Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Religious Rights' Unreal Understanding of Homosexuality:

You can always count on WorldNetDaily to express such an unreal understanding on homosexuality. WND produces two articles about an antigay administrator at the University of Toledo who was suspended for writing an antigay column. Time permits me to discuss only a few points.

First, whatever the legal or constitutional issues involved (whether this is a private school not bound by the First Amendment or a state school that is), it was lame to punish this woman for writing the column. There is plenty wrong with what this woman wrote; and the best way to counter that is to criticize her with more speech, exactly what I'm doing.

Here is one of the offending paragraphs, illustrating her poor argumentation:

"As a black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims.' Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a black woman. I am genetically and biologically a black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few.

Homosexuals are civil rights victims. Homosexuals historically have been subject to sodomy laws which led to imprisonment or worse, being banned from government jobs, institutionalization with a whole slew of sadistic treatments like electroshock therapy, reputation ruining, all which have led to at worst suicides like that of World War II hero Alan Turing. In short, if mistreatment is a criterion for being a civil rights victim, homosexuals easily pass that test.

Regarding the test of civil rights categories, her argument would be valid only if 1) blacks alone had a monopoly on civil rights status; or 2) immutability were some absolute test for civil rights status, neither of which is true. Because of unique historical circumstances, I'd be willing to live in a world where race were the only civil rights category, but that's not the world in which we live. We'd have to say goodbye to gender, pregnancy, color, ethnic origin, religion, age, disability -- all protected at the federal level. And many others protected at the state.

Many of those categories are not immutable or inborn like race. Diseases can be cured and some disabilities like paralysis result entirely from chosen risky behavior, but are covered disabilities nonetheless. Further religion is entirely a matter of choice, much more so than sexual orientation.

Does Bill Donahue's mission to fight anti-Catholic bigotry exist on a mistaken premise, that there can be no such thing as "bigotry" where the trait is mutable as Roman Catholicism certainly is? Have evangelicals ever spoken of "anti-Christian bigotry"? If this woman's premises are taken for granted, religion could not qualify as a "civil rights" category.

It is also false that daily thousands of homosexuals decide to "leave the homosexual lifestyle." Groups like Exodus have a proven record of failure with regards to most folks who attempt to change their sexual orientation.

Finally, I want to explore the issue of gays and wealth that repeatedly comes up. The argument goes something as follows: We don't need sexual orientation discrimination codes because gays & lesbians are better educated and make a lot more money. As she was reported as saying:

"Economic data is irrefutable: The normative statistics for a homosexual in the USA include a Bachelor's degree: For gay men, the median household income is $83,000/yr. (Gay singles $62,000; gay couples living together $130,000), almost 80% above the median U.S. household income of $46,326, per census data. For lesbians, the median household income is $80,000/yr. (Lesbian singles $52,000; Lesbian couples living together $96,000); 36% of lesbians reported household incomes in excess of $100,000/yr. Compare that to the median income of the non-college educated Black male of $30,539. The data speaks for itself," she said.

Jews and Asians are also better educated and make higher incomes. Could you imagine someone trying to argue they should be forbidden from anti-discrimination protection because of this. Further, because of the proven track record religious conservatives have on spreading false information in the guise of "statistics" about homosexuals, I'm extremely wary of her numbers. My own anecdotal observations suggest gays probably are better educated and have higher incomes (thus, like Jews and Asians, aren't economically impoverished). However her figures seem exaggerated to say the least. Gays would be outperforming both Jews and Asians! Gays would be civilizational superstars, the most model of the model minorities. Society arguably would have a duty to cultivate homosexuality given its incredible results at economic and civilizational achievement.

Further such high performing homosexuals suggest a biological not a developmental cause for homosexuality. There are cultural/developmental reasons as to why Jews and Asians outperform. For developmental explanations to work, they must be present in a child's environment at a young age. And indeed many Jewish and Asian homes cultivate educational and economic success from such a young age.

But gays are all raised in heterosexual households, and do not join the gay "subculture" until such development is already set in stone. Such higher rates of IQ and creativity necessary to be so better educated and make so much more $$ would have to be explained biologically, suggesting gays are biologically different. Whatever biological factors that are likely to make folks smarter and more creative are more likely to make them homosexual. If homosexuality has such a strong biological cause, it makes this woman's assertion about "choosing the homosexual lifestyle" ring all the more hollow.

Further the notion that gays can be so better educated and have higher incomes also gravely conflicts with the religious rights' notion of homosexuality as a social dysfunction. To hear them tell the story gays are hopelessly promiscuous, disease ridden, depressed, drug addicted, alcoholics.

I'm sorry but common sense dictates that a social group cannot at once both be that dysfunctional and so successful that their household incomes are almost 80% above the median. That would take hyper functionality. Gays would have to be arguably the most socially functional social group to be that successful.

This is why the narrative told by the religious right ("The Gay Agenda") is so unreal that it defies credulity.

No comments: