What does it take?

August 28, 2007

We see fundamentalist preacher and conservative politician alike — those who condemn us the most often turn out to be doing it as a part of their own efforts of denial, trying hard to deal with their own internalized homophobia as they preach hatred and intolerance while also secretly having gay sexual encounters.

Senator Larry Craig of Idaho (R) is the latest.  As this article points out, he has campaigned against us, voted against us, and now the allegations of his sexual orientation which he has managed to dodge for years have caught up with him.

And for what has this man’s life been ruined?  Why is all this effort and energy being poured into the hate-mongering and destruction of our livelihoods?  Not one positive thing comes of it.  No positive morality is gained from the destruction of this man by his own hate.  Not one positive thing is gained because he has to turn to secret and anonymous airport bathroom sexual encounters; because he has not been freed to have meaningful loving relationships in the open.

We are getting closer, and I pray that with each of these fallen men that those who oppose us will learn important lessons about what it is really worth to keep up this struggle instead of turning to love, acceptance, and openness.



9 Responses to “What does it take?”

  1. A rational guy Says:

    You really beleive in a supernatural being the pulls strings for the whole universe? Wow – how crazy is that! Welcome to the bronze age.

  2. Jeff Says:

    Ignoring the non-sequitor above, the media has seized the Larry Craig scandal as an opportunity to discuss cruising, apparently. See this story entitled “Secret Signals: How Gay Men Cruise for Sex” by ABC News. It actually says very little about how gay men cruise for sex, and thankfully instead actually has a helpful quote:

    “Cruisers are not sex offenders. They are deeply, deeply closeted. There is a lot of self-hatred and shame and they can’t allow themselves to come to terms with their sexuality. There is also the added element of danger and being discovered,” [an expert psychologist] said.”

    Again, self-hatred and shame are results of the unnecessary bias our culture has placed against GLBTs due to bad theology. Let’s hope we are moving towards a society which embraces all instead of excluding some.


  3. Judy W. Says:

    So what do you think of his denials coming out today? Why would he deny, doesn’t make sense to me. Your post indicated “allegations of his sexual orientation” Have there really been prior allegations? On behalf of Mrs. Craig, and Hilary Clinton, and all the other “wronged” wives out there, I can’t help feeling judgmental over the things men do, thinking they can keep hidden and get away with. Self-hatred and shame are one thing, but what ever happened to self-control? The pedophiles among the clergy can be lumped together also. While what they do is abhorent, because of the innocents involved, it’s the same case of why not control their urges, whether illicit or not. I’m sure you’ve responded to comments such as this before from many others, but more from conservatives. I consider myself on the liberal side, letting adults do what they wish, but the sneaking around and trying to cover up is what gets to me.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Judy –

    I do have lots of compassion for his wife, although if I was her I’m not sure I’d be standing next to him in the press conference…

    But I also think there is more to this issue than “self-control,” although there is an element of that. This isn’t the same as a straight-man sneaking off with a mistress– the quote from the psychologist above says a lot about this.

    My point is rather that if society were less judgemental and more open, he likely would not have been so self-loathing and would have been able to come out of the closet earlier (for more on the investigation in his other alleged lewd conduct, see the Idaho Statesman and their piece on an incident in the Washington area). Coming out and being in the closet is a complex psychological and sociological issue.

    If he had been out early in life, the point is that he might not be cruising for sex in public restrooms, betraying a wife whom he has lied to for years about his sexual identity (perhaps along with himself), and making bad legislative choices to cover up his personal problems. Instead he would be seeking a relationship of mutual affection and compassion of which physical attraction would be only one part– with someone of the same gender, as he would never have married a woman.

    So I also have compassion for him– while realizing that he bears the fruit of his own actions and certainly must live out the consequences. That doesn’t mean that I can’t relate to the isolation and shame that comes from being in the closet, and understand how, if I had been born 30 years earlier, I might have ended up in a similar place.


  5. Jeff Says:

    Speaking of Mrs. Craig, ABC News has an article on her, which you can find here.


  6. Judy W. Says:

    From the ABC news article:
    “If you see a guy standing next to his wife, it offers some explanation that he might be telling the truth. It means ‘how can he be gay? He’s got a wife.’ … Usually, there is an assumption that if your wife can forgive you, then the world can forgive you,” she said.

    I guess it’s like the moms who say, he’s such a good son, I can’t believe he could have done…. Well, give me a break! Hey, if you would have been born 30 years earlier, we could have been classmates!
    Anyhow, thanks for putting it all in perspective.

  7. FrMichael Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, if this guy was a Democrat he would have walked: cf Barney Frank and Gerry Studds, perverts both. I’m glad he’s being hounded out of Washington. As corrupt as the GOP, at least it has a modicum of standards, unlike the Democrats.

  8. Jeff Says:

    I was watching a show on CNN tonight which featured Dina McGreevey– former wife of former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey.

    A couple of things to note. First, to Fr Michael, James McGreevey was a Democrat, he did not walk. Certainly the Democrats have had a fair share of scandals and downfalls– just not as many in the last few years of GOP dominance, which makes sense to me since there haven’t been as many of them in power.

    Second, Dina McGreevey put the compassion behind this story that I was trying to convey– she said this: “If [James McGreevey] had been raised in a culture which accepted homosexuality more openly than he would not have ended up destroying so many lives.”

    She did not minimize the impact of her husband’s coming out on her life– certainly not in the public way it happened– but also acknowledged that it was this cultures homophobia that caused it. Again, if we weren’t homophobic as a society he would have come out earlier in life and would not have gotten married to a woman. All of the heartache in her family would have been avoided.

    While compassion may not be Fr Michael’s strong point, I think understanding that ultimately trying to make a gay man live a straight life through codification of heterosexism in the church and state is a continued mistake behind these two cases– and also in hate crimes, the millions of other incidents of depression, family schisms, and other related homophobic issues in our culture.


  9. […] 4th, 2007 I’ve already got a thread going on Larry Craig, including some comments on Former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, but this post on Walking […]

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