Saturday, June 06, 2009

To prove you love God, hate your children.

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is a not out to stop defamation per se, in fact they practice it routinely. They merely want “Godly” defamation. If you want to understand the fundamentalist mentality you have to try to follow their “logic,” and I use the word rather loosely.

Consider their unrelenting hate campaign against gay men and women as an example. You have fundamentalists claiming all sorts of nasty things about gay people. Unfortunately they have found that when people actually know gay people they realize there are being bullshitted by the fundamentalists and reject the bigoted views that are being pushed. It is much easier to hate gay people if you don’t know any. Even some Christians have been known to change their perception based on the evidence that is before them.

Of course, the hallmark of the fundamentalist is their desire to force the world to fit the narrow confines of their theology. Since they are convinced that “God hates fags,” to quote Rev. Phelps, then personal evidence that gays are not the evil monsters they portray is a problem. The simple truth is people find it hard to believe bigoted stereotypes when they personally know people who are the victims of hateful smear campaigns. So our Defamation Committee from the Christian Right suggests that people never become friends with gay people anytime or anyplace.

They describe the campaign for equality of rights a “relentless attempt to normalize homosexual perversion, marriage and others sins…” Well, we wouldn’t want to normalize marriage would we? This campaign relies, they say, upon “cultural corruption.” And this “corruptions” is the result of “association.” They say that since associating with anyone who is gay “corrupts” you then you must avoid any and all gay people. A clear indication of such “corruption” is that you don’t want to deny people equality of rights, or perhaps, even rights all together.

They warn: “Who you allow into your life, and especially that of your children, really matters. The Apostle Paul said it this way, “Don’t be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” They warn believers that they may be deceived and thereby “tempted to say, ‘Having close relationships with the ungodly will not affect me.’ Don’t be deceived!” In fact, having friendships with gays, they say: “is a kind of idolatry. We forget God and allow our hearts to be proselytized into worldly foolishness.” They warn Christians: “You are who you associate with.” Hey, it’s true. I have black friends and turned black without realizing it. Okay, maybe not, but this sort of thing must happen since God apparently believes it.

You should realize that they use as their premier example of this “corruption” the recent statements of former vice president Cheney that gay marriage was a state issue. They noted that Cheney has a daughter who is gay.  Since that was the example they led their article with they appear to be say that the “godly” must shun their own children and relatives if they are gay. The only example of this “cultural perversion” that they gave was the Cheney example. They are saying that Christians must reject their gay children, siblings, grandchildren, cousins, etc. Of course, people must break up their families because they are doing it to “save the family.”

Don’t think I am taking them out of context. They realize that they are saying that families have to be broken up to preserve their worldview. They write: “Even our families associations can become an idol if they are not encouraging you to follow Christ.” So, mom, dad, to be Christ-like you need to take that gay son or daughter and throw them out of the house. Maybe, like Mary Griffith, you can use your Bible to harass your son unrelentingly until he kills himself. That’s a good way to preserve the sanctity of the family.

Bible-beater Alan Keyes threw his daughter out when he discovered she was a lesbian. He stopped paying for her education as well. When anti-abortion crusader Randall Terry discovered that his son Jamiel was gay he issued a statement warning “moms and dads of small children to be unflinching and unashamedly diligent to protect their children from predators.” He said his son had betrayed his family was no longer welcome in the home.

Christian Coalition activists Sadie Field discovered her daughter was a lesbian. The daughter says: “My mother came over to where I worked, screaming and told me that I was ‘dead’ to the family. She called me ‘sick,’ and ‘of the devil.’” David Knight, son of anti-gay campaigner Peter Knight, says that when he told his father he was gay: “From that moment on, my relationship with my father was over.”

All this to “protect the family.” Families need protection all right, but it is the fundamentalists who are actively campaigning to destroy families and the love that families may share. It isn’t that they just want to destroy the families that loving same-sex partners form. They do wish to destroy those families. But they are counseling all Christians to destroy their own families by rejecting gay family members because acceptance of them is allegedly a form of idolatry.

I have long contended that these people are not inspired by love of family, love of their god, or love of anything. They are inspired most by raw, visceral hatred that can consume them. It is hatred so intense that they would rather cast out their own children then surrender their prejudices. It is a hatred so consuming that they demand that all their fellow believers must avoid all contact with gay people. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt at all, but it does undermine bigotry. And given a choice of embracing their own sons or daughters, or embracing hate, they prefer the hate. 

Other than pure human decency, there are numerous reasons that all people ought to be concerned about these issues. Consider two anti-gay rallies that were held in California recently to "show" continued support for banning marriage equality. 

First you need to understand that the people pushing this agenda see it entirely as a religious campaign, one that will make sure that their interpretation of the Bible is the only one that the law is allowed to recognize. At the San Diego rally a key speaker, Rev. Michael Robinson told the supporters there: "Jesus did not allow for the redefinition of marriage of one man and one woman... mirrors the love of God for his people." Oh!, "for his people." Sounds like polygamy, loving people in the plural. But joking aside the point is that this is entirely about imposing theology on the public. Robinson's argument is entirely built on his religion.

The San Diego Tribune reported on the meeting: 

With all the hallmarks of an old-time religious revival meeting, ministers preached God's word in support of heterosexual marriage, and activists urged a nationwide fight to limit marriage to a union of men and women.

One couple at the rally told the paper "that marriage is a biblical definition." Rev. Miles McPherson, the pastor of the dingbat Miss California, Carrie Prejean, urged the audience to take their message to gay people: "Get in their faces, in a loving way." Right, I always feel loved when some "gets in my face." 

Ron Prentice of "Protect Marriage" told the audience, "It's the will of God to protect marriage... We will be victorious because God goes before us." Apparently God is not in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa. 

The Los Angeles Times ran a story about another rally that was held in Fresno. Note the picture that was taken at this rally. 

If there is any aspect of your life that does not meet the approval of fundamentalists you should worry about them winning this battle. What is clear is that they are not simply happy with living their own lives according to their own values. They feel that the law must reflect their personal theological views of what is, or isn't, sinful. 

Thousands of these people turned in two rallies where they made it clear that their opinions on the Bible ought to take precedence over all concepts of human rights. They want a total merger of church and state, at least they want the state to do impose the moral codes that the church argues ought to be followed by Christians. It is one thing for people to argue that they have a right to live their morality, however stilted or absurd that morality may be. But it quiet another when they are arguing that their theology ought to imposed by the force of law. It is not that marriage equality can force them to marry someone of the same-sex. What it is about is their desire to prevent same-sex couples from doing this. They are not demanding freedom for themselves but demanding the right to dictate their morality to others.

Now, if you think they are happy to stop with gay people then you simply don't know these people. Oddly, some of their own allies in this battle don't understand them. Catholics and Mormons are both considered by fundamentalist Christian to be godless heretics who are part of Satanic organizations. Do they really want to encourage these people? 

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