and the vatican and similar items.
@Bill Perdue: Sorry that should be O.D.E.S.S.A.
@B: “You haven’t shown that their “anti-gay” beliefs were due to religion, as opposed to what they heard in their 7th, 8th, and 9th grade boys locker room.”
You have to find a “source” for something other than religion. I don’t know of one. “What they heard in their “locker rooms” was from the same source: religion. It doesn’t matter if all the kids are taught religion, enough of them are and then they begin the homophobia. That’s why 70% of Americans believe we are “morally wrong.” They didn’t get that belief in the locker room, or the library, of the cafeteria – that one is from Church. ; )
@B: “some Christians believe that but hardly all and hardly all denominations or sects. “
No, ALL Christian denominations believe homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant. Find one that doesn’t. Or a single Church.
@J. Clarence: I agree. As far as I’m concerned, most people who hate gays don’t hate them because their religion says so. They just hate them because they’re different, and use religion to justify it. They’re just trying to shift blame from themselves to God. I come from a very strong Christian family– includes everything from preachers down to ushers– and overall, they are very supportive of gay rights and even use the Bible to find justification for it and prove that homophobia is a sin. They also condemn other Christians who use the Bible as justification for bigotry. I realize there are MANY people who are the opposite of my family, but why should they represent all people of faith?
@RainaWeather: “As far as I’m concerned, most people who hate gays don’t hate them because their religion says so.”
So, where did they get the idea? What is the only thing in the world that makes homosexuals “wrong?” HINT: Toddlers hear it when they’re dragged to this place on Sunday mornings.
If you have another source or creator of the negative beliefs about homosexuals – please share.
@Josh: Think of it this way. Do you think the people who wrote the (arguably) homophobic passages in the bible were homophobic? If so, what made them homophobic since they didn’t have a Bible to learn from?
Josh wrote, “@B: ‘some Christians believe that but hardly all and hardly all denominations or sects.’ No, ALL Christian denominations believe homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant. Find one that doesn’t. Or a single Church.”
Start with MCC. It was founded by a gay pastor who was booted out of a church for being gay. MCC was gay-friendly from day 1. Anyone can form a Christian denomination that is gay friendly and that doesn’t assert that there is anything wrong with being gay.
As to “find one that doesn’t. Or a single Church [sic]”, see
http://www.gaychurch.org/Find_a_Church/find_a_church.htm for a world-wide list and
http://www.gaychurch.org/Gay_and_Christian_YES/gay_and_christian_yes.htm for a discussion of why homosexuality in general is not sinful.
My guess, if the behavior of others with similar views is any guide, is that you’ll ignore the links even though they answer your question with an explicit list of churches, and it is a lot more than just one.
Don’t act like a fundamentalist and ignore the facts when they don’t fit your preconceptions.
@Brian: you asked: What is the only thing in the world that makes homosexuals “wrong?”
My answer: Sexism. After all, homophobia is a subset of sexism. And one needs not religion to be sexist.
@B: Don’t act like a fundamentalist and ignore the facts when they don’t fit your preconceptions.
@Brian: You have a very Genesis like view of religion and homophobia. Your argument goes it seems like this “In the beginning there was religion and it was homophobic.” Like the Genesis story itself there is a problem with that kind of thinking.
If you asking Raina where they got the idea, let me ask you where did the person that first wrote/created the first reference to it being an abomination get the idea from?
And religion has not been the only thing that has been argued that said homosexuality was wrong. McCarthy for example labeled gays as communist, i.e. “wrong”, because they did not do the American thing and have families. St. Augustine said homosexuality was wrong not because the “Sky god” was opposed to it for the sake of being opposed to it, but because he said sex should only be about procreation. That was not a religious argument against homosexuality but rather a biological one. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness, i.e. “wrong”, because the majority of psychiatrists psychologist at the believe that someone had to be wrong with a person’s brain for them not to want to have sex with someone of the opposite sex. So let us not pretend that it has always been religion.
Also I looked up the latest Gallop Poll that I could find from 2009 and it said that it was evenly split, 48%-48%, of Americans that thought homosexuality is wrong. Which is still a large number but still. http://www.gallup.com/poll/108115/americans-evenly-divided-morality-homosexuality.aspx
Bill Perdue, let us not forget that the Vatican throughout the war hid Jews, and several Churches throughout Europe at risk to their own lives took Jews in. In any event you are right, gays were attacked before Hitler started, but I think his rationalization was different than the justifications by the Spanish and others, though given the ability to just their act out their beliefs I don’t doubt many took the opportunity.
I think if you are religious homophobe; homophobia would have had to been apart of you and religious boosted it, because you have people who attack gay people who are not particularly religious and you have some that are fundamentalist. The only way to account for those differences is that the source must come from somewhere else. Now could religion be the extra stuff that sends them over the edge, absolutely, but I don’t think it alone would cause people to attack other people.
Raina: “My answer: Sexism. After all, homophobia is a subset of sexism. And one needs not religion to be sexist.” Thank you!
RainaWeather wrote, “@Josh: Think of it this way. Do you think the people who wrote the (arguably) homophobic passages in the bible were homophobic? If so, what made them homophobic since they didn’t have a Bible to learn from?”
Josh will have a lot of trouble answering that question. Start with Leviticus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_(Bible) has a bit of the history. The Babylonian exile ended when Cyrus (king of Persia – basically Iran) conquered Babylon (basically Iraq). Cyrus allowed Jews to return and rebuild their temple. According to http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2 Leviticus was “composed to inform Cyrus and his officials about what the Jerusalem priesthood intended to do with its newly granted authority.” What they decided to do was to impose a bunch of rules that would make the Taliban happy, mostly with a goal of separating Jews from their neighbors to help reform a distinct cultural identity.
The rule against anal sex in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 make sense in this context – their pagan neighbors’ religious practices included anal sex with what were more or less drag queens symbolically representing fertility gods or goddesses. Maybe these Jewish priests didn’t want, “Hey, I was just trying to get off,” to be used as an excuse. So they banned it, whether in general or merely in the context of worshiping pagan gods not being clear to 21st century readers.
Now, a list of ancient Jewish taboos and religious practices might make interesting/amusing reading to those interested in history, but it has no relevance for those of us who are (a) not Jewish and (b) living in the 21st century. Read in context, however, you can reasonably argue that Leviticus is not really homophobic, naive interpretations to the contrary notwithstanding.
I think that Matthew being murdered the way he was is reason enough. It’s not like gay community does that much for its self anyhow and should be grateful that his mother Judy has kept this in the spotlight. Maybe if the gay community would learn to stick up for itself and start beating the shit out gay bashers instead of calling them faggot like Perez does or watches idly as their gay brothers and sisters get pummeled all over this country we wouldn’t have this conversation. How did Los Angeles remember 40 years of Stonewall? About 25 people went to Le Barcito and held a small rally. 25 people for the seminal moment in gay culture? Fucking pathetic. The gay community cant even decide when they want their marriage rights. It’s no surprise that bars are being raided kids are called faggot all throughout school and gay people continue to get bashed and murdered. Thank god there’s someone like Judy Shepard to keep this in the spotlight because the gay community can’t do shit for itself.
Oh good lord…
People, what you all ned to realize is that just like not every gay man is a good-looking white boy, nor is every Christian a Queer-hating Fag-killer.
Gross generalizations on EITHER side do no one any good and only serve to make your argument sound like the pointless snorting of wild pigs…loud, violent and unpleasant to hear.
There is no such thing, in religion, sexuality or politics as a hard, fast, “EVERYONE WHO IS THIS IS THAT” rule.
Not every Jew follows the whole of the Torah.
Not every gay man is pretty, white, and buff.
Not every German supported Hitler.
Not every Catholic Priest rapes young boys.
Not every Atheist is an arrogant asshole.
Not every white man looks down on black men.
Not every Asian plays the piano/violin.
Need I go on?
We, as humans, have a WONDERFUL capacity for nuance in our lives, and yet, the second we log into the internet, that nuance , by-and-large, goes out the window, replaced by asenine finger-pointing and gorilla-like chest thumping.
Can we please grow up and stop laying blanket accusations at the feet of white people, black people, religious people, gay people, etc. and just try to remember that we are all human beings, that NONE of us knows all the answers, and that ALL of us deserve a certain level of respect?
PS, I’m not the Anti-religion Josh that posted earlier throughout this thread, I’m the more reasonable one with a live-and-let-live attitude towards matters of faith.
@Brian: what is the cause of gay bashing and hatred? Ignorance and fear of people who are different. there are plenty of faiths that don’t condemn sexuality in any of its forms. homosexuality, bisexuality, transexuality, intersex, whatever. i completely agree with No. 94. gross generalizations of any group of people is ignorant and misinformed. whether that group of people are homosexuals, blacks, religious people, etc. who cares? there are ignorant, closed minded people and there are people who aren’t. regardless, we are human and all have the capacity to change our minds.
I find it fascinating how a lot of people who get bashed on for being gay tend to bash religion.
I’m not religious myself, and for the most part I strongly dislike organized religion because it tends to govern how people think rather than letting them think for themselves.
That being said, the only time it’s really truly a problem is when it’s taken to extremes. I see no reason to say “Religion is the problem!”… nope. It’s the crazy religious people who are the problem, and the homophobic people who are as well.
@Yuki: Thank you jeeeeebuzz for sending YUKI to show us the error of our ways. How sweet of YUKI to cast the blame equally and scold both sides. How cute. How liberal. How even-handed. How sublimely Solomonic.
After all it was those nasty gays and lesbians who burned thousands and thousands of christers at the stake during the Dark Ages (which began when the christer cult became the state religion in 391 of the common era in the reign of Theodosius I and ended when the French Revolution began shaving clerical heads with the French National Razor.)
And it was the lesbians and gays who blessed the armies of 1914, sending European youth off to a generation killing bloodbath. And then did it all over again in 1939.
And wasn’t it the bisexuals and transfolk who brought in armadas and armies in 1839–42 and 1856–60 from England to force the Chinese to import opium. And aren’t they the ones who made the otherwise gentle and fun loving Spanish and Portuguese royals slaughter millions of Incans, Caribs and Aztecs for gold and silver.
And who but those LGBT goons would dream of introducing European christer racism, colonial exploitation, homohating and genocide to the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Gosh, I almost forgot slavery.
Yes, indeed those gay folks are some bad assed folks aren’t they. Imagine their gall at being angry at the christers.
After all the christers don’t hate GLBT folks, just our unforgiveable sin ofs being what we are, of living our genetic birthright.
@Bill Perdue: Oh Bill. Nobody disputing that religion played a part in the racism, exploitation, “homohating”, and genocide of the world by Europeans, who then were vastly one big Christian Empire. But if you want to go about blaming the causes of all of those horrible things lets start with more practical ones–the ones that really got them going–like a financial and geo-political interest in exploiting people and resources. If you think of other humans as essentially livestock using them as a free source of labor is a pretty cost-effective means of growing industry.
Also lets not forget the human capacity for evil. Joseph Mengele tortured and killed thousands of people under the guise of science, but really because he just liked torturing people. The Japanese set up labs during WWII and did similar things to Chinese prisoners.
As for burning the gays and suspected Witches, it was simply a matter of scapegoating responsibility, or human superstitiousness, which modern science has pointed out is something humans are naturally without religion.
You set up this false premise that if it wasn’t for religious dogma everything would be perfect in the world, when in fact there are countless examples of where people have done horrible things to other reasons because at the end of the day they are just bad people, and often those same people from Charles Manson to the various Popes throughout the ages have used religion as a guise to justify their ideology.
It seems too cliche to say but religion doesn’t make bad people, bad people do.
@J. Clarence: Religion does make bad people, because unlike science there is no room for change in religious dogma. Science admits when it goes wrong, but not religion. The Pope is still back in the dark ages holding on to those superstitions. When he comes to this country, red carpets roll out to him, from the White House to the halls of Congress.
One country UNDER GOD, in GOD WE TRUST, ect. proves that our leaders believe that there is a “supreme being”. They may not be Catholic, but they still have that fuzzy belief system. No one will say the bible is wrong. No Muslim say the hadith (sayings of Mohammed) is wrong when in his words regarding homosexuals, “Kill the one who is doing it, and kill the one who is is being done to”.
Holy books are toxic mythologies, and politicians use them to gain power. We are the targets. DOMA, ENDA and DADT are a direct result of biblical teachings against homosexuality.
Oh! @J. Clarence: You’re full of it. There is no justification or defense for existence of the cults, their superstition or the evil things they do. When we get a sane society we’ll put superstition, the cults and religion down.
Steven Weinberg teaches physics at UT Austin and is a Nobel Laureate
Upton Sinclair is a noted American author and social critic
Bertrand Russell is a philosopher and author of Principia Mathematica and Why I am not a Christian
H. L. Mencken is a noted American literary and social critic
And I saved the best for last…
George Carlin, who needs no introduction
@Charles Merrill: @J. Clarence:
I’d have to split this baby in have. While science does make room for change, it, too, can unleash destruction upon the world every bit as religion. And it could all be justified because it is so rational and right. After all, there is scientifically based racism and homophobia; Aristotle himself said that slavery was a natural state of things (and Aristotle wasn’t too keen on women, either). The Church, in fact, used Aristotle (thanks to St Thomas Aquinas) to justify much of their bigotry.
“every bit as much”
Bill Perdue wrote, “There is no justification or defense for existence of the cults, their superstition or the evil things they do. When we get a sane society we’ll put superstition, the cults and religion down.
“Steven Weinberg teaches physics at UT Austin and is a Nobel Laureate
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
….. the discussion, at least originally, was about the claim that religion motivated Matthew Shepard’s murderers, yet there was not one shred of evidence that they were religious, only a claim that they were raised in Mormon and Baptist families. One of them fractured another guy’s skull that same evening in a separate incident, and homophobia could not have been a factor in that second incident since that victim was straight. So, what evidence does anyone have that these two cretins were the “good people” doing “bad things” that Weinberg mentioned rather than “evil people doing bad things” (with religion being irrelevant). The evidence if anything suggests they were two young thugs looking for any excuse to bash someone.
@Chitown Kev: I agree and evil exists inherently in religion and science. When religion combines with science, that is a cause of deep concern for the continued existence of the human race.
@RainaWeather: “Think of it this way. Do you think the people who wrote the (arguably) homophobic passages in the bible were homophobic? If so, what made them homophobic since they didn’t have a Bible to learn from?”
Semen. It was the semen. Study the history. Competing religions wanted to have more families and therefore more “believers” and those willing to fight. Prior to those Christian beliefs homosexuality was not “wrong.” Google a good “history of religion” article.
@Bill Perdue: “No Brian, politicians use religion to cover their asses when they want to do ugly things, like declare war or initiated a holocaust or bust unions. The two institutions are inextricably fused and interpenetrated.”
So, if BOTH religion and politics are infections, which one do they get first? I say religion.
This is what religion told Elton John:
Donetsk Diocese of the Orthodox Church, which reached a similar conclusion. Says Father Georgy Gulyaev: “The Church is strictly against same-sex marriages and the damage they cause. It’s written in Holy Scriptures that homosexual marriage and relations is a sin. It is a sin, it is against nature, and it represents the dead end of human development. People pretend to have good intentions, create semi-marriages and so-called families, and moreover they dare to adopt children. Unlike people who are blessed by God to create natural families, these are people who succumb to their passions. This is definitely a sin, there is no other word for it, and the church will never agree that people who have created same-sex ‘marriage’ could also dare to adopt children. This applies to all, including Elton John. He is a sinner.”
Just stop with all the apologizing and rationalizing – RELIGION MAKES HOMOSEXUALITY WRONG.
Find the courage to admit that religion and its “branding” of homosexuals is the reason we don’t have equality. Until we change that we will never be equal.
@B: “the discussion, at least originally, was about the claim that religion motivated Matthew Shepard’s murderers, yet there was not one shred of evidence that they were religious, only a claim that they were raised in Mormon and Baptist families.”
Religion put the “idea” that homosexuals were wrong, sinful and deviant into their young minds. Nothing else did that. Even if they didn’t “practice the Faith,” the harmful belief was planted at a very young age.
For you to continue to apologize for religion, when it’s very clear that the source of the idea that “homosexual = bad” is indisputably religion, means you must have the infection, the infection of religion.
The anti-biotic (cure) is for you to put Equality before Religion. If you don’t do that, your not helping your LGBT brothers and sisters – in fact, you’re hurting us.
@Yuki: “the only time it’s really truly a problem is when it’s taken to extremes. I see no reason to say “Religion is the problem!”… nope. It’s the crazy religious people who are the problem, and the homophobic people who are as well.”
Religion – all of it, teaches that “homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant.” 70% of Americans believe we are “morally wrong,” the result of those religious beliefs. It doesn’t matter if the “extremist” Baptists shout it, or if the Catholics just whisper it, we’re still wrong.
Religion branded us as “wrong.” Do you really believe we can be “equal” as long as we’re wrong?
@Josh: “There is no such thing, in religion, sexuality or politics as a hard, fast, “EVERYONE WHO IS THIS IS THAT” rule.”
It is the “belief,” not the believers. The religious belief that “homosexuality is wrong” that is the problem. That belief is a LIE and it needs to be extinguished. Until then, we cannot be equal. The majority of Americans believe we are wrong, so apparently that belief is in the hearts and minds of the majority. That needs to change.
Homosexuals are Not Wrong.
If “all of it” teaches we’re wrong, why do some churches completely accept us and insist we AREN’T wrong? I definitely see your point because most religions do think we’re wrong, but… if you take away religion from everyone, you’re censoring something. And as much as I dislike being called a sinner or being told I’m wrong, I hate censorship more.
I said before I’m not religious in the least, and I stand by that. I don’t like organized religion ESPECIALLY when it forces people to be closed minded, but I see no reason to get rid of religion, as I said, because it would be censorship. I only wish people could have an open mind as well.
I’m honestly surprised at the fact that I got completely attacked for not wanting to get rid of religion. Wow. I don’t like it necessarily, but to get rid of it would be to do to religions what they’re doing to us.
Brian, not being able to respond to the observation that there is no proof that Matthew Shepard’s murderers were religious, replied with an inaccurate non sequitur, “Religion put the ‘idea’ that homosexuals were wrong, sinful and deviant into their young minds. Nothing else did that. Even if they didn’t ‘practice the Faith,’ the harmful belief was planted at a very young age.”
Sorry Brain, but you are simply wrong. I know people who grew up being taken to church by their parents and who (a) have not been in a church in decades and (b) did not hear one word about homosexuality in church while growing up. They did hear plenty from their peers, mostly when one adolescent was mouthing off to another adolescent. Also, the first appearance of the word “homosexual” or “homosexuality” in the Bible (as translated into English) did not occur until 1946 (http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=244). Does Brian think that is when homophobia started?
Brian then repeats his mantra, “For you to continue to apologize for religion, when it’s very clear that the source of the idea that ‘homosexual = bad’ is indisputably religion, means you must have the infection, the infection of religion.”
Brian, you are as bad as any fundamentalist – you seem to think that anyone who disagrees with you must be religious. Some of us merely don’t find your “argument” persuasive because you haven’t produced one iota of credible evidence to back up your claim that religion in general is the cause. Certainly there are people who try to justify their prejudices by using religion as an excuse, but they generally are simply seeing what they want to see. There are also “pastors”, often noisy televangelists, who are publicly very homophobic, possibly because they know that pushing their audience’s hot buttons is a good way to push up their ratings. But that behavior is not a religious requirement, and you can find religious people who don’t believe that nonsense at all.
@Brian: “It is the “belief,” not the believers. The religious belief that “homosexuality is wrong” that is the problem. That belief is a LIE and it needs to be extinguished. Until then, we cannot be equal. The majority of Americans believe we are wrong, so apparently that belief is in the hearts and minds of the majority. That needs to change.
Homosexuals are Not Wrong.”
There is no argument here, Brian.
The argument comes when you make blanket statements about ALL people of faith (and what they believe).
My grandmother was a devout Southern Baptisty, one of the WORST religions when it comes to hating Homosexuals. When I came out to her, her response was th shrug, hug me and say, “God doesn’t make mistakes, and He made you perfectly as He saw fit. I love you.”
My father, another devout Baptist, while originally disgusted and repulsed by my being gay, has come around to say, “While I may find homosexuality to be wrong, Biblically, it’s not your issue. It’s mine.”
Two anecdotes, sure, but proof that not EVERYONE who follows the Christian Faith is a blanket hater seeking our eradication. Nuance, Brian. Nuance and human diversity.
If a person speaks or acts on hatred, call them out for it. If they vote to take away rights, call them on it.
Otherwise, leave ’em the hell alone and they’ll likely leave you alone too. *Shrug*
Common sense. The worst enemy of the reactionary.
@Josh: “not EVERYONE who follows the Christian Faith is a blanket hater seeking our eradication. “
I never said it was the BELIEF, not the BELIEVERS.
It is a Christian belief that needs to end. I would think the “very good” Christians would seek to have their denomination or congregation to officially end that wrong.
That should, of course, be that I never said it was the BELIEVERS, but rather the BELIEF.
@B: Well, partly to come to Brian’s defense, but mostly to wipe that arrogant, smug look off your face, B, I’ll tell you what anyone who’s read The Laramie Project could tell you.
Those boys were religious.
The Mormon, the one who tied Matthew to the fence, was a model kid, hardly the typical thug. He was an eagle scout. Very involved in his church. After the murder, when the Mormons voted to excommunicate him and wipe him from the Church’s record – he was put on suicide watch.
So the Mormon was active in a church, and I bet you the world that when he was growing up he heard the religious lie oft repeated in those hallowed hallways.
The Baptist, the one who beat him to death, grew up religious, drifted away from the church, and then was drawn back to the church in a major way when his pregnant girlfriend said we’re goin’ to Jesus. So yes, when he was little and when he had strayed – when he went to church, the moral authority, to learn about good and evil, that’s what he heard.
The Baptists, if you have not noticed, tend to tell the impressionable little kiddies about the gay boogeyman. He’s baaaaad. Baaaaaad.
But hey, if you think the only thing standing in the way of our equality is wandering bands of angry thugs who just have so much hate that they have to unleash it indiscriminatingly against gay and straight people alike…
well that’s your prerogative.
@B: Nothing you have posted changes the very simple fact that it is the BELIEF that homosexuality is wrong is the problem. You’re a fan of religion, but not willing to call upon them, or even demand that they change that belief. So you’ve endorsed it.
That no doubt helps religion, but does nothing to help LGBTQ people.
Chance wrote, “@B: Well, partly to come to Brian’s defense, but mostly to wipe that arrogant, smug look off your face, B, I’ll tell you what anyone who’s read The Laramie Project could tell you. Those boys were religious.”
What a pack of lies. Read http://matthewshepard.jeff-reys.com/suspects.html and specifically, “McKinney is well-know in Laramie for his short temper and willingness to brawl. He was awaiting sentencing for burglarizing $2,500 from a Kentucky Fried Chicken resaurant before the beating of Shepard.
“Like McKinney, Henderson had dropped out of Laramie High School, taking odd jobs that included cooking food at Taco Bell, pumping gas, and most recently, repairing roofs. By the time of his arrest last week, he had committed several driving offenses and had two convictions for drunken driving. Henderson was raised by his mother Cindy Dixon who often left him in the care of his grandparents and aunts. His father had long deserted the family. …
“The suspects girlfriends, Chasity V. Pasely (21) and Kristen Price (18) have been charged as accessories after-the fact in the Shepard case. Henderson and Pasely lived together in a rundown rented trailer, in an industrial section of town. Price was also a drop out from Laramie High School and took care of the couple’s three-month old son full-time.”
So we have them living with their girlfriends (it said “girlfriends”, not “wives”), out of wedlock pregnancies, a “Mormon” having a beer with his violent friend, a string of crimes before the murder, and you claim they are religious.
Also the Laramie Project is a play! It is not an historical account of events, and even when a play is based on events that actually occurred, the facts can be altered for dramatic reasons, and random people interviewed can say anything. Their girlfriends in particular had plenty of reason to put out some spin in the hopes of getting a reduced sentence.
The truth is that, when some guy kills one person and in a separate incident the same night fractures another guy’s skull, that is so statistically unlikely that the only reasonable explanation is that the guy is a thug. And that is what happened. It doesn’t matter if he was formerly an Eagle Scout, an alter boy, or on his high school football team. The idea that these guys were religious is comical.
And if your Mormon boy was so “religious”, what the hell was he doing in a bar? Teetotaling? Give me a break – he was drinking. As to your claim that one of them was being dragged into church by his girlfriend, trying to keep a girlfriend happy does not make that guy suddenly religious, and there is no particular reason to think the girlfriend is being honest given that she was being indicted as well as an accessory after the fact.
Josh wrote inaccurately, “@B: ‘Where we disagree is about the source of that homophobia.’ and then you said ‘No one is debating that those six verses are crammed into people heads. All I am saying is that those are used to justify their homophobia, because you have some people who read/hear them but do not turn out like those killers, in fact some turn out gay.'”
Josh, I never wrote that. Are you lying or are you having trouble keeping track of who wrote what.
“70% of Americans believe we are ‘morally wrong.’ That’s straight from the Bible.”
Actually, it isn’t “straight from the Bible”. It’s an interpretation of Biblical texts done in such a way as to support people’s existing prejudices. While some bigots will (for example) quote Leviticus, what they won’t quote is the very last sentence in Levicitus, which says it was a set of rules for the Israelites, not anyone else. And the prohibitions are really about anal sex – a blow job is OK. Rent the movie “Trembling before G*D” (about how gay Israelis and Orthodox Jews) and you’ll hear a statement to that effect at the very end, attributed to a respected Orthodox rabbi.
Brian dishonestly wrote, “@B: Nothing you have posted changes the very simple fact that it is the BELIEF that homosexuality is wrong is the problem. You’re a fan of religion, but not willing to call upon them, or even demand that they change that belief. So you’ve endorsed it.” Well, we know what you are – as bad a liar as any fundamentalist.
You’ve been posting these lies about me multiple times and you ignored polite statements telling you that you got it wrong, so the only explanation left is that you are a liar, just like so many fundamentalists are.
You don’t have to be a “fan” of religion to merely describe what some religion’s beliefs actually are. Are you really too stupid to understand that or are you just ethically challenged?
It isn’t religion that creates hate…people are entitled to believe what they want…that’s one of the wonders of democracy. The problem is PEOPLE. We are self centered, all of us. Me first, my rights, my beliefs, you are wrong I am right. When a person or when people believe that they have the right to tell others what to believe, how to live, what real freedom is, what true faith is and so on….And when this thinking becomes action because politicians or religious leaders or parents or…diminish the rights of some over the rights of others. And public silence instead of outrage every time, whether the victim is gay, trans, black, aboriginal, muslim, an addict, homeless and so on makes us complicit in hate. The verbal violence here is witness and testament….it isn’t religion. It is us. All of us. We need to stand in front of the mirror to see where hate begins.
@B: Like others on Queerty, I am going to discontinue any conversation with you. You clearly are a defender of not only religion, but the undeniable source of ALL LGBTQ pain and suffering: that religious belief that homosexuals are wrong.
Gallup, ARIS and Pew have spent a lot of time and money polling people and their beliefs. All three organizations report that +70% of Americans believe that “homosexuality is morally wrong.” Try to understand that – it came from the religious teaching that we are wrong. Nowhere else.
You have rejected the idea that we “must end that belief,” while apologizing for religion. You simply cannot put Equality before Religion and are therefore part of the problem. You only hurt ALL LGBTQ people by sanctioning the very thing that causes us harm – the belief that we are wrong.
@B: Let me tell you a story. My dearest fag hag (do we still use that term? I don’t care for ‘fruit fly’) dated a fellow who, to this day, introduces himself to everyone he meets as a “virgin eagle scout Mormon priest.”
I can tell you that he is not one of those things. He, in fact, had sex with my fag hag by a dumpster behind the Mormon temple. He drinks Mountain Dew to grotesque excess, and explains it away because there is no specific prohibition against caffeine in scripture, just against coffee and tea. Shame on Moroni for not having the foresight to know that something called Mountain Dew would come around more than a hundred years later.
This is the real face of religion. He’s a scumbag and a cesspool, the biggest asshole one could meet. But he considers himself devout. He’s just fallen at times, and trying to do right.
And you know what happens when you mention homosexuality? He gets super righteous about how it’s sinful and bad. Because that was planted in his head when he was a toddler, and that belief was aggressively reinforced throughout his formative years.
He knows that what he’s done is “wrong,” according to his faith. And if religion is good at one thing, it’s guilt. So yes, he feels guilty. But he knows damn well for certain that his faith says homos are wrong. And it’s his duty, as a “virgin eagle scout Mormon priest” to fight evil.
If you can’t even acknowledge that religion plants anti-homo thoughts into young impressionable minds, or even that religion creates a list of right and wrong, whether the devout live up to it or not, then there’s absolutely no reason to continue talking to you. You’re just too thick for conversation.
@Mickey: “The verbal violence here is witness and testament….it isn’t religion. It is us. All of us. We need to stand in front of the mirror to see where hate begins.”
Religion believes homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant. Nothing else does that. Hate follows the belief. Religion didn’t make left handed people or blind people “wrong,” just homosexuals.
It is fine to have religious beliefs – to each his own, but when we are talking about “equality” for LGBTQ persons, we must end the believe that we are wrong. Gay teens commit suicide because of that belief, not because some people hate.
Matthew Shepard was A face of gay rights. Condensing the movement to one face is simplistic, a misleading straw man.
@B: A Mormon killed Matthew Shepherd. That’s who taught the killer that homosexuals are wrong. With all your bs about the killers beliefs, perhaps his own words will help you understand.
The killers own words:
NEW YORK – A decade after “The Laramie Project” became a theatrical phenomenon, its creators are back with an epilogue highlighted by a riveting prison interview with the killer of gay college student Matthew Shepard — depicting him as candid but not remorseful over the murder.
The new production, which opens nationwide Oct. 12 at more than 130 theaters, features a segment based on more than 10 hours of face-to-face interviews with convicted killer Aaron McKinney, conducted by Greg Pierotti, a gay actor/writer who helped create the original docudrama.
According to the detailed notes taken by Pierotti and condensed into the new script, McKinney says he had been drawn to crime ever since childhood, feels sympathy for Shepard’s parents and expresses regret that he let his own father down.
“As far as Matt is concerned, I don’t have any remorse,” McKinney is quoted as saying in the script, which was provided to The Associated Press by the production company.
McKinney, according to the script, reiterates his claim that the 1998 killing in Laramie, Wyo., started out as a robbery, but makes clear that his antipathy toward gays played a role.
“The night I did it, I did have hatred for homosexuals,” McKinney is quoted as saying. He goes on, according to the script, to say that he still dislikes gays and that his perceptions about Shepard’s sex life bolstered his belief that the killing was justified.
McKinney and his accomplice, Russell Henderson, targeted Shepard at a bar in Laramie in part because they assumed he was gay, according to the script.
“Well, he was overly friendly. And he was obviously gay,” McKinney is quoted as saying. “That played a part … his weakness. His frailty. And he was dressed nice. Looked like he had money.”
Early on Oct. 7, 1998, McKinney and Henderson offered Shepard a ride in their car, then robbed and savagely pistol whipped him and left him tied to a fence in a remote area outside town. The 21-year-old University of Wyoming student was found 18 hours later and died in a Colorado hospital on Oct. 12.
The murder has become an iconic cornerstone of campaigns to raise awareness about violence against gays and to pass hate-crimes laws. Shepard’s mother, Judy, has been an indefatigable campaigner, while “The Laramie Project” — which probed the murder and its aftermath through more than 200 interviews with Laramie residents — has become a well-known and widely viewed theatrical piece.
The New York-based Tectonic Theater Project, which created the original play, began work last year on the epilogue, titled “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later.” The company’s artistic director, Moises Kaufman, said he wanted to find out how Laramie had changed in the years since the murder and his team reinterviewed many residents who figured in the earlier play.
More than 1,000 actors — amateur and professional — will be performing when the new show premieres next month on the 11th anniversary of Shepard’s death. Participating theaters range from high school stages to New York’s Lincoln Center, where Pierotti and other members of the original cast will perform.
Pierotti says he’s still not sure if he will play himself in the segment about McKinney, a dialogue that will take about 11 minutes on stage. The script is a condensed and occasionally reordered version of Pierotti’s notes from the prison; he says he tried to convey McKinney’s words as accurately as possible given that he was not allowed to use a recorder. Officials at Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, Va., confirmed the interviews.
The last time McKinney made public statements about the murder was in 2004, when he was interviewed by ABC’s “20/20.” That interview raised the possibility that the crime was motivated by drugs rather than anti-gay sentiment, and Kaufman said he wanted the epilogue to address people’s views on whether the murder was a hate crime.
Pierotti said he visited McKinney once last November and twice more in July, speaking with him for more than three hours each time in the community visiting room at the maximum-security facility. McKinney and Henderson, both serving life sentences, are among several Wyoming inmates transferred to Virginia for logistical reasons.
Pierotti says he pressed McKinney several times on the question of remorse. “Yeah, I got remorse. But probably not the way people want me to,” McKinney is quoted as saying. “I got remorse that I didn’t live the way my dad taught me to live.”
According to the script, McKinney expresses empathy with Shepard’s parents over the loss of their son, though he adds about Judy Shepard: “Still, she never shuts up about it, and it’s been like 10 years.”
“If I could go back and not be the one who killed him, I would,” McKinney is quoted as saying. “But I am better off here, myself. I’m doing way better in here than I ever was out there.”
Pierotti contacted McKinney through the intervention of the Rev. Roger Schmit, a Roman Catholic priest based in Laramie at the time of the killing. Schmit had many heartfelt talks with McKinney during jailhouse visits.
“When I visited Aaron, I felt there was a sense of remorse,” Schmit said in a telephone interview from Kansas City, Mo., where he now lives. “He would often pray for Matthew, for Matthew’s family.” Yet Schmit has seen a rehearsal of the new script and said he has no doubt it accurately portrays McKinney’s current feelings. “Of course, it’s disappointing to me,” Schmit said. “But I have confidence in his teachableness.”
Pierotti said he found McKinney’s demeanor and views unsettling at times, but also compelling to the point where he sought to build a level of mutual trust. For example, Pierotti chose to acknowledge to McKinney, at their last meeting, that he was gay, and recalls McKinney responding amicably, “I thought so.”
“He’s perfectly comfortable acknowledging he doesn’t like gay people, and for me it was unnerving to experience his lack of remorse,” Pierotti said. “Yet I feel very protective of him — not in an apologist way, but I see he has a lot of complexity. … As an artist, it’s more interesting to dig into who this person is.”
In the script, Pierotti asks if McKinney, who is now 32, he expects to ever go free.
“Man, I’m never getting out of here,” McKinney is quoted as responding. “I’m like the poster child for hate-crime murders. … And you got to resign yourself to it or you go crazy.”
So the Matthew Shephard “brand” is too lily-white, all-American for some? Talk about reverse racism.
Shepard became the “face of gay victims” because his being tied to a fencepost to die slowly bleeding reminded the Christians of another man also nailed to a Cross…that being Jesus. That couldn’t be said of the other gay-bashing victims, regardless of color or looks.
The reverse of racism isn’t racism. You know that right?
#130. You might be technically correct, but there is a misconception (and your own position is NOT clearly stated) that only whites can be racist. In fact, anyone can be racist (not that they should). Using a term such as “reverse racism” makes it clear that what we have is not what many people ordinarily assume it is. Further, racism is often in response to other racism. If group A mistreats a member of group B, then that group B member may mistreat a member of group A as a sort of “revenge.” So, in that sense, “reverse racism” is used to refer to reactionary discrimination. In this story, Matthew Shepard’s “whiteness” may have contributed to his initial acceptance…in 1998. But a decade later, it’s now “cool” to have a person of darker complexion to be representative. If it wasn’t, this article wouldn’t have been written. Capiche?
The difference being that whites are in power in this country. No racism coming from other races has the power to fuck up your day, your career, or your life.
That’s why only white racism is seen as the one that matters. Because at the end of the day it is the only one that has a lasting effect on people.
White people have someone they can appeal to when someone of color is in a position of power and racist. There’s always someone white over that person’s head who won’t tolerate it.
On the flip side that is rarely the issue for people of color. And more often than not a white person in a position of power will say “You’re playing the race card.” and dismiss you for appealing the issue.
No one is saying racism from anyone isn’t wrong. What people are saying is that white racism has actual power because currently white people are in power.
I’m sure this post will be dismissed as this is always dismissed when posted, but it is a fact.
A random black person being racist towards a white person has no power to fuck you over, a random white person being racist towards a black person does.
A white woman even in 2009 can still scream rape and point her finger at any black man and a lynch mob will be formed even though the police can find no evidence.
A white person can still drown their entire family in a bathtub and say a black man kidnapped them and everyone will be out looking for that black man before questioning her story.
That is the power of white racism in this country.
Racists in positions of power are a much bigger issue than just racists in general.
At least you are having a verbal discussion of the issues, but you are wrong on many points. I will therefore go through them one at a time:
No. 132 · Lex
“The difference being that whites are in power in this country. No racism coming from other races has the power to fuck up your day, your career, or your life.”
:That’s complete B.S. Aside from the fact that the president is a “black man” (Obama), relations of power are mediated and distributed through many vectors. In Atlanta, the city of Atlanta has had a black mayor for 35 consecutive years. The police chief, fire chief, district attorney, and a majority of city council are African American. Not only that, but two suburban counties (DeKalb and Clayton) are majority African American, as are a majority of their county commissioners, school boards, etc. While there is a broader “white power” at the gubernatorial level, it is clear that, locally, political and governmental power resides with the African American community. That’s just one city. Want to try Detroit? Or how about L.A.? Latino Power. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
As for having the power to f-up your day, career, or life: I know it happens because I’ve experienced it. I’ve had people tell me they were going to “kill me” because I was “white,” I’ve had people tell me “we don’t want whites in our part of town.” I’ve also applied to a job where 10 of the 11 positions were filled by minorities (not surprisingly, I didn’t get one). I’ve been discriminated against at housing, where the prices charged for white tenants ($1000/month) was more than for black tenants ($600 month). Is that not discrimination?
“That’s why only white racism is seen as the one that matters. Because at the end of the day it is the only one that has a lasting effect on people.”
:Have you been watching too much ESPN? “At the end of the day” is a horrible cliche. At the start of this day, you are simply wrong, repugnant, and sticking your fingers in your ears, because ‘at the end of the day’ all that matters to you is your own opinion, rather than having a mind open enough to absorb new material.
“White people have someone they can appeal to when someone of color is in a position of power and racist. There’s always someone white over that person’s head who won’t tolerate it.”
Is that how things are in New York? Last I checked, we have a black president now, so your point is moot. But let’s face it, even if the president were Bush, do you think the average white guy walking down the street has an avenue of appeal to the president? ‘At the end of the day’ you are simply wrong.
“On the flip side that is rarely the issue for people of color. And more often than not a white person in a position of power will say “You’re playing the race card.” and dismiss you for appealing the issue.”
Is that your personal experience? Because I’ve seen lots of reports of race-bias suits succeeding, whether against Denny’s, Coca-Cola, or the like. But lawsuits are for those who play the “civilized” game. Street justice is often meted out through violence. Skin color doesn’t protect one from bullets.
“No one is saying racism from anyone isn’t wrong. What people are saying is that white racism has actual power because currently white people are in power.”
This is the non-white century. Get with the times. This is not the 1800s. While it’s clear that a lot of power resides in capitalist centers such as New York and London, the new game is based on capital, not race. Interestingly, our president (Obama) is in some ways subservient to Hu Jintao of China, who is financing America’s debt. Who is the real puppetmaster now?
“I’m sure this post will be dismissed as this is always dismissed when posted, but it is a fact.”
It should be, because it is not well-thought out and is simply reactionary.
“A random black person being racist towards a white person has no power to fuck you over, a random white person being racist towards a black person does.”
Oh really? Why not ask Hugh Newsom Jr and Channon Christian…who both were literally raped and murdered.
“A white woman even in 2009 can still scream rape and point her finger at any black man and a lynch mob will be formed even though the police can find no evidence.”
In 2009, we have seen a white man lynched in Kentucky (by other white people?–maybe not a race issue). So far I’ve never seen a lynch mob in my life, and most people haven’t. This is 2009, not 1949.
“A white person can still drown their entire family in a bathtub and say a black man kidnapped them and everyone will be out looking for that black man before questioning her story.”
Because she said a black man did it. Look, I agree there is still latent white racism in news coverage…but in some fields, such as academic publishing for school textbooks, the bias has already shifted in the opposite direction.
Interestingly, in Coweta County, Georgia an elderly black woman was raped and the first “person of interest” was a white man (before police retracted that).
“That is the power of white racism in this country.”
If you are still trying to feed us this line, then perhaps you haven’t considered Newton’s laws of physics (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) or realized that not only is race a social construct, but so is relations of power. Your simplistic labelling of groups, suggesting that certain conditions or relations only apply to a particular, singled-out group, is itself bordering on ‘racism.’
“Racists in positions of power are a much bigger issue than just racists in general.”
Posted: Oct 20, 2009 at 10:40 am
Like the song “Everybody’s Racist” from Avenue Q, the better question is not “who are the racists” but “how racist are you?” Cleaning up bias begins with looking in the mirror. Until one understands concepts such as reflexivity, the unfortunate “us versus them” model (which is far more simplistic, but inaccurate) will continue to feed more racism.
What a ridiculous article. Thinly veiled racism. So Matthew Shepard was white. So are the majority of gay victims in this country. Why? Because there are more whites in this country. You think a minority better represents the majority of victims? How about looking past race and just seeing the victim? And please! All that crap you just had to interject about black incarceration. Show some proof that black people are not committing crimes at a higher rate. Or better yet, leave your prejudices and grudges out of the Matthew Shepard story.
Lex, when you’ve been beaten within an inch of your life for being white, then come back and tell us that only white racism has the power to “fuck you up”.
People have the right to raise questions. Why did Matthew Shepard get in a car with straight Texan guys in the middle of the night? Recently in a Newsweek interview, his mother said that Matthew had a “dark side.” (please note: I once had a boyfriend who pursued straight guys relentlessly. He was really sick). Since Matthew obviously had “gaydar,” he knew he was going out with straight guys. Did he seek out dangerous situations with heterosexual males?
In a March, 1999 interview with Vanity Fair, Judy Shepard discussed that while Matthew was on vacation in Morocco during his senior year in high school, a gang there raped him. Again, it seems that Matthew Shepherd put himself in a dangerous situation with straight males (I’ve been to Morocco many times and people don’t just get dragged off the street and raped).
Obviously, Shepard didn’t deserve to be murdered, but it is doubtful that he was the saintly martyr he is made out to be.
The gays never made Mr. Shepard a martyr; the anti-gays did.
The bill named after Matthew Shepard because Judy Shepard, his mother, spent eleven years on the hate crimes bill and she deserves it.
No one else did.
Have to agree with most of the comments above calling this crap, though I must say I can see the Queerty side a little bit, too. Matthew was no angel and definitely was not the poster child for safe sex or responsible behavior as he was made out to be.
Rather than bitch about the race of the person chossen, I tend to find fault with why we always manage to use a cute little twink as the posterchild. Why not some fat person? Not all homos are cute little twinkie boys, not all of them are boys and homos come in every race, size and color.
For the same reason as was observed by Queerty: this is about marketing and Matthew had the look. The boy next door, the innocent face, the puppy dog eyes. Every picture you see of him makes you say “Aww, what an adorable little thing, how could they do this to him!!??” and thats exactly what was needed.
This “adorable” factor trumps all. I was doing some research up at the capitol building when I ran into an older attorney (80-something) friend who pointed me in the right direction on some microfiche, he started telling me about a legislator he knew who has since departed. The guy was a son of a bitch and he knew I felt that way. He kept reffering to him as a “good old man”. Finally, I told him what I thought of the guy. The attorney told me something like “kid, let me tell you something, when people die, they are ALWAYS good men… dosent matter what they did”.
His point was people are afraid to speak ill of the dead even when its true. A dead victium is always a better poster child than a living one. Many conservatives even still honor this unwritten boundry – Fred Phelps clearly being one exception.
I think it is ok for Matthew to be the posterchild. I think that it doesn’t matter if he was cute and twinkie but what matters is that he was a example of what gay hate looks like. What happened to him moved a lot of people. Also of us came out because of him.
However it would also be good to project a image what gay people are experiencing today. I guess now a days people are more open minded then before. People are more accepting.
Here in the Philippines there are a lot of hate crimes but the Filipinos don’t care. They don’t care if you cute or twinkie, they DON’T CARE!
@rs: Don’t forget that although his may be attributable to many things, Shepard was beaten and raped when he was 18 causing him to become involved in drug use. If he was in fact HIV positive, there were many things that could have attributed to this. Please don’t have an attitude like those who were first investigating the disease and immediately latch onto the idea that promiscuity was the reason for this disease, again if he was in fact positive which Judy Shepard has denied (she was afterall his mother). Would he be happy to be a poster child, probably not. I didn’t know the man, but I doubt anyone would want to carry that torch regardles of race. To have your most famous moment be the one in which two drug addicts tied you to a fence and beat you to death and then left you there? I think that his family used that momentum though and did put into law a great amendment to and act to protect people from hate crimes. I think the reaction would have been the same to anyone in that position, no one deserves to die that way.
Personally, I’m against hate crimes legislation. The reason is alluded to a bit here. It’s very simple though. If there is in fact a systemic bias against minorities in our justice system, then hate crimes legislation will end up punishing them to an even greater degree.
Assume there are ten people. Two of them are red, eight of them are blue. These are the only distinguishing characteristics (just to simplify things). If the blue person randomly selects someone to attack and kill, 8 times out of 10 that person will be blue. In other words, 80% of the time, it would not be possible to charge the blue person with a hate crime. If the red person randomly selects someone to attack and kill, 80% of the time they will be liable to being charged with a hate crime. This of course ignores the confounding factors which make hate crimes legislation an even worse idea, such as the higher rate of violent crime amongst black people (again, not being racist, just relying on published stats).
You mention George W. Bush and apartheid in a slippery way, making me think you do in fact believe there is a systemic bias against black people in our justice system. If that’s the case, then for the simple statistical argument laid out above, hate crimes laws will just become another vehicle to increase punishments on black people. Just another un-intended consequence I suppose! Then again, who am I kidding, the point here is to protect gay people, who cares about black people?
Bruce, a very horrible and illogical comment from you. Let’s review: hate crimes legislation is aimed at INTENTIONAL targeting of LGBT persons, NOT random acts of violence.
If someone shot and killed a gay person and the motive appeared to be robbery, it’s not a “hate” crime…it’s a crime. If someone went to a gay bar and said “Fags are going to hell” and started shooting, that’s a hate crime. Got it?
Now, if black people disproportionately commit hate crimes, then they deserve the extra punishment…not because they are black, but because they are committing violent crimes disproportionately.
Also, with people like you, you forget that black people CAN be gay and CAN be victims of hate crime as well. You are simply trying a “divide and conquer” strategy, but it’s not working because your comment is illogical and irrelevant. Also, it’s YOU who add the sarcastic “who cares about black people” remark…SHAME on YOU.
I guess my “irrational horrible comment” must truly have outraged you. Otherwise you might have noticed what I stated at the end: Hate crimes legislation will help us (the LGBT community)! I suppose I could have been more explicit.
The article I was responding to put forward the notion that a systemic bias exists against black people in our justice system. Do you think such a bias exists?
You accept the following simple statistical fact, correct? Assuming an equal propensity to commit crimes and random victim selection, the minority will far more often be attacking the majority. This is irrefutable logic. Put that together with the bias against black people the author claims, and you have a recipe for even longer prison sentences for a minority the system is already biased against!
I suppose the root our disagreement stems from a simple fact. You believe hate crimes laws will *only* be applied in cases where it is appropriate and fair. That’s the impression I get from your comments at least. Why you believe that is beyond me. The rest of the laws already on the book are applied in a discriminatory way against black people…
Finally, it’s ironic that you accuse me of engaging in a divide and conquer strategy… quite the opposite. I’m considering the good of all minority groups in the US. It’s you who is saying we should consider what’s good for the gay community (whether they be black or white) and ignoring what’s good for the myriad other minority communities who are NOT gay. I understand the hostility, the hate crimes bill is this huge cause celebre (I think it’s a mistake), and accepting the idea that something you supported could have the opposite of intended effect for other minority groups… that’s a tough nut to swallow.
Who give a flying woops about fags?
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