Just when you think you’ve heard the worst, you have to think again because hateful rhetoric is never ending when it comes to the Religious Right.
This time, the person spewing it is David Barton, the phony historian from Texas who serves as president of WallBuilders – a group that seeks to prove, against all evidence, that America was founded to be a “Christian nation.”
Barton thinks he has come up with an ingenious idea. On his radio show recently, he asked, “Why don’t we regulate homosexuality?”
Likening homosexuality to a health concern, he said, “We have a Department of Health and Human Services; we have health care bills; we have health insurance and we’re trying to stop all unhealthy things so we’re going after transfats and we’re going after transparency in labeling to make sure we get all the healthy stuff in there.”
Barton continued, “So if I got to the Centers for Disease Control and I’m concerned about health, I find some interesting stats there and this should tell me something about health. Homosexual/bisexual individuals are seven times more likely to contemplate or commit suicide. Oooh, that doesn't sound very healthy.
“Homosexuals die decades earlier than heterosexuals,” he fulminated. “That doesn’t sound healthy. Nearly one-half of practicing homosexuals admit to 500 or more sex partners and nearly one-third admit to a thousand or more sex partners in a lifetime.”
All this brought Barton to the conclusion that “regulation” is the answer – which can only make sense to someone who is just as ignorant and hateful as he is.
Yesterday, Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, appeared on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” to set Barton straight.
“The only thing that David Barton got right is that gay and lesbian people do have a higher suicide rate,” Lynn said, adding that this is only true because of people like Barton who “sow the seeds of this kind of bigotry.
“They say to be gay is to be sinful, they say to be gay is to be evil,” Lynn continued. “And then they try to convince young people in particular that they can change, that they can go through this pseudo-scientific reparative therapy to change.
“[People like Barton] do more than promote discrimination,” Lynn concluded, “What David Barton wants to do by ‘regulating’ homosexuality, the only way to ‘regulate’ is if you put people in a single cell in a camp and you keep them there.”
I think most people would agree, even those who oppose same-sex marriage, that Barton’s rant is pathetic. It’s an example of just how extreme the Religious Right is these days.
The good news is that more and more Americans are rejecting Barton-style hate. A new poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that more Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than did so just last year. For the first time ever, fewer than half of Americans oppose same-sex marriage.
What’s more, those that support same-sex marriage include the religious. Pluralities of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally – the first time this has ever occurred.
The survey additionally showed that this year, 60 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, as opposed to 52 percent who favored this in 1994.
Barton had better get with the times. It’s one thing to be against same-sex marriage based on one’s religious beliefs, but it’s quite another to wish harmful things on a group of people just because you don’t happen to like them.
Not only do these comments show that Barton is stuck in the past, they also prove that he’s not such a nice guy. We already knew that, but now so does the rest of the world.