The Cornerstone Forum Opposes Obama Administration’s International Efforts on Behalf of GLBTs

Georgian church clergymen and activists unite to protest against a gay pride rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, Friday, May 17, 2013. Thousands of anti-gay protesters, led by Orthodox priests, occupied a central street in Georgia's capital Friday, with some threatening to lash with nettles any participant in a gay pride parade which was to take place there. Police in Tbilisi guarded several dozen gay activists and bused them out of the city center shortly after they arrived at the gathering.  Three officers and nine GLBT demonstrators were hospitalized. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

Georgian church clergymen and activists unite to protest against a gay pride rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, Friday, May 17, 2013. Thousands of anti-gay protesters, led by Orthodox priests, occupied a central street in Georgia’s capital Friday, with some threatening to lash with nettles any participant in a gay pride parade which was to take place there. Police in Tbilisi guarded several dozen gay activists and bused them out of the city center shortly after they arrived at the gathering. Three officers and nine GLBT demonstrators were hospitalized. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

What follows is a copy of the blog thread following Gil Bailie’s posting of 5/15/13 opposing the Obama Administration’s international efforts on behalf of GLBTs. A copy of Mr. Bailie’s post follows the comments from Jim Swenson, Dean Hansen, and Timothy Brock.

Jim Swenson:

Gil, you and Robert Reilly appear to be endorsing anti-homosexual laws of the most backward and undemocratic countries in the world: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia. Is this a complete rejection of democracy and modernism?

Since 1979, Iran has executed more than 4000 people charged with homosexual acts.

Saudi Arabia also has very severe punishments for homosexual acts: whipping, fines, imprisonment.

Jamaica imposes a ten-year jail sentence for homosexual acts.

These are just a few examples of “state” violence against homosexuals.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime.

The UN Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violate the right to privacy that is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

And then there is criminal assault, which is rife in the countries I listed, in most of Latin America, and in the most backward parts of the US.

It doesn’t matter that criminal assault is “already” against the law in these countries. This is what you and Reilly don’t “get.” There are basically two ways of reducing the levels of criminal assault. One is to strengthen the police state (the Leviathan), and the other is to change people’s attitudes. Changing people’s attitudes is extremely difficult when they are simultaneously being told (by their churches) that homosexuality is against natural law and that it is “disordered.” Yup, they get the message, and after you’ve delivered it, it does absolutely no good to say, “But be compassionate toward them!” The bullies do NOT understand the language of compassion. They are just looking for a green light to beat people up.

I’m really proud of the Obama Administration for trying to reduce the levels of anti-gay violence in many of these Middle Eastern and African hell-holes. More power to them!

Jim Swenson:

The face of homophobia in France. Wilfred de Bruijn was brutalized by homophobic thugs in Paris in early April 2013.

The face of homophobia in France. Wilfred de Bruijn was brutalized by homophobic thugs in Paris in early April 2013.

Gil, even in NYC, one of the most progressive of U.S. cities, gay men continue to be assaulted for merely holding hands in public or just for “looking gay.” There were three incidents just last week, when six men were brutalized. So you can imagine what life must be like for gays in Latin American and Middle-Eastern countries.

What measures or policies do you think we could adopt to help stop the bullying and brutalization of homosexuals in these places? If the Church doesn’t lead on this issue, then it is up to the secular State. And then you wonder why the State is now more trusted than the Church and the Church is rapidly losing credibility? The Church is proposing precisely nothing to alleviate these problems but is instead contributing to them with its pseudo-scientific language of “disordered behavior.” The scientific establishment—including all the major health organizations—are attempting to bring us to our senses about this and to prevent more violence. They will eventually prevail, and the Church will once again have disgraced itself.

This is about violence prevention, and it is a very pragmatic issue. Is there some way you can get “on board” with that? Please tell us what you would propose.

Gil Bailie:

To call something “intrinsically disordered” is to speak the truth. One has only to imagine the act of sodomy or the act of abortion. I hardly expect everyone to agree about that these things are intrinsically disordered, but I agree with the Church about that. I also agree with the Church that people suffering from same-sex attraction deserve understanding and must never be the object of mistreatment. But when their plight is used to turn unnatural acts into human rights to which other rights must sacrificed—which is happening all across the Western cultural landscape – there is a problem. The plight of homosexuals in many places is being used to turn unnatural acts into privileged rights, as we have done with abortion, etc. Human rights, the inherent dignity of each and every human being, and the protection of each person from persecution by the powerful is the bedrock principle. Let’s stick with that. No special categories for homosexuals or the lame or the hearing impaired or those who want to marry their siblings.

Dean Hansen:

You’re not calling some nameless something intrinsically disordered, you’re calling a whole class of people intrinsically disordered. In short, the “something” you’re speaking your obnoxious “truth” to is nothing other than your fellow human beings, who dream, bleed, breathe, love, hurt, and feel just as you do, and expect quite legitimately to be accorded the same privileges and dignity you demand for yourself. A God who dies for humanity as an act of love and self-sacrifice dies for all humanity—not just for an imagined perfection in some hoped-for future but for a flawed, real, and imperfect present. But I’m going to follow your example this time and spare you that dignity, because you are not entitled to it. Your endless proclamations about evil in others is no longer just wearisome and endlessly repetitious. You’ve reduced yourself to a petty little crank who trolls for the Catholic hierarchy. You possess a kind of rabid and willful cluelessness that makes Rush Limbaugh look good. He at least is working from an intellectual deficit as wide as his bigotry and as thick as his waist. My apologies to the overweight. You have no such excuse. Your absolute refusal to confront your own bigotry is a disgrace, not a badge of piety or honor. But then, you’re merely imitating what you’ve been told, which is precisely what you hope to generate in others: blind, unswerving, unquestioning obedience to authority. Nothing you ever say or do can eclipse the poisonous attitudes that keep you in complicit awe with the church’s ongoing failings.

“Agreeing with the church” will not suffice when the church is wrong. To deny that fact is to ignore the historical reality that follows when men who assume perfect knowledge of God set themselves apart from those they are pledged to serve as equals—who could otherwise be an aide in that understanding—and insist through their own failings on instituting laws and restrictions that compromise or distort grace into forms of slavery both real and psychological.

You mentioned “protection of each person from persecution” as though it were a separate category instituted to nurse your own illusions. Apparently, your Christianity has morphed into the equivalent of an Indian caste system of untouchables based on the illusion of innate spiritual purity. You declare in mocking tones that you want “no special categories for homosexuals or the lame or the hearing impaired or those who want to marry their siblings.” Your slippery slope metaphors aren’t hyperbolic enough. How about some bestiality, coprophilia, necrophilia, or autoerotic asphyxiation to get the ball rolling? Or should I say the gag ball? They’re all just around the corner if we allow the definition of marriage to be inclusive. You may want to check with Balaam about how to proceed in the slippery slope wars. I’m sure the word “ass” is too laden with allusions of sodomy. You seem more than casually captive to extreme sexual fear and lame prognosis. A captive is someone who has no freedom to choose alternatives to avoid something. Your “freedom” is not compromised by captivity but by refusal to open the door you insist on closing behind you. Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming the very things you would deny:

“…The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

How do you propose to claim release from the heart of blindness when you refuse to see?  Like a typical Tennessee lawyer (which was your intended profession at one time) you parse things into oblivion or bury them beneath a blizzard of overly large words for the sake of “clarity,” and you end up missing everything Christ said and embracing everything he didn’t say. You call the resulting consequence oppression. It brings to mind Will Rogers’ adage, “I never doubted the ancestry of Tennessee folks until they tried to establish it by law.” But the law you honor is more oppressive than the justice bestowed by laws you fear. Your version of vigilantism is an inverse form of tolerance—tolerance for leaders who have lost their moral sense and vacated their moral authority in the name of doctrine, tradition and unquestioning obedience.

I think that will have to be our working definition of intrinsically evil: Something which is contained wholly within the church on which it acts. Maybe instead of gay reversion therapy, you could try “pray the predator away and save the prey camp.”

Jim Swenson:

The idea that either homosexuality or homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” is a purely religious notion that is flatly contradicted by consensus medical opinion. Sodomy (narrowly defined) may be unhealthy and dangerous, but it is practiced by minorities of both heterosexuals and homosexuals. It is no more “intrinsically disordered” than skate-boarding, poor dental hygiene, or over-indulgence in fast foods. No one should be imprisoned or executed for any of these behaviors. If all risky and unhealthy behaviors—let alone the sexual ones—were punishable by imprisonment, then few people would be left outside the prisons.

Execution and imprisonment are at one end of the spectrum of mistreatment that homosexuals are subjected to. In the middle range are school bullying and violent assaults. Then we get to kids thrown out of their homes and onto the streets, and finally there’s the more insidious steady drip of stigmatization, discrimination, and hate speech originating almost entirely in “Christian” churches.

This is the spectrum of mistreatment, and I’m very glad we can agree that homosexuals should never be mistreated. Let’s work to eliminate all these forms of mistreatment. We can do that by truly supporting “human rights, the inherent dignity of each and every human being, and the protection of each person from persecution by the powerful.” (your words)

I believe that is exactly what the Obama Administration is trying to do with regard to the widespread persecution of homosexuals in some of the most regressive and repressive countries of the world, and I applaud him for that.

You may fault Obama for not respecting the “rights” of embryos, but it is wrong to hold gays and lesbians hostage in that fight. It is wrong to fault him for trying to stem the tide of violence against gays and lesbians.

Timothy Brock:

My eye just caught Johan Lindahl’s comment on another post nearby. He wrote: “The truth of the scapegoat was right in front of him, but he did not recognize it.”

ScapegoatI want to borrow those very words for this comment. What could be more obvious than the scapegoating of homosexuals in our culture? But it’s only obvious to its victims and to those who care about them.

If LGBTs were not victims of scapegoating, then we would be having a national conversation about behaviors and not identities, and we would know how to avoid generalizations and stereotypes of the same sort that were once applied to Jews.

If you don’t approve of sodomy, then talk about sodomy, not about homosexuality, because sodomy is practiced by both straights and gays.

If you don’t approve of unsafe sex, then talk about unsafe sex, not homosexuality, because unsafe sex is practiced by both straights and gays.

If you don’t approve of promiscuity, then talk about promiscuity, not homosexuality, because many or most homosexuals are no more promiscuous than their heterosexual counterparts.

Discrimination against entire classes of people on the basis of what some of their members do is just wrong and bigoted. When that discrimination is selective—condemning in a disfavored class what is tolerated in a favored one—you have scapegoating in its starkest and ugliest form. What is happening in countries like Iran, Pakistan, Uganda, and Saudi Arabia is simply unconscionable by any moral measure. If we have any influence over these regimes, we must use it to help those who are oppressed by them.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t scapegoating one of the major themes of René Girard’s work? Maybe it’s time to revisit those chapters, as well as his entire book on the subject.

Gil Bailie’s post (5/15/13), to which the preceding comments are addressed:

Remember multiculturalism? I figured it was a swindle, but many swooned over every exotic culture, even though none of the exotic cultures believed in multiculturalism for a minute.

But that was way, way back in, say, 2005 or thereabouts. Now that the multiculturalists have their hands on the levers of power, they are determined to … get this … impose Western multiculturalism on those benighted cultures that Western multiculturalism found so quaint and charming and worthy of great deference just a few years ago.

SO . . .

I ask my friends who support gay “rights” to resist the urge to dismiss Robert Reilly’s argument and to read his article to the end. This is about a lot more than sexual orientation. Reilly is making a very important and very cogent philosophical argument about the political folly and international arrogance of scorning natural moral law in favor of “rights” assigned to behavior or lifestyle— “rights” that in effect undermine the very concept of human rights—leaving the weak—regardless of their sexual preferences—more, not less, vulnerable. The article concludes with moral reasoning of the first order.

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