Christianist campaigns against equality in the workplace and in schools
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 18, 2008, 00:14

On 8 January 2007, the theologically-challenged leader of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Washington, launched a campaign to have his followers �load up on Microsoft Corp. stock, in an attempt to force the company to �stop financing ungodly ventures.�� The �ungodly ventures� Rev. Ken Hutcherson wants Microsoft to stop are the company�s non-discrimination policies and its support for equal civil rights for all Americans.

According to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

Hutcherson . . . has created a new organization, AGN Financial Network, to finance the effort. The worldwide venture asks people to buy three shares of company stock and donate one to AGN. Its Web site tells visitors, �You have the power to change the world,� and contains tips on how to open a brokerage account. Among the listed supporters are Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and religious pundit Gary Bauer. [links added]

Hutcherson is all bent out of shape because

Microsoft leadership has publicly supported gay rights legislation, and the company officially opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation. Microsoft shareholders have voted in favor of the company's nondiscrimination policy, General Counsel Brad Smith said. . . .

�Our company policies are well-known and supported by over 97 percent of our shareholders when it was voted upon in a shareholder resolution, and we just have no comment on this,� Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said.

As noted in a previous article, Hutcherson is a portrait in pathology:

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 reverend is also boisterously megalomaniacal and unabashedly avaricious:

Hutcherson said it�s not Microsoft's job to influence the public agenda, and that it should be left to others, like him.

�That�s what my job is,� he said. �I�m a pastor.�

Only in a theofascist state do �pastors� dictate public agenda and civil laws. But then again, turning America into just such a state is the ultimate goal of Dominionists. They seek nothing less than hegemonic control. Indeed, Rev. Hutcherson personifies the title of Chris Hedges� 2006 book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.

In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article Hutcherson�s megalomania again prompted him to assert that his battle with Microsoft was �reminiscent of the biblical story of David versus Goliath,� with him in the role of David, of course. Too bad the reverend�s bigotry blinds him to historical facts.

David was in love 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. They were same-sex partners who loved and wished to care for each other.

Had Hutcherson read more than his own uninformed, 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.�

Rev. Hutcherson�s proclaiming himself to be the new �David� demonstrates biblical illiteracy. It also confirms he�s doing battle with Microsoft solely to enhance his coffers as the reverend himself readily admitted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article: �When asked whether the new initiative is a ploy to make money for his church, Hutcherson said, �Absolutely.��

One has to wonder whether Mr. Hutcherson has ever really read the Bible, much less understood the message of Jesus in Mark: 21-25 (NKJV):

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, �One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.�

But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, �How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!�

And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, �Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!

�It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.�

Hutcherson looks at gay couples, loathes them and the love they share that underwrites their desire to care for and provide for each. Then he seeks ways and means to raise more money in order to hurt them and their families. And this man has the nerve to call himself a �Christian� and a �pastor�? Hutcherson seems more like a Machiavellian prince interested only in the promulgation of his own power and influence.

Perhaps his charge that Microsoft engages in �ungodly practices� would be better applied to himself and his �church�s� motivation. As Jon Meacham pointed out in his 2006 book, American Gospel, �a true Christian ought to be more interested in making the life of the world gentle for others than he should be in asserting the dominance of his own religion,� especially when the politicized dogma of that religion is used as a tool to hurt others.

The California state legislature passed SB 777. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the legislation in October 2007. It became law in January 2008:


SECTION 1. This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Student Civil Rights Act.

SEC. 1.5. Section 200 of the Education Code is amended to read:

200. It is the policy of the State of California to afford all persons in public schools, regardless of their disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state. The purpose of this chapter is to prohibit acts that are contrary to that policy and to provide remedies therefor.

Needless to say, Hutcherson�s buddies in the Christianist Right immediately launched protests, a referendum campaign and a lawsuit. How dare California treat all public school students equally and protect them from bigots� harassment, discrimination and the violence that inevitably follows?

The protests went nowhere, as did the �Save Our Kids� referendum campaign to stop the new law but, as James Dobson�s CitizenLink propaganda organ touted �in November [2007], the Alliance Defense Fund and Advocates for Faith and Freedom sued California in federal court, on behalf of the California Education Committee, which is a project of the California Family Council� [links added].

Not surprisingly, CitizenLink�s �report� was a twisted concoction of misinformation meant to inflame and encourage bigotry against California�s gay and lesbian students and those who wish to safeguard their civil rights. But no one or organization concocts misinformation meant to inflame and encourage bigotry better than Peter LaBarbera�s grotesquely misnamed �Americans for Truth.� LaBarbera�s profession and AFT�s raison d�etre are the same: say and do anything and everything possible to denigrate gay Americans and their families. Here�s one of the theopolitical diatribes LaBarbera wrote about the California Student Civil Rights Act.

The Los Angeles Times responded to all this nonsense with reason and clarity:

Some social conservatives are campaigning to �save our kids� from a new California law prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgendered students in public schools. But their rescue operation � which involves both a ballot initiative that [has failed to gain the necessary signatures] and a suit in federal court � is at best premature and at worst an exercise in fear-mongering. . . .

The hysterical hand-wringing of these critics is almost reason enough to support this legislation. The law isn�t a curriculum guide that requires teachers to inform students about the historical contributions of gays and lesbians. It�s an attempt to protect students from being bullied and demeaned because they are �different,� whether that difference is a matter of religion or race or, yes, sexual orientation or identity. Protecting students isn�t just part of a homosexual agenda; it ought to be on everyone�s agenda.

Since when was it the �Christian thing to do� to promote hate and inequality? Surely the pro-discrimination advocates understand that their words incite violence. As Jim David points out in his article, �Antigay and Proud,� in the January 29, 2008 issue of The Advocate magazine,

These guys -- as well as those in other antigay outfits -- may say they don�t condone violence, but many of their followers do and commit it with regularity. A twisted mind takes a twisted message literally. If these people [such as those opposed to SB 777] think that words influence actions (such as their idea that pro-gay attitudes will turn innocent kids gay), they�re not exactly practicing what they preach.�

The �these guys� Mr. David referred to include men like Scott Lively, coauthor of The Pink Swastika �that blamed the rise of Nazi Germany on homosexuality.� Or as Citizens Allied for Civic Action put it, �The Pink Swastika attempts to show that Hitler�s Nazism and the Jewish Holocaust are the work of homosexuals, and that the Nazi work is being continued by homosexuals in the United States.�

Like most of the leaders of the Christian Right, Lively loves war metaphors and inciting violence: �There is a war that is going on in the world . . . It�s a war between Christians and homosexuals . . . And in the United States where the sexual revolution began, it was the homosexual political movement that designed this strategy to attack Christianity.� Not surprisingly, Mr. Lively is also opposed to the California Student Civil Rights Act, on �religious� grounds of course.

And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, �Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God� (Mark 10:13-14)

Perhaps I have a faulty Bible. In the copy I have Jesus didn�t say �Suffer only some children to come unto Me.� Unless I�m missing something, he meant all children. Would Jesus have shunned the young David because he was gay? Or are today�s Christianist crusaders really little more than theofascists interested in their own agenda that requires victims and people to hate in order to make its adherents feel that they�re �superior.� Violence against those who don�t strictly adhere to the Christianist agenda seems to be a modus operandi:

A small Protestant church in Adrian, Mich., has weathered controversies surrounding abolition, the Civil War, desegregation and Vietnam since it was established in 1836. Now, because its denomination supports gay rights, the church has been deemed too risky for property insurance.

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co. of Fort Wayne, Ind., turned down the West Adrian United Church of Christ, citing its national governing body�s approval of gay marriage and the ordination of homosexuals.

�Based on national media reports, controversial stances such as those indicated in your application responses have resulted in property damage and the potential for increased litigation among churches . . ."

Perhaps Rev. Hutcherson should launch a campaign against violence perpetrated against churches that don�t discriminate rather than against a company that recognizes the equality of all its employees. Perhaps the Alliance Defense Fund could help by filing lawsuits against those who commit such acts of unChristian violence instead of suing a state that�s trying to prevent violence against its public schools students.

And perhaps �Save Our Kids� should actually try to do that by joining efforts to educate students that all people deserve respect and civil equality rather than trying to teach them it�s okay to harass and discriminate against those who are different.

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