Clegg: All in the family

Quaker Meeting

On Tuesday I had the privilege to listen to a speech delivered by Glenn Stanton, director of Focus on the Family, in favor of abolishing no-fault divorce. For those uninitiated, Focus on the Family is an advocacy group that describes itself as “a global Christian ministry” that is “dedicated to helping families thrive.” Also to “deporting gays” (probably). But I digress. It was in pursuit of the goal of “helping families thrive” that Mr. Stanton addressed the Yale Political Union on Tuesday, saying that unless married couples are legally prohibited from separating simply because they want to, the U.S. will become the next Sodom.

Okay, so he didn’t actually refer to Sodom. Probably because the word makes him uncomfortable. But he did make an impassioned plea for the government to abolish married people’s right to fall out of love.

Whatever you think of no-fault divorce, there’s no denying that a guy like Stanton really, really cares about the family. Which is why I wanted to look at Focus on the Family a little more deeply, to see if there were any ways that I, personally, could better focus on the family in my daily life.

I checked out their website. Here are my findings:

On what to do if you suspect your teen child might be gay: Always remember that “a good parent-child relationship is one of the best defenses against homosexuality.”

On watching pornography: Don’t.

On reading “Harry Potter”: Don’t.

Having read enough of the website to get a gist of what FOTF is all about, I was ready to go out and focus on the family for myself. The only problem was, I didn’t know how! I had no children, so I couldn’t worry over whether they would grow up to be attracted to the wrong gender. I had no wife, so keeping my marriage together in the face of a decadent, sinful culture was out of the question. And I had already read “Harry Potter,” so I was probably going to hell anyway, even though I’d forgotten how to do most of the spells.

So the question remained: how could I focus on the family? Luckily for me, I stumbled upon another pro-family group. This one was called the National Organization for Marriage. Led by Maggie Gallagher — whose previous work experience includes holding Han Solo prisoner in her Tatooine crime lair — this organization had “family” written all over it. It was right there on the website: “For decades, pro-family organizations have educated the public about the importance of marriage and the family, but have lacked the organized, national presence needed to impact state and local politics in a coordinated and sustained fashion.”

Again, for the uninitiated among you, this means that Gallagher and her friends have formed a national advocacy group based on the position that the gays are icky, and that it would be great if they would stop trying to have families, please.

And then it dawned on me: I had been way over-thinking the “focus on the family” issue. I didn’t need to be married or have children in order to prize family values. All I had to do was actively believe that gay people are worse than regular people!

I’ve got to tell you, this makes a lot of sense. Don’t believe me? Just look at the horrified testimonies of children whose parents have come out of the closet, courtesy again of the Focus on the Family website: “It was a big shock when my dad came out to me. I started crying,” and “You don’t want people to know [that you have a gay parent] … You don’t know what they’ll think of you and your family.”

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. These negative reactions have nothing to do with anything intrinsically wrong with homosexuality, but are the direct cause of groups like FOTF and NOM actively stigmatizing homosexuals! And anyway, couldn’t we better “focus on the family” by embracing all kinds of loving relationships, rather than ones that are illogically and narrowly prescribed?

Spoken like a true homosexual. Get some help. Jesus is waiting.

River Clegg is a senior in Davenport College. His column runs on alternate Thursdays.

Comments

  • The Anti-Yale

    Yours is the first generation in my lifetime to grow up with no universally accepted cultural gender definitions.

    Since my only sibling, my own brother, ‘came out’ at age 47 after 25 years of marriage and having raised a then 16 year old son, I do not speak with the detached aloofness of an observer.

    I supported my brother every step of his journey through the final seconds of his life until he died of AIDS at age 57 eight years ago.

    His mainline Protestant church had cold-shouldered him after his emergence in a new life, so he converted to a new age church ( he lived on the West Coast aka the ‘left coast’) which enfolded him in loving arms, even posthumously at his memorial service.

    Why am I sharing these personal details? Because Mr. Clegg’s article raises a larger point about life: Since we only go through this journey ONCE, what should we do with our energy? Love or hate? Trust or fear? Think or parrot?

    Society’s very Aristotelian polarities (male/female) are in an amazing state of flux ; your generation’s journey may be easier than my brother’s generation’s journey has been.

    I wish you all well.

    PK

  • River Tam

    Low hanging fruit. Someone’s getting senioritis.

  • phantomllama

    Mr. Clegg also gave an exceedingly tasteless speech at the debate with Mr. Stanton, it should be noted.

  • penny_lane

    Honestly, people stupid enough to believe that homosexuality and the quality of the parent-child relationship have anything to do with one another have the mockery coming. Since logic seems to roll off them like water off a duck’s back, we might as well shame them into silence.

    As for this sentence…
    “These negative reactions have nothing to do with anything intrinsically wrong with homosexuality, but are the direct cause of groups like FOTF and NOM actively stigmatizing homosexuals!”
    …I think, Mr. Clegg, that you are mixing up the terms “cause” and “result” or “effect.” Though I guess it does go both ways.

  • maggiegallagher1960

    As a Yale grad, Class of ’82, I would note: I did not see Glenn Stanton’s speech. No clue why my name was dragged into Roger’s comment’s on Stanton’s speech.

    But the idea that we are made male and female, and the whole society has an interest in bringing together male and female to make and raise the next generation–will survive his sophmoric (even though a senior) comments.

  • jnewsham

    Homophobia is tasteless.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Homophobia is a mental illness. Don’t ridicule the ill.

  • ignatz

    “Homophobia” does not denote the many, many people who believe that homosexuality is immoral. “Phobia” relates to things of which we are afraid, not to things we find reprehensible. Surely neither Glenn Stanton nor Maggie Gallagher is afraid of homosexuality. Why corrupt the language just to take a cheap shot at those with whom you disagree? Could it be because you have nothing else to offer?

  • River Tam

    Lol Roger Clegg called Maggie Gallagher fat.

    Good job Roger. Way to dig deep.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Nothing sophomoric about Mr. Clegg’s article.

    He raises important points abouit stigmatizing.

    Maybe we need to ask, WHY are folks stigmatizing gays?

    Could it be that that is the only way to herd people back to the heterosexual corral of procreation?

  • penny_lane

    ignatz, you can’t cite an etymology as a way of proving that a word does or does not mean something. Homophobia refers to hatred for and discrimination against homosexuals, which is certainly what Gallagher and Stanton engage in.

  • Inigo_Montoya

    [Roger Clegg][1] ≠ River Clegg

    (ie. you keep on a-using that name…I do not think it means what you think it means).

    [1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Clegg

  • ignatz

    penny_lane insists that “Homophobia” means “hatred for and discrimination against homosexuals,” even though “phobia” is a Greek suffix that denotes fear and only fear.

    Of course, hatred and discrimination are 2 very different things. So which is it, penny_lane? When you call someone a homophobe, are you accusing him of hatred? Or of discrimination? Does it depend on what you had for breakfast that day?

    As for your disparaging comment on etymology, all I can say is that your approach to language is a neat trick indeed. First you pervert English to stigmatize your opponent as “phobic” so you need never meet the substance of his argument. After all, a phobia is a mental illness, so how could a phobic person have anything coherent to say? But then you change the meaning of “phobic” to stigmatize your opponent as a hater.

    Such convoluted mind-games you play! Wouldn’t it be easier to explain in a forthright manner how homosexuality changed from being a sin (1500 B.C.E. to 1900), to being a mental illness (1900 to 1960), to being a lifestyle choice (1960 to 2010)?

  • penny_lane

    Let’s see, ignatz, you’ve got ad hominem, begging (or maybe just avoiding) the question, and reductio ad ridiculum all mixed together in there. If you want to be a good troll, that’s overkill: you’re going to have to be more subtle. If, on the other hand, you truly want me to respond to an argument, then you have to make one that isn’t a fallacy.

  • The Anti-Yale

    “. . . how homosexuality changed from being a sin (1500 B.C.E. to 1900), to being a mental illness (1900 to 1960), to being a lifestyle choice (1960 to 2010)?”

    For most of human history, people have needed someone to hate, to dump-on, in order to feel superior. Perhaps now with the eradication of the last of three hate objects (women, blacks, gays) we have reached a state of POTENTIAL enlightenment? Could that be the case/

    Oh, I forgot. RELIGION.

  • maggiegallagher1960

    Fat and Gay Marriage

    You know, among the sophmoric things Mr.Clegg does is refer to my degree of fatness as if that were relevant to the future of marriage.

    It’s hard for me to believe than an elite insittution like Yale would produce comments like that. I mean, I know I’m fat. Everyone can see I’m fat. What has that to do with the future of marriage?

    Like I said: sophomoric.

    If I lost enough weight would Mr. Glegg concluse gay marriage is wrong?

    If he says so, I’ll take that challenge.

  • penny_lane

    “Maggie”- No, he’d probably just compare “you” to someone skinny and evil rather than someone fat and evil. On the other hand, it’s not just the fatness, there’s actually a pretty good facial resemblance going there^. Same round face, flat nose, large, wide-set eyes, perpetual look of grumpy smugness…Also, it’s not just about insulting “your” appearance. The point is that Gallagher clearly doesn’t care about families, just about denying gay people the right to have a family, just as Jabba doesn’t really care about having Han Solo’s debt paid so much as having power over him. Not misguided, just evil.

    ^Compare: http://schema-root.org/people/career/commentators/maggie_gallagher/maggie_gallagher.jpg
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_otBAF8yodMQ/S7_AkzHfwwI/AAAAAAAAAFQ/wrV2ylk7x6g/s1600/Jabba_Hutt-Sideshow-l.jpg

  • ignatz

    Let me see if I can grasp your “logic” here. (1) If I call someone else’s conduct sinful, then I’m a hater. (2) If I urge other people to avoid that same sinful conduct, then I’m engaged in discrimination. (3) And either way, I’m phobic. Tell me, penny_lane, have you actually taken any English courses?

  • ByZaika

    if anyone in my family admitted to being gay….i’d be destroyed….

  • RexMottram08

    What is this junk? Scribbled bloggings after too many Bass Cafe coffees?

    Keep attacking straw men… you are missing the broad support for traditional marriage…

    Reminder: “Gay marriage” has FAILED every time it has been put in front of the voters.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Rex:

    If we used your voter referendum logic we’d still have slavery: The Emancipation Proclamation would never have been signed.

    PK

  • RexMottram08

    The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t give slaves a new right. It recognized one (freedom) that they already possessed due to their humanity.

    “Gay marriage” is not a right because not every human relationship possesses the necessary and sufficient requirements for marriage.

  • The Anti-Yale

    WRONG: Slaves did NOT “possess” the right to their humanity. Their humanity had been expressly denied in Dredd Scott v. Sandford, when the U.S. Supreme Court said that slaves were “property” and could be sold for money.

    And what, pray tell, are “the necessary and sufficient requirements for marriage”? Interlocking procreative equipment?

    Marriage licences are part of the claptrap of government—especially its interest in seeing that social disease is not spread and that property can be transferred to heirs upon death.

    My Mother, as Assistant Registrar of Vital Statistics in Hamden, had as one of her duties, issuing applications for marriage licenses.

    One day in the 1960’s she got a phone call from a neighboring town clerk’s office, warning her that two men who had just been rejected there, were on their way to Hamden to apply for a marriage licence.

    My mother was alone in the office. My mother was also a Lady with a capital “L” and would never knowingly embarrass another person.

    What to do?

    She went to a neighboring office on an “errand’ and didn’t return until the gentlemen had left.

    Crisis averted.

    Problem NOT solved–even forty years later.

    PK

  • ByZaika

    i think in order to have any opinion on gay marriage, one must know gay people. any gays out here?

  • The Anti-Yale

    Zaika:

    My brother “became gay” when he was 50 after divorcing his wife;he died of AIDS at 57. He had a partner who I treated as I would an in-law, even though society treated him and my brother as out-law.

    Having met your criterion to comment on gay marriage, I do so now:

    Marriage?

    With the divorce rate at 50% why would anyone tangle themselves up in such a legal mess?

    I think gay people should be entitled to just as much litigation as straight people: Go ahead, make the divorce lawyers rich.

    PK

  • RexMottram08

    I suppose they no longer teach ontology at the Divinity School… if they ever did… IF they ever taught ANYTHING at that useless institution.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Ontogeny?

    What you actually mean is not Being but the Nature of Heterosexual Procreative Being.

    Try Sartre’s “Being and Nothingnes”s and report back.

    Follow the facts: babies are being made OUSTIDE of MARRIAGE just as easily and effectively as they are INSIDE of marriage.

    Religious customs designed to promote society’s needs for efficient property transfers at death and suppression of STD’s before birth, have little to do with the Nature of Being.

    When confronted with facts, throw mud at the Divines. Easy target.

  • The Anti-Yale

    Of course I meant Ontology.

    But that Freudian slip brings up one of my favorite axioms: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. If you really want to know about the NATURE of Being, observe the egg-to-embryo continuum.

  • ByZaika

    @ The Anti-Yale…..I completely agree with you on using gays to increase government revenue….however dudes turning gay at 50 and dying of AIDS is not something i’d want our kids to be exposed to.

  • The Anti-Yale

    I guess you’ll have to raise your kids in a terrarium then. And my brother was not a “dude”.

  • penny_lane

    PK–Zaika is a troll. Don’t feed him!

  • ByZaika

    PL—define troll

  • The Anti-Yale

    Thank you PL.

    I simply felt the need not to allow my brother’s memory to me mishandled—even if by a reputed troll.

    But, again, thank you.

    PK

  • penny_lane

    PK- Be careful, then, if you care about how your words/the things you care about are treated. Trolls latch onto what they know is important to you and use it to deliberately upset you so that you’ll engage with them (i.e., feed them). Responding to them can be a way of inviting more of the same.

    I’m kind of a small-town internet user, and Zaika is a small-town troll–and I think you fall into the same demographic (the real inner-city internet users with legit street cred being the users of 4chan and similar forums.) I learned most of what I know of trolls and how they work from Wikipedia and various articles–electronic communities and social rules are fascinating from a social psych perspective. Give it a read if you haven’t already: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

  • 11

    It’s worth noting that the social stigmatization Maggie received for being unattractive probably contributed to her turning to Catholicism and her antisocial degree of homophobia. On the one hand she probably deserved hate being thrown back at her, but on the other hand it’s kind of a tragic positive feedback system.

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