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Hate Speech Leads to Hate Violence June 20, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, religion, religion distorted, violence.
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I can already hear the complaints rolling in from what I am about to post. But hell, I’m going to say it anyways:The movie Fire won critical acclaim in the late ‘90s for its story of two women falling in love in New Delhi. The largely art-house film was shown throughout the world, including in India.

As explained in Suketu Mehta’s biography-like portrait of Bombay, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, the leader of an enormously corrupt and criminal underground movement condemned the film… with violence.

The fundamentalist Hindu leader Bal Thackeray attacked the film:

Has lesbianism spread like an epidemic that is should be portrayed as a guideline to unhappy wives not to depend on their husbands?… [Indian society should not tolerate] the so-called progressive culture of the West where they marry in the morning and take divorce in the evening.

Thackeray then ordered his band of domestic terrorists to destroy theatres screening the film. The homophobia spilled over into the general population.

Most of us are not used to hearing about fundamentalist Hindus… Americans constantly hear about fundamentalist Muslims committing atrocities, but few understand the increasing damage done by the fundamentalists of other religions. Christian fundamentalism has become increasingly popular in Washington politics over the last half of a decade, and although they have not yet resorted to physical violence, they may be on that path.

Christian fundamentalist groups in America – Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, Concerned Women for America – have lead a full-out assault on gay and lesbian Americans. Their lives have been called revolting, their relationships compared to bestiality, and their more tolerant Christian beliefs called heresy.

Brokeback Mountain was called a harbinger of the fall of American society. Children will be brainwashed! Everyone will turn into promiscuous homosexuals! Heterosexual sex will cease to exist! This is the last generation! No American will ever procreate again!

Any suggestion that gay and lesbian people can be happy offends these anti-gay Christians to the extreme… often creating a torrent of outrage in their magazines and press. History has shown how violent words can quickly turn to violent actions. I am not expecting James Dobson or Tony Perkins to start attacking gays and lesbians with machetes, but unorganized violence on a smaller scale would not surprise me. Twenty-two anti-gay hate crimes have occurred in New York City this year alone… up from 17 last year. These attackers may or may not be extreme-right Christians, but if anti-gay leaders like Pat Boone continue to use religious rhetoric to condemn gays and lesbians to a subhuman status, why wouldn’t their followers resort to amateur violence?

I don’t believe the majority of violent attacks against LGBT people are carried out by anti-gay Christians… usually the attackers are racists or skinheads who just happen to agree with extreme-right Christians on the value of gay and lesbian lives. American history has shown fundamentalist Christians will use violence against groups they believe are immoral or subhuman. I hope this analysis is wrong, but you will be hard pressed to convince me that hate speech does not turn into hate violence. History has shown us otherwise.

America is not just under attack from fundamentalist Muslims… we are under attack from fundamentalists of all breeds. Extremism is not supposed to have a major influence on American politics, just as religion is not supposed to play a major role. Today’s Congress has defied this tradition by allowing extreme-right hate groups a major voice in American domestic and foreign policy. This needs to change.

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