Jewish World Review May 22, 2000 / 17 Iyar, 5760
Dr. Laura's critics are jubilant, hailing these craven decisions as blows against "hate" and "violence" --- which suggests that words have lost their meaning in modern America.
I've been listening to Dr. Laura for years and have never once heard her preach hatred toward any group (except perhaps, on a bad day, her callers, but that's another story). Dr. Laura is acerbic and occasionally harsh. But after years of Dr. Joyce Brothers, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and the other tribunes of the whatever-feels-good school, a little Cotton Mather was long overdue. Dr. Laura's muscular defense of traditional virtues like responsibility, honor, chastity and discipline make her a cultural treasure.
Laura Schlessinger has two lodestars: traditional Judaism and tenderness toward children. Whatever conflicts with those two values can expect the back of her hand or worse. Many a hapless caller contemplating unwed motherhood, or divorced father considering a cross-country move away from his children, is likely to get an incredulous response from the radio-advice maven. "Do you listen to this show at all?"
She will then set the miscreant straight: No, they should not intentionally bring a child into the world without a father. No, it is unthinkable for a father to move away from his children. Because she believes in the traditional family, Dr. Laura does not approve of homosexual couples or single people adopting children (except in unusual circumstances).
GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, wants to brand this sort of talk as hate speech, and it appears, with the capitulation of Proctor and Gamble and United Airlines, that it is succeeding. In typical corporatese, P&G issued a statement explaining, "We've chosen not to be involved with a show that will require time and resources to deal with this kind of controversy."
An alien parachuting in from Mars and seeing the vehemence of the campaign against Dr. Laura would naturally assume that she must have said some really awful things about gay people. But the subject of homosexuality comes up only now and then on her program.
Even on the website that is the hub of anti-Laura agitation, there is nothing that can fairly be called prejudiced. Perhaps Dr. Laura did say that homosexuality is a "biological error." Isn't it? All creatures have a drive to reproduce. That is the usual course of nature. If the sex drive is diverted from its natural object onto something else, precluding the possibility of procreation, that suggests an error. To a Darwinian even more than to a Bible believer, homosexuality must seem to be maladaptive.
To hear the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation tell it, terms like biological error are just the fuel gay-haters need to go on violent rampages, maiming and killing homosexuals.
This is patent nonsense. No, it's worse. They are using the trumped-up fear of violence to silence anyone who does not joyfully cheer homosexual behavior, gay marriage, and complete moral equivalence between gays and straights.
Now, let's tell another story of Dr. Laura's on-air style to flesh out her portrait a bit. When a lesbian caller phoned a year or so ago and expressed dismay about a heterosexual friend's comments on homosexuality, Dr. Laura offered the view that the friend probably knew the caller was a lesbian and that she was "no friend."
This is consistent with Dr. Laura's zero-tolerance policy for any kind of prejudice. She has recommended that children minimize relations with their adult parents over racism, religious prejudice and associated sins. And on many, many occasions, she has offered sympathetic and sensible advice to gay callers --- sometimes, but only when specifically asked, including advice about "reparative therapy," which many formerly gay people claim has helped them to become straight.
GLAAD is bringing pressure on Paramount and all potential advertisers on
Dr. Laura's coming television program. They describe her as "infamously
negative," someone whose message "is all about discrimination and
divisiveness." Let's be clear about the consequences of this attack on Dr.
Laura. If her views are shunned as "discriminatory," anyone professing a
traditional Judeo-Christian understanding of life can be branded a