This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness. Many of you are familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.
Over in the US a little while ago now, the Southern Poverty Law Centre declared a number of the anti-gay groups over there (look out for the words "family" and "traditional values" which seem now to be buzz words for "burn the gays!" *sigh*) to be hate groups.
And I did my happy dance for this is a good thing. And not just because those hate groups lost their shit in a most dramatic, hair-on-fire, screaming-meemy fashion (though it was great great great fun to watch. I have to admit, the sight of Tony Perkins spitting his dummie out is something I never get tired of).
No, I praise this because it is vitally important for the hate groups to be recognised as what they are.
Because when a hate group is recognised as a hate group then maybe, just maybe, mainstream media and the powers that be would realise what people they are holding up as experts. When a hate group is recognised as a hate group, we can stop treating them as reasonable, as sensible as someone we need to speak to for the sake of "balance" or "fairness." Because the media isn't getting this. We've already seen CNN interview some of the most repellentter and discredited "ex-gay" experts. But old Auntie wants to get in on the game. Yes, the BBC has decided that asking whether gays should be executed just isn't enough - they now want to talk to "experts" who say "yes yes gays should be slaughtered" as an almost text book example of how ridiculous and homophobic it can get.
See, Elton John and David Furnish have just had a baby. In my book, this comes under the category of "not news" or "celebrity fluff that gets reported and I ignored it."
In the BBC's book, this needs reporting seriously on. And they need to interview an expert for his opinion. The expert in this case being Stephen Green of Christian Voice.
Who is Stephen Green you ask?
Well, Stephen Green is very much the British Pat Robertson. Or maybe the British Fred Phelps.
Stephen Green and his organisation spoke out about the Uganda "kill-the-gays" law - spoke in support of it. Spoke in support of the genocidal execution of gay people for being gay. He called Uganda "more civilised" for having such laws, and lamented the UK not doing the same.
Stephen Green compared openly gay singer Ian Watson to a mass murderer
Stephen Green thinks openly gay Rugby player Gareth Thomas is "wicked" and a terrible role model for children
Stephen Green has tried to have the director general of the BBC prosecuted for blasphemy for daring to imply that a portrayal of Jesus was "a little bit gay."
Stephen Green refers to movements trying to protect GBLTQ children from bullying as "promoting sodomy to school-children"
And in the interview he referred to Elton John and David Furnish's child as an "accessory."
This is the man the BBC considered an expert on the child of 2 gay men. This is the person the BBC simply had to have comment on what should have been a fluff story.
Never mind that no other celebrity birth needs to have this kind of analysis
Never mind that no other news story this year about celebrity children has needed to have any comment - let alone a comment from an obviously hostile and prejudiced source.
Never mind that they ONLY interviewed Stephen Green - no-one else. And they said nothing of his history, his extremist views or how fringe his organisation is.
And this is why hate groups need to be recognised. Stephen Green is a bigot. An extremist, a homophobe. He should not have been on the news (and why this news requires any comment is questionable - beyond the BBC's increasing reputation for homophobia) he should not have been treated as a serious, legitimate commentator - the BBC should not have given him legitimacy like this.
If we don't recognise the bigots for what they are, then we're going to continue to enable them, continue to support them - and continue to broadcast them. This toxic hatred is not ok - and it's past time we made that clear.