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Thoughts on an Interview with Dr. Laura

Back in the late 1990s when I lived in the Washington-D.C-area, I used to listen regularly to Dr. Laura Schlessinger‘s radio show. I didn’t always agree with her, but found she often offered good advice. I thought gay people could use a voice like hers, an ethical voice to balance the “(almost) anything goes” attitudes prevalent in our community.

I had heard that she was anti-gay — and was aware that several gay leaders had criticized her (this was before Stop Dr. Laura.com protested against her TV show). But, I had never heard her utter a word which I could construe as anti-gay. To be sure, she didn’t always says things I liked on gay issues. But, her conclusions did not seem to be driven by animus.

One time, a woman called in asking if she should invite (as she wanted to) her lesbian sister and her (the sister’s) partner to her child’s birthday party even though her father had vowed not to come if she did so. Dr. Laura said she should include her sister and her partner and recommended the caller her father that she really wanted him to attend, but he’ll have to accept that those two would be there. That is, Dr. Laura stood on the side of inviting the lesbian couple.

It was exactly the advice I would have given. While I have listened to Dr. Laura’s show recently, I am not as devoted to it as I once was. I found that while her advice was often sound, she was too dismissive of emotions, writing them off as if they were impediments to the issue at hand. I do appreciate Dr. Laura’s commitment to ethics, but have always beieved, at least in the sexual/human relationships realm, ethics (or morals) exist to balance our emotions, not obscure them.

In its latest e-newsletter, Log Cabin of California linked an interview with Dr. Laura that I found so fascinating, I had to link it — and comment on it (below the “jump”). And once again, the woman intrigues me. I agree with some of what she has to say, surprised by other things and am convinced that where I disagree with a number of her conclusions, I don’t think she’s motivate by hatred or bias.

She doesn’t hate gay people, indeed, she claims her “best friends in the world are—shock!—gay men.” Anyway, I highly recommend that you read the whole thing. It offers space for commentary — as does this blog, so feel free to take issue with her ideas, but try, please try, to use a civil tone. She’s not always right, but I do believe her ideas merit serious consideration. And, if you want to know more of my thoughts, just click on More below where I address some of the points she made in the interview.

It seems that Dr. Laura, like other voices who don’t echo the left-wing social (or political) creed (including your humble bloggers), has inspired a good deal of vitriol. Asked about that, she offered this sensible reply:

It’s vicious! Methinks the lady protesteth too much. It’s a Shakespearean moment if I’ve ever seen one. The amount of vitriol and hate and attacks indicate a tremendous amount of defensiveness. So why are people defensive? Because they are not leading their lives right, and they don’t want to confront it, so they attack the messenger. It’s different than from, say, conservative political pundits—that’s not personal. People are getting pretty mean in that department, too, but that’s not personal.

Later, she muses that “Hate generally eclipses good, because it has no boundaries.” She has a point.

She finds Hillary (Clinton) “scary” and sees the former First Lady’s marriage more as “a business agreement.

While she has gay fans, she tends to call us “homosexual” and repeats the point that we’re a “biological error.” While I would rather she used a different term (“biological anomaly” perhaps?), I do see what she’s getting at since our sexual act does not produce offspring. And she does tell us to “accept” it if our parents suggest we go into reparative theory. She believes they “are allowed to have that opinion,” but insists that “What they’re not allowed to do, as decent mommies and daddies, is reject you.

On adoption, she would prefer that a child have a mother and a father and thus is opposed to gay people adopting. She is perhaps right that a child would do better with parents of different genders, but doesn’t seem to consider that two loving, committed parents of the same sex can also raise a child to responsible adulthood. Just because one form of parenting may be the ideal doesn’t mean we should exclude all other forms.

And she notes the bias of the MSM. Her best friend, Gary Morris, a gay man, wrote to the LA Times, New York Times, Time, Newsweek and US New to tell them of his friendship with Dr. Laura, but none published it. It’s unfortunate that the MSM wants to present a one-sided picture of this very complex woman. (Gary, if you read this blog, we’d be delighted to post your piece.)

So, to get a better idea of this very complex woman, read her interview, take seriously her ideas and take the time to reconsider your opinion of this celebrated talk show host.

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18 Comments

  1. Laura wrote an Introduction in Tammy Bruce’s book of two years ago “The New Thought Police”, you should check it out.

    Comment by Vince P — January 21, 2007 @ 5:09 am - January 21, 2007

  2. Laura’s not the reason I can’t listen to her show. The idiots who call her are. “My husband’s having his third affair, what should I do?”

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 21, 2007 @ 5:27 am - January 21, 2007

  3. I don’t like her for the simple reason that she regularly bullies the people asking her help.

    Granted, they know what they’re getting before they call (or ought to), and her advice is sometimes spot-on (not always).

    Comment by Calarato — January 21, 2007 @ 7:42 am - January 21, 2007

  4. I’ve heard all the Laura bashing, don’t listen to her often these days, but do appreciate her devotion to the interests of children. “It’s not all about me”, and that is not a widely practiced principle in todays society. I’ve seen too many of my gay brothers and sisters selfishly want kids to help them feel “equal” to straight folks.

    Comment by DallasMan — January 21, 2007 @ 9:39 am - January 21, 2007

  5. I don’t care for her, for much the same reason Calarato mentions. She often just seems mean. I listened some to her back in the 90’s, but don’t listen now-partly because I don’t care for the format, and partly because a lot of the topics are not kid friendly, and she is on at a time when kids are around.

    As for the gay adoption issue-I agree with her in the sense that I think the best situation for a child is two opposite sex parents (partly because I think moms and dads bring different things to the relationship). But that is the ideal, and how often are kids living in the ideal? Are two abusive opposite sex parents better than loving same sex parents? Fostercare?

    One thing with gay parents that separates them from others is they have to actively seek parenthood.

    Comment by just me — January 21, 2007 @ 9:43 am - January 21, 2007

  6. With me it’s a case of like the message, dislike the messanger.
    With her everything is very black and white, little room for the gray areas in life. To be honest, the gray takes up much more space.

    Her whole flip flopping on religion really bothered me. I felt she was looking for the religion that worked best for her – rather than doing what she tells everyone else to do.
    Which is work within the frame work and make it work. When the Jewish community rejected her, not her message, she simply quit and left. And then she tells us that she is uneffected by attacks, because they aren’t personal.

    For someone who reguolarly lectures people on making the hard choice, because it is right – it appeared to be the cop out of the spoiled child. I didn’t get my way, so I’m leaving.

    As for the gay issue, I don’t think she is homophobic, but the woman doth protest too much. I always am uneasy about the line” my best friend is…”

    biological deviant or biological errors, not much difference in those terms. Clearly homosexuality is as natural in the biological world as heterosexuality is. Of course the rates are lower because of the need of all living organisms to reproduce. Societies deal with the issue on a moral level, but the moment you call something an error – than there is something inherently wrong with it. Not quite homophobia – but it bothers me.

    Comment by Leah — January 21, 2007 @ 11:58 am - January 21, 2007

  7. Some of my best friends are Log Cabin Republicans.

    Comment by JonathanG — January 21, 2007 @ 1:31 pm - January 21, 2007

  8. Dr. Laura may not be homophobic but she does have a mindset that can´t accept gay parenting. A few years back on KMEX-TV on the Cristina (Saralegui) Show she had program entitled: I Live With My Father and He is Gay. The panel included a man from Mexico raising two boys in Huntington Park, CA , a gay couple, one partner latino the other anglo raising a teen age daughter and a pre-teen son. Finally, in opposition was a Colombian woman whose anger stemmed from her gay father seducing her fiance´. A school principal said gay parents tend to be more active in the PTA than many straight parents. All the kids were supportive of their parent(s). What brought a tear to my eye was when the teen aged girl said of hers ¨They´re the BEST parents any kid could have.¨

    I taped the program and would be willing to loan it to the good doctor.

    Comment by Roberto — January 21, 2007 @ 2:11 pm - January 21, 2007

  9. My main beef with Dr. Laura is that she seemed to jump on the anti-gay bandwagon back in the late 90’s. At first, she wasn’t anti-gay. But somehow she must have thought “I have to make a greater name for myself-now what can I do to cause controversy & publicity? I know! Become a raving homophobe!” Don’t believe me? Then contrast & compare her show earlier in her career with her later & much harsher statements against gays. Anyhow, I just can’t receive “moral” advice from someone who was estranged from her own mother & posed for racy pix. “Nuff said.

    Comment by Jimbo — January 21, 2007 @ 3:40 pm - January 21, 2007

  10. I stopped listening to Dr. Laura years ago. I not only felt that she bullied many of her callers but felt that she often gave advice that might damage the relationships and family ties she was trying to “save”.

    I don’t know if she’s homophobic but when I listened to her, in the 1990s, she was “borderline” in some of her comments.

    Comment by Ashley Hunter — January 21, 2007 @ 10:02 pm - January 21, 2007

  11. Every once in a while I stop back by this blog to take a peek and almost every time I read something like this that reminds me why I’m not a regular reader. Now it occurs to me why. You go out of your way to find anti-gay people to praise, more than likely in order to drum up controversy and drive traffic to your blog. That’s fine, but it makes you look silly. “Dr.” Laura’s opinions are those of someone who believes gay people are unworthy of equality. That’s all I need to know to discount her opinions about everything else.

    Comment by DCposter — January 22, 2007 @ 11:04 am - January 22, 2007

  12. I may be the only GP reader to have called in to Dr L’s radio show and debated her on the issue of gay adoption. Her position then was that gays shouldn’t be allowed to adopt because a hetero-household was needed to properly raise a child and create a family.

    When I asked her if a single parent, socially stable, financially sound household was better than leaving the child in an institutional setting, she cracked and said yes. But only if the parent didn’t leave the child with daycare, latchkey, etc.

    From that point on, it didn’t take 30 seconds for me to prove that a gay partnered household could be every bit as effective at raising children as a hetero-household. The two parent hetero-household took a beating from callers for the next 4-5 minutes until Dr L brought on a caller who was worried about a pedophile teacher predating on her neighbor’s kid… new issue, gay adoption was over. She then went on to clarify her comments in subsequent days.

    I didn’t think she was anti-gay. I thought she was just pro hetero-household (to a fault) for raising kids and making a family. Her beef was what happened to the “kidlets” when daycare took over as the primary caregiver. Fair enough to me. I am worried about that, too.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 22, 2007 @ 2:33 pm - January 22, 2007

  13. This portion of the Dr. Laura interview is worth quoting:

    Well, when parents call me, or when young gay guys call me and say, My parents don’t like this and want me to go into reparative therapy, here’s what I say: If parents are willing to have you over for dinner and Christmas with family, but they don’t like that you’re gay, you just have to accept that. They are allowed to have that opinion. What they’re not allowed to do, as decent mommies and daddies, is reject you.
    On the parents’ side, I always say, You know what? It’s your kid, straight or gay. Let’s just say you’re a straight guy, and you are married, and you have a daughter who is 18, and she’s doing stripping and call-girl stuff and all of that—and she’s straight. That’s not the point—I still wouldn’t have her over for Christmas, because that’s a very bad influence. So if you are a gay man, and your whole thing is every five minutes you’re out to a different club doing anonymous sex in the bathroom, I wouldn’t have you over to my house either. So straight or gay, I think there is decent behavior.

    Note how she uses the hypothetical case of a promiscuous tearoom cruiser to suggest that parental disapproval of a child’s homosexuality might well be rationally justifiable after all. (I.e., Of course mom and dad should put their foot down and refuse to approve their son’s habit of sucking anonymous cocks in public toilets.)

    And note that she brings up the hypothetical tearoom marathoner despite the fact that the interviewer has presented himself as being in a stable relationship with another man.

    And note that she never says “Good for you two guys for choosing committed couplehood instead of catting around like some gay men do.”

    Comment by Throbert McGee — January 23, 2007 @ 1:15 am - January 23, 2007

  14. (Okay, I’m trying again to post this…)

    This portion of the Dr. Laura interview is worth quoting:

    Well, when parents call me, or when young gay guys call me and say, My parents don’t like this and want me to go into reparative therapy, here’s what I say: If parents are willing to have you over for dinner and Christmas with family, but they don’t like that you’re gay, you just have to accept that. They are allowed to have that opinion. What they’re not allowed to do, as decent mommies and daddies, is reject you.
    On the parents’ side, I always say, You know what? It’s your kid, straight or gay. Let’s just say you’re a straight guy, and you are married, and you have a daughter who is 18, and she’s doing stripping and call-girl stuff and all of that—and she’s straight. That’s not the point—I still wouldn’t have her over for Christmas, because that’s a very bad influence. So if you are a gay man, and your whole thing is every five minutes you’re out to a different club doing anonymous sex in the bathroom, I wouldn’t have you over to my house either. So straight or gay, I think there is decent behavior.

    Note how she uses the hypothetical case of a promiscuous tearoom cruiser to suggest that parental disapproval of a child’s homosexuality might well be rationally justifiable after all. (I.e., Of course mom and dad should put their foot down and refuse to approve their son’s habit of sucking anonymous cocks in public toilets.)

    And note that she brings up the hypothetical tearoom marathoner despite the fact that the interviewer has presented himself as being in a stable relationship with another man.

    And note that she never says “Good for you two guys for choosing committed couplehood instead of catting around like some gay men do.”

    Comment by Throbert McGee — January 23, 2007 @ 1:35 am - January 23, 2007

  15. I think she’s homophobic.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — January 23, 2007 @ 1:51 am - January 23, 2007

  16. Biological mistakes.

    Comment by sean — January 23, 2007 @ 4:48 pm - January 23, 2007

  17. laura schlessinger (sp) is a c**t. She has no credence/qualifications to be spewing the so-called advice bile that she doles out to people like ladles of bad water after a treatment plant dredge. She has a BS degree, but it’s not in psycology, councelling, or any remotely related major. She did get a pissy little marriage counselor’s license once (probably from an ad she saw on a matchbood cover), but she didn’t last very long in that job. Most people with a drop of intelligence/common sense knows that she’s just an entertainer and nothing more… But there are some very naive (putting it mildly) people out there who really need advice…and 99.99% of hers is bogus and, at the very least, contrary to the advice that any qualified psycho therapist would give. I can’t believe you would give this woman any credence. There are very, very few poeple I reserve the ‘c’ word for, but she is one of them.

    Comment by ndtovent — January 24, 2007 @ 4:01 pm - January 24, 2007

  18. She has no credence/qualifications to be spewing the so-called advice bile that she doles out to people like ladles of bad water after a treatment plant dredge. She has a BS degree, but it’s not in psycology, councelling, or any remotely related major. She did get a pissy little marriage counselor’s license once (probably from an ad she saw on a matchbood cover), but she didn’t last very long in that job.

    Tell us, ndtovent; did you actually check your statements, or are you just repeating what some gay leftist told you?

    A simple trip to Wikipedia would drastically change your statement, I believe; however, the fact that you obviously didn’t bother to make it speaks volumes for gay leftists’ substitution of blind hatred for facts.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 25, 2007 @ 12:18 pm - January 25, 2007

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