Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Religious right tries to use Proposition 8 protests for advantage in Obama Administration

The following item from Pam's House Blend gave me pause today:

The Blend has received word that the The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is pulling together a full page ad to run in the NY Times within the next few days, charging the LGBT community's response to Prop 8 is a "Campaign of Violence."

According to our source, the ad will cite an incident where a white powder was sent to a church, and "document" disruptions of services at houses of worship. The Becket Fund is also allegedly contacting like-minded anti-gay organizations to request that they sign on to the ad.

Here we go again - the time honored religious right tradition of using anecdotal information as a way to stigmatize the gay community.

It's highly ironic that this group is doing this given the number of times the gay community has been accused of trying to "use the emotional argument" to sway the so-called cultural war.

In this ad, we'll probably hear:

about the 69-year-old woman, Phyllis Burgess, who had a styrofoam crossed ripped from her hand during an anti-Proposition 8 protest (but not about how she allegedly pushed her way through the crowd of protestors in order to be on camera, knocking down a disabled man in the progress).

about the white powder that was mailed to several places of worship (which is totally uncalled for. However it has not been determined who sent the powder. At any rate, to blame the lgbt community for it really isn't fair).

about the Bash Back incident in a Michigan church (but not about how this group had nothing to do with the Join the Impact protests or about how police say the church exaggerated the incident).

And we will probably be made privy to every negative comment posted about Proposition 8 on pro-gay blogs (without the admonitions by the blog owners that said comments were wrong and uncalled for. And we won't be made privy to the equally vile and nasty comments posted about lgbts from places such Free Republic).

The Becket Fund is obviously going to push the notion that lgbts are engaging in a coordinated campaign of intimidation and wildcat violence. No doubt this group will be aided by One News Now, Peter LaBarbera and other religious right members of the echo chamber. And let's not forget Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly who be complicit to this public relations campaign with a wink, a nudge, and nary a peep from an opposing side.

The Becket Fund's ad is a cynical grab for position by groups who have rightfully guessed that the era of dominance given to them by the Bush Administration is over. Thus they seek to gain advantage and thereby control the argument over gay rights in an Obama Administration by unfairly painting the lgbt community as a mindless violent horde via anecdotal or exaggerated urban legends.

The Becket Fund is like so many religious right and conservative groups - heavy in the purse string department but short on integrity. If they had any, they would recognize the nasty game they are playing.

One News Now today features an article regarding a gay man who has been convicted and sentenced for murdering a heterosexual man. In the formulaic lament that I have come to expect from the religious right, One News Now talks to one source who complains about the "silence of gay activists" about this murder.

To me, that doesn't make any sense.

Is it expected for women's groups to make a statement every time a woman is convicted of a violent crime? Is it expected for a pro-Jewish group to make a statement every time an individual Jewish person is convicted of a violent crime? Or how about the African-American groups when an individual black man or woman is convicted of a violent crime?

Now if someone would argue in the affirmative in the case of women's groups, Jewish groups, or African-American groups, he would be blasted as either a sexist, an Anti-Semite or a racist.

And with good reason.

So how is it that someone could stigmatize the gay community on the allleged crimes of individual gays and not wear the mantel of homophobia?

Any incident of wildcat violence regarding Proposition 8 should be condemned by those for and against the amendment. Emotions and tensions ran high. But for the large majority, protests against Propostion 8 have been peaceful.

This consistent attempt by conservatives and the religious right to use sparse incidents to somehow condemn the entire lgbt community is wrong and exploitative.

More than that, it's homophobia defined.

But apparently so many people have a problem with saying so.