Pat Robertson is a queer duck. It almost seems that he’s mellowed just a bit in his age – almost – and then goes and pulls the crazy out of his hat all over again.
This time (as usual) it’s the gays.
On his TV show, Robertson was asked by a mother: “My 16 year old son says he’s gay, what do I do?”
Surprisingly, Robertson doesn’t trot out of any of the standard religious right lines about the kid being a sinner, about how you absolutely positively have to save him from the “lifestyle,” and how he can be “cured.”
In fact, Roberts almost – almost – sounds understanding and sympathetic and, well, human.
Robertson gives a pretty good answer, at first. Sure, he tells the mom to pray for the kid. But he also does ask her to find out if there’s a biological thing going on – meaning, Robertson is accepting that at least “some” gay people are born gay. And that’s quite a revelation for a religious right figure.
But then, true to form, Pat Robertson had to go and ruin it. He asked the mom to make sure the boy’s coaches at school haven’t molested him.
One of the tropes among the religious right is that men turn gay because their dads abandon them, or because they’ve been molested. There’s really no evidence backing either claim, but consider the sources.
Robertson goes on to say, “talk to him, counsel with him, and” – and Robertson emphasizes this part – “be understanding.”
I have to say, a part of me is impressed. Sure, I’m shocked (well, not really shocked, perhaps “appalled” would be a better word) that Robertson would invoke molestation. And let’s not forget that this is the man who thinks that gays have “secret AIDS rings” they use to infect straight people with HIV, and who seems to have an odd position on wife-beating. He’s decidedly not a good guy. But I’m just as shocked that his answer, otherwise, was predicated on the notion that the kid might have been born this way, and that whatever the mom does, she should “be understanding.”
When has the religious right ever admitted that we’re born this way, let alone that parents should be “understanding” of our sexual orientation?
And keep in mind this isn’t happening in a vacuum. Robertson also said recently that being transgender is a real thing, and it’s not a sin. Again, a hell of an admission from a religious right leader.
Now, don’t worry, I’m not planning on making Robertson an honorary homo any time soon, but I am fascinated that a leader of the anti-gay religious right would say anything even vaguely helpful to our cause, and he has of late, and more than once.