See my first post on this here.
Last week, the LGBT group at our school held the annual Day of Silence. For those that aren’t aware, the Day of Silence (D.O.S) is a day where gays and lesbians, in addition to many straight students, protest harrassment and anti-gay bullying by taking a vow of silence for the day. The protesters wear large decorated cards around their necks saying, “ask me why I’m silent today.” If someone asks, they hand them a flyer that describes the point of the DOS.
Bullying in any form is out of line. No teacher worth his/her salt actually wants a student to be called names and pushed around. High school can be a cruel place for anyone, gay or straight, and that needs to change.
Seems to me, though, that the DOS goes farther than that. Why do I say that?
Go up to almost anyone who helped put on the DOS and ask them this question:
“What would you say to a person who harbors no ill will or hatred against gay people, but has moral objections to homosexuality?”
That is a crucial distinction that often gets lost in the fray. Morally objecting to a desire/act/lifestyle isn’t hatred. People object to what I hold dear all the time; it doesn’t bother me. Why should it?
If someone says, “I have a sexual attraction to people of the same gender, and this condition is good and is part of who I am,” I cannot affirm or encourage that. I deeply disagree with them, but that doesn’t mean I hate the person, and it doesn’t mean I advocate hatred and violence. If that is hatred, then A.A hates alcoholics.
I hold that a person’s desire is not his destiny. Therefore, I disagree when a gay person equates his inclinations with his identity. But that is not bigotry. Again, if it were, then Alcoholics Anonymous would be a bunch of bigots.
Most likely, their response to that question will reveal an agenda that goes past just silencing bullying to silencing any disagreement with a lifestyle. Most gays (as well as what are called “allies.” I am using the term “gay” to denote not all who have same-sex attractions, but those who affirm such attractions as normal and good parts of their identity.) I have talked to can’t make the distinction that’s embedded in the question. If I don’t affirm and encourage homosexual behavior and desire, then I automatically hate gay people. As the years go by, I see a greater and greater effort on the part of many to stigmatize any and all disagreement as hateful and bigoted. This is an exercise in stereotyping and broadbrushing, which, ironically, is what gays and lesbians object to conservatives doing (and, admittedly, in many instances this accusation does stick.).
I asked a fellow teacher that question Friday, and she said, “they can think that, as long as they keep it to themselves. They should keep quiet. It could hurt people.”
Ah, I see. Everyone can speak their mind but conservatives. You, teach, can speak your mind, but I’ve gotta “keep quiet.” How is it that when you voice disagreement (as you just did with me), you are being tolerant and truthful, but when I voice my disagreement, I’m just hateful?
There are many other questions that need to be asked as well:
Does ‘love’ mean you must encourage everything the beloved does or desires?
Short answer: no. I’m glad my parents didn’t think so. Whenever they saw me doing something that was destructive to me and others, they steadfastly stood against it. This was an expression of their love, because they desired what was best for me. Even if they were wrong that what I was doing was destructive, they were just wrong on the facts; this didn’t make them hateful.
Why think that gays are “born this way”?
Also: what does “born this way” mean, really? What reputable scientific research shows that same-sex attraction is meaningfully genetically pre-determined?
I’m aware of Levay, Hamer, Bailey, Pillard, and others. What, exactly, do those studies show? Hint: not what folks think they show. Most, though, when they talk of gays being “born this way,” the only justification they have for that is that of a strong felt inclination/desire for the same gender. Is that a good reason to say someone was “born that way”?
If there is a genetic component to same-sex attraction (this is a much less controversial and appropriate way of phrasing it), does that mean we must surrender our moral concerns about same-sex relationships?
If so, then what does that say about our moral concerns about a myriad of other inclinations that have a genetic component to them (alcoholism, for example)?
Are all consensual relationships equal?
Most would say no. Why?
While we’re at it:
Define equality…as well as homophobia, bigotry, rights, tolerance, discrimination, and other loaded words.
Those are incredibly emotionally laden words that are rarely defined. The way those words are used by gay activists are sketchy at best. Just say the words, and that’s enough to sound persuasive. They function as sound bite bludgeons to marginalize any and all objections. Those who use these terms in such undefined ways need to be called out on it, because name calling is not an argument.
The way “equality” is being used, if I say that certain inclinations are unhealthy or if I don’t affirm all relationships as normal, I’m guilty of profound prejudice. How does that follow?
The same goes for all the other words. If I think homosexual behavior is destructive and goes against the way we are designed, I’m a bigot. If I hold to a traditional view of marriage, I’m a bigot…somehow. How is that? As philosopher Doug Geivett points out, calling someone names like that might work as an intimidation strategy, but not much else.
If I hold to a traditional view of marriage, I’m somehow denying gays their rights. For gays to say they have a right to such and such means they have a just claim to something, for that is exactly what a right is. Forget all the talk about benefits and hospital visits. In California, gays already have that in their relationships. This debate is about approval and affirmation. Gays understand that legalizing same-sex marriage confers societal approval on their relationships. That might be desirable, and, hypothetically, good, but why is it a right? Since when is affirmation and approval of a relationship a right? How is “being in love” (another popular justification for the right to same-sex marriage) a sufficient basis for granting the “right” to same-sex marriage? If it is, then why should a right to SSM be any more legit than a “right” to enter into any number of other unions?
Tolerance…since when has tolerance come to mean that one has to agree with everything? Classically, tolerance refers to people but not ideas and desires. That distinction, however, is lost today.
I’d say there could be just a little more room carved out for tolerance in the classic sense. Asking these questions, I think, will make that point.