How dumb does Gary Glenn think we are?

Ruth JohnsonAs dumb as he is, apparently. Ruth Johnson, Republican candidate for Michigan secretary of state, recently tried to match her opponent Paul Scott prejudice-for-prejudice by declaring that she also doesn’t support allowing transgender citizens to have their gender officially changed on their driver’s license. Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, who previously suggested that states should criminalize being gay, offers his thoughts:

“In an era of identity theft and national security concerns, we’re glad that Ruth Johnson has now joined Rep. Paul Scott in expressly stating her opposition to the Secretary of State policy of allowing men to falsely identify themselves as female on their state-issued driver’s license, and vice versa,” said Campaign for Michigan Families chairman Gary Glenn.

“The people of Michigan should at minimum be able to trust their state government to tell the truth, not enable certain individuals’ psychological and emotional delusions by officially and legally identifying them as something they biologically are not. We urge all candidates for Secretary of State to let voters know where they stand on this honesty-in-government issue.”

Whatever gender you may identify as, this doesn’t mean that you’re identifying as someone else. Your identity, regardless of gender, is your own, not that of another person. So where exactly does “identity theft” enter into this? Whose identity is at risk of theft? And how is it truthful, honest or trustworthy for the government to designate a female-identified, female-presenting woman as male? That’s not even accurate, let alone honest. It’s just confusing, and it doesn’t foster any kind of trust when the law refuses to recognize citizens for who they are.

Acknowledging the reality of gender and its nuances, and by extension, the genuine identities of trans people, is a responsibility of the government. Indulging the ignorance and discomfort of people like Gary Glenn is not.

Bryan Fischer’s failure of character

Bryan FischerIn the aftermath of Wednesday’s historic Prop 8 ruling, some social conservatives have been getting just a little heated. Like Bryan Fischer, the AFA blogger who thinks we should once again make it illegal to be gay. His solution to the Prop 8 ruling? Impeach the judge. And you’ll never guess why…

Although almost no other organizations other than the American Family Association are making an issue of this, Judge Walker should have recused himself from this case since he is a practicing homosexual. This created a clear conflict of interest, and he had no business issuing a ruling on a matter on which he had such a huge personal and private interest.

So, any gay person can be assumed to be biased when judging a case regarding the legality of gay marriage? Does that mean all heterosexuals are similarly biased about cases pertaining to whether marriage should be reserved as a heterosexual privilege? Of course not. This isn’t about sexuality, it’s about impartiality. And there’s nothing to suggest that someone’s sexual orientation automatically renders them incapable of making an impartial judgement. Claiming otherwise means implying that, while heterosexuals are able to put aside their personal preferences when deciding cases, gay people absolutely can’t. Why? What is it about being attracted to the opposite sex that makes you inherently less susceptible to bias? This is akin to saying that female judges are obligated to recuse themselves from any cases about gender inequality, and black judges should be required to recuse themselves from cases involving racism, because their personal qualities mean they would never be able to remain impartial.

His own personal sexual proclitivies [sic] utterly compromised his ability to make an impartial ruling in this case. After all, the bottom line issue is whether homosexual behavior, with all its threats to psychological and physical health, is behavior that should be promoted in any rational society.

You may have missed it, Mr. Fischer, but we’ve already been over this, and the answer is that it is not the place of the government to discourage anyone from being gay. Further, it seems you’ve failed to realize that stopping gay people from marrying does not stop them from being gay. And if you think Judge Walker’s ruling was “compromised” by his sexuality, I suggest you read it for yourself. It is a remarkably thorough and well-sourced decision, citing a vast array of factual findings, expert testimony and legal precedents which clearly establish that Proposition 8 was in violation of the United States Constitution.

And if it were handed down by a straight judge, it would have been just as sound.

He is Exhibit A as to why homosexuals should be disqualified from public office. Character is an important qualification for public service, and what an individual does in his private sexual life is a critical component of character. A man who ignores time-honored standards of sexual behavior simply cannot be trusted with the power of public office.

What comes to mind when you think about character? Is it integrity, resilience and courage? Honesty, fairness, discretion and respect? Trustworthiness? Loyalty?

For Bryan Fischer, it’s about nothing more than who you find attractive: men or women. I challenge anyone to find a more irrelevant and uninformative basis for judging character. Being gay, or straight, or anywhere in between, tells us nothing about a person’s honor, virtue or moral uprightness. It only tells us who they love – not who they are.

It’s worth noting that there have been many different “time-honored standards of sexual behavior”. Historically, polygamy has been one of the most common. Homosexual pederasty was a well-established practice in ancient Greece and Rome for centuries. For much of history, marital rape was fully legal, with no recourse for the wife. And in some parts of the world today, men have continued the time-honored tradition of taking child brides, who often die from intercourse or childbirth.

Certainly some of these standards are worth ignoring.

Citing “time-honored standards of sexual behavior”, and nothing more, only serves as an excuse to avoid explaining why these standards should hold any weight. Note that he isn’t appealing to anything like, say, elementary sexual ethics. “Standards” are all he has to offer, because these standards are the only place he can hope to find support for something as ridiculous as a moral injunction against being gay. How are such “time-honored standards” defined? In this case, by the widespread condemnation of gay people and gay sex. For Fischer, “time-honored standards of sexual behavior” is just a disguise for an appeal to common bigotry: “a lot of people think being gay is bad, so it is!”

So, what does all of this tell us about Bryan Fischer’s character? Well, what does it say about your character when you derive your morals from irrational hate? What does it say when you appoint yourself as automatically superior to anyone who doesn’t share your personal preferences? What does it say when you declare people to be “compromised” and untrustworthy because of who they love?

What does it say when you would tell our most outstanding, most competent, most qualified aspiring judges and leaders that they are never worthy of holding office, simply because they aren’t heterosexual?

Nothing good.

Bryan Fischer has vividly demonstrated why Prop 8 was rightfully overturned:

Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.

Focusing on the most irrelevant thing possible

Cliff KincaidHey, remember Cliff Kincaid? The guy who said Uganda’s proposed gay execution bill only includes death “for deliberately spreading AIDS and engaging in homosexual behavior that threatens children and society”, when the death sentence could actually apply to any gay person who’s had consensual sex more than once (“aggravated homosexuality”), and the majority of HIV infections in Uganda occur through heterosexual contact? Yeah. Well, guess who I got a shout-out from…

Military Homosexual Scandal Tied to WikiLeaks Treason:

Gawker cites evidence that Manning contacted well-known trans videoblogger ZJ via AOL Instant Messenger as far back as February 21, 2009, and said that he enjoyed the videos on the site. “He just said he enjoyed my videos,” ZJ said. “He told me that me and him were on the same page.”

ZJ is “Zinnia Jones” and the site is linked to a Facebook entry for “Queer and Queer-Supportive Atheists,” described as “A group for atheists and agnostics who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, or otherwise queer, as well as straight allies. We support LGBT rights and oppose the influence of religion in the government and the law.”

(Oh, dear. There’s “well-known trans videoblogger ZJ” again.)

Really, “Military Homosexual Scandal”? So is it a scandal about a person in the military who happens to be a homosexual? Or is it a “homosexual scandal” in the military? Either way, why does that have any relevance here? Sure, he may have leaked thousands of potentially compromising documents about an ongoing war… but he’s gay!

Kincaid’s entire article is a morass of unsubstantiated rumors and insinuations:

It is apparent that Manning, based on published reports, was a public homosexual activist for at least over a year. During this time he apparently came up with the idea of downloading and releasing the classified information to WikiLeaks as a way to get back at the United States military over its policy regarding homosexuality.

If he had actually read any of Manning’s conversations, it’s obvious he had a number of concerns that motivated him to release the documents, but never listed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as one of them. He had already mentioned DADT when he spoke with me, all the way back in February of 2009 when he hadn’t even leaked anything and didn’t indicate that he was planning to. And he really didn’t seem very worried about it.

In another bizarre twist, reliable reports suggest that Private First Class Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army Intelligence analyst accused of leaking the classified information to the website, was not only a homosexual but was considering a sex change.

While it’s impossible to completely rule out that he’s trans, the support for this claim is extremely weak to nonexistent, and appears to rely solely on a creative interpretation of his conversations with Adrian Lamo. Nothing he said to me ever suggested that he was trans, or questioning his identity in any way.

The riveting Telegraph account of Manning’s growing rage and anger raises serious questions of how the soldier was able to flaunt his homosexuality despite the fact that the Pentagon still officially has a policy in place of excluding open homosexuals from military service.

So, it’s not really about his “growing rage and anger” – which would seem to be pretty important in terms of understanding his motives – but his homosexuality? Just think about this for a moment. Here’s two hypothetical scenarios:

  1. Manning was just as upset with the military, but he was also a heterosexual. Would his not being gay have been the only thing keeping him from making the same choice, under the same circumstances, for the same reasons? Why?
  2. Manning, while gay, was perfectly satisfied with the military and loved his job. Would his being gay have been enough to make him release thousands of classified documents, despite having no reason to? How?

Again, what makes this relevant to anything?

The dramatic revelations about Manning’s circle of friends and associates suggest that, rather than repeal the homosexual exclusion policy, as Obama is demanding, the prohibition on homosexuals should have been more strictly enforced and that it should be strengthened today. What’s more, it is clear that Manning should have been expelled from the Armed Forces long before he allegedly did his damage to U.S. national security.

How does a requirement of heterosexuality function as a reliable security measure? Are straight people inherently incapable of espionage? Does being attracted to the opposite sex guarantee loyalty, obedience, and a greater ability to keep secrets? This is what you would have to demonstrate in order to justify anti-gay discrimination as a useful method of threat reduction. Prove that you are a more capable person than us, because of who you love.

Would a more strictly applied anti-gay policy have kept Manning out of the military? Possibly. But what it wouldn’t do is ensure that a heterosexual wouldn’t have leaked the same material instead. It may end up excluding the gay soldier who would have turned that person in before they could do any damage, though. Do you see how this is a totally useless criterion?

It will be interesting to see how the pro-homosexual U.S. media deal with the shocking revelations about Manning – and whether they investigate whether he was part of a secret homosexual network in the military that is currently working with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, once part of a group called the “International Subversives.”

Oh, I see why he mentioned me…

What is this, the ’50s? It’s the Lavender Scare all over again! Really, if someone is crafty enough to infiltrate the military for the purpose of espionage, what makes you think screening out gay people would prevent this? If they can manage to stay under without being found out, how hard would it be for them to pass as straight? That would be trivial in comparison, and it’s exactly why excluding gay people fails to accomplish anything. And even if they could reliably keep out every gay person, do you really believe there would be no straight spies to replace them?

This is important because the Manning scandal provides ammunition to those who want to maintain the exclusion of homosexuals from the military. It proves in dramatic terms that homosexuals with gender identity disorders are potentially unstable and that their strange sexual preferences can subvert the military mission and cost lives.

Homosexuals are “potentially unstable”. Heterosexuals are “potentially unstable”. People with gender identity disorder are “potentially unstable”. People without gender identity disorder are “potentially unstable”.

It’s not about whether they’re “potentially unstable”, it’s about whether they actually are. And a person’s sexuality or gender identity is not useful information that would help in determining this. And since when is being attracted to men or women a “strange sexual preference”? Whichever you prefer, so does about half of the world population. How “strange”!

The only way this “provides ammunition” is if you’re a gutless hatemongering idiot. This is nothing but the same bigoted tactics we’ve come to know all too well: malicious generalization using one unflattering example to demonize an entire group of people, which is oddly never applied to all straight people based on the bad behavior of individual heterosexuals. So what makes it okay to mischaracterize gay people like that? Homosexuality and heterosexuality have nothing to do with it. Gay people serve in armies around the world, ours included. And they do their job as professionally and as competently as their fellow straight servicemembers. One prominent counterexample does not negate that.