Wednesday, March 17, 2010

THE POSSIBILITY OF CIVIL SUITS AGAINST HATE SPEECH IN CHURCHES AND THE QUEST FOR MEANINGFUL ACTIVISM

This article bodes well for hate-speech and the possibility of civil litigation for LGBT people. I'm especially interested in the possibility of civil suits (and, hopefully, criminal suits) against stridently homophobic clergy who have contributed so much to the suffering, suicides, fractured families, assaults, and murders of LGBT people.

Part of the above cited article reads as follows:

In a 2-1 ruling Monday, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said the violent language of the message - threatening to "rip out your ... heart and feed it to you" and to "pound your head in with an ice pick" - conveyed a harmful intent that is not protected by the right of free speech....

The case is one of the first in California to examine the boundaries between free expression and so-called cyber-bullying. The court majority said a message that threatens physical harm, even if it wasn't meant to be serious, loses its First Amendment protection and can be grounds for a lawsuit.


Although this case is restricted to "cyber-bullying," it may well have ramifications for rhetorical bullying of all types, and nowhere is such bullying more endemic than in many churches within the institutional Church.

That's why I've often said that one of the best types of grassroots activism that can be engaged in is to select one stridently homophobic church in each city or jurisdiction, and continuously peacefully picket that church during its services; tell passersby how that church is defaming LGBT people and corrupting the Gospel that it falsely says it preaches.

In this connection, rather than engaging is such meaningful activism, I find it quite pathetic when I read, for example, of the Carroll Garden "kiss-out" as perceived "activism." This "kiss-out" was held in response to the attack against a young gay man by a gang of five men who, all during the attack, were shouting anti-gay slurs at him. This attack occurred in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The following is a brief video of the "kiss-out":



To my mind, this type of "activism" smacks of frivolity and/or exhibitionism where anti-Gay discrimination is being used as a vehicle for self-promotion that accomplishes absolutely nothing, save for the false belief that something of substance was accomplished.

Picketing homophobic churches, demanding equal rights in the streets and in the courts, demanding that the Human Rights Campaign become more aggressive in fighting for equal rights for LGBT people, and contributing to Lambda Legal and other legal groups that are fighting for full and equal rights, are what are needed.

During the African American Civil Rights movement, Sit-Ins were essential to demand equality!

"Kiss-outs," on the other hand, are pathetic and anachronistic imitations akin to the embarrassing Million Fag March that can do nothing but either be irrelevant or, in the latter case, retard and even spit on the very serious struggle for equality that serious activists seek!
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2 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

"Kiss-ins" and "kiss-outs" are an example of make-believe activism. What Lt. Dan Choi did this morning by chaining himself to the White House fence is real activism, with unpleasant consequences to follow. Lt. Choi did what he needed to do in the face of ignorance and injustice. He's my hero, and he rates my admiration. The people who stage kissing demonstrations and Million Fag Marches, on the other hand, are embarassments. They rate my contempt.

Jerry Maneker said...

Those who stage "kiss-outs" and the "Million Fag Marches" are, indeed, embarrassments, Don Charles. In order to get equal rights there will have to be "a season of suffering," as Martin Luther King said regarding the African American Civil Rights movement.

Those who engage in frivolity or who betray the dignity of Gay people by calling themselves such hateful names as "fags" are, in fact, retarding the struggle for equal rights.

Part of the quote from Frederick Douglass that is on my Side Bar reads: "If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others."

Douglass, to put it mildly, would be proud of a Lt. Choi; he certainly wouldn't approve of derogatory terms for African Americans and wouldn't approve of any equivalent of the "Million Fag March." Best wishes, Jerry.