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Dear Mike Pence: Take your Christian homophobia and shove it!



This is what Pence said in the early 1990s: “Homosexuals are not as a group able bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.”

And this is what he said as recently as last year, when as Indiana’s governor he tried to ram through the nation’s most discriminatory anti-gay law, which he lied about with Orwellian doublespeak when he pretended it was designed to guarantee “religious freedom” rather than its true purpose, pure-and-simple Christian gay bashing in that red Bible belt state.

Look, the real “high rates of disease” in America are found in the Republican Party—where the disease of homophobia has assumed epidemic-like proportions and represents a clear danger to our health and freedom.

And not just homophobia: its handmaiden, misogyny, also has swept through the GOP. The reason the two sicknesses are so often intertwined is because the men (mainly white, uneducated and angry) who hate gays also believe in a Biblical place for women: barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. They are threatened by strong, progressive women (like Hillary Clinton). There are, unfortunately, many women who hate gays too. They tend to be Bible-thumping Christians, like Mrs. Pence, and do not have the intellectual capacity to understand that their Bible stories are largely myths that, however inspiring, never happened, and have no place in a secular, Constitutional democracy, which is what America is. These same women who hate gays tend also to subscribe to their husbands’ views that women should be subjugated to men: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” it says in Colossians 3:18, which goes on to add:

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God….”.

Onward Christian soldiers! And for all those Sharia-fearing Christians who are so intolerant of the burka, here is the New Testament’s rule for women when the Rapture comes: “…any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head …For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair.”

They said it in the Bible, folks!

Pence’s homophobia is lifelong and stubbornly resistant to cure. His master’s homophobia is of more recent acquisition. Trump never had the reputation as a gay basher, and he’s downplayed gay issues in this campaign—at least, from his own lips. But that hasn’t stopped him from making whoopee with homophobes like Pence and the crowd at Liberty University and all the other haters. What causes a heretofore tolerant New Yorker to come down on the homophobic side of the fence? Trump looked around, realized that in order to get elected President he needed the support of a group of people he had mocked all his life as redneck rubes—evangelical Christians—and suddenly discovered his inner homophobe.

So much for principles!

Incidentally, it’s not only Christians who have a medieval attitude towards women and gays. So do many Orthodox Jews. I once made friends with a young Chasidic man, of the Lubavitch persuasion, who introduced me to his friends in Berkeley. I got to know their chief rabbi and actually studied with him. After a year or so, I became troubled with their group’s reputation as being virulently anti-gay, so I had a little chat with Rabbi. I asked him what he thought about all the “death penalties” in the Old Testament, of which there are dozens.

For instance, Exodus  21:!7: “’Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.”

“So, Rabbi,” I asked, “does that mean that if a little kid has a temper tantrum and says to his father or mother, ‘Fuck you!’ that kid should be murdered?”

Of course not,” Rabbi smiled indulgently. “It’s a metaphor.” And “a metaphor” is how he described every death penalty I described to him—some two dozen in all. Until, that is, we came to the most infamous Torah death penalty of all, Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” And being “an abomination,” of course, it is punishable by death: preferably stoning in the public square.

“So do you agree with that, Rabbi?”

Here, Rabbi seemed a little uncomfortable. Instead of calling it “a metaphor” he shifted in his seat and tried to change the subject, but intrepid journalist that I was, I wouldn’t let him.

“So, Rabbi, again, does that mean you believe gay people should be killed?”

“Look,” Rabbi finally said. “It’s not going to happen until Moshiach” [the Jewish Messiah] “returns to Jerusalem and institutes Jewish law. So nobody has to worry about such things for a while.”

Well, the problem here, of course—as it is with radically religious Christian Republicans—is that “the thought is father to the deed.” I for one don’t want to keep my fingers crossed and hope that the Messiah never comes, so that gay people will not be executed. Nor do I want Christian homophobes to come anywhere close to the levers of power, for haters like that have judgments so clouded by superstition and resentment, they can’t be trusted to make any decision affecting millions of Americans.

And yet, here’s Mike Pence, potentially a heartbeat away from the Presidency, with his violent attitudes towards millions, possibly tens of millions, of LGBTQ citizens, including children. Which is why I use language that is admittedly immoderate—but moderation in the pursuit of human freedom is never a virtue. Pence, take your Christian homophobia and shove it!

  1. The Donald is a horror story, but the “deep bench” of Republican candidates were even worse. They would all love to tell us exactly who we can have sex with, who we can marry, what religion we should practice and what drugs we can use. Put me down as another old white guy who can’t fathom the agenda of Republican old white guys. By the way, eased the pain with a bottle of 2012 Kutch McDougall Ranch last night, it was spectacular.

  2. Ed G, it’s not just us “old white guys” who are so turned off by this rpeublican party. It’s everybody who’s sane!

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