Now, first, I want to talk about this attaching “pro-” in front of random words. It’s something that probably gained mainstream attraction with the abortion debate, and the whole “pro-life” and “pro-choice” labeling. And there’s a bit of a problem with the whole pro-whatever labeling.
Pro- tends to suggest an active movement toward the broad application of the word following. Often, it’s meaningless outside of context. “Pro-choice” refers to abortion, not the ability to choose cake versus pie. And pro-life, while we like to point out that many pro-life people support the death penalty and foreign wars where many people die, aren’t actually pro-life. They’re anti-abortion. Someone just wanted to put a more positive sounding spin on their views. But pro-choice shouldn’t really be mixed with “pro-abortion.” Some people like to pretend that means “abortions for everyone” or something. Except many pro-choice people can be not fond of abortion, they’re just less fond of demanding no one can have one.
So, to put this in terms for this post, the other day I tweeted to an article about the American Family Association, who likes to say they are pro-family. In the tweet, I said they were pro-hate and pro-bullying. And someone kind of passive-aggressively put up a Facebook status about how those are silly terms. And, yeah, they kind of are, out of context in particular. But when limited to 140 characters, sometimes you’ve got to crunch more philosophically sticky wickets into semi-meaningless phrases. When the AFA says they’re “pro-family,” they’re actually “pro-married heterosexual parents with children,” which does not even come close to describing every family out there. They might be “pro-single parent families” too, but they don’t seem to focus on that too much. Whatever they are, they are actively against anything to do with homosexuality, be it in the family or anywhere else.
When I called them pro-hate and pro-bullying, however, I was referencing the main subject that we’re going to talk about: “Mix It Up At Lunch Day.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center is promoting a day wherein students in elementary, middle and high schools sit with people they normally don’t sit with during lunch. If you went to public school, you may recall an unintentional segregation of cliques. Generally, kids would sit with the same people day in and day out. I often sat by myself, due to lunch schedules, or with a few friends from the bus. But it rarely changes. At ASMS, I noticed that most of the black students sat together on one side and the white students sat on the other side – with our Asians and occasional Hispanic student (of which there were few, now that I reflect on it) sitting wherever. And it’s not like these students never mingled or talked. That’s just how lunch ended up. So, the SPLC is attempting to promote tolerance by suggesting students get to know the other students that are perhaps “different” or whatnot. After all, humans fear the unknown, right? It’s usually the most ignorant that are the most hateful.
Well, the AFA thinks that’s totally gay.
Stephen Colbert, giving a tip of his hat to the AFA (so you know they’re TOTALLY on the right side), explains exactly how the AFA believes the day is a “nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle.”
Later, CNN interviewed AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer about the whole complaint against “Mix It Up” day. Besides jumping straight down the gullet of Godwin’s Law by trying to say Hitler’s stormtroopers were all gay (So, I guess, homosexuals are Nazis?), Fischer also tried to say that if the day is NOT about homosexuality, the SPLC needs to put up a disclaimer saying so. At which point I wondered, should they also put up a disclaimer saying it’s not about animal cruelty? Or healthcare? Or apple picking? Also, apparently, the entire thing is like poisoned Halloween candy. So… an urban legend, I suppose? CNN eventually cut him off, because he was kind of saying crazy things. Some have criticized CNN for this, but, frankly, we don’t need people spouting hate and saying factually incorrect things for a living being given a national stage. We’ve already got politicians for that. Let Fischer get into politics if he wants CNN not to cut him short.
Well, CNN’s cutting him off led to today’s very anti-homosexuality rant. Apparently, homosexuality is blasphemy against God (one of those lovely sins that apparently never gets mentioned in the Bible) and CNN is part of the gay gestapo (so, once more unto the Nazi imagery).
I’ve written about the AFA before, back when they tried to compare people eating faces with homosexuality. And it was the same guy, Fischer, that made that comparison. Yet, despite proving he is clearly hateful and mentally unstable, the AFA continues to let him be a spokesperson.
And that’s where my “pro-hate” and “pro-bullying” things come in. The AFA is very clearly in support of some rather heinous emotional negativity toward homosexuals and homosexuality. It’s really quite hard not to see that as hate. Further, the AFA and other “Christian” organizations have been quite outspoken lately against messages of tolerance. If anyone is promoting tolerance, they’re there to decry it. I phrased it as “pro-bullying” because of a review on a “Christian” website about the movie “Paranorman.” The review warns viewers against “strong Romantic political correctness against bullying and intolerance of people who are different.”
…I don’t know about you, but that reads to me like they think people shouldn’t say bullying is bad. And that intolerance of people who are different is good. Combine that with the AFA railing against this “Mix It Up” day, which is meant to promote tolerance, and I start to see a really awkward pattern of disliking tolerance. True, that’s not necessarily pro-bullying, and it may have been silly of me to say that… but tolerance can certainly help stop bullying, and that movie review definitely mentions messages against bullying as though they’re bad things.
What’s ironic is that the AFA screams bloody murder any time someone tells them they’re being hateful, or jerks. That this “pro-family” shtick is outdated and intolerant of people. They say people are just being intolerant of “Christian” views on marriage. Well, first, as a Christian, I call a whole lot of BS on anything the AFA says as being Christian. And second, if you’re okay with intolerance in one direction, you really ought to be prepared to have that street go both ways. Granted, there are many who don’t tolerate intolerance. Myself included. I don’t like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or any of the other words we’ve come up with to say, “This person is different in ________ way, something they were likely born with and did not choose. I dislike them for that reason and/or will treat them as lesser than me because of it.”
But, frankly? I don’t know that that’s a problem, as long as you don’t take it as far as hating the person for the belief. Maybe just keep it to smacking them in the back of the head and calling them stupid. Lovingly, of course.