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July 31, 2012



So you either are or are not a bigoted homophobe based on your support of chick fil a's stated position. Got it.

But what if you support Chick-fil-a for a different reason? What if you're simply reacting against the I'm-a-tolerant-liberal-but-wish-you-would-just-die-already mentality that appears to be driving this debate? Anyone with a facebook account knows full well what I'm talking about. I occupy the apparently uncommon position of not really caring one way or the other on gay marriage. I don't think it's a right per se nor do I think it's a moral travesty should two men or two women decide to be married. I really just don't care. What I DO care about is Rahm Emmanuel and city aldermen using their authority to punish unsanctioned political speech. I DO care about otherwise rational Americans wishing death upon millions of their countrymen over a position that the POTUS himself held until three months ago. Apparently in the span of a couple of years every person in America is expected to completely reevaluate a definition of marriage that was understood for centuries and anyone failing to "evolve" (to quote the president)according to the officially sanctioned timeline DESERVES TO DIE!!! Not exaggerating here; DESERVES TO DIE - that is the exact sentiment articulated by more than a dozen facebook friends as well as any number of public figures.

The funny thing is I don't hear ANYTHING coming either from chick fil a or my 400 some off facebook friends that comes anywhere NEAR the vitriol and intolerance coming from the left. The real source of hatred in this debate is plainly obvious.

I'll end with a quote intended directly to the author of this piece "first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye"

Scott Paeth

Hey Ben,

A few things occur: First, I think people can choose to boycott or not boycott Chick-fil-A on the basis of a purely subjective calculation of whether their desire to eat the food trumps their political position on the issue. There are lots of places that I might choose to boycott on the basis of their politics that I don't. You've got to pick your battles.

On the city-wide bans being promoted by Emmanuel, Menino, etc. I suspect that this kind of thing is both illegal and counter-productive. Boycotts of this nature are at their best when they're genuinely grass roots. It may be political posturing or it may be a genuine desire to take a stand, but either way, it's probably not the best approach.

Finally, I'm fairly certain that your dozen facebook friends aren't representative of leftwing opinion on the whole. And if you don't think "deserve to die" rhetoric on this issue bubbles up from the right, you're not paying attention. Indeed, I think that rhetoric is FAR more common on the right than it is on the left (and in some cases, it's not just rhetoric, as there are those who would be happy to make the death penalty for homosexual sex mandatory under U.S. law).


Scott, you're blindly naive to think it's so much more common on the right and here's why. Yes, Westboro baptist types exist and they may number in the hundreds of thousands across America. However, they are marginalized pariahs - there is zero mainstream acceptance of their ideology. Now you can brazen out the meaning of mainstream in an attempt to refute the assertion if you wish - so be it. But the people I've heard wish death upon chick fil a supporters were FAR from marginal. They are actually the opposite of marginal. Example, one was a noted journalist, another is a conductor for the Metropolitan Opera. Both happen to be FB friends and both had their comments wildly cheered by like minded liberals. In other words - that brand of hatred enjoys complete mainstream acceptance. I mean for goodness sake, my conductor friend works largely on the public dime and had no fear AT ALL of wishing death upon millions of Americans. He knows there will be no repercussions for his venom - HE KNOWS IT! And you do too.

Now, I will admit that there is an extra level of intensity when this kind of vitriol comes from the hard right. It's due to the legitimate fear that they might act on their rhetoric whereas we tend to assume that venom spewing hard-leftists are paper tigers who will talk but never act. I don't deny this perception. It's something like the difference between a growling Rottweiler and a barking Chihuahua. The thing is, I may fear the former more but being constantly surrounded by hundreds of the latter and unable to get away is a whole different kind of problem.

Scott Paeth

Uh huh. Well, of course why wouldn't I accept your completely evidence free and anecdotal reports of exchanges on Facebook as being a fully accurate representation of the mainstream of liberal thinking on the question of whether homophobes should be put to death.


Ben is not alone in his observations. You get enough anecdotal evidence going and it begins to look like a reality, which most fair-minded people know it is. You'd be foolish to discount it.

Also, the quote from Fred Clark as support for why it's okay to justify the labeling of all people that disagree with gay-marriage as bigots is another example of emotionally charged rhetoric as well as philosophically weak and sloppy thinking. The kind that never opens up conversations, but rather shuts it down. There is no free speech in Clarks world.

You had said:

"Indeed, I think that rhetoric is FAR more common on the right than it is on the left (and in some cases, it's not just rhetoric, as there are those who would be happy to make the death penalty for homosexual sex mandatory under U.S. law)."

This is hyperbole meant to incite and it's just plain dumb. Name one figure, public or private or on any Facebook account (other than Fred what's-his-name at Westboro Baptist) that is calling for the death penalty for homosexual sex. If these sentiments are "far more common on the right" as you suggest then prove it. You must have something other than anecdotal evidence don't you, since that is all that is valid?

God save us from the associate professors of the world.

Scott Paeth

Its funny, this blog doesn't usually get a lot of comments, though it does have its regular readers. But you start calling out bigots, and they get very eager to make their voices heard in your space. Funny that.

As for advocates for death of homosexuals (NB., It's funny how I'm not allowed to include the one person that EVERYONE knows does exactly this), here are some links:


“Difficulty in implementing Biblical law does not make non-Biblical penology just,” he argued. “But as we have seen, while many homosexuals would be executed, the threat of capital punishment can be restorative. Biblical law would recognize as a matter of justice that even if this law could be enforced today, homosexuals could not be prosecuted for something that was done before.” -- That's from a Ron Paul endorser in Iowa, someone whose endorsement the campaign bragged of.

And then there's this: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57372796/uganda-anti-gay-death-penalty-bill-reintroduced/

As you might know if you've followed the story, Uganda's death to gays law has been supported (at least till the bad publicity started) by members of the organization called "The Family" which has hosted members of Congress in its house in Washington D.C. and which is the major sponsor of the National Prayer Breakfast every year in the city.

And that doesn't even bring me to the hundreds and thousands of acts of violence, up to and including murder, that takes places against gays, lesbians, and transgendered folks every year.

That you want to pretend this reality doesn't exist says a lot more about you than it does about me.


There may be a reason this blog doesn't get a lot of comments. It could be there's not much writing worth commenting on. I've posted here a grand total of 3 times (including this one) so you flatter yourself thinking that people are coming out of the woodwork to read and post against you.

Uganda? Of course everyone I know is upholding Uganda as that which best epitomizes good government and clear thinking. I was also just thinking since they really like forcible female circumcision there, then maybe that would be a good thing to have here as well? Come on!

Okay, so you managed to dig up some fourth hand Ron Paul lackey (endorser?) that has crazy views. I guess you got me. But I'd never heard of him. And I'll go out on a limb and state that the vast majority of people have never heard of him either. I don't pretend that the reality of violence against GLBTQ people isn't real, it is and it's wrong, so your accusation is another false one. But I repeat, equating a reluctance to change the definition of marriage with an advocacy of physical brutality against a given community is intellectually irresponsible (or deficient).

So Ben and I are now both established and demonstrable bigots according to you. I guess that settles it. Discussion over.

I was just passing through and stumbled upon this blog.

I think I'll just keep on passing.

Scott Paeth

Chris, really, you weren't pretending that the reality of violence against LGBT folks wasn't real? Because you wrote: Name one figure, public or private or on any Facebook account (other than Fred what's-his-name at Westboro Baptist) that is calling for the death penalty for homosexual sex." That sure sounds like pretending it doesn't exist to me.

As to whether you're a bigot? I don't know enough to say. All I know is that you seem to be willfully ignorant of the nature of violence aimed at gays and lesbians, and willing to downplay it by claiming that violent rhetoric against the perveyors of anti-gay rhetoric is a bigger problem.

By all means though, feel free to keep passing, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.


Chris moved the goalposts after you did what he asked. Typical behavior from the right.

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Scott Paeth teaches Religious Studies at DePaul University