Should we allow an anti-gay crusader privacy about his secret gay sex life?
Should an escort blow the whistle on his client?
Should the escort's friends set him up in order to expose his client?
Should we act with compassion toward the client?
Should we act with compassion toward the escort?
What would Jesus do?
Do you think I have the right answers to these questions? Read on.
In case you haven't been following this story, here's the nutshell:
Dr. George Rekers, a leading voice in the anti-gay movement who gave paid testimony against gay adoption rights in Florida hired a 20 year old escort through Rentboy.com. When the two were returning from a European trip, a newspaper writer photographed them at the airport and broke the story.
Rekers has made contradictory and laughable claims about not knowing the true nature of his escort's services and about selecting him as a travel companion in order to minister to a prostitute or because he needed help with his baggage. He is not to be believed. His credibility among his anti-gay peers is gone and his ability to conduct a deceitful double life is gone. He has earned this humiliation and we are once again watching the self-orchestrated implosion of a man who at heart probably wanted to be exposed because he could not bear the weight of his secret. The "Busted Anti-gay Homophobe" has become a stock headline character. We are almost immune to their nonsense. They are pitiful and sad. Their families are their victims and when they attack gay rights, we are their victims. Such a man forfeits his right to privacy regarding his gay sex life. He should be exposed, and outing him is really a justifiable act of self-defense on our part.
The young escort in this story is now consigned to another category of stock media characters: "The Self-Serving Prostitute" who exposes a client in order to gain fame and money. This lad may or may not deserve that consignment. It is unclear at this time whether he intended this exposure. He may have simply told friends about his client. His friends may have orchestrated the bust without informing him of their plan. I pass no negative judgment on his working as an escort. If it is ultimately revealed that he exposed his client because he felt some social obligation to be of service to the gay community, we ought to admire his actions. If it is ultimately revealed that he exposed his client for personal gain, I will admire his entrepreneurial instincts. When a man hires a rentboy, he puts himself at risk of exposure. I doubt both parties sign a contract promising the mutually understood confidentiality that usually accompanies such transactions. There are indications that the young escort did not want his parents to know about his work and that he has also been outed because of this story. I think it will be extremely difficult for a 20 year old escort who finds himself at the center of a sensational media event to form a healthy, mature, happy and stable gay life. I sincerely hope he can weather this storm and that we don't someday read about his despair, addiction or suicide. This is an ideal opportunity for wiser and more experienced gay friends to reach out to him with support and guidance as he is picked apart by the media.
If you were a friend of an escort with a gay clientele, and if that escort told you about a client who was an infamous anti-gay leader, would you take it upon yourself to expose that client? What if your escort friend wanted to keep the situation private and wanted to go on future trips with his client? What if your escort friend had no sense of gay activism and justice? What if he was simply less than discreet in mindless gossip among friends and dropped the name of his client without understanding the ramifications? Would you run with that ball over the protests of your escort friend? I would. Perhaps the concept of the "greater good" comes into play here. Honoring your friend's "Don't tell anyone" request is good friend behavior, but defending gay rights by vanquishing an aggressive anti-gay opponent is better. Keep in mind that the "friends" who exposed Rekers may not have done so for such noble reasons. I suspect they were simply interested in building their reputations as writers and were willing to toss Rekers and their escort friend under the bus for personal gain. We'll see. I have no problem with young journalists jumping on a good story, as long as they don't pretend to be gay activists.
Is it now clear to you that many are the avenues to insincerity in this story?
Because we do not yet know, and may never know the escort's heart and his motivations, it is impossible to determine how much compassion we should feel for him. However, because he is only twenty years old and will ultimately lose more than he gains because of this exposure, we should be compassionate toward him. When bloggers and commenters make fun of him and call him a whore, they become an ugly rabble and a pack of distempered dogs who will tear apart anyone who is vulnerable. We can be better than that without clouding the realities of this story.
Should we feel compassion for Rekers? In as much as he is a human being and we celebrate and cherish human life, he is covered by the blanket of generalized compassion that guides us through life. Beyond that, he deserves only the continued and relentless exposure that will help rectify the exceptionally large evil that he has perpetrated. I do not want the man to suffer, but if he suffers because of these disclosures, he will have earned that pain because of his actions. We should not grant him a pass on any part of this.
The most infuriating part of the Rekers/Rentboy story is Dr. Rekers' disgusting claim that he was ministering to the young prostitute just as Jesus did. This ridiculously lame excuse for hiring a gay escort for his vacation earns Rekers every bit of the retribution that comes his way. Many are the stories about Jesus in the company of sinners and many are the stories that Jesus himself told about sinners shunned by polite society. In none of those stories is Jesus a liar or a phoney or a deceiver or "on the down low" as is Rekers. Jesus may or may not have had sex with the disciples, but he certainly never condemned gay sex and he never pretended to be something he was not. The shameful Dr. Rekers deserves to be driven out of any Christian church in which he attempts to hang his hat. Jesus clearly showed us how to deal with that type of man when he knotted a rope and drove the money changers out of the temple.