If you have followed what Religious Right leaders have been saying about gay people for, oh, the past 30 years, you’d be stunned to learn that Religious Right leaders say the key to resisting the “homosexual extremist movement” is to stop being so nice and polite when it comes to the gays.
About 100 activists at the How to Take Back America conference attended the workshop on “How to Counter the Homosexual Extremist Movement.” Workshop speakers Matt Barber and Brian Camenker urged people to be loud rabble-rousers when opposing the teaching of tolerance or sex ed in public schools. They said not to worry about being nice or polite or liked, but to push God’s anti-gay agenda forcefully. “Christ wasn’t about being nice,” said Barber. Camenker bragged about having once sent two congregations to scream outside a targeted legislator’s home.
The workshop was largely a parade of horror stories about gay activists using the schools to recruit children and undermine the values taught by conservative Christian parent an exhortation for people to tell the “truth” about “homosexual extremists.”
Barber employed Nazi imagery, with gay propaganda “goose-stepping along” and “trampling” anyone who disagrees. He also strung together the most adjectives I’ve yet heard applied all at once to President Obama, declaring that “this president is a secular humanist, a radical socialist moral relativist.”
Workshop MC Jayne Schindler, from Eagle Forum’s Colorado chapter, complained about the influence of gay-rights activists in the state, which she and others attributed to the influence of gay businessman and activist Tim Gill. Another questioner complained about transgender activism in the state, and claimed that high school guys thought it was great to be able to go into girls’ bathrooms by saying they were getting in touch with their feminine side.
There was some small disagreement about how much people should rely on religious arguments in the public sphere, with Matt Barber urging people to focus on the “ick” factor around gay sex and on claims that homosexuality is a health threat, which he called the movment’s “Achilles heel.”
In response, Sally Kern, the Oklahoma legislator who knows a bit about anti-gay not-niceness, argued that the anti-gay movement had to stay grounded in “God’s truth” and blamed churches for not having done enough.
Camenker, who heads the anti-gay MASS Resistance, came out as Jewish, which made me wonder what he’d thought about the fire-and-brimstone speech by Rick Scarborough just before his workshop insisting that people turning to Christ was the only thing that would save America.