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Religion Last Updated: Jun 19th, 2007 - 01:26:15

Just in case you missed these headlines . . .
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 19, 2007, 01:18

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Survey finds evangelicals� addiction to Internet porn on the rise.� That June 7 headline exposed what many of those holier-than-thou evangelical Christians are doing when they�re not beating their Bibles: �A new survey shows that five of ten Christian men in the U.S. -- and two of ten Christian women -- are addicted to pornography. The survey was conducted by, an online Christian Internet community.�

Since Internet porn is one of the main targets of virtually every organization in the Christian Right, the hypocrisy of the sheeple who support these groups publicly while enjoying their Internet porn privately is more than obvious. The same is true for the �save marriage� campaigns.

On September 8, 2004 -- during the height of the Christian Right�s pre-election �save traditional marriage� campaign -- the Christian marketing-research Barna Group issued a report with the headline �Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians.� It documented that �among married born again Christians, 35 percent have experienced a divorce. That figure is identical to the outcome among married adults who are not born again: 35 percent.� Barna also documented that �nearly one-quarter of the married �born agains� (23 percent) get divorced two or more times.� If �traditional marriage� is at risk, it certainly isn�t because gay and lesbian Americans want to strengthen the institution by supporting it.

June 8 brought this headline: �Christians should know candidates� views on creation, says Ken Ham.� Mr. Ham is the president of Answers in Genesis, the organization that just opened a Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Some of Mr. Ham�s �scientific� notions underwrite the exhibits at the Creation Museum. They argue that the earth is 6,000 years old, Adam and Eve were real people (modern-day homo sapiens, no less), human children played with dinosaurs in Eden, Tyrannosaurus rex was a strict vegetarian, every kind of dinosaur was among the passengers on Noah�s ark, dinosaurs went extinct only a few hundred years ago, and the waters from Noah�s flood quickly carved the Grand Canyon just a few thousand years ago. Ham�s museum also features an exhibit suggesting that belief in evolution is the root of most of modern society�s evils. It shows children leaving a church where the minister believes in evolution. Soon the girl is on the phone to Planned Parenthood, while the boy cruises the Internet for porn sites . . . just as many of their evangelical parents do, after church, of course.

Another June 8 headline -- �Creation museum�s �Adam� owns naughty Web site� -- was as revealing as�s porn survey:

The man picked to play Adam by a museum based on the Bible�s version of Earth�s history led quite a different life outside the Garden of Eden, flaunting his sexual exploits online and modeling for a line of clothing with an explicit mascot.

Registration records show that Eric Linden, who portrays Adam taking his first breath in a film at the newly opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., owns a graphic Web site called Bedroom Acrobat. He has been pictured there, smiling alongside a drag queen, in a T-shirt brandishing the site�s sexually suggestive logo.

But Mr. Ham is right about people knowing candidates� views on Genesis as literal history. Everyone should consider whether presidential candidates are intelligent and reality-based or dimwitted and live in fantasyland. The last thing the country needs is another stupid president who�s blind to reality.

June 11 was marked by this headline: �Baptist pastor calls preachers to fight for the truth.� But �the truth� was really not what Roger Spradlin, senior pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California, was talking about at the annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting in San Antonio , Texas. He was advocating religious bigotry and intolerance: �We have to resist the pluralism of our culture that says you can come to God through Jesus -- but you can come through Buddha or Allah or any other way.� In other words, only the SBC version of Christianity is valid. All other religions and belief systems are false, evil, and need to be . . . eradicated?

More from the Southern Baptist Convention came on June 12: �Clergy sex abuse survivors call for Southern Baptist leaders to investigate �growing problem��:

An activist group that tries to raise awareness of sexual abuse by clergy members is asking the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to do more to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct among its pastors.

Several members of the group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), stood outside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, Monday afternoon, asking the nation�s largest non-Catholic denomination to take action against what they claim is a growing problem -- sexual abuse committed by pastors.

And then, right on cue, a June 13 headline proclaimed �Bush praises Southern Baptists�: �President George W. Bush thanked Southern Baptists for their Christian witness, defense of liberty, and commitment to building a culture of life.�

In the echo chamber that passes for George W. Bush�s brain, religious bigotry and the demeaning of other people�s belief systems, covering up and protecting pastors who sexually abuse children are tantamount to �defense of liberty, and commitment to building a culture of life.� Perhaps they�re also the essence of the Christian witnessing that led Rev. Richard Thebo, director of the Open Door Mission in Fort Collins, Colorado, to throw a 34-year-old homeless man out of the shelter because he was gay.

But a June 10 headline offered real hope: �Christian separatist readying move to new homeland�:

The leader of a small group [Christian Exodus] that ultimately wants to secede from the United States and form a Christian republic is preparing to move to the South Carolina county his organization has picked as a good base of operations. . . . Christian Exodus aims to claim a voice in the South Carolina state government, and eventually secede from the United States to form its own separate Christian republic.

Cory Burnell, leader of Christian Exodus, seems as ignorant about history as AIG�s Ken Ham is about science. The previous attempt to secede from the union didn�t turn out too well. But perhaps a small, remote, uninhabited island could be found for Mr. Burnell and his followers. Hopefully they�ll take Rev. Roger Spradlin of the Southern Baptist Convention and Rev. Richard Thebo of the Open Door Mission with them.

And for God�s sake -- as well as everyone else�s -- please, Mr. Burnell, take Peter LaBarbera with you. LaBarbera heads a �Christian� organization the sole purpose of which is to demean, denigrate, and hurt gay and lesbian Americans, their children and their families as much as possible and in any way possible. Better yet, take all those who pervert religion and use it to encourage hate, bigotry, and the violence that inevitably follows.

June 14: �The Gruesome Death of Shorty Hall: Indiana�s Matthew Shepard�:

But the story�s twists and turns, as disgusting as they are tragic, have gone largely unreported outside blogs like Daily Kos and Towleroad and a crusading local paper in Indiana, the Bloomington Alternative . . .

The victim in this new outrage wasn�t called Aaron �Shorty� Hall for nothing. Shorty was 5-foot-4 and weighed a mere 100 pounds. In beefy rural Indiana, that passes for almost invisible.

On April 12, Shorty was allegedly beaten to death by Coleman King, 18, and Garrett Gray, 19 . . .

The description of what happened . . . is horrific, a savage assault that eerily echoes the tortuous death of Matthew Shepard. This time it took the form of a relentless beating that went on for several hours at Gray�s house before Shorty was finally dragged down the wooden stairs, his head banging loudly on each step.

King and Gray told cops they beat Hall again at the bottom of the stairs, threw him into a pickup truck and continued beating him as they drove down a remote dirt road.

Once there, one of them had the audacity to send a friend a cellphone photo of the dying Shorty. Then they dumped him, naked but still alive, in a ditch. According to weather reports, it was 39 degrees that night.

As Gabriel Rotello noted in his Huffington Post story about Shorty�s murder, when the rhetoric of perverted religion is heard �in a place teeming with vengeful right-wing Christians who continue to infect the young with a vile hatred of gays,� it is, to say the least, a �combustible combination.� But the effects of anti-gay, theofascist rhetoric can be seen anywhere, even in some of the nation�s largest cities.

June 15: �Chicago Cops Accused Of Brutally Beating Man Because He�s Gay�:

A gay Chicago man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging two police officers beat and denied him his civil rights solely because of his sexuality.

Alexander Ruppert, 35, says he was beaten nearly unconscious while the cops hurled anti-gay remarks at him and then was placed in a holding cell for two days without food or water . . .

The lawsuit claims he was removed by the two officers from the Uptown Lounge following an altercation on March 5 and placed in a squad car.

He was not initially charged with any offence and was not handcuffed, court papers say.

The suit says that Ruppert then was driven to [a] deserted area behind a theater where he was beaten while the officers called him a �faggot� and other derogatory remarks . . .

Also June 15: �Woman Charged With Beating Gay Marriage Supporter�:

A woman who was part of a conservative Christian group rallying Thursday at the Massachusetts Statehouse for a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is charged with assaulting a gay marriage supporter who was attending a rally across the street opposing the amendment.

Diane Steele, 52, was arraigned Friday on charges of assault and battery . . .

It is not the first time that a member of a conservative Christian group has been accused of accosting a gay marriage supporter.

In April the former leader of a Catholic group advocating for a constitutional ban on gay marriage was been arraigned on assault and civil rights violations stemming from a demonstration last December. (story)

Larry Cirignano, 50, who at the time was the head of Catholic Citizenship, was alleged to have attacked a woman taking part in a counter demonstration at an anti-gay rally in front of Worcester City Hall last December 16.

Sarah Loy, 27, was part of a group who stood near the front of the rally where Cirignano was speaking . . .

Cirignano reportedly had just finished leading the Pledge of Allegiance when he spotted Loy and her sign.

Police allege that he left the podium and tackled Loy to the ground. �You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now,� he reportedly told her as her head was pushed into the concrete sidewalk.

As Loy lay bruised and bloodied on the sidewalk Cirignano reportedly returned to [the] lectern . . .

June 16: �Teen cites �gay panic� in Brooklyn slaying�:

A Brooklyn, N.Y., teenager has been indicted on murder charges for fatally stabbing a man because he was gay, Kings County prosecutors said Thursday.

Roberto Duncanson, 20, also of Brooklyn, died soon after the May 12 attack . . .

Willock and Duncanson passed each other on St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights, and Willock became enraged, accusing Duncanson of looking at him, prosecutors said in a written statement. Duncanson continued walking to a friend�s house as Willock shouted antigay remarks . . .

On his way home Duncanson again passed Willock, and Willock again berated him for his sexual orientation. Duncanson tried to walk away, but Willock came after him, first with his fists and then with a knife.

Paramedics found Duncanson on the sidewalk, stabbed four times.

Sometimes all you need are the headlines . . .

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