Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fundamentally flawed

I stopped by my local independent bookstore, Books Inc., this evening. Their featured guest was the Rev. Dr. Mel White. He's not exactly a household name, but you've probably heard his work at some point: he used to ghostwrite for both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, but then he finally reconciled his homosexuality with his belief in God. His first book, Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America, told the story of that journey. He went on to co-found Soulforce, a group dedicated to "freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance." Tonight, he read from his new book, Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right.

Read more...Reverend White paints a picture of the fundamentalist Christian movement and its use of an anti-gay agenda to build its own power base and work towards an America where religious liberty is a forgotten relic of our secular past. Mel White and about 200 people from Soulforce met some years back with Jerry Falwell and members of his church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Falwell said afterwards that he had gone too far with his anti-gay rhetoric, but when the church service they shared appeared on Falwell's web site, it was edited to show things that never actually happened, including 7 members of the Soulforce group joining an ex-gay ministry. I'm no longer a Christian, and certainly not a theologian, but I do remember something about "bearing false witness," fairly high up on God's priority list — indeed, much higher on the list than the part about lying with a man as with a woman.

In the early days of the modern Christian Right, the leaders used "the godless Soviet Union" as a foil to unite with people who didn't support their true goals, but, after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union crumbled, they needed new targets: abortion and homosexuality. On 1994-05-16 to 18, fundamentalist Christian anti-gay activists met behind closed doors in Glen Eyrie, Colorado, to plan their campaign to "end homosexuality in America." The litany of vitriol since then is well documented, with everyone from Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed to Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps. The objective of their movement is not to end "special rights," but to deny homosexuals even the most basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. After that, they intend to remake America into a Christian nation — which it has never been and will never be — in a Christian version of the Taliban's Afghanistan.

The threat posed to America by fundamentalist Christians is nothing less than fascism, a return to the horrors of our Puritan forefathers. But it's more than that: it's a betrayal of the very Christian principles these people espouse, things like Love thy neighbor and Judge not lest ye be judged. America in the early 21st century is seeking a strong leader with moral clarity and firm resolve, which makes us sitting ducks for the kind of demagoguery propounded by these evil, godless men.

Christianity is not our enemy, just as Islam is not our enemy. The fatal flaw in both fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Christianity is the absurd notion that there is only one True religion and that everyone must follow it. No matter the flavor — fundamentalist orthodox Judaism, fundamentalist paganism, or fundamentalist FSM — it is the fundamentalism that is our enemy, because fundamentalist absolutism is fundamentally and absolutely incompatible with liberty. The gay-bashing of the self-righteous so-called Christian Right is no better than the woman-bashing of the self-righteous Taliban or the Jew-bashing of the self-righteous Nazis.

On the other side, no heterosexual relationship has ever been damaged — much less destroyed — by the mere existence of gay marriage. There is no army of pedophiles out to seduce the children, although there is an army of wackos out to brainwash adult gay people into believing that they can somehow become exclusively heterosexual. America needs to realize that the anti-gays are a far more virulent threat to our nation than the fags, dykes, and trannies.

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