This is a midterm election year, so it is a good time to recall the points I brought up in the thirty-sixth chapter of Jephthah's Daughter. The Human Rights Campaign just released a booklet on "Coming Home to Evangelicalism," and we saw the Revoice conference in full assembly--the gay lobby seems determined to make acceptance of gays in the evangelical churches the big midterm issue of 2018. In midterm years, always anticipate that in September or October a gay cause célèbre explodes just in time to rally some extra votes for the Democrats in the congressional elections. My bet for this year will be "conversion therapy" and anti-gay pastors in the Baptist churches. See this video and review the chapter on "Cause Célèbre" from Jephthah's Daughters.
What follows is excerpted Chapter 36 of "Jephthah's Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family 'Equality'" (2015)
Robert Oscar Lopez
Wow. The new Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez really blows a hole in Gay Inc.[i] Matthew Shepard, it turns out, was not a blond cherub killed for being gay. He was the victim of a heinous murder. But he was killed by a bisexual he'd had sex with, and with whom he had a drug-dealing relationship. His killers were not only unfazed by gayness but also, it turns out, in relationships with daughters of lesbians. Both of the men who killed him were dating children of same-sex couples! Neither of them had any problems with their girlfriends’ mothers or their lesbian partners. Neither of them, it seems, had an issue with Matthew Shepard’s homosexuality. They had issues involving money and drugs.
People are shocked—shocked! Shocked! Most of the shock is a reaction to revelations about Matthew Shepard’s drug-related antics and psychiatric problems (including a possible pattern of pathologically lying about having been raped). These revelations undermine the morally pure status that made the Matthew Shepard anti-homophobia industry so lucrative since October 1998.
The politics behind a massive lie sold to the world ought to be more shocking to people. Shepard’s tragic death in Wyoming coincided with a midterm election and provided certain political camps with a wonderful autumn surprise. The murder took place four weeks before an election in the second term of the Clinton presidency, when the Republican control of Congress was threatening to a Democratic president who had signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and was about to get impeached over peccadilloes in his own turbulent marriage to Hillary Clinton. Recognizable players—Democratic power-brokers including Sean Patrick Maloney, GLAAD, and the Human Rights campaign—used a playbook in the false Shepard propaganda that would reappear. We see them using many of the same smear tactics with renewed venality against me in 2012-14: character assassinations, fabrications, and email “alerts” to rile emotions and keep masses of people hyper-emotional. (See all of Section Six.)
In Book of Matt Jimenez hides nothing. Clinton’s circles, as well as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, capitalized on the Shepard story early. They milked it for everything for well over a decade. They resorted to corrupt tactics to bury any media coverage that might reveal Shepard as flawed, his killers as not really homophobic, or the crime itself as a complicated event irreducible to the simplistic model of bigotry versus victimhood. Here is a snippet:
[Matthew Shepard’s boyfriend Ted] said the decision not to talk with the media after the 1998 attack had been his own, “out of respect for [Matthew’s parents and brother],” with whom he remained in close contact and occasionally celebrated family holidays.
Yet Ted also volunteered that in the summer of 2004 he had been “pressured” by a New York attorney, Sean Patrick Maloney, not to talk with me or anyone else at 20/20, and not to provide photos or other documentation of his longtime relationship with Matthew. […] Maloney, who was then acting counsel for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, had served as a senior assistant to President Bill Clinton in the White House. (In November 2012 Maloney was elected to the US Congress representing District 18 in the Hudson Valley region of New York State.) […] Maloney attempted to “smear” and discredit me professionally and personally.
[…]Ted Henson’s claim that he had been pressured to remain silent no longer seemed dubious or far-fetched. After the attempts to discredit the 20/20 investigation and me failed, at least two national gay organizations, GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation) and the Human Rights Campaign, contacted ABC News executives in an attempt to intervene editorially. One prominent activist asked to pre-screen the story and offer feedback on its content before it was broadcast. But 20/20 head David Sloan declined the request.
Unhappy about ABC’s decision, GLAAD launched a national email alert in advance of the 20/20 broadcast, advising members of its concern that the program would raise questions about whether or not Matthew’s murder was really motivated by anti-gay hate.[ii]
It boggles the mind. The average reader sees these things and stops to wonder, “am I imagining this? Could gay activists really be this devious?”
Yes, they are. I learned the hard way, as did other people overwhelmed by the Shepard lie and equally outrageous causes célèbres. These hysterias seem to happen not so coincidentally in September or October of midterm election years—years when the Democrats face a turnout disadvantage and need some emotional trigger to get their loyal constituencies, like gays, out of complacency and into voting booths. (In Section Six, I present the history of how I was personally caught in one of these “October surprises”—on October 6, 2014, before another high-stakes midterm election, the Human Rights Campaign sent a vicious email to all its members naming me and my workplace, and pushing a lie that I was an “exporter of hate.”)
Did Matthew Shepard get killed on October 6, 1998? Yes, of course he did. The homicide was not invented by the gay lobby. But of all the murders that happen every year in the US, why was this one elevated so hastily to a national obsession and why were people so determined to misrepresent the case as homophobia? Little of the aftermath was left to the whims of chance.
The trend continues every four years after Shepard’s death. Were there many cases of repressed Catholic clergy abusing boys? Yes, but why did so many decades-old cases reach a critical mass in 2002 and contribute so tidily to a narrative about homophobic religions being havens for repressed and hypocritical pedophiles? In the November 1, 2002 issue of U.S. Catholic, just as people were heading to the polls for the first midterm elections after 9/11, Heidi Schlumpf had this to say about “the near-barrage of books about the Catholic church scandal:”[iii]
Long before the Boston Globe reporters got on a first-name basis with heads of victims’ organizations […] journalists such as Jason Berry and Frank Bruni had already “revealed” the scandal of priest pedophilia to somewhat mild acclaim—at least compared with the massive collective outrage of the past year.[iv]
Lo and behold! Again there’s a crisis involving gays that plods along quietly around for decades but becomes a hot-tempered flashpoint just before a political watershed. “Massive collective outrage” is not spontaneous or random. The gay lobby has its patrons and clients. It is staffed by intelligent people who are highly aware of political calendars. They budget their time and money accordingly. Fast-forward four years to 2006. Having gotten some mileage out of a tragic murder in 1998 and then public angst over repressed Catholic gays preaching against homosexuality while sleeping with altar boys in 2002, the gay lobby asks, what now? What could possibly be as good as gay bashing or homophobic pedophile priests?
In July 2006, George W. Bush’s popularity had taken a turn for the worse. The war in Iraq was foundering and many liberals were still wondering how on earth the Republicans had won so handily in 2004. The Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House even with military snafus hung around their necks like so many albatrosses. After seeing the spate of successful state initiatives to restrict marriage to male-female couples, loyal gay liberals were not shy about asking what cause célèbre might stir things up. On June 20, 2006, Adam B. Vary admitted in Advocate that more “massive collective outrage” was in the works in advance of the November midterms:
But if everyone is casting about, seeking their own way of being and defining themselves—which is, to reiterate, what we're all striving for, the freedom to be exactly who we are—if gay both figuratively and literally no longer defines us, then under what banner can we unify to fight for that common goal? If decidedly cohesive antigay forces are stronger than ever precisely because we have come so far, how can we fight back if we can't even agree on a word that describes who we are?
As Vaid puts it, "What is it going to take to get millions of people out in the streets again?"
Foreman has an idea, but it isn't exactly heartwarming. "It felt very much in the early 1980s that we were losing the steam that Stonewall had unleashed," he says. "Then our community faced the HIV/AIDS crisis and that infused the movement with young people, new energy, new excitement, new anger. Movements have to keep being reinvigorated. […] I think this time it's going to be another Matthew Shepard."
Really? It's going to take something that severe? "It always does. It always does," he sighs. "We're all very good as human beings in doing what we have to do psychologically to get through the day. Until you hit the ugly face of homophobia, whether that's a fist in your face, or you don't get a job, or you can't get an apartment, people can be lulled into the sense that Will & Grace rules the world."[v]
This was not a small message board on a fringe chat site. This was Advocate talking, and talking openly: left to their own devices, gay people become too self-reliant to be of use to any political parties. They find their identities, build their lives, and carry on as normal human beings. From the perspective of Gay, Inc., this is very bad. From their corner offices in Washington DC and at their gala dinners in Manhattan and Los Angeles, they worry about too much gay happiness.
Self-sufficient homosexuals do not fund expensive lobbying headquarters, swing elections, generate frantic Internet traffic, or sign petitions. Contented homosexuals act with an autonomy that brings them joy but fills the organized gay movement with dread of an encroaching irrelevance. If there is no looming threat, the ligbitists must invent one.
Enter Republicans Mark Foley and Ted Haggard, miraculously exposed to the world as closeted conservative men in the weeks just before a high-stakes midterm election. It is the fall of 2006. Foley is caught sending suggestive emails to a teenage boy. Haggard’s phone recordings to a male prostitute about meth and massages get leaked to the press just in time to sell a storyline tailor-made for Democratic dreams of taking back the Senate. The storyline is: Brokeback Mountain was not just a cowboy movie; it was an allegory for the emotional devastation caused by gay men who refuse to accept who they are.
It was time to obliterate the closet, do away with any notion of men keeping homosexuality secret, and come clean—first, by punishing the closeted ones and making them an example to the others. It just so happened that, conveniently, all the closeted villains in this outrageous storyline were tied to the party that the gay lobby’s Democratic friends needed badly to unseat from Congress (which they did.)
With perfect timing, Time published a general exposé of Ted Haggard on Friday, November 3, 2006—the weekend before the election. As reported by a Denver correspondent:
Nevertheless, the pastor of one of the most prominent mega-churches in the country and one of President George W. Bush's advisors on evangelical issues has agreed to resign from his own 14,000-member New Life Church and temporarily resigned as president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 evangelical churches across the U.S., after Mike Jones, a gay massage therapist and self-described professional male escort in Denver told local radio and TV stations that he sold Haggard gay sex for three years. Jones also said that Haggard used drugs with him. […]Haggard had intimated that the allegations may be an electioneering ploy. He supports Amendment 43 on the Colorado state ballot on Nov. 7, which would add a new section to the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Another question on the ballot — Referendum I — would allow gays and lesbians to form legally protected domestic partnerships. While Haggard is not seen as a firebreather on the issue, and insists he supports the civil rights of all groups, he has expressed no interest in supporting Referendum I. At this point, one poll shows that Amendment 43 has 53% support; while Referendum I has 47%. […] Jones too says that the elections may have played a part in their relationship. However, he believes that Haggard stopped seeing him after August of this year because the vote on marriage was approaching and the clergyman did not want to risk being caught in a compromising position. "My gut feeling is that the elections were coming up and we have the two amendments and he decided to lie low. And the whole [Congressman Mark] Foley thing was coming out. The last three times I saw him, I knew who he was. I never said anything. We really didn't talk."[vi]
October surprises that deal with villains to tear down hold some advantages over October surprises based on angelic victims to mourn like Matthew Shepard and Tyler Clementi. Villains raise people’s ire and satisfy a tribal need for shaming. Shaming is a vile ritual the gay lobby is determined to customize for a community of queers who are probably rather inclined to leave each other alone and keep a low profile.
It takes work to whip up gay outrage vis-à-vis the inertia of most queer individuals who prefer calm to mayhem. A dedicated industry excels at provocation. When the gay lobby is on the attack, they get to invade people’s privacy. Almost nobody faults them for forcing Foley’s emails and Haggard’s private phone messages to go viral. “Outing” is good when we are fighting closeted middle-aged conservative men. The status of “outing” would change dramatically when the person being exposed was an eighteen-year-old boy secretly filmed by a roommate having sex. Four years later, facing down the Tea Party in the deadly midterm elections of 2010, the gay lobby chose to play the victim again and turned the Clementi suicide into a cause célèbre of Matthew Shepard proportions.
Before we delve into the Clementi case, it is worth looking closely at the cause célèbre that seems the template for the fabricated outrages that followed. In some ways, one could say it all starts in 1998. A “short and boyish” youth with handsome blond hair—the very picture of angelic innocence—is found dead. With very little reason to believe it had anything to do with his being gay, a national movement spontaneously forms to make the killing an allegory for the vast sufferings of homosexuals everywhere. Stephen Jimenez’s detective work in Laramie, Wyoming, uncovered countless nuggets of information:
[T]he earliest reports of an anti-gay hate crime had originated with [Alex] Trout, then twenty-one, and another longtime friend of Matthew named Walt Boulden, a college instructor in social work who had turned forty-six on the day of the attack. According to The Denver Post, Boulden described himself as a sort of big-brother figure to Matthew.[vii]
In a sane world, a single word would jump off the page: “creepy!” If Boulden was a “longtime friend” does this mean their friendship began when Shepard was fifteen and Boulden was forty? How is that not like a daddy-son relationship bordering on improper?
Distorted boundaries may have played a role in the key problem of the killing’s aftermath: the big lie that it was all about gayness rather than about male aggression, rivalry, drugs, recklessness, and money. Jimenez continues:
[T]he Shepard family had excluded Trout and Boulden from Matthew’s highly publicized memorial service at the family’s hometown church in Casper, Wyoming. That, too, stirred my curiosity since both men had been close to Matthew for several years […] According to Trout, one of the first things he and Boulden did upon hearing that Matthew had been severely beaten was call Jason Marsden, a gay reporter friend at the Casper Star-Tribune. They also contacted gay organizations in Wyoming and Colorado. Very quickly the Associated Press and other national media picked up the news of a presumed anti-gay attack.[viii]
Overshadowed by the tragedy were smaller but not insignificant crimes committed by gay advocates: crass exploitation of grieving families in order to score political points, overblown accusations of bigotry, and concerted efforts to cover up strange and inappropriate things involving older men and the young victim.
The forty-six-year-old college instructor was palling around with their kid and rushed to tell lobbying groups things that weren’t really accurate. The Shepards made a point not to have him at the funeral. I have been around the queer block too many times not to know what was going on here. Boulden may or may not have had indiscretions with Matthew Shepard; that he had a relationship with a boy under conditions that blurred social boundaries is clear regardless. Social boundaries are important to everyone including gays. Perhaps suffering from an incomplete emotional maturation, the middle-aged Boulden presumed too much familiarity with a youth far behind him in self-mastery and worldly experience. Acting like a big brother to someone over such an age gap was the prelude to the equally inappropriate act of projecting homophobia onto Shepard’s death in the absence of sufficient evidence.
As I commented in a past American Thinker article, "Understanding the Viciousness of the Gay Left," the LGBT movement is based on one overarching priority: public image.[ix] For various complex reasons, the leaders of this movement did not consider any problem facing homosexuals as serious as the issue of "stigma," or what straight people thought about gays as a class.
Individual gays could be viewed as ugly, too effeminate, or embarrassing for their political views, which explains why Dan Savage had no problem calling Marcus Bachmann schoolyard insults based on conjecture and fantasy (in 2011, Savage “outed” Michele Bachmann’s husband citing his own insistence that Marcus Bachmann was gay, with no evidence.)[x] But the important thing is always for Gays as a community to be viewed by Everyone Else as blameless people.
When you systematically ignore the troublesome dynamics within your own community—i.e., the domestic violence, cruel social interactions, sexual assaults, eating disorders, drugs, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, economic inequality, pederasty, etc.—in favor of just talking about "homophobia" all the time, as if all those serious problems are less important than impressing outsiders, you lose your perspective.
You get comfortable, in fact, with lying. It's okay to lie, smear, and live in a world of make-believe, as long as you are somehow making gay people look good to the world. Individual gays can even be misrepresented or jettisoned as long as the ultimate goal of public glory is served.
Matthew Shepard wasn't really a case of homophobia; he was a tragic victim of violence at the hands of fellow meth users who were tied to him through homosexual connections. If anything, the two men would have never killed Matthew Shepard had they been homophobic, because they never would have had any social history with him at all.
We haven't seen the blowback on the Tyler Clementi case, but just wait. That's coming soon. Tyler Clementi was eighteen years old and three weeks into his freshman year at Rutgers when he jumped off a bridge and killed himself in September 2010. He had recently had sexual congress with a thirty-year-old stranger he met on a gay Internet site. His roommate had known him for less than a month. This roommate, Dharun Ravi, was apparently annoyed at being shut out of his dorm room for a tryst between Clementi and a creepy thirty-something man trolling around a university dorm. Dharun Ravi used a webcam and broadcast images of Clementi and the thirty-year-old man having sex.[xi] Four years after gay activists blasted Mark Foley’s and Ted Haggard’s private messages to the press as part of righteous “outing,” the same gay activists now equated “outing” with criminal acts of homophobia.
Clementi's suicide sparked a wave of consciousness-raising that indirectly boosted the same-sex marriage movement, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the campaign "It Gets Better." Who knows? Maybe this tiny boost helped the Democrats keep Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in a contentious race against Republican challenger Carly Fiorina. The stated goal: To fight homophobia so teenage gay boys wouldn't kill themselves.[xii]
Here's the problem: Clementi was the wrong poster boy for a narrative of innocent gay boys being driven to suicide by homophobia. The boy’s straight roommate was doing exactly what gay-friendly web communities would have encouraged him to do: over-share, shame, scandalize, and “out” people. Isn’t that Dan Savage to a tee? If it’s bad to be closeted, then why beatify Clementi for reacting in such an extreme way to having his sexuality made public? Moreover, the gay community's own structured sex mores had fostered sexual adventurism in a young man who was emotionally vulnerable and not equipped to deal with the effects of fast sex with much older men. Our hearts go out to Clementi and of course any decent person would say that it was wrong to broadcast images of him having sex with the stranger he met on the Internet.
But Clementi's own judgment was already lapsing. A gay subculture that minimizes the significance of sex and dismisses the larger social commitments that come with sharing one's body with another human—a gay culture that shirks the responsibilities that should come with sex—has conditioned and recruited boys into a world of chaos for which they are not prepared.
That's not a problem of homophobia. That's a problem of gay culture.
For the last five years, the official Clementi narrative of "homophobia causes gay teen to kill himself" has held strong. It is a false narrative, however, paired with a false solution: supposedly to combat gay suicide, “It Gets Better” goads seasoned gay adults to flood YouTube with video messages aimed at self-questioning underage boys. The recordings feel like a mix of a video dating service, narcissistic home movies, and cult prayers to the god of sexual excess, Dan Savage. Rather than giving gay adults more opportunities to talk to boys who might be gay, we need to keep youth away from adult gay culture. “Mainstream” gay culture is so far gone that most gay readers do not even seem fazed by the fact that Clementi's sex partner was a thirty-year-old who was happy to enter a freshman dormitory and sodomize a boy who was barely even legal, and whom he didn't know, when it was obvious that a roommate had to be put out of his own living space for the duration of their reckless sex.
But it is only a matter of time.
In the 1970s, the goal was to "de-stigmatize" homosexuality by forcing psychiatrists and then the whole medical profession to declare that there was nothing wrong with homosexuality, therefore nothing wrong with men having sex with men, ergo no health risks to the kind of sex men had with men, hence no problem with lots and lots of anonymous anal sex.
Half a decade later, there was an AIDS epidemic. Two decades later, gays had a host of other problems: depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, suicidal ideation, adjustment disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder from sexual abuse or domestic violence. These were diagnosable abnormalities according to the psychiatric profession. Rather than being diagnosed as "homosexual" and then being given counseling to cope with their desires in a world where their desires posed difficulties, they were told that their desires posed no risk. Then they were branded mentally ill for experiencing the predictable difficulties that came with engaging uncritically in sex acts that were more challenging than heterosexuality despite all assurances to the contrary.
The latest report from the CDC shows that the HIV infection rate among boys aged 13-19 is growing and the vast majority of such infections results from anal homosexual sex.[xiii] The gay movement has made the problem worse by demanding that young boys be exposed to information about homosexuality, which doesn't even fairly inform them of the general health and psychological risks associated with starting homosexual activity so young.
But no matter. The goal wasn't to help gay men stay healthy, live long, or be happy. The goal was for gay men to be presented positively in the press. Martyrdom sells, especially when the martyr is a cherubic teenager. The more of a victim the character is, the more useful for public relations. You cannot stigmatize someone who has lived a short life and died tragically. But so much of gay life is about struggling with the full realm of experience that is not encapsulated in a melodramatic leap from a famous bridge or a Christ-like immolation by ghoulish oppressors in the Wyoming wilds.
[i] Stephen Jimenez, The Book of Matt (Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2013).
[ii] Ibid., 122-5.
[iii] Heidi Schlumpf, “Bad news on the rise,” U.S. Catholic 67 no. 11 (November 1, 2002) 26-29; 26.
[iv] Stephen Jimenez, 29.
[v] Adam B. Vary, “Is Gay Over?,” Advocate (June 20, 2006) via Ebscohost. Item: 04194941. Emphasis added.
[vi] Rita Healy, “A Mega-Scandal for a Mega-Church,” Time, Nation (November 3, 2006) http://content.time.com (Accessed January 24, 2015).
[vii] Stephen Jimenez, 54.
[viii] Ibid., 55.
[ix] Robert Oscar Lopez, “Understanding the Viciousness of the Gay Left,” American Thinker (June 7, 2013) www.americanthinker.com (Accessed January 11, 2015).
[x] See: June Thomas, “Dan Savage, Bully,” Slate, XX Factor (July 14, 2011) www.slate.com (Accessed January 11, 2015).
[xi] Ed Pilkington, “Tyler Clementi, student outed as gay on internet, jumps to his death,” Guardian, US News (September 30, 2010) www.theguardian.com (Accessed January 11, 2015).
[xii] See: Ian Parker, “The Story of a Suicide,” New Yorker, A Reporter at Large (February 6, 2012) www.newyorker.com (Accessed January 11, 2015).
[xiii] Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “HIV among Youth,” CDC Home, (Undated) www.cdc.gov (Accessed January 24, 2015). According to the CDC, HIV infections rose in gay and bisexual boys 13-19 by 22% in two years alone (2008-2010).