Alex Blaze

Des Moines Register prints a hard-core homophobic screed

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 29, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Des Moines Register, health care reform, HIV/AIDS, homophobic behavior, iowa, iowa family policy center, karl Schowengerdt, randy Schowengerdt

The Des Moines Register ran guest column from Karl Schowengerdt, a father who lost his son to AIDS and now opposes same-sex marriage. He's also a staff member of the Iowa Family Policy Center. The marriage decision has caused these people to lose all common sense and now they're using their son's death to push their agenda.

He appears to be a parent who rejected his son because he was gay.

The single most tragic event in our years together has been the untimely death of our oldest son, Randy. Our firstborn was a blessing that brought so much joy into our lives. He was extremely smart, he participated in extracurricular activities, graduated with many honors and went on to college. After college, he moved to Omaha and took a job. It was while he was living in Omaha that one of Randy's co-workers recruited him into the homosexual "lifestyle."

We loved our son as much as any parents have ever loved a son. Even when we became aware of his homosexuality, we assured him of our love. That is not to say that we condoned or accepted what we knew to be a dangerous "lifestyle," but we always maintained our relationship with the son we had raised and the man we prayed would be delivered from homosexuality.

Well, gee, I wonder why he'd feel abandoned by his parents after he was told that he should deny how he feels, that he should cover up an important part of his identity and life, and that his parents were praying for his unhappiness.

After he was diagnosed with HIV he went back to Iowa to live with his parents:

It was interesting to note that once Randy was diagnosed HIV positive, the homosexual community who had actively recruited him and had claimed to be his "family" were nowhere to be found. As his health declined, he spoke frankly about the homosexual experience. Randy said, "It is not an alternate lifestyle. It is a cult."

His comment about gays not being there when Randy was diagnosed may be true in his case, I didn't know him, but the implication that the LGBT community is more likely to reject and abandon people with HIV is a complete re-writing of history.

And his last words about the "homosexual experience"... well, it's great that his father is publishing them in the paper now that Randy isn't here to speak for himself. Considering this man's level of honesty elsewhere in the column, I don't have too much faith that that's actually what his son said.

The logic is fuzzy about how this is all related to same-sex marriage, but the nut of their argument appears to be about taxes:

For the Iowa Supreme Court to sanction homosexual "marriage" is to encourage and underwrite the negative results that naturally come from the homosexual "lifestyle." Aside from the physical destruction inflicted on those who practice homosexuality and the incredible stress homosexuals cause their extended families, society often pays a hefty price as well. Randy lost his job when he was no longer strong enough to work. With the loss of that job, he lost his ability to insure himself. As a result, you the taxpayer paid for more than $250,000 in medical bills for this one AIDS patient.

It's all about taxes with these folks in the end. Even if they lose a child, they're miserly counting the pennies in taxes they had to pay because of his death.

And Karl doesn't ever consider the value of universal health care, naturally, even as their son faced a long fight with a disease without health coverage. I guess when you can blame someone for his own death it makes it easier to blame the victim for his own lack of health coverage (Karl says that Randy died because of his own "reckless decision and his own actions"). One would think that dealing directly with America's failing health care system would make Karl more sensitive to the need for universal health care, but apparently he's just an awful human being.

That's ultimately why they'll fail: there are rotting bat corpses where their hearts should be.

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I lived in Iowa from 1978-1997, and was involved in GLBTQ activism there (including helping to organize the 1st pride march ever held in D.M.).

One of the things that happened a lot was that men with AIDS would come home to die, and their parents would cut off their friends and keep them isolated in their final days. In several cases, I was told I could NOT visit a dying friend by the family that was "in charge," whatever that means.

The other interesting thing at that time was the complete absence of "AIDS" from the obituaries. At one point, a guy wrote a letter to the DM Register asking, "What's with all these young men dying of pneumonia?"

Of course, some of them were my friends. Their parents were just too ashamed of them--and of AIDS--to let anyone know what was going on.

And i cannot tell you how many men i came into contact with whose families did not even come to see them at all when they were ill throughout the 80s and 90s in San Francisco. Your comment made me realize my gratitude for the blessings i received during those years.

Notice how the author keeps putting quotes around "lifestyle" and even quotes his son as referring to homosexuality as an "alternate lifestyle." You know, as if that's the type of language that actual gay people use.

I think we should expect to see more of this type of disinformation.

GLAAD has some work to do, apparently.

I think it is telling that Mr. Schowengerdt is mixed up with the Iowa Family Policy Institute, an Orwellian-named organization which is in fact opposed to many families.

I'm sorry for the loss of his son, but his death shouldn't be used to condemn same-sex marriage. Homosexuality didn't kill his son, AIDS killed his son. Its the same difference as being a cop and being killed by a criminal.

I agree with Bil. The father was never a father or a friend. He was a douche.

Recruited into the homosexual lifestyle by a coworker??????????? Randy did not run away from his family; he ran to something better. The only dangerous thing about being homosexual is defending yourself against ignorant homophobes who usually tend to be right wing religious fanatics. It is sad that his own family does not realize that Randy probably went home to them because he wanted to die around the people he came into this life with. However, i only read the fathers account. I have no doubt the comment "it is not an alternative lifestyle, it is a cult" is nothing more than the filthy lie of a father who has not dealt with the trauma of losing his son. BEING GAY IS NOT ALTERNATIVE TO GAY PEOPLE!!!! A CULT BY DEFINITION DOES NOT LET YOU LEAVE!!!!!!!!This parent of Randy is a disgrace to leave the impression that $250,000 of taxpayer money is more important than his sons life. I am sure the real truth in this sad story lies somewhere between Karls feelings of misplaced guilt and unnecessary shame fueled by local religious clergy. It goes without saying Karl is an asshole but what i also feel is pity for this small little man who cannot even bring himself up to any level of intelligence that would allow himself to love his own son for who he was even after he is dead and gone. Instead he wants to spread hate interpreted as his pain and loss. So i can only say "get the hell back into your church's cagepen." Karl is a virulent and dangerous infection. And just in case these idiots need to hear me say it again, I will. What Karl says is nothing new.

"Randy lost his job when he was no longer strong enough to work. With the loss of that job, he lost his ability to insure himself. As a result, you the taxpayer paid for more than $250,000 in medical bills for this one AIDS patient."

I think what I find saddest about this post, is someone who started off as his son, had been relegated to "this one AIDS patient".

I hope his words keep him warm at night.

Brad Bailey | May 3, 2009 12:56 AM

Will someone please explain to me what the "homosexual lifestyle" is? I know homosexuals from every conceivable lifestyle, and have yet to find a single unifying factor other than sexual orientation and the fact that most of us are responsible, productive contributing members of society. The message of this oh-so-kind-and-loving ad is that if gay marriage is legalized, your son will be next in line to be "recruited," catch HIV and die of AIDS. This is Christianist fear-mongering at its worst.