Monday, June 25, 2007

10 simple steps to reverse the "gay lifestyle"

When you get a newspaper headline like this one you have to laugh. It is from The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi. The headline:

It is about a minister the Southern Baptists have designated as their point man in their “ministry” to (or against, depending on your point of view) gay people.

What does it mean to reverse the “gay lifestyle”?

So here are some suggestions as to what these Southern Baptists might do to “reverse” the “gay lifestyle”.
1. No more hair stylists. Back to flat tops and bad barbers the way God intended.

2. No cats, only dogs as pets. Poodles or any dog small enough to sit in one’s lap are not acceptable and should be treated like cats.

3. All walls in the apartment or home must be painted basic white.Under no circumstances are pastels or vibrant colors to be used. Wallpaper is acceptable provided it clashes with the upholstery on the furniture.

4. The only label on one’s underwear that is acceptable is a label with your own name not the name of a designer.

5. Ties, preferably clip-ons, are required on Sundays. Ties never match the socks since the socks are always white, just like the shoes.

6. Unless a “little woman” is cooking food options are as follows: TV dinners (any kind), International House of Pancakes, any restaurant with a drive-through window, and Denny’s. Exception: subject is allowed to cook for himself provided he does so over an open fire, in the backyard with large slabs of meat. Please note: sauces that are not red in color are not permitted at any time.

7. Subject must vacate any of the following locations: New England down to and including New York, the region from Silicon Valley north to the Canadian border, Miami or Key West, Los Angeles, Madison, Wisconsin, the north side of Chicago beginning at the Loop, the French Quarter of New Orleans and any small town described as an “artists colony”. Europe is strictly off limits. Preferred living locations: anywhere in Texas, except Austin and any state that voted for George Wallace in 1968.

8. As a general rule of thumb clothes purchased from any store ending in “mart” are acceptable such as K-Mart and Wal-Mart.

9. The following entertainment must be avoided: all films with subtitles; any film produced in the last 30 years that is in black and white; live theater and cabaret shows.

10 Fishing is allowed as is any sport where animals die. Baseball is permitted but not softball. Football (except touch football) is allowed. Any sport popular in England or Europe is forbidden. Golf is allowed (except miniature), tennis is not. Badminton and croquet are strictly forbidden. Checkers is permitted, chess is not. Diving and swimming are forbidden but boxing is encouraged.
I supposed by now the whole venture looks a little silly doesn’t it? I find that the term “gay lifestyle”, along with the equally absurd “gay agenda”, are terms that have no meaning whatsoever, not even to the people who use them -- who themselves are rarely gay. If one spoke of “the heterosexual lifestyle” we don’t know if one is speaking of Pat Robertson, Hugh Hefner, Bill Clinton or the Pope. In reality there is no heterosexual lifestyle nor is there a gay lifestyle.

But the idea that such a lifestyle exists is a necessary component of the creation of a scapegoat. The idea that there is some “gay agenda” allows the bumpkins to find an easy target on whom to pin their problems. The successful rallying of a political lynch mob requires that the participants in the mob see their victim as “the other”, someone who is clearly not them. The more alien the better. The term “gay lifestyle” is supposed to constantly remind people that “those people” just “aren’t like us”. And when people aren’t like us then many people conclude they are legitimate targets, sometimes literally.

The reality is that the Religious Right has been engaged in this sort of enterprise since the earliest days of the Republic.

In 1800 they warned Americans of the dire consequences of electing someone as immoral as Thomas Jefferson, a man they said was a leader of the secret Illuminati plot to destroy America. A few decades later they were screaming about the Masonic threat. Then it came time to attack Catholics, immigrants, liquor, “bobbed hair”, pants suits on women, Hollywood movies, Jews, immigrants again, liberals, the Civil Rights movements, etc.

The wonderful writer H.L. Mencken wrote that the common man is difficult to educate “but it is always easy to scare him.” And that task... the daily business of the evangelical pastors of the Republic. They are specialists in alarms and bugaboos. The rum demon, atheists, Bolsheviks, the Pope, bootleggers, Leopold and Loeb—all of these have served them in turn and in the demonology of the Ku Klux Klan all have been conveniently brought together. The old stock company of devils has been retired, and with it the old repertoire of sins. The American peasant of today finds it vastly easier to claw into Heaven that he used to. Private holiness has now been handed over to the Holy Rollers and other such survivors from a harsher day. It is sufficient now to hate the Pope, to hate the Jews, to hate the scientists, to hate all foreigners, to hate whatever the cities yield to. These hatreds have been spread in the land by rev. pastors, chiefly Baptists and Methodists. They constitute with their attendant fears, the basic religion of the American clodhopper today. They are the essence of the new Christianity, American style.
Mencken wrote that 82 years ago. Things haven’t changed very much in the meantime. It is true that, on a whole, the Methodists have since joined Western Civilization. In the process they lost a lot of their members who were still baying for a good old fashioned lynching. The would-be social exorcists switch demons now and then just to keep the crowd, with their notorious short attention span, interested. But the sniffers and snoopers frequently return to the same old demons for the sake of tradition.

Today it would be difficult, if not comically, for them to try to get people riled up about dancing, miscegination, or “mixed bathing” (swimming pools). And the hullabaloo about “bobbed hair” is, in retrospective, rather funny. Perhaps all their devil sniffing and witch hunting would be equally funny if, in the process, they didn’t hurt real people.

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