This is a tad confusing, but bear with me for a moment.

A Jewish man, by the name of Farber, marries a non-Jewish woman. Together they open a landscaping business called Garden Guy (yes, apparently they are gifted and very creative businesspeople). Either prior to or after opening said landscaping business, the Jewish man decides to take on Christianity as his faith. He becomes devout enough that he quotes from the Christian Bible (aka the “New” Testament) on their website.

So far so good, right? Another soul lost to the Jewish people, but praise D-G, at least he didn’t become a Conservative Jew because we all know that’s the group which is truly destroying the Jewish people. Or is it the Reform Jews? Um, Reconstructionists? Tel Aviv Secularists? I forget, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, a gay man in a committed relationship with another gay man, both with non-Jewish last names if you must know, came across the Farbers’ website and noted that it had the following assurance: “Treating you with respect and honesty are the cornerstones of our reputation.”

Said gay man, Mr. Lord, who has or does not have a sense of humor, called Garden Guy to order some services. During the conversation, Mrs. Farber was apparently her usual pleasant and professional self. All was going smoothly until Mr. Lord mentioned his partner, Mr. Lackey. We don’t know whether he referred to Mr. Lackey’s looks or apparently luscious, er, equipment, but the mention of a male partner did not go unnoticed by Mrs. Farber.

She ended the conversation politely, but then did what a true red blooded American Christian Orthodox/Jerusalem/Yesha Jew person who read the part of the Bible prohibiting anal sex and believed it literally would do, she sent Mr. Lord an email saying, “I need to tell you that we cannot meet with you because we choose not to work for homosexuals.”

Weird, huh? On the one hand, they’re not Jewish, but the husband was a Jew, and they are Christians, but you don’t have to be a Christian to be “grieved” over gay people living as gay people. That’s right, that can also happen to you if you’re Jewish. In other words, there’s no need to convert.

Gosh, what to think?

I have to admit that when I read the story I chuckled to myself a bit. You see, I have a little bias in my heart and believe I share it with most North Americans. I often assume that all types of designers – landscape designers among them – have a disproportionate number of homosexuals among their ranks. In fact, other than those homosexuals who make a living as Senators, clergymen and Hollywood movie stars talent agents , I believe most North Americans assume that all these gay guys can afford cool cars and spiffy clothes because they all make a living as designers and unaffordable hairdressers. In fact, if they aren’t making a living doing these things, they’re on TV doing reality shows that might enable them to join their fraternity. I also have to add that since this is the default expectation of most North Americans, one must expect that some of those who design but aren’t gay may simply be latent homosexuals who deny their own nature or evade their proclivities for various reasons. Of course, they might also be the ones who voice contempt for gay lifestyle – think about the recent controversies with Mr. Ted Haggard and Rep. Mark Foley where two of the most vocal opponents of homosexuality were apparently discovered engaging or seeking to engage in homosexual acts. Surely there’s a chuckle to be had when one considers these ideas.

In their favor, I will add that Mrs. Farber explained that she and her husband, Garden Guy, did not wish to offend homosexuals. In fact, she was very candid:

“We’re sinners, Todd and I…My husband made a personal choice, according to something he felt in his heart. It was never a judgmental choice or a hating choice or even a choice that said, ‘Well, we’re better than them.’ ”

Nope. The problem was that he was “grieved” by seeing homosexuals living as homosexuals and simply didn’t seek to engage them as customers any more. Fair enough. But then, how is it that their business website contains the comment:

The God-ordained institution of marriage is under attack in courts across the nation, and your help is needed. Go to: www.nogaymarriage.com to take action.

That website, nogaymarriage.com, by the way, kinda buttresses (get it?) my point a bit. It says in big bold letters on the home page: “Please Help Preserve the Traditional Judeo-Christian Institution of Marriage.” You can also buy their lovely bumper stickers which say “Marriage: One Man One Woman” (25 for $15 and 50 for $27 – a real bargain!).

By the way, since this story broke, the Farbers have had to change phone numbers and have received messages of support as well as hate. Their business, however, is experiencing a small boom with two customers cancelling about a thousand dollars of business and new customers providing about forty thousand dollars in business. No worries, the wusses who canceled their accounts were probably gay lovers anyway.

An article about the story.

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themiddle

17 Comments

  • You’re right TM, kind of amusing and kind of interesting at the same time.

    One striking attribute is the evident cultural differences between the Jewish fanatics and the Christian fanatics. Specifically, it appears that only the Christians have a tendency towards “grieving” for us sinners and heathens, with the attendant need to tell us they’re praying for our eternal souls. On the rare occasions when I’ve been informed of such supplications, I generally indicate my preference that said supplicant take his prayers and shove them up his ass. See, I’ve found that telling a stranger of whom you disapprove that you’re praying for his soul constitutes a not-in-the-least-bit-subtle euphemism for telling him you’re his moral superior. If they were really making a choice that was not “hating” or “judgmental,” they would keep their homosexual policy to themselves, and simply keep their fucking yaps shut. In the bizarre circumstance that an explanation were somehow necessary, they could resort to something alien called discretion, simply stating their unavailability to take on a new job.

    In contrast, he Jewish fanatics apparently experience no feelings of grief in association with their anti-homo mania. They just plain hate ’em. In addition to which, of course, some of them embrace the phrenology-worthy Animal Husbandry school of Judaism, complete with insipid bromides and Jew-faced minstrelsy with which we’ve become so familiar.

    It does make you wonder what it is about homos that inspires quite this level of wide-eyed hysteria. (Besides, of course, the claim that God hates their guts.)

  • I always attribute the hatred towards us by breeders as lashing out for having to follow such a rigid hetronormative mold, which we don’t have to. It can be feeing to always be the outsider when you get used to it. While I respect the idea of marriage for Gays, I, quote my Dad, again, “When you get the law involved nothing good eve happens.” Just as prochoice people have “keep you laws off my body,” I have “keep your laws off my relationship.”

    on another note, Jesus nullified the requirements upon his followers of the strict terms of the covenant. Something like, well, that is nice, but I am offering you a new one. Thusly, ‘OT’ laws do not apply to them, hence no Kosher, etc… so Levitical prohibitions do not apply to Christians and therefore they are not allowed to quote them. Period.

    But having encountered more than a few Christians it is clear that there is not a less knowledgable group of people on the teachings of Jesus.

  • Maybe I should add a new line to my standard “will work for food.” “Here at Esther Productions, we don’t care who you’re in a relationship with, because your sexual preference has no impact on how your dollars can help me pay my rent.” Alternately, maybe I’ll just ban everyone in a relationship of any sort.

    Nathan, I don’t like the word breeders, though. It’s lke we’re just a bunch of empty uteruses waiting for a few good fertilizations, and that’s simply untrue…but I see your point. People have always picked and chose what “commandments” seemed appropriate. It’s inconsistent, but all too human.

  • You refer to your parents as breeders also Nathan? No I understand you being exasperated with the bias against homosexuals but actually having a deragatory term for people who hmm perpetuate the human race (which I think you still belong to ,right?) thats quite narrow minded.Actually no its hilarious. If only Adam and Eve were gay.

  • A very un-Christian response by Mrs. Farber. But evangelicals often construe the faith as a set of rules, the breaking of which place one beyond the pale. Jesus, of course, is recorded to have done little but consort with sinners (a highly-inclusive group consisting of everyone).

    You can quote the Bible chapter and verse, but if you don’t get the love stuff and forgiveness stuff and (here) judge-that-you’re-not-judged stuff, it doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn.

  • Ironically the only landscapers I know are two gay men in a long-term domestic and business relationship. Their success didn’t come from a strictly gay clientele. I suppose in the Farbers’ minds it’s like the good old days of red-lining neighborhoods, the “I got nothing against the “coloreds” (substitute Jews, Asians, etc…) long as they do their business in their own neighborhood…”

    Nathan – besides “breeders” being so… 80’s, it really was a derogatory slur. It might not seem so on paper but that’s why it originated. I understand why a community that put up with slurs for years and had to keep their mouths shut, and was finally gaining social and political power, would start responding to slurs in kind. In ’80 a bartender in a gay club told me “I don’t serve fucking breeders.” To his credit he asked another bartender to serve me. Maybe the Farber’s could have referred Mssrs. Lord and Lackey to other landscapers who cater to these kinds of people?

    Besides, “breeders” as way to define heteros is a fallacy. Melissa Etheridge has out-procreated this hetero three to none. These days the proper term for heterosexual is “lonely”.

  • I don’t like the term “breeders” either, although I think it would be an appropriate response to a slur against homosexuals.

    People always claim they have “nothing against” gays and lesbians, but then refuse to do business with them…? What do they think is going to happen? Do gay couples’ checks bounce more often than those of straight couples? Something tells me the answer is “no.”

  • This “breeders” slur — and it clearly is that — raises an interesting issue. Like others here, I find it . . . well . . . kind of gross, and would never dream of actually referring to anyone in that manner On the other hand, it strikes me as absurd that there are some who would argue that the use of such a term reflects “exactly the same” bigotry as those who use “queer” in a derogatory maner, or – like the homo-hating landscapers – embrace an actual policy against doing business with homosexuals.

    Objectionable though such terms may be, it is not without significance that “breeders” constitute the vast majority of loved ones in every queer person’s life — parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, co-workers, and, yes, even children. Thus, the bigotry reflected in the use of such terms — with the exception of the rather bizarre example described by Ramon Marcos — remains more rhetorical than real.

  • Personally I know we must have a constitutional amendment forbiding mixed marriages. I know god didn´t intend people of different religions to marry. There is only one true religion (choose the superstition of your choice) and god surely does not want it watered down by a lot of nicey-nicey pretending that we respect the damned who don´t believe correctly, much less marry them.
    THINK OF THE CHILDREN IN SUCH AN IMMORAL ENVIRONMENT!

  • Dunno if jc. intended somber deep irony or hilarity… nicely done, though!

    Thanks David Smith for your contextualization. May I quote you if I’m teaching about use of slurs? (which is probable, bc of the attention and memory effects they bring about.)

    For me, using “homo” –except as a prefix for “sapiens”– is much more jarring than “breeders”, mostly bc this blog is the first exposure I’ve had to the term. Also ‘cuz maybe half the gay couples I know have kids?

  • Not to belabor, or overlabor the point… well, David brought it up so I’m going to anyway. The slur isn’t in the word but in the way the word is used and who is using it. The context. The example I related was not an isolated incident. Remember it was a very different era and climate as far as the gay rights movement. A newly militant AIDS activism in the gay community. (These two hard-to-find docs, “Positive” and “Silence=Death” show the beginning of militiant AIDS activism). So while the times have changed, maybe some of the anger has dissapated, and the word is now used lovingly. I just don’t hear it anymore, haven’t for years. That just may be I don’t get out much anymore. Someone else clue me in on the culture these days.

  • rm,

    I don’t think you’re belaboring the point in the least. Indeed, as is just about always the case, I find that your comments offer precisely the kind of thoughtful analysis and genuine exchange of ideas that make it worthwhile, at least sometimes, to follow the discussions on this blog.

    I also happen to think you’re precisely right about this matter. It really is a rather complex and fascinating topic, implicating such issues as political correctness, racism, relativism, and others. Yes, context s everything. And that is so nothwithstanding the enormous frustration that circumstance engenders in many people. It would be simple and deeply satisfying if slurs were fixed markers of good and bad, black and white hats in a cowboy movie, allowing us to easily distinguish the good guys from the bad, and eliminate the ambiguity of intention from the picture entirely. But they aren’t; they are, instead, completely malleable social constructs, utterly meaningless outside of the context in which they’re used. A couple of examples makes this fact clear enough. LirotTov may find homo partcularly jarring, but “queer” is traditionally the most offensive term you can come up with for homosexual. Not anymore. In what amounted to an intuitively brilliant piece of political theater, homosexuals have wrested the term back for themselves, transforming it into a term of pride. Then, of course, there’s the granddaddy of all slurs. That’s right, even “nigger” has been robbed of its power to offend, at least not outside the inentions of the person giving it voice.

    It seems as though LirotTov feels I was being hypocritical, or at least inconsistent, in my use of “homo” at the same time I was decrying the use of “breeder.” But I didn’t intend the word as a slur, and the context of intentions is ultimately the only measure we have for determining whether or not the words still is one.

  • Garden Guy? Even the name sounds gay. Oh well, she can do what she wants, but if I was that gay guy, I would’ve ripped her a new one for saying that to me.

  • Hi David Smith, if you’re still reading this thread, I just thought you were being either inconsistent or a little too sparing with emoticons. Not that there’s a great emoticon for “here comes intentional irony!”

    But I didn’t intend the word as a slur, and the context of intentions is ultimately the only measure we have for determining whether or not the words still is one.

    Ummm, I agree more with your point about family and community context… I’d say the effects of language use can’t be boiled down to a single individual (or his intentions) because language-plants only live and grow in speech communities. Words are in-completely malleable social constructs for any lone individual. (And there are contexts where the n-word still merits its other moniker, “n-bomb”.)

    Actually, galvanic skin response and other measures can be used to evaluate whether a term is highly emotionally laden. (I wasn’t kidding about using this in class…)

    By the way, if you start your own blog, please give the link here. I meant the thanks (above). You keep writing stuff where I would argue with a particular instance (e.g. I found one of your recent responses to ck to be, ..gee further tactlessness.., undeserved?) but agree with much of what you’re saying (in that case, you said what had been brewing in my mind about a total ‘nother blog, only much more clearly).

    There, I’ve now bored or annoyed most everyone exc the most patient, but I theeeenk I closed my tags…

  • jc– I pray daily for advances in cloning, which will eliminate the intermarriage problem entirely.

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