Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gays Still Recruit

You know, I honestly thought that it was only the far right fringe (the Paul Cameron, Peter Labarbera, and James Hartlines of the world) that still accused gays of recruiting their kids. I honestly really did. Apparently I'm still a bit naive (or maybe it's just me being too trusting in the inherent goodness of people).

But I was wrong, as you might have guessed. Yesterday on my drive home, while listening to a local conservative talk show host named Michael Berry I heard the recruitment accusation come up again. It was just in passing; some drawn out monologue about parental responsibility that eventually led to him saying that "alternative lifestyle" clubs are really just recruitment clubs. Berry was guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mark Levin show, and I've always found his views to swing more far right when he guest hosts for Levin, but I was still shocked by what I heard.

I always found Michael Berry, while conservative, to be fairly level-headed and fair. He was a popular city councilman in Houston until he term-limited out of office. I typically enjoy his show. And then I hear this.

So now I wonder if people that make these kinds of claims are really just that ignorant of homosexuality (do they honestly believe we want to recruit kids?), if they are that hateful of gay people (to make such a slanderous claim), or if they just don't care--they want ratings, and they want to win the "culture war" at all costs? Is it that much of a stretch for me to see a connection between a statement like "gays recruit kids" as a reason we still see gay people getting beat up in the streets? I'm starting to think it's not.


At 9/10/09 3:44 AM, Blogger Daemon said...

Your entry today prompted a conversation with my Dad about this very issue, as well as other things going on in my life.

It seems that each generation needs a "bogey-man" to vilify and hate, all in "the name of Christ".

This idea that we prey on society, or are attempting to recruit and/or initiate others into some kind of "lifestyle" lends itself nicely to their ideas and preconceived notions that everyone has some choice in the matter of my orientation.

This fear that it fosters brings about more hate, confusion and violence to myself and others. Violence is more than physical confrontation.

How does my life threaten their marriages, or their churches, belief systems or families.

Why must I be the enemy? Why do they hate us? That which they cannot understand, they seek to destroy.

At 9/10/09 11:40 AM, Anonymous Jarred said...

I think you're leaving out another important factor: projection. Conservative people by and large want to recruit people to their way of thinking. So I think it's natural for them to assume that others are operating in the same way.

When you're talking about conservative people who are also evangelical Christians (and let's face, there's a huge amount of overlap there), it becomes even more pronounced and expected. Evangelical Christians are major "recruiters," and they particularly like going after kids.

Sunday school? Vacation Bible school? Summer day camps? After school religious programs? They're all there. And they all seek to pull in more kids. And they encourage the kids they already have to participate in the recruiting process. A common practice in VBS and Sunday school programs is to run a contest where everyone who comes gets points for attendance, bringing a Bible, memorizing Bible verses, and bringing a visitor. VBS programs and day camps also tend to focus on getting kids saved, too.

So of course they see "lifestyle" clubs as a recruitment method. That's what they use their own clubs for. And everyone acts just like them, right?

At 13/10/09 6:10 PM, Blogger Michael Dodd said...

Jarred's comments are well taken. Having grown up in a fundamentalist church in the Bible Belt (we would never have called ourselves "evangelical" because that's not what the New Testament called Christians!), I understand some of the mentality.

For example, we were taught forcefully that our own salvation depended on us converting everyone in the world, that God might actually send even us otherwise good Christians to hell because we did not try hard enough to drag everyone into the kingdom, kicking and screaming, perhaps, but dragged in and dunked anyway. No wonder folks like that don't respond to anything like a "live and let live" ethos.

Since we (as I was then part of them) knew that gays were evil followers of the devil, naturally we assumed they were out to drag us to hell just as much as we were determined to drag them to heaven.

So very sad, all the way around!

At 14/10/09 7:55 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Thanks for commenting, guys. Great points all around.

At 8/12/09 5:43 PM, Anonymous Mykelb said...

The recruitment meme is really a Christianist projection of what they really do. Their horrible need to pry into other people's lives, call them sinners, and convert them is a psychosis. I think that many of these fundamentalists need extreme psychological intervention and should be locked away for their delusions.


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