Of Homophobia and Hypocrisy

16 Jan

“Matt Barber and Mat Staver are not Homophobes,” said the headline. As I was browsing through one of my regular bloggregators yesterday that line certainly caught my eye. It was as if someone had just told me, “You have eleven toes, one for each color of the rainbow!” Yeah, it made that much sense.

If you’re unfamiliar with these two charmers, a quick overview (with thanks to Jeremy at Good As You for the list of stories).

  • Matt “Bam-Bam” Barber is an attorney, ex-boxer, and the Director of Cultural and Social Policy at Concerned Women for America. He’s infamous for the line “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love’.”
  • Mat Staver is the founder and chairman of the rabidly anti-gay law firm and advocacy group Liberty Counsel. If there’s a lawsuit to be filed against equality, you can bet Mat and his cronies have at least filed a brief. (Barber also works for Liberty Counsel.)

So how is this possible? I followed the link within the link and ended up on the homepage of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, the nasty group run by Peter LaBarbera who has made more than one appearance on this blog. Although I would have expected Peter and the Mat(t)s to wear “homophobe” as a badge of honor, it made some sense that this bizarre headline could be found in the truth-free zone of AFTAH.

It turns out that as part of a story on gay rights issues the PBS program Frontline included a quiz designed by researchers to gauge how homophobic someone might be. Matt and Mat took this quiz and shockingly found that they weren’t homophobic at all. This news so delighted them that they broadcast it on Liberty Counsel’s Faith and Freedom show. Peter was so enchanted that he linked the broadcast from his website and took the quiz himself. What do you know? He isn’t homophobic either!

Where to begin dismantling the hypocrisy of these three? The mind reels…

Let us note that all three men administered the quiz for themselves and made no effort to tell us exactly how they answered the questions. Matt emphasizes that he answered them “totally honestly” but provides no transparency. Peter gives his answer to one question (while wringing his hands that such an answer would certainly mark him as more homophobic) but stops there. Come on guys, show us how you answered each question and let us compare those answers with your well-established records.

All three men are also famous for mocking the word homophobia (as Peter does in his story about not being homophobic). They maintain that it is a made-up word wielded by activists to tarnish them for their noble works. Bad news, guys, this word has a long history and is recognized by multiple dictionaries.They say that they aren’t afraid of homosexuals, so they can’t be homophobic. More bad news: that isn’t what the word means. The first definition from that search:

noun: prejudice against (fear or dislike of) homosexual people and homosexuality

Please not the emphasis on prejudice. When you spend your careers actively campaigning against the LGBTQ community, raising and spending millions of dollars to prevent (or repeal) equality, all the while playing the “love the sinner hate the sin” card, you are practicing prejudice. That makes you homophobic.

At the end of the day, their actions speak much louder than their words. Playing cute games with a quiz doesn’t make their behavior or their organizations any less harmful or dangerous. In fact, all it does is add one more example to the long list of their obsessions with the gay community. Sorry, guys, but you’re homophobic to the core. Your hypocritical parlor games can’t change that.

(If you’re interested in the whole thing from Homophobic Pete’s perspective, the story on his website is here. WARNING: Abandon your lunch all ye who enter there.)

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7 Responses to “Of Homophobia and Hypocrisy”

  1. Jennifer January 16, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    In my life, I have known a lot of good people (in my view) who have taken the ‘not being okay’ with homosexuality stance, but not actively campaigning for homosexuals to be imprisoned, denied rights, or legally come to harm. They have taken the stance of ‘live and let live’ and have not taken up arms (metaphorically or physically) agains the ‘homosexual cause.’ They recognize that other people being homosexual does not negatively affect them – they live their lives for themselves and the people they love, not to push vitriol and hate.
    I know that we disagree on the issue of tolerating homosexuals is to accept them, and that’s likely a product of my excessively conservative upbringing. However, I have seen the two co-exist.
    Militant homophobia… I don’t know if it’s always associated with latent homosexuality, but I do think that it’s a way to cope with something severely wrong within oneself. Whenever I see someone take up such a radical, and hate-filled cause with so much energy, I’ve seen them ignoring glaring issues in their own-lifes: a failing marriage, an abusive childhood, depression, guilt, whatever.
    Sorry, I’m rambling. Just writing out my own thoughts.

    PS: Stemming from the quiz, why are heterosexual guys so freaked out by gay men hitting on them? I mean, gay men are really, really picky. I would find it immensely flattering. That must mean that you’re rocking hot!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 16, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      Jen, I don’t know that we do disagree. I want the dialogue to shift from acceptance and embracing differences to a civil rights issue. I don’t care if people like or dislike the LGBT community; regardless no one should have the right to deny us our civil rights and treat us as second class citizens.

    • Paul Douglas January 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

      Not all gay men are that picky. Ironic that so many straight guys are nervous when gay men find them attractive, but they feel they can come on to women in the most blatant & obnoxious ways and thats OK.

  2. webwordwarrior January 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Oh my, aren’t words tricky! I have to agree that this is an issue of rights, not of tolerance, acceptance, endurance, or discodance. No matter how anyone feels about any community, they may not suppress their rights.

    As far as terminology goes, I love Robert’s earlier post about “Why I Won’t be Tolerated”. Word choice matters when we’re trying to have a conversation. The conversation, however, doesn’t matter when we’re passing laws and establishing equality (although it sets the tone for the environment in which those actions take place.)

    Jen, you’re right on about obsessiveness. People like Matt Barber spend much more time thinking about gay sex than any of the gay people I know. Speaking as a straight man, I would certainly be flattered when anyone found me attractive. I think anyone who is creeped out by admiration is a pretty sad case.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      Wow! All I can say is how extraordinarily fortunate the LGBT community is to have such strong allies as the two of you!

  3. webwordwarrior January 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Stop it, you’ll make me blush! I’m glad to be considered an ally. All it takes is a bit of common sense. (I’d like to believe that isn’t as rare a commodity as it sometimes seems.)

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      And thank goodness for your common sense. We only grow stronger as a culture with our solidarity.

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