Love the sinners to death…

Just in case any esteem for humanity had crept into your skull since yesterday, there’s this asshole.

Anti-gay bullying is not bullying at all; in fact, it is “peer pressure and is healthy.” That’s according to Rich Swier, an activist with the Tea Party Nation.

Swier was responding to a report from a Florida group that showed that “77% of all bullying victims are picked on due to sexual orientation, gender identity, or the perception of either.” The report also pointed out that “LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts.”

Bullying is healthy and also leads to suicide?  I wish nothing but the utmost ‘health’ on Rich Swier, then.

Quoting Swier…

I agree with Gulf Coast Gives that “LGBT youth are up to five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts”. Homosexuality, like drugs, harms young people if they experement [sic] with it. That is the greatest tragedy.

A few things.  First, sexual orientation is not something people ‘experiment’ with.  It’s not optional you sick, ignorant fuck.  This has been established by every credible medical body on Earth long ago*.  Here’s the American Psychological Association’s take.

No, human beings cannot choose to be either gay or straight. For most people, sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

It’s like comparing somebody’s brown eyes to drug use.  Of course, with god at their backs, what use do anti-gay bigots have for the conclusions of the experts?

Second, you don’t get to wash the blood off your hands so easily, Swier.  According to him, it’s not the bullying; it’s not the widespread discrimination; it’s not the social ostracism that makes these teenagers seek out death.  Forget what our most august battery of psychological minds says about the deadly affects of anti-gay bigotry.  Forget that the APA also places a great deal of the blame for the high suicide rate of LGBT people on the idea that they need to change, and upon conversion therapies reinforcing that idea.  Leave it to a follower of the most-loving religion to proudly declare that these things are good for kids, and to try and shift the blame for their desire to stop living onto the victims themselves.

Swier is not merely an isolated example of weapons-grade idiocy.  Countless believers like Rich Swier across this country, virtually all of which have uttered the phrase ‘god is love’ in their lives, applaud and keep applying the social pressure that kills children.  They attempt to exempt themselves from cuplpability behind the banner of ‘but these are my beliefs’.  I know they are your beliefs.  You are still fucking evil and your beliefs are garbage.  This is the damn truth, and anybody who thinks we should spare such people or their ideas a modicum of respect is not my ally.

I’ll bet most of them also ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’.  To hell with each and every one of them.  Homosexuality is not wrong, and love is beautiful/healing – even in the face of life-destroying rubbish that should have died in the second century along with a mountain of other human ignorance.

In his post, Swier has a photo of two men embracing with the quote ‘ain’t love grand?’

The irony is that Swier used the photo facetiously.  And that’s just the point: many religions, Christianity specifically, tell us to be ashamed of love when it doesn’t fit their ancient notion of the concept.  This photograph is beautiful, and yes, love is grand.  Their love is grand.

Irrationality makes monsters of otherwise good people, and turns ‘love’ into a synonym for murder in the hands of many.  And the plain truth is that nothing enshrines irrationality as a virtue like our numerous religions.

* To all you believers out there tempted to bring up NARTH in the comments as though they are a credible medical body: go ahead.  I’m dying to go feral on some stupid-ass comments.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Assam

    NARTH – sounds too much like Pinky from Pinky and the Brain to ever let me take them seriously.

    Gay bashing is healthy is it?

    Righty ho, despite not being gay myself, (the closest I have come to it was when I was accused on of being a Gay Stooge after standing up for gay rights to some bigotted loon!) I’m sure I could muster up enough of my gay friends to pitch up to put some healthy peer pressure on him to become fabulous, after all fair is fair!

    I doubt it would take much “peer Pressure” though, as I always tend to think with idiots who make these revolting comments that they are most probably gay themselves.

    But it is very sad that people like this revolting troll do have an effect and his encouragements to cause even more trouble are done without blinking at the consequences of his actions.

    I know people who have been bullied because of being gay and it’s heart-breaking- a guy I know was kicked out of his house because the household claimed he was a paedophile since he was gay.

    Still, as long as there are people who do stand up to monsters like this and that we do keep responding to their drivel I am confident we can have an effect on people to do the opposite and see this man for who he truly is.

    Keep up the good work JT, I’m proud of you sir.

  • Anna N.

    right. this “healthy peer pressure” leads to people being the man in Vancouver who was attacked outside a bar, hit is head on the pavement and is now permanently disabled. sounds healthy to me. Or all those known and unknown victims who are displayed at the wall of shame during LGBT awareness day… maybe we should invent “ignorant sh*head bullying”..sorry “peer pressure”

  • Serah Blain

    Thanks for writing this, JT. I can’t tell you how fucking angry and horrified I am that somebody could encourage this behavior. I’ve worked with LGBT youth for years who have experienced this kind of “healthy peer pressure,” and the damage it causes is fucking brutal. The idea that it’s o.k. to destroy a child’s psyche and sense of self for any reason at all is vile and evil and fuck this asshole.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    America has a very fucked up attitude when it comes to the issue of bullying. We think that running them through the savage jungle of abuse will somehow toughen them up and make them stronger… that is, if they don’t kill themselves first. Oh sure, they’ll complain when it’s their own kid who is being bullied, but when it comes to other children, “Well, they’ll get over it and it builds character.”

    I’m a heterosexual, but I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder as a child and was stuck in “special classes” from 3rd grade up until my senior year in high school. Dubbed a “tard” by my peers, my status as an “LD/ED” student and the manic/depressive episodes opened me up to all kinds of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of my classmates. The teachers and the administrators didn’t want to get involved in my plight. My principal once told my parents during a meeting about my bullying, “We’re educators, not security guards.” All the while, I had counselors and school shrinks tell me that it will “get better” once I graduate and move on and I’d be a better person for it. (Sound familiar, my GLBT friends?)

    But it didn’t get better, the damage was already done. I’m 36 now, and to this day I still have nightmares about high school. I have difficulty forming and keeping relationships (especially sexual ones) because I don’t know if people are going to turn on me and hurt me. My self-esteem is non-existent.

    I suppose my only mistake was not killing myself when I was 16.

  • James Croft

    Right on the money, again. Thanks for this.

  • Russell P

    Go get’em JT.

  • Nikki Gillespie

    That picture is indeed beautiful. For those two men to show their love for one another in a public manner like that is encouraging and brave. Thank you JT for your support of LGBT people everywhere. You are a bastion of awesomeness.

  • Mario

    Dear JT,

    Thank you for posting on this. It has taken me a few days to reflect on such a lack of compassion by this person. Check my blog as I will be posting something myself on this issue today.

  • The Nerd

    The only “confusion” I’ve ever experienced about my identity is from the people telling me it’s wrong and imaginary (turns out, it can be both at the same time!) The only harm I’ve ever experienced from expressing my identity is at the hands of my own family.