Monday, April 15, 2013

Quote for the Day: Catholic Hierarchy and Responsibility for Anti-Gay Violence

It was not Frigide Barjot who was hitting my head, or the bishop of Avignon lurking in that street to attack us. But they are responsible.

The statement is by Wilfred de Bruijn, a gay man savagely beaten along with his partner in Paris a week ago yesterday by several thugs shouting homophobic slogans as de Brujin and his boyfriend were walking in their neighborhood. Thomas Adamson at Huffington Post, John Aravosis at Americablog Gay, and Janine di Giovanni at Daily Beast describe the attack, in which de Bruijn's face was shattered with multiple fractures.

As John Aravosis notes, this attack comes on the heels of a promise by anti-gay religious right groups in France to spill blood after the French government approved marriage equality. And as Aravosis also notes, those groups have very close ties to the anti-gay (and strongly Catholic) group National Organization for Marriage in the U.S., which has been collaborating with (and, according to some commentators, helping orchestrate and fund) demonstrations against marriage equality in France that have already resulted in violent actions by demonstrators.

What's going on with the fascist backlash against gay rights in France puts Janine di Giovanni in mind of the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s. As she notes, 

I cannot help but think about the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930s and the shocking way in which even the most gentrified people suddenly turned insane in the face of something they considered different. Human beings resist change, and in those days, it was socialism or communism or the rise of the common worker, which turned gangs of thugs loose on the streets. Now it is gay rights.

And then she concludes,

Bullies oppress marginalized people, whether homosexuals, Jews, Gypsies, Tutsis, Bosnian Muslims, or Palestinians, because they can. The way they justify their abuse is that they dehumanize them. The only way to defeat bullies is to stand up to them. 
If homophobia is the rising wave—as European newspapers predict—then we must act now to defuse this growing hatred. As one of the posters read Wednesday night, homophobia kills.

And she's absolutely correct. Just as Wilfred de Bruijn is also correct that, though Catholic hierarchical figures promoting anti-gay sentiment around the world may not have been the people crushing his face to a pulp a week ago, they're absolutely responsible for the violence their words and actions help to elicit and justify among fascist thugs like the ones who attacked him.

P.S. I'm only now learning of the appalling news from Boston, about which I didn't know when I posted this item. My thoughts are very much with those in Boston now, as I'm sure is also the case with readers of this blog.

The photo was posted by Wilfred de Bruijn on his Facebook page, and has appeared in a number of articles reporting the attack against him.

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