Queer as a Three Dollar Bill

It was back in the 70’s in a Pentecostal church that I first heard the phrase, ‘queer as a three dollar bill’. This was back before ‘queer pride’, and before numerous outings of Fundamentalist Christians who didn’t practice what they preached. This was before the faithful who tithed their social security checks to Jim and Tammy discovered that they were paying for luxury dog houses and gold-plated bathroom fixtures in the Bakker estate.

Well, the brave work of gay activists made it possible for many people to live openly and honestly, but not everyone wants to be out. There’s still poker. There’s still political strategy. There’s still the con. We’re in a coming out time, so it’s easy to be lulled into forgetting that there are still players, especially in politics, and the ultimate hypocrisy is being able to lie to yourself.

That’s the kindest interpretation I can find–that extreme conservatives and religious fundamentalists, recognizing that their point of view is unpopular, decide to ‘reach’ the skeptical, by making themselves look like something they’re not.

Deception is not unique to evangelical Christianity or conservative activists. In fact it’s not unique to humans. It’s the snake in the grass. It’s camouflage, disinformation, protective coloration, poker , bait and switch. Watch out for what passes for news, check your sources. The same extreme conservatives who snickered about the gays they forced into the closet are passing their own three dollar bills, not because of persecution, but because it’s smart strategy. We have to be twice as smart, and not take counterfeit at face value.

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