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Monday, February 01, 2010

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on its Way Out

Protester holds sign reading 'Let us serve openly'The next big fight in Washington is looking to be the 2011 budget. Liberals aren't happy with the spending freeze idea and Republicans are against everything, because they believe obstructionism for the sake of obstructionism is good politics.

But other fights also loom and those will pit crazy people against sane ones. These are the cultural issues, where right wing lunatics believe they get their marching orders from Jesus. Of course, their Jesus is the Republican Jesus, who is a nutjob. And we're rushing toward a fight between the religious crazies and everyone else.

New York Times:

President Obama and top Pentagon officials met repeatedly over the past year about repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the law that bans openly gay members of the military.

But it was in Oval Office strategy sessions to review court cases challenging the ban — ones that could reach the Supreme Court — that Mr. Obama faced the fact that if he did not change the policy, his administration would be forced to defend publicly the constitutionality of a law he had long opposed.

Already, the right is breaking out the stupid. "In the middle of two wars and in the middle of this giant security threat," House minority leader John Boehner said this weekend on Meet the Press, "why would we want to get into this debate?"

Golly John, maybe it's because we're in those two wars you mentioned -- maybe we can't afford to let homophobic squeamishness keep potential soldiers out of the field. This seems to me to be the prime example of a stupid question. The question that would be better asked would be, "Why would you even have a debate over this?" It's idiotic. Other nations allow gays to serve openly; go find the military where this has become a huge problem. You won't have any luck.

But the US is home to Christian religious fanaticism. Afghanistan has their Taliban and we have ours. Reality doesn't have anything to do with opposition to repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Most of you know I'm an atheist by now, so it shouldn't surprise you to learn that I'm convinced that Christianity is just a bunch of stuff somebody made up. But even if you do believe, you have to admit that the God the religious right worships has nothing to do with the biblical Jesus. They've made up their own Jesus, then pasted it over the one in the Bible.

Republican Jesus is a bigot. Republican Jesus loves the wealthy and hates the poor. Republican Jesus wouldn't have chased the moneychangers from the temple, he would've set up shop himself. And, apparently, Republican Jesus would round up gays, put them in prison, and try to brainwash them using a technique that's been completely debunked by the medical profession.

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association:

It might be worth noting that what I actually suggested is that we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. I'd be curious to know what you think should be done with IV drug abusers, because whatever it is, I think the same response should be made to those who engage in homosexual behavior.

If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program.

For the record, "reparative therapy" is a bunch of snake oil BS. In fact, it's just harmful. And we won't even go into all the ways this would be illegal. Let's just leave it at "Bryan Fischer is 100% wrong." There isn't a single argument he makes that's right or even possible. Put bluntly, Fischer is a lunatic, a bigot, and a religious fanatic.

Of course, Fischer, like everyone else in his movement, is completely sure that he's right. Remember, this is the same crowd who believe that magic is a better explanation than evolution. All of their reasoning power goes toward rationalizing reality to agree with their beliefs. They don't care about truth, they don't care about anyone's health, they just have to prove that every belief held by bronze age nomads is 100% true. And even those beliefs they manage to misunderstand.

"Remember folks, the Christianist right is not about hatred and bigotry," writes Joe Jervis of the blog Joe. My. God. "It's about the gentle redemptive love of Jesus, forced upon you at the barrel of a gun in prison as they beat the gay out of you."

Polling shows that the majority of Americans are not on the side of the anti-gay crazies. In all, 55% of Americans favor repeal, as opposed to 35% against it. As is usually the case, Republicans are outside the mainstream on the issue -- 53% oppose repealing DADT. 73% of Democrats and 58% of independents support repeal. In total, only 11% of respondents believed that the policy made the military stronger.

But, of course, those are facts -- which means the religious right has no use for them. If they're willing to put people at risk of suicide, then they're certainly willing to ignore numbers that show them as the cranks.

The big question for the GOP is how far they're willing to push this going into an election year. If we've learned one thing from recent elections, it's that relying on the religious crackpots to win doesn't work anymore. Can Republicans, who think they're riding high now, really afford to revert back to their culture warrior stance and risk it turning off voters? Alternately, can they afford to ignore the issue and risk turning off the fanatics who still make up a good chunk of their base?

Or will the media bother to report on any of it? There are a lot of big headlines out there and it just might be that this fight gets buried under other stories.

If I were a Republican, that's what I'd hope for.


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1 comment:

Steven Marty Grant said...

The thing I have never understood about DADT as opposed to open service is grotesque hypocrisy of it. What it is okay to be gay if you lie about it? It is okay to serve and die in the armed forces if you are a liar but not if you are gay? Unfortunately the religious right will change their tune on this issue about the same time I hear you singing Amazing Grace. Belief is by nature entrenched and unlikely to change.