Tuesday, February 01, 2011

More Fundamentalist Hypocrisy at Work

I report this story with one caveat. The source is The Daily Mail, a paper that is often unreliable and always sleazy. That said, what the Daily Mail reports rings true with me. It fits with my own experiences within Christian fundamentalism and much which I have witnessed from constantly observing the Jesus addicts in these sects.

This fits precisely with the sort of things I heard in a fundamentalist high school, that we were taught in seminary and what I saw in several fundamentalist churches. There was even a time that this poor blogger worked full time for a major evangelical organization in the heart of the evangelical Vatican, the Wheaton-Carol Stream area. So I do have a great deal of experience with these people. And after I became a libertarian/atheist I spent a lot of time sparing with such people, sometimes in very public forums. I even had three debates scheduled with a major Moral Majority figure but after the first debate he stopped showing up.

Stephen Green is a fundamentalist leader in the United Kingdom. He runs a far right group called Christian Voice. His group believes England is godless and condemned unless it turns to fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. He wants a form of Christian sharia law imposed on the UK. And like Muslim fundamentalists his attitudes are extremely anti-gay and anti-woman. He actually says the problem with the church is that "oestrogen is overwhelming" it, when it needs "Christian with testosterone." So what is like being married to a man like that? Apparently not good. And that is what The Daily Mail reports.

He wanted his wife, who married him before he turned in religious fanatic and extremist, to be totally submissive to him. His organization actually wants repeal of laws forbidding husbands from raping their wives, saying that submission to husbands means it is impossible for a wife to be raped, as no consent is needed after marriage. Sweet guy, isn't he?

Green told his wife she wasn't submissive enough and wrote her a note telling her how he would beat her into submission. She recounted: "He told me he'd make a piece of wood into a sort of witch's broom and hit me with it, which he did. He hit me until I bled. I was terrified. I can still remember the pain." Caroline Green said the beating was the last of it for her and filed for divorce because of it.

The Mail says Green "routinely inveights against the abolition of the death penalty, no-fault divorce, Islam,, abortion and, his particular bête noir, homoesexuality."

Caroline says living with Green was like "living in a cult. We were all subjugated to his will and cowed by him. Over the years he belittled us and made us feel worthless." She says that when Green authored an anti-gay book it "was the beginning of the end" for them. That book pushed him into more and more extreme viewpoints.

Convinced that British culture was depraved Green took his family into a rural area to live. He would also attack friends or family who came to visit creating a situation where the family was isolated from any outside influences. Caroline says: "It is hard to overstate the extent of his control We were shut off from the world." She says he was particularly controlling of the couple's four children. "He bullied them mentally and manipulated them," "nothing they did was ever good enough." Caroline reported he also beat his sons. "On once occasion Stephen beat him so hard with a piece of wood that we thought he might have broken his arm. We took him to hospital, my son pretended he'd fallen because we didn't want to incur his father's anger."

Caroline divorced Green and he, completely contrary to Biblical teaching, went and remarried. Apparently sexual edicts in the Bible don't apply to him. Caroline says she is speaking out because she heard Green saying that he and his new wife want to have children and Caroline doesn't think he is fit to be a father. "My concerns are, what will he do to these kids? My middle and youngest sons have been almost suicidally depressed because of his mental bullying. they still bear the scars.

The abuse and cultish atmosphere corresponds directly with the same kinds of reports that come from children of Rev. Fred Phelps and his anti-gay cult, the Westboro Baptist Church. Neither is this far off the type of behavior I saw at the fundamentalist church that ran my high school and seminary.

One of the things that baffles me is that Mormons and even conservative Catholics, like the bat-shit nuts Jenny Roback Morse, end up in alliances with these people, apparently without realizing that their shared hatred of gay people is not the end of the fundamentalist agenda. I sat in strategy meetings where fundamentalists admitted that the gay issue was a front issue for them and that there was a lot more they wanted to do the country to make it follow biblical law. They saw the anti-gay campaigns as merely a wedge issue, a way of getting their foot in the door.

I asked one fundamentalist leader if he thought Catholics were Christians. He evaded and stuttered and tried not to answer. I pressed him for a yes or no answer and he finally said, "No, they aren't." Tough shit Jenny, you are their list for targeting eventually, but go ahead, make common cause with them. Similarly they are adamant that Mormons are satanic and evil.

I doubt they will ever get to the point where they can turn against Catholics and Mormons openly. After all they ware a waining influence and unlike to succeed in their drive to force all gay people into the closets — if not into prisons, or even the hangman's noose. Given their diminishing influence it is unlikely they will win very many culture battles, especially over the long term. And many of there apparent success are only temporary.

However, in spite of their decline, it is still important to know who these people are and what they are intending to do. It is also nice to see them, as they really are, and not as they pretend to be in public. The face behind the fundamentalist mask is often a very ugly one. And Stephen Green is no exception.

Postscript: I realize that calling this fundamentalist "hypocrisy" is a mistake. Green is practicing what he preaches, he is no hypocrite, at least not on these matters. What he is is grossly inhuman and inhumane to his wife and children. But fundamentalist Christianity is heavily built on the premise that others are inferior to one's self. Part of the impulse of their anti-gay campaigns is that desire to always find someone they can hate and look down upon. That they often do this to their own wives is just another manifestation of this mind set.