You know, it's not the Fred Phelps "God Hates Fags"/"Matthew Shepard In Hell" style of anti-gay hate you have to worry about. Phelps is dead, and his "movement" locally probably gone with him. No one ever gave Phelps any serious consideration; his and his family's peculiar and theatrical expressive style of anti-gay sentiment was widely written off as buffoonery.
And yet, it's legal in MOST states to fire someone just for being gay; ENDA is, has been, and will be dead in Congress for some time yet. Marriage equality is still legal in only a minority of the 50, count 'em, 50 United States of America. As recently as 1999, the Gay Men's Chorus of LA sang in Russia; now they would be arrested and their audience members imprisoned. Nigeria and Uganda have gone from merely poor, poorly-educated banana republics to a living Hell. Just how much of a buffoon was Phelps, if his overall sentiments still dominate the Law of the Land in much of the world? Can we still laugh at him and his vile theatrics when much of the country and the world agree with his sentiments so much that they remain encoded in black-letter law? Is it still dismissable buffoonery then?
No, it's not Phelps that scares me. What I worry about is the "feel-good" bigotry that is much more visible, much more pervasive, much more insidious, much better-funded, and much more "credible". Joel Osteen. Billy Graham (and family). Focus on the Family. "The Bible" mini-series (with the Obama look-alike as Satan). Rick Warren (who spoke at Obama's inauguration). "ChristianMingle.com". "E-Harmony.com". "Help for unwanted same-sex attractions — when you're not gay, we don't mean them, we mean those folks who are just not wanting these feelings, and wanting help to not have them anymore by walking in Christ." "Family-oriented". "Wholesome". "Faith-based". "Intelligent Design". "Balanced". "Personal religious expression". "Free speech".
The so-called "Christian" dating services help like-minded men and women join together. Meet, fall in love, get married, follow God's plan, have beautiful children. Home-school them to "protect" them from unclean teachings of the worldly world. Protect them from theories that go against God's plan of the wonder of Creation. Keep the family-oriented community "whole". Protect the American right to observe and promote the ultimate truth of Christian beliefs. Create communities, and political blocs.
Is your blood running cold yet? Mine is. Because any sane, fair-minded person can write off Phelps as a crazed clown not worthy of serious consideration. But how much "serious consideration" does ChristianMingle.com get? I don't know exactly, but I'm sure its registered members probably number in the millions. And we haven't even considered "E-Harmony" yet, founded by an anti-gay "Christian" psychologist who espouses "sexual orientation change efforts" (aka "reparative therapy") which is still legal for adults everywhere and only recently semi-illegal for children/adolescents in limited liberal pockets of the country, and still without any real punitive policy from therapy licensing boards, such as California's Board of Behavioral Sciences, which basically doesn't lift a finger it doesn't have to in its public-sector, ivory-tower, snail's-pace isolation about the world around them. The largest therapist professional association, CAMFT, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, still welcomes its therapist members who practice "reparative therapy" with open arms — after all, their dues money is just as green as the legitimate, ethical therapists in their membership.
For it doesn't take obvious, colorful, chanting, Phelps-style hate to create an effective and enduring Holocaust. It merely takes a charismatic man to convince millions of desperate, starving, demoralized people to take the bold, decisive action it takes to protect a "clean" country from its own "internal, parasitic enemies" who must be contained and eradicated in order to protect the noble families of the Fatherland (Quiz: Did I just describe Scott Lively? Vladmir Putin? The president of Nigeria? Uganda? Or Adolph Hitler? Time's up.)
Blood running cold yet?
It just takes a silver-haired, articulate, even educated man who can run a PowerPoint presentation and hold a microphone in front of an audience like the best of corporate salesmen (Scott Lively) and convince an audience of poorly-educated, economically starved Russians, or Ugandans, or Nigerians, or Ethiopians, or a school board, or a state government, or a "Christian" church, that the "gay problem" must have a "solution" if we are to protect future generations of our precious world's children from recruitment. Our "innocent, vulnerable" children. Our "noble" families. A definitive solution. An active solution. A brave solution. A systematic, escalating solution. A global solution. An effective solution. School by school, state by state, (third-world) countries first, solidly-held, then first-world countries — work your way up. A gradual, but steady solution, subtly and systematically created and enforced. A subtle, but decisive solution. A final solution.
Blood running cold yet?
And yet the television commercials for "ChristianMingle.com" or "E-Harmony.com" don't just run at 3:00 in the morning or on daytime TV with the Veg-O-Matic or "earn your degree from a CrackerJack box"; they run on PRIME TIME television and major national sports broadcasts, depicting clean, White, loving, smiling, noble Christian Americans who just want to fall in love, have children, and teach their children right from wrong. Teach them that they have a right, an obligation, to "speak out" against sin, and tell kids on the playground, or at school, that their sin will lead them to Hell. Back it up with a little skin behind the words. To speak up to defend the Word of God against those who sin by being gay, lesbian, "transgender" (just confused by Satan), or those who sin by supporting them or failing to shun them in their ignorance of the Word of God, or those "scientists" who do nothing but undermine the Word of God and the creation of our world with their talk of silly ideas like "evolution" or that God's world is "millions" of years old, or that our great-great-grandparents were a barrel of monkeys. Protecting the precious, White, smiling, innocent children from the horrors of the worldly world such as these. Asserting their religious liberty as Americans to silence all those who would dare challenge the Word of our Lord, or challenge the truth that the only real "family" has a father who rules the house, a mother who obeys him, a daughter who obeys like her mother, and a son who obeys his father and his Father, leaning to love one another and keep the country safe for Christian families to thrive unthwarted by those who speak against the Lord, by electing officials who only enact Laws of the Land that correspond with the Laws of our Lord.
If the sinners scream as they are gently liberated from their sinful bodies, that's the wages of sin. Not worth our attention. If the government uses the power of the Law to destroy the enemies of Christ, they are acting as the hand of God, and fearsome is the wrath of those who go against His Law. They deserve whatever they get. They're not citizens, they are the enemies of citizens.
ChristianMingle.com. E-Harmony. Therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions, or liberation from sex addiction. Protecting our innocent children. Affirming the word of God. Serving as individual soldiers fulfilling the duty of the Christian Soldier. Preserving the traditional family and the Biblical definition of marriage, through schools, books, movies, music, television, dating sites, Christian counseling, sports, financial planning, international relations, civic groups, and telling the truth to our children, from the day they are born, never letting them out of our sight, lest they learn anything else but His Word. Preserving tradition. Strengthening the Family.
No; we don't need Fred Phelps to make the worst nightmares come true (like the gay man who was burned alive in Uganda, or the Russian gay teens who have been tortured and filmed, as their perpetrators go free. Or the kids who are bullied or kicked out of school by principals and teachers who side with the bullies. Or the American LGBT teens who commit suicide). We have Joel Osteen. We have smiling faces on prime-time television ads. We have school boards. We have principals, and teachers. We have generals. We have Republicans in Congress. We have Scalia and Thomas on the Supreme Court. We have a potential new White House. We have state and local offices, nationwide, ripe for the picking. We have midterm elections. We have pulpits. We have mega-churches. We have business coalitions and ads with the little "fish" symbol on them in the Yellow Pages. We have dating websites.
Blood running cold yet?