In my search for an apartment in LA, I came across a Craigslist posting for two people looking for a third roommate. In their rather lengthy advertisement, they mentioned—in bold caps—NO HOMOPHOBES.
First of all, this displays a disgraceful lack of sensitivity towards someone’s mental issues. Phobias are serious. Phobics deserve respect. Would they have written NO ACROPHOBES? Second of all, this violates the Craigslist discrimination clause. What other phobias do they discriminate against? If I told them I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle but don’t scream and run from homosexuals—but do have a touch of arachnophobia…would that be a problem?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines phobia as “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.” Other definitions include, “a strong fear or dread of a thing or event, which is out of proportion to the reality of the situation.”
Apparently, people with certain religious beliefs are irrationally afraid of homosexuals. By this definition I, for example, am literally frightened of gays. I am afraid of them just as I am afraid of monsters under the bed. I—because of my religious beliefs—have the same reaction to a homosexual mentioned or being in my presence as I do when a spider crawls in front of me. I scream, tantrum, run in terror, and throw shoes at spiders and homosexuals alike.
If we accept the premise that religious beliefs that contradict someone else’s belief system or lifestyle are phobias, that would mean I have multiple phobias (besides the usual arachnophobia and coulrophobia). Allow me to exhibit:
Because I don’t believe in sex before marriage: I’m erotophobic.
Because I don’t eat meat on Friday: I’m carnophobic.
Because I don’t agree with contraception: I’m contraceptiphobic.
Because I don’t believe in universal healthcare: I’m healthcareaphobic.
Because I don’t think cannibalism is right: I’m canniphobic.
Because I think murder is wrong: I’m scelerophobic and necrophobic (minus the bad men and the in general death parts).
Okay, sue me. I made most of those up. The point is, just because I believe that something is wrong does not mean I am afraid of it. I, like many Catholics, have gay friends. I have gay co-workers. Am I constantly running screaming from my office?
No. Because I am not homophobic.
I am, however, stultophobic. Stupidity makes me sick. When I read something stupid like, NO HOMOPHOBES, I want to run away screaming in terror because I am convinced the world is going to end.
Oh, wait. That’s not an irrational fear. I have a strong dread of something that is in proportion to the reality of the situation. Stupid people are ruining the planet.