Interest groups make American democracy work. Many Americans are quick to note that most interest groups work for the benefit of only a narrow group of people. True. But American society enjoys some sort of balance that is created by warring interest groups. I am openly gay, and will readily admit to lobbying on behalf of the so-called “homosexual agenda.” (Let the record show that I have yet to get a notarized copy of this historical document. I should call headquarters tomorrow.) Theoretically, we enjoy minority rights with majority rule. There comes a point though, when leaders of interest groups need to discern right from wrong and act responsibly.The American Family Association of Pennsylvania (http://www.afapa.org) asserts that its purpose (in part) is, “to make a positive difference in our community by standing up for traditional Judeo-Christian values.” Would you believe that I made it through 13 years of Catholic schooling without ever learning that active deceit was a Judeo-Christian value? A quick perusal of the AFA’s Web site led me to a page entitled “homo-sexual agenda.” You can imagine my surprise when I learned that “multiple sex partners are part of the homosexual lifestyle.” I must have missed the memo.
Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of PA, used this assumption as an attempt at getting Allegheny College to abandon its Pride Alliance Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. (The text of this article can be found in public domain at: http://www.afaofpa.org/Allegheny%20College.htm.) Call me crazy, but it seems that the president of an institution which promotes Judeo-Christian values should maintain honest correspondence with other professional organizations, especially when that correspondence is in the public domain. I have to admit, I didn’t realize that becoming the president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania required you to abandon all logical reasoning.
This professional leader presumes to know things about the homosexual lifestyle, and yet I haven’t seen her sneaking into my bedroom anytime in the recent past. Generalization is a dangerous thing. If one wishes to maintain any degree of professionalism, he or she must favor facts over assumptions. Anything else is foolish and irresponsible.
Elsewhere on this fascinating site, visitors are treated to the AFA’s attempt at preventing Judy Shepard, mother of gay hate crimes victim Matthew Shepard, from speaking at Westminster College. Judy Shepard has traveled the country tirelessly to prevent acts of violent crime from happening to marginalized groups. Evidently, compassion is no longer a family value.
Luckily, the AFA Web site provides a list of resources so that homosexuals can be “freed from the homosexual lifestyle through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.” One of these groups is called Exodus International. The AFA bills this group as the “largest Christian information and referral center dealing with homosexual issues in the world.”
What the AFA neglects to mention, however, is that its founders, Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, ultimately decided that they could not keep from being gay. They had fallen in love while supposedly teaching others how to become hetero-sexual. They founded Exodus International in 1976, left the organization in 1979, and married in 1982. Now thats my idea of a success story.
Radicals on both the right and left sides of the political agenda are necessary in order to maintain balance. But what happened to integrity? The American Family Association has consistently used fear tactics and emotional appeals in the place of sound reasoning and logic. This radical group seems to think homosexuals are out to convert the nation’s children to the ways of the devil. In reality, civil rights movements are about fighting for equality. Nothing more, nothing less. The AFA is free to think what it wants. Freedom of expression is an American value, right?
In the meantime, I’m going to call headquarters and tell them that they’re onto us.
Tim Servinsky is a junior majoring in communication with a minor in film criticism.