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Religion Last Updated: Jun 11th, 2010 - 00:26:11

New efforts, new claims from the failing Christian Right
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 11, 2010, 00:14

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For decades, leaders of the Christian Right have screamed �activist judges!� whenever a ruling was not to their liking. They were also fond of calling such judges �godless,� a standard slur for anyone who disagreed with their so-called �biblical worldview.�

Now, in a stunning display of hypocrisy and twisted reasoning, they�re trying to install their own activist �Christian judges� on California courts:

Christian judges = better courts
Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 6/7/2010

A California group is hopeful voters will put Christian judges on the bench in that state.

The organization called Better Courts Now was the brainchild of Don Hamer, a San Diego pastor who campaigned for California�s ban on same-gender �marriage� and vetted the candidates before he died of a heart attack in March. Fellow pastor and spokesman Brian Hendry tells OneNewsNow that Hamer�s supporters have launched the mostly online campaign.

�We�ve always been involved in the political realm, in believing that too often Christians have dropped the ball over the years and have allowed . . . an agenda that�s not a biblical agenda to take over,� Hendry explains. . . . He contends that judicial activists have tried to push a social agenda, such as when the state Supreme Court legalized, albeit for a short time, homosexual marriage. . . .

�To say that somehow a Christian coming in with a biblical worldview will give them a bias that will lead them to not be able to follow the law -- we actually believe that bias, if you will, or that worldview helps them to follow the law, because they stand on virtues and principles that they cannot violate,� Hendry contends. . . .

OneNewsNow is the propaganda organ of the rabidly anti-gay American Family Association. Charlie Butts usually writes about the �dangers� of the so-called �gay agenda� that advocates civil equality for all Americans.

Consider Mr. Hendry�s statements, their underlying presumptions, and their implications in relation to the separation of church and state.

To be sure, Mr. Hendry has every right to organize a campaign to support certain candidates for elected office, just as LGBT organizations do. But there is a fundamental difference in relation to motives and desired outcomes. LGBT organizations� goal is to promote civil equality by supporting candidates who do not rely on their personal religious beliefs when interpreting and applying the law. Mr. Hendry�s organization�s goal is to promote civil discrimination by supporting candidates who rely on their personal religious beliefs when interpreting and applying the law. Mr. Hendry and the misnamed �Better Courts Now� organization want a religion-based court system. Is that in keeping with America�s promise of civil equality for all, or is it more in keeping with a theocratic state that privileges some and condemns others to, at best, a second class status with limited (if any) rights?

In relation to marriage laws, the California Supreme Court ruled as it did because the state Constitution prohibits discrimination in relation to civil institutions, and marriage is a state-licensed, civil institution.

Mr. Hendry laments that America has been taken over by �an agenda that�s not a biblical agenda.� What exactly is a �biblical agenda�? Believing that Genesis is literal history? Selling one�s daughter into slavery? Surely it refers to the edicts of the men who wrote the texts -- beginning about 70 years after the events they allegedly chronicled -- that were later cobbled together as the �New Testament� that supposedly recorded Jesus� statements: namely that he was the only way to �God� and that those who don�t believe in him were doomed. (The many �sacred texts� that did not support those ideas were excluded from the canonized New Testament.)

Would Mr. Hendry�s �Christian activist judges� see non-Christians as godless heathens unworthy of equal treatment? Mr. Hendry�s statements imply that only �Christian judges� -- those who base their decisions on their personal religious beliefs -- have �values and principles.� This is nothing short of blatant religious bigotry. Mr. Hendry�s statements imply that Christian �activist judges� would rule according to the so-called �biblical agenda.�

No doubt that �biblical agenda� includes the writing of men such as misogynist Paul who, in First Timothy, decreed �suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.� Would �Christian activist judges� crusade to have women put back in their biblically-ordained �rightful� place in accordance with Colossians 3:18: �Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord� (NIV)?

Since Mr. Hendry singled out marriage in relation to his �biblical agenda,� perhaps his biblical worldview judges would be activists advocating the legalization of polygamy since many of the marriages of the most �holy men� described in the Bible were in fact polygamous and/or incestuous. First Kings 11:1-3 indicates that King Solomon had hundreds of wives and hundreds of concubines, and since there were only Adam and Eve and their kids, incest was a given, just as it was after �the flood� with Noah and his family.

True, Deuteronomy 17:17 explicitly instructs God�s people not to �multiply wives,� but then again Deuteronomy 22: 20-21 also decrees a non-virgin bride should be stoned to death outside her father�s home.

And if we�re really going to enforce the �biblical views� of marriage as well as those Bible-based �virtues and principles� Mr. Hendry referenced, then widowed women must remain celibate for the rest of their lives (1 Timothy 5:5-15), interracial marriage must again be made illegal (Deuteronomy 7:3, Numbers 25:6-8 and 36:3-9, 1 Kings 11:2, Ezra 9:2, Nehemiah 13:25-27), marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian must be outlawed (2 John 1:9-11, Corinthians 6: 14-17), marriage between a man who has had sexual thoughts about any woman other than the one he�s marrying must be outlawed (Matthew 5:28), marriage between a man and any woman unwilling to promise in her wedding vows to obey her husband in all matter must be outlawed (Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Peter 3:1), marriages that would occur within the woman menstrual cycle must be outlawed (Leviticus 18:19, 20:18, Ezekiel 18:5-6), marriage between a minister and a non-virgin must be outlawed (Leviticus 21:13-14), a rapist must be required by law to marry his victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) unless, of course, the victim did not cry out (Deuteronomy 22:23-24), and a marriage between a man and an aggressive or contentious woman must be definitively outlawed (Proverbs 21:9, 21:19, 25:24, 27:15).

Cherry-picking the Bible is easy. One can justify slavery, genocide, misogyny, murder, torture, mutilation, polygamy, and a host of what today we would call pathologies and crimes against humanity. But Mr. Hendry and those like him wish to focus only those passages that help them in their campaign against gay and lesbian Americans: a campaign to embed certain religion-based discriminations into the civil laws of the United States.

The other unspoken, but fundamental goal of Mr. Hendry�s Better Courts Now campaign seems to be the perpetuation of the myth that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. It wasn�t. Many of the most prominent Founding Fathers -- Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson to name but a few -- were not Christians. They were Deists, those who believe in �Divinity,� but in a more universal, open-minded way.

Then as now, Deists accept the notion of Divinity and respect Jesus as a teacher, but do not believe in his Divinity, the second-hand, politically motivated �revealed word� attributed to Moses and Old Testament prophets, or New Testament authorities such as Peter, Paul and John. And in the 18th century, Deists were particularly skeptical of the allegedly �God given� dogma created and propagated by politically motivated church leaders. Not surprisingly, the word �God� does not appear in the U.S. Constitution, and there is absolutely no mention of �Jesus,� which one would certainly expect if the U.S. had been founded as a Christian nation.

Why the need to have the United States be seen as a �Christian nation�? Because it would give those who have perverted Christianity into a political tool more clout? Perhaps. But more likely it�s an example of desperation.

The Christian Right is losing the campaign to embed religion-based bigotry and discrimination into civil law. More than a few of their shining stars have been busted. First there was the vehemently anti-gay Ted Haggard, founder of the New Life mega-church and president of the National Association of Evangelicals. While railing against homosexuality, Rev. Haggard was secretly paying a male prostitute (Mike Jones) for sex and some crystal meth to make it last longer. At first, in 2006, Rev. Haggard denied it, then admitted it, and then, in 2009 . . .

DENVER -- Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard�s former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard -- a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Boyd said an �overwhelming pool of evidence� pointed to an �inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship� that �went on for a long period of time . . . it wasn�t a one-time act.� Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began. . . .

More recently there was the case of George Alan Rekers, a Baptist minister and long-time advocate of �ex-gay therapies,� who got caught with a male prostitute. If you�re unfamiliar with the details of the case, I suggest Frank Rich�s succinct summary in his New York Times op ed of May 14, 2010 titled �A Heaven-Sent Rent Boy�:

Rekers is in a class by himself even in the era of Larry Craig and Ted Haggard. A Baptist minister and clinical psychologist with a bent for �curing� homosexuality, the married, 61-year-old Rekers was caught by Miami New Times last month in the company of a 20-year-old male escort at Miami International Airport. The couple was returning from a 10-day trip to London and Madrid. New Times, which published its expos� in early May, got an explanation from Rekers: �I had surgery, and I can�t lift luggage. That�s why I hired him.�

a photo showed Rekers, rather than his companion, handling the baggage cart. The paper also reported that Rekers had recruited the young man from, a Web site whose graphic sexual content requires visitors to vouch for their age. -- really, who could make this stuff up?

It must be noted that Dr. Rekers hired Jo-vanni Roman (aka �Geo�/�Lucien�) from the website, so he must have seen the escort�s sexually explicit posting. It must also be noted that none of the Christian Right websites that support �ex-gay therapy� -- such as Focus on the Family and the American Family Association -- have run any serious articles about Dr. Rekers� RentBoy scandal.

The Family Research Council was cofounded by Rekers and James Dobson. Yet as Mr. Rich noted in his NYT op ed:

When the Miami scandal broke, the council�s current president, Tony Perkins, quickly tried to distance himself, claiming that he had to review �historical records� to verify who Rekers was and that his organization had �no contact� with him or �knowledge of his activities� for over a decade.

Mr. Perkins didn�t know who George Alan Rekers was? That�s almost as good as Rekers claiming he hired the RentBoy escort to help him with his luggage. As Mr. Rich pointed out:

That historical record is hardly as obscure as Perkins maintained. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC found that only weeks before Rekers�s excellent European adventure, his name appeared on the masthead of an official-looking letter sent to some 14,000 school superintendents nationwide informing them that homosexuality is a choice that can be stamped out by therapy. . . .

Also not obscure is the Family Research Council�s involvement with Uganda�s proposed �kill gays� law:

Withers: Family Research Council supports death
By James Withers 06.04.2010

The Family Research Council is a sponsor of murder. That is not Friday morning hyperbole. Joe, at Joe.My.God, found out FRC walked the halls of Congress fighting a resolution that denounced Uganda�s proposal to legally lynch gays. Two lobbyists were paid $25,000 to lobby the Senate and the House. Apparently their work wasn�t successful in the Senate because that body passed its resolution on April 13. However, it �remains languishing in the House almost four months after being referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee. Did the FRC�s lobbying kill it?�

This support for state sanctioned murder should not surprise. Remember when Ugandan MP David Bahati said he had private support from American evangelicals? More than likely he meant these kooks. And who can forget FRC�s Peter Sprigg? He wants gay sex to be a criminal offense and [gays] deported. Sprigg is the same �scholar� who said gay rape would increase if DADT was removed. . . .

And then there are the Christian Right�s anti-gay, bible-thumping political allies who have been outed. Click here for a list of the Top Ten.

Put it all together and it�s clear why the Christian Right is becoming a caricature: self-aggrandizing bigots who use and hide behind religion to promote discrimination. And no one better exemplifies blatant bigotry better than the American Family Association�s resident anti-gay bloviator, Bryan Fischer:

Gay sex = domestic terrorism
Date: 6/10/2010
by Bryan Fischer

Some of England�s leading newspapers -- The Sun, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail -- all had feature stories yesterday about the latest Taliban terror tactic: burying dirty needles with their bombs in an effort to infect troops with HIV. They are planting hypodermic syringes below the surface with the points facing upward in hopes that bomb squad experts will prick themselves and become contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. 

If the bomb goes off, then the needles become deadly flying shrapnel.

Said a member of Parliament, �Are there no depths to which these people will stoop? This is the definition of a dirty war.�

If we connect the dots here, the inescapable conclusion is that gay sex is a form of domestic terrorism. . . .

Don�t look for any logic or rationality -- or even common sense -- in Mr. Fischer�s preposterous non sequitur. There isn�t any, but it�s stupid statements like his that are turning more and more Americans away from the self-righteous �Christian Right� and toward recognition of gay Americans as equal citizens deserving of equal civil rights.

Gay? Whatever, Dude
By Charles M. Blow
June 4, 2010

Last week, while many of us were distracted by the oil belching forth from the gulf floor and the president�s ham-handed attempts to demonstrate that he was sufficiently engaged and enraged, Gallup released a stunning, and little noticed, report on Americans� evolving views of homosexuality. Allow me to enlighten:

1. For the first time, the percentage of Americans who perceive �gay and lesbian relations� as morally acceptable has crossed the 50 percent mark. (You have to love the fact that they still use the word �relations.� So quaint.)

2. Also for the first time, the percentage of men who hold that view is greater than the percentage of women who do.

3. This new alignment is being led by a dramatic change in attitudes among younger men, but older men�s perceptions also have eclipsed older women�s. While women�s views have stayed about the same over the past four years, the percentage of men ages 18 to 49 who perceived these �relations� as morally acceptable rose by 48 percent, and among men over 50, it rose by 26 percent. . . .

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