Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Details on anti-gay remarks from "Values Voter Summit": it seems to be about "the obligation to procreate"

The Washington Blade, in a detailed story by Chris Johnson on p. 15 of the October 18, 2013 issue, has covered the anti-gay speeches at last week’s “Values Voter Summit”, and apparently had provided an earlier link on Oct. 8, here. It's interesting that gay papers will reprint the "arguments" of the "enemy" -- but that's journalism.  So I analyze.  

The Oct. 8 story reports about Bryan Fischer, from the “American Family Association”, who compared male homosexual behavior to drug abuse.  But former GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor, himself a Mormon, was critical of the tone of Fischer’s remarks. 
Representative Steve King (R-IA), conspicuous in the Tea Party’s attack on Obamacare and brinksmanship over the debt ceiling and government shutdown, claimed that LGBT advocates were deliberately trashing the institution of marriage.  What he neglected to say was that marriage law affects those who don’t even try to get marriage recognition, by demanding sacrifices for others.
  
The Tea Party is supposed to be dedicated to economic conservatism, even libertarianism.  But in practice, many in the Tea Party (like Michele Bachmann) are social conservatives, too.  (The late Andrew Breitbart had always said he was a social libertarian, however.) 
   
But the most provocative comments seem to come from the AFA’s (link).  Sandy Rios, as reported Oct. 18.   Rios said “In the homosexual life, especially with men, there are so many partners, there’s so much heartbreak and rejection. You think youth is worshipped in heterosexual sex? It is top of line. And they like young men, young virile men. When you get older, when you’re a gay man, there’s so much rejection, there’s heartache.”
  
Oh, I could toss this around as if I were a housecat chasing a ping pong ball.  If you’re not a swimmer or biker and have gone bald on the legs, you’re past peak, well into the late autumn of life.  At best, it’s time for the Brahms Fourth.  In fact, the right to “reject” has always been important to me because it can be “done” to me.  To me, feeling something is approval.  I don’t give away approval easily, as if that mattered.  But to some people it does, because of the example it sets.  All this came up in my “therapy” at NIH in the latter part of 1962.
  
Heterosexual men are indeed concerned about youth.  Rios seems to forget that “upward affiliation” (a term coined by George Gilder) occurs in straight relationships and courtship, too.  In fact, it seems like a moral challenge to keep passion going when partners have aged, when something unfortunate (perhaps medically, or by accident or even violence) has happened to one or both partners.   I’ve known of traditional marriages that fell apart after the wife could not reverse the weight gain after a first child.  Marriage is supposed to guarantee “aesthetic realism”, or develop that capacity. Actually, it’s the other way around.  Marriage happens because of that growth that must come first.  
    

Rios seems to be focusing on what drove anti-gay attitudes in the decades before the right wing had the “public health” and AIDS issues to bat around, as in the 1980s.  It wasn’t so much about commission as omission.  Rios (perhaps as would the Taliban) sees the gay world as a threat to initiation, intercourse and procreation, to the idea that every married couple should have a “birthright” or fundamental right to grandchildren – in an unequal world that as all some people “had”.   When I told the Dean of Men at William and Mary the day after Thanksgiving, when called into a sudden meeting, in 1961, that I viewed myself as a “latent homosexual” (a common word in the popular “mental health” literature at the time), the reaction must have been that, as an only child, I had just announce my own family’s eternal death sentence.  People often have seen procreation as a moral obligation even if it is to be avoided in the wrong circumstances.   They seemed to think I was setting a dangerous new example of verbal “nuclear” brinksmanship, at least inviting other "less competitive" men to evade the risks normally taken by others. .  
Update:

On Oct. 22, the Wall Street Journal offers a front page story about the Southern Baptist C onvention and Richard Land, "Evangelical leader preaces a pullback from politics, culture wars" here.
 Below, First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas, Nov. 2011.  I was there a few times in the 1980's when W A Criswell preached.
Construction of new FBC headquarters was going on next door during my 2011 visit:

No comments: