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Posts for October, 2011

Gay vandalism claim likely a hoax

Timothy Kincaid

October 19th, 2011

[Edited to include Point 6, provided by Jim Burroway]

On October 15, someone called “Pissed” posted a statement on the Chicago Independent Media Center website claiming that they had “put two chunks of concrete through the glass windows and doors of the Christian liberty academy” because of the scheduled Americans for Truth fundraiser featuring Scott Lively that evening.

I think it is a hoax.

Now it’s possible that the school was vandalized. It’s even possible that the vandalism was performed by outsiders and not staged for media effect. And if that happened, it’s likely that the vandals were either gay or gay-supportive. But the statement simply isn’t believable.

First off, Peter LaBarbera (who calls himself “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality”) claims that the statement was e-mailed to Christian Liberty Academy, Americans For Truth, Scott Lively and others within a few hours of the event. Those who blog know that this is some pretty quick writing.

Which leaves one of three possible scenarios: 1) the perpetrator of the violence rushed home to write a manifesto, research the details of Lively’s involvement in Uganda, and find the phone numbers and email addresses of a number of individuals; 2) the event was planned in advance with the decision to use strikingly different language in the statement than in a note accompanying the event; or 3) the author of the statement had no need to research the details contained in the statement or the email addresses to whom it should be sent.

I think the third scenario most likely.

After a while you learn the language of gay activists, the language of anti-gay activists, and (more importantly in this case) what anti-gay activists think is how gay people speak. This particular declaration is a combination of standard anti-gay-speak peppered with the phrase “hate group” and a few anecdotes to make it seem like it comes from a gay or gay-supportive individual.

Take, for example, the following paragraph:

In 2009, Lively and other American homophobes spoke at a conference in Uganda called “Exposing the Truth About Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda”. This conference stirred the anti-gay atmosphere that already exists in Uganda, a country with laws that punish homosexual acts with up to 14 years in prison. As a direct result of this conference, participants have drafted a bill that, if passed, would increase the sentencing for homosexual acts to life sentences and execution and make it a legal responsibility to report homosexuals in the community. Lively has also co-written a book called “The Pink Swastika” which claims that homosexuals created the Nazi Party and were responsible for the Holocaust, a book that has been repeatedly denounced as inaccurate by historians.

While this might fly with someone who was unaccustomed to reading the rants of those on both sides of the Culture War, this raised red flags with me.

  1. Few gay activists, especially of the ‘throw bricks’ variety, know the name of the Ugandan conference. In fact, here at Box Turtle Bulletin – the source of that source and the most thorough reporter of its detail – we referenced only once that this was the stated theme of the conference.
  2. Note the passivity of the language. Gay activists tend to discuss this event as being primarily driven by the Americans. This takes the opposite stance – they only “spoke at” the conference. (The truth lies in between. The American anti-gay evangelists were not the original organizers, but were the stars of the show. As published American authors with claims of political and religious authority, they were granted the opportunity to speak before the Ugandan Parliament, were treated with deference, and their statements accepted as fact.)
  3. This paragraph depicts the Kill the Gays Bill as being directed solely towards “homosexual acts.” Find me a single gay activist – brick thrower or otherwise – who describes the Ugandan Homosexuality Bill of 2009 in these terms. We rightly note that in Uganda (as in American and everywhere else) bills that target “homosexual acts” in reality target gay people. We know that America’s sodomy laws very seldom resulted in prosecution for actual sodomy but were, rather, the legal basis behind harassment of gay people. The raiding of gay bars, the cruel custody decisions, the military bans and other governmental employment bans, the prohibition of recognition of marriage, and other such official positions were not for the purpose of preventing “homosexual acts” and we don’t pretend that they were. Only those who refuse to recognize the humanity of gay people speak as though anti-gay laws are about “acts”.
  4. One of the more chilling aspects of the Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill (aside from executing gay people) is the requirement that family, neighbors, friends, doctors, ministers, and others report gay people to the government. And that if they fail (or refuse) to do so, they face the threat of years in jail. Scott Lively supports that provision. And I think “a legal responsibility to report homosexuals in the community” is exactly how he would word it.
  5. And look at the mild nature of criticism of the Pink Swastika: “a book that has been repeatedly denounced as inaccurate by historians.” No, it’s not “inaccurate”, it’s historical revisionism at its most insidious and it is denounced by every scholar of the Holocaust as being intentionally dishonest. But to the crowd to whom LaBarbera and Lively appeal, “historians” are ivory tower elitists dedicated to leftist views and therefore immediately suspect.
  6. Who calls gay people “homosexuals” anymore? That right there is a red flag. This “manifesto” uses the word “homosexuals” as a noun for gay people. Gay people or people purporting to support gay rights NEVER call gay people “homosexuals.” /li>

And that’s just one paragraph. Other language in the article feels more at home within the anti-gay industry than in the gay community (e.g. “counter the Homosexual Agenda”) and taken in its totality, this feels more like “this is what they say about us” than it does like the words of a gay person. For me, thee clincher was the listing of phone numbers to invite abuse.

So why would an anti-gay person write and post this?

That one’s pretty obvious. To portray the gay community as violent and lawless with goals of “shutting down” anyone who disagrees and, as The Peter put it, “signalling a new brazennes [sic] by homosexual activists”. And, equally important to their cause, to portray anti-gay activists as victims who are, in the words of this piece, “under constant attack.”

As could be expected, the more rabid members of the anti-gay community are chiming in. The American Family Association sent out a news article featuring Matt (Bam Bam) Barber:

“We are going to speak God’s truth in love without fear of reprisal, or even in this case, without fear of violence,” the attorney assures. “So I have a message to the gay terrorists that perpetrated this crime: Your terrorist tactics have failed, and you will not succeed in silencing God’s truth.”

So goal achieved.

But, of course, my analysis is based only on experience and familiarity with the language of activists. I have no inside information on this article and no way of knowing for certain that the person who wrote it was not gay. And though suspicion of the event is shared by others (Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God, for example), we could all be mistaken.

As I said above, it is entirely possible that someone did vandalize the Christian Liberty Academy. Peter LaBarbera has on his website pictures of a paver with “shut down Lively” written on it, along with a note saying “This is just a sample of what we will do if you don’t shut down Scott Lively and AFTAH … Fuck Scott Lively. Quit the homophobic shit”.

Now this sounds much more like an gay activist of the brick-throwing variety. Not very bright, not well thought out, stupid lashing out without any thought of consequence. And here at Box Turtle Bulletin we unreservedly condemn this behavior. It is wrong and if the perpetrators can be found, they should be held liable for their actions.

According to LaBarbera, the Arlington Heights police are investigating the situation. I wish them the very best success in finding out who threw the pavers, who wrote the statement, and whether they are the same party.

Towards this goal, I call on the Chicago Independent Media Center to voluntarily provide any information that can assist the police in identifying the person who posted the statement. There are times to stand strong on the media’s constitutional right not to divulge sources, and then there are times when a paper, as part of a community, can choose to participate in the protection of the community. I hope they do not to become a pawn of the author of the statement.

If a gay person or group vandalized the Christian Liberty Academy and then wrote a statement bragging of the event, I think I can speak for the overwhelming majority of “brazen homosexual activists” when I denounce the action and say that I hope that they are brought to justice.

And if the statement is a hoax written by an anti-gay activist posing as gay, I hope that they are exposed and that statutes dealing with false police claims are brought into play and that they find themselves facing jail time.

Full statement after the break

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