NPR 'Fresh Air' Host Terry Gross Honors Barney Frank, Compares Opposing Gay Agenda to Racism

Ultraliberal former Congressman Barney Frank promoted his book Frank on National Public Radio on Monday on the badly named Fresh Air show with Terry Gross. Only one point of view is normally allowed on that stale show, especially on the gay agenda.

Early in the 38-minute softball session, Gross really loaded a question about Christian-right “homophobia” in the Reagan years, proclaiming you would have to be avoid saying “overtly racist things,” but you could be overtly bigoted on the gay agenda:

GROSS: You were elected to the U.S. Congress in 1980, the same year as Ronald Reagan was elected president. At this point in time, the Christian right was becoming increasingly powerful and politicized. And the Christian right, of course, you know, has opposed - especially then - really opposed gay rights bills that you advocated. By 1981, when you were sworn in, you can no longer say overtly racist things in Congress. If you - if you were afraid of black people, you couldn't come out and say that. If you thought they were inferior, you couldn't come out and say that. You had to couch that and other language. If you wanted to oppose certain rights legislation, you couldn't do it overtly. You had to find, like, more roundabout ways of doing it. But if you were anti-gay - no problem. You could come out and say that. You could say that being gay was a sin against God. You could say gay people shouldn't teach; gay people shouldn't marry; gay people should convert to heterosexuality. So I'm wondering what were some of the most disturbing things you heard your fellow congressmen say or heard people lobbying your fellow congressmen saying?

Frank thought this was a very important point, naturally, and who deserves to rebut? Not the Christian conservative taxpayers who pay for these insults: 

FRANK: You make a very important point about it became inappropriate to be explicitly racist. You know, we've all developed, at a degree, the concept of the dog whistle - that is of politicians appealing to racial sentiments but in ways that aren't explicit. You know, so that other racists will know what they're talking about. Well, I believe it began in '73 and I've noted this - I began lobbying for the gay-rights bill, as we then called it. It was just the one name. And people would be very open and say, hey, pal, are you kidding? I'm not going to have some dike in my store. You think I want some bleep bleep guy hanging around where I might have kids? So yeah, it was unrestrained.

As usual, Gross adored Frank when he mocked conservatives as mentally ill for their conservative thoughts, like the notion that “gay marriage” badly redefines marriage and hurts society:

FRANK: [Congressman] Steve Largent from Oklahoma - and he said, well, I'll tell the gentleman this - no, it doesn't hurt my marriage. It doesn't hurt the marriage of other people here, but it hurts the institution of marriage. And my response was, well, it doesn't hurt any individual marriages, but despite that, it somehow hurts the institution of marriage. That is an argument that ought to be made by someone in an institution.

GROSS: (Laughter) Do you dream these lines up in advance?

FRANK: Not often, they kind of come to me. I'm lucky that way, you know? There are some things I'm not very good at, but I like humor. And some of them -- the best humor is offered up to you by the stupidity of your opponents.

 

Homosexuality Same-sex marriage Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) NPR Fresh Air Terry Gross Barney Frank
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