Focus on the Family Expands Its Reach

The US has been the source of good exports and bad. This piece (“Chinese gay bars open, activism slowed during Olympics“) is not entirely fair, given its negative view of the influence on the rights of gay people of American culture (which has in general been strongly positive toward the individual rights of gay people), but I did learn from it of the baleful influence in China of the fruitcakes from Colorado Springs, “Focus on the Family.”

There is something bad being imported from the West, but it isnâ??t gay visibility, according to Lu of Aibai Center.

â??I think we need to alert our friends here about two relatively recent developments in China, because both are partly the result of U.S. â??exportsâ?? and we need everyoneâ??s help to stop them,â? he said.

The two unwelcome exports are religious fundamentalism and ex-gay therapy, Lu said.

â??Many of the religious fringe elements, having been kept at bay in the U.S. by the LGBT community, are seeing China as a new territory,â? he said. â??Thereâ??s been a huge surge of various religious extremist groups entering in to China.â?

Lu cited James Dobsonâ??s Focus on the Family, a well-known foe of American gay rights groups that now has chapters in China. Dobson, whose name is translated as â??Dr. Du Busenâ? on Focus on the Familyâ??s Chinese website, also appears regularly on Chinese state-run radio.

Focus on the Family did not respond to interview requests about their Chinese chapters.

I recall vividly meeting a Chinese-American friend (who grew up in China), a political scientist, over a decade ago in Shanghai. She told me very excitedly that “China will never go Communist again!” I was pleased at the news and asked what had convinced her of that, and she said, “Shanghai is simply full of gay bars. Once they get the open gay bars, they never go back.” Since she is an empirical political scientist, she had evidently dragged her American husband through the gay bars as she asked customers what accounted for the change. The most common answer, she told me (and at a time when criminal penalties, including death, were still officially on the books for homosexuality), was private ownership of apartments. “Landlords don’t care if you are purple and have horns,” as she said, “so long as you can pay the rent.” Free-market capitalism, based on property, contract, and limited government, is the best friend gay people have ever had.

6 Responses to “Focus on the Family Expands Its Reach”

  1. While I was in the US I regularly had the “pleasure” to see Mr Dobson on FoxNews (Hannity & Colmes, O’Reilly Factor etc). This guy really hates gay people to an extent that makes me suspicious. Remember Mr Haggard….;-)

    For me it is fascinating how somebody can be so obsessed about the (consensual)sexual behaviour of other people. Very strange guy.

  2. Tom G. Palmer

    Anonymous seems to misunderstand the point entirely. What made the greater freedom for gay people possible was private ownership of housing. The Chinese state used to execute gay people. They no longer do that. The economic changes made possible enormous cultural, and then legal, changes. Gay liberation did not make private housing possible, but private housing did make gay liberation possible.

  3. Anonymous

    Tom avoids Anon’s point entirely. I didn’t suggest that gay liberation made private housing possible. Let me try to put it another way. Do homeless gays enjoy the same rights as those who have enough money to buy private housing? Or do they get beaten up on the sidewalk? I never knew that landlords were the ultimate arbiter of human rights. But I didn’t post to pick a fight with you. I’m actually happy to see you’re making some effort to counter the globalization of the Bible Belt.

  4. Tom G. Palmer

    Your point in the first post was not clear to me. Of course, everyone has the same right not to be beaten up. I was making a simple observation (as a matter of sociology and political science, not moral philosophy) about what made gay liberation possible, not about whether rights not to be beaten should be contingent on wealth. When the state owned all housing, only those who were in approved relationships got housing. And the state got to determine who those people were. Moreover, when they discovered gay people, they killed them, or sent them to labor camps, or inflicted other terrible punishments. The new freedom to rent or buy an apartment brought with it other freedoms, because now people could enjoy privacy and — of great importance — there were people who benefited from and would defend that new freedom, to wit, owners of housing who wanted to sell or rent it to people willing to pay for it. Landlords are not arbiters of human rights, but living in a society with one landlord — the state — ensures that you will have few, if any, rights. Having many, many landlords and many, many owners means that it is much harder for anyone to enforce their own crazy views on others. Imagine that James Dobson were the Minister of Housing in a regime with state ownership of all housing. Even when homosexuality was illegal, as it was until recently in a number of areas of the USA, it was rarely punished, because people could obtain privacy in their own private apartments, homes, clubs, etc. Private property allows people to enjoy a multiplicity of different options (Dobson can enjoy his privacy, and you can enjoy yours) and can escape the oppression of kooks. The lives of gay people in socialist (really socialist, that is, with state ownership and attempts at central planning, rather than merely redistributive welfare states, as we know them today) were terrible, and much worse than in countries with private property, even when those countries had similarly oppressive laws on the books, because the institution of “several property” allowed people to escape those oppressive edicts more easily than in countries where the state owned and allocated housing, restaurants, bars, etc., etc.

  5. As far as the observer who said China would never be communist again because â??…Once they get the open gay bars, they never go back.â? … I guess she’s never been to Berkeley in California.

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