The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dr. Laura is not a hypocrite...

Whatever else one may think of her. Back when I lived in Washington, I listened to her quite a bit. And while I disagreed with her position on homosexuality, I heard numerous gay callers to her show, and NEVER heard her treat them with less than the same level of compassion and respect she offered her straight callers. She may have done it, but not while I was listening, and I listened for hundreds of hours over the years. So I never considered some of the labels thrown at her to be entirely fair. Remember what I said about a racist could still be a perfectly fine person, depending on how he actually treated other human beings? Some of that here. So, I wondered how she would deal with the Sarah Palin situation. While still intending to vote for McCain, she seriously questions his judgment in picking a woman with small, special-needs children. This is entirely in alignment with her stated values, and I congratulate her for her integrity. Yes, I understand that hers is a radical point of view, and I'm not recommending it--even though there are some aspects of it I agree with. I merely point it out as an example of someone sticking to their guns, even when it is painful. For the record, I respect Palin for refusing to abort a Down's Syndrome child. That, too, I see as an act of strength and courage, in alignment with her values.


Josh Jasper said...

Steve, I've got to call you on some bullshit here.

As a member of the GLBT community, I don't give a damn how polite someone is when they call me a probable child molester, and that's what Dr. Laura did to all GLBT people.

You do NOT treat a GLBT person with respect by trying to hint that they're probably a child molester. There is no question about this, nor should there ever be.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

Wow, Steve. With Josh on this. Dr. Laura's a hardcore bigot. Good manners, if such they are, don't change this.

I grant you that the woman is strikingly consistent. I'm not entirely clear how great a virtue that is supposed to be. Ann Coulter is that, too.

Craig said...

I understand what Steve is saying--that Dr. Laura has not drunk the Republican Kool-Aid, vis a vis the defense of Palin.

And I understand Josh's point, too. When Dr. Laura was on her anti-gay crusade, it was a bloody one--comparing homosexuality to bestiality and inferring that gays were more likely to be child molesters, while maintaining she had gay friends. While she has toned down her rhetoric, she has never apologized for it.

Both points have their validity.

Josh Jasper said...

The only thing Steve said that I really took exception to was that Dr. Laura showed gay callers the "same level of compassion and respect she offered her straight callers"

I'm fine with Dr. Laura's treatment of Palin. Palin is totally consistent with conservative family principles. So is Dr. Laura.

I still don't think she amounts to much as a human being though.

Steven Barnes said...

I never heard her say that gays were more likely to be child molesters than straights. If I had HEARD her say such a thing, I would agree with you. Can you point me to a link where she makes that specific statement? Like I said, I listened to her for many, many hours, and while she definitely takes the position that gay sex is sinful in and of itself, I never heard her make the comment you ascribe to her. Sources, please.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

"I'm sorry, hear it one more time perfectly clearly: If you're gay or a lesbian, it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex ­ it is a biological error."
- Dr. Laura's Website, December 8, 1998

''[Responding to a fax, Schlessinger says:] "It goes on and says 'Pedophilia and child molestation have zero to do with being gay, homosexual orientation' and that’s not true. That is not true. How many letters have I read on the air from gay men who acknowledge that a huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys."
- Dr. Laura radio show, August 13, 1999 (quoted by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC)).

"Her claim that pedophilia is more common among gay men than straights has gotten Dr. Laura in the most trouble. [Dr. Laura spokeswoman Keven] Bellows tries to say that her boss's comments on pedophilia have been taken out of context. 'Of course the vast majority of pedophiles are heterosexual, she knows that,' Bellows says. Then she repeats the charge. 'All she said was that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles, and I think that's true,' she says. Why does she think it's true? 'Most of what we know about the gay population,' Bellows explains, 'is from the audience, a number of whom are gay.' And they're telling Dr. Laura that they are pedophiles? 'Well, we're not talking 8-year-olds,' she says. When asked, then, how old she thinks boys are that gay men are having sex with, she replies, 'Oh, I don't know, 14 maybe, or 15.' 'Trust me,' she says later. 'These radical gay activists don't want to talk about pedophilia.' "
- June 20, 2000,

"What I did say is that when an individual is not so drawn to a member of the opposite sex, in biology that's some kind of error."
- Dr. Laura, on her radio show, August 15, 2000

"The well-funded and well-connected homosexual activist movement has become the McCarthyism of the 21st century."
- 5/13/00, Deseret News.

"Political activists have successfully repositioned sexual deviancy as a constitutionally protected 'lifestyle' equivalent in every way to heterosexuality.... This is not about discrimination against homosexuals."
"Parenthood by Proxy," a book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, released summer 2000 (quoted by USA Today).

" 'Not being able to relate normally to a member of the opposite sex is some kind of error,' [Schlessinger] says. 'I do not see that as insulting at all. It is a statement of biological fact.' ... 'I regret that my words were taken out of context, distorted and lied about so people were hurt from the lies,' she says."
- NY Post, 6/25/00.

"When we have the word homosexual, we are clarifying the dysfunction, the deviancy, the reality. We change it to the word gay, it makes it more difficult to pinpoint the truth. So one of the things that the homosexual agenda did was to change the name. Just like somebody complained to me yesterday about ethnic cleansing, that it sounds like washing machine as opposed to murder. They were right. Ethnic cleansing sounds nice. Murder is the truth, homosexuality is the truth. Gay isn’t."
- Dr. Laura's radio show, August 13, 1999 (quoted by CBSC)..

"I call homosexual practices deviant".
- Dr. Laura quoted by the New York Post, 2/16/00

"The gay culture? I’m trying to understand, what is that? I remember the 70s and 80s that the line was that this is only about sex, it’s not about anything else, right? So what’s the gay culture? Is that where we get into the promiscuity and the pedophilia? Or are these just regulation human beings, who somehow have an error in their sexual orientation but otherwise are seriously regulation human beings? I’m confused. First I’m told for 20 years that it’s only about sex. Now I’m told it’s a whole culture. So what’s in the culture? What is it? If it’s just about sex, then the culture must only be about sex. Otherwise you’re American culture. But listen to this. 'They presented a slide show, Friday, during the school’s popular culture assembly which also features dances from Polynesian, African and Latin countries.' That’s culture. Sexual deviations are not culture. They’re sexual deviations."
- Dr. Laura radio show, April 16, 1999 (quoted by CBSC).

"Well, according to Dr. Aarden VanWeg [ph.], an expert in homosexuality and other forms of deviant sexual behavior in Holland, that although numerically there are more paedophiles that are heterosexual, percentage wise in a population, it is much greater in the homosexual community. So there is some relationship. No, not every homosexual is a paedophile. Obviously not. But it is a greater percentage, much greater."
- Dr. Laura radio show, June 10, 1999 (quoted by CBSC).

[Explaining the use of the term 'gay'.] "One of the first things you do is rename behaviors or what have you. Once you rename it... It’s like in Vietnam, I remember quite clearly. Instead of calling them North Vietnamese, South Vietnamese, Communist or what have you, they started calling the Vietnamese agents gooks. One of the reasons you call them gooks is because it’s easy to kill a gook, harder to kill a person. So in changing the name of the thing, it changes how we perceive it and how we can behave toward it. When we have the word homosexual, we are clarifying the dysfunction, the deviancy, the reality."

- Dr. Laura radio show, August 13, 1999 (quoted by CBSC).

"Please, this is not about civil rights ’cause I would be the first one in the front of that line and I’m here to tell you that right now. I’d be the first one in the front of that line. But this is about taking a deviant behaviour, a dysfunctional behavior, normalizing, sexualizing our kids."
- Dr. Laura radio show, August 13, 1999 (quoted by CBSC).

"I have never called homosexuals biological mistakes. I have said the sexual orientation is clearly an error. With penises and vaginas we were meant for heterosexual sexual acting out in order to procreate the species. I mean that is just irrefutable. But she is outright lying by distortion. There are different ways to lie. This one is by distortion and misrepresentation. I have never called homosexuals errors. I have called the sexuality an error. ... I want you to know that Joan Garry completely misrepresented my presentation. I have never called a people an error. I have called the sexuality, orientation, an error. And I think that is irrefutable and obvious. It’s dysfunctional, it’s deviant. According to religion it is not moral. But biologically it is clearly an error."
- Dr. Laura radio show, August 24, 1999 (quoted by CBSC).

"The debate over gay rights. Rights. Rights? For sexual deviancy, sexual behavior, there are now rights. That's what I am worried about with the pedophilia, the bestiality and the sado-masochism. Is this all going to be rights too? To deviant sexual behavior. It is deviant sexual behavior. Why does deviant sexual behavior get rights? I don't understand that..."
- Dr. Laura radio show, June 10, 1999 (quoted by CBSC).

"You know what was largely responsible for that guy’s [Matthew Shepard's] death? Those two guys who killed him did not go out looking for a homosexual to kill that night. They were shooting pool. He went to the bar. He left with two guys he thought he was gonna have sex with. He got murdered. How many women has that happened to? How many women have left bars thinking they were gonna get some action with some guy who raped and murdered and tortured and murdered them? Far more women than homosexual men have ended up dead that way, I would guess. Is that a hate crime against women? I think so but they specifically picked the woman who was willing to leave for sex. If Matthew hadn’t been willing to leave for sex, he might still be alive. That certainly doesn’t make him responsible for his own death but when you put yourself into a situation of going off to have anonymous sex with people you meet at a bar, what kind of person is gonna leave with you? Usually scum.... This was a terrible tragedy but it’s also one that might have been avoided if he had simply gone home with his friends instead of thinking he was gonna get a little."

- Dr. Laura radio show, April 16, 1999 (quoted by CBSC).

Josh Jasper said...

I was just going to point Steve at, hes site that tanked her chances at a TV slot, for which I am glad.

Thanks, Dan.

Steve, that sort of language has come from almost every anti-gay loudmouth there is. It's the gay version of the old blood libel about Jews - how they used the blood of unbaptized infants to make matzoh. It's designed to create hate, mistrust, and to allow people to rationalize treating GLBT people like they were diseased.

Dan Gambiera said...

Dr. Laura is a 24 karat, raw gum, brass-plated hypocrite.

One of her favorite tricks is beat up her callers for failing to put their kids first. Women who work outside the home get flayed alive if their children are less than perfect.

Compare and contrast her own behavior for ten points. The good physiologist's - not psychologist - tag line is "And I'm my kid's Mom". While she was being her kid's Mom first, last and always she had an all-consuming career in radio. Her son was troubled, and by "troubled" I mean "tried to burn down the family home at least once or twice".

Did she drop everything and sacrifice her "selfish" desire for a job to spend all her time with him. Not a chance.

Bald faced hypocrisy of the worst sort continued over several years.

Steven Barnes said...

1) The Pedophilia comments are dead on, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you.
2) The "biological mistake" comments, loathsome as they are, are part and parcel of the belief that gay sex is a sin.
3) Her comments about putting the children first have, in any call I've heard, basically been: "don't have a job outside the home until your kids are in school." I've actually never heard her suggest a mother quit a job because her children were troubled.
The pedophilia thing is very troubling, and I believe, unjustified. The core of the problem seems to me to be the belief that gays are committing a sin just to express their sexuality--once a person has made that judgment, a bunch of really nasty stuff comes along with it. One of the reasons I don't much like dogma of any kind.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Remember what I said about a racist could still be a perfectly fine person, depending on how he actually treated other human beings?

The thing is, what people say is part of what they're doing, and especially if they have a public platform, it can affect what other people do.

I agree that it's important to look at the whole range of what someone's doing. If they're promoting racism while personally treating everyone decently (I find this unlikely-- they might be fair and generous with low-status employees, but I wonder if they'd be fair about major promotions), the local decency matters.

What do you mean by "perfectly fine"?

mkf said...

damn, always late for the party--i'll throw this out there anyway.

i've been a dr. laura listener ever since the early 90's, and am to this day. and while i often disagree with her, i've found that, when she's right, she's right in ways that nobody else on the radio or on television even comes close to today.

and i think the reason i can be fairly dispassionate about her is because i don't mindlessly adore her as do her disciples, and i don't mindlessly despise her as do her detractors--i try to see her as she is, flaws and all.

and as a gay man, i've watched with interest as her views on gays have changed over the years.

early on, she was very gay-tolerant. then, as she found religion and embraced judaism--and then orthodox judaism--she became very anti-gay, as her religion required her to do.

and then i remember one day, she said, on-air--and i remember this distinctly because it surprised me so much--that she had made a conscious decision to reject her religion's view of homosexuality, because, in her words, "no one should have to go through life alone" (and those were pretty much her exact words--and she choked up when she said it, because it was a tough stand for her to make, considering how important her religion was to her).

see, physiologist that she was, she had long since decided for herself that homosexuals were born, not made, and ultimately she couldn't consign such people to a life of aloneness--and good for her, i remember thinking.

this, of course, didn't stop her from asking the question: are homosexuals a biological mistake?

and you know what? it's a reasonable question--i mean, think about it: if, as darwin would have it, the prime imperative of a species is to reproduce itself, then it would seem to follow that homosexuals within said species are an undesirable, counter-productive aberration, no?

and the one thing i've noticed about dr. laura over the years is, she's nothing if not literal, and i can totally understand why she would not only ask, but embrace such a question.

me? i have different ideas: i think that nature built homosexuality--male/female androgyny--into the natural equation for specific reasons, but i can't deny that the other side might have a point.

but here's the thing: as a believer in the right of people to have divergent opinions and to ask hard questions, i don't hold it against her personally for asking the goddam question--it's a question that should be asked and dispassionately explored, far as i'm concerned.

as far as the pedophilia issues are concerned, i can't address those, because i didn't happen to be listening on the days when she allegedly made those statements.

here's what i know to be true: dr. laura has always held gay people to the same standard she's held straight people as far as promiscuity is concerned--i.e., if you fuck around enough, your personal boundaries are gonna drop to the point that you're untrustworthy around anybody, including kids. and, having seen what i've seen since i've come out, i can't say that i necessarily disagree with her.

but i'm apparently alone in the gay community in this regard--these folks see any attempt by anyone to restrict even a shred of their sexual freedom in any way as pure and blatant homophobia--and thus their hatred of the evil dr. laura.

whatever--you listen to her show today, she treats gay and lesbian callers with the same consideration as she does her straight callers--and holds them to the same standard of propriety.

and yeah yeah yeah--she's broken most of her own rules. doesn't matter to me--hell, she's human. and as i've said before, when she's right, she's right in ways that nobody else is, which makes up for a lot in my book.

you don't believe me? go listen to her without prejudice for a couple weeks, and then get back to me.

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