2007 05 13

It’s great when I can find the words “the homosexual agenda” in print. Almost certainly, they’re accompanied by a righteous denouncement or praise of some battle lost or won. “The homosexual agenda,” a writer will start--grabbing my interest immediately!--“has been yet again strengthened by the liberal education system,” or the media, or the Godless government, etc etc. Always yet again--for on the righteous side (indeed the only side) of the Culture War, the enemy has had a long string of victories, each bitterly remembered. Doubtless, somewhere in Anytown, an innocent child is beset on all sides by the machinations of Satan, vis-a-vis some educator’s assigned reading. A good councilman is assaulted by the forces of evil, who plunder from him his Religious Liberty! his Inalienable Rights! to condemn such-and-such for their unGodly deviance.

I love finding these screeds, because I’m bearing witness to something historical. One and all, they’re the 21st century echoes of Hazel Massery’s jeers. And like any mindless war-cry, their shrillness is the whole of their substance. But they offer, as far as I can gather, the best, if not the only, window to the minds of these self-appointed soldiers. And when I read them, I find myself coming back to the same fundamental question:

When you “take your stand against homosexuality,” or however it is you phrase it to yourself, do you do so knowing that in 50 years, you’ll be regarded in the same way we, today, regard the racists of the civil rights era--the slaveholders of the emancipation era--the villains of our post-Enlightenment history?

Do you anticipate the tear-filled reunions on the talk shows of 2060, where you or someone like you will embrace and apologize to the effeminate guy in your town that you ostracized or fought against? Or the couple whose marriage you picketed? Do you know that this will happen, sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, but push it to the back of your mind, ignore it, and fight that lingering sense of honestly righteous inevitability? Or do you truly believe--against all reason, against all history and all of history’s lessons--that in 2060 the world will have taken your side, and that “the homosexual agenda” will have been suppressed?

I want to find each of their authors, and over a coffee and in a pleasant, sun-filled room, say: take a pause, take a breath, and consider what you’re actually doing, what you’re actually saying, and how the people who have said these words and done these deeds have fared in our society’s history books and our collective memories. You, sitting here across from me, with the deviance you write, the evil you pour into your neighbor’s ears--you are the villains of our age. On this there is no question. But are you rational enough to know it? Do you know that yours is the unjust and inevitably lost cause, but bottle it away, fight that mental battle against it every time you link to this anti-homosexual screed on your blog, or repeat that ridiculously wrought Biblical justification to your children?

Do you know this, or are you so willfully ignorant that you actually believe in the “righteous truth” of the words that fly from your mouth, that are tapped out by your fingers, and that float in your minds?

When I find one of their articles, I’m excited! Eager to see if they’ll offer me a better glimpse at this evil anachronism, a clearer portal to the answer to this question. Of course it’s a tricky shell-game: the two possibilities are indistinguishable.