Why Is Scalia Such an Asshole?

by Mickey Weems
Friday Dec 14, 2012

Soon after launching himself headfirst into the twenty-first century with a Twitter account, Benedict XVI retreated quickly to the safety of the Middle Ages. He greeted Ugandan politician Rebecca Kadaga, a nasty piece of work who promotes a Kill-the-Gays bill as a "Christmas gift" for her people. She earned the Pope's blessing for her zeal in trying to snuff out that country's beleaguered LGBT community.

Not to be outdone, Antonin Scalia pimped out his own American brand of Gay-hate when he asked, "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?" The Italian American Supreme Court Justice then went on to say he was not equating homosexuality with murder.

Actually, he was and he knew it.

"I'm surprised you aren't persuaded," Scalia said to the young man who called him out on his hatred. So why did Scalia lie, then act like he said something clever? Because he feels that he does not owe gay people the common courtesy of treating us as equals. Cutesy word games are what we get, not rational discourse. There is no need to engage in meaningful dialogue with a dog, chair or fag. The basis of Scalia's disdain: his faith.

It does not have to be this way. Most Roman Catholics are supportive of the LGBT community. But the nearer one gets to power in the Church, the more homophobic one is expected to be. The internal contradictions inherent in hiding behind Jesus and Mary while attacking the LGBT community are enough to make very clever people like Scalia really, really stupid. They utter nonsense, then defend themselves with transparent sophistic quips that are equal parts Orwellian doublespeak and clown show.

If Scalia could, he would do exactly what Rebecca Kadaga is doing in Uganda. He would legally equate homosexuality with murder, and propose severe penalties to discourage it, just like murder.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, both Italy and Uganda have saints whose hagiographies encourage the faithful to attack Gays. Scalia has Bernardino of Siena for inspiration, a misogynistic Italian anti-Semite who saved special venom for homosexuals, calling for them to be burnt in this life and the next. For Bernardino, homosexuality was every bit as bad as murder, if not worse. He warned communities that homosexual men (it's always about the men) in their midst would lead to the destruction of everyone. "They are all sodomites!" he exclaimed. "And you are in mortal sin if you try to help them!"

For her part, Kadaga has the example of Charles Lwanga, the Ugandan saint who was burnt alive by a tyrannical king. A pervasive rumor given for his execution was that he refused to sleep with his Muslim sovereign, a story that equates the evils of homosexuality with both murder and Islam. When Kadaga met with Benedict, she gave him a picture of Charles Lwanga. The lessons of faith-based hatred were obviously not lost on her, and Benedict blessed her for learning them so well.

Neither Benedict nor Scalia has condemned Kadaga. And we must be realistic about the future. The current pope will not change his mind about us, and he will cling to his position as long as he lives. Until Benedict is dead and the Church can free itself from his homophobia, we must deal with an institution that wishes us dead, despite the majority of the faithful (please God, prevent this pope from being assassinated - all we need is another martyr). Until Bernardino is cast out of the community of saints, and the martyrdom of Lwanga is based on fact rather than rumor, we can expect Kadaga to give Ugandans Christmas presents fit for an episode of American Horror Story.

And Antonin Scalia will keep on being the asshole he is.

Dr. Mickey Weems is a folklorist, anthropologist and scholar of religion/sexuality studies. He has just published The Fierce Tribe, a book combining intellectual insight about Circuit parties with pictures of Circuit hotties. Mickey and his husband Kevin Mason are coordinators for Qualia, a not-for-profit conference and festival dedicated to Gay folklife. Dr. Weems may be reached at mickeyweems@yahoo.com


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