Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America
This picture of openly gay former Congressman Barney Frank as a leering, groping TSA agent was someone’s idea of a bad joke. The person with the warped sense of humor is Peter LaBarbera, president of an organization called Americans for Truth about Homosexuality. LaBarbera’s group claims to be exposing the so-called menace that gays are to American culture and so-called Christian values. But his defense of these Christian values adds up to making wild charges against gays, posting pictures of half naked gay men, huge pictures of sexually transmitted diseases, or demeaning photos of gays like the one above in a sad attempt to throw out negative generalizations about the gay community.
On his own, LaBarbera is a laughing stock, an object of amusement in the gay community who has given him the moniker of Porno Pete.
However, he and his organization are a minor part of a large network of organizations. These groups include the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, and a myriad of federal and state- wide organizations which all claim to stand for America’s supposed Judeo-Christian heritage.
But their idea of Christian values seem to rely heavily on forgetting the ninth commandment against bearing false witness because these groups have declared war on the gay community and their weapons are propaganda designed exploit fear and religious beliefs. Through a clever use of junk science, misrepresented scientific work, outright lies, or – as seen by LaBarbera’s photo of Frank – demeaning images, they work to stand as a roadblock to any advancement of gay equality by stigmatizing the gay community and falsely labeling homosexuality as a threat to societal order and wellness. And what’s worse, they use the religious belief which designates homosexuality to be a sin as a free license to sugarcoat their tactics as mere ‘expressions of their personal religious beliefs’ and label every question regarding these tactics as an ‘attack on their religious liberty’ or an attempt to ‘silence’ them.
What these groups do is nothing new and it’s certainly nothing Christian or moral about it. When any group spreads propaganda, it’s always ‘in defense’ of something and it usually scapegoats a group undeserving of such hostilities. Whether it be the defense of ‘Southern culture,’ the ‘German homeland,’ or ‘Judeo-Christian values,’ it all adds up to the same thing - isolating an innocent group as the essence of evil and claiming that if only said group were put in its place, the world would be a better place.
It’s a big lie and unfortunately, no one tells the lie better than religious right groups.