Town Hall vs. Gown Hall

So, apparently, Elton John said something about how if he could, he would ban organized religion, because he has somehow gotten the crazy idea that it frequently has a deleterious effect on society. Luckily, Town Hall has it employ dozens of people whose job it is to be outraged over this sort of thing, and I guess Brent Bozell had the day off, because the task fell to Michael Medved.

Now, this is pretty typical boilerplate stuff -- "it's liberals who are the real intolerant ones" -- but there's one paragraph that's noteworthy in its titanic sense of deception or cluelessness, depending on whether you think, when conservatives say stuff like this, they are liars or simply ignoramuses. Take a look:

Imagine the indignation if a religious leader suggested that we need to “ban homosexuality completely” --- or urged an outright prohibition on atheism? It’s true that many believing Christians want to persuade gays to overcome their same-sex urges, or try to get non-believers to replace their doubt with faith, but no factions in the varied array of conservative religious groups has called for “banning” ideas with which they disagree.

HA HA HA HA, yeah! Just imagine if, in some crazy fantasy world, a religious leader suggested banning homosexuality! IMAGINE THAT HAPPENING, and then, I dunno, imagine flying cars and space robots, because there's no way that would ever happen! A religious leader who suggests banning homosexuality? Come on! That can't have happened more than, what, six or seven hundred thousand times in the 200+ years of American history during which homosexual acts were actually against the fucking law, until a Supreme Court decision struck down anti-sodomy laws in 2003. I mean, shit, as long as we're living in Cloud Cuckoo Land, why don't we just imagine that there are religious leaders who regularly picket the funerals of people who have been beaten to death for being gay? Why don't we pretend, in this imaginary land of make-believe, that it is the official position of every major religion in the country that homosexuality is a sin for which you can spend eternity writhing in tortured agony in the pits of Hell? Why don't we just go complete wig-out here on Fantasy Island and imagine that homosexuals routinely encounter discrimination, prejudice, physical and verbal abuse, and the possible loss of their livelihood if they admit to their sexual preference? I bet in Super Freak Out Made-Up World, the military is so skittish about homosexuality that they're not even allowed to talk about it, and gays can't get married, largely due to lobbying by religious leaders! I'M SURE GLAD I DON'T LIVE IN THAT WORLD, HO HO!

And of course, Michael is right -- conservative groups never try to ban things they don't agree with. That's why pornography is legal and accepted everywhere, just like drugs. That's why abortion is such an uncontroversial topic. That's why voluntary euthanasia is legal and practiced in every state of the union. That's why suicide isn't a crime. That's why there are no bans on the sale of sex aids or drug paraphernalia. That's why you can turn on network TV anytime day or night and see nudity, and hear the use of curse words. (I bet in the imaginary kingdom where religious people call for banning homosexuality, the government has a special committee whose job it is to levy fines against networks who broadcast things that religious people find morally unacceptable!) That's why there have never been laws on the books in America against homosexuality, polygamy, pornography, substance abuse, miscegeny, or women voting. That's why you can buy liquor 24 hours a day, and why you can buy anything on Sunday anywhere in the United States. And certainly, no one would ever think of banning atheism outright, as long as we never, ever elect an atheist to public office and don't interfere with the tradition of forcing schoolchildren to say a loyalty pledge every morning that includes an affirmation that our country is ruled by God.

Medved goes on to make the equally hooty claims that Christian conservatives never advocate censorship, that they rarely if ever attempt to impose religious symbols in public places, and they "make no attempt to block the teaching of Darwinism or random natural selection". Man, I hope he can send postcards from wherever he's at.

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