If you thought Sky News took the prize for erasing the inconvenient gay in their recent car crash of an interview with Owen Jones, you haven’t reckoned with erasure central, aka BBC Local Radio. Step forward Three Counties Radio, whose JVS show this morning (from about 1hr 13mins) responded oh-so-sensitively to the Orlando shooting by leading with the thoughts of ex-UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom…the man who resigned from that party because it was getting too “politically correct” for him.
Yanno: the guy who called a lesbian “queer” and compared equal marriage to incest. A man with the most enormous respect for LGBT people.
Erasure most foul
Of course, you could tell from the offset what sort of a programme it was going to be, as presenter Jonathan Vernon-Smith introduced the topic by talking about how a MUSLIM man killed 49 PEOPLE.
So loads of stuff about how islam had it in for the lgbt community, and one awkward moment when JVS read out a tweet from a listener asking: “Aren’t there loads of right-wing christians in the United States who want to kill homosexuals.
Cue much spluttering by Bloom. He didn’t know…so clearly just the right sort of person to have on a show talking about anti-LGBT violence in the US, but, he added “it doesn’t come in the culture of Christianity to kill people”.
Of course, later down the programme, they had one LGBT person explaining how they felt about the shooting….but when it came to hard facts, either the BBC researchers had taken the night off….or they really didn’t care too much. So for all those who missed my (angry) tweeting, here are a few inconvenient facts that the Beeb didn’t manage to mention.
Stuff the BBC researchers just couldn’t…
Less than two months ago, the UK Foreign Office issued a warning to LGBT folk about travelling to parts of the USA, because it might not be safe. They weren’t talking about islamic hatred, so much as the Christian Backlash now sweeping the southern states.
Less than two months ago, Anita Staver, President of the right-wing/christian organisation Liberty Counsel tweeted out to her thousands of followers how she would be responding to trans people in bathrooms by carrying a gun. She is based – where else? – in Orlando.
But Ms Staver is far from alone in her bigotry. Just two weeks ago, James Dobson, a conservative anti-LGBT Christian leader was suggesting that those who object to transgender women’s presence in women’s restrooms should shoot them.
Although Dobson is but the latest in an increasingly strident chorus of republicans, pastors and petty law officers calline for violence against LGBT folks. Whether it is a Texas sheriff advocating violence or a Republican State senator, the message is the same: LGBT folks deserve to be put in their place. With force, if necessary.
Of course, you’d expect Republican politicians to speak out, but no: as the Washington Post revealed on Monday, LGBT erasure is as much a US political thing as a BBC thing. Apart from a few crocodile tears from Republicans who condemned the incident whilst mostly NOT mentioning LGBT people.
But why would they? After all, they have been busy trying to pass religious freedom laws that would reinstate the right of individuals and businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
I’m not even going to mention Mississipi, that is in the process of passing law that would allow churches to appoint armed security wardens, entitled to kill people on sight if they were concerned a felony might be taking place on or in the vicinity of church property. No way THAT is going to end badly, is there?
But then, unlike muslims, Republicans and Christians respect women. Or maybe they don’t. I’m not even going to mention the various backdoor attacks on women’s rights to control their own fertility (of which there have been many). Though states where having a miscarriage can get you locked up in jail might just qualify.
Still, against the totality of anti-woman legislation in mostly Christian Republican states, such things scarce cause an eyelash to flutter. For that, try Oklahoma, where existing law makes it OK to rape a woman while unconscious and depending on how you read the relevant case, it is either legal, in Texas, to shoot an escort who refuses to have sex with you or, maybe, just legal to shoot in her general direction.
Meanwhile, since Bloom is so keen on universalising the muslim experience, how are we doing in Europe? Guess Bloom was out the day right-wing extremist and “cultural christian”/self-styled Templar, Anders Breivik killed 80 people in 2011. He must have missed, too, the various right-wing christian organisations in Eastern Europe openly organising violence against LGBT prides: missed too the growth of right-wing christian mass political organisation Hazte Oir which, according to a Spanish judge in 2014, has proven links to El Yunque, a far-right militant Catholic organisation, widely believed to have run death squads against non-believers in Mexico.
The real problem? It’s the extremists, stupid!
In sum, Mr Bloom, Christianity clearly is nothing at all like islam – except in the dozens and hundreds of ways in which its believers act exactly like radical muslims.
And there, of course, is the key. Radicals. Extremists. I have no problem whatsoever with moderate, Liberal believers of pretty much any religion.
(Oh, alright….maybe i’d draw the line at the Liberal wing of the cult of Chthulu!).
But seriously: religion is not the issue. Or rather, particular religion is not the problem. What IS problematic is when believers, be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or any other sect, decide that so true is THEIR version of what God wants that they are uniquely entitled to kill others to prove it so.
And when push comes to shove, radicals, reactionaries, extremists – espesh of the anti-LGBT variety – are to be found in all religions and most right-wing parties. Including UKIP which, we now learn, was far too moderate for Mr Bloom.
P.S. Totally forgot to mention Texas Governor, Dan Patrick, tweeting out “you reap what you sow” on the morning of the shooting. And last time i looked, Westboro Baptist Church, who tweeted celebration of the killings, were still some species of Christian.