Monday, September 13, 2010

Who Is Terry Jones?

Posted By on September 13, 2010, 11:45 PM

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Terry Jones is a Welsh comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director, children's author, popular historian, political commentator and TV documentary host. He is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team.---

Oh, wait ... not that Terry Jones. (Yet another Wikipedia fail. Thanks a lot, Wikipedia!) 

When the other guy, that equally wacky but much less funny Florida pastor, gained international attention this summer with his fake Qur'an-burning announcement, it was his name, Terry Jones, which kept ringing a bell somewhere in the back of the semi-organized collection of random trivia that passes for my mind. I knew Jones was filed under the category of "laughably transparent anti-gay religious hucksters" -- a file which, by now, is fairly overflowing -- but the details and specifics escaped me.

Was he the pro-life radical who endorsed violence against medical professionals and argued that marriage equality would lead to legalized child rape? No, that was Randall Terry. Was he the founder of a creepy deep-South college that forbids hand-holding among students regardless of sex? No, that was Bob Jones. 

This is what led to my failed Wikipedia search. (I know! Wikipedia isn't reliable, and I feel ashamed.) Google, of course, knows everything -- and, although every reference to the pastor Terry Jones prior to his Qur'an burning threat is buried under scads of media outrage, I found what I was looking for: Jones' anti-gay political activities prompted an IRS investigation request by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. For some reason, that's what stuck in my mind.

As it turns out, the fact that Wikipedia defaults to the good Terry Jones is probably more of a win than a fail, since the anti-gay activities of the bad Terry Jones are only the tip of the iceberg.

The Americans United thing was but a minor episode in the Terry Jones saga. By then, his ministry was already losing part of its tax-exempt status after increased media scrutiny of its sketchy financials and unduly fervent anti-Muslim attacks. As it turns out, before Jones brought his special brand of moneychanging idolatry to the U.S. religious scene, he was basically booted out of Germany for the same thing.

This seems to make strange bedfellows of Muslims with separationists and gays, as we all get together to denounce Jones' idiocy.

Strange, that is, considering that there are radical movements within both the Muslim and Christian religions which advocate the imprisonment and/or execution of homosexuals. Of course, we cannot judge the majority of Christians or Muslims by these radicals. Most of them are peaceful folks, who only wish to be left alone and meddle to some degree in public affairs.

But it's useful to note that not even the most extreme of militant LGBT activists call for the outright execution of Muslims or Christians.

As it stands, the C-Team and the M-Team seem evenly matched, and I'm willing to let them fight things out among themselves. It certainly helps take the pressure off us gays. Still, if either team gained the upper hand, their degree of fervency would put us at a disadvantage -- no matter which radical side won in their Holy War, we would end up going to the gallows.

I cannot support either side of the Holy War because I cannot support the Holy War itself. The reason Terry Jones threatened to burn a Qur'an is because he knew people would overreact -- and they did; two Muslim protesters tragically died during three days of protests.

If the LGBT movement were a like a religion, as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) recently suggested, I wonder how we would react under similar circumstances? We'd have to have a holy text. For lack of a better example, let's say some religious nut decided to burn a copy of James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room.

Would we protest? Certainly. But probably not for three days. And we'd be well-enough organized that the risk of actual goddamned fatalities would be nonexistent.

I'm sure in Jones' narcissistic mind, he can file the protest deaths under "things that make me feel proud" -- or, more likely, "things that brought in a shitload of cash donations." 

But, come on, M-Team and C-Team -- you're doing it wrong. Chill out before somebody gets hurt.

Oh, right: Too late.

Brandon's Big Gay Blog



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