Today, I seem to have run into a couple of articles on homosexuality that I want to discuss.
First, in Words That Need to Become Less Easy to Use, Mike argues that we should disallow certain showstopper words in our discussions if we want to continue with meaningful dialogue. Although his post is mostly about the word "heresy," he also includes the words "racism" and "homophobic."
When they enter into the conversation, they end the conversation. It’s not that there are no such things as racism or homophobia or heresy. It’s that they are incendiary. Because racism, homophobia and heresy are so morally repugnant, the latter more so for its inquisitional past, these words immediately put the person against whom the accusation is directed on the defensive, and they render the conversation untenable. They are the sine qua non of ad hominem attacks.
Second, in the May 27 edition of The Week magazine, I found "The curious case of homosexual homophobes." (Unfortunately, The Week doesn’t put its archives online at all, but the original article by the author can be found in the NYT archive at Just How Gay is the Right?) In this snippet, the author mentions how many of the public attackers of homosexuality turn out to have gay proclivities themselves.
Why is it that so many gay bashers turn out to be gay themselves?…This is more than hypocrisy – this is pathology. Could it be that what many homophobes really fear is their own impulses?
I can only comment that it is a very common pscyhological pattern, that those with guilt over their own behavior often rail against it out of self-loathing. But this doesn’t mean that all such criticisms of sinful behavior are motivated similarly, nor does it mean that the behaviors are not sinful. When discussing such hypocrites, Jesus not only publicly called them hypocrites, but told danielgs to "do as they say, not as they do." (my paraphrase).
It is unfortunate, however, that the author used the word homophobe. I agree with Mike in saying that using this one word to broadbrush all who oppose homosexuality in some way, or think of it as a treatable condition, may seem accurate to a the fearful, persecuted homosexual, but to those of us trying to engage in meaningful dialogue while disagreeing with the gay suppositions, it is a fear-based ad-hominem attack. To paint all of your opposition as a monolith of extremists shows you to be a paranoid extremist yourself.