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The sexual hangups of religious and social conservatives are a danger to American society

Amanda Marcotte’s piece over at Alternet, Why Are Religious Conservatives So Scared of Gay Sex?,  is so spot-on that I had a good chuckle with my English Breakfast tea this AM.

Time and again here on the Blend and other blogs covering the Religious Right and the GOP Sexual Hypocrites, it’s an endless parade of people (mostly men) who, while they rail over real, perceived and creatively imagined homosex (R), display a serious need for therapy or for a closet door to be kicked open once and for all.

What gives with all the hatred for gay people coming from conservatives, even as the rest of country is beginning to get over long-held prejudices? Part of it is just straight-up protectiveness of heterosexual privilege. Part of being conservative is relishing things (like rights) other people don’t have, and so of course they object to letting gay people have the things that straight people have always had. But quite a bit of what’s going on is that anti-gay bigotry is just one piece of a larger picture of conservative fear and loathing of all forms of sexuality.

Ah yes. A good example of that would be the epic, hurl-worthy 2009 hot mic utterance of California Assemblyman Michael Duvall (R- need I say more?), a true believer in the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, who engaged in chat about adulterous spanking, dripping, sex with someone other than his wife. The nastier, and more vulgar the better it is for these sad sacks ( And? so, we had made love Wednesday-a lot! And so she’ll, she’s all, ‘I am going up and down the stairs, and you’re dripping out of me!’ So messy!”). Really, now. I thought TEH HOMOS had the market cornered on the nasty…Amanda continues:

In socially conservative circles, sex is seen as illicit behavior at best, and criminally perverse at worst. The liberal model that imagines sex as a fun, life-affirming way to spend your time simply doesn’t compute. When you think of sex in terms of subversion and criminality, gay sex looms large in your imagination as the filthiest, most sexy-sex there is. Social conservatives simply can’t get past the images in their minds of dudes sticking it to one another, and it completely skews their ability to think logically and fairly about extending basic human rights to gay people.

It’s hard to top national headliners like Mark Foley, Ted Haggard or Larry Craig, but the above paragraph brings to mind the entertaining, truly masochistic meltdown of anti-gay former Florida State Rep. Bob Allen (R – whoops, no surprise), who came up with the most creative excuses possible for his same-sex seeking encounter with a cop at the Space View Park restroom in Titusville. He:

1) went to the public restroom to avoid a lightning storm that was about to start.

2) claimed to be intimidated by the “stocky black guy” (the police officer) and his observation that there “was nothing but other black guys around in the park” and that he believed that he was about to be robbed.

3) offered a black undercover cop $20 as payment for Allen could blow him.

Which one do you think was the true story? The jury didn’t buy that last one since Allen tacked onto it  his rationale that he asked if he could blow the undercover officer out of fear that Allen “was about to be a statistic” because of all the black guys milling about the Titusvillle park restroom. It’s nice when you can burnish your homophobia card with racism.

While right-wing pundits speaking to a national audience have learned to temper their remarks about homosexuality and try to steer the conversation away from opportunities to say ignorant things about gay people’s sex lives, the religious leaders and more underground right-wing media is still singing the same song. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, recently went on the record saying that gay rights will bring in “an outright sexual paganization of society.” Anti-gay activist Scott Lively was on WorldNetDaily again recently suggesting that being gay is a matter of having a philosophy of “sexual anarchy,” as opposed to it simply being a sexual orientation. It’s common for conservatives to suggest that accepting homosexuality means accepting pedophilia, because they see both as outrageous perversions instead of making the distinction between non-consensual and consensual behavior.

We could go on all day pulling PHB archives for the numerous instances of pedophilia comparisons by the professional anti-gay Beltway set and other radical hatemongers, but the award for the most ballsy anti-gay bigot eruptions by far have come from the Vatican, home of the pedophile priest protection racket. Pope Benedict has overseen and approved payoff after payoff for egregious, heinous crimes that have occurred around the globe for decades, yet cannot stop himself from demonizing sex in general, and LGBT rights in particular.

The ex-gay movement is further evidence of the religious right’s obsession with gay sex that stems from a larger obsession with sex. The very premise of “ex-gay” therapy is that all it takes to stop being gay is to stop having gay sex. Many “ex-gay” people describe themselves as continuing to lust after members of their own sex, but identify as not-gay because they don’t do anything about it. This reduces being gay to a behavior, when of course most people understand gay as an identity. Just as you don’t stop being straight when you find yourself going through a dry spell, you don’t stop being gay because you’re not having gay sex. But the religious right is so obsessed by sex that they simply can’t get past it to look at people as whole human beings.

Ah, the professional ex-gays services, like the purported therapy provided by Marcus Bachmann, and the dangerous work of George “luggage lifting” Rekers examined in “The Sissy Boy Experiment” and on Box Turtle Bulletin. The damage these people cause to those struggling to accept their sexual orientation is by far the most disgusting aspect of the religious conservative, science-free movement.

(Left: “An openly gay staffer of openly gay republican presidential candidate Fred Karger gets a hug and a smile from the not openly gay Mr. Marcus Bachmann at the Iowa State Fair.“)

Not content to wallow in their own self-loathing, they perpetrate their fraudulent “solutions” for the Almighty Dollar. Perhaps the most preposterous of these horrible services is provided by Richard Cohen. He’s the sad sack embarrassment of the therapize-away-the-gay movement who has been mocked by his fellow “recloseted homosexuals” and he has been expelled from the American Counseling Association.

The practitioner of the zero-credibility reparative therapy at the International Healing Foundation included cuddling sessions with his patients (“You’ve got to feel it to heal it.”), and hitting a pillow with a tennis racquet and screaming (MOM!…WHY…DID…YOU…DO…THIS…TO…ME!!!). He provided rich material for Comedy Central and CNN, mostly because he never met a camera he didn’t like.

As you can see, the fact that any of these people  have influence over public policy and state intrusion into your bedroom should scare you. And lawmakers with such an inability to accept sex, sexuality and appropriate relationships are so personally compromised that they certainly shouldn’t hold public office.

So surf over to read the rest of Amanda’s piece; it’s worth the click.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding