Homophobes, religious faith and right wing fanatics share the same fear

American military male homophobes incessantly whine that to allow gays into my foxhole means I could be seduced or raped and so I couldn’t concentrate on killing the enemy because those fags wouldn’t be there to protect my ass, but to attack it. Lesbians aren’t technically allowed in the foxhole, yet if allowed to have sex, they are equally a threat to battlefield success. Those claims are not the reasons why homophobes have so successfully maintained gross discrimination in a military that has become a fair playing field for all other minorities. Their shouted reasoning is so absurd it’s hard to believe how homophobes have retained their power almost one year into Obama’s presidency.

Religious Homophobes claim some man a long time ago in a culture far different from America today wrote that God demands that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. So even though there is no proof that the bible author prophet talked to a God whose proof of existence hasn’t been proved and ancient cultures are far different than modern American Christian culture which has changed in so many ways since then, these fanatics insist everyone must hold to the ancient idea of what constitutes a marriage. This utter nonsense has still carried the day in recent elections. As with military homophobes, the professed religious arguments used in elections is not the real reason why this outright discrimination has caused so much needless hardships and suffering.

The RWCAs (the C is for Cowardly) have made one ridiculous argument after another about Barack Obama before and after the election. Movie/TV comedian John Cleese believes the right of the Republican party are crazy. In a recent interview published in Vanity Fair magazine, Cleese said, the right of the Republican Party is a group of people who are very prejudiced, and are very emotional about their prejudices, without by and large having many powers of analysis or introspection. When Obama was elected to office, he just caused them to feel crazier and crazier, because he’s clearly so much saner than they are. The response of most people to feeling crazy is not, “Oh I must be crazy, so therefore I should try to become saner.” It’s actually to become even more crazy.”

Despite the debt, home foreclosures, suffering and death that America’s health system causes, 30-40% of Americans make outrageous claims for the status quo and fight hard against their best interests.

What fear could possibly cause this illogical, cruel thinking? The fear of having the most basic beliefs about life challenged with facts and logic. Regardless of political or religious beliefs or economic standing, it is frightening for anyone to have to face the reality that a basic tenet used to live their life could be wrong.

Magnifying the fear is the fact that fear has been the primary motivator used to teach these illogical base beliefs. Fear of abnormal sex (is there such a thing?), mortal sin, a forever life in hell, government taking away your freedom, etc. are used to hold the believer steadfast and beholden to those spreading the fear.

The fearmongering regarding sex has throughout human history for the vast majority of cultures made the naked human body dirty and something that must be covered up. That’s crazy. Animals can lead happy lives without clothes. Clothes should be used for protection or decoration, not to inhibit sexual desire. In Japan both genders can take public baths together without sexual desire rearing its head because both genders can compartmentalize physical and mental cleansing from sexual desire. It does no harm later to sexual desire in the bedroom.

Leaders of any gender or gender variation who use fear to teach illogical beliefs, usually for economic gain or power which results in economic superiority, are doing grave harm. Playing on someone’s inner fear is far worse than most of the reasons we imprison people. If some male wants to screw a sheep, how is that a crime? How did American culture make sodomy a crime for so long? How is it so hard to prove that crying fire in a theater is a very serious crime. Do we have to have Obama assassinated before the Becks of our culture are held to account?

There is no easy solution to bring sanity to those Americans trapped by inner fears instilled by selfish leaders until the inner fears are dealt with. The best solution I know of rests with public education. Not by teaching against the base beliefs because most schools could never find enough agreement to develop a curriculum. It would involve showing students the value of making all decisions for themselves and keeping an open mind while doing that. To learn that self-introspection and skepticism are invaluable life tools. That compassion and giving to others makes a more cohesive, real problem solving community. That working together means sacrifice and compromise.

Life is a series of never ending problem solving. When children are taught to do what the adults tell them and not make each decision for themselves, these students when adults easily fall prey to vulture leaders. We should give far more emphasis early in the public education process to emotional and life skills and not take the easy rode of making education purely academic. Concentration on just the academic results in testing and “capitalistic” grading on who is better and who is worse. There are at least eight types of intelligence and our current public education system says that if you are weak in academic intelligence and strong in others, you are not as good as your fellow students. That is silly beyond belief.

Finland has a better education system than we do in America because they do teach these fundamentals along with the academic. They score highest in world testing not because they are better at academics but because they consider teaching the highest form of employment and education elementary to any success in life. They know how to instill the love of learning and skepticism. Americans simply don’t. Our current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants to give even more emphasis to teaching to the test so our students can be even more insecure and lag further behind Finland and other wiser countries. And political debate will grow even more ridiculous if that is possible.


  1. dirigo says:

    In previous ‘hag threads, I have posted some stories on the ongoing inquiry into the rationale for invading Iraq, currently underway in London.

    Just my newsroom habit showing.

    However, without weighing in here terribly much on the plight of education in the U.S. (it’s self-evident that it’s screwed), or on the uses and abuses of religious and sexual discrimination, I have been reading other stories which suggest some Americans who are in charge of the big post-Bush Rave may be talking to themselves, except that they get inordinate coverage in this country’s tainted commercial media.

    Some stories I’m reading, produced by non-American sources, and even American sources outside the daily MSM context, indicate a lot of people in other countries, particularly Europe, are simply not paying attention to the Ravers here.

    I read the Cleese piece. It’s worth noting that, as he observes the humor in the pinched minds and expressions he cites (they’re all around us), he also says he has, out of necessity, created a new comedy routine designed to pay steep alimony, ordered against him recently in divorce court. It’s a sad commentary also on American divorce procedures when Cleese says he figures he’ll have to make a million dollars a year over about seven years doing his new comedy routine to cover the total alimony bill (which is over and above a lump sum cash payment and property transfers to his former spouse). Interesting too that Cleese says he’s not bitter toward his ex-wife as much as he is by the way American divorce courts work, which allow for the hammering of the divorcing partner with the most assets, whether man or woman.

    There’s a can of worms for you.

    Anyway, looks like many people outside the U.S. have moved on after the disasters of this now-ending decade; and the implication may be that America’s voice is just not as important or influential as it used to be.

    They surely don’t care much about Americans preaching that old time civic religion of exceptionalism, complete with monotheistic gay bashing, other forms of sexual control, a refusal to invest in public health in a serious way, and a refusal to invest in up-to-date public education strategies – to help kids learn how to think, not WHAT TO THINK.

    Never mind admitting any mistakes with regard to recent military operations that would mean anything.

    The world, at least in some other “advanced countries,” is probably more progressive than some Americans would believe, or like to accept, after events of the last few years.

    • dirigo says:

      OT, but not really: How is the disease spreading?

      Let me count the ways …


      • cocktailhag says:

        Pretty soon those danged Canucks might start listening to the infinite wisdom of Sarah Palin and get rid of their socialized medicine, too. The new righty Ten Commandments (think that number was an accident?) illustrate RMP’s point pretty well. Endless war, no social spending, and religious claptrap are all American values, dontcha know? Face the lightning bolts of the RNC if you don’t obey.

      • rmp says:

        The State Secrets police are everywhere these days because so much money is involved. Our global money/investment steal from the middle class and poor system is really degrading our countries as we mostly ignore global warming, dwindling resources and too many people populating our earth.

        The main reason for all this government scrutiny and over reaction from the legislators is the Internet is exposing their charlatan game and they are scared as hell about it. Before the Internet, all they had to do was fool the media by buying control and consolidating. Now their house of cards is very fragile and they really don’t know what to do to stop it from collapsing.

  2. retzilian says:

    Interesting and thought-provoking post, RMP, with a lot of issues to discuss. I’ll just point out a few thoughts I had instead of tackling the whole stew.

    You write:

    Regardless of political or religious beliefs or economic standing, it is frightening for anyone to have to face the reality that a basic tenet used to live their life could be wrong.

    This is so true, it’s similar to cognitive dissonance. But, it’s curable. I can attest to this, because I’ve had my worldview changed several times. It takes accepting new information, it takes learning and time, and it requires digesting a lot of material. I’m not sure the kids of today (can’t believe I’m typing that) are curious enough to do the requisite research, but the Intertoobs might make a difference, if they get off Facebook and MySpace long enough. Pretty much everything I used to believe in as a child I have discarded, including religion. And I was heavily indoctrinated.

    Regarding education:

    It would involve showing students the value of making all decisions for themselves and keeping an open mind while doing that.

    It involves not just having an open mind, but being amenable to new information. We make decisions based on current information, and when we get new information, we may change our minds. It’s about being open to that, to being unattached to strict beliefs, to being unattached in general. I think being too attached to a belief system is the cardinal sin of these folks. They just won’t let go.

    And, they are pretty miserable as a result.

    It’s this lack of attachment to any firm set of beliefs that allows us as free thinkers to make decisions based on facts instead of faith. Take the typical Obama supporter, for example. She or he has to realize that there is something rotten going on and is able to criticize and analyze based on the facts and not on some fairy tale about what he will do. It’s kind of like realizing you are not in love and are seeing your partner for who he really is and not who you want him to be.

    But, this would make a great set of topics for some real conversation instead of the narrow feedback we can give on this blob. Everyone is invited to my house!

    • rmp says:

      Thanks for those thoughts and personal insights. If one does not learn to be a free thinker responsible for your own learning in childhood, it must be far harder as an adult.

      My emancipation came early because I had to learn to cope with a bipolar mother and was safe in a small town where I could pretty much go where I wanted at five years old. Children today are over managed and controlled and learn to expect someone to take care of them and their decisions or have to battle hard to make their own.

      Free thinkers have firm values and have learned to love themselves enough to trust their own judgment. The only time I went with faith was during a religious time as a teen where my church and pastor were very nurturing and my peers were very mean. I was skeptical to give my life to “my lord” and before finishing high school my skepticism won out again. I don’t regret the experience and it did help me to develop my value system. None of my three sons have ever had any interest in religion and get as disgusted as I do when they see the damage done by fundamentalists.

      I have no problem if believing gives personal strength to someone else as long as they don’t tell me they have all the answers and my views are sinful.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Dang. I’m in LA. Is your house nearby?

  3. retzilian says:

    No, I’m in a beautiful lakeside suburb of Cleveland, and it’s quite lovely today. Feel free to drop in!

    I don’t know what’s more outrageous today – the conversation between Rick Santorum and my representative, Dennis Kucinich (whom I adore), or Tom Friedman’s column today in the Times. I literally dropped my jaw reading it. You will know why when you read it.

    I guess I shouldn’t be so suprised that we have pathological liars for columnists at the NYT.

  4. retzilian says:

    Ok, this is so funny. Before I even clicked on Glenn Greenwald’s blog today, I was flipping out over Friedman, and guess what his post is about today? Ha! Great minds think alike and all.