"Introduces"

Nancy French has a warning for parents about a new kids’ movie: “ParaNorman Introduces Children to Homosexuality”.

However, the second scene involves one of the subplots. Norman’s sister has a crush on a kid she tries desperately to impress throughout the movie. After she fails to turn his head, she finally asks him out.

“Sure,” he responds. “You’re gonna love my boyfriend. He’s like a total chick-flick nut.”

My friend saw the film in a “red state” and she reported that “you could hear the gasps in the theatre from parents” at the unexpected line. “I should have known something was up when the theatre manager made a huge disclaimer and offered refunds if we did not like the movie,” she wrote.

As a resident of a reddish state, I almost want to go see this movie just to witness the reactions. It must have been incredible to watch the sudden failure of these parents’ homophobic delusion that they can isolate their children from any knowledge of same-sex relationships. I find it implausible that the film actually “introduces” children to homosexuality itself; that would suggest that all these kids had never once encountered the concept of homosexuality before they saw ParaNorman, which is vastly unlikely.

I have no sympathy for these parents – while I’m sure they’re trying to raise their kids in a way they believe to be right, just as we are, the problem is that these people want our son’s classmates and friends to believe that his moms simply don’t exist. These are the people who would protect their children from being “introduced to homosexuality” by keeping them away from us. Say what you will about our family, but we don’t keep our children ignorant of the fact that homophobes, Republicans and religious people exist. We don’t even try. Why would we? These are concepts that they are, unfortunately, going to encounter in their lives – and likely sooner rather than later, thanks to people like Nancy French who think our truth is something their children can’t handle.

We can’t teach our kids that something is right or wrong if they don’t know what it is. I don’t know how these parents intend to do it – the statement “homosexuality is wrong” is meaningless to someone who you’ve prevented from knowing that homosexuality exists. By swaddling their children in ignorance, they’ve placed themselves in the double bind of expressing their disapproval of something without letting their kids know just what it is they disapprove of. Either they must finally address the topic they’re so reluctant to talk about, or attempt to avoid any mention of the subject at all until a movie like ParaNorman blows the whole thing wide open (and not a moment too soon).

William Bigelow of Breitbart.com also objects:

It’s a time-honored technique of the gay community to hide the fact that a character is gay until the audience has developed a real affinity for him/her, then catch the audience off-guard by divulging that the character is gay. …

If they really were “brave” they’d announce from the start that Mitch was gay and see just how many parents would take their children to see this movie.

Of course, this just mirrors how coming out often proceeds in reality: being LGBT usually isn’t the first thing you learn about someone, even if you know them well. And when this particular facet of who we are comes to light, the homophobe takes umbrage at the revelation that upends their previous assumptions. After all, they consented to love or raise or befriend or laugh at a straight cis person – not some queer. It’s remarkable how much this resembles the classic “pieces of flair” argument that transgender people should always disclose their history to romantic partners so that they can be rejected outright just for being trans. Bigelow takes it further, saying what even homophobes rarely state openly: that members of invisible minorities are obligated to announce their status in advance, so that bigots can simply hate them before getting to know them or developing any attachment or connection to them as individuals. It doesn’t sound quite so reasonable now, does it?

"Introduces"

“Introduces”

Nancy French has a warning for parents about a new kids’ movie: “ParaNorman Introduces Children to Homosexuality”.

However, the second scene involves one of the subplots. Norman’s sister has a crush on a kid she tries desperately to impress throughout the movie. After she fails to turn his head, she finally asks him out.

“Sure,” he responds. “You’re gonna love my boyfriend. He’s like a total chick-flick nut.”

My friend saw the film in a “red state” and she reported that “you could hear the gasps in the theatre from parents” at the unexpected line. “I should have known something was up when the theatre manager made a huge disclaimer and offered refunds if we did not like the movie,” she wrote.

As a resident of a reddish state, I almost want to go see this movie just to witness the reactions. It must have been incredible to watch the sudden failure of these parents’ homophobic delusion that they can isolate their children from any knowledge of same-sex relationships. I find it implausible that the film actually “introduces” children to homosexuality itself; that would suggest that all these kids had never once encountered the concept of homosexuality before they saw ParaNorman, which is vastly unlikely.

I have no sympathy for these parents – while I’m sure they’re trying to raise their kids in a way they believe to be right, just as we are, the problem is that these people want our son’s classmates and friends to believe that his moms simply don’t exist. These are the people who would protect their children from being “introduced to homosexuality” by keeping them away from us. Say what you will about our family, but we don’t keep our children ignorant of the fact that homophobes, Republicans and religious people exist. We don’t even try. Why would we? These are concepts that they are, unfortunately, going to encounter in their lives – and likely sooner rather than later, thanks to people like Nancy French who think our truth is something their children can’t handle.

We can’t teach our kids that something is right or wrong if they don’t know what it is. I don’t know how these parents intend to do it – the statement “homosexuality is wrong” is meaningless to someone who you’ve prevented from knowing that homosexuality exists. By swaddling their children in ignorance, they’ve placed themselves in the double bind of expressing their disapproval of something without letting their kids know just what it is they disapprove of. Either they must finally address the topic they’re so reluctant to talk about, or attempt to avoid any mention of the subject at all until a movie like ParaNorman blows the whole thing wide open (and not a moment too soon).

William Bigelow of Breitbart.com also objects:

It’s a time-honored technique of the gay community to hide the fact that a character is gay until the audience has developed a real affinity for him/her, then catch the audience off-guard by divulging that the character is gay. …

If they really were “brave” they’d announce from the start that Mitch was gay and see just how many parents would take their children to see this movie.

Of course, this just mirrors how coming out often proceeds in reality: being LGBT usually isn’t the first thing you learn about someone, even if you know them well. And when this particular facet of who we are comes to light, the homophobe takes umbrage at the revelation that upends their previous assumptions. After all, they consented to love or raise or befriend or laugh at a straight cis person – not some queer. It’s remarkable how much this resembles the classic “pieces of flair” argument that transgender people should always disclose their history to romantic partners so that they can be rejected outright just for being trans. Bigelow takes it further, saying what even homophobes rarely state openly: that members of invisible minorities are obligated to announce their status in advance, so that bigots can simply hate them before getting to know them or developing any attachment or connection to them as individuals. It doesn’t sound quite so reasonable now, does it?

“Introduces”

Proof that God loves Southern Decadence

Joe Kovacs of WorldNetDaily repeats a familiar argument about hurricanes and gay people:

The arrival of Hurricane Isaac exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina blasted New Orleans has some people wondering if there’s more to it than random chance, and suggesting the popular homosexual festival Southern Decadence may be part of a judgment from God.

“A hurricane hitting a celebration of decadence … twice in seven years. What are the odds?” asks Robin Cox, a lifelong Gulf Coast resident.

“Does it seem God has it in for New Orleans?” adds Mary Starkey. “Just contemplating why this has happened twice in seven years at exact same time of year.”

Southern Decadence has been a yearly event since its inception in 1972. Over the past 40 years, it’s been delayed or canceled twice because of hurricanes. That’s 2 years out of 40. The other 38 times, it was not affected by hurricanes. So, if we can leap all the way to concluding that God has twice thrown a hurricane at New Orleans because of a popular homosexual festival, can’t we also conclude that for the other 38 years, God has intentionally been moving tropical storms away from New Orleans so that this festival can proceed unhindered? Why is it that a 2-in-40 occurrence is taken as indicative of God’s stance on Southern Decadence, but something that’s happened 38 out of 40 times means nothing? Sure, the central assumption is bullshit, but even if we do accept it, reality still doesn’t seem to agree with WorldNetDaily’s conclusions. As usual.

Proof that God loves Southern Decadence

We must protect the sanctity of civil unions!

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a notary has approved a civil union between one man and two women, to the outrage of religious groups:

Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has said the man and two women should be entitled to family rights.

She says there is nothing in law to prevent such an arrangement. …

But lawyer Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva told the BBC it was “absurd and totally illegal”, and “something completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals”.

Ms da Silva, who is president of the Commission for the Rights of the Family within the Institute of Lawyers, says the union will not be allowed to remain in place.

Some religious groups have also voiced criticism of the move.

It’s amusing to see people rushing to the defense of a certain narrow interpretation of civil unions, much like how they’ve tried to “defend” marriage from LGBT people who want to get married. The key difference, which makes such efforts even more absurd, is that civil unions are a completely new legal invention intended to keep gay people out of the institution of marriage. There is no tradition or history behind them, so there’s no traditional or historical concept of “civil unions” for people to defend. They’ve only been available in Brazil for 8 years. Is that really long enough for Brazilians to have developed lasting, concrete and coherent “values and morals” pertaining to civil unions, values and morals which must be protected and upheld? I highly doubt it. Civil unions do not come with the same esteem and universal recognition as marriage, precisely because of their recent creation in what was purely an act of discrimination.

Really, if you’re going to create a new legal category to segregate families which don’t consist of one (legally recognized) man and one (legally recognized) woman, how can you be surprised when that category includes families that don’t consist of one man and one woman? If you didn’t want these commitments to be recognized as marriages, then why insist they must maintain some degree of resemblance to your ideal of marriage? By all means, keep pretending that secular, legal marriage is the exclusive property of your religion and must be protected by ensuring that it exactly matches your particular faith’s concept of marriage. Such a claim can be handily dispatched on its own. But if that’s the line of argument you choose to pursue, you don’t get to pretend that your religion also owns the new “marriage-lite” that was created to divert the unworthy from your precious institution.

We must protect the sanctity of civil unions!

NOM cultural director: "The church doesn't believe in gay and lesbian people", just… gay and lesbian people

Carlos Maza recently went undercover at the National Organization for Marriage’s student “leadership” conference, and uncovered a treasure trove of religious hate and pseudoscientific ignorance. In addition to claims that gay relationships are “inherently unstable”, repeated citations of the debunked Regnerus study, and blanket dismissal of LGBT websites because they have gay hook-up and pet grooming ads, Maza heard this bizarre idea from NOM’s cultural director, Thomas Peters:

When it comes to “gay” and “lesbian,” my personal view, and I think Dr. Morse has a more optimistic and stronger view than I do on this one in terms of the adjective question, I largely tend to think that if the adjective question, if the descriptor question becomes a distraction from the point you’re trying to make, it’s hard to fight that one. And so, as a Catholic, the church doesn’t believe in gay and lesbian people, per se, in the way they do. “Born that way,” all this kind of stuff. What they believe is there are people born with deep-seated same-sex attraction. So as a Catholic a term which I use is SSA, same-sex attraction, and if you look at, it’s also with people who have moven [sic] out of the gay lifestyle into saying “I was a person and am a person with same-sex attraction.”

You see, it’s not that people are born attracted to the same sex. It’s just that they’re born with attractions to the same sex. Nobody is actually born being attracted to the same sex, except when they are. They’re not “born that way”, but they are born that way. Huge difference. Thanks for the explanation, NOM!

 

NOM cultural director: "The church doesn't believe in gay and lesbian people", just… gay and lesbian people

NOM cultural director: “The church doesn’t believe in gay and lesbian people”, just… gay and lesbian people

Carlos Maza recently went undercover at the National Organization for Marriage’s student “leadership” conference, and uncovered a treasure trove of religious hate and pseudoscientific ignorance. In addition to claims that gay relationships are “inherently unstable”, repeated citations of the debunked Regnerus study, and blanket dismissal of LGBT websites because they have gay hook-up and pet grooming ads, Maza heard this bizarre idea from NOM’s cultural director, Thomas Peters:

When it comes to “gay” and “lesbian,” my personal view, and I think Dr. Morse has a more optimistic and stronger view than I do on this one in terms of the adjective question, I largely tend to think that if the adjective question, if the descriptor question becomes a distraction from the point you’re trying to make, it’s hard to fight that one. And so, as a Catholic, the church doesn’t believe in gay and lesbian people, per se, in the way they do. “Born that way,” all this kind of stuff. What they believe is there are people born with deep-seated same-sex attraction. So as a Catholic a term which I use is SSA, same-sex attraction, and if you look at, it’s also with people who have moven [sic] out of the gay lifestyle into saying “I was a person and am a person with same-sex attraction.”

You see, it’s not that people are born attracted to the same sex. It’s just that they’re born with attractions to the same sex. Nobody is actually born being attracted to the same sex, except when they are. They’re not “born that way”, but they are born that way. Huge difference. Thanks for the explanation, NOM!

 

NOM cultural director: “The church doesn’t believe in gay and lesbian people”, just… gay and lesbian people

Why won't God make hurricanes disappear?

I’m a bit of a weather enthusiast, and moving to Florida has given me the opportunity to experience something we don’t have in Illinois: hurricanes, and their less intense cousin, tropical storms. Not very many have threatened the United States this season, but that’s recently changed with the development of tropical storm Isaac. We’re far enough inland that we won’t get much more than some wind and rain, but others won’t be so lucky. While Isaac was initially predicted to hit the west coast of Florida, it’s now headed directly for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Reverend Jesten Peters of Keys of Authority Ministries thinks she had something to do with this. As part of the Pray Tampa Bay initiative, which works for “the Cleansing, Protection and Revival of Tampa Bay”, Peters has organized prayers for tropical storm Isaac to move away from Tampa and the Republican National Convention. Peters told the Christian Broadcasting Network:

We have had lots and lots of people praying around the clock that it would move, and after you watch from the very beginning where they were saying it was coming, and now where they say it is going, then it has really moved out of the way for us, and we appreciate God doing that and moving it for us.

Indeed, Isaac did move. Instead of striking Florida as a tropical storm and rapidly dissipating over land, it’s now charging across the Gulf of Mexico and intensifying into a hurricane that will almost certainly hit New Orleans.

While I doubt anyone was hoping that Louisiana would be damaged by a hurricane, the limitations of prayer and those who use it are especially obvious in a case like this. Is there any reason that Peters and her team haven’t been praying for every tropical storm to veer out to sea instead of making landfall? Are Tampa and the RNC her only concern, and not the 19 people who were killed by Isaac in Haiti? Or, if they didn’t get their bright idea until the storm was already here, why not just pray for it to disappear or go back the way it came? If God can nudge a hurricane away from Republicans, why can’t he destroy it, or make it go backwards?

But Peters and her group did not pray for any of this, because they knew it wouldn’t happen. A storm shifting from its predicted track is nothing special – it happens all the time whether you pray to your gods or not. But a complete absence of tropical storms threatening the United States is highly unlikely; even in the least active season on record, 22 people in Texas were killed by a hurricane. And the sudden dissipation or reversal of a rapidly intensifying tropical cyclone is practically impossible. Does Peters believe there’s any real risk that New Orleans might pray hard enough to send the hurricane back to Tampa? Obviously not.

These are things that might actually require some supernatural intervention, yet this is exactly what Pray Tampa Bay did not ask for. Instead, they only asked God for something that would be fully explainable in terms of natural phenomena. I think they know exactly what’s going on here: they don’t honestly expect that the laws of nature will be suspended in an obvious and visible fashion, even if they do ask God for it. They’re just looking for any sign that could possibly indicate that their prayers actually did anything.

But in trying to make God responsible for a storm having shifted, they’ve put themselves in an awkward situation: they now have to deal with the ugly implications of the unavoidable fact that it still has to go somewhere. Really, was no one in New Orleans also praying for the storm to miss them, or was the RNC just more important? How many people are going to die so a convention can go ahead? If you’re going to take responsibility for moving an entire hurricane, you’re also responsible for where you move it to.

But perhaps some believers still prefer this disturbing conclusion to the alternative: admitting that God has nothing to do with it. After all, if your god can only operate in ways that are already accounted for by the mindless workings of natural laws, who needs him?

Why won't God make hurricanes disappear?

Why won’t God make hurricanes disappear?

I’m a bit of a weather enthusiast, and moving to Florida has given me the opportunity to experience something we don’t have in Illinois: hurricanes, and their less intense cousin, tropical storms. Not very many have threatened the United States this season, but that’s recently changed with the development of tropical storm Isaac. We’re far enough inland that we won’t get much more than some wind and rain, but others won’t be so lucky. While Isaac was initially predicted to hit the west coast of Florida, it’s now headed directly for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Reverend Jesten Peters of Keys of Authority Ministries thinks she had something to do with this. As part of the Pray Tampa Bay initiative, which works for “the Cleansing, Protection and Revival of Tampa Bay”, Peters has organized prayers for tropical storm Isaac to move away from Tampa and the Republican National Convention. Peters told the Christian Broadcasting Network:

We have had lots and lots of people praying around the clock that it would move, and after you watch from the very beginning where they were saying it was coming, and now where they say it is going, then it has really moved out of the way for us, and we appreciate God doing that and moving it for us.

Indeed, Isaac did move. Instead of striking Florida as a tropical storm and rapidly dissipating over land, it’s now charging across the Gulf of Mexico and intensifying into a hurricane that will almost certainly hit New Orleans.

While I doubt anyone was hoping that Louisiana would be damaged by a hurricane, the limitations of prayer and those who use it are especially obvious in a case like this. Is there any reason that Peters and her team haven’t been praying for every tropical storm to veer out to sea instead of making landfall? Are Tampa and the RNC her only concern, and not the 19 people who were killed by Isaac in Haiti? Or, if they didn’t get their bright idea until the storm was already here, why not just pray for it to disappear or go back the way it came? If God can nudge a hurricane away from Republicans, why can’t he destroy it, or make it go backwards?

But Peters and her group did not pray for any of this, because they knew it wouldn’t happen. A storm shifting from its predicted track is nothing special – it happens all the time whether you pray to your gods or not. But a complete absence of tropical storms threatening the United States is highly unlikely; even in the least active season on record, 22 people in Texas were killed by a hurricane. And the sudden dissipation or reversal of a rapidly intensifying tropical cyclone is practically impossible. Does Peters believe there’s any real risk that New Orleans might pray hard enough to send the hurricane back to Tampa? Obviously not.

These are things that might actually require some supernatural intervention, yet this is exactly what Pray Tampa Bay did not ask for. Instead, they only asked God for something that would be fully explainable in terms of natural phenomena. I think they know exactly what’s going on here: they don’t honestly expect that the laws of nature will be suspended in an obvious and visible fashion, even if they do ask God for it. They’re just looking for any sign that could possibly indicate that their prayers actually did anything.

But in trying to make God responsible for a storm having shifted, they’ve put themselves in an awkward situation: they now have to deal with the ugly implications of the unavoidable fact that it still has to go somewhere. Really, was no one in New Orleans also praying for the storm to miss them, or was the RNC just more important? How many people are going to die so a convention can go ahead? If you’re going to take responsibility for moving an entire hurricane, you’re also responsible for where you move it to.

But perhaps some believers still prefer this disturbing conclusion to the alternative: admitting that God has nothing to do with it. After all, if your god can only operate in ways that are already accounted for by the mindless workings of natural laws, who needs him?

Why won’t God make hurricanes disappear?

TONIGHT: Live show at 10 PM!

Heather and I will be hosting a live show on BlogTV tonight at 10 PM Eastern time. If you haven’t been to BlogTV before, it’s basically a live stream attached to a chatroom where everyone can talk with us. It’s usually great fun. Just go to http://www.blogtv.com/people/zjemptv at 10 o’clock, and we’ll see you there!

Update: Our show is now concluded. Thanks to all the people who stopped by!

TONIGHT: Live show at 10 PM!