Not to be left out of the lunacy, the Southern Baptists have now decided that Brokeback Mountain will destroy friendship between boys. Their logic is based on the idea that any demonstrations of affection between males will be viewed as gay and therefore good wholesome straight guys will avoid them.

Quoting Anthony Esolen, professor of English at Providence College in Providence, R.I. and author of A Requiem for Friendship: Why Boys Will Not Be Boys and Other Consequences of the Sexual Revolution:

“Open homosexuality, loudly and defiantly celebrated, changes the language for everyone,” Esolen insists. “If a man throws his arm around another man’s waist, it is now a sign — whether he is on the political right or the left, whether he believes in biblical proscriptions of homosexuality or not.” Esolen offers a blunt and haunting assessment: “If a man cradles the head of his weeping friend, the shadow of suspicion must cross your mind.”

Stop giggling. It’s a Lord of the Rings reference.

Of course the SBs refuse to recognize that acceptance of gay people and eliminating the mistreatment of gay youth will go a long way towards encouraging an environment in which one man can be affectionate with another, regardless of his orientation. It has been my observation that straight men who are both comfortable with their sexuality and comfortable around gay people are often quite physically demonstrative towards other men. They don’t see such displays of friendship as either a threat to them or to how they are perceived.

Esolen goes on to explain how sleeping with other men and writing them love letters proves that Lincoln wasn’t homosexual and laments the loss of the stigma against sodomy. And lest we think that Esolen’s book was unbiased and based on research, logic, or anything other than animus, the Southern Baptists share with us:

“Think about that friendship, the next time you see the perpetual adolescents and feather boas as they march down Main Street, making their sexual proclivities known to everybody whether everybody cares or not,” Esolen instructs. “With every chanted slogan and every blaring sign, they crowd out the words of friendship, they appropriate the healthy gestures of love between man and man. Confess — has it not left you uneasy even to read the words of that last sentence?”

So the Baptists have warned you. The next time you see two friends high-five each other at a game, you will wonder if they’re gay. Maybe that old Brokeback got em good.

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