Men without chests

JAMES BEMIS

Every once in a while, a bit of truth sneaks through the Big Media’s politically correct filters. When it does, it usually offers a telling blow against the latest Groupthink.

A case in point was the San Francisco Examiner’s bombshell revelation that Frank Lindh, father of American Taliban member John Walker Lindh, left his family to move in with a gay lover when John was 16.

It’s not much of a stretch to imagine this may have played a major role in young Walker’s estrangement from his own culture.

Scurrying to provide cover, the homosexual propaganda engine revved into action. The Examiner ran an editorial by noted gay columnist Michelangelo Signorile that declared, “The sexual orientation of John Walker’s parents, like their liberal politics and their tolerant attitude toward child-rearing, did not cause Walker to join the Taliban.”

“If anything,” Signorile babbled, “it’s the other way around: The ingrained, religion-based hatred of homosexuality in American society may have caused John Walker to have a visceral reaction upon learning of his father’s supposed involvement with a man (despite even his own parents’ perhaps tolerant views on the subject), and that societal hatred may have been among the contributing factors that led him to embrace a rigid, homophobic religious philosophy and regime.”

Sure. It was this country’s “homophobia” that caused little Johnny to go off his rocker. If you believe that, I’ve got some Enron stock to sell you.

The agit-prop machine needn’t have worried. To my knowledge, the Examiner was the only major newspaper to carry the story. Given the huge amount of media coverage given to young Walker’s family and upbringing, this may at first seem a bit surprising.

Endless attention has been lavished on Walker’s Buddhist mother, his “devout Catholic” father — although the accuracy of that description must now be in dispute — the Marin County neighborhood in which he grew up, his friends, reading habits, and a million other details. But only one newspaper saw fit to mention that Walker’s father left the family to take up with a gay lover when his son was 16 — and that paper denied it had any impact on the boy! It’s as if Lindh's father's homosexuality was just another triviality, like the brand of cigarettes he smoked or whether he preferred boxers or briefs.

The rest of us, though, needn’t pretend. Of course Frank Lindh’s coming out of the closet affected his then teenage son — how could it not? The damaging consequences of divorce on impressionable children are well-documented. Imagine the additional fear, confusion, and humiliation suffered by a boy finding out his father is leaving his mom for another man! It defies reason to believe this would not be a shattering event in a young man’s life.

Look at the facts: John Walker converted to Islam shortly after his parent’s divorce and after reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as part of a class assignment. The Muslim leader’s manly charisma may have been part of the attraction. Transforming his identity, he adopted the Arabic name “Sulayman,” giving up Western clothing for a long white robe and a turban. Eventually, he became a “jihadi,” a fighter of holy wars, revered by Muslims for their courage. Humiliation may also explain why Walker now uses the last name of his mother.

The reason for the media’s reticence in covering this story is obvious — homosexuals are one of several “protected classes” carefully safeguarded by the Fourth Estate. Today’s journalists are not so much interested in reporting facts as in promoting and preserving liberal myths. To the press, every story is really a “progressive” ethical lesson, with not-so-subtle hints about who the good guys are.

But Frank Lindh’s “domestic partnership” was not only immoral but extremely self-centered as well. Like an irresponsible child, Lindh ran away from his most important commitments, abandoning his wife and son in search of personal “fulfillment” — and never mind the consequences. One guesses “honor” wasn’t a word bandied about too frequently in the Lindh household.

Winking at such indiscretion and negligence of duty — as the media has done in the Lindh case — though, is ultimately self-destructive. People cannot lie to themselves forever; sooner or later, the truth rears its head. A culture cannot insist that homosexuality is the same as heterosexuality without destroying healthy manhood. It can’t act as if divorce doesn’t devastate families. And it can’t pretend that selfish and shameful fathers don’t produce alienated children like John Walker, who would rather destroy their country rather than live in it.

C. S. Lewis, prophetic as usual, put it best: “We continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible…in a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

James Bemis. "Men Without Chests." Catholic Exchange (February, 2002).

This article reprinted with permission from Catholic Exchange and James Bemis

THE AUTHOR

James Bemis is an editorial board member, weekly columnist and film critic for California Political Review. Mr. Bemis is currently writing a book on Catholic art, literature and film.

Copyright © 2002 Catholic Exchange




Subscribe to CERC's Weekly E-Letter

 

 

Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.