Please don't air Silencing Christians tonight. If you do, don't think of yourselves as "journalists." Think of yourselves as "hate-mongers."
That's the heartfelt email I sent to WFLA, Channel 8, here in the Tampa Bay area.
I got notice of Silencing Christians from Equality Florida, a gay activist organization, via email. After I signed and sent the email they provided, I also forwarded the thing to friends I thought would be interested.
In their thank-you note, Equality Florida asked me to go further and call WFLA to ask them to refrain from showing the infomercial. Well, actually, they told me to "insist," which is something I'm usually quite good at, but it didn't feel correct in this instance. The phone was answered right away -- by a human, of all things -- but it turned out to be the Online line, so I was transferred to Programming. If I'd been counting, I'd know how many times a phone rings in sixteen minutes. Programming never did answer. I prefer to see that as a good sign, that the line was clogged with thousands of insistent gay people and the people who love them. That's certainly a more desired scenario than the kid who answered Online just shuffling me off to some department that isn't even open at this time of day.
I'm grateful I have T-Mobile's unlimited calling plan. Plus my writers' group is tomorrow and I haven't written anything yet. Holding onto my phone and listening to sixteen minutes of rings is as good a way as any to procrastinate on that. It's as good as writing a blog entry, for instance.
And yes, I did say infomercial. You can watch the thing yourself at
http://www.silencingchristians.com/ but why would you want to?
I feel a bit helpless -- or is it hopeless? -- in the face of things like this. The hostess smilingly talks about "homosexual propaganda," inviting us to smile (condescendingly?) with her. She talks about how homosexuals have "changed the language" by calling themselves gay and others homophobic.
Okay. I'll agree with that hideous woman about the gay thing. Yes. The language changed. In addition to meaning merry, it means homosexual. I imagine most people used "gay" -- in my generation anyhow -- as often as they used "merry" in normal life -- outside of December anyhow. That is, hardly at all.
But I'm not buying the homophobic thing. I don't think gays invented that. Hah. Perhaps those Silent Christians invented it. To me, homophobic is sort of like using the prefix "mini" with another word. If I think you're being a little idiotic, I might refer to you as being mini-stupid but I don't think I should be credited with having invented a word.
I often call myself an afrophile -- usually when I'm talking about my painted car -- and some people act as if I created that word, since they'd never heard it before. I don't think I invented it. I think I just used it. Or I just picked it up off the ground. I mean, it was waiting to be used. So those Silent Christians are just making themselves look stupid -- and not even in a mini fashion.
I hope they're no more dangerous than average stupidity is dangerous.
The thing is, I was driving to a meeting today and noticed a lot of people walking on Central Avenue, when usually no one is walking there. Then I recognized it as part of the Gay Pride celebration breaking up. I drove five blocks through dispersing crowds. I actually got choked up with pride (I swear!) because we'd come so far -- we gays, we friends and families thereof. Good for us! I thought.
And then this ignorant paid-for hourlong piece of dribble* from the Silent Christians showed up. According to Equality Florida, tv stations in Michigan and Ohio have refused to air the thing, even for pay. (And according to Mike, according to Steven, Equality Florida did something stupid with the funds and stopped the same-gender marriage law from going through, but that's for a blog I'll never write, and I doubt they did it on purpose.)
Anyway, since I couldn't call the station, I went to the website, to the Contact Us place, and sent them the message at the top of this blog. I don't know who reads those things, or when, but my message would probably lose a little credibility if they knew I don't even own a television ...
And one of many reasons that I'm tv-free is that I hate getting all fired up about stuff like this. I've chosen a few organizations that I support with money and clicktivism (Amnesty International, the ACLU, the Quakers, the International Rescue Committee, okay and maybe more than a few) but I don't even really want to know what they're upset about. I want to hit ENTER with my eyes shut because I simply don't have the stomach for it anymore, if I ever did.
Years ago -- maybe fifteen, maybe more -- I was driving with a friend. We went past a car accident, complete with backed-up traffic and multiple ambulances. My friend, a newly sober woman, started crying. I thought, Fer crissake! You don't even know these people! I really thought she was sensitive to the point of psychosis. Well, I have since had the same reaction -- not so much since I got fired and the depression lifted, but still, yes: my heart bleeds.
[Whoa. Let's take a moment to admire the punctuation in that last sentence.]
Despite my short temper and my speedy reactions, I really don't like confrontations. I do, however, want to know how people think about certain things. For instance, the people who are otherwise kind and smart -- how is it that they "hate" homosexuals? I've never met someone I could talk with calmly about this. Or maybe I've never met a homophobe who's kind and smart.
I have a gay friend who says he thinks "queers" are aberrations. Why? Because they can't reproduce. My thinking is that since about ten percent of the population is gay, it can't be an aberration. Well, okay. Webster says someone who is aberrant is someone who deviates from the standard. I'm spinning my wheels here. My god! who doesn't deviate from the standard? And shouldn't we want to, at least in some categories?
Anyway, I actually can't understand why people get upset about gay people, and I don't have much hope of finding someone who could talk reasonably to me about it. But today, a man I really like, told me that the Bible says we're not to disfigure our bodies. That is, we shouldn't have tattoos or tribal scars or piercings. Because God said so -- in both Testaments, according to my friend. He's teaching his child this. In the end, I think he's using the Body As A Holy Temple thang and interpreting it to mean no tats.
I met a little boy in Ghana who had scars radiating from the outer edges of his eyes like the sun in a child's drawing. He was so marked because his mother had had five miscarriages before he was finally born. The scars were a sign of thanks for his life, thanks, one assumes, to, um, that God who doesn't want tattoos.
I don't really want to examine this, but I suspect I have dozens of ridiculous beliefs that I'd defend most fiercely (as long as no one loses an eye) but I refuse to look at them because ... it's too much work? I don't like to be wrong?
Well, anyway, I've accomplished my goal: I don't have time to write anything for the writers' group. I'm off to Billy's on Tierra Verde.
*Forgive me, but I just watched Burn After Reading. Twice. I couldn't help it.