Hate Is Not A Family Value

March 18, 2010 22:51

‘The reason we make the connection between conservatism and hate is because gay rights activists have over the past 20 years of so established that connection through an astonishingly effective campaign of propaganda.’

By Tom Gilson in CJS Forum

The other day I saw a car displaying the bumper sticker, “Hate is not a family value.” As slogans go, I thought, this one is just about perfect. Packed with emotional impact, in just six short words it exposes the hypocrisy of “family values” proponents. That is the intent, at any rate, and it works well so long as one doesn’t break the First Rule of slogans: Don’t think too hard about them, just swallow them whole.

This happened while I was driving to my local YMCA for a workout in the swimming pool. It takes me about forty minutes to swim my laps, and there’s not much else to think about, so there in the pool I broke the First Rule: I started thinking about the

slogan. As I swam and thought, I realized that there is something strangely asymmetrical in the attitudes revealed by that bumper sticker.

Cultural conservatives certainly disagree with homosexual behaviors, and most emphatically we oppose same-sex marriage. Gay rights activists, not surprisingly, think we’re wrong about that. It is a difference of opinion: Both sides take a position they think is well-supported and correct, both sides say the other’s beliefs and practices are wrong. In that respect each stands in an equal relation to the other. So with that in mind, it’s not clear why one side’s perspective should be considered hatred, but not the other’s.

Gay rights proponents tell us that to disagree with their values is to hate them. If that’s so, then it ought to cut both ways. If disagreement amounts to hatred, and if they disagree with cultural conservatives, why is their disagreement not also considered hatred? Suppose it were true that Smith’s disagreement with Jones over sexual morality meant that Smith hates Jones. Do we know which one, Smith or Jones, is the homosexual, and which one is straight? The logic of this statement (such as it is) has the same validity whichever way you answer. So if they can print bumper stickers saying “Hate is not a family value,” then we should be able to print bumper stickers saying “Hate is not a gay value.”

That would be a silly tit-for-tat, certainly. It wouldn’t work, either. “Hate is not a family value” actually communicates something that connects in readers’ minds, whereas “Hate is not a gay value” doesn’t. Nobody associates gay values with hatred. It’s not a part of our national consciousness. If we were to paste, “hate is not a gay value,” on a bumper, most drivers following behind would just end up confused: “Well of course hate is not a gay value. Why put it on a bumper sticker?”

When we see, “Hate is not a family value,” on the other hand, we know exactly what that’s about: conservatives’ supposed “hatefulness” toward gays. Where did this ready connection between conservatism and hatefulness originate? This is where breaking the First Rule of Slogans can lead in some really interesting directions. . .

The answer is not that conservatives are more hateful than gay rights activists. No, the reason we make the connection between conservatism and hate is because gay rights activists have over the past 20 years of so established that connection through an astonishingly effective campaign of propaganda.

An early example of the campaign to shift the cultural paradigm with relation to homosexuality can be seen in an article titled “The Overhauling of Straight America,” written by Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill in 1987. To read this article today is to relive much of the past twenty years. The same authors, one of them writing under a different name, followed up the article in 1990 with the book, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s. (Apparently they gave more thought this time to the title’s public relations effect.) They’ve followed the strategy they laid out for themselves, and it has worked.

Step Five of the strategy to overhaul “straight” America, which follows after making themselves appear victims, is to Make the Victimizers Look Bad:

At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights … it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified…. we intend to make the antigays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.

The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes whose secondary traits and beliefs disgust middle America. These images might include: the Ku Klux Klan demanding that gays be burned alive or castrated; bigoted southern ministers drooling with hysterical hatred to a degree that looks both comical and deranged….

By the way, lest you think my use of the loaded term “propaganda” was an instance of conservative hate, consider this from the same article:

These images should be combined with those of their gay victims by a method propagandists call the “bracket technique.” … an unctuous beady-eyed Southern preacher is seen pounding the pulpit in rage about “those sick, abominable creatures.” While his tirade continues over the soundtrack, the picture switches to pathetic photos of gays who look decent, harmless, and likable; and then we cut back to the poisonous face of the preacher, and so forth…. The effect is devastating.

Read the entire article and you’ll never have to wonder again how conservative values became connected with hatred. It’s the result of a successful, long-term public relations strategy.

What may leave you puzzling is how this campaign against hatred has been so effective when its own techniques and goals have been, well, so hateful: “Getting tough” requires vilifying the opposition, making them look like drooling, deranged, beady-eyed lunatics – twenty years spent on a hate-filled campaign to make family values proponents appear hateful.

So as I swam, I wondered whether it would be accurate to say that “Hate is a gay rights activism value.” I wouldn’t put it on a bumper sticker, of course. To respond in kind to their sloganeering just wouldn’t be right. Hate is not, after all, a family value.

Tom Gilson is Director of Strategic Processes in the Operational Advisory Services team for Campus Crusade for Christ.  His Blog may be found at http://www.thinkingchristian.net Please email your comments to forum@ajustsociety.org

The CJS Forum seeks to promote an open exchange of ideas about the relationship between faith, culture, law and public policy. While all the articles are original and written especially for the CJS Forum, they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for a Just Society.

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