Going Down Ugly

According to a March, 2011 survey from Pew, 58% of Americans believe that homosexuality should be accepted, while 33% believe it should not be. Leaving aside what the individuals surveyed thought constituted “acceptance,” this is yet another indicator that the cultural tide is flowing in the right direction; indeed, when the survey responses were broken down by age, gender and such, the results confirmed numerous prior studies showing that younger cohorts are massively more supportive of equality—including same-sex marriage—than are their elders.

In the face of this rapid and positive social change, the Right is becoming increasingly hysterical.

A couple of days before this year’s Pride celebration, a friend forwarded a “Special Prayer Request” from the AFA of Indiana that illustrates how ugly that hysteria gets, and how intellectually dishonest these radical right organizations really are. It began with an admonition that the photos appended to the email were not intended to “offend” anyone. (Those photos were the usual, carefully selected “shockers” from previous Pride parades. I’ve gone to Pride events for the past twenty years, and these days, they generally include large numbers of parents with strollers, real estate and other sales booths, and a whole host of elected officials. Strangely enough, those elements of the crowd weren’t pictured.)

The email then listed “some of the vendors registered with Indy Pride” for this year, leading off with the Great Lakes Leather Bondage and S&M Society” (a new one for me), and including the Indiana Socialist Party. (Indiana has a Socialist Party??), “various apostate churches and fringe religious entities” (by their definition, I assume Episcopalians and Presbyterians are part of that apostate fringe), and others with “gender identity disorders” or who are characterized as “left-wing” and “pro-abortion.”

Micah Clark, the author of the email, makes the assertion—which he underlines—that “homosexuals are less than 3% of the population,” and he accuses the Pride organization (and, presumably, the photographers and reporters who cover Pride events) of exaggerating attendance numbers. Although reputable scholars suggest that considerably more than 3% of the population is gay, let’s just accept that number—and recognize the real argument being made here: that we shouldn’t have to treat such a small number of people fairly. Presumably, minorities don’t deserve equal treatment under the law.  Aside from the Un-American nature of that assertion, I can only wonder what he thinks the cut-off percentage is? Since extremist rightwing Christians are also a minority, albeit a minority larger than 3%, does their percentage of the population cross the magic boundary that permits them to assert constitutional rights?)

What seems to really outrage Micah Clark is that this year, the Indianapolis Police Department officially participated for the first time.

After engaging in some two and a half pages of twisted, dishonest rhetoric (including an astonishing assertion that the nation’s founders were “deeply troubled” by “this kind of thing”), Clark ends with a request that recipients pray for “those trapped by sexual brokenness and even those who oppose us.”

How ironically gracious of him!

Painting minority groups as irretrievably “other” is a time-dishonored tactic of bigots. It is one of the many ways in which the gay community has been marginalized and discriminated against over the years. And it’s not working any more.

President Obama’s favorite Martin Luther King quote is that “the arc of history bends toward justice.” That arc is by no means smooth, but we’re getting there.


  1. My mom lives in Greenwood and has time on her hands and political agita to spare. Got any suggestions where I might direct her? She’s a feminist and a member of the liberal wing of the United Methodists, but parted ways with her church a while back over dumb congregational politics. I’ve encouraged her to either put time into reproductive justice, as both her daughters had unplanned pregnancies despite using contraception and relied on Planned Parenthood through our college years, or a GLBT rights group as she has a gay brother and bisexual daughter, but she’s always been more of a church and community theatre volunteer than a political/civic type. She’s smart and articulate and a lifelong public school teacher. I’m no longer in Indiana so I feel like she’s my rear guard back there and would like somebody to make use of her energy and general level of aggravation.

  2. You might suggest PFLAG to your mom–Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays. There is a very active chapter in Indianapolis.

  3. Never mind about the “apostate churches” in the parade or at the Pride Event. It was those apostate police and fireman, one of whom was standing on one leg atop a not-only-apostate-but-excommunicated motorcycle that ought to really take the critics to Rapture.

    But when…..I’m becoming impatient.

  4. When will the media pick up on the churches and faith communities that don’t discriminate and are inclusive in God’s love? It is always Christians vs. ——(fill in the blank.) There are faiths, Christian ones even, that are in favor of marriage equality,nondiscrimination and HRO, etc. In the parade there was First Congregational United Church of Christ, (UCC was first to ordain GLBT and also perform same sex marriages), and also The Church Within, Unity, Unitarian, Life Journey, United Methodists, and more had booths, etc. Soundbites and headlines sell, but the truth is coming out. (no pun intended.)

  5. Since when is killing babies considered “justice”. I’m a lesbian, a regular at pride, an HRC and EI member, yet I’m always amazed at how just because I’m a lesbian, I have to accept the fact that there’s nothing wrong the violent destruction of an innocent person living in the womb?! I refuse!

  6. The wing-nuts will always disapprove of that which they do not understand. IndyPride was estimated to have drawn 55-60K. I was personally at Pride this year. Many people I saw were male/female couples with children. Many businesses that were involved in Pride were old-economy businesses such as AT&T, Wishard Hospital, etc. There were politicians there in addition to official participation by the Fire and Police departments. The wingnuts are just angry that their prejudice is slowly being over-turned and their narrow views are gradually becoming irrelevant as people become more enlightened.

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