A new low, even for the Traditional Values Coalition
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 6, 2006, 00:59

Lou Sheldon and his Traditional Values Coalition are notorious for their vile rhetoric and unbridled hatred of gay and lesbian Americans. Their vicious, often profane attacks denigrate the �God,� Christian faith and churches they say they represent: �TVC speaks on behalf of over 43,000 churches . . . and includes most Christian denominations.� It was difficult to believe they could sink to a new low, but they did.

While damning the �Red Letter� evangelical group that disagrees with Lord Lou and his skewed version of Christianity, Sheldon exposed his ultimate hypocrisy: �[The] most recent �Red Letter� ploy is very telling because it somehow suggests that the Bible contains some sections which are more important than others. You cannot play cafeteria selection with the Holy Scriptures.�

�Very telling� indeed, because playing �cafeteria selection with the Holy Scriptures� is exactly what Sheldon and those who use the Bible to condemn gay and lesbian Americans do.

Lucky Louie� and his fellow bible-thumping bigots love to cite Leviticus 18:22, but they conveniently ignore all the other Levitical laws such as stoning to death those who wear clothing made of two different threads and farmers who plant two different crops in the same field. They also ignore �God�s laws� as expressed in Deuteronomy, such as the one that calls for non-virgin brides to be stoned to death.

Their selective reading is not limited to the Old Testament either. Although they often cite Romans 1:26-27 to damn gays, they conveniently ignore St. Paul�s directive in First Timothy to �suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.�

If, as he says, Sheldon believes �each word, each sentence [in the Bible] -- is the Word of God,� then why isn�t he calling for the stoning of cotton-nylon wearers, most of the country�s farmers, and women who have premarital sex? And this demagogue of the radical Christian Right should certainly be calling for a Taliban-like muting of all women since the Bible says they should �be in silence.�

While Sheldon was being his usual vile, hypocritical self, his daughter Andrea Lafferty, the executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, was anything but silent. She was loudly -- and with her usual venomous scare tactics -- proclaiming that �transgender activists are aggressively targeting our public school children this fall. . . . These sexually confused individuals have made it their goal to deceive our kids into thinking they�re the opposite sex. This insanity must stop. Our new report, �Will Cross-Dressing Activists Come To Your School?� exposes this dangerous effort to confuse our children.�

Has anyone seen any marauding groups of �transgender activists� invading public school, anywhere? Or was Lafferty once again using children to propagate TVC�s message of hate and bigotry as she did when gay and lesbian families took part in the 2006 White House Easter Egg Roll, or as her father did when, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he argued against giving aid to the surviving members of gay and lesbian partnerships and their children.

Political writers for The San Francisco Chronicle Carla Marinucci and Tom Chorneau critiqued Sheldon and the TVC quite well in their August 21, 2006 article:

Sheldon has been described as a Republican point man often tapped by Washington insiders, from presidential adviser Karl Rove and Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, to advise on evangelical outreach.

But critics say Sheldon�s Traditional Values Coalition crossed the line of mere evangelical advocacy to fringe behavior, citing Sheldon�s past suggestions that AIDS patients be quarantined in �cities of refuge,� and his statements that a homosexual invasion will result in �the stealing of our children,� and that gay marriage will �destroy civilization as we know it.� [link added]

That added Abramoff link is significant and may help explain Sheldon�s and Lafferty�s latest round of hate-mongering, although nothing can excuse their use of children to engender bigotry and discrimination. In that, their message and tactics are akin to those of the Phelps clan and their Westboro Baptist Church:

Republican candidates are in trouble this election year. The disaster in Iraq, government spying on American citizens, the enormous deficit, plentiful hypocrisy and corruption a la Tom Delay and Mark Foley: �Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children�s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday [September 30].� All this and more within the secretive, duplicitous Bush administration that believes it�s moral to torture people and whose list of failed domestic programs is among the longest in U.S. history. What else could they and their supports in the radical Christian Right do but sink to new lows?

Sheldon�s, Lafferty�s and the TVC�s reasons for fueling the fires of hate and discrimination were evident in the gleeful message Rev. Lou sent to those on the TVC mailing list following Gov. Schwarzenegger�s veto of The Safe Place to Learn Act that would have given substance to measures prohibiting discrimination, harassment and bullying of gay and lesbian students in California public schools.

�THANK GOD!! THE GOVERNOR VETOED . . ." proclaimed Lou. He went on to say that Schwarzenegger�s veto �was not based upon prejudice or favoritism but upon common sense and what is in the best interest of the families and children of California. . . . The church bells should ring out today celebrating this victory.�

Not surprisingly, Sheldon�s perverted �common sense� decrees that discrimination, harassment and bullying are �in the best interest of the families and children of California.� For him, gay and lesbian children and their families just don�t count, except as fodder for the TVC�s campaign of hate and bigotry.

The discrimination, harassment and bullying of gay and lesbian students is common in the public schools of all states. Sheldon and his lot think absolutely nothing should be done about that. They must, therefore, bear the responsibility for the consequences of their anti-gay rhetoric and political lobbying that can lead to tragic, violent consequences:

Teen Suspect In Principal�s Murder Target Of Homophobic Bullying

(Cazenovia, Wisconsin) A 15-year old charged in the Friday shooting death of his high school principal was angry that the man and others at the school had failed to stop classmates from bullying him court documents allege. . . .

According to court papers filed late Friday by the prosecutor in Sauk County Circuit Court [Eric] Hainstock told police after he was taken into custody that students regularly bullied him -- calling him �fag� and �faggot� and rubbed up against him.

The documents say that the teenager told police he was so frustrated that Klang [the principal] and teachers would do nothing to stop the harassment he decided to arm himself. . .

Experts in bullying say the sexuality of a bullying victim is not important -- pointing to studies showing the wide impact homophobic bullying has on students.

One study, released in April to coincide with the National Day of Silence, showed that three-quarters of students surveyed across America said that over the past year they heard derogatory remarks such as �faggot� or �dyke� frequently or often at school . . .

Over a third of students said they experienced physical harassment at school on the basis of sexual orientation and more than a quarter on the basis of their gender expression.

Nearly one-in-five students reported they had been physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth because of their gender expression.

�The church bells should ring out today celebrating this victory.� Sheldon�s unholy call for celebration echoed that made by Grand Inquisitor Tom�s de Torquemada more than 500 years ago when he, too, was �protecting people of faith� . . . as long as their �faith� matched the insane Inquisitor�s. All others were summarily prejudged and immediately damned.

As Sylvia A. Smith so astutely noted in her June 11, 2006, article, the rabidly anti-gay rhetoric from Sheldon and his comrades has nothing to do with religion, morals or concern for children, but everything to do with �political jobs and interest groups� bank accounts�:

Interest groups of all stripes are always in need of more cash. There is no better way to get sympathetic Americans to grab the checkbook than to present them with a crisis. A hurricane tears apart an entire region of the country, and generous Americans respond. A �grave moral crisis� threatens the fabric of society, and Americans dig deep to help the crusaders fend off the apocalypse.

(If you have any doubts about the manufactured hysteria of these interest groups, consider this overheated warning by the Traditional Values Coalition: �The homosexual activist movement and organized pedophiles are linked together by a common goal: To gain access to children for seduction into homosexuality.� Does anyone really think Dick Cheney�s daughter is out trolling for 12-year-olds? What a crock.) . . .

My disgust is with the interest groups who exaggerate the situation for the purpose of raising money -- and with the politicians who are using [�gay rights�] as a way to create a froth among a voting class they can�t afford to lose.

Rev. Sheldon concluded his �Sat, 30 Sep 2006 02:25:23� celebratory missive to the TVC faithful with, what else, but a plea for money �

If you are grateful for TVC�s faithful ministry on your behalf to preserve America�s foundations and protect our children please consider sending a donation either an online donation or a donation by mail. Our resources are at a low ebb and we would be most grateful. Donations by mail may be sent to . . .

-- and a sales pitch for his version of The Malleus Maleficarum:

Rev. Sheldon is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, an ordained minister, and the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition in Washington, DC. His new book, The Agenda -- The Homosexual Plan to Change America, was recently released by FrontLine Publishers, a Strang Communications company. [links added]

You have to wonder how Princeton Theological Seminary feels about Sheldon�s turning theology into a weapon to hurt children and make a buck by doing so . . .

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