As part of our ongoing “inter-species social wellness” articles, this initiates a new series entitled “Human-human ‘Intra-species’ Social Wellness.” The first article was about honoring female veterans as we do (equally) for male vets. While that one was received well readers, the second one wasn’t. Feedback to “Albuquerque is in the Fight to Honor GLBT Soldiers”clearly demonstrates that “Gay-Straight social unwellness” may be epidemic in some parts of our country, depending on such factors as political party affiliation and state of residence.
Social wellness (health) traditionally is the ability to get along and interact in an effective way with others while at the same time appreciating the diversity of people and maintaining satisfying relationships with them. Clearly, having healthy social relationships is central for one’s mental wellness.
These are some of the comments I received from readers in New Mexico and in the three states bordering New Mexico:
First some negative comments:
- “Rejection of GLBT staff from the military was correct it’s not like we cannot muster sufficient staff from 300M Americans. That was badly damaged with DADT and put us on the slippery slope until now some wish to HONOR such lifestyles.”
- “Honoring a lifestyle by linking it with military service is an attempt to legitimize that lifestyle.”
- [Ed. note: As all intelligent people know, being gay or lesbian is not a “lifestyle”; they are born that way. Also, in my article I wished to HONOR soldiers and vets, not anyone’s sexuality.]
Now some positive comments:
- “What a brave stance to take! Thanks so much for standing up not only for gays and diversity of loving relationships, but for clear thinking regarding what you wrote and didn’t write.”
- “I’m writing to let you know about a recent book by the “gay-brain” scientist, Simon LeVay, “Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation.” It finally puts to rest the old “chosen lifestyle” theory of homosexualitythat has done our community much harm.”
Although it hasn’t hit as hard in New Mexico, it appears that there is so much anti-gay energy in America these days as evidenced by the following recent items:
- Item: As mentioned in my last article, we witnessed in the recent Republican presidential debates when the live audience booed a gay soldier who addressed the gathering, and none of the GOP candidates stood up for him.
- Item: : Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former New international correspondent Chris Hedges In his recent book American Fascists:The Christian Right and the War On America,argues that there is real-life fascism in the “America of mega churches, gay-marriage bans, and the “Left Behind books,” popular fictional accounts of the Rapture, the Tribulation, and Bible prophecy. Hedges feels that the “Christian Right” movement currently resembles the early years of the fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the 20s and ’30s. “All it will take,” Hedges writes, “is a national crisis like 9-11 for the Christian Right to make a concerted drive to destroy American democracy.”
- Item: Denver Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow recently appeared in an anti-gay video ad for the radical conservative group “Focus on the Family,” which has stated on the record that there is “no evidence” that gays and lesbians are discriminated against in society.
- Item: Father Richard Rohr, the author of the recent best-seller Falling Upward and a “local hero” to many people in Albuquerque, has recently written: “People are ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,’ as the Declaration of Independence had the wisdom to state. This is not given to us by any government, but given to us by God from the beginning, and by reason of our very existence. All people hold it equally: women, blacks, gays, non-Americans, immigrants, atheists, the handicapped in any way, the poor, all being equal children of God.”
- Item: One of my readers asserted in an e-mail: “I guess it is obvious that this (anti-gay) issue has become so “hot” that it is difficult for people to separate what they actually read in an article (or book) from other opposing views they have heard. It seems even more difficult for people to be able to calmly explore the deeper issues behind their own views.”
Some people might claim that any moderation in gay-bashing views or a legal recognition of homosexuality would be an attack on their heterosexuality. But everyone knows that gays are a permanent minority and aren’t likely to disappear. Because persecution is not acceptable in a civilized society, why not steer gays into traditional values – including serving in the military – rather than ranting against them out of bigoted hate? That would make America a stronger country and would help its citizens achieve social wellness.
Looking ahead, the following “Human Intra-species Social Wellness” issues will be examined here: the treatment of atheist, Jewish, and Muslim Americans by Christian Americans and vice-versa; relations between Hispanic and Whites in New Mexico; and New Mexican sub-groups including women, immigrants, GLBTs, and the elderly, including “super-seniors.”
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