| What do you do when it becomes clear you're going to lose on a political issue? Depending on the issue you might get depressed, you might feel cynical about the whole situation, you might get really angry. Or if you are a conservative group like the Family Research Council or American Family Association, you might lose you freaking mind and start saying and supporting things that can only be described as bat-guano insane.
As the compromise on Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal has taken form the uber conservative and falsely named Family Research Council has pulled out all the stops. Yesterday they rolled out a so-called study claiming that an end to DADT will mean a free-rape zone in the military. Talking Points Memo reports:
Here's how the Family Research Council envisions things going if Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed: first, more straight soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines will be fellated in their sleep against their will. Then, commanders afraid of being labeled homophobes will refuse to do anything about it. Eventually, the straight service members will quit out of fear.
On a conference call with reporters today, FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg delivered the results of what he said was the first-ever study of "homosexual assault" in the military. Joined by several former military officers opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, he warned Congress that the DADT repeal language currently under discussion with the agreement of the White House will turn the U.S. military into a terrifying free-rape zone where no heterosexual is safe.
The FRC bases its analysis on the idea that there are only 3% of the population who are gay or bisexual. They also claim that 8.2% of sexual assaults in the military are same sex. This leads Peter Sprigg, who is authored the "study", to jump to the conclusion that gay or bisexual people are far more likely to commit sexual assault. This is a common trope about gay citizens that has no basis in fact. Dr. Gregory Herek of UC Davis has a great take down of this so called research, but his conclusion is what really matters.
The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And, as explained above, many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.
This is not the only instance of a conservative group pushing the so-called danger of allowing gay citizens to openly serve their nation in the military. The American Family Association (you can just about bet if an organization has Family in the name it is going to be conservative and virulently anti-gay rights) has appointed a new Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Policy, one Bryan Fisher.
Mr. Fisher, who has a radio show, went on to push the meme of gay soliders being dangerous by saying:
So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn't the Germans, didn't the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Browshirts, were male homosexuals.
It goes without saying there is no evidence to support this little bit of hate speech. In the fact free world of the Religious Right there doesn't have to be, it is all about emotion and tying any group that they don't like to the Nazi's. The idea that gay people would be more brutal than any other group is just insane. There are brutal people in every slice of the human race you care to take. This idea that Hitler went out of his way to find gay people to who could be savage ignores the fact that the gay population of any nation is going to be somewhere south of 10%. The subset that will be brutal is even less. Why bother looking for this small sub-group when you could find brutal people more easily in the general population regardless of sexuality?
Well if you are Rightwing Christainist like Mr. Fisher it all makes sense because Hitler was evil and gays are evil. Birds of a feather flock together, don't they?
All this hysteria about allowing soldiers who are already serving in uniform to be open about who they are is a symptom of the Right's obsession with controlling sexuality. We should not given anyone who is lining up with them a pass on DADT. It is time to start asking people like Sen. McCain if he supports the statements of the people who are on his side of this issue. Does the Senior (so very, very senior) Senator from Arizona believe that allowing people like Lt Col Victor Fehrenbach, who was decorated for valor in his actions during the Iraq war are really a threat to other service members. It is time to ask other member of Congress why they would allow citizens who are putting their lives on the line for our nation to be slandered by people like the FRC merely because of their sexuality.
We have many problems as a nation, one of them is our schizophrenic claim that we are the land of the free while we continue to deny gay citizens the right to server, the right to marry, the right to be who they are proudly and without fear. The new legislation to end DADT is not perfect (what legislation ever is) but ending the practice of kicking citizens out of the military for mere fact of their sexuality is one that has to end.
When it does and the claims of the homophobic Religious Right do not come to pass (as none of their claims ever do) then it will be just one more example of why people who let hate blind them to the facts and want to tell the rest of the nation how to live should be shunned.
The floor is yours.