Have you ever heard of the American Family Association, or AFA, as it’s called. It’s an ultra-conservative religious organization that claims to protect family values but at the expense of civil rights. It’s led by a man named Bryan Fisher who holds a great amount of influence over the Republican Party as well as over a large cross-section of Americans. His stated position is to bring down the homosexual agenda, and he’s ready to do what it takes.
He deals in misinformation, twisted facts, falsehoods, unproven scientific theory, debunked scientific theory, fear, and intimidation. I think he believes that he who speaks loudest, wins.
In a recent post to the AFA site (link below to full article), he said that America cannot have both so it would have to choose between liberty or homosexuality. He “paraphrased” President Lincoln by saying that America was going to have to choose between straight or gay. In his world, I have no right to exist as I do, nor does my soulmate and partner, nor does my ex-wife, nor do billions of other people on the planet. He’s very vocal about this.
I can’t bring myself to hate him. I’ve never been a hater. I can’t bring myself to despise him, or even to dislike him. As an American, he’s entitled to his opinion same as any other American (except the gays, of course, but that’s different.) He’s also entitled to express those opinions in any legal way he chooses, same as any other American except, well, you know. I don’t have to choose to listen to him.
The difficulty is that I sort of have to. The best way to protect myself and my peers from him is to know what he’s saying. The more I hear from him, though, the more disturbed I get. He can be charismatic. He can sway people with his words. And if he can sway enough people, he can carry a lot of clout.
Mr. Fisher is just a symptom. There are a lot of conservative leaders who are using the GLBT community as a scapegoat. Some of them use religion as their base, and others use prejudice. They blame one group of people for all the ills of society, then demand that those people have basic rights stripped from them. Once they have no rights, they have no protections. Then they’re rounded up and put into camps to die, by one method or another. The most troubling facet is that the strategy always works. It’s been used many many times before. Most notably in Nazi Germany which led to World War II and the beginning of the nuclear age.
Hitler didn’t start out by saying we have to kill all the Jews. It was a gradual build up over time. Each new step seemed logical and sensible and intelligent. The conservative population isn’t starting out by saying we need to kill all the gay people, just don’t recognize their basic rights. There have been some “crackpots” who have called for the death of all gays, but they’ve been generally laughed at. For now.
But let’s see what rights I don’t have. If my spouse is sick in the hospital and is in ICU, I can’t go see him. I can’t make decisions regarding his care that he and I may have discussed. We can’t file joint tax returns and claim some of the breaks, so we pay significantly higher taxes. We can’t get married in most states. We can lose our jobs simply for being together. We can be humiliated, beaten up, and killed with few of the protections that other citizens enjoy. We can’t even do something as simple as donate blood in many states.
Yet we pay the same taxes. We are citizens of this country. We are real live breathing human beings.
So what’s the solution? All real live breathing human beings have to stand up against anyone who would try to destroy them. People everywhere have to question what they’re told. People have to decide who they want to be counted with. The simplest way to do that is to vote.