Dan Savage On Pat Robertson’s ‘Gays Are Made Gay By Being Abused’ Claim

June 10, 2009

Pat_RobertsonOur favorite out-of-touch televangelist Pat Robertson recently dove into what he knows best: biology, sexuality, evolution, psychology, child development, and genetics.

Pat said repeated that age-old myth that gays are just gays because they were abused by an authority figure and are  now all confused and lost.  (Hell, why did he just throw in the ‘…and they haven’t found the right girl’ argument, too?)

(The video of Pat’s comments are here.)

Dan Savage responds:

Boys are “made homosexual,” Robertson says, “because of a coach or a guidance counselor or some other male figure… abused them.”

As a thought experiment let’s concede the point: homosexuals are made, not born (with the exception of the few of us with “biological problems”). Who do you suppose is making homosexuals out of kids from fundamentalist Christian homes? Alen Keyes has a gay kid, Randal Terry has a gay kid, Dick Cheney has a gay kid, Phyllis Schafley has a gay kid. Seattle’s Capitol Hill is crawling with gay teenagers and young adults who grew up in—and escaped from—their fundamentalist Christian homes. The documentary For the Bible Tells Me So profiles numerous kids from fundamentalist Christian families who grew up to be gay.

Who’s raping all these Christian kids?

Not openly gay people. Fundamentalist Christian parents don’t allow their children hang out with openly gay men and women. Openly gay men do not get hired to work as a guidance counselors at fundamentalist Christian middle schools; out lesbians do not get hired to work as coaches at a fundamentalist Christian high schools; openly bi graduate students don’t get to serve as dorm captains at fundamentalist Christian colleges. So it isn’t out gay men and women—openly gay coaches and counselors and youth pastors—who are raping all these Christian kids and leaving them “confused” about their sexualities. Most fundamentalist Christian kids have never met an out gay or lesbian person. Which can only mean…

All these Christian kids are being raped by straight-identified, nominally-Christian coaches and counselors and youth pastors and dorm captains.

If you buy into Robertson’s theories on origins of homosexuality then you have to embrace a highly unflattering picture of Christian America. If Pat is right then all those fundamentalist Christian churches, schools, counseling programs, and summer camps—the whole parallel Christian universe—are teeming with sexual predators. That Christian day care center? An extremely dangerous environment for children. That Christian summer camp? The hunting grounds of countless child rapists. That youth group at the mega-church? Ditto. That football team at a Christian high school? No responsible parent would let her child try out for one.

Christian America: a bad place to raise your kids.

UPDATE: Some folks in comments have pointed out that Christian kids could wander off and be raped by, say, a gay secular humanist who runs the local Dairy Queen or comic book shop. But the examples cited by Robertson were of authority figures to whose control Christian parents might entrust their children, i.e. counselors, coaches, etc. Children being raised in the Parallel Christian Universe—home schoolers, mega-church parishioners, fundy college applicants—don’t have non-Christian authority figures. No pagan soccer coaches, no openly-gay school counselors. If these fundy Christian kids are “made homosexual” when they’re raped by authority figures, they’re being raped by Christians.

As always, well done, Dan, well done.

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Dear Ted Haggard: I Understand

April 20, 2009

Playwright/novelist/screenwriter Paul Rudnick penned a piece for this week’s New Yorker and it’s totally hilarious. It’s essentially a letter to Mr. Haggard from fictional character Pastor Stan Belker, who has much in common with Mr. Haggard.

As a teen-ager, I found that I was attracted both to serving Our Lord and to Jimmy Wiggins, the assistant coach of my high-school soccer team. I was in torment, and I would pray for hours on end, asking God why He would command me to love Him so deeply and at the same time just go and create Jimmy’s snug little soccer shorts. I told my clergyman, Father Josiah, about my conflicting urges, and he tried to reconcile them by explaining that from certain angles Jesus looks just like Dennis Quaid. Still, I had agonizing doubts: was I just experiencing a completely normal phase of adolescent uncertainty, or were Jimmy Wiggins’s firm, high buttocks really a calling card from Satan?

(Oh sweet Jesus how familiar I am with that calling card!)

The letter recounts Stan’s life as it follows the expected trajectory: male lover in college, then wife and a male prostitute/drug dealer in adulthood, and finally a public downfall.

It kinda missed the whole Ted Haggard media explosion (all three (?) of them) but it’s good enough to be forgiven.

Highly recommended: Amen, Brother (New Yorker)


Debaptise Yourself!

April 15, 2009

The UK’s National Secular Society has launched a campaign to offer faux-official Certificates of Debaptism to former Christians who want to renounce the childhood baptism they had no choice in.

certificate-of-debaptism

The certificate reads:

“After due deliberation, I ________, having been subjected to the Rite of Christian Baptism in infancy (before reaching an age of consent), hereby publicly revoke any implications of that Rite and renounce the Church that carried it out. In the name of human reason, I reject all its Creeds and all other such superstition in particular, the perfidious belief that any baby needs to be cleansed by Baptism of alleged ORIGINAL SIN, and the evil power of supposed demons. I wish to be excluded henceforth from enhanced claims of church membership numbers based on past baptismal statistics used, for example, for the purpose of securing legislative privilege.”

The campaign is also highlighting the difficulty experienced when one tries to sever ties with the church. That said, one man – with the help of the NSS – was successful in becoming officially debaptised by the Diocese of Croydon, which is part of the Church of England.

Unfortunately, after 100,000 people downloaded the certificate, they got smart and made it a fundraiser, which would be fine, except it’s now restricted to residents of the UK.

And don’t worry, the NSS realizes that their little certificate is just a bit of silly fun since “the concept of baptism is a complete fantasy that has no meaning outside the heads of the religious.” Burn.

First the National Humanist Organization’s “atheist buses” and now this? Maybe I should move to London…


Non-religious Americans Now Rank Third In Size Behind Catholics, Baptists

March 9, 2009
atheist bus

London's "Atheist Buses" by the British Humanist Association

According to a new study, the percentage of non-religious Americans has grown 6.8% since 1990 while most major religious groups lost membership. Non-religious Americans now constitute an estimated 15% of the population, with Catholics and Baptists representing 25.1% and 15.8%, respectively.

The “Christian” category (which included non-denominational, unspecified Christian and Protestant, and evangelical/born-again) is estimated at 14.2%, a 0.6% decrease since 1990.

“Mainline Protestants” and Baptists accounted for the largest decreases since 1990, at 5.8% and 3.5%, respectively.

The religious groups with the largest gains? “Protestant denominations” (i.e., Churches of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventist) and “Eastern religions,” which both saw modest 0.5% gains.

Article and full data (check the table at the bottom of the article) at USA Today.

Via JMG.