So a man repeatedly beat his three-year-old son and shoved him into a box, which induced shaking, vomiting, and, eventually a coma. The boy died this January. The father is claiming that he beat the hell out of the kid in order to keep his son from becoming a “sissy” or going gay.
All of these facts I learned from this article by a reporter for PlanetOut, a repository of “gay and lesbian news.” The report explains that the father is attempting the “gay panic” defense. A spokesman for Equality Florida also explains that it isn’t likely to work, because “Juries in even the most conservative states reject gay panic as a defense for murder.”
Having read the same report that I did, Andrew Sullivan had the following comment:
“He didn’t want him to be a sissy,” Shelton Bostic, the defendant’s Bible-study friend, testified. Yep: the guy was in Bible study. And this is what he learned.
The urge to resort to invective is nearly overwhelming, but let me make a few points:
1) Interesting that juries in even the most conservative states — on which one would assume conservative Christians have a greater representation than elsewhere — are not likely to cut the father some slack. Why would that be? [Hint: it has to do with millstones -- ed.]
2) Sure, the man’s religous formation may have had something to do with the violence he visited on his son, but it might not have. We don’t have enough information from this report to make a determination one way or the other.
3) The fact that Andrew Sullivan is so prone to make these sorts of leaps — not as occasional lapses or mistakes but as as a matter of course — has led an awful lot of people to take him less seriously.