Focus on the Family’s Gary Schneeberger has been feeling morally superior to gay people since he saw Brokeback Mountain.
*** Movie Spoiler Alert ***
This is primarily because, he, unlike the largely gay audience that shared the auditorium with him, did not laugh at Alma catching Ennis and Jack kissing.
In what could have been a true evaluation of his feelings (but wasn’t), Schneeberger says that he shouldn’t be feeling so morally superior. Such thinking is dangerous and shameful. Unfortunately, Schneeberger does not indicate anywhere within the article that he actually feels any differently now (because, after all, he IS morally superior, he just shouldn’t think so).
His glibness – which comes across similar to “love the sinner, hate the sin” – is readily apparent in the following quote:
…I’ve got to do more than sniff at the insensitivity and immaturity of those gay men and women I watched the movie with. I’ve got to do more than be disgusted at the subject matter of the film. I’ve got to consider why they laughed…
But he doesn’t consider why. In typical anti-gay fashion, he sets up a strawman:
Is adultery, and the punch in the gut it delivers to the one being cheated on, perfectly acceptable so long as the adulterer is “being true to himself”? Is fulfilling their own selfish desires, no matter who gets hurt, the only thing homosexuals care about? I mean, gay, straight, sideways, diagonal, convex — I don’t care what your orientation is, if you respond to a scene like this in a manner like that, you’ve forfeited your claim to the moral high ground in any cultural argument. Ever.
The laughter that has been heard in some theaters at this part has nothing whatsoever to do with any joy over Alma’s pain. It’s certainly not some celebration of the fulfillment of selfish desires.
Only a much distorted view of humanity, especially gay humanity, would come to that conclusion. You would almost have to have never met a mature gay person and to have believed everything negative you had ever heard in order to believe that.
I have two possibilities, both of which are far more likely, than that of Schneeberger’s:
1. Movie audiences are used to melodramatic conflict, expecially in gay films. Those unfamiliar with the story are probably expecting a big showdown between Alma and the boys and the laugh is in anticipation of such. When a catfight does not occur and instead we see Alma sobbing at the devastation of her world, the laughter turns to echoing silence.
2. The story tension has been building at that point for several minutes and nervous laughter is not uncommon. It’s more a reflection of surprise and a tension release than anything else.
There certainly could be other reasons as well. And there is no reason whatsoever to believe that only gay people (or even primarily gay people) laugh at this point.
Schneeberger’s article ends thus:
I am fortunate to work each day alongside men and women who grasp these basic, but crucial, truths better than most. The Love Won Out team, led by Mike Haley, reaches out daily to scared and confused people like the characters in “Brokeback Mountain.” Sometimes it’s men and women struggling with their own same-sex attractions; sometimes it’s the friends and family members of those men and women. But every time, the counsel and the prayer Mike and his team offer is authentically, unrelentingly Christlike. They extend love and hope to those told by the world their only choice is to love a life of hopelessness.
I’ve always admired my Love Won Out friends, but I’ve been convicted of my need to better emulate them now that I’ve seen “Brokeback Mountain.” It’d be a lie to say that I enjoyed the movie, but an ever greater one to say I’m not grateful I saw it.
I’m certain that Schneeberger did not enjoy the movie. The depiction of the characters as human, flawed but real, must have caused dissonance with his internalized cartoon image of debauched homosexuals. Unfortunately, rather than question his preconceptions, he entrenches them.
It is clear that FoTF views all gay people as scared and confused (along with insensitive and immature). And it is from this basis that Love Won Out operates. They tell gay people that their only choice is either a life of hopelessness or an endless reorientation struggle (and just in case life isn’t hopeless enough to convence you, they’ll try to influence legislation to make it so). And yes, LWO is relentless. And it’s also clear that all involved with FoTH and LWO feel morally superior to gay people.
Unfortunately, they are far from Christlike.