Although police have found “‘Nazi regalia’ and anti-Semitic writings on the wall” of the bedroom of Jacob D. Robida, the man accused of the vicious attack in the New Bedford gay bar earlier this week, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Executive Director Matt Foreman sees the attack as another excuse to blame the religious right. In a statement yesterday, Foreman said:
The hatred and loathing fueling this morning’s vicious attack on gay men in New Bedford is not innate, it is learned. And who is teaching it? Leaders of the so-called Christian right, that’s who. Individuals like James Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, the Rev. Pat Robertson and their ilk are obsessed with homosexuality. They use their vast resources, media networks and affiliated pulpits to blame lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for all the ills of society.
Actually, it seems that NGLTF is always blaming social conservatives and Republicans for all the ills of society.
Despite NGLTF’s angry accusations, authorities have only found no evidence that this creep was familiar with the rhetoric of the Christian right. In addition to his Nazi regalia, he also “displayed a Nazi symbol” on his Internet profile where “he wrote, ‘I’m interested in death, destruction, chaos, filth and greed.’” Doesn’t sound like the rhetoric of the Christian right to me. It’s one thing (and a good one) to fault anti-gay social conservatives for their narrow reading of Scripture, it’s another to accuse them of teaching “hatred and loathing” which fuels a brutal attack on gay people.
Foreman is not the first person to level such an unfounded accusation. In an Op-Ed in the New York Times in 1998, Frank Rich accused Gary Bauer and his Family Research Council for being indirectly responsible for the beating and murder of Matthew Shepard. Now, I have little stomach for the anti-gay rhetoric of Gary Bauer or the other individuals Foreman listed in his statement. They twist Scripture and misunderstand gay and lesbian Americans, defining our community by its most sexually-obsessed and drug-addicted members.
That said, wrong as those social conservatives are on homosexuality, they don’t countenance violence, so it would be equally wrong to suggest that they are, in some way, responsible for what happened in New Bedford. It’s unfortunate when gay leaders, like Foreman, engage in the same kind of rhetoric for which they fault anti-gay social conservatives. The thug who attacked the patrons of that gay bar is a low-life who reads neo-Nazi screeds not a Christian martyr eager to serve his Savior.
He doesn’t seem to be influenced by any Christian theology, not even the crackpot theology of those who would steer their flock away from an evangelical movie featuring an openly gay actor. It seems that NGLTF is always looking for an excuse to lambaste social conservatives, blaming them even for crimes for which they are clearly not responsible. It’s unfortunate that this gay group seems unable to distinguish between neo-Nazi ideology and social conservative Christian theology.
In his documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, filmmaker Errol Morris faults McNamara, a Defense Secretary during the Vietnam War, for failing to understand the enemy our nation was fighting. Yesterday’s release shows that Matt Foreman doesn’t understand social conservatives, the enemy his group appears to be fighting. The more eager he and other gay activists are to attack social conservatives for any number of evils in our society, the harder it’s going to be for gay and lesbian Americans to find common ground with our social conservative straight fellows in the heartland, particularly broad-minded churchgoing Republicans in the “red” states.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
ADDENDUM: I hope to write on the Hate Crimes issue and this brutal attack, but, for now, let me just say this, the punishment I favor for Mr. Robida would certainly violate the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.