Timothy Kinkaid at Box Turtle Bulletin, a pro-gay site, has a post on the "Family Impact Summit," to be held in Florida next month. Many of the sessions, as it turns out, have to do with issues relating to the cultural implications of homosexuality. Kinkaid calls the speakers at the summit (which includes figures such as James Dobson, Gary Bauer, and Don Wildmon) a "Who's Who of Homophobia," which gives me the excuse I have been looking for to talk about the pejorative use of this term.
First of all, what does the term mean? Here is the Wikipedia definition:
Homophobia (from Greek ὁμο homo(sexual), "same, equal" + φοβία (phobia), "fear", literally "fear of the equal") is the fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. Several dictionaries also associate irrationality with this type of fear. It can also mean hatred, hostility, disapproval of, or prejudice towards homosexual people, sexual behavior, or cultures, and is generally used to insinuate bigotry.So, briefly, our definition is this: A bigoted or irrational fear or hostility toward homosexuals or their behavior.
Ironically, the term originally had a clinical psychological use and was applied, not to non-homosexuals, but to homosexuals themselves who had a fear of their own homosexuality. It is now used as a political devil-term for people who refuse to lay down and play dead when gay rights groups try to assert their political will on those with whom they disagree.
Before all the national psychological professional associations were politically intimidated into accepting homosexuality as normal, "homophobia" was seen as a psychological condition of homosexuals themselves. Now it used by homosexuals to designate a political pathology of they see in non-homosexuals who refuse to bow to those same political pressures.
The term, in short, is a political term masquerading as a psychological or moral term. Politics always trumps science for gay rights groups.
Homosexuals and the network of groups they have populated our culture with assert that homosexuality cannot be considered wrong because it has no moral implications whatsoever. But in order say this they have to maintain that sexual behavior per se is without moral implications--hardly a self-evident truth.
What has happened is this: homosexuals want to politically intimidate people into believing that, while homosexual behavior is not wrong, the belief that homosexual behavior is wrong is itself wrong. In short, homosexual behavior is not wrong, but opposing it is. It is curious that people who are so adamant about the fact that their behavior has no moral implications should be so adamant about the moral implications of the behavior of those with whom they disagree--simply because they disagree. Homosexuality is morally acceptable, but disagreeing with it is not.
Before politics took over, homosexuality was seen as a psychological malady; now homosexual groups are demanding that the rest of us see opposition to homosexuality as itself a psychological condition--and one that needs to be suppressed. They have created a new morality, whose creed is that no one shall disagree with their political agenda, and this new morality, more strident and intolerant even than the old one, is to be to be legislated in place of the old one. And all the while they declare that legislating morality is wrong. Out with the old tyrants, and in with the new.
No one is to be allowed to say that homosexuality is wrong, and no one is allowed to say that opposing homosexuality is right. Homosexual behavior was once illegal; now it is beginning to become more and more apparent that gay rights groups would like to see opposition to homosexuality as itself illegal.
In one Kentucky school district, students are now required to undergo sensitivity training to rid them of their belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. In fact the policy is so Draconian that even the ACLU is now defending a group of parents in a case to overturn the policy. And many colleges now impose speech codes that restrict any public expression of disagreement with homosexuals.
And incidentally, why are gays so intent upon demanding that other people approve of what they do? If I weren't so hostile to the influence of Freud over every aspect of our thought and culture, I would introduce the theory that the whole gay indignation industry, which demands that the rest of the culture cede to its political and psychological claims, was based on a deep-seated psychological insecurity of a group of people who think that other people's approval will somehow make them feel better. But as someone who disagrees with Freud, and thinks that you can't psychoanalyze whole groups of people anyway, I cannot say this.
But do we need to appeal to Freud? What if we were to drop the psychobabble and simply and unapologetically took up the traditional language of morality? What could we say then? What we could say is this: That here we have a bunch of individual people who are morally (rather than psychologically) insecure about what they are doing. And, like so many people who feel guilty about their actions, they think they will feel better about it if they can get other people to approve of what they do. This is why, for example, people with vices often try to recruit others to join in their pursuit of them: it assuages their guilt.
If gays really thought that what they were doing were morally acceptable, they wouldn't so badly need the rest of us to affirm them--and they wouldn't need to politically intimidate the people who, trying to abide by their own moral principles, refuse to give them that affirmation.