Following my appearance in ReapSowRadio tonight, filling in for the birthday boy, Al Stefanelli, I couldn’t stop thinking about one of our topics of conversation. While the topics were broad, my biggest head-desk of the night came from a claim on a thread to which Reap posted a link in the chat, wherein claims were being made about homosexuality. These claims were, of course, religious in nature, as they would be anything else. Ironically, one of the claims was that the persecution of gays does not come from a religious origin.
Needless to say, I was mind-boggled by this claim, as I could only think to myself ‘what other origin is there for bigotry against homosexuals?’ There are three reasons for this type of bigotry: Basic human xenophobia, fear of homosexuality because of repressed inner homosexuality, and finally, religion. The problem is that religion is usually the basis of the first, and often the basis of the second. Religion instills homophobic principles into people, which are usually taught when a child is young, the result of which is the repression of homosexuality. Religion is also the largest source of reinforcement to xenophobia on the planet, as it teaches people to fear or hate above tolerance.
The three reasons for the anti-gay agenda are all traced back to religion, even at the admission of most of the world’s anti-gay activists, such as Rick Santorum, Pastor Fred Phelps, Michele and Marcus Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, and numerous others. In fact, I challenge anyone to find an anti-gay activist who is not doing it out of his or her religious motivations. And it all stems back to a book in the bible which also states both shaving and wearing clothing made from more than one fiber, should be punishable by death.
I guess what I’m wondering here is how people get to the point where they’re so out of touch with reality that they feel they can have their own facts. Where they feel they’re entitled to their own reality, or their own little bubble that only they call real life. I know it must be easy to do on a physical level, but just the thought of being so closed-minded and out of touch actually hurts me intellectually. Do these people not share the same intellectual curiosity and integrity that I do? I’m not trying to sound egotistical, but when talking about a crowd of ostriches such as these men and women, it’s hard not to have a sense of superiority.
To make a claim such as this, stating that none of America’s giant crusade is with religious motivations, is to make a claim as ignorant as to say that homosexual bullying doesn’t really exist. This claim, by the way, was made on the same thread. Homosexual bullying doesn’t exist anywhere in America, or outside this country. Apparently Matthew Shepherd didn’t get that memo. Once again, this absurd claim is made with absolutely no regard for facts, empiricism, or reality in general. These statements are made again and again without justification or support – as you would expect – and again I’m absolutely floored by these claims; I’m even more floored by the notion that it’s entirely possible that those spouting these unreasonable statements might actually believe them to be true. How does this even happen?
To conclusively close off the rest of the world and selectively observe the actual world around one’s self seems like such a foreign idea to me. I’m not exactly a very extroverted person, but I still pay attention to the world around me in my little hermit den that is our dwelling. It’s impossible not to. I log into Facebook, and my entire stream is news stories. I log into my email and I see the same. The internet has made news and information travel faster than ever before in our history, and yet there are those with no interest, who somehow manage to avoid those aspects of the world around them that may contradict the false reality they’ve created for themselves. This is the same false reality that convinces fathers that their sick daughters could be treated better with prayer than with medicine. This is the same kind of false reality that is convincing parents not to vaccinate their children, or reinforcing anti-Semitic morals with crazy 9/11 conspiracy hypotheses.
These notions may be crazy, but I feel they’re not even on par with making the aforementioned claims in a country where gay marriage is illegal in over 40 states, admittedly for religious reasons, as there are no others. In a country where gay children commit suicide at constant rates because of gay bullying in schools. It doesn’t stop in schools either. All throughout a person’s life, no matter what progressive paradise they may find, that person is going to deal with bigotry, either in media, or face to face. Sometimes in the form of extreme violence, or perhaps you’ve never heard the term “gay-bashing”. I’ve known plenty of victims of everything I’ve mentioned, and worse, in my life, and to think there are those who would have us believe these instances just don’t happen makes me so enraged I feel I can’t even properly construct a paragraph. If there are any English majors reading this, I’m sure you would agree.
We’ve only just now gotten to the point where homosexuals can serve openly in the military. In other words, if a man or woman wants to fight for our country, that person no longer has to hide a giant part of their identity in order to avoid a dishonorable discharge. Homosexuals still can’t marry in most states. Homosexuals are bullied all across the country, and in other countries, are still hanged for being gay. A gay kiss on television still brings about the rage of the religious community and often results in violent retaliation. Saying the word gay in some schools in the south is punishable by expulsion or termination. Homosexuals are still beaten and assaulted on a daily basis across the country. Homosexuals are still verbally assaulted on a daily basis. Homosexuals are still sexually assaulted on a daily basis by so-called straight fundamentalists (scroll back and see reason number two for bigotry against gays). If those making the aforementioned claims could imagine what it feels like not to be able to live in the open and just be who you are without risking verbal assault, or often worse, maybe they would change their minds and come out of their own bubble realities. However, it’s doubtful. There is nothing more blissful than ignorance, and there is no wall so soundly constructed as the barrier between a closed mind and the real world.