Everybody knows there are certain words that we just shouldn’t use. They are filled with hateful connotations and histories that simply cause far too much offense at their mere utterance. One of these, of course, is the “L-word.” What’s that you say? What is the “L-word?” Why, “lifestyle,” of course. According to same-sex marriage advocate and blogger Kimberly Knight, when someone says they are opposed to the “homosexual lifestyle,” they are committing a highly offensive act. In fact, they are really saying far more than that they simply disagree with the practice of engaging in same-sex intercourse or sexual activity. Apparently all of us who thought this is what we were saying were mistaken. Ms. Knight has looked into our minds and generously told us what we really mean:
See, when you say you can’t support the “homosexual lifestyle” you are talking about a lot more than what goes on in our bedroom. What you are actually saying is that you can’t support me getting up early to make breakfast for the kids and pack healthy lunches. You can’t support me helping a tearful kid through a cr***y math assignment or a teenager through a heart-wrenching bout of boyfriend woes. You can’t support me going to work and loving the job I get to do with colleagues I respect. You can’t support me paying taxes or voting for school board candidates who might actually make a difference in the lives of thousands of children. You can’t support me singing ‘I’ll Fly Away’ in church or tithing as much as we can scrape together each week. You can’t support me delivering casseroles to friend who’s husband is recovering from a tragic car accident or making kick-a** chili (yes, veggie) for neighborhood potlucks. And you sure as hell won’t support me as we escort my dad to his final resting place. You also gotta be willing to admit you are uncomfortable with the notion of human equality and just good old fashioned compassion. You have to be ready to claim your resistance to loving your neighbor as yourself (oh wait…).
You can read her entire post here.
When I read this post and some of the comments that followed, I was struck by two things: (1) Ms. Knight’s failure to abide by her own standard of alleged tolerance and love, and (2) the blatant and obvious logical errors that undergirded her entire premise. Perhaps one of the more amusing examples of the first was when Ms. Knight criticized someone by saying “I think you mean you’re not your – please do try to get grade-school of grammar correct before you correct me.” Of course, she herself used “who’s” when she should have used “whose” in the excerpt I quoted above (and I’m not sure about the use of “of” in her response either). But leaving aside that unnecessarily snarky (and non-responsive) comeback by Ms. Knight, she also made the following replies to those who disagreed with her:
“You are a very sick, ignorant, hateful, pathological liar. I feel sorry for you and the people in your life. I will keep your dark heart and wicked mind in my prayers.”
“You sir are a hateful, small person who in no way can claim the name Christian. I wish I could hate you but you are only to be pitied for the sinful way you behave and the damage you cause. You are sick, you are a liar and you are banned.” (The threat of banning those who disagree with her is a common theme on Ms. Knight’s blog, which is allegedly designed to “engage, not evade, the tension of our differences”)
“…some people are determined not to evolve.”
“I do not think I have heard a more simple-minded, totally ignorant comment in a long time. And brother, that is saying something since a lot of dumb a**hats troll my blog.”
Even more disturbing than Ms. Knight’s obvious hypocrisy in demanding treatment from others that she refuses to give out herself is the damage she does to rational conversation via the entire premise of her post. I pointed this out to her in a comment which I have reiterated here as an illustration of the type of inappropriate argumentation that often invades the most sensitive subjects of our disagreement.
If you really believe in tolerance, perhaps you should grant those who disagree with you the same consideration you request of yourself. The fact is, while those who agree with you will likely fail to see or admit it, this is an extremely poorly written post, filled with irrational anger that is a classic example of equivocation and a straw man argument. You take a term used by those who have an opinion different than yours, change the definition to meet your purposes, then attack the false definition you have created, all the while completely ignoring that you are not even addressing the actual issue. How would you feel if I claimed that when someone says they want to “come out,” they mean they want to commit pedophilia? I am sure you would be outraged (rightly so) and say that the term “coming out” has nothing to do with committing immoral acts against children. And of course, you would be right. In order to be fair to you, I would have to first ask what YOU mean by the term “coming out” then discuss and evaluate your position on the terms you are actually seeking to advance.
Yet you have committed the exact same error here. If someone says they oppose the “homosexual lifestyle,” they are not saying they oppose your right to make your children breakfast or vote for school board candidates. That is plain ridiculous. Yes, rhetoric like this is very effective in rallying like-minded troops around you, but understand that statements of this kind are part of the problem, not the solution. By deliberately spreading lies (and yes, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, that is precisely what you are doing) about those who disagree with you and VASTLY overstating the areas of disagreement, you only inflame the emotions of everyone, which is counterproductive to getting people to sit down and actually analyze the issues rationally. You claim “when you say you can’t support the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ you are talking about a lot more than what goes on in our bedroom.” That is simply untrue. This may be what you WANT to believe your opponents are saying in order to justify your vitriol toward them, but you are wrong. When someone says they oppose a “homosexual lifestyle” this is precisely what they are saying. They oppose the decision to act on homosexual attraction. That is all. Period. Nothing more, nothing less.
The definition of “homosexual lifestyle” that includes the intention to prevent you from consoling a teenager who is experiencing “boyfriend woes” only exists in your wild imagination. Nobody who is actually attempting to address this issue rationally is saying anything of the sort, but as a result of posts like yours, it becomes increasingly difficult to convince anyone of that. And unfortunately, until we get past this hate-filled rhetoric (and ironically, for someone who claims to be anti-hate, this type of misleading behavior illustrates an immense amount of irresponsible vitriol toward your fellow humans) we cannot get down to the real issues at hand. You see, those people who favor your position will unfortunately (and irrationally) be far more likely to believe what YOU say I believe that what I myself say I believe. How would you feel if I told everyone you believed in a flat Earth, and no matter how much you protested to the contrary, everyone believed me instead of you? Yet that is exactly what you are guilty of. Perhaps if you really believe in tolerance, you may consider actually giving your fellow person the courtesy of listening to them and what they say they believe as opposed to making it up for yourself and closing your ears to the best source of information available. After all, the person into whose mind you are attempting to delve is obviously far more qualified to tell you what is going on inside it than you are from the outside looking in.
I am certain that I will get all sorts of negative reactions, but most will miss the point. I will be challenged as to why I oppose “equality.” I will probably even have a few people grossly misrepresent what I said and claim I have equated homosexuality with pedophilia (I haven’t, go back and read again if you think I have) or that I have claimed people choose to feel same-sex attraction (something else I have not done). In reality, I have not even addressed the merits of the underlying discussion, nor have I gone into your poorly researched attempt at a Biblical response (again, here you fail to demonstrate any understanding of the Biblical arguments raised against homosexuality and instead recite standard, oft-refuted Biblical “catch-phrase” arguments that show either an unwillingness to address the actual arguments presented or an unawareness of them). Neither is the point of my post. I am simply attempting to point out the obvious logical errors you have made in your approach that serve to prevent reasonable people from even getting “down to brass tacks” to discuss the real points of disagreement. Both sides are guilty of this. For example, we cannot discuss the morality of homosexual acts when we are stuck in the quagmire of arguing about peripheral (and irrelevant) issues such as ridiculous claims by your opponents about same-sex attraction being a choice, it leading to pedophilia or your claims that those who oppose homosexual acts are also attempting to prevent you from helping your kid with math homework.
If you do not think “lifestyle” is a good word to use, fine. But you have gone far beyond simply suggesting a different term and into the realm of attaching labels and imputing motives to your opposition. Ironically, you are apparently unaware that the use of the term “lifestyle” is actually an attempt to concede (at least for the sake of argument) a point same-sex advocates repeatedly make; i.e., that same-sex attraction is not a choice. The reason people use “lifestyle” is because they are attempting to be clear that they are not disputing that the attraction is sincerely and biologically felt. They are only addressing the choice to act on those feelings of attraction. Yet some of your supporters in the comments have claimed that it is part of some vast linguistic conspiracy to paint your stance in a bad light. You yourself have tried to infuse this term, which again is an attempt to concede one of your positions, with meanings and intentions it never had. There is a term for this type of irrational behavior, and that term is “paranoia.” Not everyone who disagrees with you has some hidden agenda. They are not all “out to get you.” Sometimes we just disagree and are attempting to concede what should be conceded in order to spur a conversation on the real issues between us. When you reach the point that you are able to see that and not demonize everyone with a different opinion to yours, perhaps you could make a valuable contribution to the discussion. Until then, posts like this one only serve to drive a wedge further between us rather than bringing us together as a unified people.