The Rise Of Christianophobia–The Last “Acceptable” Form Of Hate


I remember when I “got it.” It was a scene in that movie about Harvey Milk, starring Sean Penn: “Milk.”

A straight Christian politician, and colleague of Milk comes into his campaign office and all the gay staff fall dead silent. He is nervous. He has come to invite Milk to his wedding. Milk–who is a class act– casts a glance at his horrified staffers, stands up, and says: “I’d love to come. I’ll be there.” (We are of course to understand that this man is actually in the closet, etc.)

In any case, the marrying Christian hetero man nods, relieved, (he is entirely the “loser,” the bad guy, the ugh, who- would-want-to- be that guy, in the film, whereas Milk is a perfect shining hero and martyr. And has all the charisma and love.)

When he has left the office, the staff unfreeze. They roll their eyes, hiss, cackle, and exhort Milk to explain his bizarre decision. “You’re going?”

As if he was entering a very filthy tank full of terrible untouchable creatures nobody would want to be associated with.

I always wondered if the film maker, Gus Van Zandt, who intended his film to display gay heroica, realized what he had done in that scene.

Did he understand that Harvey Milk’s staff were showing exactly the kind of “PHOBIA” that this whole predictable exercise in virtue signaling was meant to deride?

I was very eager to ask him but of course I don’t know the guy.

Let me tell you another story that defies Hollywood’s strict ideological narratives and moral codes. My father ran for Mayor of New York City, in 1977, on the Republican ticket, and actually did very well, due to his capacity to turn up in any neighborhood and speak any foreign language. I love him but he would have made a terrible Mayor, I think. He is not interested in anything administrative or dull. He likes to do things like place colored flags on all his cheeses and know their names in foreign languages. A hoot, a total character–but Mayor of New York? No.

(I was in Sweden, with my mother and sister, and literally was barely aware of this Mayor Of New York business. Before the internet…)

He ran against Ed Koch, who of course won, and who was deeply in the closet as a gay man. Nobody knew, nobody cared.

BUT: I met and interviewed Koch, many years later, for a story about post 9/11 New York, in Newsmax. He was very warm and nice, until I mentioned my father, at which point he turned to cold steel. Perfunctory quotes–done.

Usually people across the political spectrum, all the way over to and including Victor Navasky, all but hug my legs when they learn who my father is. People just love him. But not Ed Koch.

So I asked my father about it and here is what he told me. His campaign manager wanted to leak to the press about Koch’s homosexuality. (Bear in mind, this is in 1977.)

My father said no way. NO WAY. I’d rather lose than win like that. (I have no doubt whatsoever this is true.)

Koch nevertheless believed to the end of his life that when the story eventually did leak, my father was behind it. He would not believe the truth.

“But hang on a  minute,” I said to my father. “He won.”

“Yeah I know,” my father said. “He was a sore winner.”



8 thoughts on “The Rise Of Christianophobia–The Last “Acceptable” Form Of Hate”

  1. A phobia-like the one admitted to having not been closeted by one of the regular voices on this site- is defined as irrational.

    I would never wish harm or ill-will on anyone who does not use their faith to judge, harm or oppress another. My scorn of a religion and its folliwers that far too often blaspheme the name of the Christ is in no way irrational. It is based on decades of personal experience and would likely be shared by he the church is named for.

    What Would Jesus Do?

  2. Harvey Milk was probably a rational and good man who would have made alliances across the “aisle” in every sense of the word. Now that we have so many false flags and hoaxes and political murders (think Clintons’ list/Seth Rich etc) I cannot help but wonder retroactively who it served to have Milk killed–and Moscone. Great article Celia, points well-taken. Thank you

  3. As one who was raised in a strict protestant Christian household (deeply immersed in that culture) I was always sensitive to how people viewed us. I can’t really say why, but the survey surprises me not at all, since these very same type found in the survey, were the people I eventually came to realize hated Christians with venom.

    (Almost as if they were reincarnated Roman elite. We’re there to free the slaves, and they hate us to the bone for it.)

    Today I’m not a mainstream Christian, but I’m certainly not against Christianity. What pray-tell, is there to hate?

    You know what it probably is? Insane jealousy. Whether their beliefs are rational or not, Christians do believe – enough to act visibly on their beliefs – and they do resist groupthink. This could be why people who ride on that groupthink for their power, hate with venom, the Christian believer.

    And then again, there are people so filled with self-loathing that they simply hate love when they see it. Some Christian tried to show them “agape” love once, and they want nothing but death for that person, and by extension, all Christians.

    We never talked about this in this way, but I sure saw it with my own eyes. The ideal was to “turn the other cheek” and never to stop loving the sinner, so no one was ever heard complaining about the hate. It was to be endured.

    Christian love is not present in all of them, but where it is, it’s genuinely powerful.

    1. This is not mockery.
      This is expression of a different opinion and point of view.

      ” Christians do believe – enough to act visibly on their beliefs –”

      The problem with acting on belief-as my decades of experience in a religion that blasphemes the name of the Jesus I strive to emulate in my acts and life- is when that belief empowers one to insist they act with the righteousness, approvaland support of a god.

      ” and they do resist groupthink.”

      Is not blind-faith belief in being one of the chosen few selected to spend eternity at the right hand of god the definition of groupthink?

      1. True on both counts. You can find instances in which the Christian culture cultivates individuality, and instances in which it serves as its own brand of “groupthink.”

        I can only defend Christianity so far, except to say that the hatred projected onto its believers seems far out of proportion to any actual wrongs resulting from their beliefs. I still see a strange jealousy projected on them.

        I’m also trying to draw a distinction between other religions who invoke “God” as granting approval and support. There are similarities and differences, to be sure.

        Your points are well-taken.

        1. Thank you for your thought inspiring, well-stated reply.
          While I agree that blind expression of violent hate in the name of a presumed superiority -be it learning inspired or “god-given” – is inexcusable, we appear to differ on our consideration of wrongs resulting from faith and beliefs.

          Considering that the greatest atrocities committed by man are generally in the name of or worship of a god, the absolute, untold magnificence of damage done by unfounded belief and blind faith in phantoms is beyond comprehension for even an omniscient being.

          Make no mistake, I harbor no defense or patience for unproven assertions from any faith or lack thereof. I am banned from events sponsored by and blocked from the website of the falsely named “center for inquiry” for my challenging their unquestioning, irrational acceptance of the HIV theory and their refusal to consider dissent. Memories and opportunities of challenging cfi sponsored street corner “ask an atheist” events are treasured as much as are those of confronting the westboro phelps clan. If they are going to stand on a public street holding signs that say “ask on atheist” or “god hates fags” I will not walk away before they do. They are asking for it. I am being blocked or muted by a growing number of hardcore, militant atheists on twitter for challenging their unquestioning, religious belief that proof exists to support their faithful acceptance of HIV theory as proven Truth. Unable to provide proof for what they claim as fact they refuse to see that HIV is their god. So they block me or mute me and continue to talk about and mock me. Sort of like church goers.

          Back to the topic…
          Any god that would declare its creations taste for knowledge to be original sin clearly demands willfully blind ignorance and submissive obedience destroying any recognition of individuality or sense of responsibility. A god who offers believers eternal reward for their faithful trust in divine promise or for their wrath against unbelievers is only worthy of being fought against.
          If there be a god who demands willfully blind ignorance and a satan offering knowledge of Truth, allow me to be used as that satan’s tool.
          Not violently.

  4. I well remember the murders. As far as I can recall Harvey Milk was well respected, and both mayor George Moscone, also murdered, and Republican governor George Deukmejian were class acts. Leave it to Hollywood to botch the telling of a tragedy. Mayor Moscone was the father of four (or five, not sure) daughters. I know what it is like to lose your father.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.