During the years after World War I a wave of antisemitism swept the country, and some newspapers printed articles or opinions that fueled hatred against the Jews. An example would be the automobile manufacturer Henry Ford's reprinting of Protocols of the Elders of Zion in a series of articles in the Dearborn Independent.
This action was widely criticised and Ford later apologized.
In the late 1800's the Birmingham News warned that the Negroes in Birmingham be restrained lest they "develop into human tigers and give vent to their hatred of some white men." The 'restraint' which ensued included banning Negroes from the front of streetcars, public parks and white-zoned neighborhoods. (Diane McWhorter - Carry Me Home)
During the mid 20th century in Birmingham, a newspaper (the Birmingham Post) fueled racial hostilities with its support of Bull Conner with an article headlined "Commies Sponsor Negro Youth Meet." (McWhorter)
I give these examples to show that newspapers sometimes choose to act in irresponsible and harmful ways. They sometimes allow debate where there is clearly not an issue that is debatable. They sometimes allow rhetoric that is clearly hateful, that is clearly meant to inflame, and that clearly crosses the boundaries of decency.
Always society looks back in amazement if not disbelief at the hatred that was allowed or encouraged by the media. Henry Ford was forced to apologize. The Birmingham News sort of apologized years...many years, later.
Now the media thinks it is ok to allow smears against the gay community in the form of debate or opinion. Terms such as "sodomite" might be used, which immediately gives an impression of a Higher Power giving disapproval, and thus influencing the reader toward disapproval.
The Western Tribune has allowed a reader to respond to my writings in that paper and in the Birmingham News in hateful ways on more than one occasion.
"It is well known that there are biblical injunctions that prohibit the crime of sodomy, so sodomites must overcome this injunction.
"They do it by several means.
"First, they ignore the bible or pass it off as an antiquated and irrelevant document because it prohibits what a sodomite desires to do.
"Other sodomites claim the biblical passages - and there are many - are unclear and therefore they obfuscate the arguments opposing their acts of sodomy.
"Some sodomites have made this argument null and void by producing their own version of the Bible and omitting those scriptures that condemn sodomy, therefore exposing their knowledge that the injunctions exist.
"To give you the right to legally engage in sodomy (marry another man) is to grant you supra-rights (rights above and beyond the rest of us)."
Aubrey "Snuffy" Garrett" Western Tribune 10-14-2009
The letter writer repeats the term "sodomy" in an effort to defame, with God's blessing, the gay community.
Would the same newspaper, or any other, allow a letter to be printed that defamed the black community in the same way?
Imagine reading a letter in your paper calling for suppression of blacks using biblical references. (this is not a real letter)
The blacks are getting too much power. The Bible instructs us
"Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ." (Ephesians 6:5)
"Slaves are to be submissive to their masters in everything, and to be well-pleasing, not talking back ." (Titus 2:9)
"Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. " (1 Peter 2:18)
We would never stand for such to be printed in the newspapers. Why, pray tell, can the Bible be used to degrade gays? Why would a newspaper allow it?
What really gets me is that this is a newspaper that I write for!!!
In this week's Western Tribune Mr. Garrett continued his biblical assault on the gay community.
In a letter Mr. Garrett responds to my recent letter in The Birmingham News supporting marriage equality, in which I used the terms "loving relationships" and "sacred."
"You must ask yourself the question: If God condemns an act, how could He consider it sacred or holy, the answer is of course, He cannot. A man could so love his horse that he commits sodomy with it and then calls it a loving relationship but God would still call it sodomy!"
Aubrey "Snuffy" Garrett Western Tribune 2-24-10
So loving relationships between gay men or women are compared to having relations with a horse, with the premise that the Bible, and God, back up this comparison.
Just as using the Bible to support the enslavement of blacks is a form of spiritual terrorism, using it to slander the gay community is spiritual terrorism as well.
This egregious example is from the Western Tribune, but the same thing happens every day in newspapers and on radio and TV across the country.
This will continue as long as we allow it. A good start to putting an end to this would be to contact the Western Tribune. Contact information can be found here.