Monday, May 11, 2009

Joe the Plumber's hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner homophobia

Christianity Today ("A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction") has an interview of Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, which contains this nugget:

[Christianity Today:] In the last month, same-sex marriage has become legal in Iowa and Vermont. What do you think about same-sex marriage at a state level?

[Joe the Plumber:] At a state level, it's up to them. I don't want it to be a federal thing. I personally still think it's wrong. People don't understand the dictionary - it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It's not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that.
TNR chimes in:
Yes, thank goodness it's not a term used by genuine bigots, like "honky." That's a word that wounds.
Joe continues:
You know, God is pretty explicit in what we're supposed to do - what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we're supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I've had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn't have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they're people, and they're going to do their thing.
Now, I know that any blog post about Joe the Plumber has to be met with "Who cares what Joe the Plumber says?" Well, I care, because he's a relatively unguarded, unvarnished spokesman for the right. Most of them have figured out how to hide their underlying views better. Joe the Plumber does us the favor of letting us see through the conservative facade.

And here, Joe has let slip the incoherence of the widespread conservative aim for a middle ground on homosexuality -- specifically, the idea that you can "hate the sin" but "love the sinner." If you're so revulsed by someone that you "wouldn't have them anywhere near [your] children" -- and not because of any concern about your children's physical health or security, but out of sheer moral condemnation -- then your claim to "love" that person rings hollow.

The distinction between (1) a person and (2) that person's thoughts, feelings, and actions is a false one. The way a person lives their life is who that person is. If you hate the sexual orientation of my loved ones who are gay or bisexual, you don't love them. And for that matter, even though I'm straight, you don't love me.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't let Joe the Plumber anywhere near my children.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Especially given the Freudian symbolism of plumbing.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Almost perversely, I'd want Joe to meet my family. The point of coming out is to show people like Joe that homosexuals are around him all the time, not causing any problems. I think he just needs more exposure than what he claims he has.