Monday, March 13, 2006

Exodus Blog- No Dissenting Opinions Allowed

Possibly against my better judgement, I decided to post a comment over at the new Exodus Blog. I posted a comment in response to Alan Chambers' most recent post and the first comment made about it.

Unfortunately, I didn't think to save the comment, but I can assure you that it was not mean-spirited in the slightest. I responded (very kindly) that while I didn't necessarily agree with the Boise Idaho protest's tactics, I also wanted to point out that it is currently legal in many states to deny employment, housing and other actual rights to gays just because of their sexual orientation, so the protest was not just about "the sanctity of marriage" as the first commenter stated.

I went on to say that I was glad that Alan Chambers' gay friend was so successful in life, but I wanted to point out that surely not all gays were that successful, and even if some people in a population were successful, it still does not justify discriminating against that population as a whole.

Well, three days later my comment never made it up. Is it honest of Exodus to put one-sided posts out there for their target market (I'd assume struggling gay people that want to be ex-gay) and then not allow completely professional, fair, opposing views. Yes, I realize that they have freedom of speech and can post or not post whatever they want, but is it fair to their readership? Is it an honest tactic to completely disallow opposing views, no matter how accurate or well-stated? If they wanted to defend, they certainly could have, but they chose censorship instead.

Strangely enough, after my comment didn't make the cut, Mike Ensley added an additional comment to the post. His comment hinted on my rebuttal that all or most gays being well-off financially. I'm not sure if he was responding to my comment-that-never-was or not, but he sure did follow right up on the point I was making with his own opposing argument.

He links to a study about the financial success of gays as a group. The study is written by Tony Marco, the co-author of John-Paulk's auto-biography, and an author often cited by NARTH because of his numerous anti-gay and ex-gay writings. The study also refers to a quote from Peter LaBarbera and refers to him as a researcher without mentioning his right-wing and anti-gay agenda in the slightest.

The study is fairly obviously right-wing and anti-gay. I think anyone reading it openly would see the bias instantly and would notice words such as "gay militants" used repeatedly. He refers to homosexuality as a fantasy and a behavior, but never an attraction or love, and compares it to sadomasochism and cannibalism. I wonder if Mike Ensley agrees with such comparisons. He also at one point says that gays are, "embarrassingly more advantaged than true minorities in the job market."

It's funny that Marco uses the words "embarrasingly more advantaged." It's quite hard to put a negative spin on success, but Marco makes sure to do it. Anti-gay and right-wing folks work hard to depict gays as living unhappy, depressed, and immoral lives, so a study depicting their financial success in the world goes against their whole base argument. Marco is careful to frame his negatively so as not to disrupt the dominant theme of the unhappy and unsuccesful lives of gays. Words such as "gay militants," "cannibalism," and "embarrasingly more advantaged," help accomplish his goal.

But really, what's the point of the study? Is the point to say that it is ok to discriminate against gays in employment, housing, and other areas simply because as a group they seem to be more prosperous than other groups? Would it be fair to discriminate against any groups simply based on their group's success in society?

That really does seem to be the point to me. I'd hate to think that Mike Ensley agrees with that idea. But, I've never really seen anyone claiming gays are as a group financially downtrodden, just that gays are discriminated against. It's interesting, and very telling, that this study looks at financial success rather than actual discrimination, hate crimes, etc. to prove it's point. Gays are discrimated against, as are many groups, and our society should work to end discrimination, but Marco seems to think that this discrimination is justified in any area of society because gays as a group are successful. Rather than saying that laws aren't the way to go about ending discrimination, he pretty obviously thinks discrimiation against an individual is acceptable if that group is successful. This is especially apparent considering Marco himself used this study to argue against employment protection for gays in Colorado in the 1990's.

Once again, I have to ask the question. Is Exodus a group that is attempting to minister to gays and show them salvation through Christ? You would think these people could use their experience as former gays to empathize on a corporate and personal level with gay people. However, more and more they seem to be interested in painting a picture of gays that falls all too conveniently in line with the far right--that gays (implying all gays) live unhappy lives, that they are immoral, that society SHOULD be allowed to discriminate against them as they please, and that they can change if they just try hard enough. Why would I look towards an organization that tells me how terrible I am and wants to allow society to discriminate against me for salvation? I wonder if they ever even consider that question.


At 13/3/06 3:59 PM, Anonymous Jay said...

I feel your frustration. I sent a couple comments to the Live Out Loud blog that never made it. Really didn't figure they would make it, but I wanted to know what the attitude of the new blog was going to be.

My first comment was in response to another commentor on the Brokeback Mountain post:

OK... Some things that Annie Proulx (a trained historian) has to say about the story she wrote titled "Brokeback Mountain." (You see... Hollywood did not write this story, or give it the title). This is from Planet Jackson Hole (and Jackson Hole is a place in Wyoming--not a reference to anything gay):

"PJH: It seems there could be no other name for this story than "Brokeback Mountain" ­ it conjures a remote, sublimely beautiful place, but it's also an ominous name, suggestive of physical harm and disfigurement. Is it a real place? How did you find the name?

"AP: Brokeback is not a real place. There is, on a map I once saw, a Break Back Mountain in Wyoming which I have never seen, but the name worked on several levels and replaced half a dozen more pedestrian names I had been trying out."

Further...from Annie Proulx:

"It is my feeling that a story is not finished until it is read, and that the reader finishes it through his or her life experience, prejudices, world view and thoughts."

I also commented on the post about the civil rights movement. Didn't save that one, but my feeling is that while there are big differences, yes, between the rights for suffrage and equal access to public accommodations, the gay rights movement shares a central truth with those who have gone before. What we fight against is ostracism, and marginalization. I think that God is the God of the orphan, the widow, the outcast and the alien. We as homosexuals and transgendered people are the blessed poor of Jesus' message. We are the outcasts. I wish I could open my heart to those who run Exodus and show them how I experience the love of God and feel the pride that the Divine has in me.

In any case, they've chosen their side... They've made a choice about how they will represent themselves in this blog... It is very revealing about the spirit behind their organization.

At 14/3/06 1:18 PM, Anonymous A Gay Christian Blogger said...

Isn't that how they all are? My Beau tried to post a clear, sensible, and honest response to Randy Thomas' blog since he posted about being at our alma mater, and the post ... never ... appeared ... (post? what post? I didn't see no post.)

At 14/3/06 6:56 PM, Blogger Brady said...

Jay- thanks for writing. Your posts are well thought out. I especially like the ones about civil rights.

AGCB- thanks for posting. I guessall we can do is hope they'll change.

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