Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grievous Errors

I hadn't planned on writing about the Media Matters outing of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat as a paid shill for an anti-LGBT hate group.  My outrage and disgust capacity had already just about reached the breaking point when I read about his unfortunate appearance before a group so despicable that it's on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of terrible, awful, and downright dangerous people.

But then, even after he got caught publicly gay-bashing and made a smirking "mistakes were made" pseudo-apology to a few blogs, Douthat now has the chutzpah to use his latest Times column to double down, albeit in a more nuanced fashion, on the homophobic rhetoric. He suggests that Pope Francis made a boo-boo by launching a pro-gay trial balloon at the Vatican this month. He's upset that all the money given to the church by wealthy Catholic plutocrats seeking and getting expiation for their mortal sins while dissing unwed mothers has been wasted. Look at all poor Henry VIII went through way back when the pope refused to grant him a divorce and he had to start his own church! The Catholic Church caving now might even de-sanctify Thomas More for all we know.

(OK, so Douthat didn't actually say those things in those exact words, but Times-brand hatred must always be presented as subtext-only for discerning readers with the patience to read between the sanctimonious lines. The class war against the poor under the protective cloak of  religion is the tried and true modus operandi of him and his brethren on the "Christian" right.)

 You'd think that after being exposed as something more vile than the nuanced and somewhat respected Times pundit he plays at being once a week, Douthat would at least have tried to temporarily change the conversation into something more palatable, like Ebola or the mid-terms. That he did not is a sure indication that he will be keeping his job, despite his moonlighting. He is the useful idiot, the click-bait that the Times keeps around to keep the liberal readers fuming and re-clicking and Tweeting and bringing in all that ad revenue.

Hate sells. This whole mid-term election is based on hate. We are going to the polls based on how much we despise the opposite side of the duopoly. Republicans will vote Nihilist purely because they hate Democrats. Democrats will vote We Suck Less only because they can't stand Republicans.

As much as I try to avoid commenting on Douthat and preaching to the liberal Times choir, I couldn't resist chiming in on his latest sermonette. Here, pending possible later removal by the censors, is my response:
Preserve us from the hypocrisy of paranoid pundits.
Douthat is one to talk about "preserving the pope from (the) error" of welcoming gays and remarried Catholics into the church, when he himself just committed the grievous error of speaking at a fundraiser for the Alliance of Defending Freedom. This is a rabid hate group which has actually called for the criminalization of homosexuality.
Media Matters has the scoop:
"On October 16, Douthat spoke at 'The Price of Citizenship: Losing Religious Freedom in America,' an event held by ADF and aimed at drawing attention to a number of popular right-wing horror stories about the threat LGBT equality poses to religious liberty. Douthat spoke alongside radio host Hugh Hewitt and the Benham brothers, who are notorious for their history of extreme anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Muslim rhetoric. The event ended with explicit solicitations for donations to support ADF's legal work."
 As Media Matters notes, Douthat tried to preserve his reputation by announcing, when confronted, that he wouldn't be cashing his ADF check. He was apparently shocked, shocked to learn that there was a profit motive going on! But as we know, bigotry and freedumb don't come cheap. There is nothing charitable about right wing extremism.
Somebody needs to make a good act of contrition in an upcoming column. Resignation in disgrace would be nice too.


Denis Neville said...

No amount of reason or human decency will stop this march for injustice by the moral busybodies of the Alliance Defending Freedom to codify anti-LGBT discrimination and the criminalization of homosexuality. Their anti-gay crusade smells red meat. Hate sells!

A harmful, aggressive political ideology is dangerous. This is how conservatism becomes fascism:

“Many in Germany regarded the Weimar Republic's toleration of homosexuals as a sign of Germany's decadence. The Nazis posed as moral crusaders who wanted to stamp out the "vice" of homosexuality from Germany in order to help win the racial struggle. Once they took power in 1933, the Nazis intensified persecution of German male homosexuals. Persecution ranged from the dissolution of homosexual organizations to internment in concentration camps. In this early stage the Nazis drove homosexuals underground, destroying their networks of support.”

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H. L. Mencken

"In the interest of justice and to avoid the uncertainty that has arisen in light of recent federal court rulings about the constitutionality of state constitutional and/or statutory prohibitions against marriage by same-sex individuals, the clerk of the district court is hereby directed to issue marriage licenses to all individuals, including same-sex individuals, provided they are otherwise qualified to marry." - Chief Judge Kevin P. Moriarty, chief judge of the 10th Judicial District, Johnson County, Kansas

The first marriage license for a same-sex couple was issued hours later.

Judge Kevin P. Moriarty is now the subject of a recall. Voters are being urged to vote against him in the November election.

Republican Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt defends the state’s law that says marriage is between one man and one woman, saying states have exclusive control over what’s called “domestic relations,” like marriage.

Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback cites the large majority of Kansans who voted for the state's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. "I think the state of Kansas should defend how the people have spoken and how the people have voted."

Douthat’s homophobic apologia, disguising raw hatred as religious liberty and rounding discrimination down to “dissent,” the marginalization of devout Christians at the hands of bellicose pro-gay forces:

Fascism is a political philosophy of exclusion, of hatred, of division. Fascism is still alive today. It is easy to hate and be intolerant for those who do not accept facts on anything from homosexuality to climate change.

voice-in-wilderness said...

I've been puzzled by the NYT employment of so many bad opinion columnists, wondering why they couldn't find better.

Now your explanation of their role as click bait makes some sense. Assuming that NYT management is smart enough to think that way. In any case I no longer read most of them. And as I think Brooksie has publicly stated, they doubtless ignore any reader feedback.

Denis Neville said...

It's a brave new world in Kansas…

Earlier this year, the Anti-gay Segregation Bill, or the Kansas Religious Freedom act - aimed to ‘segregate straight people and gay people, so the former will not incur the wrath of God’ - overwhelmingly passed in the Kansas House of Representatives.

House Bill 2453 said that “no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender: (a) Provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges; provide counseling, adoption, foster care and other social services; or provide employment or employment benefits, related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement; (b) solemnize any marriage, domestic partnership.”

Religious conservatives in Kansas's legislature argue that the law protects people from discrimination:

Rep. Charles Macheers, R-Shawnee, said on the House floor that his bill prevents discrimination. “Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful… It has no place in civilized society, and that’s precisely why we’re moving this bill. There have been times throughout history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular. This bill provides a shield of protection for that.”

It would have prevented the Supreme Court from overturning any state anti-gay marriage laws.

It would have allowed government officials to deny citizens help and care based on their sexual orientation.

It would have allowed businesses to turn away gay customers.

It would have allowed employers to fire gay workers because they are gay.

Anyone who refused service and promoted segregation would be legally protected by the terms of the law, which state that this bias is legal as long as it’s “…related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.”

The Kansas Anti-gay Segregation Bill, or the Kansas Religious Freedom act, can read it in its entirety here:

It’s not Just Kansas — “Gay Jim Crow” Laws Are Popping Up Across the US:

“He had, in fact, got everything from the church and Sunday School, except, perhaps, any longing whatever for decency and kindness and reason” - Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry