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Yes, I am a Homophobe
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I am a homophobe. My first response—and I’ll bet it’s yours, too—is to say “Of course not; I am not a homophobe.” For years, some of my best friends have been gay. And, being a Negro and having known the bitter disappointment of exclusion simply because of the color of my skin, I’ve always made a conscious effort not to be afraid of or put off by those who simply happen to be different than I am. Nevertheless, I believe I am a homophobe.
These days, name-calling seems to have taken precedence over logic, or even simple politeness, in what passes for contemporary political or social debate.
I’ve been particularly struck by the way political correctness has caused many terms to be redefined far from their literal meaning. The dictionary definition of “homophobia,” for example, is “unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.”
Notwithstanding that apparently straightforward definition, however, gay activists have redefined the word “homophobia” to suit their own special interests and political agenda.
I can’t quarrel with their effectiveness. By now, I believe, most folks think of a homophobe as someone waving anti-homosexual banners, pounding Bibles and flinging threats of hell and damnation in public demonstrations such as those outside the courthouse during the trial of the murderers of Matthew Sheppard.
Sheppard, of course, is the young homosexual who last year was brutally beaten, bound to a fence and left to die like a dog on the Wyoming prairie.
Many activist homosexuals argue that, while most heterosexuals aren’t likely to take their disdain for gay people as far as Sheppard’s killers did, nonetheless most average Jack and Jill Sixpacks still fit their expanded definition of homophobia.
And maybe they do. By that definition, set in stone by the gay movement’s rigid standards of political correctness, a homophobe can be anyone who tells a joke about homosexuals. Or anyone who adheres to a religious faith which teaches, as many mainstream denominations do, that homosexuality is against the laws of God and nature.
These fanatic sociopolitical activists have learned one important truth about America today: People of good will can be manipulated through the use of “hot button” words such as “homophobe.”
For instance, today merely implying that someone you work with is a racist, a sexual harasser or a homophobe is usually more than enough leverage to put that person on the defensive and to induce management to wave a white flag of surrender to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit.
Perhaps this linguistic tyranny will be the way of the 21st century, but I choose to believe that it’s simply a temporary detour, the logical end of the predictable path down which the touchy-feely ideals of political correctness have misdirected us.
Few of us today take the time to look within ourselves and examine our true social and moral ideals when we’re slapped with these hot-button words. Instead, we’ve allowed activist minority groups to redefine what’s “acceptable” in our country by their powerful name-calling.
But their newly shaped ideals aren’t necessarily for the best, in my opinion. I prefer to try to retain the real meanings of words, and to test myself by those meanings, not by those arbitrarily assigned by third parties for their own political advantage.
In that spirit, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether or not I am a homophobe—by the dictionary definition, of course.
My first response—and I’ll bet it’s yours, too—is to say “Of course not; I am not a homophobe.”
And that response isn’t entirely wrong. For years, some of my best friends have been gay. And, being a Negro and having known the bitter disappointment of exclusion simply because of the color of my skin, I’ve always made a conscious effort not to be afraid of or put off by those who simply happen to be different than I am.
But, granting all that, there’s still more to the story.
Yes, I believe I am a homophobe. However, my homophobia isn’t based on a fear of gays, lesbians or homosexuality itself.
Instead, it’s deeply rooted in what I consider to be the irrational illogic of the gay movement itself—an illogic that demands, in the name of political correctness, that I ignore the facts of nature and pretend that the relationship between two men or two women living together as lovers isn’t any different from the relationship between my wife and me.
To me, it’s a great deal different, and it’s just not natural. And I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I let political correctness coerce me into pretending that it is.
I would never condone the murder of any man or woman because he or she was gay. In fact, I stand by my motto: If you find love and it doesn’t kill you, hang onto it.
But that’s not the same as endorsing gay activists who threaten you with labels if you don’t meet their manipulative, illogical demands to declare them to be something they are not.
It’s those activists who have left me little choice but to align myself with the folks on the anti-homosexual side of the street.
Ken Hamblin. “Yes, I am a Homophobe.” NewsMax.com (March 21, 2000).
Reprinted with permission of NewsMax.com.
Ken Hamblin is the author, most recently, of Plain Talk and Common Sense (Simon & Schuster, 1999). He writes a column for the Denver Post and has been a radio talk-show host for 16 years. His program is syndicated by American View Inc., and currently is carried by 120 stations across the country.
Copyright © 2000 NewsMax.com