Pseudo-science And Religion: Drapetomania To Homomania

On their Facebook page, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) says that being gay is a mental illness.  It’s true because they say so!  Read the comments over at GoodAsYou; there are some excellent, well thought-out critiques on NOM’s pseudo-scientific claims.

It is really appalling to examine the lengths that religious extremists will go to justify their bigotry and hatred, and using their Bible to do it — I’ve discovered the term “drapetomania” (2nd paragraph below the Facebook screenshot).

“I believe …”, begins the quote by Louis J. Marinelli III, of NOM, and that is all it takes for a christianist to declare something as fact.

"I believe ..." turns anything into fact for christianists, with no regard for mountains of scientific data from medical, psychological, and social research findings.

Well, then what would one call the “mental illness” with the symptoms of refusing to be treated worse than garbage and having one’s basic human rights legislated away?  I think what I have, then, is “homomania”, ‘cuz the fantastic lies these people spew make this homo crazy-mad.

Physician Samuel Cartwright (1793-1863) coined the term "drapetomania"

In the 1800’s, when slaves had the annoying habit of running away from their masters, the Louisiana physician Samuel A. Cartwright “diagnosed” this “mental illness” and coined the term drapetomania.

His reasoning was that since God created some people to be slaves, that their NORMAL inclination (in caps, like in the NOM post shown, it helps to make it true), their NORMAL state of mind put there by God, was to be subservient to their masters.  Therefore, the “unnatural” desire to run away from their masters must be a mental illness.  Emphasis added:

Cartwright described the disorder — which, he said, was “unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers”[4] — in a paper delivered before the Medical Association of Louisiana[5] that was widely reprinted.

He stated that the malady was a consequence of masters who “made themselves too familiar with [slaves], treating them as equals.”[6]


“If any one or more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master or overseer, humanity and their own good requires that they should be punished until they fall into that submissive state which was intended for them to occupy. They have only to be kept in that state, and treated like children to prevent and cure them from running away.” [7]

In Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, Cartwright writes that the Bible calls for a slave to be submissive to his master, and by doing so, the slave will have no desire to run away.[8]

Dr. Cartwright even prescribed a remedy for this “mental illness”:

In addition to identifying drapetomania, Cartwright prescribed a remedy. His feeling was that with “proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented.”[4] In the case of slaves “sulky and dissatisfied without cause” — a warning sign of imminent flight — Cartwright prescribed “whipping the devil out of them” as a “preventative measure.”[9][10][11]

And the pseudo-science continues to this day.  Regardless of the mountains of data gathered from physicians, psychiatrists and social scientists, christianists continue to do what their mental illness compels them to do: make stuff up and declare it as fact, based on the fallacies that they model their lives around.

Paul Cameron, the father of modern anti-gay pseudoscience, like the “good” Dr. Cartwright, gets his “research” widely circulated by the Religious Reich and presented as factual.

One amusing tidbit of Paul Cameron’s “scientific facts” that illustrates his sheer lunacy, and the lunacy of people like NOM, American Family Association, Family Research Council, N.A.R.T.H., Exodus,  et al. who rely on and quote Cameron’s “research” as scientific fact and the Gospel Truth:

With a perfectly straight face they [Cameron and his comrades] report, for example, that lesbians are at least 300 times more likely to die in car crashes than females of similar ages in general.

This is the kind of “research” they swear by when fighting equal treatment of gay people.  To which I would like to say to Mr. Marinelli and his Facebook fans:

Reasonable, thinking adults would like to offer you a clue as to who the mentally ill ones are.  Look into the mirror.

Folks, be mindful of what some of NOM’s supporters stand for with this sign a guy brought to their Indiana bus tour last summer:

NOM supporter's sign

Maggie cannot figure out what her organization is doing that would cause anyone harm.

 

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