The Bully Pulpit
August 13, 2012 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Late last month, after vocally anti-gay evangelical author and blogger Jonathan Merritt's essay defending Chick-Fil-A appeared in The Atlantic, Azariah Southworth outed Merritt on his blog. An interview with Merritt about his sexual orientation. Follow-up column from Southworth: Why I outed a Christian star.

Southworth is the former host and producer of The Remix, a once-popular Christian reality TV show, which was pulled from the airwaves back in 2008 after he came out. Jonathan Merritt is the son of Dr. James Merritt, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

"Outing" public figures as gay or lesbian (who hide their sexual orientation, typically out of fear of homophobia) without their permission is not a new practice, but it remains controversial. The term "outing" gained prominence in March 1990 after Michaelangelo "Mike" Signorile wrote a cover story for the now-defunct magazine Outweek: "The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes." (pdf of that issue here, archive of Outweek's entire run, here.) Profile of Signorile from June 1990. In 2007, he wrote about the Forbes story. Throughout his career, Signorile has outed many celebrities and public figures, and was likely one of the first to do so as a form of pro-gay political activism, by outing those whose rhetoric or political policies were anti-LGBT.

In 2009, a documentary by Kirby Dick called Outrage was released. (Previously.) It's available in its entirety on YouTube in nine parts. English, with Portuguese subtitles. The movie outed a number of closeted gay politicians who create or vote for discriminatory, anti-LGBT legislation. NPR's review of the film was censored prior to press, to remove the names of three politicians.

For American media, there is no industry-wide standard regarding the ethics of outing. Back in 2010, a panel discussion about outing public figures was held during the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association's 20th annual national convention in San Francisco. Signorile was one of the panel members.
posted by zarq (237 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
If there's one thing more depressing than the hypocrisy it's the complete fucking mundane predictability of anti-gay preachers turning out to be flamingly homosexual. I wish they'd stop messing other people's lives up because they can't take who you are and just let themselves be gay in both senses.
posted by jaduncan at 10:00 AM on August 13, 2012 [44 favorites]


If Merritt came out in 2008, how did someone 'out' him in 2012? Is this one of those things where a minority has to wear their identity on their sleeve to be 'authentic'?
posted by muddgirl at 10:00 AM on August 13, 2012


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

It's petty, vindictive, and doesn't actually change anyone's mind about anything. Anti-gay gays are wrong because they're wrong, not because they're hypocrites.
posted by downing street memo at 10:01 AM on August 13, 2012 [24 favorites]


Whoops, missed that Southworth came out in 2008. I fail at reading.
posted by muddgirl at 10:01 AM on August 13, 2012


2008 is when Southworth came out.
posted by kmz at 10:01 AM on August 13, 2012


Just noticed: issues of OutWeek may be NSFW. The issue with the Malcolm Forbes article has a picture of a pair of bare breasts on one of its pages.

The Forbes article is on page 40 of that issue, btw.
posted by zarq at 10:02 AM on August 13, 2012


Some prayer or a loveless marriage should sort that out.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on August 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


I guess I don't have any problem highlighting the hypocrisy of what appears to be a quite common feature of prominent anti-gay people.
posted by Forktine at 10:05 AM on August 13, 2012 [32 favorites]


This is a great post.

Also, I'm furious at the Atlantic that they didn't make clear that the "In Defense of Eating at Chick-Fil-A" writer was vocally anti-gay. Ha! I thought he just might be, you know, contrarian. Or really believe in the free market. Sigh.
posted by purpleclover at 10:05 AM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

I disagree.
posted by OmieWise at 10:07 AM on August 13, 2012 [85 favorites]


Not going to get into the issue about whether outing somebody is ever okay – I just wanted to say that seeing someone referring to their homosexuality as "my brokenness" (as Merritt does in that interview) is really kind of painful and sad.
posted by koeselitz at 10:07 AM on August 13, 2012 [71 favorites]


A rabid anti-gay is outed as being gay? You don't say!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:07 AM on August 13, 2012


I'm somewhat conflicted by not in this situation; outing a guy who uses their position as an op-ed writer to pick up guys because of his other anti-gay (and wildly inaccurate) op-eds doesn't really bother me that much.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:08 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


by "kind of" I mean "overwhelmingly"
posted by koeselitz at 10:08 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


wait, where was anything linked that said Merritt was rabidly anti-gay ? (Other than intro bit) The Atlantic linked article doesn't express that. (I have no idea who any of these folks are, and Merritt's home page is filtered out ... )
posted by k5.user at 10:10 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anti-gay gays are wrong because they're wrong, not because they're hypocrites.

It can be both, and usually is.

I don't have a problem with outing hypocrites, whatever their sexual orientation is.
posted by rtha at 10:11 AM on August 13, 2012 [14 favorites]


One last link, (and then I'll stop, I promise!):

Back in 2001, Maer Roshan was an editor at New York Magazine. While he was planning an issue celebrating gay New Yorkers, he ran into some difficulties:
"I wrote to 40 prominent gay New Yorkers -- from Michael Kors to Edward Albee, Fran Lebowitz to Stephen Sondheim, Ingrid Sischy to Philip Johnson -- and asked them to pose for our cover. Three weeks later, only seven had agreed. The responses were fascinating. One man had his secretary inform me he was going out of town for six months. Another, a well-known producer, begged off, explaining his mother might be upset. One wrote me a nice note saying he'd love to, but he was "overexposed." "What gave you the idea that I'm even out?" wailed a television personality who called me upon receipt of my letter. (I replied that the fact that I saw him kissing his shirtless boyfriend in the middle of the Roxy led me to conclude he might be.) But the most honest response came from a well-known Wall Streeter, the sixth person to phone in his regrets one day. "Come on, kid," he said when I expressed my disappointment. "Don't take it personally. It's just business, you know?"

There are, of course, many perfectly valid reasons for not wanting to be on the cover of a magazine. But the hostility with which many greeted the invitation pointed to a more disturbing truth: Even as homophobia is in full retreat, gay public figures remain comfortably closeted -- no longer as a matter of survival but now as a matter of commerce. People are entitled to present themselves as they wish, to maximize their market value; I suppose they're even entitled to lie. But as a journalist, I'm tired of being expected to collude in their deception."


I wanted to put that in the main body of the post, but it made what was already going to be a dense FPP too long and convoluted. But I still think it's well-written and worth reading.
posted by zarq at 10:12 AM on August 13, 2012 [42 favorites]


I believe in law and order, but sometimes I break traffic laws by speeding. Would outing me as a speeder prove that laws are silly and should not exist?
posted by koeselitz at 10:13 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just don't get all this anti-gay preaching. If you're not attracted to people of the same sex, you're probably not going to have sex with them! No one needs to tell you that, you're just not interested! Gay sex is only hotter than non-gay sex if you're gay. Correct?
posted by Mister_A at 10:14 AM on August 13, 2012 [15 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

It's petty, vindictive, and doesn't actually change anyone's mind about anything. Anti-gay gays are wrong because they're wrong, not because they're hypocrites.


No.

At some level I hate outing as it feels wrong to take that out of someone's control. It's personal.
But then this is someone who's actively fighting to make other human beings lives worse AND who himself is not only not practising what he preaches but profiting (professionally, personally) from spreading hate?

Plus don't look at this as one man being cruicifed, there's a bigger political point here: lots of different people are gay, get over it. If this man being gay undermines his political position then that just shows how shallow the objections to the homos are. If they had any real value, then an openly gay man could be defending chick fil a without being a hypocrite. As they don't, as it's all just hate with a smile and a thin vinear of logic, then what are you left with? Apart from a mouthful of greasy chicken, very little.
posted by litleozy at 10:14 AM on August 13, 2012 [14 favorites]


Wait, what?
posted by aramaic at 10:14 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

Nonsense. Outing someone is just like revealing any other piece of information about them. Might be a shitty thing to do in one context, need-to-know information in another, or completely irrelevant in a third. In a case like this, you could hardly call what happened "outing," when, one, Merritt had already outed himself, and, two, is such a predictable cliche that he could hardly not be gay.

Q: Why did the anti-gay evangelical author cross the road? A: 'Cause he heard there was lots of chicken at Chick-Fil-A.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:15 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I believe in law and order, but sometimes I break traffic laws by speeding. Would outing me as a speeder prove that laws are silly and should not exist?

No, it would prove you are a bad person and should feel bad.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:15 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I believe in law and order, but sometimes I break traffic laws by speeding. Would outing me as a speeder prove that laws are silly and should not exist?

No, but if you were preaching to everybody else not to speed and that they were not good people for speeding but continued to speed anyway, others shouldn't point it out.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:15 AM on August 13, 2012 [25 favorites]


Argh - SHOULD point it out.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:16 AM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


koeselitz: "I believe in law and order, but sometimes I break traffic laws by speeding. Would outing me as a speeder prove that laws are silly and should not exist?"

I see where you're going, but speeding is illegal and being gay isn't.

I would more relate it to being left-handed and hiding it. Then, throwing a Molotov into Ned Flanders store.
posted by wcfields at 10:16 AM on August 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
posted by jcreigh at 10:16 AM on August 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


A person who uses their public leverage to actively work against gays having full human rights in terms of marriage, public safety, economic equality/hiring practices is fair fucking game.

The fainting couch is over there if you need it.
posted by bardic at 10:16 AM on August 13, 2012 [96 favorites]


I see where you're going, but speeding is illegal and being gay isn't.

Give them time.
posted by JHarris at 10:17 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think that closeted gay people ought to be left alone to their closetedness. It's not okay to insert yourself in an unwanted way into someone else's private life. Their private life is their business.

Unless, of course, that person is inserting themselves in an unwanted way into the private lives of others. By, like, doing their damnedest to deny their civil rights or prevent them from marrying their partner or something.

Unlikely scenario, I know. Who would be that kind of a jerk about someone else's private life?
posted by Myca at 10:18 AM on August 13, 2012 [49 favorites]


k5.user, there's a link within the Ed Stetzer interview in the post. Among other things, Merritt's against gay marriage and thinks homosexuality is a sin, banned by scripture.
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The only legitimate reason to out somebody is when they are actively and publicly oppressing the kind of behaviour they themselves engage in.

It's not pretty, but it is necessary.
posted by Aquaman at 10:18 AM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Related: GayHomophobe.com
posted by rmd1023 at 10:18 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not "full stop."

I think outing in general is wrong. But if you're going to publicly rail against X while pursuing X in private, I'm all for publishing that regardless of what X is.
posted by tyllwin at 10:18 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I see where you're going, but speeding is illegal and being gay isn't.

Not for almost a decade now. But when it was illegal legality has nothing to do with it.
posted by Garm at 10:19 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

I also disagree. Vehemently. Full stop.
posted by spicynuts at 10:19 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

Bollocks. It removes the political power they are using to destroy the lives of others. You think that it's embarrassing for him? I see the surviving partner denied pension rights in a same sex partnership, or indeed the denial of hospital visitation rights before death. I see states that allow for homosexuals to be sacked purely on the basis of their sexuality, and I see families broken up due to the inability to deal with the sexuality of their children (or indeed parents).

That is something that this man was actively aiding. It's not that things got better because the Christians were nicer, it's down to political pressure and work. If there's a guy who's a star and uses that to destroy lives? Yeah, I'm OK with the truth being known.

Don't want people to know you're a hypocritical hateful fuck? Don't be a hypocritical hateful fuck.
posted by jaduncan at 10:20 AM on August 13, 2012 [55 favorites]


Firstly, I'd bet money that the percentage of rabidly-gay public figures who are themselves gay is actually somewhere around 3-4% - that is, the same percentage of the overall population that is gay, or less.

I understand why people have fun with the "they hate gays b/c they secretly are gay" narrative, but life just doesn't actually work that way. Most people who publicly hate gays are either a) doing it for political gain b) think God wants them to or c) are just full of hate.

And I don't see what outing them proves. Lots of people take political stands that are against their own best interest. It's like "outing" a poor person who voting for Romney.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:20 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


rabidly-ANTI-gay
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:21 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I see where you're going, but speeding is illegal and being gay isn't."

Not that I think the difference between speeding and the gay is important in any way, but it is important that in many states homosexuality only became legal in 2003
posted by Blasdelb at 10:22 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Its about revealing tribalism basically. The anti-gay movement likes to spin things as if they were defending marriage or what have you but its a simple: you're not one of us and we hate you for it.

Showing the ugliness of that by having the movement turn on one for their own is ugly. But necessary.
posted by litleozy at 10:23 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I understand why people have fun with the "they hate gays b/c they secretly are gay" narrative, but life just doesn't actually work that way.

Oh no? To at least some degree, that is, actually, how life works.
posted by Myca at 10:23 AM on August 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


(1) Didn't exactly expect my current city, Fort Wayne, Indiana, to make the news this way like, ever. Southworth is apparently a student at the local branch of IU. Huh.

(2) I may be missing something, but as far as I can tell, all Southworth's evidence is based on is the fact that he and Merritt allegedly made out at one point in 2009. If true, this would certainly be problematic for Merritt, but I fail to see how having one point made out with a dude is sufficient to establish one's sexual orientation. Then again, I can never figure out whether sexual orientation is supposed to be something ontological or purely self-identified. On the gripping hand, just look at the guy. I'd have believed he was gay even before Southworth outed him.

(3) I didn't really think we needed yet more evidence that the Evangelical "tradition," such as it is, is intellectually and morally bankrupt, but apparently that's what we're going to get. I can not for the life of me understand why a twerp like Merritt was even in a position where he could get caught out for this sort of thing, or that anyone would care if he had. He's the son of the pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Atlanta. Not the pastor, the pastor's son. As far as I can tell, he's never had a real job, even counting full-time ministry. Who gives a f*ck what he thinks about anything? Why is any news outlet, let alone a national rag like The Atlantic, publishing his essays? His biography says he's done over 300 articles for national media organs, but I just can't tell why.
posted by valkyryn at 10:23 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The whole "Is outing someone fundamentally bad" question feels extremely dicey, in large part because the answer is almost always framed in terms of the intent of the person doing the outing.

Sometimes, people are outed because someone believes homosexuality makes them less fit, less credible, less dependable, or less morally qualified to do their job or exist in a particular role. Other times, it's because the outed person is doing things that are perceived as an attack on other homosexuals, and the outing is a mechanism for revealing hypocrisy.

Ironically, in the latter category there is a much higher chance of negative repercussions for the person being outed. A liberal newspaper reporter being outed (say) is not going to be in quite as hot of water as (say) the host of a national evangelical talk show. When conservatives say that activists are trying to "punish" homosexuals who have conservative views, there's a strange undiscussed assumption: that conservatives must ostracize publicly outed homosexuals. "How dare you force us to fire these smart, good people by outing them!"

At the very least, I think it is a complicated issue. Our culture is obsessed with the concept of hypocrisy, though, especially in those who speak publicly. Hell, conservatives attacked Obamacare for a while on the basis that Obama smoked.
posted by verb at 10:23 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

I disagree. I think outing someone shouldn't be standard practice, but when you're causing harm to this world and contributing the an atmosphere where gay people are the subject of discrimination, intimidation and violence, then it's imperative to make it very clear to the world where some of this hate is coming from: self-hatred.

If gay people weren't being lynched for being gay in this world, I'd be more inclined to agree with you. But in this circumstance, I think outing the man was completely the right thing to do.
posted by inturnaround at 10:25 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I had trouble reading the Salon article's second page, so if you also did, check out the print version here which details fully the encounter and provides what I feel is the end of the discussion:

Outing a person is complex. There is no blanket formula for how and when and why to do it. I don’t think it’s right in every situation. If someone is in the closet and they’re not making an effort to demonize LGBT people, then I say, leave them alone. But if someone is using a public platform to discuss these issues, and doing that while hiding behind a false identity that ultimately destroys the foundation of the arguments they’re making, then, yes, a full disclosure of that person’s false identity is in order. Go to that person and let them know your intentions. If they refuse to come forward with the truth, then publicly call out their hypocrisy.

I would have issues coming forward and saying "I was told by someone that Jonathan Merritt was gay." But if you start telling Azariah Southworth that he shouldn't tell people that he made out with Jonathan Merritt, you're telling people who live proudly out of the closet that they're the damaged ones with a secret and that the person lying is the one who should be protected. And that's wrong. Full stop.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:25 AM on August 13, 2012 [28 favorites]


The most frustrating arguments about the Chik-fil-A thing for me (as a straight progressive) have been with one of my (out) gay friends, who's sufficiently libertarian to believe a CEO should get to spend his money on whatever he wants. I've tried making the distinction between something like a political group and a hate group like Exodus, and I've tried highlighting how minimal the idea of not eating a chicken sandwich is, etc etc. Nothing sticks. It's been hard for me to come to grips with the idea that my frustration with her shouldn't be more than it would be with a straight person because she's gay.

This is one of the hardest parts of groking privilege (especially in conversations with people who don't believe in it): I'm not doing this for her. I'm doing this for me. I don't want to live in the sort of world where organizations use my religion as an excuse to try to scare people out of being who they are, or where eating a chicken sandwich can become a form of hate speech. That kind of world makes me feel sad and scared, and I would rather make different sorts of decisions.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:26 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


oops, print version
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:26 AM on August 13, 2012


Firstly, I'd bet money that the percentage of rabidly-gay public figures who are themselves gay is actually somewhere around 3-4%

All of the rabidly-gay public figures are gay, I'd assume. :)

Dealing with homophobes, you're almost certainly going to have to pay up based on the indicative evidence.

Adams HE, Wright LW Jr, Lohr BA (1996) "Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?" PMID: 8772014 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8772014]
The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.
I'm afraid that homophobes are indeed more likely to be gay.
posted by jaduncan at 10:26 AM on August 13, 2012 [22 favorites]


> I believe in law and order, but sometimes I break traffic laws by speeding. Would outing me as a speeder prove that laws are silly and should not exist?

Depends on whether you campaign on behalf of speed limit laws that prevent speeders from marrying or adopting children, sanction the public shaming of speeders and try to guarantee them only a second-class citizen status at best.

Then, yes. Otherwise your analogy is crap.
posted by ardgedee at 10:28 AM on August 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


Lots of people take political stands that are against their own best interest. It's like "outing" a poor person who voting for Romney.

No, it's people who take political stands/push for Thing to be made illegal, all while practicing the thing they are speaking against. It's quite different.

Like, you shout and holler about Family Values and the Sanctity of Marriage and how gay people will violate that, and also divorce should be illegal...all while keeping your mistresses in lovely apartments, not to mention ducking out on paying child support for your our-of-wedlock kids.
posted by rtha at 10:29 AM on August 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, and (4) Southworth's allegations would be damaging to Merritt even if Southworth were female. Sexual orientation aside, Merritt apparently has a problem keeping it in his pants. Evangelicals don't tend to appreciate that sort of thing in their leaders. The only reason this is getting any kind of coverage is because Merritt has--for reasons entirely unclear to me--made some kind of name for himself. If he were just any other relatively obscure Evangelical leader, the allegations would be your standard teakettle tempest, and the results would likely be the same regardless of the gender of the parties involved.
posted by valkyryn at 10:29 AM on August 13, 2012


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

I'll join the chorus utterly disagreeing with the above, and note that stomping out the option for gay people to point out that their most vocal opponents are often living in the closet themselves and conflicted about their own sexual orientation denies us one of the most valuable weapons we have in our fight for justice - the truth of our own stories.

Seriously, downing street memo, you couldn't be more wrong-headed on this one.
posted by mediareport at 10:29 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you are a dude and you are vocally, rabidly gay in a public forum and it is something you activly invest time in, not just popping down to chick-a-fil to chow down on a hate burger, then yeah, I'd absolutely take a bet on your being gay. For ladies there's always a chance that the husband is actually the gay one.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Firstly, I'd bet money that the percentage of rabidly-gay public figures who are themselves gay is actually somewhere around 3-4% - that is, the same percentage of the overall population that is gay, or less.

I used to say that. But then, you know, it eventually got hard maintaining the argument in the face of so damn many of them having sex with other men.

Lately, science has justified my exhausted retreat from the position.


The most frustrating arguments about the Chik-fil-A thing for me (as a straight progressive) have been with one of my (out) gay friends, who's sufficiently libertarian to believe a CEO should get to spend his money on whatever he wants.

He absolutely does get to spend his money on whatever he wants to. Consumers are also totally free to call for boycotts of CFA because of the money that CFA donates to causes they find distasteful. That's pretty much the free market at work.

For many years, corporatists have said that people with money should be able to spend it on whatever causes and political issues they want to, without any legal barriers. Sunlight, they argued, was the best disinfectant. The public would be the collective watchdog for our political and social processes. Turns out, that's only acceptable until the pitchfork-wielding mob decides to stop buying chicken.
posted by verb at 10:31 AM on August 13, 2012 [22 favorites]


I used to say that. But then, you know, it eventually got hard maintaining the argument in the face of so damn many of them having sex with other men.

Or, you know, on the face of it the guy who spends all day appearing to be obsessed with gay sex may be obsessed with gay sex. That sinful, sinful, oh so tempting gay sex.

I'll be in room 503.
posted by jaduncan at 10:33 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, remember the AZ sheriff who was a hardline anti-immigration dude? When he had to quit as state co-chair for the Romney campaign when it emerged that he had threatened his undocumented ex-boyfriend with deportation?

So we had abuse of power, and hypocrisy. Why shouldn't we talk about the hypocrisy part?
posted by rtha at 10:34 AM on August 13, 2012 [17 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

Does this mean we also can't examine the tax records of anti-tax political candidates? Or the hiring records of anti-immigrant candidates?
posted by DU at 10:36 AM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's interesting to read Southworth's worry that he worries that he "ruined the life" of Merritt. Isn't that kinda buying into the gay-as-lesser mindset?
posted by notsnot at 10:38 AM on August 13, 2012


From the interview with Merritt:

My story begins at a very young age when an older male who lived in our neighborhood sexually abused me...

...I decided to follow Jesus at 13 and quickly realized that this event and the confusion that followed was not my fault. God had allowed an experience of brokenness into my life even if I didn't fully understand it. Rather than run from God, I decided to walk with him in this.


I find this incredibly sad. He admits that his god is essentially complicit in his abuse, and through some twisted logic decides that he should love his abuser because he's "not supposed to fully understand it."
posted by breakfast! at 10:39 AM on August 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Isn't that kinda buying into the gay-as-lesser mindset?

In Merritt's circles, it is. It's like outing a neckbearded, Star Wars loving guy as a Windows user.
posted by DU at 10:39 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, when I moved to the West Coast, I never thought I'd have to think about Chick-Fil-A again in my life. Popeye's? Sure. Chick-Fil-A? Get outta here.

Anecdotally, it's pretty obvious that many homophobes have issues with their sexual orientation.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:41 AM on August 13, 2012


It's like outing a neckbearded, Star Wars loving guy as a Windows user.

It's like outing a neckbearded, Star Wars loving guy RMS as a Windows user.
posted by jaduncan at 10:42 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"My story begins at a very young age when an older male who lived in our neighborhood sexually abused me."

Translation:"I caught the gay so it's not my fault nor is it real."

My feelings: YUCK. Sexual assault aside, this man can't even admit to himself that he prefers men.

*Note: I'm not sure about other people but I have to say I do not remember ever having accidentally made out with a sexual orientation that I wasn't sexually interested in. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that pretty much everybody I have ever made out with was someone I wanted to bork. I don't think that this Merritt fellow accidentally tripped and fell on this guy's tongue then felt sorry for the guy and decided to give him a freebie.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:42 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


As my earlier, snarkier comment said, I'm against unwanted intrusion into the private lives of others ... but virulently anti-gay rhetoric aimed at restricting the job options/parenting options/marriage options of gay people IS unwanted intrusion into the private lives of others.

If you think outing is wrong but anti-gay political activism is within the normal bounds of political discourse, I am mystified. Is it because anti-gay political activism is not aimed at one specific person? Does it make it better that it's aimed at preventing lots of gay people from adopting? Is it somehow better because it's aimed at creating or enforcing legal restrictions? I just don't get it.
posted by Myca at 10:44 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


At some level I hate outing as it feels wrong to take that out of someone's control. It's personal.
But then this is someone who's actively fighting to make other human beings lives worse AND who himself is not only not practising what he preaches but profiting (professionally, personally) from spreading hate?


Which is fine, I suppose, but if you are going to apply a human rights issue, it's best to do it consistently, even if it's painful, if you want the general rule to be taken seriously. Because otherwise, you are saying there are exceptions to the rule, as long as the reasons are good enough. And then you have a lot of people deciding that their reasons are good enough, you just don't happen to agree with them.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:44 AM on August 13, 2012


He's the son of the pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Atlanta. Not the pastor, the pastor's son. As far as I can tell, he's never had a real job, even counting full-time ministry. Who gives a f*ck what he thinks about anything? Why is any news outlet, let alone a national rag like The Atlantic, publishing his essays? His biography says he's done over 300 articles for national media organs, but I just can't tell why."

The same reason anyone anywhere is listened to, regardless of their prior experience. He has an opinion which resonates with an audience, and which others may find controversial.

Merritt has written a couple of books, one about living a religious, evangelical life in modern America and another about environmentalism, topics covered by many of his columns. He's also written somewhat extensively about adoption, which is a topic that's not (in my experience) often raised by pro-lifers / anti-choicers. They're happy to rail about the evils of abortion, but not discuss adoptions arising from unwanted pregnancies.
posted by zarq at 10:45 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

I disagree, there are situations where it is appropriate. If you're just quitely voting Republican (on the booth or on the floor of Congress, even) that's one thing. If you are vocally impeding someone's civil rights, or questioning the character, worthiness or humanity of a person or group of people, that hypocrisy is fair game.

For example, while I typically do not think the private sexual conduct of politicians should be debated, the Republicans who were cheer leading Clinton's impeachment while having mistresses were legitimate targets. If you are saying homosexuality is immoral in a public forum while you are yourself engaging in it, people have a right to know that either you fail your own ethical test, or that you are lying about your values. I'm not talking about some self-loathing loudmouth at a bar; these people are trying to shape policy and society at large. They've got skin in the game, and so does everyone who cares about civil rights.
posted by spaltavian at 10:45 AM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


The subject of "outing" makes me uncomfortable, but I think I'd be willing to let it slide in some extreme cases (let's call this "the Savage doctrine"). However, this particular case raises more than a few red flags in my mind:

Apart from the statements that he's made about his deep discomfort with his own sexuality (which certainly aren't great), I haven't seen any citations of Merritt saying anything explicitly anti-gay. As far as evangelical preachers go, his stance on homosexuality seems fairly mild.

Our basis for "outing" Merritt is a loosely-sourced anecdote from a guy that drunkenly made out with him. Merritt loosely confirmed this, but doesn't identify himself as gay, and probably doesn't have sex with men. I'm willing to call out a hypocrite, but also don't want to reinforce our culture of shaming bisexuals, or shunning anybody who's willing to experiment with their own sexuality.

That interview with Merritt is all kinds of sad and fucked-up, but I'm still not convinced that he deserved this, or that any of us are better off because of it.
posted by schmod at 10:47 AM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Related: GayHomophobe.com

The song is worth it.

"These are the gay, gay homophobes ..." is pretty catchy.

And the referenced Tom the Dancing Bug comic is classic.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:48 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I believe in law and order, but sometimes I break traffic laws by speeding. Would outing me as a speeder prove that laws are silly and should not exist?

I see where you're going, but speeding is illegal and being gay isn't.

How about this- Driving dangerously is morally unnaceptable but there is no moral problem with being gay.
posted by beau jackson at 10:48 AM on August 13, 2012


I'm not understanding the absolutist argument against outing someone in this situation. There would be little problem outing someone who, for instance, rails against welfare and turns out to benefit from sweetheart government deals. The issue isn't purely hypocrisy, but rather, using hypocrisy to deny others in the same boat their rights. Privacy is one thing. Giving up that privacy to make one's hypocrisy a cudgel to beat on others is something else.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:49 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apropos of Something: "The most frustrating arguments about the Chik-fil-A thing for me (as a straight progressive) have been with one of my (out) gay friends, who's sufficiently libertarian to believe a CEO should get to spend his money on whatever he wants."

But not libertarian enough to think that other people can decide to boycott that CEOs business for political reasons? I guess I'm not understanding her position.
posted by brundlefly at 10:49 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


God had allowed an experience of brokenness into my life even if I didn't fully understand it.

I understand that many people find "God did this for a reason" a comforting way to deal with life. But to me, I can't begin to fathom finding comfort in the notion that God sent someone to rape you so that you would become closer to God. That's just heartbreaking. (And yeah, I read Job a *lot* when my mom was dying of cancer. It just pissed me off.)
posted by rtha at 10:49 AM on August 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


I may be missing something, but as far as I can tell, all Southworth's evidence is based on is the fact that he and Merritt allegedly made out at one point in 2009. If true, this would certainly be problematic for Merritt, but I fail to see how having one point made out with a dude is sufficient to establish one's sexual orientation.

I think the Southworth's conclusion that Merritt is gay is also based on the text messages, emails, and Skype conversations that we are not privy to. Note that Merritt doesn't deny the fact that he has same-sex attraction, or that he engaged in what he calls 'inappropriate' behavior with Southworth - he just thinks that such attraction and such behavior is a sign that he's broken inside. Which is so sad and so fucked up I just want to give him a hug and maybe some hot chocolate.
posted by muddgirl at 10:50 AM on August 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'd probably be more okay with this if he were rabidly anti-kissing-men and then he was caught kissing men. We should be punishing people for what they do rather than who they are. I believe also applies to scumbags like Merritt, who probably wouldn't do me the same favor if the roles were reversed.
posted by yaymukund at 10:51 AM on August 13, 2012


But not libertarian enough to think that other people can decide to boycott that CEOs business for political reasons? I guess I'm not understanding her position.

As far as I can tell, the central tenet of libertarianism is that the people with the money make the rules and the rest of us should stfu. In that sense it's perfectly internally consistent, though illogical.
posted by winna at 10:52 AM on August 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


I understand that many people find "God did this for a reason" a comforting way to deal with life. But to me, I can't begin to fathom finding comfort in the notion that God sent someone to rape you so that you would become closer to God.

You know what's really unfathomable to this atheist? The concept that God allowed someone to rape Merritt, I guess to teach him a lesson or as they said in my church, to 'form him as clay', but someone wasn't involved at all with the Southworth incident. Even when I was Christian I couldn't muster up the cognitive dissonance needed to agree that God's Plan only includes those things that we currently think aren't sinful.
posted by muddgirl at 10:54 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I don't identify as 'gay' because I believe there can be a difference between what one experiences and the life that God offers. I'm a cracked vessel held together only by God's power."
I don't know what to say other than keep up with your counseling appointments and hopefully you'll get to a point to accept that God loves all if of his creations. Gay and straight alike.
posted by ericb at 10:55 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


...somehow wasn't involved at all...
posted by muddgirl at 10:55 AM on August 13, 2012


I just wanted to say that seeing someone referring to their homosexuality as "my brokenness" (as Merritt does in that interview) is really kind of painful and sad.

Just as a note: "brokenness" is evangelical code for "sin" or "sinfulness". Since "sin" is such a loaded term and people react quite strongly, "broken" gets used instead. Everyone's "broken", just in different ways. So Merritt's saying his brokenness manifests itself in same-sex attraction.
posted by dubold at 10:56 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ. Can we please not derail every conversation that's loosely coupled to morality with a comparison to traffic regulations? Laws do not necessarily represent morality, and we have different kinds of laws for different purposes. Speeding, murder, and zoning infractions all have wildly different moral and legal connotations.
posted by schmod at 10:57 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the whole points of Outrage is that the people involved were using anti-gay conservative politics to build themselves nice and cozy open-door closets of privilege. Their "privacy," such as it was, relied on using their wealth and power to bully others into silence.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:58 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's petty, vindictive, and doesn't actually change anyone's mind about anything.

It's petty and vindictive, but....

[...] the complete fucking mundane predictability of anti-gay preachers turning out to be flamingly homosexual [...]


... comes each day closer to being an accepted 'fact' on both the left *and* the right. My understanding is that Satan and his minions play a larger part in the conservative religious explanations for this, but it really doesn't matter. The right doesn't know who to trust, and the more charismatic the leader, it seems, the more likely they are to be betrayed.

Depriving the anti-gay movement of would-be leaders is a worthwhile goal and in my opinion warrants getting your hands dirty. Outing the Baptist next door accomplishes nothing and is just hurtful; Outing a person who seeks to be a national voice for gay hatred is a whole different ballgame.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:59 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

Naah, it's exactly the right tactic to practise to those who would destroy other people's lives for doing what they only fear to do in private, who for political or just money would promotoe anti-gay pogroms, while sucking dick in airport toilets themselves.

It's 2012 and if you're gay in America you do not have to fear for your life, career or family anymore, unless you have build your life around the lie that you are a brave heterosexual crusader against the evil gay hordes.

It's they themselves who make it hard for them to come out and hey, as their bible says, if you seed storms you'll harvest hurricanes.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:00 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I may be out to lunch on this, but the aggressive outing of people who support any facet of the anti-gay agenda sorta reminds me of the fact that the Obama re-election campaign has been pretty negative, and, if polls are to be believed, pretty successful, so far.

I hate that using people's actual or perceived (as in Marcus Bachman) homosexuality is used to point out the wrongness of their positions, even if the results are something that moves the conversation *my* way, just as I hate that pointing out that Romney has a car elevator and owns a horse that can do the ballet can be effective, but detracts from more important reasons why he should not be supported.

I do not like this political world I am living in, at times.
posted by Danf at 11:00 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know what's really unfathomable to this atheist? The concept that God allowed someone to rape Merritt

God takes care of everything, from the tiniest neutrino to the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies, but spends most of his time arranging rapes and punishing humans for where they put their genitals. It's a hobby.
posted by benzenedream at 11:02 AM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's 2012 and if you're gay in America you do not have to fear for your life, career or family anymore

Not entirely true. Certainly true in some areas, but there are states in the US I would be reluctant to relocate to because I'd be losing essential (to me) rights and protections on the basis of my sexual orientation.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:03 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Do as I say, not as I do.

Wrong yesterday. Wrong today. Wrong tomorrow.

(If you voluntarily put your head on a chopping block, it's ignorant and childish to complain when someone chops it off.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:03 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


brundlefly: "But not libertarian enough to think that other people can decide to boycott that CEOs business for political reasons? I guess I'm not understanding her position."

Frankly, neither do I. Hence the frustration. However, if I were to take a stab at it ... I think philosophically, she has issues with the idea that there is a polity whose values we need to discuss and debate. She's certainly not against gay marriage, and at this point sees its legalization as essentially inevitable, she just doesn't see a moral obligation to push that process forward with more than votes, and certainly not at the expense of "his (Dan Cathy's) right to spend his money as he wants." It's very Randian, I'll admit.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:04 AM on August 13, 2012


Let's not forget btw that the rich and powerful and those who serve the vested interests have always been allowed to get away with "immoral" behaviour the lower classes would be severily punished for, whether it was adultry, homosexuality or abortion. If homophobia increases due to their actions, it won't bother them; they won't be the ones being gay bashed, they will still get their abortions seen to discreetly.


Therefore it's not just an option to out these people, it's a duty.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:05 AM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


"My story begins at a very young age when an older male who lived in our neighborhood sexually abused me."

Not too long ago I met a man outside a bar who told me this same thing, that he had been sexually abused by his father and that physical pleasure during the experiences that he had felt left him somewhat confused. He figured that if he was capable of getting pleasure from sex with men that he must be gay, but also acknowleged that not only had he been too young to understand the situation and that he wasn't particularly attracted to men. This was the second time I had heard a similar story. I don't know what to make of any of this, I don't really question people in their beliefs about themselves, but I figured both of them were kinda trying to tell me they sometimes had sex with men but didn't consider themselves gay.

It is certainly understandable, gay men have sex with women all the time. I even knew a guy that had a pahological need to pick up women and not have sex with them, I guess he unconsciously associated masculinity with the ability to pick up women. I don't know if anyone ever questions their gayness. I guess it is like being black in the olden days, one drop and that is it, that is what you are.

I guess it is up to Merrit to discover or define who he is, I'm not sure txting, making out in a cab or even fucking a guy makes you gay, otherwise many of the gay men in the world are secretly straight.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:06 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop.

This is only my opinion and it may not bear as much weight as yours because I didn't say "full stop" at the end, but my personal belief is that people who cause suffering to other people who have done nothing to provoke such aggression are generally bad human beings. A corollary idea is that maybe bad human beings shouldn't have power over other people, so if you see an easy opportunity to break them or weaken their power base, it's your moral imperative to do so.

Sure, it may be a cheap shot, but this isn't a soccer game, where winning and losing aren't as important as "good sportmanship" - people's lives are at stake. That being the case, I think that worrying about "gentlemanly conduct" towards closeted hatemongers is a little shortsighted.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:06 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just as a note: "brokenness" is evangelical code for "sin" or "sinfulness".

No it isn't.

Christians in general, including Evangelicals, believe in a fallen world. This means that the world is fundamentally not the way it's supposed to be. But there is a relatively sophisticated way of talking about that which the above ignores.

"Sin" and "sinfulness" involve moral culpability. They are things that we choose which violate God's laws.

"Brokenness" does not involve moral culpability. It has to do with things not being the way they're supposed to be but in ways which are not necessarily anyone's fault. The term covers everything from cancer to drought to war. "Brokenness" may be the result of "sin," and indeed, "sin" can result in "brokenness" too, but it is not, itself, "sinful."

Note that one person's "sin" can lead to "brokenness" in someone else. For example, it's pretty well recognized that acrimonious divorce is bad for kids. An Evangelical might say that the parents "sin" is causing "brokenness" in the kids. The kids are being hurt, but it's absolutely not their fault. Heck, it might be the grandparents who screwed up the parents. The world's just in a bad way.

How the distinction plays out in this case is that Merritt making out with Southworth would be described as "sinful" while his sexual attraction for Southworth would be described as "broken."

So when an Evangelical like Merritt says "brokenness," what he's saying is "This isn't the way things are supposed to be. This is a result of our fallen world. But while it may lead to sin, it isn't actually sinful in and of itself."

This is a really important distinction that many critics of the Christian take on homosexuality fail to appreciate.
posted by valkyryn at 11:08 AM on August 13, 2012 [24 favorites]


Does anyone have instances where Merritt has stated something particularly anti-gay? I'm not familiar with his body of work.

His Chick-fil-A piece had more to do with an anxiety over the politicization of consumption. It's not particularly supportive of homosexuality, but it's anything but destructive.

If the justification for his outing is that Merritt's being destructive to homosexual brethren, this gets a lot hazier if it's as indirect as this piece. And his fear becomes validated if he's been hostilely outed simply because he wants to be able to eat at Chick-fil-A despite recent developments.
posted by pokermonk at 11:10 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's the kicker for me, Merritt enjoys a pretty privileged life as the son of a megachurch pastor with none of the hardships alot of gay individuals have to face every day. Sure his 'hidden' sexual orientation may be anathema, assuming he is/was gay, in his religion of choice* but that doesn't negate him being responsible for his activism choices.

The gay/lesbian/bi/tran population he's actively unsupportive of isn't blessed with TV show roles, book deals, and (in general) the ability to play the game of life at the easiest difficulty setting like he is, they have to do the best they can with what they have. They don't get to choose to love one sex over another like he gets to choose his religion over atheism or something else. Thus, they don't deserve to be outed if they put up a veil of heterosexuality in order to function as everyone else does, doubly so because they may not have the resources available to facilitate their 'other/gay' life and loves.

Thus the reason why Merritt doesn't warrant this default protection against outing is the same reason why GLBT people do enjoy it: privilege. Merritt has it and wants to preserve it, despite being closeted and gay. Other gay people may or not have it but they don't deserve to be outed from their cover until they seek to deprive other non-hetero individuals of their rights as citizens.

Blech, that's wordy and a bit over caffeinated but I hope it's at least somewhat clear how my logic/belief structure works in this instance.

*But that's the thing with religion it is a choice. I don't think sexuality is, just to be clear.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:11 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Christians in general, including Evangelicals, believe in a fallen world. This means that the world is fundamentally not the way it's supposed to be.

which is as a result of sin - the "brokenness" is the penalty for the Fall . I get the hair you're trying to split, believe me, but whether or not brokenness indicates a degree of blame, it's still a term used for the manifestation of sin in the world, not another word for being gay.
posted by dubold at 11:18 AM on August 13, 2012


It's 2012 and if you're gay in America you do not have to fear for your life, career or family anymore

Not entirely true.


I would say that statement is laughably untrue if it weren't so sad. I agree with the general point (I don't think Merritt is inherently unsafer because he was outed), but I think the general conceit is VERY untrue.

If you are gay in America and act a certain way, you may not have to fear for your life, career, or family, but I'm sure plenty of homosexual people fear for all 3 because of their
posted by mrgrimm at 11:20 AM on August 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


If a closeted gay person is in any position to influence directly, or indirectly, policies that discriminate against LGBT folks, I am all for exposing their hypocrisy, so as to lessen or negate their position. After all, it's called the 'Culture War.'
posted by ericb at 11:20 AM on August 13, 2012


... behavior.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:21 AM on August 13, 2012


Something that's missing about this discussion of outing. Gay sex is good. Gay sex in private is good. Gay sex in the public eye is good (within the limits of good taste.) Kinky gay sex is good.

Harming other LGBT people in order to cover your ass while you have gay sex, is bad.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:21 AM on August 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


making out in a cab or even fucking a guy makes you gay
I think that if you're having a hard time keeping yourself from pulling off your date's clothes before the cab reaches its destination, we can safely conclude you're attracted to men.

valkyryn - I don't think the distinction is actually that important. Especially because it's largely an intellectual distinction with no consequences in the real world.

If you ask an anti-gay christian "do you think gay people are inherently less valuable than other humans?" I think they'd probably say "oh of course I don't think that!"

But their actions, again and again, are in opposition to that intellectual statement. If you behave as if LGBT persons are inherently less deserving of love and respect, it doesn't really matter to me if you say that we are.

And whatever intellectual distinction Merrit may draw between brokenness and sin, I would be surprised if that distinction carried any emotional weight.

At best, it's semantic game-playing that people use to alleviate their own guilt over the harm they've done.
posted by kavasa at 11:21 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


This was the second time I had heard a similar story. I don't know what to make of any of this, I don't really question people in their beliefs about themselves, but I figured both of them were kinda trying to tell me they sometimes had sex with men but didn't consider themselves gay.

I know that a large facet of so-called 'reparative therapy' used to be centered around the idea that men who experienced same-sex-attraction were abused as children by a man, and so their sexuality became focused on that formative event. I wonder if there's a couple things going on - (1) It's possible that a small minority of men who were abused as children do grow up to be sexually fixated on that event, (2) men who were abused as Christian and sought conservative Christian therapy may have been exposed to this theory and internalized it even though they aren't gay, and (3) some gay men who are Christians were coincidentally abused as children (just as some straight men were), and thus this becomes an explanation for their behavior.

I guess it is up to Merrit to discover or define who he is, I'm not sure txting, making out in a cab or even fucking a guy makes you gay, otherwise many of the gay men in the world are secretly straight.

And I'm all for self-identity. What I'm not for is for people who are involved with what they might call "the homosexual lifestyle" to simultaneously benefit from fighting against it (and yes, if straight men are covertly making out with other men, sexting with them, etc, they are livin' the homosexual lifestyle as most evangelicals define it).
posted by muddgirl at 11:22 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is ... a national rag like The Atlantic, publishing his essays?

Because they lost Megan McArdle?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:22 AM on August 13, 2012


As far as I can tell, he's never had a real job, even counting full-time ministry. Who gives a f*ck what he thinks about anything? Why is any news outlet, let alone a national rag like The Atlantic, publishing his essays? His biography says he's done over 300 articles for national media organs, but I just can't tell why.

It really puts my teeth on edge when certain kinds of work are dismissed as 'not a real job'. It sounds as if he's able to make a living as a freelance writer, which can take seriously hard work.
posted by Azara at 11:22 AM on August 13, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure txting, making out in a cab or even fucking a guy makes you gay

I think that last one is sort of the textbook definition, no? ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:23 AM on August 13, 2012


His Chick-fil-A piece had more to do with an anxiety over the politicization of consumption. It's not particularly supportive of homosexuality, but it's anything but destructive.

Politically, it is destructive. Given all the facts that are available, supporting Chick-fil-A is actively working against gay equality. If Cathy merely had an opinion, it would be one thing; it's a free country and stupid opinions are everyone's right. Chick-fil-A has gone one step past that, however. They have actively funded political and religious groups who are working on a legislative level to deny equal rights to LGBTs. Supporting Chik-fil-A is supporting that activity, whether you choose to believe it or not. BIG difference.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:24 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


*But that's the thing with religion it is a choice. I don't think sexuality is, just to be clear.

I've said this before. There's a strong distinction observed between sexual desire (of any sort), which is involuntary (just like any other desire), and voluntary sexual action (of any sort), which is, well, voluntary.

According to the language I've described above, homosexual desire would count as "broken" but homosexual actions would count as "sinful."

I fully understand that many people (and most MeFites) reject this categorization. But accusing Christians of saying that sexual orientation is a choice isn't technically accurate a lot of the time. It is in some cases, but not in many or even most. The analysis is generally quite a bit more sophisticated than that.
posted by valkyryn at 11:25 AM on August 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


(My last comment erased bisexual men, which is widespread and also a tragedy, so please mentally add "or bisexual" after every reference to gay. Not to homosexual though, because IME conservative Christianity doesn't really touch in bisexuality as a distinct concept.)
posted by muddgirl at 11:27 AM on August 13, 2012


But their actions, again and again, are in opposition to that intellectual statement.

Sometimes. But if you believe that telling someone "You can't have sex with anyone and everyone you want to" amounts to believing that they are "inherently less deserving of love and respect," then the basic objection isn't to Christianity's take on homosexuality, but on Christianity's take on sexual ethics, period. And, it must be admitted, most people who believe homosexuality to not be ethically problematic do so object.

So I'm not really going to get into an argument about that here. Where there isn't basic agreement about the broad contours of sexual ethics, how can there be any agreement on any particular part thereof?

All I'm trying to say is that the Christian position on homosexuality is quite a bit more sophisticated than many give it credit for.
posted by valkyryn at 11:29 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


pokermonk: "Does anyone have instances where Merritt has stated something particularly anti-gay? I'm not familiar with his body of work."

He's against gay marriage, so he's against civil equality for gay people. He's also on record as saying that homosexuality is a sin, that people who are gay are "broken" and sinners. He's a public figure with a following promoting the idea that it's not only wrong to be gay in the eyes of the Christian god, it's something that people should hide and be ashamed of. A total counter-balance to the "It Gets Better" project: he's saying that it's not okay to be gay, and implying that it's something religious faith can cure.

That's definitively anti-gay to me. And that's why I referred to him that way in this post.
posted by zarq at 11:31 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can not for the life of me understand why a twerp like Merritt was even in a position where he could get caught out for this sort of thing, or that anyone would care if he had. He's the son of the pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Atlanta. Not the pastor, the pastor's son.

Well, the only boy who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man.

Yes he was.
posted by hippybear at 11:32 AM on August 13, 2012 [20 favorites]


Jesus Christ. Can we please not derail every conversation that's loosely coupled to morality with a comparison to traffic regulations? Laws do not necessarily represent morality, and we have different kinds of laws for different purposes. Speeding, murder, and zoning infractions all have wildly different moral and legal connotations.

The Corolla Corollary rears its ugly head on Metafilter once again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 AM on August 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


But if you believe that telling someone "You can't have sex with anyone and everyone you want to" amounts to believing that they are "inherently less deserving of love and respect," then the basic objection isn't to Christianity's take on homosexuality, but on Christianity's take on sexual ethics, period.

Merritt unequivocably opposes gay marriage, so gay Christians have no path to a moral sexual relationship with the consenting adult of their choosing.
posted by muddgirl at 11:33 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Outing people for any reason - whether it's to intimidate them or, as in this case, to shame them for their public support of discriminatory policies - is wrong, full stop."

Bullshit. If you had a homosexual encounter with a rabid anti-homosexual crusader you have to lie about it? No, you totally fucked the guy. You can say you did, because it's the truth. If that "outs" him that's his problem.
posted by chronkite at 11:35 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, the only boy who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man.

The only guy who would reach around me was the son of a preacher man.
posted by jaduncan at 11:36 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: " The Corolla Corollary rears its ugly head on Metafilter once again."

I'm disappointed to find that this is not an actual thing.

Can we call it that in the future?
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think outing in general is wrong.

I'm not sure. On the one hand I think any high profile gay person who keeps themselves in the closet (but who isn't anti-gay themselves) does the moral duty to come out and I can buy the argument that involuntary outing them in the long term does more good than harm,. But on the other hand I do think that people deserve a private life too and not have their sexuality paraded in front of the world, yet on the gripping hand the more people who stay in the closet, the more it emphasises that being gay is being second rate, that everybody who isn't publically gay is straight, that being gay is still not quite right.

Perhaps the best possible outcome would be the way homosexuality is treated as it is here in the Netherlands, where for the most part we don't care about the sexuality of our politicians (gay, straight or still living with mum like our current prime minister) and every gossip magazine has its own stable of cuddly gays.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:39 AM on August 13, 2012


The Corolla Corollary

Can I get that in antimony antinomy?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:39 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I'm trying to say is that the Christian position on homosexuality is quite a bit more sophisticated than many give it credit for.

Well, maybe Christians could just be nicer and less confrontational when presenting their anti-gay arguments, and then we would understand them better.

(To be clear, I'm not disputing your assertion, valkyryn, but I had to take the opportunity to turn the "If you'd just be nicer/less confrontational" argument that's often used against same-sex marriage and gay rights advocates on its head a little.)
posted by rtha at 11:40 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Merritt unequivocably opposes gay marriage, so gay Christians have no path to a moral sexual relationship with the consenting adult of their choosing.

...and? I mean, yeah, that's basically what that means. Christianity also happens to hold that you are not guaranteed such a relationship, nor is it a right. Again, the objection is not so much that gay people are treated differently, but to the idea that no one is guaranteed or has the right to demand sexual fulfillment.
posted by valkyryn at 11:42 AM on August 13, 2012


Valkyryn is correct that this is an important distinction in the world of the, for wont of a better word, American Anabaptist world.

One is a victim of their own actions when responding from a "broken" position while one is personally culpable when sinning completely of their own volition. In the former case, one simply isn't strong enough to resist; in the latter, one doesn't bother resisting.

The reason is it an important (albeit non-sensical) distinction is because it allows the Christian Right in the US to overlook the hypocrisy of pill popping Limbaugh but yet demonize Clinton.

It's a non-sensical, but an important mechanism to understand when talking about on the Christian Right in the US as this movement inherited much of their moral and ethical framework from American Anabaptists.

In any case, it explains a great deal of their stance towards homosexuality within their own ranks.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


people deserve a private life too and not have their sexuality paraded in front of the world

Funny how people only say this when it relates to gay issues, but meanwhile most straight people can hold hands when they walk down the street without feeling like they're "parading their sexuality in front of the world."

People have such an odd idea of what counts as "private" these days.
posted by hermitosis at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Christians in general, including Evangelicals, believe in a fallen world. This means that the world is fundamentally not the way it's supposed to be.

No they don't "in general" believe any such thing. Believe it or not, there is a whole world of Christianity and Christian thought outside of the Bible Belt.


All I'm trying to say is that the Christian position on homosexuality is quite a bit more sophisticated than many give it credit for.

I think that Christianity is quite a bit more diverse than you some give it credit for. I have a hard time thinking that the likes of Jonathan Merritt have all that much religious thought in common with, say, John Shelby Spong.
posted by slkinsey at 11:45 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Christianity also happens to hold that you are not guaranteed such a relationship, nor is it a right.

If memory serves, Paul specifically says that one should not marry in order to able to serve Christ better.

So it could be said that Christianity is actually hostile to marriage by anyone.
posted by hippybear at 11:46 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Gay sex is only hotter than non-gay sex if you're gay. Correct?

Family Research Council founder Paul Cameron:
"Untrammeled homosexuality can take over and destroy a social system. If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get - and that is what homosexuality seems to be - then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm .... It's pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin. It's such a rush. . . . Marital sex tends toward the boring end. Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does."
posted by ericb at 11:46 AM on August 13, 2012 [25 favorites]


but to the idea that no one is guaranteed or has the right to demand sexual fulfillment.

This may be what Christians say they believe, but it is not how they behave.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:46 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, maybe Christians could just be nicer and less confrontational when presenting their anti-gay arguments, and then we would understand them better.

No freaking doubt. One of my main complaints--unrelated to this thread--is that most Evangelicals don't know their own freaking tradition anymore. So the fact that the message doesn't come across very well a lot of the time probably has something to do with the fact that Evangelicalism is, as I've implied, pretty much intellectually bankrupt. The leaders of the tradition can't even explain the historic doctrine of salvation with any accuracy, much less the finer points of sexual ethics.
posted by valkyryn at 11:47 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Funny how people only say this when it relates to gay issues, but meanwhile most straight people can hold hands when they walk down the street without feeling like they're "parading their sexuality in front of the world."

It's basically an empathy thing. People who exhibit a gut-level disdain for teh gay are simply not able to mentally put themselves anywhere but where they are - in the "default position" of being heterosexual.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:48 AM on August 13, 2012


ericb: " Marital sex tends toward the boring end. "

He's doing it wrong.
posted by zarq at 11:49 AM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


'It's not okay to insert yourself in an unwanted way into someone else's privates life." FTFY.

Oh, the sixth grader in me couldn't resist!
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on August 13, 2012


Christianity also happens to hold that you are not guaranteed such a relationship, nor is it a right. Again, the objection is not so much that gay people are treated differently, but to the idea that no one is guaranteed or has the right to demand sexual fulfillment.

I don't think the Apostles or Paul talked about "rights" at all, and it's odd to frame it that way. I think we just had this discussion, didn't we? Where Paul said, "If you can't keep it in your pants, then for your own sake GET MARRIED!" (Off the top of my head, I think it's Corinthians 7). And yet modern evangelicals go on and on about the centrality of passionate sex in a heterosexual marriage, not just for the marriage's sake but to, like, improve their relationship with God. Or I guess what you say later:

One of my main complaints--unrelated to this thread--is that most Evangelicals don't know their own freaking tradition anymore.
posted by muddgirl at 11:54 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I fully understand that many people (and most MeFites) reject this categorization. But accusing Christians of saying that sexual orientation is a choice isn't technically accurate a lot of the time. It is in some cases, but not in many or even most. The analysis is generally quite a bit more sophisticated than that.

Naah, not really. There's a lot of sophistry going on to disguise the bigotry, enough to make a dozen Pharisees jealous, but if they were truly serious about their Christianity they'd pay a hell of a lot more attention to the sermon on the mountain rather than following the bigoted impulses of the careerist Saul of Tarsis.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:55 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


zarq: "ericb: " Marital sex tends toward the boring end. "

He's doing it wrong.
"

And I'm pretty sure gay marital sex would blow his fucking mind.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:56 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Adams HE, Wright LW Jr, Lohr BA (1996) "Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?"

Also ...

New York Times | April 27, 2012: Homophobic? Maybe You’re Gay.
posted by ericb at 12:00 PM on August 13, 2012


The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm .... It's pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin.

Shit like this just cracks me up. And makes me want to punch things.
posted by rtha at 12:02 PM on August 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm

I'm pretty sure Vice magazine disproved that one.
posted by muddgirl at 12:03 PM on August 13, 2012


I don't think the Apostles or Paul talked about "rights" at all, and it's odd to frame it that way.

It is odd. It really is. But that's how a lot of our contemporaries frame it, religious or otherwise. How else does one form an objection to the idea that one might not be allowed to enter into a consensual sexual relationship? Because Christianity definitely says that you can't, in most cases.

And yet modern evangelicals go on and on about the centrality of passionate sex in a heterosexual marriage, not just for the marriage's sake but to, like, improve their relationship with God.

Right. That's a really, really weird thing to say in the context of historic Christianity. One of the guys at my church just finished up a Ph.D. related to the subject. Turns out that a lot of the more recent books about sex from Evangelical publishing houses are embarrassingly similar to a book about sex that church leaders across the board roundly condemned a century ago. Yet there's no explanation for the change. The new authors don't even seem to have been aware that their ideas were ever even controversial. The degree of historical blindness is truly amazing.

I haven't read any of Merritt's stuff--never heard of him before today--but I'd be shocked if there's anything in his writings which would make one believe that the church even existed more than thirty years ago, much less had any opinions about anything.
posted by valkyryn at 12:04 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


jaduncan: "I'm afraid that homophobes are indeed more likely to be gay."

That is emphatically not what the (highly problematic) study you quoted concludes. It concludes that homophobes are more likely than non-homophobes to be gay. The vast proportion of homophobes are still straight - which means this statistic is meaningless in the current context.
posted by koeselitz at 12:04 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know Jonathan but went to middle school with his brother James Merritt. I don't remember much about him other that he got out of sex ed and was the apparent point of contact for more that one evangelical group coming to our public school (such as those guys who tear phone books in half with the power of Jesus) for presentations that ended with, "if you want to know the rest, come to the Baptist church across the street tonight."

This was followed with a first year of high school that involved both having at our school the only teacher in Georgia fired for refusing to follow the "moment of silence" backdoor prayer enforcement legislation and having a biology teach who straight up refused to even talk about the evolution chapter and instead just told us to write an essay about what we believed.

Fast forward a few years, I'm happily living in Canada and reading about Dr Merrritt telling the entire SBC to not go to Disney World. Strange times in Snellville.
posted by thecjm at 12:06 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Zarq: He's also written somewhat extensively about adoption, which is a topic that's not (in my experience) often raised by pro-lifers / anti-choicers. They're happy to rail about the evils of abortion, but not discuss adoptions arising from unwanted pregnancies.

The Catholic Church is a huge actor in this field and a large supplier of adoption services in places where they haven't been forced out of it by government regulation (Massachusetts, Washington, D.C.).

He's also on record as saying that homosexuality is a sin, that people who are gay are "broken" and sinners.

I'm sorry, but that would be a very unusual position for a mainstream Evangelical figure (which he appears to be [or have been]). Can you link to where he says that? It's not the same as saying that homosexual acts are sinful. That gay people are sinful is merely the logical conclusion of the (generally speaking) Christian belief that all people are sinners (Romans 3:23), but that being gay is a sin is an unusual belief for theologically educated Evangelicals at this point.
posted by Jahaza at 12:06 PM on August 13, 2012


Also, Focus on the Family has been putting a lot of effort into promoting adoption in recent years.
posted by Jahaza at 12:07 PM on August 13, 2012


Outing someone in order to negate them seems to be an ends justifies the means deal. That doesn't make the means right, it just makes it effective. If you think that the end here is sufficient, than more power to you (and many might agree), but I don't think it white washes the fact that the means is pretty despicable.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:07 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Marital sex tends toward the boring end. Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does.

I love that quote more every time I see it. I believe I can speak authoritatively as a straight guy that this is not how a genuinely straight guy would talk about gay sex. Maybe, maybe, you could get a straight guy to talk this way about an absurdly unrealistic lesbian shower scene in a movie, but that's as gay as it gets.

But joking aside, lots and lots of guys who identify as "straight" have lots of sex with other men. The more clinical term is MSM; I've heard people talk about it more like "partying," "helping a friend out," things like that. So the identity of being capital-G-gay and the actions of having sex with other men can be very separate things, and can partly explain some of these odd cases of virulent homophobes getting caught with their pants down.
posted by Forktine at 12:09 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just absolutely don't get the resistance to outing, which at its worst reinforces the notion that your sexual orientation is a dirty little secret that you should have the right to hide and/or control (it's not a dirty little secret—it's just how some of us are) and at best confuses it with something somehow more precious, troublesome, or magical than, say, being left-handed.

Plug in "left-handed" in the phrases outing someone when you're feeling cross about outing and see if it doesn't feel a little silly. Left-handed or gay? Pretty much the same kind of thing. It's just the way things are.

The second you position yourself as a public figure, you choose to live your life out in the public, and if you target people for something you, yourself, are up to, well—someone is likely to point out that you're a dick. Why's that such a problem?
posted by sonascope at 12:14 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


sonascope: "I just absolutely don't get the resistance to outing, which at its worst reinforces the notion that your sexual orientation is a dirty little secret that you should have the right to hide and/or control..."

What? No, that is not what outing does at its worst. At its worst, outing reinforces that homosexuality is shameful. And given the way society works, that's the conclusion most people draw in nearly every case.
posted by koeselitz at 12:18 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Supporting Chik-fil-A is supporting that activity, whether you choose to believe it or not.

...in a far more abstract way than actually supporting the activity. This November, unless you don't vote, you're going to be voting for someone who you fundamentally disagree with on at least one stance. So yes, you'll be supporting that stance in some way, but that doesn't mean you support that stance definitively. How one selects and prioritizes "support" is the individual's decision to make. Demanding absolute purity in support is, more often than not, nonsense.

That's definitively anti-gay to me. And that's why I referred to him that way in this post.

For what it's worth, this appears to be Jonathan Merritt's anti-gay stance. It's anti-gay. Many will find it venomous. But it's not as venomous as the connotation would suggest.
posted by pokermonk at 12:19 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Outing someone in order to negate them seems to be an ends justifies the means deal.

I don't agree that Southworth outed Merritt to negate him, rather that his efforts and words are put into the proper (if sad) context for others to understand, i.e., Merritt hates himself so much that he has nothing left to do but redirect his hate outwards.

Given the consequences from organized religion pushing society to codify hate into laws, it seems in the public interest to have this information when considering the substance and context of what Merritt and others say and why they say it.

A good analogy would be vetting Presidential campaigners for their mental health. The POTUS has the ability to launch nuclear weapons, among other disastrous possibilities. Knowing that the person you're voting for isn't prone to violent outbursts is important for your safety and the safety of those you love.

Likewise, Christians have so much negative influence on American society that we have to be similarly vigilant for Christians like Merritt who try to manipulate laws to their own ends. Merritt's sexuality is relevant to the rest of us, because he actively fights for society to regulate not just his own sexuality, but ours, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:20 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Catholic Church is a huge actor in this field and a large supplier of adoption services in places where they haven't been forced out of it by government regulation (Massachusetts, Washington, D.C.).

They weren't 'forced out'. The church decided that they couldn't/wouldn't follow civil anti-discriminatory laws which protect the rights of same-sex couples to adopt children.
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on August 13, 2012 [22 favorites]


At its worst, outing reinforces that homosexuality is shameful. And given the way society works, that's the conclusion most people draw in nearly every case.

I think for about the last decade or so, the conclusion most people draw (at least most of the ones who aren't gay with whom I've discussed the topic) has been "wow, what a hateful fucktard. I guess he won't be saying that kind of thing anymore".

The shameful thing isn't the gay part, it's the hypocrisy. That's what most people ping on when it comes to outings. Maybe in the 1990s there was the shame factor, but those days are waning and it generally isn't true anymore.
posted by hippybear at 12:23 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


At its worst, outing reinforces that homosexuality is shameful. And given the way society works, that's the conclusion most people draw in nearly every case.

That hasn't been my experience. For instance, in the AZ sheriff story I linked to above, the fallout I remember is that he abused his police power and he'd been not reporting an undocumented immigrant because he was sleeping with said immigrant.

Can you address what we (the public) are supposed to do when a high-profile person is being really hypocritical? Say they're being hypocritical about something not having to do with homosexuality. Is outing them always forbidden? Why?

Remember the family values governor who went hiking on the Appalachian trail? Should he not have been outed?
posted by rtha at 12:24 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


What? No, that is not what outing does at its worst.

Sorry, my phrasing was a bit awkward. What I mean is that the resistance to outing reinforces the dirty little secretness of queerness.
posted by sonascope at 12:24 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


To me the best reason to out a closeted gay homophobe is that, every time this happens, it makes other loudmouth homophobes appear increasingly suspect. So, over time, it will hopefully become apparent to them that openly stating homophobic positions is tantamount to admitting that they're secretly gay, and they'll shut the fuck up.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:25 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I'm afraid that homophobes are indeed more likely to be gay."

That is emphatically not what the (highly problematic) study you quoted concludes. It concludes that homophobes are more likely than non-homophobes to be gay.


I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear enough, but I agree. I was responding to a comment that suggested that the rate was the same as the general population, and it would appear that it is likely to be more than that. I do not claim (and neither does the study) that a majority of homophobes are homosexual.
posted by jaduncan at 12:26 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


What? No, that is not what outing does at its worst. At its worst, outing reinforces that homosexuality is shameful. And given the way society works, that's the conclusion most people draw in nearly every case.

I would disagree. Keeping sexuality a secret reinforces that homosexuality is shameful and dangerous, and outing is an act counter to that.
posted by kafziel at 12:26 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


sonascope: " Sorry, my phrasing was a bit awkward. What I mean is that the resistance to outing reinforces the dirty little secretness of queerness."

Exactly. Which is why if I'm Azariah Southworth, and I do a Google search of my make out buddy Jonathan Merritt after his Chik-Fil-A article went around the gay blogosphere, and I realize that not only was this guy who I once made out with conflicted in his own life but actively making life miserable for others*, I'd be tempted to act. Not just because of the hypocrisy, but because, by not doing so, I become the dirty little secret.

* I have no idea if this is how that went down; it may have just been that Merritt was getting a particular kind of traction with his argument and Southworth already knew the other things that Merritt was saying, and at this point, he reached the point where holding his tongue just wasn't an option anymore. To be honest, the ins-and-outs doesn't really matter to me. I can't think of any specific details of how it unfolded where I wouldn't agree with his decision.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:31 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Remember the family values governor who went hiking on the Appalachian trail? Should he not have been outed?

His problem wasn't that what he was doing was contrary to his values, it was that he was lying his ass off. Expressing a value you cannot hold to yourself is one thing. Lying about what you are actually doing, whether it holds to your values or not, is different. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what he did was something that should have been outed; it seems to me to be an issue between him and his wife to me.

That fact you cheat doesn't mean that you can't see cheating as wrong.

As to outing; well, I don't want details of my straight sex life revealed. I don't see how it is different if I was gay.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:33 PM on August 13, 2012


As to outing; well, I don't want details of my straight sex life revealed. I don't see how it is different if I was gay.

Don't tell other people how to live and you almost definitely won't have to worry about it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:37 PM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


I just wish modern Evangelicals would pay a little more attention to Matthew 6.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:40 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Regarding outing: I guess I sort of look at it in a different light from most of the folks in this thread. Were I ever in a position to out some sort of publicly-conservative pundit or politician, I'd ask myself "how likely is it that this dude is going to kill himself?"

The more entrenched a guy is in his political position, the more likely it is that the answer to that question is going to be "pretty likely," and with that being true I'm probably going to back off on the idea. I mean I get all the arguments for outing people that are accumulating power, wealth, or influence by being anti-gay. I get them. But I also don't think I'd be able to handle the idea that someone killed himself because of an action I took.

When I say that I'm not trying to pass judgment on Southmore though. I'm sure he walked his own path on the way to the decision he reached.
posted by kavasa at 12:41 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


They weren't 'forced out'. The church decided that they couldn't/wouldn't follow civil anti-discriminatory laws which protect the rights of same-sex couples to adopt children.

As well, Boston's Catholic Charities contracted with the state's Department of Social Services and accepted state funds in support of their adoption services program. Previously they had placed 13 with gay couples out of 720 adoptions.*
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me play devil's advocate for a moment. As I read this thread, this question and series of thoughts pops into my head, so help me out:

Doesn't the hypocrisy argument in favor of outing rely on ad hominem? Lets say person X has a particular view that is anti-gay. And then you out person X as gay. How does that change the view? How is it an argument against the views expressed? Does it suggest that all out gay people hold the same views about everything that is connected to being gay? Just claiming that person X must be projecting his hate outward isn't an argument against the view in question. So in the end, the view stands and all we have done is made ourselves feel a little bit better by making somebody else very uncomfortable. Whether or not Merritt is gay and whether or not I know about it in no way contradicts his position in that Atlantic article, for example. It starts to feel more about revenge.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:48 PM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd ask myself "how likely is it that this dude is going to kill himself?"

I am honestly curious. Are there any contemporary examples of a well-known person who has been outed who ends up killing themselves over having been exposed?
posted by ericb at 12:49 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You can't have sex with anyone and everyone you want to"

Surely, Valkyryn, you understand that there's a difference between this and, "You can't ever have sex with anyone you are attracted to, under any circumstances."

Prohibitions against rampant heterosexual promiscuity and heterosexual rape are qualitatively different than prohibitions against all homosexual conduct.

Saying "Well, Christianity never promised you lots of sex" fundamentally misses the point. Within Christianity, there is a route to fulfilling sexual and romantic relationships for straight people. There is no route to fulfilling sexual and romantic relationships for gay people.

Even Paul recognized that fulfilling sexual and romantic relationships were an important part of life.
posted by Myca at 12:53 PM on August 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Doesn't the hypocrisy argument in favor of outing rely on ad hominem?

The story I linked to above, about the AZ sheriff who was outed as threatening his ex - an undocumented immigrant - with deportation falls into this, I guess? Should the sheriff's arguments about illegal immigration have been countered by pro-immigration arguments, while his abuse of power, hypocrisy, and lying remained unchallenged?
posted by rtha at 12:54 PM on August 13, 2012


Jahaza:

Welcome back! It's good to see you.

The Catholic Church is a huge actor in this field and a large supplier of adoption services in places where they haven't been forced out of it by government regulation (Massachusetts, Washington, D.C.).

Which is good. Truly. But we really don't hear pro-life advocates discussing adoption or financial support / health care for pregnant moms as a viable alternative in the mainstream media all that often, do we? No, they seem far more interested in enacting legislation which would humiliate women for getting pregnant and wanting an abortion in the first place.

Personally, I find this very frustrating. A group emphasizes the value of personal responsibility, but there's little room for public acknowledgement that sometimes, having and then raising a baby is a very bad idea for certain people, in certain situations. Support for alternatives would be better than...
a) demanding that women carry their children to term
and b) shaming them for getting pregnant
...especially when a baby is unwanted, or can't be supported.

I'm sorry, but that would be a very unusual position for a mainstream Evangelical figure (which he appears to be [or have been]). Can you link to where he says that? It's not the same as saying that homosexual acts are sinful. That gay people are sinful is merely the logical conclusion of the (generally speaking) Christian belief that all people are sinners (Romans 3:23), but that being gay is a sin is an unusual belief for theologically educated Evangelicals at this point.

The difference between myself and Mr. Merritt is that I don't believe there is a difference between "people who have gay sex" and "people who are gay." And I think that people who try to draw a line between the two to justify intolerance or deny people civil liberties / rights are bigots.

Look, I abstractly understand the theological urge to see a difference between the two. I just commented about it on MeFi recently. But when it comes to actual people being discriminated against, the 'distinction' does not withstand scrutiny.

Merritt spoke about being broken in the interview, which I linked to in the post. He speaks about it in the USA Today Op-Ed that led to his meeting Southworth. The language, as other people have noted in this thread, is common to evangelicals, and seems to me to be a contortion to alleviate responsibility for their actions.

It's not the same as saying that homosexual acts are sinful.

The idea that being gay is not sinful, but having gay sex is... strikes me as quite convenient for folks who want to justify their intolerance by declaring homosexuality a lifestyle and not biology. And this is really what's at the heart of this discussion, isn't it?

If being gay is a choice, as many evangelical Christians assert, then evangelicals really can comfortably, theologically, justify condemnation of homosexual acts as sins, because to them there's no such thing as homosexuality. Oh, and this leads us to such destructive ideas as "you don't have to be gay. You can be cured."

Of course, that also means Evangelicals can "acceptably" demonize an entire population of people and deny them the same civil liberties and rights accorded the majority, because hey, it's the gays actions that are to blame, rather than who they are.

Merritt and I disagree on the fundamentals. And I don't believe his implied assumption that you can separate someone being gay from someone who happens to commit gay acts.
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on August 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Doesn't the hypocrisy argument in favor of outing rely on ad hominem? Lets say person X has a particular view that is anti-gay. And then you out person X as gay. How does that change the view? How is it an argument against the views expressed? Does it suggest that all out gay people hold the same views about everything that is connected to being gay? Just claiming that person X must be projecting his hate outward isn't an argument against the view in question.

If people were saying "He's wrong, because he's gay", that would be an ad hominem. But they're not. What's being said, essentially, is "He doesn't even believe what he's saying, and we know this because he's gay." It's calling out hypocrisy, and eroding the credibility of the speaker.

It is an argument against the view expressed in that it calls into question the good-faith nature of the view.
posted by kafziel at 1:06 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Within Christianity, there is a route to fulfilling sexual and romantic relationships for straight people. There is no route to fulfilling sexual and romantic relationships for gay people.

I understand why that might seem unfair, but nowhere is that sort of fairness promised. There are all sorts of things for which there is "no route" in Christianity. Remember, we're talking about a tradition which, historically anyway, has made self-sacrifice and self-deprivation pretty central themes.

Which makes the way that most Protestants talk about sex these days, i.e., that it's all abstinence outside marriage and a total sex vacation inside marriage, really, really weird in context.
posted by valkyryn at 1:10 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doesn't the hypocrisy argument in favor of outing rely on ad hominem?

Help me out here. Is it an "ad hominem" argument if someone really is a hypocrite? Why is it wrong or inappropriate to point out when someone wants to keep for his- or herself privileges that they want to deny to others? Why should the selfish people be rewarded in this way? And if I think gay people should be punished while at the same time getting all the gay sex I can, then I call that selfish.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:13 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I understand why that might seem unfair, but nowhere is that sort of fairness promised.

Sure, sure. As long as Christians recognize that it is, as you say, unfair and discriminatory, and that what is being asked and expected of homosexual people is far, far greater than what is being asked and expected of heterosexual people.

Hell, when Paul considered asking this of heterosexual people, he basically gave up, and realized how ridiculously unrealistic it is to expect.
posted by Myca at 1:13 PM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


declaring homosexuality a lifestyle and not biology. And this is really what's at the heart of this discussion, isn't it?

No, not really. A lot of Christians are totally willing to concede that homosexual desire has a significant biological component.

The question is: So what? Why should that matter? Christianity has never believed that being biologically predisposed to a thing has anything whatsoever to do with the morality of said thing. Indeed, the main theme of Christian ethics is overcoming the baser desires of the flesh, yes?

Fundamentally, the historic Christian take on this is that it doesn't matter to whom you are sexually attracted. The doctrine is that there is only one kind of relationship--heterosexual marriage--which can ethically have a sexual component, and that everyone not in that kind of relationship is to refrain from sexual activity. Period. Desire doesn't enter into it.

And as others have said, that means that for some people, there is no person with whom they may ethically have sex to whom they are attracted. "If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away."
posted by valkyryn at 1:15 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


what is being asked and expected of homosexual people is far, far greater than what is being asked and expected of heterosexual people.

See, in practice it frequently is. But it isn't supposed to be. The Evangelical church has long stopped believing that all persons, married and unmarried, are required to be chaste. Or, rather, it's more as if they've forgotten that Christians ever believed that. But that's just saying that Evangelical sexual ethics is deeply confused, and I'll spot you that one without being asked to do so.

Catholics and other confessional Christians are more likely to believe that, as they have a far more developed theology of the body and aren't so amnesiac about their history.
posted by valkyryn at 1:19 PM on August 13, 2012


Basically, it feels like using outing as a tool to try to drive homophobia underground feels a bit like riding around in white hoods and burning crosses on the lawns of prominent racists. Sure, it's good to fight against that kind of thing, but do we really have to adopt the tools of shame that were used against us for so many years? I thought we were fighting for a world where people are free to enjoy their sexuality however they wish in private. Abrogating that in the name of working against homophobia seems like taking three steps backward in order to take one step forward.

Aside from that – it's pointless and ineffectual. If people are homophobes, they get to exercise their "hate the gay person" muscles. If people are not homophobes, well, they're right back where they started, since they probably weren't big fans of an anti-gay dude in the first place. All this does is teach people to feel shame. And call me crazy, but it seems like that's not really a very useful thing to do.
posted by koeselitz at 1:23 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Basically, it feels like using outing as a tool to try to drive homophobia underground feels a bit like riding around in white hoods and burning crosses on the lawns of prominent racists

This is a terrible comparison. It's more like revealing that the grandmaster is secretly in an interracial relationship.

All this does is teach people to feel shame.

Those people were already feeling shame. That's what the closet is. No one is having secret liasons on one hand and decrying the immorality of gay sex on the other because they're accepting of their same sex attractions.
posted by muddgirl at 1:30 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


(It's a terrible comparison because very few evangelical leaders actually have a problem with powerful men in their ranks being gay or engaging in same-sex liasons or whatever they want to call it, as long as they keep quiet about it. Outing is not really a tool of the bigots in this case.)
posted by muddgirl at 1:32 PM on August 13, 2012


very few evangelical leaders actually have a problem with powerful men in their ranks being gay or engaging in same-sex liasons or whatever they want to call it, as long as they keep quiet about it.

Got any evidence of this?
posted by valkyryn at 1:35 PM on August 13, 2012


muddgirl: “This is a terrible comparison. It's more like revealing that the grandmaster is secretly in an interracial relationship.”

No, because revelations of interracial relationships have not historically been one of the more prominent tools used against black people.

But outing of gay people has historically been the method of shaming and closeting others.

Now this weapon is in our hands, and we can use it if we wish. By all means, go ahead and do it if you choose, but I hope people understand why it's pretty damned distasteful to me to do the one thing that made us suffer for so many years.

“(It's a terrible comparison because very few evangelical leaders actually have a problem with powerful men in their ranks being gay or engaging in same-sex liasons or whatever they want to call it, as long as they keep quiet about it. Outing is not really a tool of the bigots in this case.)”

I understand that it's not intended as such. I understand that nobody in our liberal circles will see it as such. I am doubtful that this won't provide any fodder for the bigots, though.

At the very least, what matters to me is how Merritt saw it – and he saw the revelation as shameful. He's moving forward that way. And he's pushing others to see him as a shameful sinner, too. So I'm not sure how much we should be dancing in the streets celebrating.
posted by koeselitz at 1:36 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought we were fighting for a world where people are free to enjoy their sexuality however they wish in private.

Isn't the key word here "private." I don't think many people would approve of outing someone who just wanted to live privately. It's the very public and (sometimes) powerful opinion-makers who want to enjoy "special treatment."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:40 PM on August 13, 2012


"Special treatment" is getting treated like everybody else, now?
posted by koeselitz at 1:42 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


By all means, go ahead and do it if you choose,

I'm straight and I've personally never outed someone and would never presume to. Neither would I presume to judge a gay person who choses to disclose a part of their own sexual history.

and he saw the revelation as shameful

He saw his actions as shameful already. Merritt is ashamed of his desires. This revelation doesn't change that.

And he's pushing others to see him as a shameful sinner, too.

Allowing people to label the 'gay lifestyle' as immoral while secretly engaging in it doesn't teach people that the gay lifestyle is shameful?
posted by muddgirl at 1:42 PM on August 13, 2012


me: “By all means, go ahead and do it if you choose...”

muddgirl: “I'm straight and I've personally never outed someone and would never presume to. Neither would I presume to judge a gay person who choses to disclose a part of their own sexual history.”

Sorry, muddgirl, if that seemed like a personal accusation; I really didn't mean it that way, and I should not have phrased it like that. I didn't mean to suggest that you have ever or would ever out anyone for any reason – I meant it more as a general "you." But it really looks like I was blaming you or accusing you for something there, so again, I'm sorry.
posted by koeselitz at 1:45 PM on August 13, 2012


"Special treatment" is getting treated like everybody else, now?

At Denny's everyone's special.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:51 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: “Allowing people to label the 'gay lifestyle' as immoral while secretly engaging in it doesn't teach people that the gay lifestyle is shameful?”

The "secretly engaging in it" part doesn't have anything to do with it, I don't think. That's the thing. I mean – nobody knew what he was "secretly" doing before this was revealed, so his private life formerly had no impact on what he was teaching. It doesn't seem to have had any impact on what he is teaching now, either.

octobersurprise – to respond to your point more coherently:

me: “I thought we were fighting for a world where people are free to enjoy their sexuality however they wish in private.”

octobersurprise: “Isn't the key word here 'private.' I don't think many people would approve of outing someone who just wanted to live privately. It's the very public and (sometimes) powerful opinion-makers who want to enjoy 'special treatment.’”

I don't think that holds up very well. Do we believe that public figures are entitled to private lives at all? What exactly constitutes a "public figure"?
posted by koeselitz at 1:53 PM on August 13, 2012


> I don't think that holds up very well. Do we believe that public figures are entitled to private lives at all? What exactly constitutes a "public figure"?

Sure. If they're not putting that "private" life out there as some virtuous thing we can judge them by. If you are proclaiming what a strong family values guy you are and why one-man-one-woman marriage is the only way things should be, but you're giving your mistress a job at your work? Then fuck you.

What if the outing isn't related to homosexuality? Are you asserting that it's never okay to reveal a politician's hypocrisy?
posted by rtha at 1:57 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it an "ad hominem" argument if someone really is a hypocrite?

I'm not sure. I think I am hesitating about how we are claiming somebody is a hypocrite in this context. Glenn Greenwald (who is gay) argued against the attempt to ban Chic-Fil-A from doing business in Chicago and Boston. Does this make him a hypocrite? Would it matter if he was in the closet and published this same argument?

Why is it wrong or inappropriate to point out when someone wants to keep for his- or herself privileges that they want to deny to others? Why should the selfish people be rewarded in this way?

I hear where you are coming from here, but this seems like more of a question of values or ethics. I am just focusing on the logic behind the argument in favor of outing.

"He doesn't even believe what he's saying, and we know this because he's gay."

I really don't think we can make this claim about anybody. Isn't this argument also ad hominem? It seems to suggest that all gay people must hold a particular view about issue X, and if they don't they are a hypocrite arguing in a dishonest fashion and must be outed.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 1:57 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Help me out here. Is it an "ad hominem" argument if someone really is a hypocrite?

Yes. "Ad Hominem" literally means "Against the man" -- it is an argument about the qualities of the speaker rather than the standalone merits of the argument. Calling someone a hypocrite does not invalidate their argument, unless that argument rested on the consistency of their own actions.
posted by verb at 1:57 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fundamentally, the historic Christian take on this is that it doesn't matter to whom you are sexually attracted. The doctrine is that there is only one kind of relationship--heterosexual marriage--which can ethically have a sexual component, and that everyone not in that kind of relationship is to refrain from sexual activity. Period. Desire doesn't enter into it.

Just one in a long list of reasons why Christianity is poisonous to humanity on a fundamental level.
posted by hippybear at 2:03 PM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think there are a select number of cases where outing someone is justified. We don't refrain from outing people because it is inherently moral, we refrain from outing people because there can be very real harm to them. They could lose their jobs, or be estranged from their family, or have their personal safety threatened.

The question, then, is: is their some good in outing a person which outweighs the harm that it may cause them? If they are actively causing harm to others, and outing them could undermine them, then I think it is a legitimate option. (It may even be beneficial to them in some cases)

That said, I'm not familiar enough with Jonathan Merritt to say one way or another. I don't necessarily consider being on the record as being opposed to same-sex marriage is necessarily that bad. Even referring to himself as broken isn't necessarily crossing a line in my book. Once you start going out and preaching against homosexuality, then I think you have crossed a line where your sexuality is fair game.
posted by jamincan at 2:07 PM on August 13, 2012


koeselitz: Basically, it feels like using outing as a tool to try to drive homophobia underground feels a bit like riding around in white hoods and burning crosses on the lawns of prominent racists.

Your premise here is utterly wrong, and your comparison is unnecessarily inflammatory.

"Special treatment" is getting treated like everybody else, now?

Well heck, if I knew that a friend or relative was covering up down-low relationships by openly attacking gay people, covering up extramarital relationships by attacking people who have them, or (based on a recent case) covering up a history sexual harassment and abuse of others by getting preachy about it, I might just blow the whistle myself.

I don't think that the pretense of privacy is ethical when it's built on a career of attacking others.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:09 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Doesn't the hypocrisy argument in favor of outing rely on ad hominem?

Yes, absolutely - that's actually a big argument in favor of using them. Ad hominem attacks are very powerful weapons because they generate a strong emotional reaction of contempt in the audience that simultaneously harms your opponent while blunting his attacks against you.

I think you need to maybe think about what your goals are here. When it comes to stomping out homophobia in conservative strongholds, are you trying to be logically correct or are you trying to get successful results? Because you can't have both. The idea that you can use logical debate to sway people who are so insane that they genuinely believe that some guy rose from the dead to do magic tricks - or that he told his disciples to "love and cherish everybody - except the gays" - is so hilarious that it's almost farcical. People like that don't respond to logic: they take their marching orders from what they feel in their gut. ("Truthiness", as Stephen Colbert put it.) To control their worldview, you need to rely on a different set of tools.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:12 PM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


... but do we really have to adopt the tools of shame that were used against us for so many years?

It's not shaming unless you believe being gay is wrong! It's adopting the tools of exposing hypocrisy and calling out those who don't practice what they preach, but expect that others do.
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


valkyryn: " No, not really. A lot of Christians are totally willing to concede that homosexual desire has a significant biological component. "

I'm speaking about evangelicals. Which is why I used the word "evangelical" four or five times in the section of my comment that you didn't quote. Merritt's an evangelical, specifically Southern Baptist and I'm referring to his words and my impression of evangelical beliefs. If you want to address what I'm saying in that context, go ahead. But I'm not asserting anything about non-evangelical Christianity here.

And my impression of mainstream evangelical rhetoric and political lobbying on this issue is that they act as if they believe being gay and committing gay acts are separable. To be sure, there are enlightened evangelicals. From his words, I don't believe Merritt is one.

In fact, there seem to be quite a few mainstream Evangelical Christian leaders who not only assert that one can be cured of homosexuality but have created and supported re-education camps like Exodus International to convert gays to heterosexuality or shame them into denying their biology. Exodus in particular seems to have been quite destructive. Interestingly enough, they have had very little success with their programs, and are, shockingly, not only admitting it and trying to change their methods, but their leader seems to be acknowledging that sexual orientation through biology exists.

Fundamentally, the historic Christian take on this...

Does current evangelical teaching, preaching AND behavior agree with that idea? I would argue that it does not, and at this point, discussing lofty ideals that no one is paying attention to is no better than intellectual masturbation. Pew report on religion and sexuality indicate that evangelicals believe by more than 20% over other religious Christian sects that homosexuality is mutable, and a lifestyle choice rather than immutable biology. It affects how they treat gay people, and whether they are willing to try and deny them civil rights afforded to the rest of us, including civil marriage and equal protection from hate crimes.
posted by zarq at 2:18 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


What I'm not for is for people who are involved with what they might call "the homosexual lifestyle" to simultaneously benefit from fighting against it.

Oh, permit me to recycle an old posting ...


The Republican Gay Agenda
as per Jeff Gannon/Jeff Guckert, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy Jr., etc.
8:00 a.m. Wake up. Wonder where you are.

8:01 a.m. Realize you are laying on 100% Egyptian cotton sheets of at least ‘300-count,’ so don’t panic; you’re not slumming.

8:02 a.m. Realize you are actually in your own bed in Dupont Circle (for a change). Wake stranger next to you and tell him you are late for work, so you won’t be able to cook breakfast for him. Mutter ‘sorry’ as you help him look for his far-flung underwear. You realize that you tore his boxers off him last night, so you ‘loan’ him a pair of tighty-white briefs, but not the new 2Xist ones because you never intend to see him again.

8:05 a.m. Tell the stranger, whose name eludes you, ‘It was fun. I’ll give you a call,’ as you usher him out the door, avoiding his egregious morning-breath.

8:06 a.m. Crumple and dispose of the piece of paper with his telephone number on it when you get to the kitchen.

8:07 a.m. Make a high-protein breakfast shake while watching CNN. Wonder if the stories you’ve heard about Anderson Cooper are true. Decide they must be.

8:30 a.m. Black or grey suit? Decide to go with black, the only shirt that is clean and the ubiquitous red-striped rep tie.

8:45 a.m. Climb into BMW, trying not to look too much like Barbie driving one of her accessories, as you pull out of your underground parking. Chanel or Armani sunglasses? Go with Armani. Save the Chanel for Rehobeth this weekend.

9:35 a.m. Stroll into The Russell Senate Office Building.

9:36 a.m. Close door to office and call best friend and laugh about the guy who spent the night at your condo. Point out something annoying about best friend’s boyfriend but quickly add ‘It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, just as long as you love him.’

10:15 a.m. Leave office, telling your secretary you are ‘meeting with some of your boss’s constituents.’ Pretend not to notice her insubordinate roll of the eyes (or the cloying ‘poem’ she has tacked to her cubicle wall).

10:30 a.m. Hair appointment for highlights and trim. Purchase Aveda anti-humectant pomade.

11:30 a.m. Run into personal trainer at gym. Pester him about getting you ‘Human Growth Hormones.’ Spend 30-minutes talking to friends on your cell phone. Cardio for 30-minutes; lift weights for 20.

12:50 p.m. Tan. Schedule back-waxing in time for Saturday party where you know you will end up shirtless.

1:05 p.m. Pay trainer for anabolic steroids and schedule a workout. Shower, dry and dress while taking ten minutes to knot your red-striped rep tie while you check-out your best friend’s boyfriend undress with the calculation of someone used to wearing a ‘g-string thong’ and having dollars stuffed in his crotch.

1:40 p.m. Meet someone for whom you only know his waist, chest and penis size from Manhunt for lunch at the ‘hot, new restaurant.’ Because the maître d’ recognizes you from the The Crew Club, you are whisked past the Christian heterosexual couples who have been waiting patiently for a table since 1:00 p.m.

2:30 p.m. ‘Dessert at your place.’ Find out, once again, people lie on Manhunt.

3:33 p.m. Make your way to Capitol Hill. Make sure the senator for whom you are an aide votes ‘lock-step’ against your personal interests.

5:00 p.m. Take a disco-nap to prevent facial wrinkles from being so ‘terribly witty.’

6:00 p.m. Open a fabulous new bottle of Pinot Grigio.

6:47 P.M. Bake Ketamine for the weekend. Test recipe. Call ‘Juan’ to score some ‘X’ and ‘White Lady’ (really, just for friends) tomorrow before heading to Delaware for the weekend.

7:00 P.M. Go to Abercrombie & Fitch and announce in a loud voice, ‘Over! So way over!’

7:40 P.M. Stop looking at the A&F photographic displays and the ‘hottie’ retail-boys and go to ‘cool store’ to shop for a new bathing suit (“Does this make me look fat?”) for the weekend in Rehobeth.

8:30 p.m. Light dinner with ‘catty’ homosexual friends at a restaurant you will be ‘over’ by the time it gets its first review in the ‘Washington Blade.’

10:30 p.m. Cocktails at JR’s, trying to avoid alcoholic queens who can’t navigate a crowd with a Stoli in a cheap plastic cup. Get plastered. Invite one of the alcoholic queens home with you.

12:00 a.m. ‘Nightcap at your place.’ Find out that people lie in bars, too.”

Rinse-and-repeat.
posted by ericb at 2:35 PM on August 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Pew report on religion and sexuality indicate that evangelicals believe by more than 20% over other religious Christian sects that homosexuality is mutable, and a lifestyle choice rather than immutable biology.

That takes us back in the circle, though: those Evangelicals define "homosexuality" the way one defines "smoker." The desire to smoke does not make one a smoker; rather, smoking does. Being sexually attracted to members of the same gender is not a sin, but sexual intimacy with them is.

Yes, it's understood that this means some people may never end up having sex with someone they are attracted to, period, end of story. As Valkyryn has noted, the idea of sacrifice and suffering due to the broken nature of the world is baked into much Christian theology.

I can say from experience with close friends and relatives that the reality of a gay Christian living an abstinent life is far more difficult and trying than that of (say) a monk, priest, or nun living a heterosexual abstinent life. Guitarist Doug Pinnick of the band King's X is an excellent, if depressing, example. He came out of the closet and, despite his insistent that he was living an abstinent lifestyle, his band was immediately dropped by the Christian record label that had carried it. A long-time friend is (coincidentally) Pinnick's godson, and the several-degrees-of-separation view of his struggle to stay a part of the church has been kind of heartbreaking. He's been interviewed about the issue a number of times, and each one felt like another snapshot in a trip through depression: he's had to grapple with the fact that no matter what his actions are, he is an inappropriate role model, an unacceptable public figure, and an unclean outsider in the circle of faith that he had made his home.

Today, he self-identifies as an agnostic.
posted by verb at 2:45 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pointing out someone's hypocrisy is NOT ad-hominem. It is directly referencing their logical inconsistency. Perfectly acceptable.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:45 PM on August 13, 2012


Calling someone a hypocrite - even if you're correct - is definitionally an ad hominen argument.
posted by kavasa at 2:54 PM on August 13, 2012


verb: " That takes us back in the circle, though: those Evangelicals define "homosexuality" the way one defines "smoker." The desire to smoke does not make one a smoker; rather, smoking does. Being sexually attracted to members of the same gender is not a sin, but sexual intimacy with them is."

Yes, and as I said above, this false separation of act from essence is an oh-so-convenient position for them to take when they want to lobby for discriminatory legislation against gay people.

Really, it's not all that much different from the contorted thinking behind the US Constitution's legal classification of black slaves as only "3/5" of a human being, to say they don't have the same rights as the majority.
posted by zarq at 2:57 PM on August 13, 2012


Calling someone a hypocrite - even if you're correct - is definitionally an ad hominen argument.

But it isn't the logical fallacy referred to as ad hominem. For it to be a fallacy the personal attack must be irrelevant.

For example, if I said Governor Christie of New Jersey would be a bad President because he is a big fattie, that would be an ad hominem. If I said he would be a bad President because he is corrupt, that would not be an ad hominem. (Note: I have no reason to believe he is corrupt except that he is a politician.)

See? That he is fat is attacking the man with an irrelevancy. If he were corrupt that would not be irrelevant despite being just as much a personal attack.
posted by Justinian at 3:00 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pointing out someone's hypocrisy is NOT ad-hominem. It is directly referencing their logical inconsistency. Perfectly acceptable.

The logical consistency of their argument has nothing to do with their personal beliefs, behaviors, etc. Unless their argument is, "I am not gay," and they are at that moment fucking a dude, the argument is unaffected.

Mind you, in the public arena we're not having debate club. In that context, the realization that someone is privately engaging in behavior that they publicly condemn often causes people to dismiss the public condemnation.


Yes, and as I said above, this false separation of act from essence is an oh-so-convenient position for them to take when they want to lobby for discriminatory legislation against gay people.

Sure, but there's a long history of Christian theology that emphasizes the difference between "I desire X" and "I did X." It's not something that they invented for the purposes of discrimination.
posted by verb at 3:01 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


For example, if I said Governor Christie of New Jersey would be a bad President because he is a big fattie, that would be an ad hominem. If I said he would be a bad President because he is corrupt, that would not be an ad hominem. (Note: I have no reason to believe he is corrupt except that he is a politician.)

Are you arguing that Jonathan Merrit's assertion (that gay-rights advocates should continue to eat at CFA because boycotts are fundamentally ineffective and counter-productive) is invalidated by his sexual practices?
posted by verb at 3:03 PM on August 13, 2012


His biography says he's done over 300 articles for national media organs, but I just can't tell why.

Is that a Freudian slip?

According to the language I've described above, homosexual desire would count as "broken" but homosexual actions would count as "sinful."


It seems to me that most of these guys publicly hate the sinner but privately love the sin.
posted by futz at 3:05 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Calling someone a hypocrite - even if you're correct - is definitionally an ad hominen argument.

Actually, there's quite a bit of argument in this area. Some people would call this an ad hominem tu quoque, or "you, too" fallacy. Others think that saying one thing and doing another (while not acknowledging it) is a legitimate logical error, not a fallacy. It comes down to whether or not you believe it's germane to the argument.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:08 PM on August 13, 2012


Merritt's biography provides a list of articles he has written. Going through some of them, I am definitely not getting the impression that he is virulently homophobic and campaigning against same-sex marriage. In fact, his principle focus seems to be that evangelical Christianity needs to step away from the so-called culture war. Evangelical shift on gays: Why 'clobber scriptures' are losing ground is one example of the occasional article he has written regarding homosexuality or same-sex marriage. His own personal views are hard to determine from his writing, perhaps his books are more clear, but he mostly seems to argue that the evangelical church needs to re-examine itself or risk becoming irrelevant to future generations.

Regardless of his personal religious views regarding same-sex marriage or homosexuality, from what I can tell, he has actually been advocating for positive changes in evangelical Christianity toward homosexuality. If that is the case, his outing was probably not a good thing, but I can only hope that it leads to positive changes for him.
posted by jamincan at 3:42 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am honestly curious. Are there any contemporary examples of a well-known person who has been outed who ends up killing themselves over having been exposed?

ericb: This is a notable case.
posted by reiichiroh at 3:54 PM on August 13, 2012


Another article from him directly addressing same-sex marriage: Why Our Generation Doesn't Care About Prop 8.
posted by jamincan at 3:56 PM on August 13, 2012


rtha: “What if the outing isn't related to homosexuality? Are you asserting that it's never okay to reveal a politician's hypocrisy?”

Yeah, actually – I almost brought up an example of this earlier. If a politician is "outed" for cheating on his wife, it's the same. Any time people are shamed publicly as some sort of punishment for being wrong, I think it's really problematic. It creates a society where shame is basically a blunt instrument to be used at every opportunity, rather than a society that keeps shame in check and deals in ideas, not tawdry scandal.

ericb: “It's not shaming unless you believe being gay is wrong!”

I love the naïveté engendered by the fact that we've built a pretty solid community of tolerance – I really do – but that is not how the world works. Merritt feels shame, those who agree with him believe he should be ashamed, and yes, society at large believes it's shameful to be gay. It's shaming, whether we and the people doing it want to believe that or not.
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Outing somebody as a hypocrite is an ad hominem argument, yes. It should not be used as part of an argument.

However, we are not having an argument with homophobes. They are not sitting at one side of the table with their facts and figures and making reasoned debates. They have, instead, declared war. And we know what their victory would look like, because they used to be victors:

-- Gay people would be imprisoned for being gay
-- Gay people would be declared insane for being gay
-- Gay people could be fired for being gay
-- Gay people could get beaten to death for being gay
-- Gay people could be lobotomized for being gay
-- Gay people would live lives in fear and shame for being gay

And this is not a debate, because the other side is immune to facts. This is not the marketplace of ideas. These are opposite sides of a cultural war. And when somebody has declared war on you, and the actual results of that war are imprisonment and death, you don't use tools of debate. You use tools of war.

Ad hominem or not, outing somebody who is at war with you is a survival tool. I will never criticize somebody for doing anything they can to defend themselves in a time of war.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:04 PM on August 13, 2012 [21 favorites]


As to outing; well, I don't want details of my straight sex life revealed. I don't see how it is different if I was gay.

Fortunately no one needs to reveal those details, because you are not concealing your straightness. In fact, simply by looking and acting "straight" in public, you are answering all sorts of unasked questions about your sexuality.

When a politician appears somewhere with his wife and kids, he is revealing details about his sex life -- he is presenting himself as a sexually active heterosexual. That's the kind of information that a would be considered "private" to a closeted homosexual, right? His sexual orientation and sexual activity? But as long as you're straight, it's not terribly private.

If you were gay and you showed up at an event with your gay partner and your adopted kids, you'd be making a "statement." You would be rubbing people's noses in it, and even some gays would criticize you for reinforcing heteronormative family structures, etc. that not all gays aspire to. (Funny that single, childless straight people don't seem to feel nearly as misrepresented by public figures with big families.)

Anyhow, it's not important that you understand HOW it would be different if you were gay. All that's important is that you understand that IT IS different.
posted by hermitosis at 4:08 PM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Regarding outing: I guess I sort of look at it in a different light from most of the folks in this thread. Were I ever in a position to out some sort of publicly-conservative pundit or politician, I'd ask myself "how likely is it that this dude is going to kill himself?"

I am honestly curious. Are there any contemporary examples of a well-known person who has been outed who ends up killing themselves over having been exposed?

ericb: This is a notable case.


Not what I'm looking for. Tyler was a freshman student at Rutgers. He was not "some sort of publicly-conservative pundit or politician."

My curiosity relates to any contemporary celebrity, politician, etc. who has committed suicide after being outed.
posted by ericb at 4:08 PM on August 13, 2012


Any time people are shamed publicly as some sort of punishment for being wrong, I think it's really problematic.

I look at it as being outed for lying, not for being wrong. Perhaps that's where our disconnect comes in. If you are running a family values campaign and you yammer about how being a a faithful husband and father proves that you are the better candidate, but you are not actually faithful - I'm not calling you out because you're wrong about what makes a better candidate. I'm calling you out because your pants are on fire, and I, as a citizen responsible for helping to hire people (i.e. my representatives), well, I would like to know that you're a liar, and what you're lying about.
posted by rtha at 4:17 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


It creates a society where shame is basically a blunt instrument to be used at every opportunity, rather than a society that keeps shame in check and deals in ideas, not tawdry scandal.

Shame is not the operative factor here. You keep bringing up shame but most people intuitively grasp that it is the complete lack of sincerity and not shame that undermines the authority of hypocrites. And often just the opposite happens: people advocate for the rights of people to engage in 'impolite' behavior (say panhandling, porn, or doing drugs) that they themselves would never engage in or allow their children to engage in. Are such people shamed by the revelation that they are morally upstanding?

And episodes like this are always good for a chuckle and thus I strongly approve. Modern American Christianity is a joke and you can never have enough jokes! The real punch-line here, remember, is the absurd notion that Merrit is an exception, that in fact there aren't thousands of "good Christian boys" out there who leap at the first guy who sends them an admiring text message only later to whine about their "brokenness." But there are and it really ought to be something we can laugh at.
posted by nixerman at 4:35 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


People who work to create a second-class status for their fellow citizens should be ashamed. People who do so while masking that they are one of those people who, were they not hiding, would be also made second class should be doubly shamed.

They should not be shamed for being gay. They should be shamed for being awful.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:37 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Benny: Actually, there's quite a bit of argument in this area. Some people would call this an ad hominem tu quoque, or "you, too" fallacy. Others think that saying one thing and doing another (while not acknowledging it) is a legitimate logical error, not a fallacy. It comes down to whether or not you believe it's germane to the argument.

It certainly is germaine if the person in question is trying to establish themselves as an authority based on those moral values, which is something I think is central to the moral conservative anti-gay position.

rtha: I look at it as being outed for lying, not for being wrong.

It's not just lying, it's the power. And if you use your media pulpit and/or your political privilege to threaten or demonize the people you privately take advantage of, it's an abusive and unethical relationship. Ray Cohn is perhaps the most extreme example.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:06 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a video interview with the guy who outed Merritt.

Oh, and really? Christianboy is still deep in denial.

"Sure, I sucked c*ck, but it was only one! Ever. Really! Well, Except for that abuser I still fantasize about after all this time.

It's just really unfortunate that the one guy I ever sexted and went down on was a reasonably well-known blogger who chose to out me. How statistically unlucky of me!

I'm not gay... I'm broken! But I'm asking for foregiveness, so I'm saved! Hallelujah! I'm not gay anymore... just a bit broken... just like all of you! Hallelujah!

I'm going to be appearing at Holy Shepard's on Friday, so be sure to catch my act. And please be sure tip your pastors. Amen!"

posted by markkraft at 5:17 PM on August 13, 2012


It is, BTW, not an argument that's limited to the LGBT community. Discussions of the ethics of passing privilege happen WRT race/ethnicity and religion as well.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:26 PM on August 13, 2012


I think it's deeply weird that the exact same action would be taken both by someone who is homophobic ("I want to expose all gay people working in the media!") and by someone who wants to eliminate homophobia ("I want to expose hypocritical homophobes!"). They can't both be right.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:06 PM on August 13, 2012


How are those actions the same?
posted by rtha at 6:20 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's deeply weird that the exact same action would be taken both by someone who is homophobic ("I want to expose all gay people working in the media!") and by someone who wants to eliminate homophobia ("I want to expose hypocritical homophobes!"). They can't both be right.

Sure they can.

I feel like I say this frequently on MetaFilter... but it's been a major thing in the gay rights movement even before Stonewall that coming out is paramount. The more people who are out, the more people who will know gay people, the more people who won't find homosexuality as something foreign or to be feared, the more accepted being gay will be.

Now, in the case of that hypothetical someone who is homophobic you postulate, they want to out gay people in the media because they are still living in the cultural norms of the past, believing that homosexuality is shameful and can destroy careers. That's a worldview which may still exist in pockets but is rapidly disappearing, thank goodness.

In the case of that hypothetical someone who wants to eliminate homophobia, it isn't the person's homosexuality which they are seeking to expose, but rather their hypocrisy. If there's any shame contained in the exposure of their sexuality, it is contained within them, and has been all along because of the closeted life they are living.

As we move forward, out of our time of darkness into our time of acceptance, it will be increasingly difficult for outing people to be an effective tool for anything, EXCEPT in the case of hypocrisy. Because while we are as a culture becoming more accepting of gay and lesbian people, we aren't becoming more accepting of hypocrites.
posted by hippybear at 6:27 PM on August 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Are people no longer fond of the Barney Frank rule? No closets for homophobes. You don't get to both actively persecute people for something while quietly doing the same thing. Don't want to be outed? Don't make life harder for gay people, which is something that is your moral fucking imperative anyway.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:35 PM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


The Barney Frank Rule of Outing Gay Politicians
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on August 13, 2012


The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm .... It's pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin.

Shit like this just cracks me up. And makes me want to punch things.


Yeah, it's annoyingly dismissive of even the possibility that love or respect can be in the equation for homosexuals. It also is a worldview that probably has to be in denial about the existence of bisexuality as anything but a transition stage. Or a worldview that's more possible for people who are gay and in complete denial.

But I still remember a moment when I was dating a bisexual woman who'd just had a lesbian relationship and she said something like I was going to show you on yours, but then I realized I couldn't. I can understand how someone could briefly draw the wrong conclusions in general about same sex sexuality, until they actually talked to someone about their relationships.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:41 PM on August 13, 2012


The Catholic Church is a huge actor in this field and a large supplier of adoption services in places where they haven't been forced out of it by government regulation (Massachusetts, Washington, D.C.).

ITYM chose to stop doing good because they were no longer able to enforce their petty bigotries, all the while believing they still should be above the law because they serve god.

The Catholic Church had the choice to continue adoption work but at the "cost" of allowing gay couples to adopt too (shock, horror), but apparantly Christian charity is only done if it doesn't benefit the gays.

Don't even try to justify this with guff about the welfare of children. How important that is for the Church has been made abundantly clear in the past fifty years.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:08 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


hippybear: " Now, in the case of that hypothetical someone who is homophobic you postulate, they want to out gay people in the media because they are still living in the cultural norms of the past, believing that homosexuality is shameful and can destroy careers. That's a worldview which may still exist in pockets but is rapidly disappearing, thank goodness.

In the case of that hypothetical someone who wants to eliminate homophobia, it isn't the person's homosexuality which they are seeking to expose, but rather their hypocrisy. If there's any shame contained in the exposure of their sexuality, it is contained within them, and has been all along because of the closeted life they are living.
"

It's not entirely contained within the individual who's closeted though, is it? I mean, in 2008, Southworth experienced the consequences of his coming out from the Christian community. They shunned him en masse, and four Christian television networks quickly yanked his show off the air. The Remix was a pretty popular show, too. Coming out certainly trashed his career.

This has always been part of the problem with outing people: when you expose someone as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, the community they have been hiding it from will cast judgements about their sexuality, not just their hypocrisy or lying. And often, there will be negative responses. Transgender folks in particular still have to worry about violence if they come out and of course that's still an issue for the entire LGBT community, too. Politicians still need to worry about being ousted from office (for their sexual orientation, not just hypocrisy.)

I agree with you that the worldview you're describing is disappearing. But I'm not convinced it's been reduced to pockets just yet. This is still a very religious country, and religion is the source of much of American animosity towards gays.
posted by zarq at 7:12 AM on August 14, 2012


MartinWisse: " The Catholic Church had the choice to continue adoption work but at the "cost" of allowing gay couples to adopt too (shock, horror), but apparantly Christian charity is only done if it doesn't benefit the gays."

They shuttered their program in Illinois, too, I believe.

I'm not well-versed on the situation, but wasn't it just that the states pulled their funding, saying that they couldn't discriminate against people and receive taxpayer funds.

Could the Church have conceivably continued to function as a private adoption agency?
posted by zarq at 7:19 AM on August 14, 2012


In DC Catholic Charities refuses to do adoptions for gay parents. They also stopped offering any partner benefits at all to people who work there because DC passed a gay marriage law, and Catholic Charities did not want to have to offer benefits to same-sex partners.

(This is a bit beside the point, but I have a standing philosophical question as to whether or not it's permissible, under the National Association for Social Workers Code of Ethics, which takes as one of it's fundamental principles that, "social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person," for social workers to work for Catholic Charities given their practices. Which is too bad, because they certainly do good work in other spheres.)
posted by OmieWise at 7:59 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


jamincan: "Merritt's biography provides a list of articles he has written. Going through some of them, I am definitely not getting the impression that he is virulently homophobic and campaigning against same-sex marriage"

Yeah. I think we're pretty severely mischaracterizing this guy here, without any real citations.

Is he wrongheaded? Absolutely. On the other hand, I'm having a really tough time slapping the 'anti-gay hypocrite' label on his forehead.

His motives seem to revolve around confusion, rather than hate. I'm definitely not happy that the guy has a pulpit, but I haven't seen anything in his writing that's explicitly terrible.
posted by schmod at 9:27 AM on August 14, 2012


Could the Church have conceivably continued to function as a private adoption agency?

Yes, but they would still have to abide by anti-discriminatory laws and place children in same-sex homes, as they had already done before.

In 2006:
Romney said he could not unilaterally exempt them, but he floated the idea of a new religious-exemption law that would enable him to do so. Legislative leaders said such a proposal would never pass the Legislature. Seeing little chance of any immediate legal remedy and on the verge of processing more gay adoptions this year, Catholic Charities of Boston announced on March 10 that it would shut down its century-old adoption service. Within hours of the announcement, the governor filed the bill requested by Catholic leaders. *
Of course, it went no where.

As a result of that appeal:
Seven members of the Catholic Charities Board resigned Wednesday to protest the Massachusetts Roman Catholic bishops' request that Catholic social service agencies be exempted from a law requiring them to place some adoptive children in gay households.

In a statement, the seven board members said they were "deeply troubled" by the bishops' request, and said it "undermines our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.

"We also cannot participate in an effort to pursue legal permission to discriminate against Massachusetts citizens who want to play a part in building strong families," the statement read.

"The course the Bishops have charted threatens the very essence of our Christian mission. For the sake of the poor we serve, we pray they will reconsider."
posted by ericb at 9:42 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fundamentally, the historic Christian take on this is that it doesn't matter to whom you are sexually attracted. The doctrine is that there is only one kind of relationship--heterosexual marriage--which can ethically have a sexual component, and that everyone not in that kind of relationship is to refrain from sexual activity. Period. Desire doesn't enter into it.

Just one in a long list of reasons why Christianity is poisonous to humanity on a fundamental level.
Only if you take that "historic Christian take" at all seriously, which would be a mistake. The obsession with people's fiddly bits and what we do with it is very much a modern obsession, just like the "Evangelic Christian" stance on abortion was manufactured in the seventies to get the fundies voting Republican.

I grew up in the Dutch bible belt, as respectably reformed (Gereformeerd rather than Hervormd if that means anything to y'all) as you could wish and really, homosexuality was never a priority, mainly accepted as something some people can be, with of course plenty of people who thought it a sin, but not important enough to make a political point out of it.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:01 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am honestly curious. Are there any contemporary examples of a well-known person who has been outed who ends up killing themselves over having been exposed?

And if the person outed is a noted homophobe who has made his living inflaming hatred of gay people, should we feel sorry for him when he tops himself, or appreciate the irony that his own hatred ended up killing him?

Should we care too much about the potential of harm coming to people who are doing their best to harm us?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:15 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd find it hard ti give a shit if they did unto themselves as they would do unto others, TBH. Not that it ever happens - he'll get a beard or whatever the current fashion is. It's the people who aren't hypocritical little turds that are in trouble.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on August 14, 2012


The obsession with people's fiddly bits and what we do with it is very much a modern obsession, just like the "Evangelic Christian" stance on abortion was manufactured in the seventies to get the fundies voting Republican.

I grew up in the Dutch bible belt, as respectably reformed (Gereformeerd rather than Hervormd if that means anything to y'all) as you could wish and really, homosexuality was never a priority, mainly accepted as something some people can be, with of course plenty of people who thought it a sin, but not important enough to make a political point out of it.


I think if you look at history at all, you'll find that Europe took it upon itself about 400 years ago to find ways to convince a lot of their extremist view Christian cult groups to leave and go someplace else. They did themselves a huge favor with that. Sad thing is, where they went to has turned into where I live now.
posted by hippybear at 7:05 PM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


A lot of those guys were socialists too!

Somehow the slaver assholes down in Virginia ended up setting your cultural tone.
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on August 14, 2012


Well, them and the Puritans.

The Great Awakening movements didn't help much either.
posted by hippybear at 7:11 PM on August 14, 2012


Should we care too much about the potential of harm coming to people who are doing their best to harm us?

Yes.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:03 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess the discussions about semantics have irritated me a tad. My stance--and I truly believe it should be everyone in the universe's stance, too--is that you support a legal marriage between two people who love each other and want to make a lifelong commitment to each other. If you don't, you're wrong. Yep, that's my argument. YOU'RE WRONG. And I will happily out anyone who merely expresses a belief contrary to that position. Because I'm sick and fucking tired of my fellow human beings having to fight so damn hard for something that was guaranteed to them in the constitution.
posted by Kokopuff at 6:44 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who wants to admit I support the outing of advocates of anti-gay causes because I dislike them and want them to suffer?
posted by tehloki at 10:53 AM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kerry Gauthier, Minnesota Rep. (Duluth, D.) Remains Silent In Rest-Stop Gay Sex Scandal.
posted by ericb at 5:44 PM on August 21, 2012


« Older The comparative experience thus suggests that for ...  |  The highest possible resolutio... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments