1000 Words: Baffled

Try as I might, I’ve never been able to figure out the terror many people feel about homosexuality.

And, from what I’ve read thus far, neither have psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, or any other -ists who study the bizarre creatures we call our fellow human beings.

Here we are, more than 300 years past the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. The Pope is no longer a global political leader. Worldwide instant communications have connected us and allowed us to get to know virtually every formerly alien speaker or believer and every different race or other taxonomic classification of our species. Time and behavioral evolution even have led us to (almost) accepting without question a certain equality of the sexes.

Talk to some fairly well-read citizen of, say, London in the year 1722 and you’d likely find he (of course, he) would be either baffled or petrified of the Chinese, Roman Catholics, women who aspire to higher places, women in general, Egyptians, Sudanese, the varied indigenous peoples of the New World, deists, females who wore the robe volante and males who sported the new extra wide, pleated coat skirts.

Some of these alien (to him) folks believed in a different kind of god. Some had differently colored skin. Some possessed the wrong genitals. Others wore the wrong clothes.

Yet, largely, the world has come to accept that none of these things is a moral failure. Billions of us work, play, and love with people of other races, other faiths, and other hem-lengths. That same type of person, referred to above, today might as easily be a black woman in Sao Paulo or Atlanta, fairly well-read, empowered enough to speak freely, and open to so many of the things that had flummoxed my archetypal Londoner.

Nevertheless, there are enough folks whose gut reaction to two men or two women loving each other, being sexually aroused by each other, and actually acting upon that arousal, that lawmakers can codify their fears into statutes that curtail said love/arousal/action. They still number in the millions.

Two cases in point. One, the United States Supreme Court is hearing, this term, the case of a web designer who does not want to serve certain homosexual customers. This person, Lorie Smith of Colorado, has sued her home state because it has passed a law forbidding discrimination based on sexual or gender orientation by businesses open to the public. Smith says she will not design marriage announcements or other wedding materials for same-sex couples.

Lorie Smith.

Now, here’s the funny thing. Smith has not yet even started her marriage web design business.

Yet, she’s so terrified of running afoul of her god by designing an LGBTQI marriage announcement that she’s appealing to the highest legal authority of the land to protect her from having to do so. Smith, argue her attorneys, “will decline any request — no matter who makes it — to create content that contradicts the truths of the Bible, demeans or disparages someone, promotes atheism or gambling, endorses the taking of unborn life, incites violence, or promotes the concept of marriage that is not solely the union of one man and one woman.”

Notice how she and her lawyers throw in those universally accepted prohibitions against demeaning or disparaging people and committing violence? See, they seem to be saying, Smith’s a good person!

Hanging in Smith’s office is a plaque reading, “I am God’s masterpiece.” I suspect she has either forgotten or refuses to credit the Bible’s proscriptions against self-glorification.

No matter. The current Supreme Court is now dominated by justices leery of this whole LGBTQI movement toward freedom and acceptance. Led by the three justices nominated by a one-term president who lost the popular vote but won office on a technicality, the Court would surprise no one if it ruled in Smith’s favor.

Now for the second case in point. More than 30,000 people in rural North Carolina remain without power today after a coordinated weekend assault on a pair of critical electrical substations created a massive outage. All Moore County schools are closed and the Red Cross has opened emergency warming stations for people without heat as temps dipped below freezing last night. The Moore County sheriff calls the attack a “criminal occurrence.” The attackers, he says, used guns to disable the substations. He adds that although he won’t call the incident domestic terrorism just yet, he’s certain the substations were intentionally targeted. “It wasn’t random,” he says.

The incident comes on the heels of a controversy surrounding a planned drag show in nearby Southern Pines, causing a flood of outrage and threats on social media. A former US Army officer is being investigated for posting “The power is out in Moore County and I know why” on Facebook. The woman had already been posting angry screeds against the planned drag show. She posted “You know what to do” on her Facebook page.

The attack occurred as the drag show was in progress. The resulting outage forced the show to end.

Image: Jaymie Baxley/The Pilot

Mind you, this isn’t even about homosexuality per se but about men dressing as women for entertainment purposes. Nevertheless, the two issues remain intertwined in the minds of people who are scared to death by them.

I’ve long held that many of the most outraged and vociferous opponents of LGBTQI people are battling internal demons. Well, demons is how they see it. That is, sometime in their most hormonally-charged youth they dreamed or fantasized about being naked with someone of their own sex and panicked about it. The dream or fantasy might have been one-off, something that flashes into any of our minds on occasion, something we can’t explain but does not necessarily define us. Or it could have been a subconscious wish. Who knows? Who cares?

Well, they do. And it spooks them to their very core. They care about it for the rest of their lives, always on the alert to ward off the next such dream or fantasy and believing practicing homosexuals simply are too weak, morally and/or psychologically, to similarly ward off their desires.

Fear, as we know now, easily turns to hatred. That’s the best explanation I can think of for their terror.


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