Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Which is the Greater Threat? Gays or White Males?

Very few of you probably follow politics in Utah, but I do for a few reasons. First, because I grew up in Utah. Second, because I'm a sociologist of religion whose area of specialization is Mormonism and studying how it manifests itself on the social and political landscape. Third, because the Mormon Church is a political powerhouse, as continually evidenced by recent events in California, among other pivotal moments in American history. And fourth, because my fundamental rights as a member of the GLBT community are a constant source of consternation for many Mormons, especially in Utah, where most of their elected officials are Mormon.

In the last year or so, one of the state legislature's more controversial figures has been a state senator from West Jordan, Salt Lake County, Utah named Chris Buttars. If you want to read more about this flaming homophobe, go to the Salt Lake Tribune and search for him. Or Google him. Whatever. While he's the impetus for this post, he isn't what I'm going to write about. Instead, I'm highlighting the Trib's best columnist and voice of reason in Mormondom--a guy named Robert Kirby.

Recently, he wrote about Chris Buttars and the "threat" gays and lesbians pose to America. Pay special attention to his closing sentence. It's priceless. Here is Sen. Buttars, Gay Rights Won't Destroy Us.


Anonymous said...

Kirby has been my hero for a long time.

Love. Him.

Adriana Velez said...

Someone on Facebook just posted this, too! Love it--and really funny, especially that line about tampon commercials. But this is the best line:

"With even a casual glance at our history, it's easy to see that the America people feared seeing destroyed has always been an outdated version that catered almost entirely to them."

It's a little awkwardly put, but salient nonetheless.

Maya said...

Aside from the aforementioned tampon line, I also liked this one:
In 1998, the federal government made it illegal to fire federal employees just for being gay. It's tough to fire federal employees anyway, but this was different. We held our breath and the Dow immediately stayed where it was.

ka said...

Redtube Cam

D.C. Confidential said...

Phoebe: I fell in love with Kirby back in the late 80s/early 90s, when I read a piece he wrote about the various levels of Mormonness. My favorite was and remains "The Nazi Mormon." I'm not sure this is the original text, but here is Kirby's Five Types of Mormons.

Adriana: The tampon line rocked! I LOLed when I read that. And the sentence you highlight is exactly the one I was calling out. It is, as you point out, awkwardly word. But, as you also point out, "salient nonetheless."

Maya: Yeah, so much for the alarmists Chicken Little belief that the sky will fall, eh? I think the same is applicable here: the world will not end because rights have been granted to human beings.

Ka: Thanks for sharing the redcam. I'm sure I'd find that useful if I was into watching other people have sex. Alas, I am not.

Gilahi said...

I feel compelled to point out that gays and white males are not mutually exclusive classifications. Speaking as a straight white male, however, I have to plead the case that the only thing I ever threaten is the occasional spider that wanders into our house, and even they don't take me very seriously.

Adriana Velez said...

I just came across this Margaret Cho protest song--thought you might like it.

foundinidaho said...

Hey Tewkes, a couple of thoughts -

1) The one thing that saved my sanity about living in Utah was Kirby. I read him religiously (excuse the expression). My son went to Scouts in Herriman, where he lives, and my biggest thrill was marching with my son in the Herriman Days parade and seeing Kirby watching and taking pictures. I about hugged him. I'm sure he wondered who the weird non-LDS woman was marching with the LDS cub troop.

2) Shortly after that, at the park, the only political tent up was Buttars. (He was also in the parade). And no one was offended. That's when I knew I had to get the hell out of Utah.

D.C. Confidential said...

Gilahi: You are an exception and a credit within your species. Unfortunately, most white males are simply a continuation of a historical precedent for wrecking havoc and mayhem since the beginning of time. That said, I can't imagine you'd ever hurt a fly.

Adriana: Ah, Margaret. Sublime!

FII: Like you, the only thing that saved my sanity when I was still active was Kirby. I met him once. At Sunstone, I think. I would love to write a paper about him and the impact of his writing in/on Mormon culture. It will be a sad day when he dies.

As for Buttars, he'll get his. Karma has a way of winning in the end.

Anonymous said...

Tewks and foundinidaho:
I loved Kirby's levels of Mormonism too. And sometime in 2000 when my faith fell off the edge of the back pew, I read Kirby's own Articles of Faith, and started to know that my only way to sanity was through Kirby's sense of humor.

And Tewks, today I sat in the office of the director of the campus's center for multicultural excellence. I was there to sign up for LGBTQ ally training because of the growing anti rhetoric from people like Mormonism's answer for Fred Phelps, Chris Buttars. The director laughed when I quoted you, saying the real threat to America is the white male heterosexual agenda.

-The usual disclaimer about nice white male hets being the exception.

- Phoebe

Brian said...

Aw, good ole' Kirby! This takes me back to my early Utah days, attending political rallys and being arrested for protesting on the campus of BYU. That's an experience everyone should have at least once! :)

I suppose there is something to be said for buidling one's character by living admist constant aversity and, in the case of Sen. Buttars, EVIL! But after my five year tenure in the Land of Green Jello and Many Wives, I'm happy to say I will NEVER AGAIN live in a red state... or even a purple one. God Bless my new home, Minnesota -- the only state that never shed an electoral vote for Ronald Reagan! :)