Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tainted Love

Today, we are at sea (or were by the time I post this :-)). These days are a good deal of fun too, even without a port. There are many seminars and such.

I’ve been to a couple seminars on parenting, and realized we’ve maybe have got to let our boys go a bit, not hover about them so much, and give them more responsibility now. As our Aunt Beanie says, maybe we do “mother them too much.” In our situation, it’s tough to not be over protective and it’s something I’m going to work on and am putting out there so it’s been said on record :-).

Then there was the teen panel, which I commented on last year. I think I’ll save that for a post of its own.

Here Ill talk about a seminar on “Love Won Out;” it left an impression. The new tactics of our opponents are smart and a bit frightening, for their reformulated and yet all too historically familiar packaging. It’s all about love now, wrapping hostile anti-golden-rule action in the feelings of love. Pull your gay kids close, but never accept their orientation or relationships. Sneak into pride events as a “gay-welcoming” church and then show those you trick into attending love as you try to cure them of their curse akin to alcoholism. Get involved in AIDS charities, so you can get sick and desperate people to fight with their orientation. Even try to get to the children of gays and lesbians and get them to turn on their families through kid-friendly internet tools.

Hurt people, basically, but do it in such a way that you look PC and feel good about yourself for it.

It’s a common enough theme in humanity that it was on my derailed list of aphorisms :-):

Hate may harden a heart; to completely solidify a heart a person must pretend love.

It’s true, even in the most sever examples. The Spanish Inquisition wasn’t conducted solely by hateful people; there was a set of intellectual word play and twisted logic to get others on board. They caught the gay man to stop imagined supernatural calamities, for the good of all. They tortured him to get a confession and therefore a chance at heaven, avoiding eternal torture. They “relaxed” him into the custody of the executioner, and they burned him to protect the public and set the now-repentant gay man into eternal paradise. Great motives, right?

Hate does a lot of harm, but it’s love and good intentions used to move the mass of people to do what the worst of us never could.

To know such large groups are formally implementing these tactics is disturbing. This is not just the love which the G*d Hates Fags folks feel in their horrible actions, and if you do listen to their interviews, I think you will also agree they do, as they claim, feel a mind-settling, self affirming love for gay people, and think they’re doing right. But this packaged much more insidiously, as it doesn’t have the shocking book-cover image of picketers in front of a soldier’s funeral. People don’t shy away from Love Won Out; they pack mega-churches for it.

One thing about Love Won Out really stuck with me. The people giving the seminar had personally been to the event. At lunch they ate with a woman who told them she had a gay son. They asked if he was gay or ex-gay or struggling and the woman told them to wait until her husband spoke later in the day; she said she wanted it to be a surprise.

For us, they later played the audio of that portion of the husband’s speech. In short, their son came out to them, they rejected him, and then, after attending Love Won Out they tried to get close to him again, now with the motive of changing him. They tried, though lovingly, to get him to change his “identity” and leave his partner, and the son could apparently see right through it. Eventually the son told them he didn’t want parents in his life who’d not accept him and his partner for who they are. So the parents are the victims now, right? Still, who wants parents constantly trying to undermine your home and not-so-subtly thinking one of the best things about yourself, your path to love, is sin and rightly punished by death in the times of Moses? Right? Even lovingly?

The recording ends with the father describing how their son was killed in a car accident soon after. He said, and I wrote it down for the shocking force with which it hit me, “Our prayers were answered. Our son was healed.” Then there was clapping. Clapping!

Love.

Love won out; even the name implies love’s use as a tool in some sort of competition.

Is that the sort of familial love the “pro-family” side of this debate is becoming about, then? Love that turns parents into that? Love that makes you feel good, that you’re doing God’s work to hurt your children in such ways? That makes you pray for them to be changed or take up life-long celibacy? Change even if it means their death, and feeling grateful if it does? Love that keeps you constantly trying to split up your family’s or friend’s home, even if it’s the home of the happiest family on the continent?

In some instances, the feeling of love really can be one of the crueler, more insidious weapons. In some instances, I’d prefer an enemy fueled by honest and open hate, free from feel-good self-deception. At least that opponent is willing to feel and show the emotional consequences of the harm they choose to inflict on others.

13 comments:

Chedner said...

Wow, you just summarized my past couple of days in hell, ESPECIALLY with:

So the parents are the victims now, right? Still, who wants parents constantly trying to undermine your home and not-so-subtly thinking one of the best things about yourself, your path to love, is sin and rightly punished by death in the times of Moses? Right? Even lovingly?

I was made into a horrible monster for telling my family I could not and do not feel safe under such "love" (becuase, in their minds, it wasn't they who were rejecting me, but I who was rejecting them -- I became the one, in their minds, who was putting conditions on love and not they).

Let me testify, with firsthand experience, how horrible this tactic is, how horrible the consequences could be, and how blind those who are employing such tactics are as they sincerely believe their prejudice is rooted solely and completely in love.

Edgy said...

Wow. That story turned my stomach a bit. Regardless of what the Love Won Out people might say, I have a friend who was in a car accident and whose mother actually told him it would have been best if he had died in that accident. The scars are close to irreparable.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

In some instances, I’d prefer an enemy fueled by honest and open hate, free from feel-good self-deception.

That mentality is the most insidious of all and hardest to combat.

I have a friend who was in a car accident and whose mother actually told him it would have been best if he had died in that accident. The scars are close to irreparable.

I too know people who have experienced that. That sort of mindset is one that I was constantly faced with my many members in the church when I was active. Its so beyond disgusting. I cannot believe that anyone who says that really loves the person they're referring to. That's totally about selfishness with a very thin veneer of "love" splashed over it to make it acceptable.

MohoInTx said...

Awesome post, man.

I have frequently worried about that.

Right now, I am active in the Church, not just because I want to keep my parents happy, but because I choose to be.

What if things were to change though. What if, 5 years from now, I decide to have a committed partner? What if I were to adopt kids later in my life? How would my parents handle that... how about all 9 of my siblings?

Java said...

Wow. They think they are loving their gay child/friend, but it is an insidious kind of "love." And I suspect most of them don't realize how much harm they do. Or they just don't care.
What frightens me is that I would probably be doing the same thing, buying into the Love Won Out propaganda, had I not had the life-changing experience of falling in love with a gay young man and seriously reconsidering my views on homosexuality. I was there. I know how these people think because 2 years ago I was one of them! They are convinced that this path is the most loving thing they can do.
It's a different perspective.

We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves. -Eric Hoffer

Scot said...

Chedner: I’m sorry you’re dealing with that Chedner. One can only hope time will help them see their way through. As a parent, I’m sure it’s not near easy to admit when you’re hurting your child. But in that same capacity, I know there’s a world of hope and potential between a parent and their child for time to put to use.

Edgy: The scars are close to irreparable.

Err… I’m glad I can only imagine. In the last sentence of my last paragraph above, I probably should have put a “some” in there somewhere.

Craig: I too know people who have experienced that.

And here I thought it was a dying trend. This was common when I was coming out in the early 1990’s. I’d hoped it had dissipated in recent years.

Vanson: While it can go far south, I think of what I anticipated from my family. I was grateful and ashamed to have underestimated them. Rob’s dad was a Bishop and they are still very active, but there is no tension, quite the contrary. My siblings also are all great, now, and one is currently a Bishop. I worried like crazy, though.

Java: What frightens me is that I would probably be doing the same thing, buying into the Love Won Out propaganda, had I not had the life-changing experience of falling in love with a gay young man and seriously reconsidering my views on homosexuality.

I’m so glad you met him. In truth, I fear who I’d be if I wasn’t gay. Would I empathize with the minority? Would I be involved in my community? Or would I have just taken the easy, unexamined route? Thank goodness for chance ;-).

Guy said...

Wow, powerful and disturbing post. Luckily for us, most of my family is great with us, now, too, but I can totally see those who aren't buying into that crap and really believing they are being godly and loving.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

And here I thought it was a dying trend. This was common when I was coming out in the early 1990’s. I’d hoped it had dissipated in recent years.

Scot, unfortunately not. I just got off the phone with my parents, telling them that I'm leaving the church. They reacted more or less as expected (disappointed, thinking satan is leading me astray, &c), with one exception.

My mum clearly implied that she thought that the suicides and depression of gay people so common in the church are acceptable casualties to having the church be unwavering in proclaiming the "truth" that homosexual relationships are morally wrong, even if that standard is impossible for many to realistically follow.

I never expected my parents to basically tell me that they think that suicide/death is better than breaking the commandments. Whereas they may balk at necessarily saying in clear terms that dying is better than being gay, it seemed they sort of thought that way.

I don't know how to react to or process this right now. I just wanted to share that, unfortunately, that mentality is not really dissipating.

Scot said...

I am so sorry to read that Craig. I hope you're doing okay.

I wish I'd something better to say. No one can hurt you like a parent, but I've seen so many change for the better in time.

Jér said...

Thanks Scot, I appreciate it.

I hope that they will change the way they see me, my being gay and my decision to leave the church, but honestly, I wonder if it will ever happen. I was very surprised by how dogmatic their arguments and views were; it really took me off guard.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Oops, that should have been posted under my name, not Sean's. He was logged into my computer.

I was really confused for a second when I scrolled down and saw his picture. Surely I don't look like that, I thought. LOL

Scot said...

I'd have been suspicious if I didn't already know what you look like :-)

Jér said...

No one was more surprised to see my name and picture than I.

—Sean

P.S. Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene