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Religion Last Updated: Nov 28th, 2007 - 00:38:21

A call to discriminate from �a warrior for Christ�
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 28, 2007, 00:36

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As a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, Hutcherson wanted to �hurt whites�: his race-based payback for growing up in the segregated South. Then he became a �Christian� and took pleasure in killing defenseless animals and mounting their heads on the wall in his office: �when I run into animals, I kill them.�

The pastor of the evangelical Antioch Bible megachurch in Redmond, Washington, is again targeting his neighbor and aiming to hurt more people. Why? Because that corporate beast refuses to discriminate against its gay and lesbian employees: �Gay rights foe Rev. Ken Hutcherson is calling on religious conservatives to buy stock in Microsoft so they can force a shareholders vote on the company�s policy that provides equality for gay workers.�

For his report in the British paper, The Daily Telegraph, Toby Harnden spoke with the rabid reverend in Redmond. His article is a most telling intra-view of Hutcherson, who

told Microsoft executives at a shareholders� meeting last week that he would be their �worst nightmare� if they continued to defy him. . . .

An advocate of a �biblical stance� against divorce and homosexuality, Mr. Hutcherson, 55, is asking millions of evangelical activists, as well as Orthodox Jewish and other allies, to buy up Microsoft shares and demand a return to traditional values. 
Microsoft, he declares, will be just the first company targeted in an escalation of the culture wars between evangelicals and corporate America. �There are 256 Fortune 500 companies alone pouring millions upon millions of dollars into pushing the homosexual agenda,� he told The Daily Telegraph.

�I consider myself a warrior for Christ. Microsoft don�t scare me. I got God with me.

�I told them that you need to work with me or we will put a firestorm on you like you have never seen in you life because I am your worst nightmare. I am a black man with a righteous cause with a whole host of powerful white people behind me. . . .

�I don�t care how big Microsoft is,� he said. �They are nothing but a feather in the wind of God. America basically got started with a tea party and Goliath, if I�m not mistaken, got taken down by David, who believed in the same cause I believe in.� [italics added]

A closer look at Hutcherson�s statements not only confirms but extends the pathologies so clear in his motivation on the gridiron and current murderous hobby, but also helps define his �ministry�s� latest pro-discrimination campaign designed to hurt people as much as possible: �when I run into animals, I kill them.� Gay and lesbian Americans are those �animals.� Clearly Mr. Hutcherson wants to �kill� them economically and bury their civil rights in the dung heap of his sanctimonious rhetoric.

�If they continued to defy him.� Has Hutcherson declared himself divine? If Microsoft defies �him� then he�ll call down �a firestorm on you like you have never seen in you life because I am your worst nightmare.� The only thing for certain is the Hutcherson and his perverted use of the Bible to foster discrimination and hate are indeed �nightmares� of the worst kind.

The reverend believes in a �biblical stance� against divorce and homosexuality. Is he also threatening to bring down a firestorm if Microsoft hires and treats divorcees equally? Or are Hutcherson and his comrades just using gays as convenient scapegoats?

Daniel Karslake explores that and related questions in his new documentary film For the Bible Tells Me So. In an article about the film, Bill Friskics-Warren poses the fundamental question:

The Bible says that eating shrimp is an abomination and that working on the Sabbath is punishable by death. Not even the most devout Christian, though, thinks twice about ordering the shrimp scampi or checking their office e-mail from home on a Sunday afternoon.

Biblical literalists know that the customs and circumstances that gave rise to such injunctions were rooted in historical and cultural contexts very different from our own.

So why do so many Christians cling to the handful of Scriptures that cast aspersions on sexual relationships between people of the same gender? Why, when scholars tell us that these passages have nothing to do with sexual orientation as we�ve come to understand it, do some people continue to use Scripture as a club to judge and condemn?

Karslake�s answer is straight to the point: �We have a long history of looking to the Bible to confirm our prejudices.�

In the documentary Karslake addresses two others tactics Hutcherson and those like him use: �proof-texting� and the �loving the sinner and hating the sin� mantra.

Similar to �cherry-picking,� proof-texting is the practice of taking Biblical verses out of context and using them to frame and defend preexisting prejudices in order to justify a social, political and/or economic agenda:

Unlike biblical exegesis, which involves the careful examination of Scripture in its historical context to understand what it means and how it might speak to us today, proof-texting manipulates what Christians believe to be God�s word by allowing preconceived notions to color it. When done from the pulpit, it can amount to theological malpractice, depriving lay people of the chance to engage the Scriptures at a deeper, more informed level.

Karslake and Friskics-Warren explain that �theological malpractice� in relation to an often heard mantra:

One peculiar form of theological harm is the distinction that some heterosexuals make between �loving the sinner and hating the sin.�

�You can�t hate such a complete part of me and still love me,� Karslake said. �Straight people can�t imagine not being straight, but they can't accept that the same thing could be true of gay people. They think that it�s different with gay people, like it�s somehow a choice."

Henry Blaze, pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Nashville, tends to agree. �I don�t think you can truly embrace the other and be able to recognize God in the other without seeking to understand them,� he said.

Preventing -- or at least discouraging -- people from getting to know and understand gays is precisely what the leaders of the Christian Right do through their predatory campaigns that rely solely on stereotypes and sanctimonious rhetoric.

Rev. Hutcherson wants to use his proof-texted, misdirected, misconceived, erroneous �biblical stance� to force �a return to traditional values.� Clearly, his conception of �traditional values� is as perverted as his �biblical stance,� and his �traditional values� are the same as those who once used the Bible to advocate slavery and, later, justify segregation and discrimination. Ellen Armour, professor of theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School, is one of those biblical scholars who cast doubt on scriptural anti-gay bias: �Stronger texts [than those used against gays] in Scripture were used to justify slavery . . . in the case of same-sex sex, especially among men -- and I think it�s worth noting that that seems to be the focal point of the controversy -- we�re talking about just a few small verses.�

�Paul never contemplated the monogamous, long-term sexual relationships that take place among people today,� explained Jack Rogers, former moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

�There is no analogue for our contemporary understanding of sexual identity in the Bible, neither for heterosexuals nor homosexuals,� added Armour. �It�s simply not there.�

Hutcherson is irate that �there are 256 Fortune 500 companies alone pouring millions upon millions of dollars into pushing the homosexual agenda.� It seems the reverend�s numbers are as misinformed -- and out of touch with reality -- as his �biblical stance�:

Fortune 500 companies: 92 percent provide gay nondiscrimination policies

Equality Forum, a Philadelphia-based GLBT rights organization, has announced that more than 92 percent (463) of the 2007 Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their employment nondiscrimination policies.

According to the press release, when Equality Forum began contacting Fortune 500 companies in the fall of 2003, only 323 companies -- or about 65 percent -- provided sexual orientation protections. Equality Forum, along with professors Louis Thomas of University of Pennsylvania and Ian Ayres of Yale Law School, contacted 177 CEOs and human resources directors of companies that didn't offer nondiscrimination policies. By the fall of 2004, 405 (81 percent) had adopted protections. . . .

A Gallup poll in May [2007] found that 89 percent of U.S. citizens believe that gays and lesbians should have protection against workplace discrimination.

The �homosexual agenda� is a favorite clich� of the Christian Right. Rep. Barney Frank summarized what that �agenda� really is:

I want to apologize to the various self-proclaimed divine messengers who appear deeply troubled by a dark plot they label the �gay agenda.�

Troubled as I am by the prospect of these pious men denied a good night�s sleep by their need to be eternally vigilant against us, I have decided to break the silence, decode the cryptogram, unravel the mystery and tip our hand.

We have an agenda . . .

Specifically, we want all people in the United States to enjoy the same legal rights as everyone else, unless they have forfeited them by violating the rights of others. We believe this should include some things that are, apparently, very controversial.

They include the right to serve, fight and even die on behalf of our country in the military; the right to earn a living by working hard and being judged wholly on the quality of our work; the right for teenagers to attend high school without being shoved, punched or otherwise attacked; and yes, the right to express not only love for another person, but a willingness to be legally as well as morally responsible for his or her well-being.

We also believe that we -- and all Americans -- should enjoy full access to health care; that strong environmental protection is fully compatible with economic prosperity. We know that the free market is the best way to generate our national wealth; and that we need cooperation between the private and public sectors to be sure that we as a society and as individuals get the maximum benefit from the wealth by the quality of all our lives. . . .

Microsoft initiated its diversity and non-discrimination policies for the same reasons the other Fortune 500 companies and many other did: it�s good for business. As Steve Falk, chief executive of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said in a recent statement: �Support of [equal] rights for gays and lesbians is �consistent with our organization's advocacy of policies that are inclusive and contribute to business' ability to attract and retain a diverse, talented workforce.��

But Hutcherson isn�t concerned with social or economic realities, only his own jaundiced agenda and vendetta against Microsoft. Some background from

Hutcherson has been battling Microsoft and the state of Washington over LGBT rights for two years.

When a gay rights bill was before the [Washington state] legislature in 2005, Hutcherson met with [Microsoft] executives and threatened a national boycott of the computer giant if it did not disavow itself from the gay rights bill.

Microsoft earlier had announced its support for the legislation, saying it would help attract talented workers to the state. . . .

The measure was reintroduced in 2006 and passed.

Hutcherson then began a petition drive to force a statewide vote on repealing the rights law but failed to get enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

So now Rev. Hutcherson is trying another tactic and claiming he�s �a warrior for Christ. . . . I got God with me.� How much more pathological can one man get?

Hutcherson seems blinded by his own bigotry and pathological desire to hurt others. Had he bothered to think, he would have realized Jesus was an advocate for the disenfranchised. While no one knows what Jesus would do or think now, given what�s known of his activities 2000 years ago it seems likely he�d be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, hand-in-hand with those Hutcherson and his minions want to further disenfranchise and discriminate against.

William James was fond of quoting Professor James H. Leuba of Bryn Mawr College: God is not known. He is not understood. He is used.� It seems likely that were Professor Leuba alive today and heard the anti-Christian message of Hutcherson and other self-proclaimed �warriors for Christ,� he�d add two words to that last sentence: �He is used and abused.

To what extent self-serving dogmatists such as Hutcherson misuse and abuse Biblical texts they don�t really understand but have proof-texted to support their personal agendas is made clear in the reverend�s statement that �I don�t care how big Microsoft is . . . They are nothing but a feather in the wind of God. America basically got started with a tea party and Goliath, if I�m not mistaken, got taken down by David, who believed in the same cause I believe in.�

Hutcherson�s bumper-sticker reference to the Boston Tea Party is as misinformed as his likening himself to David -- an identification that does more than backfire.

David was �involved� with Jonathan. There are numerous passages in the Bible alluding to a passionate, physically intimate relationship between David and Jonathan, including Jonathan�s erotic disrobing for David, his �delighting much� in David, and their passionate kissing.

Had Hutcherson read more than his own self-serving words he might have discovered the fourteenth century Life of Edward II -- �Indeed I do remember to have heard that one man so loved another. Jonathan cherished David, Achilles loved Patroclus� -- and that King Edward II wept for his dead lover Piers Gaveston as �David had mourned for Jonathan.�

Whether the David-Jonathan relationship was platonic, intimate but non-sexual, or homoerotic, it�s crystal clear that David and Hutcherson do not �believe in the same cause.�

Rev. Hutcherson�s proclaiming himself to be the new �David� demonstrates the shallowness of this theology and his hypocrisy as a pastor. It also strongly suggests he�s doing battle with Microsoft only to enhance his own socio-political clout. In that he has lots of company. Collectively, they�re called the �Christian Right,� and they are anything but �Christian� or �right.�

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