When my wife and I moved near my mother-in-law after a few years away from the area, we decided that for Mother’s Day we would attend church with Pamela as part of our present to her. We were treated to a sermon that may have covered a lot of things; I don’t really recall. I only remember how the preacher used his Mother’s Day sermon to condemn women who had abortions. I thought that was odd, particularly in a church that had about two women in prime, child-bearing years, but it wasn’t our church, so I didn’t worry about it.
We returned the next year on Mother’s Day. A new preacher was in the pulpit, but the message was the same: Condemn the abortion seekers, not celebrate moms. Needless to say, that was the last of our Mother’s Day visits to the church … or any visit, for that matter, as the only time either of us has set foot in that church again was once, for a wedding (thankfully, the pastor did manage to avoid the subject of abortion).
I grew up in tiny, redneck, rural town in the Midwest, so this desecration of a day that is intended to celebrate mothers, to instead use it as a fist to attack those who don’t line up with the right-wing, head-in-the-sand view of far too many white, small-town Christians, didn’t surprise me. I don’t endorse it, I don’t support it, but I am not surprised by it.
However, I was surprised today when The Star Press chose to use Father’s Day as a time to bash homosexuality. Not only that, they chose to use the words Robert Morrison of the Family Research Council, a hate group as designated by some people who know about that sort of thing, the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Here’s what the SPLC has to say about the Family Research Council on its website:
The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Why would The Star Press choose as their only opinion-related piece about Father’s Day a column of right-wing hate propaganda condemning homosexuals instead of something that celebrates those of us from the male half of humanity who have children? Why, when on their front page The Star Press does a wonderful job of celebrating single dads involved in their kids lives, would they attack families where children are lucky enough to have two parents, be they a mom and dad, two moms or two dads?
I can only think of two reasons:
1) The Star Press editorial board is a bunch of cowardly bigots. The editorial board sets the opinion page’s agenda. Therefore, if any content not generated by readers is a treatise on the evils of homosexuality, that is clearly the view of the editorial board as well. Where do I get my “cowardly” part? I spent the better part of a half hour searching The Star Press website to see who the editorial board is. I can find that listed nowhere on the site. I know it used to be listed in the actual newspaper. But since I’m not 85 years old or some sort of mental defective who enjoys wasting money, I don’t subscribe to that birdcage liner.
2) Those responsible for actually producing or corralling content for The Star Press opinion page are bigots. The two people I’d hold responsible are community conversations editor Jeff Ward and executive editor Lisa Lara-Nellessen. I think you can also throw general manager Cheryl Lindus in here, too, although it’s hard to know with a title like “general manager” just how much she’s involved in the daily content. However, she is the big boss. This is Ms. Lindus’s newspaper. The decision to promote bigotry on the opinion page also rests with her. So to all of you I say this: Fucking pathetic. You are dinosaurs, and your hatred is not appreciated by those of us in the community smart enough to tie our own shoes. You should be ashamed.
Of course, since Ms. Lara-Nellessen has commented at this blog before, I know what to expect as far as a reaction from The Star Press, if they bother to defend their bigotry at all. One of my initial posts, Really, Star Press … Really?, attacked The Star Press for wasting valuable journalistic resources and an increasingly diminished news hole on cold-case stories. I argued that The Star Press barely covers what’s going on in the city now, that going back 20 years or so to look for news was pointless and a foolish allocation of resources. Ms. Lara-Nellessen’s defense: We gots us lots of web hits, yuck yuck. No defense of the substance of my attack, just pointing out that the lowest common denominator loves it, and that drives Web traffic, and that’s all that matters. Which, to be fair to The Star Press’s executive editor, may be all that matters to her … because it involves increased ad revenue, and Gannett has proved again and again its only concern is money.
If this – and not the bigoted attitudes at The Star Press – ends up being the driving reason why Robert Morrison’s hate screed was printed, I would in no way be surprised. Why bother using your power to advocate for openness and tolerance, why use your resources to report on important things happening in our community, why do anything a responsible journalist would do when you can go the sensationalistic, hate-filled Faux News route and ring up some more $?
That’s a question The Star Press will have to answer, because I don’t know.