Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Fundamentalist preacher plays the "body fascism" card (indirectly) in "supporting" Russian, Ugandan anti-gay laws

A “fundamentalist” US pastor, Scott Lively (subject of a lawsuit discussed on the International Issues blog Aug. 18, 2013 for activities regarding Uganda) has praised Russia’s recent “anti-gay” legislation, and has further played the “Nazi” card in his remarks.  The details are in a story by Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade, here
  
A controversial book from Germany called “The Hidden Hitler” by Lothar Machtan had promoted that theory back in 2001 (review on my “doasdotell.com” site under the Books directory).  The book often refers to “Hitler’s homosexuality” as an established fact, which is hardly correct or credible. 

The Blade article refers to a theory that the Nazis wanted to crush the presence of men whose bodies trapped “female souls”, and that such an aim was enough to drive all the rest of the ideology of Nazi fascism.  I think “Mein Kampf” was about a lot more than this. 
  
I run into a variation of this kind of thinking personally sometimes.  For, at age 70, I resist invitations to “come in my shorts” (no pun) to events, or offer my body in sympathy to others undergoing chemotherapy at “be brave” events.  I don’t want to make the underlying circumstances appear “OK”.  This sort of situation came up when I worked as a substitute teacher some years ago, and rather ambushed me. 

Individual rights are one thing (Judge Bork would say “to do what?”), but the “meaning” behind a person’s desires and actions start to become significant as it becomes more public (significant during the Internet age and post) and as others accept it as part of cultural diversity.  “Lookism” becomes “body fascism”, and avoiding others intentionally because they aren’t “hot” enough, while an individual right in a narrow sense, evolves into a way to exclude whole ranges of people, including not only those with inherited disabilities, but also those who have made sacrifices in serving others, as in the military or in law enforcement or fire fighting.   Having certain visually apparent characteristics  (previously only "noticed" in women in past generations) gets equated with some kind of moral “virtue” (perhaps linked to ideas about who should or shouldn't have children and lineage), which loops back to right-wing fundamentalism that we all originally denounced.  Oh, this sounds like a therapy issue (as if was for me at NIH in 1962), but it has real social and political significance.  It may have been funny in Army barracks in 1969 when we tossed around the term "desirable" (accent on the first syllable), but in larger circles it's not funny at all. Some of the mentality of "SM", where another person's "losing it" becomes part of the meaning that confers pleasure, enters the picture. 
 
It's "natural" than when someone experiences "sexuality" with all its passion and intensity, one wants it to have some kind of transcendental meaning.  And that can become a big problem.
    
One remarkable aspect of the Russian law was that at least one (probably many) Russia parliament members claimed that gay men had made themselves unable to share their organs and blood when others needed it.  That’s an interesting view of intrinsic “moral obligation” to others in a community or nation.  It seems as though one owes the motherland new babies, too.

Jos Hicks has a story in the Washington Post this morning (Tuesday, September 3, 2013) about the difficulties gay couples face overseas in countries without western values.  In fact, this would be true of LGBT people in general, for whom some overseas assignments could be inappropriate.  It can be a problem for faith-based groups that send volunteers or entry-level young engineers overseas to the developing world.  The Peace Corps has long accepted gay volunteers (even while the military had DADT), but when I talked to them in 2002, they said that some people needed to have a low profile” overseas and that Internet presence or reputation could become an issue.  The Post story is here 
  
All of this fits into a larger cultural problem about “hyperindividualism”.


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