Sen. Larry Craig, who pleaded guilty and paid a $500 fine to a lesser charge of "disturbing the peace" when, in fact, he was arrested for cruising men in a public bathroom, which, as reported by Mike Rogers last year, was not the first time, vehemently denied that he is gay. He said, "Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay," Here's an article detailing the incident and his desire to remove his "guilty" plea to that lesser charge, in light of the likely ensuing Senate investigations concerning him and his behavior.
Ironically, part of the above article reads as follows: "In his guilty plea, according to court records, Craig acknowledged engaging in physical conduct which I knew or should have known tended to arouse alarm or resentment of others. Criminal defense lawyers said it could be difficult for Craig to have the case reopened."
Craig has been consistently anti-Gay rights in his role as a Senator, advocating a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, vehemently seeking to prevent the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which would allow LGBT people to serve openly in the military (Writing to a constituent, Craig wrote, "The armed forces exist to wage war. It is unacceptable to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals." and "I don't believe the military should be a place for social experimentation." (Pam's House Blend post, "Larry Craig defended DADT right after Minnesota sex sting guilty plea"), and "He also voted against a 1996 bill prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, which failed by one vote in the Senate." (Media Matters, Article entitled, "NY Times, networks ignored Sen. Craig's record on lesbian and gay issues).
As detailed by CNN.com, in the article entitled, "Craig: I did nothing 'innapropriate' in airport bathroom," the following was included:
"In recent years, Craig's voting record has earned him top ratings from social conservative groups such as the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council.
"He has supported a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, telling his colleagues that it was 'important for us to stand up now and protect traditional marriage, which is under attack by a few unelected judges and litigious activists.'
"In 1996, Craig also voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to same-sex marriages and prevents states from being forced to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples legally performed in other states.
"Craig also has opposed expanding the federal hate crimes law to cover offenses motivated by anti-gay bias and, in 1996, voted against a bill that would have outlawed employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, which failed by a single vote in the Senate."
Beyond the familiar hypocrisy involved in all of this mess, what is most disturbing to me, and the issue I want to concentrate on in today's post, is the view of Craig and so many others that being Gay is equivalent to having a "disease," a "plague."
I've often recounted what Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister, once said: "No matter how big the lie, if it's repeated often enough, people will come to believe it." We have seen this unfortunate truth played out in regard to Afro-Americans, immigrants, and other assorted minority groups, particularly people of color, and now we are also seeing hate's laser pointed directly at LGBT people.
So many lies, spoken with sanctimonious righteousness, often coupled with fiery rhetoric, by those claiming the mantle of having moral authority, in all too many churches, and by assorted TV evangelists, have provided the major underpinnings where certain politicians can appeal to, and even expand, their base among those who need one or more groups to oppress and persecute. The desire for war, be it on a personal or on an international level, mirrors this need for expressing outrage that is frequently borne of assorted frustrations in many people's personal lives, or in the need for a scapegoat upon which to lay blame for a situation that one has caused for him/herself or for a situation that is viewed as insoluble absent that war.
Gay people have been vilified in the mainstream media, by assorted clergy, by certain politicians, and by many people who both need an "other" upon whom to vent their frustrations and anger, and who take to heart the drum beat of hate that emanates from those in positions of authority who claim the mantle of "virtue" in spewing these lies from which many of them quite handsomely profit, whether it be psychologically, materially, politically, or socially.
It is always important to rememmber that when there is "hate," there is almost always an appeal to "virtue." Many people, especially clergy, will claim that the hate they spew is being done in the name of "virtue," indeed, even in the name of God!
After listening to countless generations of the spreading of lies about those who commit "the sin that dare not speak its name," and by having Gay people routinely called "sinners," even those who never go to church or any house of worship can't but be affected by these words, and the underlying animus behind them when they are spoken. Therefore, many people, including many Gay people who have borne the brunt of these lying, hateful, words, have incorporated these words as being "the truth," whereas they are, in fact, downright lies!
As Isaiah 5:20 states, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" No single verse of Scripture better captures this blight perpetrated upon our LGBT brothers and sisters than does this one!
So, a Larry Craig, not only vehemently denies being who he is, but helps in the defamation of Gay people by his record in the Senate where he has had great influence in shaping political attitudes toward the attempt to gain acquisition of some basic rights for LGBT people. Moreover, he undoubtedly views his vehemence in denying that he is Gay as being necessary because he is seeking to appeal to others in politics and in the electorate who feel as he seems to feel: that being Gay is equivalent to having the plague, in that he is, in effect, saying that he doesn't want anyone to know (as if those in the know in Washington and elsewhere didn't already know) that he is "diseased" by being Gay.
What LGBT people and allies must consistently do is to fight against this lie that there is anything wrong with being Gay! We must become actively involved in insisting on full and equal civil and sacramental rights and do so, in part, by showing up the lies, mendacity, and hypocrisy of the Larry Craig's of the world!
And, we are to actively confront the clergy who have, in my opinion, done more to foment (and in the minds of many, "justify") this hate, demonization, pathologizing, and condemnation of Gay people than any other segment of society I can think of. By directly or indirectly stating that Gay people are going to go to hell (and by clergy and other professing Christians remaining silent amidst this despicable display), they have done untold damage to the psyches of both Gay and non-Gay people in their attitudes toward Gay people.
They have helped cause, by their specious claims to moral and spiritual authority, untold numbers of suicides, assaults, and murders of Gay people, or those perceived to be Gay, and have made it seem feasible to a Larry Craig, and to so many other Gay people, to vehemently deny being Gay, lest they be avoided like "the plague," lest they be viewed as being so loathesome and diseased that they are not fit to be equal with "decent" people in society, as they have been conditioned to believe that they are also not worthy to "enter the Kingdom of God," unless "they change their ways."
Being Gay, like being Straight, is a gift from God! Our sexuality is one of the many wonderful gifts that God has given us! He has given us these gifts to use to enhance our lives, and to help enrich the life of our beloved; to enable us to share a most profound intimacy with our beloved that represents and expresses the deepest parts of our very beings, the very depth of our souls.
And that wonderful gift is not to be thrown back in God's face by our listening to mere fallible, frequently hateful, human beings who are the ones with "the agenda" that frequently both rewards them and also serves as a vehicle for them to express their frequent emotional/sexual immaturity and/or dysfunctions in what they erroneously view as a spiritually, socially, and politically acceptable way.
And if we, Gay or Straight, remain silent and, thereby, let them get away with continuing to perpetrate those lies, we are as guilty as are they! And we will be the ones to show ourselves to be "diseased!"
See the following video clip where Tucker Carlson takes credit for bringing some of his friends to a public bathroom to bash a Gay man who allegedly sought sex with him. This kind of animus helps exemplify the visceral revulsion that frequently exists regarding Gay people; the fact that he can speak that way with impunity, presumbably trying to give his heterosexual "credentials," all the while saying that he's not homophobic, doesn't speak well of him or of his listeners who (pardon the expression) lap this rhetoric up with a silent or not so silent "attaboy.") [Thanks to Pam's House Blend]
[Cross posted on A Christian Voice For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Rights.]