The Cowardice Of Denial

The great Dan Savage has written an excellent, EXCELLENT feature about something global warming and the AIDS epidemic have in common–the cowardly impulse to reject facts as a crisis unfolds. And you! You must read it! Here’s a long but good excerpt:

Which brings me to Pat Buchanan. In 1983, Buchanan wrote a vicious column for the New York Post about the emerging AIDS crisis. Buchanan gloated and celebrated a disease that had already killed hundreds and would go on to kill millions. Buchanan’s reaction wasn’t unique; almost all social conservatives at the time welcomed the AIDS epidemic with unconcealed glee. God’s judgment had come at last, and it vindicated everything the TV preachers had been saying since Stonewall. Homosexuals were sinners, the wages of sin is death, and now the homosexual sinners were dying. Praise the Lord.

The last line of Buchanan’s acid column was etched into my brain the day I read it: “The poor homosexuals—they have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.”

That line—17 words—stung more than all the anti-gay sermons thundering down from the pulpits of all the American churches combined. Writing this piece, I didn’t even have to look it up. I could recite it from memory. We had long been told that gay sex was unnatural—that we were unnatural—and now nature was moving to exterminate us.

Every time I read about fires in Colorado or rising seas or Canadian tar sands or Native villages already being washed away in Alaska or preparations for the next hurricane that slams into New York City, a slightly modified version of Buchanan’s vicious line about AIDS plays in my head. We have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.

We have declared war on the water we drink and the air we breathe. We have declared war on the forests and the oceans. We have declared war on the honeybees. All of us have—liberal, conservative, independent. Some of us, however, are ready to start making the changes that must be made if we want to survive in this world.

The Stranger ran another spectacular feature on the menace of global warming last year that you should also read.

This is top of mind for me because this morning I edited (well, proofread) the upcoming issue’s David Suzuki column, and it’s essentially about the same topic: the dimwitted, frightened, angry, corrupt and complicit villainy of the sort of fools and tools who insist there’s nothing wrong when evidence clearly contradicts that.

The fools and tools are mistaken and we must change their minds. And if we can’t? Then we must fight! Roar!

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.

4 thoughts on “The Cowardice Of Denial”

  1. Dan Savage sits on an anti-bullying committee and bullies Christians. Yea he’s great One Great Big Effing Hypocrite

  2. Yes, that IS the desperate talking point. Congratulations! You have it memorized. What’s really sad, though, are all the poor Christian kids who’ve committed suicide because of Savage’s words. Oh wait. THERE ARE NONE. The GLBT community, on the other hand, HAS been victimized by large swaths of the Christian community, from the Catholic Church to Bible Belt fundamentalists. And your know what? Some of those Christians have apologized.

    Also: while I love this particular argument and, time permitting, could type words about it for days, it’s off topic. Global warming, remember? Don’t worry, I’ll write another blog post so you can unimaginatively insult Dan Savage.

  3. I have a low opinion of anyone who uses insulting others and a superior attitude as a substitute for open debate. Grew up in a bible punching home where believers were always thought to be higher than non-believers. Don’t believe that credo anymore however when I see the arrogance,ignorance and total inability to accept another opinion of some atheists I am assured that these are not traits that Christians,Jews or Muslims have a monopoly on. Dan Savage matches any preacher I was forced to listen to as a child iin being an bullying pighead

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