Why do They Have to Misrepresent Us? A Response to Valerie Tarico’s Article “9 Sinister Things the Christian Right Does… (Part 7)

So, in this post, we are going to look at point seven of Valerie Tarico’s article on salon.com, and the continuing misrepresentation that she makes. (This series of responses begins here.)

7. Abusing and killing queers is evil.The Bible’s clobber verses may be open to interpretation, but the fact that those verses have caused centuries of suffering is not. For much of American history, the common term for queer was the biblical “sodomite,” implying that gays are so offensive to God that they pose a threat to society as a whole. Thanks to Christian missionaries, African and Latin American queers also have now lived for centuries now under the threat of violent death. As progressive Anglican Gay Clark Jennings observes, “There is no getting around the Bible when searching for the origins of the homophobia that is rampant in many African cultures. What’s more, Europeans and North Americans bear much of the historical responsibility for this sad state of affairs.”

It would be bad enough if we were simply talking about history. But homophobic American Christians, thwarted at home, have turned to inciting oppression in Uganda and Nigeria where their hatred still finds fertile ground.

As much as she would like to contend that the so-called “clobber verses” that she refers to are “open to interpretation“, I would like to point out that they are only open to correct interpretation, and that those interpretations that detract from their truth and applicability are simply ridiculous, which is something that Dr. Robert Gagnon addresses in this “debate” with British LGBT-activist Jane Ozanne.  Once we push past the fallacious appeals to emotion, there isn’t a whole lot left to the argument.

Unb-GagnonvOzanne-main_article_image

Now, I would like for my readers to consider the question of where she is drawing from to make the assertion that anything is evil, much less, “(a)busing and killing queers“? I agree with her, but then again, I have a worldview that gives me a moral grounding from where I can draw such a conclusion. In this article here, Valerie details here her descent from Christianity to, in her own words, “anti-theism”, because she,

“…got tired of making excuses for the God I had worshipped since childhood and then realized there was little left of my God but those shabby, worn out excuses.”

Yet, she still hangs onto the values that her former faith imbued into her, which includes not “abusing or killing queers“, because her anti-theistic worldview simply cannot support the assertion consistently.

But let’s deal with the Salon article. She quotes “progressive” (I always have to ask, progression toward what, exactly) Anglican Clark Jennings as saying,

There is no getting around the Bible when searching for the origins of the homophobia that is rampant in many African cultures. What’s more, Europeans and North Americans bear much of the historical responsibility for this sad state of affairs.

This is where it is important to define terms, after all, what exactly ishomophobia“? It’s a term that often gets thrown around to simply silence the opposition. While the term “phobia” means “fear“, it is most often associated with, what are commonly called, “irrational” fears. And since the word “homo“, more precisely the root “hom“, which is from the Latin for “being” or “man“, so literally the term could be rendered as “the fear of man“, in which case that would make wild animals homophobic, and to borrow a common fallacious argument used by homosexuals: if animals do it, why can’t I? But they reject such arguments unless they are using them. Talk about inconsistency, and inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.

She borrows from the same Huffington Post article that she draws from to assert that,

…homophobic American Christians, thwarted at home, have turned to inciting oppression in Uganda and Nigeria where their hatred still finds fertile ground.

Notice that she doesn’t substantiate her assertion. In fact, the article that she links to says, right up front,

“…38 of 54 African countries have anti-gay laws on the books, mostly the result of colonial rule. (Emphasis added)

Uh, who colonized Africa? The Dutch, French, and British, and, as far as I can tell, the United States, has never had “colonial interests” in the African continent, so to blame “American Christians” for the issue is simply false, just based on the facts of history. What she is attempting to alleged though is that US activists, such as Scott Lively, who is essentially being persecuted under a law that has been challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, have somehow incited violence in these African countries she names. In fact, the article insinuates that the death of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato  is somehow the responsibility of these activists, even though he was, in fact, killed by a gay lover .

The general response here is simply that Valerie cannot get her facts straight as well as she has engaged in straight-up ad hominem attacks. She doesn’t attempt to deal with the arguments that those who are opposed to homosexual behavior present, rather she resorts to name calling, and if that is all that she has, and even though there are some shallow and unreflective people out there for whom  that is enough to convince them, she’s lost the debate.

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2 thoughts on “Why do They Have to Misrepresent Us? A Response to Valerie Tarico’s Article “9 Sinister Things the Christian Right Does… (Part 7)

  1. If someone is diametrically opposed to all varieties of homosexual behavior, including monogamous couples, thinks it’s unnatural etc. and justifies that by an interpretation of scripture not all Christians accept as either true or correct, I don’t know ANY way to deal with them aside from prayer and personally avoiding contact when the shite gets too deep. Fundamentalists aren’t exactly open to being convinced of anything. It doesn’t surprise me an op-ed writer would just go with “They’re evil – Here’s why”. She’s paid to generate readership. It’s better clickbait.

    I think it’s a deeply unfortunate, misguided view, one fostered by ignorance of both the inherent ambiguities in Biblical translation, and a resistance to scientific fact about the normalcy of homosexual behavior in other mammals.

    Is ignorance identical to evil? Not to me, but there are many who have had it with being told what’s what by those they perceive as hypocrites. I don’t think taking apart a clickbait article by spinning out separate posts about each number on her list helps the process. Maybe it makes you feel better.

    • “Taking apart clickbait” is something that needs to be done because this is what most people have to deal with. You may consider it beneath you, and you are free to do that, but it was passed to me by someone who wanted a critical examination and response. I was happy to oblige. Thanks for your opinion.

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