In stark contrast to the lovefest (or at least awkward smiling) between gays and fundamentalists at John Hagee’s Texas church this past Sunday, a gay-straight exchange in California last weekend turned violent.
The scene was a fundraiser for Democratic congressional hopeful Francine Busby in California’s 50th district, which includes parts of San Diego and a few suburbs to the city’s north. A lesbian couple hosted the event in their backyard, and after things got underway, a neighbor started shouting anti-gay slurs across the fence. This same neighbor apparently (though we can’t be sure) called the police, because soon the cops showed up in response to a noise complaint. That the town’s noise ordinance didn’t go into effect for a few more minutes was apparently beside the point.
And then things really got bad. The cop who showed up to shut things down demanded to know the birth date of one of the women who owned the home. She asked why that was necessary, and the (male) cop responded by twisting her arm (which the people assembled there had warned him had just undergone surgery) and throwing her to the ground. He then proceeded to pepper spray the middle-aged professionals (a threatening bunch, I’m sure) standing in the immediate vicinity.
The festivities were capped off when the woman who had been thrown down was arrested for assaulting a police officer. Yes: for assault.
According to Busby, the neighbor screaming epithets is now “boasting about his good work.” I can’t help but wonder whether the religious impulses that presumably drove this guy to oppose homosexuality are the same ones that led him to shout obscenities and rejoice in other people’s suffering. Are he and I are reading the same New Testament?
Regardless, there’s something deeply unsettling about the degree of anti-liberal anger that appears to be bubbling up in the wake of Barack Obama’s election. The murder of George Tiller. The shooting at the Holocaust museum. Anti-gay violence. One hopes things will eventually calm down — at least before more people wind up injured or dead.