SOCIAL CONSERVATISM AS A COERCIVE TOOL OF THE STATE
It is for the same reasons, and rather ironically, that many conservatives have coined the word "Islamafascists" to describe religious fundamentalists of Islam. But both religions have a fundamentalist wing that continually attacks modernity and secularism. Radical Islamists want to fight off the same forces of western modernity that Christian extremists do. At the UN, we see Islamic nations, the Catholic Church and Protestant fundamentalists on the same side in the matters of science and society, modernity and secularism.
It may surprise many that hardline communists were also hardline social conservatives on the matters of family and sexuality. It is the nature of extremism to incorporate far out views on these matters into state policy. The answers to this perverse mix of despotism and family values lies in the natures of religion and nationalism. It is not about left versus right because social conservatism can be found in both as tools of the state. Social conservatism, both religious and secular, when wed to nationalism and embraced as state policy, has almost always turned into an enemy of tolerance and liberty. In fact, social conservatives in the USA, led by Christian conservatives, have fought or disagreed with religious diversity, religious equality, abolition of slavery, Suffrage, desegregation, integrating the armed forces, Brown v Board of Education, mixed race marriages, respect and equality for Jews (not in MY country club!), the Civil Rights Act of 1965, gender equality laws, women in authority, working women, reproductive education, family planning, contraception, condoms, gay rights and a host of others. It was humanists, both religious and secular that banded together to win the rights movements of the past. Such is the case presently with regards to gay, lesbian and family planning rights.
"Such people are sinning against God and will lead to the ultimate destruction of the family and our nation. I am unalterably opposed to such things, and will do everything I can to restrict the freedom of these people to spread their contagious infection to the youth of this nation." . . . "If the widespread practice of homosexuality will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it'll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to."
In an Interview with Molly Ivins on September 14, 1993 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), Pat Robertson added to his history of bigotry and ignorance when he said:
"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians."
Because of popular cultural myths and the religious right's propaganda, both misinformed and dishonest, most people don't realize that Nazi Germany and Stalin were on the same page as religious conservatives regarding homosexuals. The anti-gay propaganda of both the religious conservatives and the Nazis is nearly identical. One is religious, the other secular, but the message is the same. The views are the same. The doctrines are the same. The blind hatred is the same. Both embrace rigid patriarchal family views that see women as men-helpers and baby-makers. Both consider their views "virtues". Both are the moral crusaders to save the family in a nation that is supposedly threatened by decadence (Weimar Germany then and counterculture now). The sky is falling; civilization will crumble if the family isn't saved. Both are extreme right wing ideologies that embrace a state enforced social conservatism. Both are blends of extreme nationalism and extreme obsessions with law and order and the moral fiber of the nation. Both loudly proclaim their so-called family values as the salvation of the nation. Without them, civilization will collapse.
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
After the German unification of January, 1871 a new legal code was established. At this time, Paragraph 175 was established in German law.
1. A male who indulges in criminally indecent behavior with another male, or who allows himself to participate in such activity, will be punished with imprisonment.
In this same period, the German journalist Wilhelm Marr coined the label, anti-Semitism. It more than expressed hatred for Jews, it referred to liberalizing trends than many social conservatives associated with Jews. Concepts like civil rights, equality, and constitutional democracy that social conservatives and nationalists saw as disrupting society were blamed on Jews. Like America's right wing nationalists and isolationists, these same people also railed against internationalism, antiwar ideas, open trade, socialism, cosmopolitanism, and university intellectuals. To this day, one can find social conservatives, secular and religious, posting quotes from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion which claim international Jewish conspiracies.
Nevertheless, a gay and bisexual culture flourished in urban communities. "City air makes men free" is the German saying. Gays built support networks and a culture where they could express themselves. Meetings, pubs, restaurants, literature, art, theater, fashion, etc. In the public sphere of urban areas, because of the openness, homosexuality was more tolerated, if not more accepted. More discussions meant a more open public and that is what transpired. The social conservatives, like the conservative state and religious leaders of the Imperial Christian era who banned open religious debates on the nature of God in public, did not take kindly to this open atmosphere of intellectual discourse.
Not successful in the goal of having paragraph 175 repealed, a strong gay rights movement commenced in the 1890s. The experience of the German LGBT community is very instructive because it was in Germany that the first modern gay rights movement was born. Germany was the most liberal and socially tolerant nation in world. It became global leader in gay rights. The goals of the 1890s gay rights movement was to repeal Paragraph 175, educate the public, and excite gays into activism. At this time, Magnus Hirschfield founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee (SHC). The organization established a petition drive for the repeal of 175 and it won the support of thousands. The organization also sponsored a drive which sent educational materials to newspapers, politicians and justices in the court system. The committee had more support than any other gay rights organization than any other in the world. In Britain, the organization under Edward Carpenter had to operate much more quietly because of the Calvinism (USA had this problem) of the region. Carpenter's organization was supported by many working class groups. Like the Suffrage movement in Europe, it had the support of the democratic left. One of the German SHC's popular publications was the annual publication, the "Yearbook for Intermediate Sexual Types". The SHC held the belief that "Uranians" as homosexual men and women were termed, were the third sex.
Hirschfield's politics were democratic left (Communism isn't democratic). His movement had support from both the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Germany and the Marxist Social Democratic Party (MSDP). The two parties varied in times and degrees of support. Although the movement weathered some backlashes such as one after highly publicized trials of gay men in 1907, the movement prospered and found much support. Its influence continued to grow right up until the start of WW1, when operations were suspended.
After the war and the failed socialist revolution of 1918, the SCH reorganized as Institute for Sexual Sciences (ISS). Its Motto was "per scientiam ad justitiam", which meant Justice Through Science. The Institute was involved in research, publications and forums regarding sex laws, sex crimes, abortion, homosexuality, family planning, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases. It had marriage counseling and did research on marital problems.
Hirshfield started and led the World League for Sexual Reform. Members came from European nations, the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan, Australia, China, and India. When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia, homosexuality was decriminalized. Denmark was also becoming liberalized. Gay activist and filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim, Director of 'The Einstein of Sex', spoke regarding Hirschfield:
"Magnus Hirschfeld was one of the first sexologists ever, and after 200 years of sexual repression by the church he stood up and said I'm fighting for gay rights. As a doctor, as a scientist, as a respected person in society he was close to losing everything and making a lot of people very angry. But he managed in his very humanistic, diplomatic way to convince people at the time; a lot of intellectuals - who were trying to change the law, known as Paragraph 175."
After World War 1 the Weimar Republic did not persecute gays with the same intensity as the First Reich did. German society became more open and more tolerant. Gays opened clubs and theaters; literature and film with gay themes increased.
One of the principles espoused by Hirschfield and his organizations was biological determinism. This proved fatal to the movement when the Nazis rose to power because some Nazis seized upon it as reason for the imprisonment and extermination of broken and genetically inferior people.
The liberal atmosphere was increasingly attacked in the mid-1920s as the ultra nationalist Nazi Party gained power. Nazis considered increased social tolerance as a sign of Germany's fall. Like the Nazis, Christian fundamentalist's also take this view. Pat Buchanan, fundamentalist and ultra nationalist said in 1977:
Homosexuality is not a civil right. Its rise almost always is accompanied, as in the Weimar Republic, with a decay of society and a collapse of its basic cinder block, the family.
Of course, no such thing was happening when Germans were becoming more open. In fact, they were going in the opposite direction that the Nazis would take the nation. It was the Nazis, like Buchanan, that claimed that homosexuality was ruining the family; that the nation was decaying. How many times have we heard the right wing propaganda telling us that America is decaying? How many times have we heard the baseless claim that homosexuality brought down great empires? Hitler believed that fable regarding Greece and Rome. Nothing of the sort happened. It is bunk. Religious fundamentalists also use this popular myth as a propaganda tool.
Hitler's first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolh Diels, once said:
"He lectured me on the role of homosexuality in history and politics. It had destroyed ancient Greece he said. Once rife, it extended its contagious effects like an ineluctable law of nature to the best and most manly of characters, elimination from the reproductive process those very men on whose offspring a nation depended. The immediate result of the vice, however, was that unnatural passion swiftly became dominant in public affairs if it were allowed to spread unchecked". .
The Nazis became moral crusaders for "National morality' and 'German purity". Christian fundamentalists take this same position in their propaganda wars against liberalizing laws and expanding liberty. They almost always have. Time and time again, they cite laws of nature and the breakdown of the family just as the Nazis did when Germany was finally relaxing and liberalizing. Religious conservatives offered the same arguments against abolition and suffrage. Society will break down, they claimed.
"Anyone who thinks of homosexual love is our enemy. We reject anything which emasculates our people and makes it a plaything for our enemies, for we know that life is fight, and it is madness to think that men will ever embrace fraternally." Heinrich Himmler, May 14, 1928
The religious point of view adds the authority of scripture, which makes homosexual acts a capital offense. That is the reasoning behind the signs that say "God Hates Fags" and "Death Penalty for Fags", "Thank God for AIDS". The Nazis hated gays for a variety of reasons and eventually killed thousands.
As they rose in power, the Nazis sought to make laws harsher. When the vote in Reichstag finally came in 1929, the Nazis lost by a narrow majority. Regardless of their loss, the Nazis made a claim that Jews were leaders of homosexual movement and they sought to undermine German morality. After the vote, the official party newspaper, Volkisher Beobachter, stated:
"We congratulate you, Mr Hirschfeld, on the victory in committee. But don't think that we Germans will allow these laws to stand for a single day after we have come to power; These efforts are nothing but vulgar, perverted crimes and we will punish them by banishment or hanging."
To the Nazis, Homosexuals also had a negative impact on German strength because gays didn't reproduce and increase family sizes. Like religious fundamentalists, Nazis were intensely patriarchal and pronatalist. Like religious right leaders such as Lou Sheldon, nazis were obsessed with family, marriage and strict fatherhood. Because of this obsession with a domestic ideal for women, their status in the Third Reich depended on their reproductive activity. Mussolini also held similar views, recommending 12 children per family to boost the Italian population. Mussolini banned contraception and abortion, closing all the family planning clinics in Italy. Women in the Reich were paid to have extra children and those with four or more were honored by with the 'Cross of Honor of the German Mother'. Women who had abortions were punished severely. In tandem, Nazis blamed gays and lesbians for a lower birthrate. In the Nazi scheme of things, women's place was in the home and homosexuality must be wiped out. All these things hold true with the religious right. I have seen the population theme fundamentalists pushed in internet newsgroups by religious fundamentalists. Many times, people of the religious right would post articles about how the west is going to fall because we don't procreate as much as others. To the right wing Christian, as was with the Nazis, homosexuality will contribute to the fall of the nation. Pat Buchanan's book on the fall of the west is full of this baseless myth and propaganda. Pat, like the fascists, attacks liberty as a source of anarchy and the fall of the west. Nazi propaganda was obsessed about German reproduction rates and the higher reproductive rates of 'inferior races'. While White Supremacists are up front on these issues, the average extremist fundamentalist veils their remarks with statements on how 'third world' countries have big families and people of the west don't. If one looks closely at statements by right wing Christian extremists, 'superior religion' has replaced 'superior race' in their propaganda. While political and social liberals and centrists are tolerant of other religions, Christian conservative activists are not.
From Georing's Nine Commandments for the Worker's Struggle:
"take hold of the frying pan, dust pan and broom and marry a man."
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Pat Robertson quotes:
"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period." Robertson, 700 Club, January 8, 1992
On January 30, 1933 Hitler took office. The Nazis were in now in power and Pat Buchanan's decadent Weimar Republic would be saved from itself by the salvation of authoritarian social conservatism. Hitler then convinced his cabinet to declare a state of emergency to deal with, among several things, the decadence of civil liberties. The Nazis had the same view of democratic institutions favoring expansion of individual freedoms as the religious conservatives do regarding the ACLU and other civil rights watchdogs. The police were suspicious at first but were happy, too, because they were no longer hindered by due processes of law that protected the rights of citizens. Police could now make "preventative" arrests and cases would no longer be thrown out because police violated someone's rights or acted illegally. The 12 year experiment in liberal democracy with constitutional protections would collapse as the Nazi social conservatives rose to power. Soon, alongside Nazi racism and elimination of civil liberties, all homosexual and lesbian organizations were banned. Storm troopers in brown shirts raided the gathering places, pubs, and cafes. Gays and lesbians were increasing driven underground. The decadent liberties of the 1920s were gone. The Pat Buchanan's of Weimar Germany had finally ended that decadent experiment in democracy and liberties. Not surprisingly, after the USSR fell, many Russians in the early days of freedom and market principles yearned for the return of the "order" of Communism.
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, 'People for the American Way' --all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen! ...God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve," -- Jerry Falwell immediately after the 9-11 attacks
May 6, 1933 Nazi storm troopers in brownshirts raided, ransacked and closed the Institute for Sexual Science. Thousands of books from the institute's library were thrown in the infamous book burnings of May 10 at the center of Berlin. Burned were 12,000 books, 35,000 photographs and thousands of other files, tracts and research papers. Into the same bonfires the Nazis threw thousands of Jewish books and religious texts. Like Saint John Chrysostom in the fifth century, the Nazis railed against Jews and homosexuals. All over Germany there were book burnings to save the Republic from democracy, civil rights and itself.
In 1933, the Nazis enacted the "Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals and Measures for Protection and Recovery". Courts could now order castration for sex crimes and what nazis considered deviant behavior. Rape, sex with boys under 14 (doesn't include raping underage girls) and open homosexuality (Paragraph 183) could merit castration. If one killed for sexual excitement, punishment would include castration along with the sentence (Paragraphs 223-226).
Homosexual Ernst Roehm was a leading Nazi and an imagined contender for Hitler's power. Roehm was a member of Hirschfeld's League and was active in meetings. During 1933 and 1934, Roehm was the leader of the SA (Storm troopers) which numbered 2 million. Himmler and Hitler worried that he would use the Storm troopers as is own personal militia to seek power. The death of Hindenberg in 1934 brought Roehm's possible power challenge into Hitler's view. Like the Stalinists, the German left had used Roehm's homosexuality to discredit the Nazis, even though there was only one gay Nazi in power. This same dishonest propaganda is used by Christian fundamentalists in their attack on gays and lesbians.
June 30, 1934, Roehm was murdered with his associates in the infamous "Night of the Long Knives." During this night, over 1000 of Hitler's enemies were also murdered. ("Night of the Shattered Glass" was when storm troopers destroyed thousands of Jewish businesses) For the Nazi hierarchy, this was two birds with one stone. A homosexual and a contender for power. Both were unacceptable to most Nazis. Hitler and Himmler used his homosexuality as an excuse to serve anti-gay propaganda needs while eliminating a powerful player and suspected challenger in the Nazi party. There is no evidence, then or now, that this was Roehm's intention. Regardless of the truth in the matter, it served the Nazis well as propaganda to strengthen the appearance of the Nazis as moral crusaders for German family values. The Nazis sought to be seen as a family values party with a strong stand on law and order. Religious conservatives, like the Nazis, go to the extremes in this. The propaganda covers the same family values territory.
Himmler took over the leadership of the Storm troopers and initiated plans to rid the organization of all homosexuals. Hitler then ordered that all homosexuals in Germany were to be registered. In 1934 a special division was created for investigating and arresting homosexuals, Division IIS. The Gestapo was given the job of creating files on each homosexual. Immediately, local police forces all over Germany were instructed to maintain lists of all men who were suspected of being homosexuals. These dossiers called 'pink lists'. Homosexuals now joined the list of antisocials in the Nazi party's moral crusade to 'rescue Germany from the decadence of the Weimar Republic'. Of course, it was nothing more than a reactionary right wing crusade against a liberal society. This is the same mindset and message we hear from leaders and activists of the religious right in western nations, but most especially the USA where right wing hate groups and their hate speech have more liberties. No democratic nation in the world but us would allow a website called God Hates Fags to exist. This is the use of liberty to destroy the liberty of others.
THE NEW YORK WORLD-TELEGRAM, December 17, 1934
"Adolf Hitler's secret police, aided by the Elite Guards, began a nationwide drive today to purge the Reich of sexual abnormality. They threw into jail between 500 and 700 men accused of perversion. In recent conferences of the party, Herr Hitler emphasized a determination to stamp out sex perversion among all Nazi organizations. It was recalled that after his purge of June 30, he made a pledge to German mothers that their sons would never be contaminated if they joined his Storm Troopers'."
On June 26, 1935 the Ministry of Justice drafted "The Amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases" which expanded the list of crimes in Paragraph 175. Under this revised law, if a man was convicted under Paragraph 175, and if he consents, he could be castrated. The amendment defined homosexuals as antisocials who, to Nazis threatened to undermine national morality. Freedom is destroying the family. This kind of rhetoric is identical to Rick Santorum's. Nazi propaganda painted gays as socially aberrant and offending nature, endangering the fabric of society. So did Castro and Stalin.
"Those shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way" (Augustine Confessions 3:8:15)
"There is among some animals a powerful sex drive, an irresistible urge (Grk oistrus) no different from madness. Even so, they do not experience this type of love but remain within the bounds of nature. Although roused ten thousand times, they never transgress the laws of nature. ('Saint' John Chrysostom; "Against the Opponents of Monastic Life 3")
In Nazi Germany, "Chronic homosexual" offenders found themselves in the concentrations camps wearing pink triangles with the number 175 boldly displayed on the backs of their jackets. The new law went into effect on September 1st.
"175a: Penal servitude up to 10 years or, where there are mitigating circumstances, imprisonment of not less than three months shall apply to: (1) a male who, with violence or the threat of violence to body and soul or life, compels another male to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex offense; (2) a male who, by abusing a relationship of dependence based upon service, employment or subordination, induces another male to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex offense; (3) a male over 21 years of age who seduces a male person under twenty-one years to commit a sex offense with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex offense; (4) a male who publicly commits a sex offense with males or allows himself to be abused by males for a sex offense or offers himself for the same."
Paragraph 175b: An unnatural sex act committed by humans with animals is punishable by imprisonment; the loss of civil rights might also be imposed.
Paragraph 174: incest, sexual offenses with dependents
paragraph 176 pedophilia. Persons convicted under these laws also wore the pink triangle.
Lumping incest and pedophilia in with homosexuality as the Nazi laws did, recently unelected US Senator Rick Santorum (PA) said some pretty bizarre things in an interview right before the Lawrence V Texas ruling. When the ruling did come down, it was a bright day for the decadence of liberty and a dark day for the religious right.
"We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you -- this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family."
Later on, he throws in bestiality for good measure, using the phrase, man on dog. Santorum's right wing Christianity, like the Nazis and Islamic extremists, downplays any right to privacy and claims homosexuality can destroy a society. Like the Nazis' declaring a state of emergency to end the Weimar decadence of democracy and individual freedoms, Santorum attacks individual freedom and uses the same family values rhetoric in order to protect civilization. Perpetuating ignorance, he equates homosexual relations and love between consenting adults with child molestation, which is felony rape. I guess Rick is also not aware that some say 25% of straight couples practice anal intercourse. One of the reasons why the Texas legislature banned anal intercourse for gays only is that after field research, they found it to be too popular with straights to completely outlaw it.
Heinrich Himmler had this to say regarding privacy in a speech to SS leaders at Bad Lodz on February, 18, 1937
"I would like to develop a couple of ideas for you on the question of homosexuality. There are those homosexuals who take the view: what I do is my business, a purely private matter. However, all things which take place in the sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life and death of the nation, signify world power..."
Due to the belief held by many Nazis that homosexuality was a sickness that could be 'cured', camp policy was to re-educate them through humiliation and hard labor. In the present there is a Christian conservative organization named NARTH which also takes this pseudoscientific view and tries to "repair" homosexuals with a religion-based 'therapy'. Some Nazis, however, took the biological point of view and sought to exterminate them as genetically inferior human beings. Some feared their effect on German masculinity. Some homosexuals were even forced to visit brothels weekly as part of their reparative therapy. Some were even subjects in biological experiments although no scientific knowledge was ever gained. According to Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hess' memoirs, gays were segregated to prevent the spread of homosexuality. Homosexuals were often chosen for the deadliest work in munitions factories and quarries.
Spread? This is the same viewpoint that is constantly shouted out in the religious right's propaganda. Without thinking, they propose that gays will convert children to a lifestyle that invites violence and discrimination. Why would anyone do that? Everywhere you look in their world they speak of "spreading" homosexuality.
"All other frenzies of the lusts which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities" (Tertullian, Modesty 4)
Under the Reich Office in Germany, thousands of homosexual men were sent to concentration camps in Buchenwald and Flossenbuerg, where there were dangerous quarries to be worked. Gays in the Berlin area ended up on the train to Sachsenhausen. There were no ghettos for gays in fascist Germany. It was prison, hard labor or death in the camps. Later on during the war, the Danish Nazi doctor, Carl Peter Vaernet, would be working on his hormone implant cure for homosexuals at the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Castration was another 'cure' for deviant behavior and a way to safeguard German hereditary flow. Initially, a homosexual could plead out to a lower sentence by allowing the justice ministers to order castration. In short order that ended; the prisoner had no say in the matter because courts and camp officials could summarily order castration
"I do not characterize every Jew as inferior, as Negroes certainly are.." Nazi Anthropologist Eugen Fischer, June 20, 1939
Homosexuals and Jews were not the only people worked to death in the camps. Alongside the persecuted were Blacks. Although no major program was organized, Blacks in Germany also faced discrimination and violence, including being worked to death in the camps. A Nazi propaganda poster showed a mixed race friendship with the caption: "The Result! A loss of racial pride". 'Diluting' the white race was a major concern of racist religious conservatives who sought to keep slavery legal and then afterwards, segregation. Like Christian conservatives of the Bible Belt, Nazi propaganda painted black men as rapers of white women, which led to murders. In the Bible belt and other rural strongholds of religious conservatives this belief about Black men led to thousands of lynchings in the Bible belt. The violence was designed, among other reasons, to protect the virtues of white women, which of course defended white manhood. Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that "the Jews had brought Negroes into the Rhinland with the clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily-resulting bastardization". This viewpoint was also held by anti-abolitionists and supporters of laws against interracial marriages. This sentiment is still alive and well among the most extreme right wing Christians. Just surf the internet. An 1863 Miscegeny tract designed to attack the abolitionist Republican administration was entitled "Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro". The pamphlet's aim regarded the producing of children by mixed marriages, thereby diluting the white race. Like the Nazis, religious conservatives feared the extermination of the white race by race mixing and made it a propaganda tool to instill fear and bigotry in the people. Racial pride was nearly as much a part of the anti-abolitionist's propaganda as it was the Nazis. They took the same approach, appealing to "white purity". To this day, Christian white supremacist groups' main agenda is to keep Black and Jews from diluting the white race.
It wasn't long ago that almost all the laws in this nation regarding marriage and social relations between blacks and whites were Christian and white supremacist: Typical of the religious conservative communities were laws such as Section 4189 of the Alabama Code which declared:
"If any white person and any Negro, or the descendant of any Negro to the third generation, inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation was a white person, intermarry or live in adultery or fornication with each other, each of them must, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary or sentenced to hard labor for the county for not less than two nor more than seven years."
The Nazis defined Jewishness in a similar manner in the Nuremburg laws on race. A person was a Jew if they had three Jewish grandparents or two Jewish parents. Echoing the Christian Council of Elvira of the year 306, Jews could not hold public office, marry, have sexual relations with or eat with German Christians.
Due to Christian traditions, laws against mixed race marriages existed at one time or another in most of the US until the Supreme Court put a stop to them in 1967. In this regard, the USA was lawfully a racist nation for almost 200 years. It is a good thing the 1960s came along with all of it's activism and challenges to traditional dogma. The good old days of American tradition were racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic.
The fourteen states that didn't have miscegenation laws used bigotry and intimidation with violence to keep mixed race marriages down. This is the same tactic used against homosexuals. The Bible Belt and religious conservatives throughout America fought interracial marriage to the bitter end just as they did racial segregation. Some states even left these laws on the books after they were ruled unconstitutional. See my miscegeny article for a more detailed look at how these laws were ended in the USA.
Latin America is another place where these human rights have never quite taken hold. Left and right, dictatorships have persecuted homosexuals. The key to understanding why conservative Christianity is similar to dictatorships is their demand for enforced social and sexual conformity and a uniform society. Both do not recognize a right to privacy or a liberty of conscience and sexuality. In that regard there is very little that separates dictatorships from right wing Christianity when it comes to their rhetoric and demands regarding homosexuals. Pluralism is considered an evil. It leads to the fall of civilization.
Communist dictator Fidel Castro considered homosexuality to be a result of the decadent social liberties of the Batista regime and spoke of "revolutionary puritanism" as the national cure. There is something wrong with liberty according to the fringes This attitude against pluralism and the expansion of liberty is prevalent in conservative Christian groups. After a couple of years of relative quiet for homosexuals, Castro adopted the Stalinist model and began a two decade persecution of gays and lesbians. Gays were "sexual deviants" and "agents of imperialism". Like Stalin's Russia, Cuba's homosexuals were "antisocials". As they were in Nazi Germany, Cuba's homosexuals were rounded up, held without any legal process, and sent to machine gun surrounded labor camps for "reeducation" and "rehabilitation". Reparative Therapy, dictator style. The motive is the same. And by force if they can get away with it
Communist Cuba's First National Congress on Education and Culture held in 1971 pointed to "the social pathological character of homosexual deviations" and decided all manifestations of homosexual deviations are to be firmly rejected and prevented from spreading".
"Bourgeois decadence" and "capitalist degeneration" as they called it, had to be stopped with the tools of 'revolutionary morality'. Homosexuals were hunted down, publishers were closed down, magazines were outlawed, writers were disgraced and lost jobs, books were rejected at publishing houses, and people disappeared at night. Socialist morality required the criminalization of homosexuality. Universities, the theater, the arts, and the press was purged of homosexuals. Professors, actors, reporters, editors and dancers were arrested and imprisoned.
Paralleling left wing authoritarian social conservatism in Cuba was Pinochet of Chile's right wing persecutions of gays and lesbians. Under Pinochet, homosexuals disappeared the way Argentinean dissenters did. In a seven year battle and after loosing in 1996, the gay and lesbian community finally won in the Chilean Senate when laws criminalizing same-sex sexual relations were repealed. Law 1047 and 18216 issued in December, 1998, repealed the same-sex law, Law 365, and ended the imprisonment of convicted gay men for up to five years.
Unfortunately, the madness of machismo, the Latin version of the fascist mannerbund is alive and well as neo-fascist vigilantism. In 2001, off duty military set fire to a gay bar in Santiago with over four hundred gay and lesbian patrons inside. No charges were filed. Ever. In the USA gays and lesbians are still murdered by American Mannerbund and religious zealots. Religious zealots even call for the death penalty. Every month, gays and lesbians are murdered in the USA by the machismo and the religious. This can easily be seen by keeping up with GLBT news at 365gay.com.
In El Salvador, neo-fascist paramilitary groups target gays for violence. In Bagota, Columbia, right wing death squads "cleanse' the neighborhoods of homosexuals. In Mexico, a long time abuser of civil liberties, the governor of the state of Chiapas said at a luncheon that all homosexuals should be killed. Over the next twenty months, twelve gay men were murdered. In Brazil where male machismo is so strong, as is the case in Muslim nations, that wives and gays are beaten or killed without subsequent arrests. Tradition is no friend of liberty in these matters of machismo, family values and religion. This male machismo factor was also found in the Nazi concept of Mannerbund. It is also part of the conservative Christian onslaught against gays as effete and/or effeminate. The fascist's Mannerbund celebrated rugged maleness and separated itself from all things effeminate in an extreme way. Fascist society was to be built around the Mannerbund ideal of men in which the only way men loved each other was in a chaste way. Mannerbund was shot through and through with concepts of moral cleanness and a nationalist masculinity with its military model of manliness. Homosexuals had to be cleansed from the nation because they didn't not meet this machismo ideal that shunned everything feminine. The Mannerbund ethic required that all men were to separate themselves from all things feminine. This exclusivist concept of masculinity, like that of the conservative Christian and Muslim place of men in their ideal society, denigrates gay men as less than human and seeks to silence and persecute them out of existence. Or to repair and re-educate them in order to destroy their identity. The outcome is the same. Foremost in the mind of the religious fundamentalist, like the fascists and the Stalinists, for whatever reason, is their radical authoritarian agenda to deny the GLBT community of equal rights under the law. It is all about equality under the law, not age old traditions. After all, tradition gave us violent religion-state alliances, slavery, gender inequality and religious intolerance for thousands of years. The principles of liberty are not religious principles.
Homosexuality was finally decriminalized in Cuba in the 1979 Penal Code but gays are routinely persecuted nonetheless. Gay and lesbian newspapers, publications and organizations are still against the law. Clubs are routinely raided and shit down. Huge fines are still levied. In today's Cuba, homosexuals are considered unfit to join the Communist Party. They violate "communist morality".
In 1936, Heinrich Himmler created the Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion. Joseph Meisinger ran the organization. Under Meisinger, the Gestapo created a sophisticated network of spies and informants. Arrested homosexuals were used to create lists of other homosexuals. Their address books were seized in arrests and raids upon their homes and persons. Teachers feared their students. The workplace became a nest of spies. Bosses feared workers. Workers feared bosses. Nobody could be trusted. A cold fear swept Germany's gay community.
After Hitler took power, 100,000 men were arrested for the crime of homosexuality. About 50,000 went to prison. Although nobody knows for sure due to the destruction of records by the Nazis in the closing days of the war, 15,000 gays may have been sent to the camps for reeducation or extermination. One expert on this matter, Rudger Lautmann, believes about 60% of gays were killed in one way or another. The figures may be way off, too. Some have suggested that 100,000 gays were sent to the camps. The camp records were destroyed but many police and court records exist.
As mentioned above, the German left, Stalin and the religious right make hay out of homosexual nazis even though there was only one in leadership. Here is part of Himmler's Speech at Bad Tolz to the SS Group Commanders on February 18, 1937:
"In the SS, today, we still have about one case of homosexuality a month. In a whole year, about eight to ten cases occur in the entire SS. I have now decided upon the following: in each case, these people will naturally be publicly degraded, expelled, and handed over to the courts."
After Paragraph 175 was revised and the Gestapo's Special Office IIS was created, the arrests of homosexuals rose dramatically. This culminated with a Gestapo directive on April 4, 1938 that opened up the gates of the concentration camps to gays and lesbians. Although lesbian networks, clubs, and cafes were also destroyed by Storm troopers, there weren't any laws regarding lesbian acts in Germany. Writers like Erhard Eberhard published booklets that grouped homosexuals, feminists, individual rights activists, Constitutional democrats and Jews as those people who sought to destroy Germany. In Eberhard's booklets, he claimed that the women's rights movement was nothing more than a front for seducing women to lesbianism. This Nazi propaganda is frightfully similar tot the Pat Robertson quote below. And all that's missing in Jerry Falwell's post 9-11 statement are the Jews. Conservatives failed at having laws against lesbian acts enacted but managed to end press freedoms for them with the 'Protection of Youth from Obscene Publications Act.' A religious conservative's dream come true, of course. All in all, a major reason why lesbians weren't targeted like the men was because in Germany, women did not have any public role in society. To the fascists of Germany, Italy, and Spain, women were inferior to men. They were baby-makers and man-servers. This is also the view of religious traditionalists.
I am absolutely persuaded one of the reasons so many lesbians are at the forefront of the pro-choice movement is because being a mother is the unique characteristic of womanhood, and these lesbians will never be mothers naturally, so they don't want anybody else to have that privilege either." Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, May 18, 1993
There were police lists of lesbians, however, because they were deemed sexually aberrant and antisocial, and not expected to reproduce; a threat to Germany's moral fiber and national strength. People who were a threat to "Germanhood" had to be monitored closely. One Lesbian, Henny Schermann, was arrested in 1940. On her prison photo was the label "licentious lesbian". Also a Jew, she ended up at the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Marked for extermination, she was gassed at the Bernburg Psychiatric facility in 1942 where she was being 'treated' for her lesbianism. Bernburg was one of the Nazi's euthanasia centers for those the Nazis considered antisocials, perverts or aberrants who should not be allowed to reproduce. An interesting fact is that in both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, many gay men and lesbians married each other in order to protect themselves from persecution and violence. Shades of NARTH.
After the war started, homosexuals that found themselves in the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Neuengamme were experimented upon by the Danish SS doctor, Carl Vaernet. The SS gave him a research position, a staff, laboratories, financial support, and camp inmates with which to experiment upon. His treatments included castration for the incurable and hormones for the others. Under the Nazi doctrine of "reeducation" Vaernet had developed a hormone implant for homosexuals. Vaernet was able to get three Danish patents and one American patent after his escape from postwar detention. A British patent is suspected.
The conservative religious policy found at NARTH, also sees gays as sick and curable. Religion based 'Reparative Therapy" is the religious fundamentalist's version of reeducation.
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SOCIAL CONSERVATISM AS A COERCIVE TOOL OF THE STATE | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
SOCIAL CONSERVATISM AS A COERCIVE TOOL OF THE STATE | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)