You know, there are two Internet addictions that I am glad I've gotten over. One is a pornography addiction that has been gone, praise God, for several months now. This blog, and the community that I have found through it, helped put it away for good. The other addiction is a little harder to overcome, and that is an addiction to the endless pundits, shock jocks, and other "warriors" of today's repellent "culture war." Does that sound strange? Let me elaborate.
I've talked before about how I like to go to the conservative website, Townhall, and debate other readers there (since I'm more of a moderate conservative and they're all pretty much fire-breathers). Well, let's just say that I used to like it. As one reader here predicted, I got tired of the debates very quickly, and eventually I realized that I was only going to Townhall to fuel anger, not to debate issues. It was "anger porn," in a way. I'd find the same articles by the same authors about the same topics, and then I'd use the same arguments against the same readers. It did not keep me in a Christ-like mindset, so I decided to give it a rest for a while. I still got the e-mail notifications for new articles, but I barely ever checked them. Recently, I did read one good article by Mike Adams, who I wrote about many months ago. I was so impressed that I actually e-mailed him myself, and I got a response back. He's actually a pretty nice guy, though I don't recant what I said about him earlier.
Well, the other day I gave in and checked the website to see if anything interesting had been written. Unfortunately, I found an extremely nasty piece by Matt Barber, of Concerned Women for America (go figure), and I was reminded of why I gave up reading these columnists in the first place. His column was called "'Gays' Don't Want 'Marriage' After All." Putting "gays" and "marriage" in quotation marks was what convinced me to check out the column further. If the title was that disrespectful, I was sure that there was plenty in there for me to get angry about. I definitely wasn't wrong.
The piece is so cliché that nothing in it is worth repeating. Barber uses the same tired arguments, lies, and manipulative language about gays and how destructive they are to society that it ends up reading like a caricature. He pushes every button that can be pushed, and ends up sounding less like a respected writer and more like Fred Phelps. Sure, he does make interesting claims concerning the numbers of gay unions taking place in regions that allow them. They are surprisingly low. However, if the value of marriage is to be determined my numbers, perhaps he needs to be worrying about the 50% divorce rate amongst heterosexual couples.
What gets my blood boiling about Barber's column (and articles like it), is the matter-of-fact tone in which everything is said. No facts are really presented to back up his claims. Gays "yearn for a society created in their own secular humanist image." I should tell all the folks at the Gay Christian Network, or for that matter, the guys at Gay Patriot. "The vast majority of homosexuals don't desire 'marriage.'" I should tell all my friends who love their boyfriends/girlfriends deeply and wish to spend the rest of their lives with them. The gay lifestyle is "disordered and empty, though demonstrably mutable." Demonstrably mutable? Is he kidding? I should tell Warren Throckmorton, DM, Willful Grace, and all the guys at XGW. It would save them all a lot of drama, I'm sure.
It goes on. "'Civil unions' are merely 'gay marriages' by another name." Oh, I get it. It's not enough to deny the wording. You need to deny the actual rights, too. I don't even think Ann Coulter would go that far. Oh, and I shouldn't leave out his claim that homosexuality is "scientifically and objectively proven to be destructive." That may be so, though usually one is expected to present the scientific and objective facts after such a statement. Unless, of course, the "facts" stem from universally-panned kooks like Paul Cameron (and methinks in this case they might), in which case you don't have to drop the name, right?
Ugh. I didn't even check the comments because I was angry enough already. It was probably righteous anger, but it was anger nonetheless. I'm giving it an outlet here. What bothers me is not that this stuff is being written, but that so many people read it and believe exactly what it says. If a gay kid reads an article like this, what is he going to think of himself? What will parents who believe this think of their gay children? Goodness, I'm scared enough to come out to my parents, and they're liberal! I can't imagine what it would be like to be gay and be the son or daughter of a person like Matt Barber.
Words have meaning. They have impact. They can hurt, or they can help. They can tear down, or they can build. The biggest flaw of this "culture war" is that it has turned neighbor against neighbor. There aren't guns or bombs involved, but the words being used can be just as deadly and just as contrary to the spirit of Christ. Both conservatives and liberals are guilty of it, and that's why I hate being in the middle. I hate hearing Christians called hateful bigots and I hate hearing gays called depraved perverts. Yeah, there are creeps and haters on both sides, and unfortunately they're usually the ones with the microphones and the loudest voices. I just hope that people can learn to look at the folks around them and make their own opinions instead of listening to agenda-driven politicians and pundits. In the meantime, I need to find the fine line between getting angry and standing up for what's right.