Rev. Don Wildmon and his grotesquely misnamed American
�Family� Association are once again attempting to demean and
disenfranchise real-world families:
Many of you have written about the IKEA
furniture commercial. Although IKEA is not a nationally known company, they are
growing, with stores in most major U.S. cities. IKEA is a Sweden-based retail
furniture company and they are trying to force their liberal worldview on
Americans through television.
Their latest U.S.-aired commercial
features a homosexual male couple and young female child on the floor, resting
up against each other, as they lean on the front of their couch. The voiceover
poses the question: �Why shouldn�t sofas come in flavors, just like families?�
This is just one of many pro-homosexual
ads IKEA airs around the world.
Please let IKEA know that the promotion
of homosexual couples as a �family� is offensive and undermines American
Blinded by his own bigotry and hate, Wildmon failed yet
again to see reality and the obvious truth Ed Brayton pointed out
in commenting on the IKEA attack:
But here�s the thing: they are a family, whether Donald Wildmon
likes it or not. And there are several hundred thousand of families just like
it in the United States, and millions more of them around the world. Do they
magically stop being a family because a few bigots in Mississippi don�t like
the way the parents in those families have sex? I�d like to see Wildmon sit
across a table from the Lofton
family and tell them they�re not a family.
Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau have
adopted five at-risk children. Two of them were born HIV-positive. No one else
would adopt any of these children and these two men took them in and gave them
a loving home. This is the only family any of these children have ever known.
And I�d like to see Wildmon look them in the eye and tell them that they�re not
a real family because the parents� sexual habits violate �American values.�
And this whole notion of �American
values� is simply idiotic. There is no such thing as �American values.� I�m an
American and I don�t consider Wildmon�s bigotry to be a �value� at all. And
it's also clear that the American �family� Association is nothing of the sort.
Given his disdain for gay people, their children and
families, no doubt Wildmon would applaud Nigeria�s move to
make homosexuals non-entities:
Legislation that would strip gays and lesbians of all civil rights has passed
its final hurdle and is set for a vote in Nigeria�s Parliament.
started out as a ban on same-sex marriage and has been revised to make it a
crime for more than two gay people to be in the same venue at the same time.
LGBT social or civil rights groups from forming. It would be illegal to sell or
rent property to same-sex couples, watch a gay film or video, visit an LGBT web
site, or express same-sex love in a letter to one�s partner.
legislation goes so far as to make it a criminal offense to impart information
of HIV/AIDS to gays or for non-gays to meet with any group of gays for any
would be five years in prison with hard labor.
Wildmon claims his and the AFA�s socioeconomic and political
anti-gay campaigns are based on Christian values. Archbishop Peter Akinola,
the leader of Nigeria�s Anglican Church and outspoken advocate of the
country�s new legislative steps toward a �final solution� to the gay problem,
also claims Christian values as his motive. Religious leaders like Wildmon and
Akinola perfectly illustrate what Rev. John Shelby Spong meant when he said
societies give �wide berth to obvious pathology when it is covered by religious
Another cleric who finds God not in jaundiced dogma but in
lived reality spoke
out against Akinola and those who use religion to justify discrimination:
Desmond Tutu on Friday [January 19, 2007] urged the African Anglican church to
concentrate on the continent�s grim problems rather than on the row over gay
clergy, and said persecuting gay people is akin to racism. . . .
�I am deeply
disturbed that in the face of some of the most horrendous problems facing
Africa, we concentrate on �what do I do in bed with whom,�� the South African
Nobel Laureate Tutu told a news conference in Nairobi.
�For one to
penalize someone for their sexual orientation is the same as penalizing someone
for something they can do nothing about, like ethnicity or race. I cannot
imagine persecuting a minority group which is already being persecuted.�
In the hands of fanatics, bigots, and those with ulterior
motives or a self-serving political agenda, religious dogma does indeed become
what Oxford professor Richard Dawkins called a prime contender for �the root
of all evil.�
morally reprehensible, causing
discomfort or repulsion, causing
harm. Is there any more appropriate term for the anti-family efforts of Wildmon
and his organizations? Is there any more appropriate term to describe Nigeria�s
The tale is an old one. Throughout history some of the most
evil humans have used religion to justify their actions. �I believe that I am
acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself
against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord,� wrote Adolph Hitler
in Mein Kampf. Substitute
�homosexuals� for �the Jew� and you have the theofascism advocated by Wildmon
People who pervert
and use religion for their own evil purposes will probably always exist. But
what is it about the dogma of organized religion that compels so many otherwise
sane, humanistic people to abandon reason and common sense and embrace hate and
discrimination at the bidding of �religious leaders�?
come to mind, but perhaps the answer is simply that humanity has not yet
evolved beyond the schadenfreude need to hate someone or some group. The dogma
of organized religion not only fuels but also justifies that need.
and the dogma its spawns are based on �us vs.
them� thinking: believers vs.
non-believers. Add to that the fact fanatical believers convince themselves
that they --and they alone -- know
�God�s will� and crimes against humanity are sure to follow, ad majorem gloriam Dei. History is
replete with examples of how religion in the hands of evil men can corrupt
governments and justify denying basic human and civil rights. From the Holy
Inquisition, through the Third Reich to the Taliban and Nigeria�s supposedly
secular parliament, the story remains the same:
October 29, 2004
supports antigay bishops, slams gays
Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo
praised Africa�s Anglican bishops Wednesday for opposing same-sex unions and
the appointment of gays as bishops, saying gay unions are contrary to the
Bible. Last week a commission in London, set up by the head of the Anglican
Church and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, issued a report condemning
the blessing of same-sex marriages in Canada and the appointment of a gay
bishop in the United States. But Peter Akinola, head of the Anglican Church in
Nigeria and chairman of the African bishops� conference, rejected the
commission�s report because it also had disapproved of harsh criticism against
homosexuality. �I wholeheartedly salute the wisdom, courage, and resilience of
African bishops within the Anglican Communion for standing so firmly against
attempts to undermine our faith and falsify God�s will and the word of God,�
Obasanjo told African bishops meeting in Lagos, Nigeria�s economic capital.
The irony of course
is that claiming to know �God�s will� defines
blasphemy and is the ultimate expression of human arrogance. As Rev.
Spong asked, �Can a human being escape the limits of our humanity to describe
God? What makes us think God can fit into a human consciousness?�
The dogma of organized
religions is, by definition, the antithesis of rational thought.
Dogma n, [L dogmat-, dogma, fr. Gk,
from dokein to seem] 1a: something
held as an established opinion; esp:
a definite authoritative tenet. B: a code of such tenets <pedagogical ~>.
C: a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate
grounds. 2: a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally
stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church.
�From dokein to
seem . . . established opinion . . . a
point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds . . . formally stated and authoritatively
proclaimed by a church� [italics added]. Dogma is the unsubstantiated opinion
of someone or some group that must remain as
is despite ever-changing social, cultural and political contexts. As one
definition in the Oxford English
Dictionary notes, dogma is �an imperious or arrogant declaration of
opinion� which uses itself as its source of authority. History is littered with the disastrous results of imposing static
religious dogma on dynamic social and cultural matrices, from the Holy
Inquisition to the Taliban and Wildmon�s version of �Christian values� that
deny the reality and legitimacy of some people and their families.
Dogma-based �moral outrage�
is useless without someone to direct it against. Victims are needed. Any
minority will do, but some make better victims than others. Miami Herald
Pitts, Jr., made astute observations in one of his columns: �Marginalized
minorities make convenient villains and scapegoats precisely because they are
so easy to demonize and objectify. When �gay� is just a concept, or �black�
only an abstract, it becomes easier to justify grotesque mistreatment.�
It wasn�t so long ago that �Christians� of the
Wildmon-tradition were using the Bible, their self-serving dogma, and their
version of �traditional values� to argue in support of slavery and, later, to
attack suffragettes and argue against desegregation and interracial marriage.
As for Akinola,
recall Archbishop Tutu�s words: �For
one to penalize someone for their sexual orientation is the same as penalizing
someone for something they can do nothing about, like ethnicity or race. I
cannot imagine persecuting a minority group which is already being persecuted.�
One has to question Akinola�s motives in advocating discrimination when the history of his own people is so
scarred by it.
Rev. Wildmon seems
more interested in promoting hate and bigotry for his own purposes than helping
American families. Archbishop
Akinola seems more concerned with solidifying and
expanding his power within the Anglican Church than ministering to all
�God�s children� or addressing the �horrendous problems facing Africa.�
they make a mockery of spirituality and Christianity as they feed into and
exploit the dark side of the human condition for their own self-interests.