Political Correctness: How They Market Homosexuality
Every epoch, including our own, has its own idols. One of our challenges is to find ways to avoid the Gospels being shackled in service to them.
Political correctness is one of the idols or secular sins of our times. Sometimes it is described as being trendy, up-to-date, attuned to the times and worthy of praise. Political correctness is not the same as being stylish or following the fads in the clothing industry. There is correctness there, but it is not political. It is different from the cultural norms of society, which involve customs and mores. European society is different from African society. The difference is not about political correctness. New England hospitality is different from southern hospitality. That is not about political correctness. Political correctness has to do with movements that set a new social standard to be imposed on others by an elite group. What makes it a scourge is that it insists on forced conformity for the sake of conformity.
Political correctness has been around for centuries. What is new in this post-modern age is the use of super sophisticated tools of social manipulation to help people gradually change their view without being conscious of these efforts of social manipulation. The clearest example is the multifaceted marketing campaign of the homosexual elite.
The Vatican II document "The Church in the Modern World" told us all to attend to the human sciences such as sociology and psychology (5bb, 54a, 62b, 62f). For years I knew how these sciences created powerful marketing for children . . . selling toys, games, cereal and a consumer view of life. I really was unaware of how certain groups in our society are employing marketing techniques intentionally to condition adults to arrive not at our own conclusions, but their desired conclusions.
Then, one day, an eminently successful media consultant pointed out my short sidedness in not realizing that the newest and best marketing techniques were now being used to sell us such things as the homosexual agenda. There are many examples. One of the best is Paul Rondeau's "Selling Homosexuality in America," in the Regent University Law Review (14:2002). I read this and a light went on. These folks are selling us the gay agenda by marketing political correctness. Vatican II knew nothing of this power of marketing. I wonder what it would have said. What a threat to our freedom. How do we address it if we don't know that it is a threat? As Gene Veith Jr. said regarding the marketing of political correctness: "Truth is not the issue. The issue is power."
Power is found in marketing. Rondeau has 25 years of experience in the theory and practice of marketing. Here are some of his examples in how homosexuality is sold to the American people in a way that they are not even aware that they are being sold something.
First he says to consider the theories and techniques of persuasion. What you want to do is to persuade someone to adopt a view without appearing to do so. Pratkanis and Aronson called this pre-selling. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) is widely accepted today among proponents of gay rights, especially in its assertion that figuring out how to influence attitude is much more important than the attitude or opinion itself. With emphasis on cognitive dissidence, there is an insistence that behavioral change precedes attitude change. Rondeau points out that is why the focus of the gay rights marketing is on calling people names (homophobic, bigot, lacking in compassion).
The four P's of marketing are product, price, place and promotion. What is being sold is an issue, not a dishwasher or auto, but the method is the same. "In each case, the critical thing is not to let the public know how it is done," are the words of Tammy Bruce, who styles herself a lesbian feminist and is the former President of the L.A. chapter of NOW.
Traditional pricing of products is thought of as bi-partisan satisfaction of the exchange relationship. However, there is a new pricing concept today called exaction pricing defined as "the economic or emotional price that is exacted from targeted groups for not buying the gay rights idea." In 1973, the American Psychological Association changed its position and no longer said homosexuality was a mental disorder. The decision was a marketing decision above all and was the first step towards normalizing. The second step, of course, was to convince people that homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle. This also is a task of marketers.
In 1988, two Harvard trained social scientists, Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, wrote a homosexual game plan "dismissing the movement's outworn techniques in favor of carefully calculated public relations propaganda . . . laying the groundwork for the next stage of the gay revolution and its ultimate victory over bigotry." Kirk and Madsen said: "To one extent or another, the separability and manipulability of the verbal label is the basis for all abstract principles underlying our proposed campaign." The campaign has three phases.
The first phase is desensitization, which Kirk and Madsen described as a "continuous flood of gay related advertising, presented in the least offensive fashion possible." If straights can't shut off the shower, they may at least eventually get used to being wet." The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes tiresome . . . Seek desensitization and nothing more . . . If you can get them to think it is just another thing, meriting no more than a shrug of the shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won."
They said: "It is not overt coercion. It is one group's covert orchestration of compliance by another group through structuring the consciousness of the second group."
In this first phase, you will see T.V. comedies spotlight wholesome gays doing non-offensive things. You will see news clips about gays helping the community and suggesting there are so many of them and it is all genetic and they are really nice people. Also add gay parishioners who are kindly and good.
In this desensitization phase, the goal is to have the general public no longer look askance at the people identified as gay. Have well-known priests with wonderful reputations stand up and proudly say they are gay. Produce a movie like Brokeback Mountain and shower it with Academy Awards. Don't forget to also use similar techniques in schools with books such as Joey Has Two Mommies. Be a welcoming parish when a gay couple wants an adopted child baptized.
The whole point to remember here is that this is conscious manipulation of you and me to change our views without realizing the manipulation involved. This is a new strain of political correctness.
The second phase is called jamming, which makes use of associative conditioning and direct emotional modeling. Rondeau calls jamming "psychological terrorism meant to silence expression or even support for dissenting opinion." It is a scare tactics phase. The best that could happen is for you to believe others will despise you if you oppose the gay agenda.
Here you see famous people such as athletes, actors and celebrities identifying themselves as kindly gays. Historical figures such as the much beloved Abraham Lincoln are identified as probable gays. "You are despicable if you reject Abraham Lincoln." Biblical figures such as David and Jonathan are said to have been gay, even if, of course, there is no evidence for this at all. Some people will believe it, just as many people believe that Mary Magdalene took off for the French Riviera pregnant with Jesus' baby or that Jesus was approving Judas' betrayal and suicide as a grand performance.
In this scare phase, it is important to bash anyone who opposes the agenda. Rhetoric is a powerful marketing tool. Call them gays (less offensive), not homosexuals. Call them a humble, long suffering minority, not a savvy group wanting recognition. Proclaim their rights are being violated. Call them homophobic. Ostracize them. Shut them down. Laugh them to scorn. Publicly ridicule them. Say they are lacking in compassion. Get scripture scholars to say the scriptures are misunderstood by the unenlightened. Force retractions on people like Dr. Laura. Suggest laws forbidding preachers from claiming the scriptures are opposed to homosexual activity. Make that a crime of hate speech. Let clergy know they will be despised if they openly preach against the gay agenda. Show pictures of Nazi concentration camps where homosexuals were tortured and murdered.
Here again, Kirk and Madsen say: "The campaign should focus on religious opposing gay views: jam homo hatred by linking it to Nazi terror." "Gays can undermine the moral authority of homo hating churches . . . by portraying them as antiquated back waters, badly out of step . . . with the latest findings of psychology. Against the atavistic tug of Old Time Religion, one must set the mightier pull of Science and Public Opinion. Such an unholy alliance has already worked well in America against the Churches on such topics as divorce and abortion. That alliance can work for gays.
The third phase is conversion which Kirk and Madsen call "conversion of the average American's emotions, mind and will through a planned psychological attack, in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media." They recommend clergy and others shown in T.V. images as associating with gays in good companionship and for good causes and all of them being good guys.
Conversion also means repudiation and rejection of Sacred Scripture. Why would you rely on Scripture? After all, Exodus 21:7 talks about a good price for selling your daughter into slavery. Then there is Exodus 35:20 where you must kill your fellow employee who works on the Sabbath. Don't forget Deuteronomy 14:18 where the Chicago Bears would have to wear gloves rather than touch the skin of a pig. You want people to say live and let live. I've changed my mind.
This, of course, involves repackaging the product. As Kirk and Madsen say: "First, you get your foot in the door by being as similar as possible; then and only then, when your one little difference (orientation) is finally accepted can you start dragging in your other peculiarities one by one . . . As the saying goes allow the camel's nose beneath your tent and its whole body will soon follow."
Rondeau puts it this way: "Pederasts, gender benders, sadomasochists, and other minorities in the homosexual community with more extreme peculiarities would keep a low profile until homosexuality is in the tent. Only strong and favorable images of homosexuals should be displayed."
For conversion to take place Kirk and Madsen say:
The public should be persuaded that gays are victims of circumstance, that they no more choose their sexual orientation than their height . . . for all practical purposes, gays should be considered to be born gay, even though sexual orientation for most human beings seems to be the product of a complex interaction between innate dispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence. To suggest in public that homosexuality might be chosen is to open the can of worms labeled moral choice and sin and give the religious right intransigents a stick to beat us with.
There are certain conclusions that come quickly to mind about the current world of political correctness. The first is that we desperately need to wake up and realize that we are being intentionally duped, deceived and manipulated. When that light goes on in our heads, we then have in our grasp the ability, if we choose, to mitigate the persuasive powers of mass communications.
Pope John Paul II reminded the bishops of Ireland in June 1999: "Christianity teaches the truth, a truth which, we ourselves, have not devised, but which comes to us as a gift . . . " He then added that they should "proclaim the truth courageously, even if what you teach sometimes goes against socially accepted opinion."
In Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II said: "If there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power" (italics mine).
In his 1994 letter to families, he said: "Who can deny that our age is marked by a great crisis, which appears above all as a profound crisis of truth . . . only if the truth about freedom and the communion of persons in marriage and in the family can regain its splendor, will the building of a civilization of love truly begin and will it then be possible to speak concretely . . . about promoting the dignity of marriage and family."
We really do need to turn on its head the view of these marketers that truth is unimportant and what is important is power. We need to insist that the issue is truth and not power and that this is the compassionate, the caring thing to do. Environmental conditioning is an instrument to gain power. It has nothing to do with truth and charity.
We also need to realize that priests and bishops and other ministers are much more susceptible to what Rondeau calls the illusion of being informed. Why? Because a pastoral person, in this post modern age, needs very much to be liked and needs to be seen as caring, sharing and compassionate. If being liked takes first place, then truth takes a distant second or third place. This is the great temptation of the mega churches, namely, to bring vast crowds into the fold at the expense of truth. Love without truth will lead us all astray. Truth with love will set us free.
The need to please everyone is not a mandate found in the gospels. In fact, just the opposite is found there. Jesus did not say that God is love at the expense of truth. Don't say that God is love and truth and goodness and beauty. To separate these is to distort the good news. Sister Faustina said it well: "Truth wears a crown of thorns."
After reading this, some may feel duped and manipulated because you are intentionally conditioned to arrive at conclusions you believe, up until now, were really your own. If that is the case, remember the advice of Bernard Lonergan. The remedy for being duped for mistaken believing is not to give up on believing, but to develop better controls over it.
Before we race off and embrace the idea that the Church will learn to accept all of this, let us pause for a moment before the forces of political correctness envelop us. If environmental conditioning wins the day, what will they say 100 years from now? Will they look at our age as having made a giant step forward in human progress, or as an example of early mass marketing gone astray? That is Rondeau's question and mine, too.
Reverend Val J. Peter, a Nebraska native, recently retired as the fourth Executive Director in the 88-year history of Girls and Boys Town, the original Father Flanagan's Boys Home. Fr. Peter holds Ph.D. degrees in both Canon Law and Theology. He is on the boards or committees of 20 national and local organizations and has also published numerous books and articles. His service to children as a youth advocate, educator and friend has spanned more than four decades.
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