Online Journal
Front Page 
 Special Reports
 News Media
 Elections & Voting
 Social Security
 Editors' Blog
 Reclaiming America
 The Splendid Failure of Occupation
 The Lighter Side
 The Mailbag
 Online Journal Stores
 Official Merchandise
 Join Mailing List

Religion Last Updated: Mar 7th, 2008 - 00:32:06

Some special awards for the truly deranged
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Mar 7, 2008, 00:28

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Leaders of the Christianist Right are make fools of themselves, on multiple fronts. It�s like watching the picture of Dorian Gray expose the rot beneath the smiling face.

Consider the political maneuvering of self-appointed spokesman for God and Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson.

First he damned Rudy Guilani, then John McCain. Then he proclaimed he was considering going third party or even sitting out the 2008 presidential election. But old Jimmy D. couldn�t stand the thought of not wielding political power, so he organized his �Values Voters� campaign and pledge:

The Pledge states:

As a concerned citizen, I am signing this Values Voter Pledge for 2008 indicating my commitment to stand for the values of life, faith and family during this election year. I am pledging to support candidates who uphold these bedrock values of:

Life -- I will only vote for candidates who have committed to defend the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

Family -- I will only vote for candidates who stand for one-man, one-woman marriage and oppose efforts to undermine the nuclear family.

Faith -- I will only vote for candidates who support the public acknowledgement of God and affirm the religious liberties of all Americans.

I also oppose any and all efforts by the media, organizations or candidates to diminish the role that Values Voters are playing in this year�s election. I authorize Focus on the Family Action to represent my Values Voter Pledge before the media, political candidates or other suitable forums as a demonstration of the strength and seriousness of Values Voters in this election cycle.

Forget the poor. Forget the homeless. Forget the hungry. Forget the economy. Forget the debacles in Iran and Afghanistan. Forget your brain. Forget your conscience. Just follow ditzy Dobson down the rabbit hole of self-aggrandizement . . . and don�t forget to send in your tax-deductible donation!

Congratulations, Dr. Dobson, you�ve won the I�m-Full-of-Myself Award for your career of self-promotion.

The Make-a-Fool-of-Yourself Award

Despite considerable competition from fellow Christianists, the Make-a-Fool-of-Yourself Award goes to Don Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association. Rev. Wildmon recently had his knickers in a twist about the name of a new TV Land series:

TV LAND flippantly disrespects God and Christians

Send an email to TV Land president Larry Jones, letting him know you are offended that TV Land so easily disrespects Christians by belittling their faith.

The TV Land network has a new feature starting this Saturday (Feb. 16) called �OHMIGOD, That�s so 80�s weekend.� The series features movies from the 1980�s. �OHMIGOD� is an irreverent exclamation for �Oh, my God!�

The promotional ad is playing on the television broadcast and on their website at (WARNING: If you visit their website, the ad plays automatically.)

I can�t tell you in words how offensive it is to listen to the advertisement for this new show as they must say �OHMIGOD� five times in 30 seconds.

Disrespect for Christians and God have gone on for some time with this phrase, but now we have a network that feels it appropriate to name an entire program series with this phrase.


Send an email to TV Land president Larry Jones, letting him know you are offended that TV Land so easily disrespects Christians by belittling their faith. Ask TV Land to immediately stop using God�s name irreverently.

Please forward this to family and friends.

Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution? Click here to make a donation.

Taking a closer look at Wildmon�s rant exposes not only his ignorance -- theologically and otherwise -- but the intentional dissemination of misinformation ad majorem gloriam Wildmon: �Click here to make a donation.�

Flippantly disrespects God and Christians.� Notice how Wildmon puts God and Christian on the same footing, suggesting only Christians know and/or respect Divinity. The concept of Divinity is more �disrespected� by flippant fanatics like Wildmon who are doing nothing more than protecting and defending their twisted, self-serving version of �God.� And don�t forget, �Click here to make a donation.�

Could Divinity be offended? Or is �being offended� a human frailty inappropriately ascribed to Divinity?

Does/Would Divinity need to be protected or defended? Or are those the means some use to advance all too human socio-political agendas?

If you type �OMG� in your e-mails or text messages, are you �disrespecting God�? And how on earth does OMG �belittle� anyone�s faith, unless, of course, that faith is of the superficial, vacuous type. That seems to be the case with Mr. Wildmon, who apparently believes �God� is a proper name: �Ask TV Land to immediately stop using God�s name irreverently.�

�God� is a rather generic term for a Supreme Being. Other, more specific �names� include Jehovah, Elohim, and Allah who, according to the Our�an, has many names: �To Him belong the most Beautiful Names� (20.8). But all of these are man-made labels, not names in the same sense you and I have a name. Is �human� the same as your proper name? If your paycheck were made out to �Human� would you be able to cash it? Wildmon�s claiming that OMG is �using God�s name irreverently� makes little sense, but suggesting �God� is God�s name fits with Wildmon�s pseudo-theology in which he and he alone knows �God�s� will, when �He� is offended and when �He� needs protection: �Click here to make a donation.�

The Hate-Hiding-Behind-Religion Award

The undisputed winner of the Hate-Hiding-Behind-Religion Award is Peter LaBarbera. While Wildmon and the AFA have targets other than gays, LaBarbera�s whole life, his whole �professional� career is devoted to propagating hate, fear, and discrimination. He and his organization, �Americans for Truth,� exist solely to demean, denigrate, dehumanize and hurt as much as possible gay and lesbian Americans, their children and their families.

On February 27, Wildmon�s OneNewsNow propaganda organ featured this headline: �Million$ to pro-homosexual groups bad news for Christians, says activist.� The �activist� was none other than Peter LaBarbera:

Pro-family [sic] activist Peter LaBarbera warns that a $65 million endowment given to several groups that promote the homosexual lifestyle will be used in their efforts to �criminalize� Christian opposition to their agenda.

The Pride Foundation of Seattle announced on Sunday that Ric Weiland -- one of the first five people to work at software giant Microsoft -- has left $19 million of his estate to the homosexual activist group, and an additional $46 million for the Foundation to distribute to ten other pro-homosexuality groups, including the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Network, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). . . .

The article asserted �Weiland, who retired in 1988, committed suicide in 2006 at age 53 after a long struggle with depression and homosexuality.� There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Weiland struggled with or was depressed about his homosexuality. But AFA and OneNewsNow, like LaBarbera�s Americans for Truth, never miss an opportunity to demean gays, even if it means lying. Even AFA�s OneNewsNow readers were disgusted with the article, as well as LaBarbera and his claims:

Comments on this article:

�This article is yet another piece of one-sided trash from Peter LaBarbera, the guy who attends gay events �undercover.� Obviously Weiland wasn�t depressed about being gay, or he surely would not have donated millions of dollars to gay rights groups. Oh, and for the record, I�m not a volunteer or paid staffer. I�m simply an American citizen that reads news from many sources in order to get a balanced picture.�

�Peter is so good at making statements with nothing to back them up besides his thinking. The sad part is there are people who believe what he says. Also, to think that �they want us to allow them to teach our children how to be homosexuals� is the most absurd statement I have ever read. People are not taught to be homosexual. . . ."

�Criminalize? Where exactly did you get that considering that there is zero follow up to it, just a statement with nothing supporting it. Christians will always be able to speak out against homosexuality just like the Klan can still talk about black people. Fear-mongering is deceitful and unworthy of one who calls themselves Christian. . . ."

"Couple of points. They don�t want to �criminalize� Christian opposition (unless that opposition includes beating them with a baseball bat), although it�s pretty clear LaBarbera wishes to "criminalize� homosexuality. Also he wasn't struggling with his homosexuality, he was by all accounts happy with it. Happy enough to leave all that money to the �cause� he suffered from depression, a medical condition that inflicts heterosexual devout Christians as well. . . ."

�We have a lesbian foster daughter whose goal is to become an Episcopal Priest. She has already received a great scholarship from The Point Foundation and there will be more to come. It is certainly a blessing since her biological family of conservative Christians abused her and abandoned her.�

�There is no indication Weiland �struggled� with homosexuality. No one is �pushing� the �homosexual lifestyle� or teaching kids �homosexuality� to train them to be homosexual. This is ridiculous propaganda. It�s ironic LaBarbera's group is called Americans for Truth . . . since the foundation of it is stereotypes, distorted truth and some downright lies. By the way, no one pays me to come here. . . ."

�Goes to show you how brainwashed some people are -- to believe that those who comment in opposition to this �news� are paid members of �pro-homosexual� organizations or volunteers. Of course rational human beings are not capable of looking at both sides of the issue to be more informed about how ALL people think. THERE HAS TO BE AN AGENDA right? It�s this culture of fear that gives fundamentalist Christians a bad rep.�

�Oh Pete, what really is sad is that you consider equality a bad thing. Are you implying that this money will be given to young folks to convince them to come out? Bizarre theory, man. I'm sure it will be used to provide resources to help young people with their struggles and to fight for their safety. Such an awful thing that is.�

Those who supported LaBarbera�s call to hate mouthed the usual sanctimonious �We speak for God� platitudes:

�Homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord. Love the person -- hate the sin. Since when is speaking the truth 'fear-monering' [sic] and deceitful? We did not make the rules, God did!�

�The homosexual agenda is not to make us accept them, but they want to make us allow them to teach our children to be homosexuals, and will stop at nothing to accomplish this. It is satan [sic] attempting to pollute God�s creation, just as in the days of Noah. The line is drawn, and we know who wins.�

�The homosexual community may get a temporary win, but I read the end of the book and we win. It is true that all people don't always act as they should, but a real Christian when they sin goes to God and asks forgiveness and receives it if they are willing to turn from that sin and that is what the homosexual needs to do. His lifestyle is sin based on God's standards and it is God who makes the rules and God who will do the judging. The heathen can put down Christians all they want, it will not change the outcome.�

These holier-than-thou folks think they know �God�s� will and what �God� thinks. Doesn�t claiming to know �God�s� will and what �God� thinks define blasphemy?

A few days later, LaBarbera vomited forth yet again in his AFT article �In Britain, the Christians Are Criminals: Second UK Couple Rejected as Foster Parents Due to Religious Beliefs�:

The once-great nation of Britain is being reduced to a bastion of politically correct silliness. Is America next? So now British couples aren�t qualified to raise children unless they can recite pro-�gay� shibboleths? . . . behold the deterioration of Western civilization before our very eyes -- one sad story like this at a time. Meanwhile, smug, agnostic pundits and religious leftists like Jim Wallis castigate the �Religious Right,� which is made up of people who are merely trying their best to hold back the march of evil (masquerading as progress).

The only �silliness,� fear-mongering and arrogant bigotry are Mr. LaBarbera�s. How�d you like to have your adoptive parents tell you -- with sanctimonious righteousness -- that you were evil, tainted, and an abomination to "God". Would such a �family� situation be in the child�s best interests?

�Christians are Criminalized� and �behold the deterioration of Western civilization before our very eyes�: Does Mr. LaBarbera have any grasp of reality? Or is he just taking a cue from James Dobson who, in his 2004 book, Marriage Under Fire, stated that if gays were allowed to marry, �God� would destroy the world?

Mr. LaBarbera apparently thinks that social progress is �the march of evil.� Shall we go back to those good old Biblical times when selling a daughter into slavery was righteous? When women were seen and to be treated as nothing more than property? When stoning to death people who wore clothing made of two different threads was demanded by �God�?

Do you eat shellfish, Mr. LaBarbera? If so, you might want to check your Bible. Oh, I�m sorry. I forgot. You give credence only to those parts of the Bible you can use to propagate hate and discrimination . . . and fill AFT�s coffers, of course.

Social progress is inevitable. It�s needed if the human race is to evolve. It�s also common sense. Alas, that�s something Mr. LaBarbera and his ilk seem to lack. But they do have a lot of hate and are more than willing to share it. Ultimately, their dehumanizing anti-gay rhetoric is responsible for incidents such as this:

When children die because they�re bullied as gay
Naomi Lakritz, Times Colonist
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2008

Walk past any schoolyard at recess time and what do you hear? Kids as young as five calling each other �gay� and �fag.�

At junior and senior high school, the word �gay� has become a universally pejorative term: �You�re gay,� kids sneer at each other, or �That is so gay!� I�ve even heard �Gay it all!� as an expression of annoyance over some triviality.

Whoever made up the rhyme about sticks and stones, and concluded that �words can never hurt me,� never met Shaquille, a 13-year-old boy from Ajax, Ont. Now it�s too late for anyone to meet him. Words did more than hurt him. They drove him to kill himself. In November, Shaquille committed suicide. He had been bullied by his classmates after admitting to a friend that he was gay. The friend told everyone else. He was subsequently tormented when he went to school and harassed online on websites set up solely for the purpose of bullying. A few days before he hanged himself, some kids stuffed him into a garbage can.

Do you feel good about yourself, Mr. LaBarbera? Are you proud of your campaign to demean, denigrate and dehumanize gay people and their families?

If you think Shaquille�s case, being Canadian, isn�t echoed in the United States, think again. �Involved, Invisible, Ignored: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Parents and Their Children in Our Nation�s K-12 Schools� is the first comprehensive study of the educational experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families in American public schools. Some of its more pertinent findings include

  • Nearly a quarter of students felt unsafe around other students at school due to others� negative attitudes toward people with LGBT parents.

  • Forty-two percent of students said they had been verbally harassed at school in the past year because their parents were LGBT.

  • More than half of parents described various forms of exclusion from their school communities: being excluded or prevented from fully participating in school activities and events, being excluded by school policies and procedures, and being ignored and feeling invisible.

  • Parents whose child�s school had a comprehensive safe school policy that protected students from bullying and harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression/identity reported the lowest level of mistreatment and that there were no differences between the no-policy and generic-policy groups.

In its new guidelines to help physicians identify potential signs of suicide among teenagers, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that �Schoolyard homophobic bullying is one of the leading causes of teen suicide.�

Is homophobic bullying discouraged or encouraged by the anti-gay ranting of people like Peter LaBarbera, James Dobson, and Don Wildmon?

Rest in Peace, Shaquille . . .

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Lucky Louie and Dour Don: Crazed Christianists on parade
John Hagee: deviant theology, dangerous foreign policy
O'Reilly and Ahmadinejad: We must wipe them off the map
US military coordinated Day of Prayer events with Christian right group
Civility, ethics and good business vs. bigotry, discrimination and religious fanaticism
More on Pope Joey and the Vatican�s rap sheet
Pope Joey�s rap sheet
Navy chaplain fired from teaching job after report exposed his anti-Islamic views
It�s an election year; the GOP is in trouble; fundies are in a funk -- time for gay bashing
Navy chaplain who called for attack on Islam finds his credentials under scrutiny
Some special awards for the truly deranged
Inspiring fear and hate the Christianist way
Defending Israel to the 'End Times'
Christianist campaigns against equality in the workplace and in schools
Christian Zionists gain Israel�s inner sanctum
Religious right meltdown? More fiction than fact
Muslim pilgrimage exemplifies believers' equality before God
A call to discriminate from �a warrior for Christ�
Jesus rides the #7 train
A tale of two generations: From Dobson to Jesus Camp