A video surfaced earlier this week produced by CollegeHumor.com, that features young men who say they’re gay, offering a message to opponents of same-sex “marriage”:
“Americans are becoming more comfortable with gay marriage, seeing it as both a moral and a civil rights issue. But there are many out there who are still fighting against the cause. And as gay men ourselves, we’d just like to say to those people, ‘Fine. Keep marriage between a man and a woman. And in response, we will marry your girlfriends.'”
They go on to proclaim a litany of reasons why gay men are smarter, more attractive, better dressed, more fun, better heterosexual lovers (I’m not kidding) and generally more in-tune with the desires of women than straight men are.
Aside from its extreme creepiness, this video contains decades worth of stereotypes and entertainment-driven folk images of the homosexual male.
Writes one commentator very bluntly at the Patheos.com blog Bad Catholic: “According to Hollywood, gay men are … just fabulous. You can hardly turn on a sitcom, read a novel, or watch a movie without seeing the Gay Man Abstraction," a guy who’s “funny, cute, kooky, has great taste in clothes, and will always solve [the] straight female protagonist’s problems by the end of the episode.”
And a recent survey from the Hollywood Reporter confirms how this portrayal has changed the public’s attitude on homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”
When asked whether favorable portrayals of gay characters on shows like “Glee,” “Modern Family” and “The New Normal” had changed their views on gay “marriage,” 27 percent of respondents — or over 80 percent of those whose views had changed — said that they were more in favor of gay “marriage.”
Says pollster John Penn, that’s due especially to the influx of young voters who grew up watching these shows.
“Views on gay marriage are totally defined by age,” says Penn. “Almost twice as many voters under 35 say these shows made them more in favor of gay marriage ..."
Translation: The hearts and minds of Americans — especially our young people — are being changed when it comes to same-sex “marriage” and homosexual practice because of entertainment, not arguments.
But what popular media isn’t telling us about homosexuality and gay “marriage” is more manipulative still. In the well-adjusted, sex-savvy, healthy and loving portrayals we see of gay characters and their relationships, something important gets lost: the cost of living counter to God’s design: a higher risk of HIV, greater promiscuity, depression and substance abuse, and a lower life expectancy — all well-documented consequences of an active homosexual lifestyle.
But in this election, entertainment-driven stereotypes which ignore these realities may have tipped the scales for the first time ever. Three states have just voted to allow same-sex marriage, and more importantly, polls now show that a majority of all Americans favor the change.
Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher once said, “Let me write the songs of a nation, and I don’t care who writes its laws.” If he were alive today, he might add, let me write the popular sitcoms of a nation.
Folks, we’ve spent years, money, talents, reputations and voices communicating the logical, moral and political reasons why marriage can only mean a man and a woman for life. But we’ve failed to do what the other side has succeeded at for so long: capturing the culture’s imagination.
Christian ideas have been very present in theology and politics, but not the arts. And so now we face a political road ahead that’s rougher than we’ve faced in a long time. And so our real work lies in the culture. And rather than give up and accept the “new normal,” we’ve got to take a page from the other side’s playbook.
We’ve got to realize that the ideas that most effectively shape a culture are not necessarily those that are argued, but those that are embodied. They capture the heart and mind because they capture the imagination.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: November 15, 2012