*Trigger warning for homophobic speech*
I don’t hand out this award very often, although there are quite a few arsehats walking the earth, the rarely do or say something so amazingly awful that I feel the immediate urge to write about it, generally I just call them an arsehat and move on. But today Pastor Peter Walker, a self-confessed Christian (as evidenced by his title), was so horrendous that I have to write and tell everyone that this man has won my Arsehat of the week award. It is entirely possible that he has won the arsehat of the month award, given the magnitude of his offence.
So, I hear you asking, as you’ve wisely kept you head out of offensive LGBTIQ news, what was Walker’s great offence? So great that I am blogging while on my holiday in Cologne, when I could be wandering this fine city instead (well I’m actually doing some washing so I have clothes to wander in)?
Walker stated that the only way that “homosexuals” reproduce is by molesting other children. For a bit of context, he said this at an anti-marriage equality rally, and it was picked up as news and carried nationally (and since it’s on the internet – internationally). Though it only seems to have been carried by News.Ltd so perhaps not as widely read as it could have been.
This really is the most tired and untrue trope about those who are GLBTIQ. Well it’s actually two tropes, the first being that people are only LBTGIQ if they are molested as a child, and the second that LGBTIQ individuals molest children.
I’d like Walker to present, peer-reviewed, credible studies which backs up his assertion that any child that is molested automatically becomes LGBTIQ. Clearly there will be children who are LBGTIQ who are sexually assaulted, because paedophiles don’t care about the sexual orientation of the child they are sexually assaulting, but I’d like a study that shows that all sexually abused children, regardless of the orientation they professed prior to the abuse, turn out to be LGBTIQ. I’m 100% certain no such study exists. Given the devastating number of children abused by (generally) men in positions of authority over the years (I’m thinking of Catholic Priests, Jerry Sandusky, etc), it shouldn’t be that hard to check on those children.
I’d also like Walker to present, peer-reviewed, credible studies which backs up his assertion that the incidence of child molestation is actually higher in the LGBTIQ community than it is in the heterosexual community. I think all the evidence points to paedophiles sexually abusing children, a group that is completely different to the LGBTIQ community (though there may be some overlap). From Zarathustra Thus Spoke:
But we do know that there is a fundamental confusion that is common in our society, a confusion that mistakenly equates homosexuality with pedophilia.
The difference is completely clear: Gay men are attracted to adult men, not to boys. Pedophiles are attracted to children—some to boys and some to girls. Sexual assault—we won’t minimize it by calling it “molestation”—is a crime because of lack of consent and abuse of power. Homosexuality between adults is consenting and not an abuse of power. If the Scouts believe they are protecting boys by excluding homosexual leaders, they are sorely mistaken.
Fortunately, attitudes about the supposed “danger” of homosexuals are changing. According to statistics compiled by the psychology department of UC-Davis, in a survey from 1970, more than 70% of respondents believed that “Homosexuals are dangerous as teachers or youth leaders because they try to get sexually involved with children.” By 1999, the belief that most gay men are likely to molest or abuse children was endorsed by only 19% of heterosexual men and 10% of heterosexual women. We suspect that this number has continued to decline, but we can’t be certain because researchers have now turned towards studying attitudes towards gay marriage—a topic unthinkable in the 1970s and even 1990s.
For Walker to suggest that those of the LGBTIQ community are more likely to sexually abuse children than those who are heterosexual, is to spread lies and hate against a group. Walker has demonstrated, but this one remark, that he does not love those of the LGBTIQ community, as he was instructed to by Jesus:
New International Version (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I suspect that Walker might try the “love the sinner, but not the sin” argument with this, and thankfully Libby Anne has addressed this beautifully in her post, “So you say you don’t hate gay people, Part II”:
When you start asking opponents of gay marriage why marriage is only to be between a man and a woman, and why gay marriage has to be shut out, you start getting somewhere. You start hearing that homosexuality is disordered, or a perversion, or that being gay is a “sinful lifestyle.” God thinks it’s wrong. It’s a sin. You will probably even start hearing how gay people are more likely to commit suicide, more likely to abuse children, and on and on. That homosexuality is sinful, a disease of sorts.
Opponents of marriage equality, though, generally see “being gay” as sinful and “an abomination.” Only by ceasing to be gay (or in some churches, by being celibate and thus refraining from acting out on one’s gayness) can a gay person cease to be sinful. In the case of gay people, then, it’s not a case of seeing another group as inferior intellectually or emotionally, but rather seeing another group as inherently sinful.
“Love the sinner, hate the sin” was the mantra of the Christianity I grew up in. The idea was that you could believe that homosexuality was a perversion that needed to be cured, and yet not hate gay people – and in fact love them. But is this the case?
The problem with this is that it sees someone’s sexuality as somehow separate from them as a person. But it’s not. A person’s sexuality is a part of who they are, and a very integral part at that. You can turn this around with a thought experiment: Could you hate heterosexuality, but love heterosexuals? I don’t think so. I’m not trying to reduce gay people to their sexuality or anything, all I’m saying is that someone’s sexuality is an integral part of who they are, not something that can be separated out from them and hated independently.
There were other vile things said by Walker in relation to the LGBTIQ community, but I really don’t need to address them, because they stem from a place of fear of change and difference, and outwardly show as bigotry and hate. Walker needs to go back to the messages of unconditional love in his Bible, read them, and take note. For if Jesus was to come back today, I don’t think he’d be hanging out with Christians like Walker.