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Call For Production

February 25, 2010
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Vanessa posted about this abomination:

While headlines are popping up everywhere about how Miss Beverly Hills Lauren Ashley opposes same-sex marriage, where are the headlines about her contention that God thinks gays should be put to death? Here’s one (content may be upsetting):

“The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Ashley told FOX News. “In Leviticus it says, ‘If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.’ The Bible is pretty black and white.”
Oh, and there’s more:

“I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone…If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that’s a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life.”
But she adds to Fox News that she has lots of gay friends and “there’s no hate between [her] and anyone.” So since she has gay friends, it’s okay to think they should die for their sins! Unreal.

[Emphasis supplied.]

I’ll just omit all the obvious stuff here — Leviticus and shellfish and all the other forgotten abominations, the absence of any reference to gay sex or relationships in Jesus’ ministry, all that. I also want to skip past the emptiness of “some of my best friends are …” which is not a defense even if true.

I don’t think it’s true. I just want to call bullshit right at the most superficial level. I think whatever GLBT folks she knows, if they are out at all, they don’t know what she really thinks of them.

I think she is unable to actually produce any openly gay, lesbian or bi friends who will call themselves her friend in print or on broadcast media after what she said. I don’t think she can prove she actually has any gay, lesbian or bi friends who know her views, and any she had will turn their backs on her now that they know her views.

I think she’s just lying, and I call bullshit. Ashley, if you’re telling the truth, produce one. Show us what friend will stand by you even though you believe his, her or zir life is riddled with mortal sin.

[Edited to Add: I didn't know when I wrote this that Dan Savage said almost word for word the same thing on Olbermann: "I would like to see her [gay] friends produces, for the cameras, to give a quote too.”]

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2010 10:16 am

    She might actually have LGBT folks among her friends – they just might be self-haters who have no problems being friends with a homophobic person.

    Which is why the whole “some of my best friends are…” defense is not valid.

    24 years ago, in 1986, a young White South African immigrant man named Jon Lester led a mob of 21 other young White men in attacking a group of Black men walking through Howard Beach, Queens (one of the men was killed).

    Part of Lester’s defense was the fact that he had a Black girlfriend.

    That really didn’t matter – perhaps she was a self hating Black person (there are lots of them around), who didn’t have a problem dating a racist White male.

    Officer Justin Volpe, who was convicted of raping a man named Abner Louima who had been wrongly arrested after a bar brawl, had a Black fiancee – but the fact that Volpe was engaged to an African American woman did not in any way negate the fact that he raped a Black man while pelting him with racial slurs.

    So, I don’t think your challenge is at all valid – because Aslhey probably could produce a gay friend – which would in no way negate her homophobia.

    On the whole “absence of any reference to gay sex or relationships in Jesus’ ministry” thing – are you REALLY trying to argue that Christianity isn’t inherently homophobic here?

    First of all, it’s not even 100% clear that Jesus even existed – and even if he did, what Jesus allegedly said or didn’t say 2,000 years ago in Judea has absolutely nothing to do with the actual practice of the various denominations of Christianity in the two millenniums since then.

    It’s safe to say that all of the major denominations of the five main branches of Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Coptic and Mormon) are homophobic and always have been.

    Therefore, it’s safe to say that, as a religion, Christianity is homophobic (irregardless of what Jesus may or may not have said 2,000 years ago).

    Gregory A. Butler

  2. February 25, 2010 10:53 am

    Yeah, I understand all that. My point was, in addition to it not being a defense even if true, I don’t think it’s true. I think she’s lying.

    • February 25, 2010 11:46 am

      Do you have any evidence that she’s lying?

      I’d be more inclined to believe that she indeed does have gay friends – after all, she lives in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area and is in the entertainment field, so I’m quite sure she knows lots of gays – and might even consider some friends.

      Also, in my own life, I know women who are deeply homophobic fundamentalist Christians (that is to say,like this woman, they see homosexuality as an abomination against God, punishable by death) who also have gay male friends AND WHO DON’T SEE THAT AS A CONTRADICTION AT ALL.

      Based on that experience, I’m totally not surprised that a biblical homophobe in a major city would both have gay friends and see man-on-man sex as an abomination.

      Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that her gay friends are Christian and have the same basic view of homosexuality that she does!

      Trust me, the Christian churches here in Harlem are filled with gay men and lesbians (who do you think runs the choirs?) – and those churches practice the same form of homophobic born again Christianity that Lauren Ashley believes in.

      Gregory A. Butler

  3. February 25, 2010 10:56 am

    Oh, and no, I’m not trying to argue about whether Christianity is homophobic. I was rather arguing that Christianity has bent over backward to adopt homophobia (starting with that asshole who fell off his donkey) that is not evident in the surviving texts from the originator or his personal following.

    I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in supernatural beings and I don’t owe allegiance to anyone’s imaginary friend.

    • February 25, 2010 11:40 am

      Well, Saul/Paul is the dude who took Judaism’s Jesus cult, brought it into the Roman pagan mainstream and put it on a path to becoming first the Roman state religion and later the world’s number # 1 religious belief, so much of Christianity is based on what Saul believed.

      But that’s true with pretty much ALL of Christianity – including the homophobia (also, all the major Christian holidays, which are repurposed Roman pagan holidays)

      Considering that fact, what Jesus said or didn’t say – assuming Jesus even existed – is kind of irrelevant.

      I’m an atheist also.

      That is precisely why I don’t get into arguments about how this or that present oppressive practice of a religion is or isn’t the “authentic” form of that religion (which the kind of argument it sounds like you’re trying to make here).

      Gregory A. Butler

      • February 25, 2010 12:25 pm

        I’m agreeing with you.

        Christianity has little to do with a preacher from Nazareth, We don’t even know what that guy said, it was forty or so years of oral transmission before the first surviving written accounts appeared. Christianity is the edifice built by Paul and Augustine. But I do like to make “authenticity” arguments, because it tends to get conservative Christians back on their heels.

      • February 25, 2010 12:29 pm

        Then why make the argument – when it’s so much easier to go with “God does not exist, religion is a superstition”?*

        THAT argument REALLY gets conservative Christians “on their heels”!!!

        Gregory A. Butler

        * a “There Will Be Blood” reference.

      • February 25, 2010 12:35 pm

        Not in my experience. In my experience, that just ends the conversation. Which may or may not be the way one wants to play it, depending on the audience. I don’t talk to conservatives to reach them. I figure that’s low probability. I talk to conservatives only when others are watching. How I want that argument to do depends on who is watching. Stating your position, IME, is not always the way to win over the audience.

      • February 25, 2010 12:41 pm

        Apparently, I’m very different than you are – I’m all about stating my position.

        Put it this way, why debate how many angels can stand on the head of a pin IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN ANGELS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

        I’m not going to debate a believer about their belief in God or the details of it, nor am I going to get into a doctrinal argument (because they probably know more of the doctrinal stuff than I do) – I’ll just stick with “I’m an atheist” and that’s that.

        Also, if you get critical of one particular religion, folks assume that you are a partisan of another religion – but if you reject ALL religions equally, folks know you’re atheist.

        In my experience, when I’ve criticized Christianity, folks around here assumed I was a Muslim (because those are the main folks in the Black community who have a detailed critique of the Christian church) – so I’ve learned to steer clear of internal Christian doctrinal disputes, and just be a straightforward atheist.

        Gregory A. Butler

      • February 25, 2010 2:36 pm

        Well, what’s not irrelevant is that Jesus explicitly released his followers from the covenants of the Old Testament. Like those in Leviticus.

        Funny how those Bible-believin’ Christians always seem to gloss over that little bit of the Word of their Lord.

      • February 25, 2010 5:52 pm

        Zuzu,

        Well, I’ll leave that debate to the Christians.

        As far as I’m concerned, it’s their religion, so I’ll let them define their beliefs as they see fit, irregardless of what some long dead Israeli rabbi may or may not have said 2,000 years ago.

        I’ll just take the modern day Christian’s word for it that their religion is homophobic – and call them on the homophobia without getting in some theological debate with them about it (cause I don’t even believe in their god – or anybody else’s – anyway!)

        Of course, if you’re a Christian, and are set on reforming the religion from within, I could see why you would go that route (since their God is your God too)

        Gregory A. Butler

      • February 26, 2010 5:07 am

        Gregory- I totally agree with you on it being irrelevant to argue about things we don’t believe in, but it’s still satisfying to point out that they’re wrong even according to their own religious doctrine.

      • February 26, 2010 6:03 am

        Not for me it isn’t – besides, if homophobia is so widely accepted in Christianity (and it IS – most Christian denominations are flatly homophobic) then then Christian homophobes really aren’t “wrong” at all!

        On the other hand, I question why any gay man or lesbian would be a Christian – considering how homophobic the religion is.

        Gregory A. Butler

  4. epanalepsis permalink
    February 25, 2010 3:40 pm

    *scratches neck*

    Could it be that she is making a distinction between ‘practicing gay’ (i.e. sleeping with someone) – for lack of a better term – and, well, someone who’s not?

    That’s still incredibly dumb but it could also explain how she could have gay friends.

    So, basically I’m agreeing with Gregory Butler. I don’t think producing a gay friend could pose a big problem.

    Oh, and hi there. *waves* I’ve been following this blog for a while but haven’t commented yet.

    • February 25, 2010 9:19 pm

      Epanalepsis,

      I don’t know Lauren Ashley personally (and if it wasn’t for this scandal, i wouldn’t know who she is).

      But I DO know women who are fundamentalist Christians, who think that being gay is an abomination against God – but simultaneously have gay friends who they sincerely love. I can try and extrapolate from what I know about how those women think.

      Those women have no illusions about their gay friends being celibate – hell, sometimes they actually know their gay friend’s partner!

      I’m not sure how they manage that – perhaps they are holding out the hope that, at some point before their gay friend dies, they will be “saved”, renounce their sinful life and get right with Christ (in which case, all sins, great and small, are forgiven).

      This is a big part of how fundamentalists think – hell, there was a case where a biker who was on Missouri’s death row for raping and murdering a waitress his buddies had kidnapped as a sexual “birthday present” for him used that concept as the basis to petition for his death sentence to be commuted.

      The court disagreed – and he got the chair anyway, even though he’d been “saved”.

      I’m betting that Ashley thinks more or less that way.

      Sadly, I bet at least some of her gay friends to too – and it wouldn’t surprise me if they quite frequently pray to Jesus to come and ‘save” them from the “sin” of being gay.

      There are certainly many gay Christians where I live who think exactly like that too.

      Gregory A. Butler

  5. epanalepsis permalink
    February 27, 2010 7:31 am

    Gregory,

    I wasn’t really disagreeing with you; I only pointed out an alternate explanation for her way of thinking. But, yeah, I think your explanation is the more likely one. (Especially seeing as how I don’t know all that many Christian fundamentalists…).

    re the biker: I have no words. That’s totally messed up.

    • February 27, 2010 11:04 am

      TRIGGER WARNING [survivors might not want to read this post - and I should have put this on the last one too. But scroll down - there's non triggering stuff below!]

      Yeah, that biker guy…. and his buddies from his gang (oh, excuse me, “Motorcycle Club”) who kidnapped a restaurant worker so he could use her as his “birthday present” – the whole lot of them should have gotten the chair, one after the other!

      His clemency claim was based on the fact that, in the 10 years between his conviction and the governor of Missouri signing the death warrant, he had become born again in Jesus Christ and, therefore, had been absolved of his sins.

      Also, he’d been a model prisoner, had gotten his GED and an associates degree, was a volunteer in various prison social programs and hadn’t raped and killed anybody else.

      Of course, EVERYBODY finds God in prison – hell, prison administrators ENCOURAGE that, because religious prisoners are easier to control, and they actually give special privileges to religious prisoners – and him Getting Right With God is irrelevant as far as the Missouri DoC is concerned.

      I suspect that they didn’t want to set a precedent, and then everybody on death row would use their jailhouse conversion as an excuse to cheat the hangman.

      Hell, infamous serial killer Ted Bundy tried the same thing – he also blamed pornography for his 100 victim rape and murder spree, and he also held out on the locations of the bodies of his missing victims, basically trying to use their families to emotionally blackmail the Florida DoC into not killing him.

      That didn’t work for Ted either – and, like the Missouri biker, he met his high voltage calvalry on schedule

      [End TRIGGER WARNING - survivors can safely read the stuff below]

      I’m African American, and (basically because I had a White father) the Christianity of my childhood was a lot more liberal than typical Black Christianity. My dad was a Christian Socialist who didn’t go to church at all until I was in my late teens, and even then it was a very liberal Presbyterian church.

      So my biracial status saved me from all of that fundamentalist shit.

      But the relatives on the 100% African American side of my family are into typical hardcore fundamentalist African American Christianity, as are most of the African Americans I know, and many of the Latinos.

      Now, as you might know from reading statistics, there is a lot of “fornication” among African Americans – close to 70% of Black women who have had kids are unmarried.

      If it were possible to factor out conservative Muslim immigrants from West Africa, conservative Coptic Christian immigrants from Ethiopia, Haitians, folks from the English-speaking Caribbean and affluent and upper middle class American Blacks (I suspect most of the women with kids in those groups are lawfully married to the father of their children), I’d bet that number goes up into the 90% range.

      Also, there are a lot of gay African Americans – hell, Harlem, where I live, has had a vibrant gay community SINCE THE 1920′S – and the big gay community downtown in the West Village has a sizable African American contingent as well.

      And folks have no problem reconciling this.

      In fact, if you were to go up to a typical working class Black church in Harlem this Sunday, a huge proportion of the folks in the congregation would be single mothers who are not married to the fathers of their kids.

      Interspersed among them would be a lot of gays and lesbians – and the choir would almost certainly be led by a gay man, with may gays and lesbians in it’s ranks.

      And with with some of those LGBT folks, if you were to strike up a conversation with them after the service, it would be pretty damned obvious that they are basically openly LGBT.

      Basically, the way folks resolve the contradiction between what they believe and how they actually live is that the hold out the idea that, as long as they repent from these “sins” before they die, it’s all good, because Jesus will forgive – even if they live til age 11- and don’t repent until 2 hours before they die, they will be forgiven of EVERY SINGLE “SIN”.

      I believe Saul came up with that idea, and it’s as effective a recruiting pitch today as it was in Asia Minor 2000 years ago!

      Basically, Saul was the best salesperson in human history – he took a small heretical Jewish sect that mainly appealed to slaves, homeless people and sex workers and mass marketed it to the whole Roman world – putting it on track to be the global religion that it is today (and it has only one major sales competitor – Islam, which plays the Pepsi role to Christianity’s Coca Cola)

      Getting back on topic, I suspect strongly that White fundamentalist Christianity has a similar dynamic to it’s Black counterpart here (hell, they are theologically identical – the only difference is the fact that, even today, 45 years after the Civil Rights Act, the churches remain de facto segregated)

      That’s why I called the Lauren Ashley thing the way I did.

      Gregory A. Butler

    • February 27, 2010 11:10 am

      Oh yeah, DoC = “Department of Corrections” – the feds still call their prison service the “US Bureau of Prisons” but most of the states have been calling their prison agencies “Department of Corrections” for about the past 45 years or so, and most American prisons are, technically, “correctional facilities”

      Most African Americans know what DoC stands for – because so many of us have been sent to those places (often for victimless “crimes” like drugs or prostitution, or for stuff that a White defendant would have gotten probation for) so almost all of us know folks who’ve been “Up North”, to use the idiom used by Blacks in New York City to refer to folks being sent to jail (because all of the NYSDoCS facilities are in Upstate New York, which, of course, is north of NYC).

      NYSDoCS = “New York State Department of Corrections Services”, of course.

      I just realized that I assumed that you too would know what a DoC is, and I remembered that I don’t know your race – you might be a White person, and you might not know anybody who’s been locked up.

      Gregory A. Butler

      • epanalepsis permalink
        February 27, 2010 1:34 pm

        Gregory,

        Thank you for providing so much detailed information, both re the court case and, well, the background information. I hadn’t known what DoC, etc. stands for (*is white and European*) and hadn’t known about prisoners being encouraged to ‘find religion’ either.

        ‘Basically, the way folks resolve the contradiction between what they believe and how they actually live is that the hold out the idea that, as long as they repent from these “sins” before they die, it’s all good, because Jesus will forgive – even if they live til age 11- and don’t repent until 2 hours before they die, they will be forgiven of EVERY SINGLE “SIN”.’

        Aaaaah. Okay, got it. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around how people could reconcile this in any other way but the one I mentioned in my first comment (it was the only one I’d ever come across). Thank you. :-)

      • February 27, 2010 2:54 pm

        You are very welcome!

        That’s why I always go out of my way to explain stuff when I write – I never assume that my audience knows what I know.

        You’ve got me curious though – what part of Europe are you in?

        Having spent my entire life in an environment where fundamentalist Christianity was the default belief system (and the few non Christians I encountered were Muslims) it’s kind of hard for me to imagine what it’s like to be in an environment where folks don’t think like that!

        Gregory A. Butler

  6. epanalepsis permalink
    February 27, 2010 5:21 pm

    I’m German; Bavarian, to be exact. Bavaria is a very conservative and mostly Catholic region (except for Franconia). We take pride in tradition and being different to those ‘other Germans’ *winks*.

    On the other hand, we’re also quite progressive. (The motto ‘Laptop and Lederhosen’ pretty much sums it up).

    Religious environment: We’re a bit more, I don’t want to say ‘religious’ exactly but, meh, I think ‘conservative’ applies here, too. So, a bit more conservative than most other parts of Germany but not really fundamentalist Christians or anything. (Generally speaking, of course.). Catholics make up the biggest part (~57% in rural Bavaria): followed by Lutherans (about 20% of the population in rural Bavaria; I’m talking about the rural parts, because that’s where I grew up). So, while religion was an intrinsic part of my life, I haven’t had to deal with people going so far as to contend that queers/women who abort/etc deserve death. And when slurs and the like do come up, they are – very, very unfortunately – mostly based on people reminiscing about the Good Ol’ Times in the Third Reich*.

    * This is not the norm. There are some idiots (both young and old) who want AH back, but most of us don’t. (I have to stop here before I start ranting about the presentation of Germans in international media and American school books apparently).

    • epanalepsis permalink
      February 27, 2010 5:28 pm

      The above comment is a reply to Gregory; I forgot to address it properly. Sorry. :)

    • February 27, 2010 5:32 pm

      That’s interesting – so Bavaria is a very religious part of Germany, but Christianity in Germany seems very different than American Christianity.

      Part of it might be the heavy Catholic influence – fundamentalism is very much Protestant, but it’s Pentecostal Protestant, which, apparently, is very different than Lutheranism.

      There is a huge Lutheran population in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota – much of the White population in that region are descended from immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia – I wonder if they are culturally similar to how your area is?

      The White parts of New York City are heavily Catholic – there is also a huge Jewish community, very diverse from ultra orthodox to reformed ..the biggest Jewish community in the world outside of Israel, from what I understand.

      Also, many Latinos here are Catholic, but there is also a large community of Latinos who converted to fundamentalist Christianity – theologically, their fundamentalism is identical to what African American fundamentalists believe in.

      In any case, it was really interesting dialoguing with you about our respective communities!

      Gregory A. Butler

  7. March 1, 2010 1:12 am

    I’m not comfortable with the onus being put on her gay friends to come into the limelight in her defense. First, because I don’t think her statements are defensible even if she does have gay friends, and second, because it is not up to the oppressed group to up the credibility of the oppressors. And if her friends do come forward, what can we expect? If this post is any indication, for them to be called self-loathing and dismissed as “not practicing” gay people– as if they are responsible for the stupid crap their friend says1 and sex is the practice of homosexuality.

    _____
    1. If this were true, many of us would be on the shit list for our racist family members

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