Item 2 from this week’s Exodus news release protests the Gus Van Sant film Elephant.

The film:

  • comes from a gay filmmaker,
  • dramatizes the chronic bullying endured by the eventual killers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.,
  • plays out a “What if?” scenario involving the rumor (started by Matt Drudge and quickly fueled by the Family Research Council) that the killers were gay or bisexual.

In fact, the killers’ ties to the Trench Coat Mafia were weak; and the school bullies on the Today Show were the only Columbine students who believed that the TCM or the killers were gay.

Even though the film agrees in part with Exodus’ perspective against bullying, and even though he has not seen the film, Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas protests the movie’s receipt of the Palme D’Or award at Cannes.

Exodus accuses the film and festival of “exploiting” the religious right’s rumor. I suspect the film’s plot line would not qualify as “exploitation” if it had come from Exodus first.

Thomas calls the festival “morally bankrupt” and accuses the film of misusing the rumor to promote sympathy for gay victims of bullying. But what does Thomas do in the very next paragraph? Express sympathy for gay victims of bullying.

Exodus has, in fact, “exploited” a murder in a somewhat similar manner. A few years back, Exodus then-chairman John Paulk blamed the molestation and murder of Jesse Dirkhising on the homosexuality of the killers.

(Google search for John Paulk statements about Jesse Dirkhising.)

One difference between Van Sant and Paulk, of course, is that Van Sant does not actually blame homosexuality for driving the Columbine pair to commit mass murder.

Whatever Exodus’ concerns about Columbine and Dirkhising may be, they are obscure and confused. If someone else can explain Exodus’ discordant responses to the film and the Dirkhising murder, I’m all ears.

Thomas says bullying contributes to alienation and homosexuality, concluding:

No matter what our convictions are, the proverbial high road and the person of character defends the downtrodden, not bully them.

Yet Exodus and its allies NARTH and Focus on the Family have opposed numerous antibullying programs in schools across America, labeling them efforts to promote homosexuality and silence bullies.

(Google search of Exodus officials’ opposition to antibullying programs.)
(Google search of NARTH opposition to antibullying programs.)
(Google search of Focus/Family opposition to antibullying programs.)

In fact, Exodus has yet to support a single antibullying program or even draft one of its own, despite its creation of a substantial youth program.

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