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Comment: How God Hates Fags and its friends like Linda Harvey further gay rights

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  1. Crafty… I like it! :D

    1. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:51pm

      Thanks :)

  2. Your site/space/rules and everyone who comes here comes here by consent that’s true.

    However, these stories are (no pun intended) preaching to the choir. We already know that they are phoney and we are not the ones who need to be convinced of anything at all by constant exposure to the hate fuelled fringes of bigotry.

    Are we sure it isn’t leading to a “Death by a 1000 Cuts” of internalised homophobia? As the same insidious lies and slanders are exposed to us over and over again are we absolutely sure, on a subconscious level, that it is not being imprinted to some degree?

    Perhaps not to people like me? Since all religion is bunk. What about the younger and more vulnerable who see these things and get the impression that it is far more common and widespread than it actually is?

    Are we absolutely sure that this does no harm at all? I don’t believe for a moment it does us personally any good, but what about harm?

    1. I worry about this too, Valksy. I think of Ian Paisley Jnr last night, claiming that his ridiculous hate-filled views are widely shared and therefore deserve a hearing. Maajid Nawaz was able to triumphantly dismiss his bigotry by demonstrating that in fact he is in a tiny minority.

      The vast majority of UK people don’t think like the Westboro Baptist church. Shouldn’t we be celebrating and publicising this fact, instead of making their views seem common and widespread?

      And yes, I do think that the more that homophobic slurs are repeated, the easier it is to internalise them. The toxic bile spewed by the homophobic Tories in the equal marriage debate was a good example – I knew it was rubbish and that they were in the minority, but I felt attacked, defenceless and shamed all the same.

      I completely applaud Ben Cohen’s motivations here, but I think this is an important debate to have.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 24 May 2013, 4:43pm

        I agree with you up to a point but as for the mendacious bile tosssed around by the Tories in Parliament, they’re hardly in a minority since a majority of them voted against the equal marriage bill in the second and third readings.

        The BBC have also played a role on account of their extremely unbalanced programming in regard to the marriage issue, very disingenuous indeed, in fact, mischievous. It’s failure to depict positive images of gay people is also another aspect contributing to homophobia. Then of course, we have the Mail and Telegraph who pander to right wing homophobic readers, catering to nasty Tories, UKIP and BNP members.. The equal marriage debate has really illustrated just how much homophobia there is and very much alive among the public and in both Houses of Parliament.

    2. I agree there is plenty of internalised homophobia, but I think this is merely a natural consequence of the speedy changes from a majority homophobic society, to the one we have today. People accept homosexuality, but they still arn’t comfortable with it. Young gay guys are still bombarded with the message they must be overtly masculine, and struggle to reconcile that with the gay stereotype of campness. I think things will get better in time, as society becomes more and more comfortable.

    3. Not everyone who comes to this site is aware of people like this . They maybe young gay and straight kids . looking for answers. we cannot shield their eyes and ears from the world . Perhaps they have not lived as long as you , or experienced what you have . Therefore it is important to expose them to it all. not just what we like or find non offensive. I don`t think this is a Social Knitting Site where people discuss pearl 1 pearl 2. It is a site where people gay and straight discuss life changing events in our times. With an open mind. So it must all be viewed no matter how disgusting or vile we may believe it to be.

      1. But to expose them to it almost every day might be counter-productive no? A teenager in the closet might be better off not seeing stuff like this every day.

        1. True perhaps there is some harm done, but to try to push it under the carpet might do more harm I don`t know. Of course no one likes to see and hear this kind of thing going on .But what is the alternative. If we squash ones persons right to speak because we don`t like their view ,Then who is next. and who decides that is what got the world in this mess in the first place. Education is the key, with it comes responsibility. Laying out the facts and as free thinking humans we are left to decide. I have great difficulty with this concept myself. But so far it is the only way. Thousands of years of religion, have given us nothing but division over the issue. because we are not dealing with the facts. There is only one fact. We are all human, and we all deserve the same human rights.

    4. Apparently all news is bad for you:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli

      I do find this site extra bad for my mental health and well being, but I keep coming back… There seems to be a constant bombardment of articles which say, “Looky here everyone hates you”. It’s not just the articles though, some of the comments make me want to give up on humanity. I don’t blame pink news for any of this.

  3. I’m just a bit confused about Linda Harvey in particular. I would never have heard about her if it weren’t for the frequent articles about her on this site (it seems almost like a weekly feature). Is she particularly famous or influential in the US? Aren’t there lots of other anti-LGBT preachers and campaigners who say similar things to her?

  4. I believe the editor is right in his call. Perhaps this is meant to be a LGBT site by some . And they see no need to be exposed to all of this vile so called news as they live it everyday. But for those of us who are straight and I am sure their are many more like me that would not be exposed to this kind of news if it were not for this site. It is important to report all news no matter how difficult to hear or read. You may also have young gay or straight people who have not had the council of your years , who have not been exposed to these kinds of people yet. And it is important for them and others to know that people like the WBC and others do exist. And for as crazy as they are, there are people also who believe in their crap. As offensive as it is it must be exposed. It can also be a more powerful message than any other for the need for equal rights .To a sane mind they do more harm to themselves than to those seeking equal rights.

  5. There’s no doubt in my mind that the “Give Them The Microphone” strategy wins people over to equality. Look at how opinion is swinging in the US – straight people contrast their gay friends and family with the insane ramblings of the anti-gay lobby and draw their own conclusions.

    I do think there are costs to this constant negative rhetoric. A few disturbed individuals hear it and feel encouraged to commit hate crimes. I’m not sure that PN’s coverage makes much difference though – the mainstream media is most responsible (or irresponsible).

    I think that it can get you down to read this hate over and over again. After a visit to PN, I take a moment to remind myself that most people are not hate-filled bigots!

    But I don’t think this leads to internalised homophobia (do teen readers disagree?). Even on the bleakest story, the comments give eloquent refutations and witty put-downs which remind me of what we’re fighting for, and leave me certain that we’re winning.

  6. To paraphrase the late Linda Smith:

    “I don’t think these people should be given the oxygen of publicity. I’m not that happy about them having the oxygen of oxygen!”

    Still, it’s your site, Ben. Do as you like. :)! :)

  7. While I agree with the sentiments. We all know that the WBC are Linda Harvey are crazy religious loons.

    Surely by publishing everything they say and do, you are only giving them the attention that they are so desperate for?

    Not a week goes by where we have at least one story about them (including Bryan Fischer).

    Surely, like more bad things, it is best to ignore them or at least do a “round up” report on them once a month as a special feature or editorial?

    1. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:53pm

      I quite like that they seem to spend quite a lot of time sending us nonsense. If that keeps them from doing things in the real world such as earning the money to fund their stupid ideas, then so be it!

  8. I agree, like I said yesterday, I enjoy reading stories about them, just for the shock value of how stupid and bigoted they are. They’re a reminder of the ridiculousness of religious beliefs.

    The WBC may seem crazy, but there are actually people in parliament and the house of lords who hold similar views.

  9. Thanks to all above for the considered and intelligent arguments for and against. I suggest that the mild homophobia that surrounds us in our daily lives is probably more harmful than the ravings of these religious nuts. I agree with Ben that their extremism benefits us, in that others will wish to disassociate themselves from these cranks. I hope PN continues to keep us informed. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

  10. You’re really cute, Ben.

    …I mean, great article!

    (nah, I mean both) ;-)

    Seriously though, thanks for creating this site and for all the work you do to further equality.

    1. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:51pm

      Thanks Rob. Although my boyfriend tweeted ‘deluded’ when I mentioned your comment on Twitter ;)

      1. You have a boyfriend, Ben ? Lucky bastard. :-D

  11. There are still a sizable portion of the religious community that still believes that we ALL are, by default, morally and spiritually bankrupt. That our love is a mere and pathetic counterfeit of theirs. A form of hetero-supremacy. So I say Kudos to Benjamin Cohen and all the others in this fight to obtain full equality. Kudos to all our straight but not narrow allies.

  12. Midnighter 24 May 2013, 5:08pm

    I get sick of hearing from them and sickened by them, however I agree 100% with Ben on this point as I’ve said as much myself several times in response to comments in those articles.

    Shining the light on these cockroaches gives people who might otherwise not be aware of them an education and a reality check. It also gives us a community a resource to refer to when wishing to illustrate foaming-at-the-mouth bigotry.

    For those tired of them, we always have the choice to ignore these articles, and for others they seem to be a healthy opportunity to “vent”.

    1. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:53pm

      Thanks :)

  13. The WBC (and Linda Harvey) exist simply because they are constantly reported on.

    There are about 70 members in the WBC (and Linda Harvey’s audience is probably about 70 people as well).

    Everyone knows they are crazy bigots, but they are so small in number that without publicity they have no relevance to anything.

    I would argue that giving these people the oxygen of publicity, allows their extremist views a far wider audience than they would otherwise have. It creates an environment where people can say the most vile, horrific things about us in public. This gives the cleverer bigots a larger platform to promote their more reasonable and measured bigotry – ‘We are not like those extremists, but here is our far gentler, kinder, softer reason why gay people are not equal’. And more people will therefore hear the more measured bigotry and maybe convinced by it.

    1. I can’t think of any situation where (for example) a racial or religious minority is called the horrific names that we get called, and for it to be so breathlessly reported on.

      The KKK is not called to give a comment every time there is a racist incident in the US.

      But the WBC is?

      Why the double standard?

    2. And the sheer NUMBER of stories about the WBC is getting to the point that whenever there is a storm, or a hurricane or a murder spree in the US, I think to myself – ‘I wonder how long it will take Pink News to report on the Westboro Baptist Church response.

      I really don’t see that advancing GLBT equality – it’s just bashing readers of this site over the heads, with the abhorrent bigotry of 1 family.

  14. Marcwebbo3 24 May 2013, 5:20pm

    I am happy for PN to report on the nutjobs like WBC and Linda Harvey and their ilk as I would rather know who my ‘enemy’ is….we may not like what they are saying but at least we know who they are…if people dont like it then dont read the articles…nobody is forcing you to

    1. But these people are not a threat.

      They are such nutjobs that they are not serious.

      The real damage is that their utter extremism is something that is freely reported on as if it is valid.

      Clearly it’s not but it gives a much wider space to the more measured bigots to promote their more reasonable brand of hatred.,

      1. Marcwebbo3 24 May 2013, 8:42pm

        They are not a threat so PN letting us know what they are saying against us is also not a threat and not giving any validation to what they say

  15. Another thing not referenced in the article is the business reason for constantly reporting on the WBC – page hits for Pink News.

    These stories are popular – lots of people read them, and the bigger the audience, the bigger the advertising revenue for Pink News.

    This is a sound business decision of course – the Daily Mail do it as well – they’ll print some mad story about how women hate Samantha Brick because she is so beautiful, in the full knowledge that it will go viral and earn them money.

    Again good business practise.

    The WBC stories are clearly popular (judging by the ‘most popular stories’ sidebar on the site).

    But I doubt it advances equality.

    1. Beelzeebub 24 May 2013, 6:59pm

      And as an adjunct. Pink News use of adobe flash crashes browsers royally.

      The site is awash with these flash adverts, to the point the site is useless.

      PS. Ben. As an IT Consultant since 1988 , please employ people that will not kill your business via crap web design.

      1. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:46pm

        On the flash adverts, the Amex, First Direct ads and others are paying the salaries of our staff. They are not crashing our computers but I accept that they might cause issues with older pieces of kit. We have fed back these complaints to the ad agency though

    2. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:49pm

      Most of the traffic comes from the US for these stories, where we sell barely any advertising so no it doesn’t earn us money. We earn more from our constant reporting of Parliament as we can earn about 5-10 times the amount because in the UK, PinkNews is well known to advertisers. But we do reflect that our readers are everywhere, even in places we can’t monetise from a small office in North London!

  16. It may be that this is primarily a “gay/lesbian site”, but I repost for others to see, and not all of my friends and associates are gay. It warms my heart, not only to see how many speak supportively of the LGBT rights cause, but also help share and spread these articles so that others may learn too.

  17. Nothing to do with Pink News filling spaces then, Ben?

    1. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:54pm

      not at all. We have more news happening than we can afford to cover most days.

      1. All the more reason to drop all these tiresome WBC and ‘US Radio Host…’ non-stories in favour of real news that matters !

  18. Beelzeebub 24 May 2013, 6:41pm

    Whilst I agree with the sentiment, that these goons whilst publicized do more for our cause by advertising their stupidity, please bear in mind that younger gay people may not see it that way and are not mature enough to dismiss the bile as we older people can.

    I lost my lesbian niece through suicide who came to this site looking for like minded people, only to find that “Keith” character tell her how vile she was.

    You hold that responsibility by being slow to get that creature out .
    Please bear this in mind when publishing what you do.

    1. Really sorry to hear about your niece’s suicide Beelzeebub.

      I’m now at the grand old age of 23. I am definitely much thicker skinned these days. I now read the about the WBC and listen to that douche DUP MP that was on QT last night and laugh out loud. But even 2 or 3 years ago I was much more sensitive and it would be much more likely to upset me and really get to me. I do really feel for gay teens, it can be really hard even now.

      That said, I don’t actually read the Linda Harvey or WBC articles that are posted any more because they’re all the same and I’m so bored of them. I think it is good to get the word out about these people but the sheer volume is simply too much for me. We don’t need to hear about every time they sneeze.

  19. Rev. Timmy 24 May 2013, 7:41pm

    Agreed! Often wondered if WBC isn’t some sort of secret gay theatre troupe?

    “Deep in my heart I do believe that we shall overcome the evil myth of heterosexual-supremacy!” ~The Rev. Timmy

  20. I don’t agree with giving Fred Phelps and his evil lot any publicity at all.

    I’ve also been surprised previously when Ben Cohen has said he finds them funny.

    Funny, Ben, really?

    What’s funny about a hate group who turn up and picket funerals?

    Clearly you haven’t been a mourner at one, for if you had, I’m sure you might have a different view of the comical merits of this hateful, damaging group.

    The only reason that the WBC achieves notoriety is sites like Ben’s give them the publicity they so desperately crave.

    Most other news sites/papers don’t give any publicity at all in the UK and in my view, that’s the way they should be treated.

    Of course, the WBC are not alone in their hateful views.

    The Klu Klux Clan have similar views, but I don’t see Ben quoting them chapter and verse.

    Personally, I’d like to hear less about the WBC and I believe it’s counter-productive to give them any publicity at all.

    1. Lighten up fag. Ben has never said he finds it funny when they turn up at funerals – you’re putting words in his mouth. He may have said he finds the organisation funny? But I’ve never read that.

      Do you really think they will go away if pink news don’t report on them? Are you that stupid? Did ignoring the kkk make them go away? You think burying your head in the sand is going to make it all alright?

  21. First of all, I’d like to thank Mr Cohen for this article. I completely agree that winning a debate against nuts is easier than people who manage to sugarcoat bigotry with a believable argument.

    I also believe that it is important to report on people and opinions who set the discourse, for better or worse, in some communities, to keep us informed.

    But I think they should be reported, not replicated. These pieces of news are not as important, in my view, as the progress of marriage equality in the Parliament. A new law changes reality; WBC only changes what we think about reality. I think such news should be given less prominence.

    1. Maybe some precaution could also be used when reporting crime. I check PN mostly to feel part of a community, to hear about things that affect me, like events I could participate in. I’m not always prepared to see injuries in graphic detail. I’ve moved to the UK not too long ago from a country where one does not necessarily feel safe and accepted. I get butterflies in my stomach reading about anti-LGBT crimes, and I consciously need to remind myself that I’m living in a country that is one of the most LGBT-friendly ones even in Europe, and that the news, however said, only affect me indirectly.

      Perhaps I’m alone with this, but I would certainly like to see more stories on upcoming or recent charity events, rallies, gatherings, votes, awards, exhibitions, festivals–anything that helps one to participate more in LGBT communities. And perhaps some of the more graphic photos moved to the article pages.

      But a big thank-you to everyone at PN for their hard work!

    2. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:45pm

      If you do look at our recent coverage you’ll see hundreds of stories over the past few weeks on the intricate debates on same-sex marriage legislation and probably three on these idiots! The point is also balance. We try and reflect everything that is going on. The only issue we have is that because of the reasons I listed, these stories are in the ‘most read stories’ but are rarely the top story that we place on the front page!

  22. justusboyz 24 May 2013, 9:30pm

    I think PN should continue to release these stories. I no longer take offence to the likes of Linda Harvey etc as she is sheer entertainment as they say ‘you couldnt make it up’. She has no constructive or logical argument on any issue! . A complete buffoon as is anyone who would actually agree with her. Sarah Palin another, how these people get to positions of responsibility I have no idea. As soon as they open their mouths they show how shallow they are and dare I say it..Dumb. A career in comedy would better suit.

    1. Well sure keep reporting them.

      But the relentless onslaught of these stories is very, very unpleasant.

      Pink News could think about how often it publishes these WBC stories.

  23. With these endless WBC and ‘US Radio Host…’ stories, Pink News is morphing into Pink Spam !

    There can only be so many stories that anyone will stop and read through, and if the site is cluttered up with endless spam items then it soon becomes worthless, just like a compromised e-mail inbox without an effective filter.

    These tiresome items simply aren’t news, they have become utterly predictable. Even worse, this space-filling ‘churnalism’ has the effect of endless drips wearing away a stone.

    Of course, we shouldn’t attempt to sanitise everything. If the Pope, a cardinal, the ABofC or a UKIP candidate etc says something outrageous then it needs to be reported because it IS news, and so that confirmation can be obtained about whether it’s an official policy.

    But the WBC effect can be to legitimise verbal attacks and even violence. Many people will soak up the hate speech and some may even act on it: “I bashed him because the church says God Hates Fags, so that makes it OK.”

  24. They’re not funny just dull, boring repetitive etc.

    There are far too many articles on the worlds most homophobic nut jobs on the site and it gets old.

    Pink News is a bit like the ‘East Enders’ of lgbt news sites, ie wrist slitingly pessimistic. It would be nice if some positive stories or comment pieces featured, without being celebrity centred daily mail bilge.

    That said there are many interesting articles and positive aspects to the site and I am grateful for its existence

    1. Benjamin Cohen 25 May 2013, 1:50pm

      Light and dark. We like to show everything and it’s important to remember that our readers are all very, very different! Some find Parliament boring, and some prefer pop stars. I know the team would rather be writing about what an MP said than what a popstar said but we need to please everyone!

  25. Aside from the other issues mentioned in the comments, I’m also concerned at the apparent lack of respect for rational argument shown by Ben’s explanation of PN’s intentions in reporting extreme commentators. Using the extreme ‘straw man’ arguments of groups like the WBC to attack the more moderate opponents of LGBT equality is not sensible or honest, even if it works; sometimes it’s better not to win an argument if you have to use dirty tactics to do it.

  26. Barry William Teske 25 May 2013, 4:42am

    I truly would like to believe Ben but then I did some research and found this fact boldly stated in Pink News’s editorial policy:”We are a business but we believe that we are community based social endeavour.We provide a quality news service,free at the point of use to the LGBT community.Our primary concern is to report facts,not to report on stories because advertisers want us to.”Hearing these people bully,lie and incite violence towards my community and myself endlessly day after day,year after year for as long as I have lived has had some serious consequences.On my life and my well being .I can’t take it anymore.I do not have the option of giving this hate mongering the simple treatment nor making profit on it in the guise of community service.And I am certainly not like you”going to rub my hands together in glee”.I live life in fear, because I know what it feels like to be taunted and laughed at maliciously.So maybe being bunched together is part of the problem.

  27. Repubs over here must have a “hate school for women. They know that generally women dont have big macho hangups so women may have more credibility. with the general public

    our comment – well sometim free speech works and sometimes it didnt. Hitler had free speech and look what happened.

    IMO these women are paranoids just like the fixed gay I know. He obviously got raped by his church, they twisted his mind to believe it was his fault and you dont know what the word nutter means until you dig through his head

    Took me 2 years of monthly dinner meetings

    finally-……………..

    “”Mathew Shepards parents should have fixed him” (murdered in 10/98 by 2 guys – one of whom henderson, was an eagle scout btw)

    “Gays support the westboro baptist church because it brings them sympathy”

    Did you ever wish you were dyign of cancer, had no family and had a stick of tnt to shove up his behind.

    it would have been worth it.

    (calls himself an ultra ortho catholic.)

    1. “fixed” EUGH

  28. Frank Boulton 25 May 2013, 9:53am

    I agree with you, Benjamin. I’m a gay Englishman living in New Zealand and so I regularly read Pink News.

    All of these vicious and hateful lies only seem to win sympathy and support for LGBTI people in New Zealand, too. While collecting signatures on the street for our petition in favour of same-sex marriage, my fellow campaigners and I were occasionally subjected to obscene outbursts of abuse. It proved to people that we, and not the homophobes, conduct ourselves with dignity and decorum. A number of people reacted with comment such as, “Oh my God, is this what you guys have to put up with? I’ll sign your petition.” They definitely helped us to collect a few extra signatures.

    All of the serious homophobes in New Zealand have been silenced. I think that, more than anything, it is because people are tired of their rabid and lunatic ravings.

  29. So no one finds a card with a joke about fags offensive, but everyone finds a news story on a gay news website about homophobes that use the word fag offensive.

    The irony of it. Stupid old fags.

    1. And all this time I thought there was a difference between the sentences “God hates X” and “He was glad an X appeared”. Crazy stupid old X, me.

    2. Of course everyone finds a card with “jokes” about fags offensive. What is the matter with you ?

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