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Anti-Gay Bigotry on Display

Via Reuters:  One Million Moms to JC Penney: fire Ellen, she’s gay

One Million Moms — a project of the American Family Association — is very angry at JC Penney.

[…]

"Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families," the million (or so) moms write on their website. "DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there."

[…]

The moms want JC Penney "to replace Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson immediately and remain neutral in the culture war."

The odds, of course, that indeed a million moms (or, indeed, people in general) are involved here is dubious.  And one might reasonably note that drawing attention to the AFA is giving them free publicity that they want but do not deserve.  However, I think that they need publicity, although of the negative sort. This kind of behavior is simply reprehensible as well as tiresome.  It also needs to be called out, especially since this is hardly new behavior.

For example, Doug Mataconis blogged the following last year:  Christian Radio Host Wants To Put New Apple CEO In Jail For Being Gay.  And not only in the organization anti-gay, it is rather rabidly anti-Muslim.  For example: Apparently, Hating Muslims Is Now A Family Value.

The notion that upholding family values, let alone promoting a religion that is supposed to be based in grace, love, and forgiveness, is accomplished through tearing other people down is an odd one, to put it  mildly.

Ultimately, I am unclear as to how having Ellen DeGeneres flack for JCP will lead to anyone’s family being compromised or how having her as a spokesperson promotes, to quote AFA from the Reuters’ piece, “the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children.”

Beyond even that, if one were to apply strictly rigid morality tests (e.g., no homosexuals, no adulterers, no fornicators, etc.)  to one’s consumer activities, one would quickly find it impossible to shop anywhere, yes?  Further, one shops at JCP to get cheap stuff, not to have morals taught/affirmed.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Amusing too because Degeneres is a conservative dresser. Maybe they want Katy Perry?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Gromitt Gunn says:

    When your movement is reduced to trying to convince people that “goofy gal next door” Ellen or “Doogie Houser all grown up” Neil Patrick Harris are existential threats to Our American Way of Life, you’ve just plain lost. Like, for good. Seriously, time to find some other raison d’etre, because the one you’ve got just makes you look all full up on the crazy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  3. Eric says:

    @john personna:

    No she kissed a girl and apparently she liked it as well. Not good enough for AFA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The moms want JC Penney “to replace Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson immediately and remain neutral in the culture war.”

    Wow… “Remain neutral by doing what we want you to.” These peoplew amaze with their stupidity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. @Eric:

    Doh!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. DRS says:

    The question that needs to be asked, of course, is: where would Jesus have shopped?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. Rick Almeida says:

    @DRS:

    If he were slumming, Our Lord would wear Brooks Brothers. Otherwise, bespoke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. DRS says:

    With Birkenstocks, natch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. sam says:

    I can’t imagine anybody on TV, outside of a Muppet, less threatening than Ellen Degeneres. Come to think of it, it’s probably because she is so unthreatening that the folks in the AFA are driven round the bend (not that that’s exactly a long trip,mind you).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  10. NotALibertarian says:

    Libertarian Ignorance on Display:
    Not understanding why conservatives do not want a developmental disorder mainstreamed into American culture.

    It would be nice if social libs actually cared about science as much as they claim they do. Lets put aside the obvious biological proof that the purpose of sex organs are for actual reproductive behaviors. Findings coming out of hyper-tolerant Northern Europe show that homosexuals have higher rates of depression, chemical dependency and suicide as well as neurotic promiscuity and “orientation” instability (drifting in and out of the lifestyle). But then I’m sure persecution of gays by those intolerant lunatics in the UK and Scandanavia must be the cause for all of this, right?.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 21

  11. NotALibertarian says:

    You caught us, Mr. Taylor!

    We conservatives are totally sorry for our bigotry against warped, nonsensical social agendas. All of the hard-hitting evidence you have provided now proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no such a thing as normal sexuality.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  12. @NotALibertarian: I made no claims about sexuality, per se.

    I did claim that AFA is being bigoted, by definition, with this call (and I consider this wrong).

    I also implied that it rather silly to look to spokespeople for retail outlets for affirmation of one’s moral point of view.

    Any chance you want to actually address any of that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. @NotALibertarian:BTW, how is Ellen DeGeneres, a fairly popular talk show host and entertainer selling clothes, towels, and whatnot for JCP indicative of “warped, nonsensical social agendas”?

    You are your ilk are far more concerned with Ellen’s sexual proclivities than am I, I assure you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @NotALibertarian:

    Findings coming out of hyper-tolerant Northern Europe show that homosexuals have higher rates of depression, chemical dependency and suicide as well as neurotic promiscuity and “orientation” instability (drifting in and out of the lifestyle).

    And in peer-reviewed journals, too, I have no doubt!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  15. sam says:

    @NotALibertarian:

    Lets put aside the obvious biological proof that the purpose of sex organs are for actual reproductive behaviors

    You don’t say! And here all this time I’ve believed that — on the male side — they were for you guys to wave around in public to demonstrate you he-manliness and uberpatriotism. Well, live and learn, I always say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  16. NotALibertarian says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: @Steven L. Taylor: @Gromitt Gunn:

    From the Journal of Infectious Diseases:
    “Men with a homosexual partner during the past 5 years reported a mean (SD) of 26.7 (109.9) sex partners during that time, compared with 4.1 (8.3) among those men who reported having no homosexual partnerships.”
    http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/191/Supplement_1/S127.full

    From SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHIATRIC EPIDEMIOLOGY:
    “Suicide risk appears greatly elevated for men in same-sex partnerships in Denmark.”
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/yvh450u365q65x30/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  17. Peacewood says:

    Fetch my +1 flame tongue sword, squire! Methinks I smell a troll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. matt says:

    @NotALibertarian: You talk about science while ignoring the science showing that gay males have similar brain patterns to females and that gay females have similar brain patterns to men…

    There’s a lot of discrimination in the Uk and Scandinavia and if you people had you’re way they would be even worse off. The pressures from family to be “normal” can be overwhelming to your average gay person. Add in the pressure from society and various hate groups and you get a massive weight bearing down on you just for your choice of partner..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. David M says:

    @NotALibertarian: Clearly more public humiliation and discrimination is needed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  20. NotALibertarian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The family organization protesting is just pushing back against gay rights organizations who are doing the same thing: fighting small battles that comprise an all-out cultural war. They are lobbying businesses to promote their point of view, the same way gay rights groups pressure businesses to fire executives simply for contributing to traditional marriage organizations.

    Whether Degeneres’ spokesperson position affects your personal view of sexuality or not is not the point. The point is that charming celebrities who are openly gay encourage large swaths of the public to view homosexuality more positively — much in the same way Tim Tebow’s open Christianity encourages large swaths of the public to view Christianity more positively.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  21. David M says:

    @NotALibertarian: You are advocating job discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Any other forms of discrimination you would like to announce your support for?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. NotALibertarian says:

    @matt:

    Those brain studies are not significant enough to establish a biological basis. The official position of the American Psychological Association is that homosexuality results from a combination of genetics and environmental factors. They do not endorse the Born That Way campaign.

    “The pressures from family to be “normal” can be overwhelming to your average gay person.”

    Pressure to be normal are part of living in a society. Plenty of overweight people can attest to that Pressure. People afflicted with the condition of pica — a strong desire to eat non-food items like potting soil and sofa cushions — also feel the Pressure to be normal. And there’s also plenty of Pressure kids from religious backgrounds to attend high school dances and lose their virginity.

    This campaign against Normal is doing a lot of damage. We now have well-intentioned liberal couples raising healthy boys as girls — or as nothing — because of this need to extinguish the pain that Normal brings. How fair is that, to experiment on a child that way?@matt:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  23. NotALibertarian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “I also implied that it rather silly to look to spokespeople for retail outlets for affirmation of one’s moral point of view.”

    And yet, that is how the majority of the public gauges its own moral point of view. People don’t go to church anymore, nor do they sit and read philosophy books and sociology journals. They go to movies and watch TV. They read articles gushing about celebrities’ causes and activism. And they feel good about their Gap purchase when they add $2 to their tab to plant trees in the Amazon. Do you seriously think marketing culture doesn’t affect the public’s world view, or are you pretending to think so?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  24. @NotALibertarian: Of course, all this begs the question as to what your capitalized “Normal” means. I do understand that in terms of mathematically normal distribution of the population that homosexuality is in the tail. That, however, does not mean that they deserve to be discriminated against. The bottom line is that you do not approve of the lifestyle and therefore believe that they should be treated not as fellow citizens and human beings, but as deviants who deserve discrimination. I think that that is an unkind, if not evil, position to take. I really am in no mood to beat around the bush on the issue. I understand the faith tradition that informs your position, having come from such a position myself. I just find it unacceptable and you are going to have to accept that fact.

    That you compare a disorder in which people eat their couch to homosexuality is quite telling (not that I am surprised).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  25. @NotALibertarian: As cynical as I can be at times about the general state of education/deep thinking engagement by the mass public, the notion that they are getting moral guidance from public spokespersons of retail chains in their capacity of spokespersons of retail chains is one of the most absurd things that I have read in a while.

    Indeed, it is statements like that that make me cynical at times about the general state of education/deep thinking engagement by the mass public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  26. NotALibertarian says:

    @David M:

    “You are advocating job discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Any other forms of discrimination you would like to announce your support for?”

    i am advocating political push-back against wealthy and powerful people who have manipulated public opinion into accepting an irrational premise: that there is no such thing as normal sexual behavior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  27. @NotALibertarian:

    that there is no such thing as normal sexual behavior.

    Well, again, mathematically speaking, of course there is normal behavior insofar as there is a clear majority behavior. However, as best as I can tell, you aren’t using this term in that sense, but rather mean “normal” (or Normal) as a synonym for “right and proper.”

    If we are going to bring rational/irrational into it I would suggest you address the fact that the empirical evidence rather clearly suggests that homosexuality exists. The question, therefore, how one treats homosexuals. I think we should go to the whole “human being” route while you clearly prefer some other route.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @NotALibertarian: Regarding the first study, it is kind of hard to draw accurate conclusions about a population when you have a mean of 26.5 with a standard deviation of 109 – especially when the lowest possible value is 1 (i.e. only men with 1 or more male sexual partner in 5 years is counted). The most likely conclusion one could draw is that among men willing to admit to a stranger knocking on the door of their home (literally – read the methodology) that they have sex with other men, a small percentage have had sex with *a lot* of men over the past five years while most of them have had sex with a small handful.

    Regarding the second, it is no secret that suicide rates are higher amongst LGBTs than the population as a whole. However, the study demonstrates a correlative relationship and not a causative one. Additionally, the study covers the period of 1990 – 2001 (iirc). Anyone with a sense of history understands that public attitudes towards LGBTs have shifted enormously in Western cultures over the past forty years, and it is hard to make generalizations about life experiences in the 90s with those in the present day. Especially since those people willing to be not only out but to be registered in a domestic partnership in the 1990s would have had (broadly generalizing) a *much* different coming out experience in a much more hostile time (i.e. post WWII into the 1980s) than those LGBTs coming of age in the 2000s.

    You really will have to do better. You could start with a scientific definition of “neurotic promiscuity.” I’m going to go out on a limb, but I’m willing to guess that I wouldn’t find it in the DSM-IV.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. NotALibertarian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    ” I do understand that in terms of mathematically normal distribution of the population that homosexuality is in the tail. That, however, does not mean that they deserve to be discriminated against.”

    I am not basing the concept of Normal in majority behaviors. You are the only one talking about mathematically normal distributions. I am basing my concept of Normal in biology — not simply the purpose of sexuality, but in the health problems — like anal tearing — that result from misusing one’s organs.

    If you are unable to see that pica is psychologically comparable to homosexuality (a mis-directed drive), you are even more close-minded than I thought. Your moral position of Non-Discrimination is no more self-evident than a moral position that discriminates on the basis of sex practices.

    Have a good weekend!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  30. @NotALibertarian:

    I am basing my concept of Normal in biology — not simply the purpose of sexuality, but in the health problems — like anal tearing — that result from misusing one’s organs.

    In other words, you are making up your definitions. Shocking.

    And by your definition I take that you believe a lot of heterosexuals aren’t “Normal” either, as I hear tell that there are all kinds of “misuing [of] organs” going on out there.

    So tell me: should JCP screen any potential heterosexual spokespersons concerning their organ usage before letting them have the job? It would make for an awkward job interview, methinks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  31. NotALibertarian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “That you compare a disorder in which people eat their couch to homosexuality is quite telling”

    That you think it is reasonable to equate sexual behavior with skin color (do you?) while rejecting my comparison of two groups of highly-functioning individuals who have misdirected biological drives is even more telling.

    Sorry, just couldn’t let that go. ‘Bye.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  32. @NotALibertarian:

    And there’s also plenty of Pressure kids from religious backgrounds to attend high school dances and lose their virginity.

    This campaign against Normal is doing a lot of damage.

    So… you think girls should be encouraged to have more sex in high school…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. @Stormy Dragon:

    So… you think girls should be encouraged to have more sex in high school…

    Actually, that’s a good point. If NAL’s point is that we should look to “normal” biological impulses, doesn’t that mean we should extol teen heterosexual sex since, after all, the clear biological impulse of the given hetero teenager is to copulate, and to do so as much as possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  34. @Steven L. Taylor:

    I was more commenting on how somewhere in that long list of examples of how it’s good society pressures people to conform with normal behavior, he apparently forgot his original point and started giving counterexamples to his own argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. Scott O. says:

    This article reminds me of another example of anti-gay bigotry directed at DeGeneres from 2010.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/does-ellen-degeneres-hate_n_530256.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Franklin says:

    Somebody in these comments, and I won’t say who, thinks that correlation implies causation. This is gross misuse of the what the mentioned studies actually say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. An Interested Party says:

    …it is reasonable to equate sexual behavior with skin color…

    And of course this is reasonable, as sexual orientation has its basis in biology, just like skin color…the arguments of NotALibertarian are similar to those of segregationists that were used to promote Jim Crow laws…I mean, of course blacks and whites couldn’t intermingle or eat at the same lunch counters or drink from the same water fountains because none of that was “normal”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. matt says:

    Pressure to be normal are part of living in a society. Plenty of overweight people can attest to that Pressure.

    About 70% of Americans are overweight. I imagine if 70% of American’s were gay then things would be a lot different….

    People afflicted with the condition of pica — a strong desire to eat non-food items like potting soil and sofa cushions — also feel the Pressure to be normal.

    Oh yeah I was at an anti-pica rally the other day actually. I’m also part of the American Anti-PiCA association which is dedicated to preaching the wrongs of PICA.. Hell just the other day some redneck dragged a pica sufferer behind his truck killing him :(

    ridiculous doesn’t begin to describe you.

    And there’s also plenty of Pressure kids from religious backgrounds to attend high school dances and lose their virginity

    Yeah it totally sucks to be a straightedge and stuff like there’s totally no social groups based off that concept or bands or whatever.f… 83% of Americans identify as religious with 60-76% specifically claiming to be Christian. You’re awfully scared of the 17% of America that don’t care…

    I like how you equate a high school dance to losing your virginity. Stay classy..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. grumpy realist says:

    Look, if you really think that homosexuals deserve to have horrible things happen to them if they’re “out”, move to Iran. Or Uganda. But the bulk of the US believes that gay people are, well, just people deserving the rights and privileges guaranteed them under the Constitution.

    (I just wish that the Supreme Court would hurry up and decide that gay people are a protected class under strict scrutiny. And it’s comments like NotALibertarian that show why they need that level of protection.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. @matt:

    ridiculous doesn’t begin to describe you.

    Indeed.

    Also indeed:

    Oh yeah I was at an anti-pica rally the other day actually. I’m also part of the American Anti-PiCA association which is dedicated to preaching the wrongs of PICA.. Hell just the other day some redneck dragged a pica sufferer behind his truck killing him :(

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. ernieyeball says:

    @NotALibertarian:

    Lets put aside the obvious biological proof that the purpose of sex organs are for actual reproductive behaviors.

    I got a vasectomy 30 years ago so that procreation would NOT be the purpose of my sex organs.
    Ever since then their purpose has been exclusively SEXUAL PLEASURE!
    I’ll see you in Hell!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. SeaEagle1965 says:

    I think all job applicants should be vetted with the following questions:

    1) Are you a homosexual?
    2) Are you married?
    3) If not married, have you breached God’s laws by having sex outside of marriage?
    4) If married, have you ever had sex with your spouse for pleasure?
    5) Have you ever masturbated? (If yes, an eyesight test will also be required as self-abuse causes blindness)
    6) Have you ever had abnormal sex? (Abnormal is defined as anything other than the missionary position)
    7) Have you ever committed sodomy (with either a male or female partner).
    8) Are you a prevert**? (no need to answer this one as answering “yes” to any of the above means that you are indeed a sick prevert) **spelling of prevert is intentional – Stanley Kubrick fans will understand.

    I hope this test will help businesses across America to employ only people who have good morals and meet society’s standards of decency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Jim says:

    I think we should all go to the millionmoms website and fill out their complaint form about the inappropriateness of the millionmoms website. I would rather expose children to Ellen than to their bigotry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0