Todays blog can be thought of as an extension of last weeks in which I talk about how many in religion have made LGBT people into their chief enemy....abandoning all pretense at love or the message of Jesus to espouse a political viewpoint in "the culture wars". This week picks up the topic again with Pastor David James Manning of the YouTube channel ATLAHworldwide.
Earlier this month Pastor Manning produced a video called "Age Matters All The Time" in which Pastor Manning attempted to make the point that anyone below the age of thirty was not mature enough to vote. For an example of this Pastor Manning used my son Daniels video letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, using his image and his full name to accuse my husband Jay and myself of being child molesters and child rapists for allowing our son to not only understand the issue of same-sex marriage...but to allow him to voice his opinion about a topic that directly effects his family.
Now, that video was up for several days before ultimately being flagged and pulled from YouTube to be reviewed for inappropriate content. It was at this point that Pastor Manning made a video in which he attempted to reframe his video as not attacking our family and calling us child molestors...but simply one in which he was trying to talk about how age matters in political discourse...a complete falsehood.
However, due to complaints from Mannings viewers, Youtube put his video back up....disgusting accusations and all. We were completely flummoxed that a human being at YouTube actually watched that video and then re-approved it. Yet as angry as we were, we had resigned ourselves that there was nothing much we could do about it....until the popular political blog AmericaBlog picked up the story and highlighted the advertisers who were having their products linked to Pastor Mannings message.....prompting YouTube to immediately yank the video again and finally acknowledge that it violates its own posted community guidelines for hate speech.
The entire Journey we have been through with Manning has highlighted for me that not only do certain religious people see the gay community as the ultimate evil...but also that it still seems to be ok to express such insulting comments as Pastor Manning made as long as the target of those comments are gay people. Read on after the jump to watch the videos and to find an answer to why it's till ok to debate and talk about gay lives in a way that it would be considered unacceptable if the subject was another race, religion, or women...
Since the original video was taken down(finally) by YouTube The only piece of his original speech that we have is within our video response to Pastor Manning. In order to get an idea of just how much Pastor Mannings "opinions" crossed the line from mere editorial commentary to something deeply dangerous begin watching at 1:25 and keep a barf bag close at hand:
Now we were understandably angry as hornets over this and who wouldn't be to see their family talked about this way. But....there didn't seem to be a lot we could do about it because YouTube doesn't tend to want to get involved in issues it regards as a difference of opinion, religion, and free speech issues. About all we could do was make this video to refute Pastor Manning's claims. Our viewers reported Manning and the video was taken down for review, and a warning email was sent to Manning about a possible strike on his account. Not closure....just a strike. This was his response:
Following this video, Pastor Mannings viewers went to YouTube and complained that the video be put back up...to which YouTube agreed. It was then that AmericaBlog got involved and ran a story on it's widely read site. In that story they listed the major advertisers who's ad's were being ran within Pastor Mannings videos. Advertisers like Pepsi, Taco Bell, and Procter and Gamble. Within a couple of short hours YouTube was on the phone to AmericaBlog(not us) to let them know they removed the video siting accordance with their own posted User Guidelines.
So my question is....What changed?
When it was just us and our viewers asking YouTube to take down the video...it was taken down...then Mannings viewers asked them to put it back up on religious/free speech grounds...and right away it was back up. It was not until a national publication took up the issue and addressed their advertisers that the issue was finally acknowledged as a violation and taken down for good. Had AmericaBlog not taken on the story, would that video still be up even now?
Of the points that Pastor Made in response...this one stood out for me the most, (emphasis mine):
"...At some point they are going to walk into church and tell me that we are going to have to stop preaching about homosexuality as a sin. It's coming! I give it about 17...18 months...maybe less than that. You're going to see legislation coming down and churches being intimidated that you can not say that same-sex marriage is....it's racial it's bigoted, it's discrimination, ....uh, it's like preaching against black people or any other race...and so they gonna restrict church's. It'll happen.
Paranoia and his attempt to flip the script and make himself the victim being put aside for one moment...I find it odd that Pastor Manning can not see the truth of that point. I wonder how he would feel if the very same video he made about same-sex marriage were taken and all reference to gay people replaced with references to Black and African American people? Would he be outraged if some white pastor were speaking about his family with those same words? Surely it has been done and Manning is old enough to remember the day...so I find it surprising that he is able to turn around and return that discrimination using the Bible as an excuse.
the whole issue with YouTube reviewing the video and putting it back up...even after seeing the dangerous and and inflamatory accusations that Manning makes...highlighted for me that it is still acceptable for a whole lot of Americans to talk about gay people in ways that would cause cries of outrage if those same comments where directed at any other group of people.
And even if Pastor Manning said "it" aught to be considered child rape...pointing with his words to an issue and not a person(using images instead to point to us as persons)....would the video and Mannings words be acceptable on the basis of religious difference and freedom of speech if Manning had featured the child of a Muslim family calling on tolerance? IF he had made a video featuring that child and then referred to that video as child rape? What would happen? ....The internet would explode, that's what would happen. But when the subject is the lives and loves of LGBT people, society thinks it's totally ok to say insane, insulting, and outright dangerous things and it's supposed to be all ok...
During DADT we had to put up with people with serious faces talking about how gay soldiers should not be allowed to serve because they would rape their fellow heterosexual soldiers. During all of Prop 8's long path to the Supreme Court we have had to listen to people talk about gays as if we our selfish adults trying to steal the word marriage, who's relationships are only about sex, and who don't have families of our own needing legal protection....and we just have to sit there and listen to it as if it's sane dialogue.
That Pastor Manning does not agree with same-sex marriage is fine. That anyone disagrees with same-sex marriage or gay people is their right to do so. That Manning preaches on YouTube and in his church that homosexuality is a sin is totally his business. But....when you post the image of my family...or any family...online and call us child molesters and child rapists that takes the argument out of the realm of protected religious opinion as I don't think anyone would tolerate it if those same comments were directed at a person of another faith. There is language that expresses dislike and disagreement...and there is language that demeans people, treats them as if they are children who's lives are fit for their judgement and furthermore ...language that causes harm as Pastor Manning has done.
If we no longer accept this type of language when talking about gender, racial, or religious equality....when are we going to get to the point when we acknowledge that for gay and trans people as well. When will it no longer be acceptable to make veiled and not-so-veiled references of pedophilia and rape? Through out history LGBT people have lost homes, jobs, and families to these same falsehoods. We have born that shame undeserved for long enough. It's unacceptable even by the standard of religious disapproval...and it's time to stop.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered people are you're neighbors...your sons and daughters ...your parents...people who work beside you...people who sometimes protect you in an emergency. We have families we love as much as yours and we are entitled to the same common respect and human dignity we have learned to demand for others who once stood on the outside.
Until next time dear readers...