Creep of the Week

Creep of the Week: Robert R. Reilly

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It always comes back to the children. It doesn’t matter how or where the conversation starts, if homosexuality is involved someone who is opposed to equality will point to little Susie and Johnny and bemoan their loss of childhood innocence now that they’re burdened with the knowledge that not only do LGBT people exist, but that LGBT people are people.

People making the “what about the children” argument usually accuse LGBT people of trying to recruit or indoctrinate kids as part of some kind of well-oiled homosexual agenda. Because to the anti-gay right, gay people are made, not born, and the way people become gay is by being exposed to non-discriminatory depictions of LGBT people. Because if society really cared about children we would go out of our way to teach kids about the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad gays.

Robert R. Reilly recycles this argument in a June 10 piece he wrote for titled “Queering education.”

He writes, “It is a measure of the depravity of the homosexual movement that it will not spare the innocence of children in the spread of its rationalization, which must embrace everyone at every age, regardless of price. Innocence cannot be left to stand in its way.”

His use of the word “innocence” is interesting. Is a child’s innocence really preserved in some way by growing up believing that gays have, as Reilly calls it, “an affliction” and therefore deserve condemnation? No, of course not. Unless, that is, you believe, as Reilly clearly does, that gays are Supercalifragilisticexpialid(isgusting).

“Everyone who has an affliction deserves respect and consideration. But respect does not require calling the affliction something other than what it is – much less its opposite,” he writes. “One cannot teach about sickness and at the same time call it health. It is much worse to promote moral sickness as moral well-being – especially to children.”

Obviously if you think that being gay is a “moral sickness” then you’re going to freak out, as Reilly does, about a teacher reading King and King to an elementary school class. You’re going to panic, as Reilly does, about the existence of gay-straight-alliances (GSAs) in schools. You’re going to be upset by a first grader reading an essay about how much she loves her two moms. In fact, after he mentions that little girl he writes, “Evidently, no one has told poor Emily that one of her parents is a dad.” Aw, snap! Take that you precocious little 7-year-old, you!

Throughout his article, Reilly seems to be equating “innocence” with “ignorance.” Sure, there are some things that kids just don’t need to grapple with if are lucky enough not to have to (like, say, addiction to meth, sex slavery, or genocide). But learning that one of your classmates has two moms or reading a book about gay penguins? That is hardly what I would call “depravity” and I certainly wouldn’t, as one commenter did, call it “child abuse.”

Reilly apparently thinks that if children are aware that gay people exist then those children will totally become gay people or, more specifically, gay sex-havers.

“Classroom presentations by homosexuals or on the subject of homosexuality are invitations to obscenity,” Reilly writes. If gay men aren’t presented as depraved perverts to children, then children “will ineluctably be drawn to the subject of sodomy.” And Reilly argues, they’ll want to try it, obviously and then die and go to hell.

If only we could go back to the good old days where gays and lesbians hid out in dark bars waiting in fear for the next police raid but risking it none the less for a chance to be themselves for just one night. Back then folks like Reilly were in the majority. Not any more. Thanks to education.

DAnne Witkowski

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.

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