Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Creepy Christian Right

The thing I find most puzzling about the Christian Right is its attitude to the (sexual) closet – that one's being in it is, where applicable, plainly a good thing. Well, it’s not – and I don’t only mean it’s bad for putative closetees. In particular, the closet is bad for children at large, simply because the closet’s nature tends to make paedophilia opaque, as well.

By this, I don’t only mean the closet protects some (= male predators of boys) paedophiles from scrutiny, and so prosecution. This can and does happen, but the closet’s opacity leads to other perversions as well, including of basic moral and journalistic truth.

Illustrating what I mean here is this story: “Male teacher investigated over 'sex talk' claims

Of course, the fact that the teacher’s gender (which surely makes no difference) is referred to in the headline should be sufficient warning that the accompanying story is going to be a tabloid crock, but let’s look past that for now.

In a familiarly homophobic discursive structure, the Asian (see how it feels, Chee Chee Leung?) journalist runs through a ill-defined catalogue of alleged incidents. These range from the teacher’s classroom assertion of the Christian Right orthodoxy (AFAICT) on being gay, to some rather creepy/off-colour classroom remarks, through to a single, seriously alarming one-on-one discussion, with a younger student, to boot (this student was primary-age, while the others were all apparently secondary).

Leung’s main offence lies here:

At Lighthouse Christian College in Melbourne's south-east . . . Mr Henderson allegedly made inappropriate comments to year 7 students [in class] . . . This included . . . telling students that "being gay is not a problem, unless it involves gay sex".

Huh? How is this “inappropriate” given that, as I’ve said, it is Christian Right orthodoxy? (It is certainly Catholic orthodoxy). Or am I missing the application of the de facto Rule of the Closet here, i.e. that Henderson wilfully compounded his creepy and quite possibly illegal, alleged behaviour by not being sufficiently ashamed of his (legal and God-given) sexuality?

Teaching children shame - of this sort - is bad enough. Mixing such with criminal behaviour and psychological repression in adult teachers is more toxic still.

This extreme discomfort with homosexuality is not simply a problem of the Right. I am a teacher, and a screaming lefty at that. But my overwhelmingly African-American students, though technically liberal in many ways, are amazingly uncomfortable with gays. When I chastise them for using anti-gay slurs they are confused. And they are truly amazed when I discuss how I have both family and friends who are gay, and that I am not hopelessly ashamed of that fact. Homophobia is unfortunately not the sole possession of the Right, they just make the most noise about it.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?