This is the best time in the history of the planet to be homosexual. New York was added to the marriage equality club, “Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell” is now the embarrassing relic of the past, and we have never had a better ally in the White House than President Barack Obama. Public opinion is on our side for the first time in the history of the country, and our movement has finally obtained the momentum necessary to see even broader successes in the future. Things are better than they ever have been, and the future promises profound gains in our struggle for full national equality.
Perhaps due to these victories, it becomes more and more difficult for the gay community to appropriately quantify for the general public the depth of opposition we still face. Our society is a little drunk with progress, and it is easy to mistakenly assume that the fight is all but over. I wish that were true, and I wish all this progress made me feel better about the state of things.
Letâ€™s look at those polls. Back in 1996, according to the New York Times, support for gay marriage was about 25%. I am guessing this number was primarily made up of gay people, hardcore progressives, and the families of those gay people forward thinking enough to cast their prejudices away and embrace equality. The most recent polls show that this has grown to around 54%. Great right? Look at those gains!
Genocide. Awesome. Not only do I have to deal with the fact that my boyfriend and I canâ€™t get married because of Jesus reasons, I also get to live in a world where fundamentalist Christians want me and my millions of LGBT brothers and sisters put to death.
Except that sucks. 54% fails any class on earth. The same poll shows 40% opposed. Itâ€™s these people I am concerned with. If I filled a room with 10 people. 6 of them think I am a person, 4 of them do not. Of those four, one of them is this guy, New Hope Baptist Church Pastor Curtis Knapp.
â€œ[Gays] should be put to death, thatâ€™s what happened in Israel, thatâ€™s why homosexuality wouldnâ€™t have grown in Israel,â€ Pastor Knapp says. â€œIt tends to limit conversions, it tends to limit people coming out of the closet. â€˜Oh, so youâ€™re saying we should go out and start killing them?â€™ No, Iâ€™m saying the government should. They wonâ€™t, but they should. Say, â€˜I canâ€™t believe you, youâ€™re horrible, you are a backwards Neanderthal of a person.â€™ Is that what they are calling scripture? Is God a Neanderthal backwards morality? Is this his word or not? If itâ€™s his word, he commanded it. Itâ€™s his idea, not mine, and Iâ€™m not ashamed of it.â€
Genocide. Awesome. Not only do I have to deal with the fact that my boyfriend and I canâ€™t get married because of Jesus reasons, I also get to live in a world where fundamentalist Christians want me and my millions of LGBT brothers and sisters put to death. Fantastic news. I canâ€™t adequately describe for straight people the feeling you get when large groups of your fellow citizens, people who you have never even met, much less harmed in any way, passionately advocate for the execution of you or anyone like you. I really didnâ€™t need this in my day.
Really look at that statement. He is saying four things:
- Homosexuals should be rounded up and murdered.
- The collection and extermination of homosexuals should be the official policy of the United States government. He sounds almost annoyed by the idea that he would personally have to do any of this killing, instead insisting that it is the job of the government to stage this particular public policy. This is apparently one government program he can get behind. Socialized Genocide. What fun he must be at parties.
- This would â€œlimit the conversationâ€ and keep people in the closet. I expect this part is likely true.
- I may be wrong, but he appears to believe that there are no homosexuals in Israel. This may be a bit of a surprise to the many LGBT Israelis living and working in Israel.
This isnâ€™t just one psychopath’s extreme view. This stuff crops up all the time. Here is another one from last week. This time, the pastor has a plan.
â€œBuild a great, big, large fence â€” 150 or 100 mile long â€” put all the lesbians in there,â€ Pastor Worley says, as his sermon builds. â€Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they canâ€™t get outâ€¦and you know what, in a few years, theyâ€™ll die outâ€¦do you know why? They canâ€™t reproduce!â€
Apart from the basic incoherence of this statement, I find myself a little confused about the overall concept. Gay people come largely from straight parents. You can round us all up for today, but we are genetically impossible to entirely eliminate. New models come out all the time. Are fresh homosexuals going to be arrested and sent to this concentration camp upon discovery of their sexuality? Are there going to be special police assigned to â€œround up the homosâ€ detail, or are the regular beat cops going to be expected to do this dirty work? What of children? If a 13-year old boy comes out of the closet, do you wait until heâ€™s 18 to imprison and then murder him, or do you tear him from the arms of his parents right then? Is there food in this camp, or are we intended to starve to death? Iâ€™m just not sure how this is all supposed to work. Details are important.
If you are opposed to equal rights for LGBT people on religious grounds, then you must therefore support the part about killing all of us. I didnâ€™t make this up, your guy did, and you canâ€™t have it both ways.
Two pastors, two different states. These are simply two examples of anti-gay genocidal religious extremism, only notable due to their close proximity in the news cycle. What percentage of fundamentalist Christians feel this way? If it is a number higher than zero, then Christianity has a problem. Keep in mind, these churches arenâ€™t empty on Sunday. Pastor Worley was immediately defended by his parishioners.
â€œSo he had every right to say what he said, about putting them in a pen, feeding them. The Bible says theyâ€™re worthy of death. He only preaches the word,â€ says Geneva Sims of the Pastorâ€™s plan to kill gay people. Sims is a parishioner of Pastor Worley and fully supports him.
The problem here is that she is absolutely correct. That is exactly what the bible says. I turn to Leviticus 20:13.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
That seems pretty clear. The problem for me here is one of intellectual consistency. As religious conservatives canâ€™t wait to remind everyone, the Bible is straight forward about this subject, and those passages are the basis for most of the resistance seen by the 40%. However, if the word of God is basis enough to deny homosexuals the right to marry, then what is to be done about the â€œput to deathâ€ part. Which is it? Is the word of God literal truth, or not? I get that some parts of the Bible are somewhat ignored. The slavery stuff, and the horrifying treatment of women are mostly avoided. People seem to be plenty busy on the sabbath, and there is enough divorce and adultery to fuel 1000 reality shows a minute. But with the Leviticus passage, mainstream conservative political figures are attempting to both disavow, and enforce, two parts of the exact same sentence. If you are opposed to equal rights for LGBT people on religious grounds, then you must therefore support the part about killing all of us. I didnâ€™t make this up, your guy did, and you canâ€™t have it both ways. If I will be forced to live under these rules, despite my not being Christian, then I just want to be able to make sense of them. In these times of oppression at the hands of our Christian rulers, even an Atheist has to be a little bit of a biblical scholar.
The Christian community, by not explicitly denouncing these people in large, public, and explicit terms, are tacitly endorsing these extreme views. Every pastor preaching genocide should be met with one hundred preaching love and acceptance.
Keep this in mind as you hear these people call for the death of all gays. This kind of hate doesnâ€™t belong only to the Westboro Baptist Church. There are hundreds of Westboro Baptist Churches out there, and these people arenâ€™t kidding. This isnâ€™t hyperbole for them. This is a matter no less important than the preservation of their their immortal soul, and the salvation of what they see as a morally bankrupt society. These people are trying to be good Christians. If we are ever going to have real progress on LGBT issues, we need to be honest about where everyone stands, and who asked them to stand there. Christianity is a large component, justification, and sanctuary for hate based anti-gay bigotry.
Is this all Christians? Of course not. Does this make up all of what Christianity is about? Also no. But those decent, good hearted Christians who take the long view of history by supporting equal rights for all of our nationâ€™s citizens have a responsibility. As a card carrying Sodomite, it is unlikely that anything I say will have much sway over those who wish nothing more than my federally mandated execution. It is up to decent, non-genocidal Christians to clean up this mess. Know that when people like Pastors Worley and Knapp give fiery speeches about how horrible gay people are, and how awesome it would be if the government would exterminate us, this reflects onÂ ChristianityÂ as a whole. This dogmatic quagmire isn’t our problem to solve. This war needs to be waged in the pews of every country church, and in the hearts of every decent Christian. The Christian community, by not explicitly denouncing these people in large, public, and explicit terms, are tacitly endorsing these extreme views. Every pastor preaching genocide should be met with one hundred preaching love and acceptance. Christianity must get its house in order. Christians must adapt their dogma for the modern age, or embrace the basic hatred at the heart of those passages. Either the homosexuality part of the Bible is to be ignored, or homosexual genocide is part of the Christian platform. Anything else is either cynical political posturing, or a demonstration of shockingly poor reading comprehension skills. Again, I didnâ€™t make these rules. Your guy did. Either these passages are to be taken seriously, or they arenâ€™t.
Either way, let me know about the fence. If you are going to round up all gay people and throw them in an electrified desert pen, Iâ€™d like to pack a few things for what will surely be the party of the century. Think Bonaroo, but with better alcohol. Weâ€™ll have people waiting in long, long lines trying to get into our side of the fence.
Benjamin Phillips is a Humor Writer, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
On World AIDS Day, DOJ Says Tennessee Law Discriminates Against Those With HIV
The Department of Justice celebrated World AIDS Day by calling out a Tennessee law that discriminates against people with HIV.
The DOJ released a report Friday that the state’s aggravated prostitution law violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. A person arrested under the aggravated prostitution law is normally changed with a misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. However, if the person arrested has HIV, the crime becomes a felony, and if they’re convicted, they would face between three and 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination.”
The law was originally passed in 1991. It classifies HIV-positive sex workers as violent sex offenders, according to WKRN-TV. This means that in addition to the sentence, those convicted are put on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, usually for the rest of their lives.
The DOJ advised the state—and particularly, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which enforces the statute most frequently, the department says—to stop enforcing the law. It also calls on the state to repeal the law and remove anyone from the registry when aggravated prostitution is the only offense. If this doesn’t happen, Tennessee could face a lawsuit.
Tennessee isn’t the only state to have laws applying to only those living with HIV. In 1988, Michigan passed a law requiring those with HIV to disclose their status before sex, according to WLNS-TV. The law is still on the books, but was updated in 2019 to lift the requirement if the HIV-positive person has an undetectable viral load. The law now also requires proof that the person set out to transmit HIV.
Laws like these can work against public health efforts, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH says these types of laws can make people less likely to be tested for HIV, as people cannot be punished if they didn’t know their status. In addition, critics say, the laws can be used to further discriminate. A Canadian study found a disproportionate number of Black men had been charged under HIV exposure laws.
World AIDS Day was first launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to highlight awareness of the then-relatively new disease. The theme of the 2023 World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead,” calling on community leaders to end the AIDS epidemic.
Featured image by UNIS Vienna/Flickr via Creative Commons License.
John Fetterman Says Bob Menendez ‘Senator for Egypt,’ Should Be Expelled Next
Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) called Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) a “senator for Egypt,” and said he needed to be expelled from Congress, much like the now-former Representative George Santos.
Fetterman appeared on The View on Friday. The live broadcast aired as Santos had been kicked out of the House. When host Joy Behar asked what he thought of the vote, Fetterman immediately replied, “I’m not surprised.”
“If you are going to expel Santos, how can you allow somebody like Menendez to remain in the Senate? And, you know, Santos’ kind of lies were almost, you know, funny,” Fetterman said. “Menendez, I think is really a senator for Egypt, you know, not New Jersey. So I really think he needs to go.”
Host Sunny Hostin then asked if Fetterman was uncomfortable with expelling Menendez, as, like with Santos, he had only been indicted, not convicted.
“He has the right for his day in court and all of it, but he doesn’t have the right to to have those kinds of votes and things. That’s not a right,” he said. “I think we need to make that kind of decision to send him out.”
This September, Menendez was indicted on corruption charges. He is accused of accepting bribes of cash, gold and a car, as well as giving “highly sensitive” information about U.S. Embassy staffers in Cairo to the Egyptian government, according to USA Today. Menendez was forced to step down as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was replaced by Ben Cardin, Maryland’s Democratic senator.
Menendez denied wrongdoing, and has refused to resign, despite many calls to do so from both Democrats and Republicans.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a statement following his indictment. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”
This is not Menendez’s first brush with the law. Menendez was indicted in 2015 on federal corruption charges. He was accused of helping Salomon Melgen, one of Menendez’s campaign contributors, by intervening in a dispute with federal regulators and helping Melgen get a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.
In 2017, Menendez’s trial ended with a hung jury, and the Department of Justice declined to retry the case, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Menendez denied all wrongdoing.
House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114
Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two House members voted “present.”
The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is Santos’ third vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against, according to The Hill.
While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Santos himself had harsh words for the House following the vote. Leaving the capitol building, he briefly spoke with reporters.
“The House spoke that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he told CNN. “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”
He then cut his time short, telling reporters, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”
Santos also faces 23 federal charges, which include fraud, money laundering and misuse of campaign funds, according to CNN. He has pleaded not guilty. An Ethics Committee report found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for Botox and even an OnlyFans account.
On Thursday, Santos said he refused to resign because otherwise, “they win.”
“If I leave the bullies take place. This is bullying,” Santos said. “The reality of it is it’s all theater, theater for the cameras and theater for the microphones. Theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work’s getting done.”
Santos also threatened to file a resolution to expel Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Bowman pulled a fire alarm in September. Bowman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and said it was an accident. He said he thought the fire alarm would open a locked door as he rushed to a vote. Bowman paid a $1,000 fine.
There have only been six total expulsions from the House, including Santos. Santos is the only Republican to ever be expelled from the House.
The previous expulsion was in 2002, when Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after a 420-1 vote. Traficant had been convicted on 10 counts of corruption-related crimes.
Before Traficant, Representative Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was the first representative of the modern era to be expelled. Myers got the boot following his conviction for accepting bribes. Myers couldn’t keep out of trouble; in 2022, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of election fraud.
Prior to Myers, the only expulsions from the House were in 1861, at the start of the Civil War. Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY), John William Reid (D-MO) and John Bullock Clark (Whig-MO) were all expelled for joining the Confederacy.
- OPINION2 days ago
How Mike Johnson Spent the Day Protecting Mike Johnson
- News2 days ago
‘How Fascists Act’: Trump Slammed for Demanding Biden Weaponize Government to Help Him
- News3 days ago
‘Running for the Hills!’: Comer’s Hunter Biden Blunder Draws Laughs From Morning Joe
- News2 days ago
‘Chutzpah’: Biden Blasts Johnson ‘Taking Credit’ for $30 Million Project He Voted Against
- News1 day ago
‘Outrage’: MSNBC Slammed for Canceling ‘Vital Voice’ Mehdi Hasan
- News2 days ago
Speaker Mike Johnson to Be Keynote Speaker at Hardline Christian Nationalist Lawmakers’ Gala
- News1 day ago
‘If I Leave They Win’: Santos Claims ‘Bullying’ at Off the Rails Press Conference
- News2 days ago
Math-Challenged GOPer Ridiculed for Bidenomics Gaffe: ‘Another Rocket Scientist’