Inspiring fear and hate the Christianist way
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Feb 20, 2008, 00:42
In their �holy war� to deny gay Americans and their families
equal civil rights -- while simultaneously encouraging as much fear, hatred and
discrimination as possible -- the Christianist Right methodically combines
fallacious stereotypes and inflammatory rhetoric. That�s certainly not news.
Doing so has been their modus operandi
for decades. (See �America�s New McCarthyism: Homosexual Stereotypes, Myths,
and the Politics of Fear,� Popular
Culture Review, 16:2, 83-115.)
But the extremes they�re going to today make them
caricatures . . . even of themselves. No organization better demonstrates that
than the Traditional
Values Coalition: "The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) is a small
but influential organization that appears to consist mostly of the Rev. Lou
Sheldon and his daughter Andrea Sheldon Lafferty. Both are mainstays on the
conservative circuit, though their reputation has been damaged by revelations
that Lou Sheldon took
money from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to help kill an anti-gambling
bill that would have hurt one of Abramoff�s clients." [link added]
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks Rev. Sheldon argued
against giving aid to the
surviving members of gay and lesbian partnerships and their children. Some of �Lucky
Louie�s� previous calls to hate:
�As Homosexuals continue to make
inroads into public schools, more children will be molested and indoctrinated
into the world of homosexuality. Many of them will die in that world.�
(�Homosexuals Recruit Public School Children,� by Louis Sheldon, special
report, Vol. 18, No. 11)
�Americans should understand that their attitudes about homosexuality have been
deliberately and deceitfully changed by a masterful propaganda/marketing
campaign that rivals that of Adolph Hitler. In fact, many of the strategies
used by homosexuals to bring about cultural change in America are taken from
Hitler�s writings and propaganda welfare manuals.� (�Homosexual Propaganda
Campaign Based on Hitler�s �Big Lie� Technique,� by Louis Sheldon, special
report, Vol. 18, No. 10)
�Give us a few more years under the belt and we will learn how to replace many
of the school board members. Give us more time to understand how the system
works, and we�ll work the system even better than one could ever imagine.� (CNN
News, September 9, 1990)
�There is a war waging in America. The battle is over values, beliefs and the
cultural basis of western civilization. . . . the elitist avant-garde arts
community uses the NEA to advertise and disseminate their political beliefs.
The NEA then uses our scarce tax dollars to fund works which are intended to
shock Americans into an acceptance of dysfunctional behavioral lifestyles and
to destroy the family.� (Hearing on the National Endowment for the Arts, April
TVC�s executive director, Andrea Lafferty, is Sheldon�s
daughter. She�s at least as fanatical and nonsensical as her father. One of her
recent burps makes the point: "Attorney General Michael Mukasey has
instituted a policy change at the Department of Justice (DOJ) that now permits
a homosexual group to have the same privileges as other groups in the
department. According to Mukasey, the DOJ will 'foster an environment in which
diversity is valued, understood and sought' and that he will maintain 'an
environment that�s free of discrimination.'�
Of all places civil equality should be acknowledged and
respected, it�s in the Department of Justice, but true to form Ms. Lafferty vomited her usual
�I can only wonder what Mukasey will do when this homosexual
group starts a sadomasochism or bondage & discipline club in the DOJ . . . ,�
said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty. �Will he let them use the DOJ gym
for their torture sessions -- to promote diversity and tolerance in the Justice
In her dark, closeted existence, Ms. Lafferty seems unaware
that �sadomasochism or bondage & discipline� are not uncommon sex-play in
some segments of the heterosexual community. What�s she suggesting, of course,
is that all gay people are into
sadomasochism and bondage. It�s truly disgusting what vile rhetoric and
innuendo bigots will use. But lying is all they know, as Ms. Lafferty so well
demonstrated in another of her venomous attacks,
this one on anyone who supports hate crime legislation if -- and only if -- it
includes sexual orientation: �[they] are trying to take a handful of hideous,
horrible crimes and use that to force acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.�
According to FBI
statistics, violent crimes against gay Americans are considerably more than
�a handful.� And then there are the almost daily reports of public school
students being harassed and bullied because of their sexual orientation. The
Traditional Values Coalition has vehemently opposed any measure designed to
assure all students can learn in a
safe school environment. In doing so they used their usual hysterical
Traditional Values Coalition Rebukes State
Assembly for Passing Pro-Homosexual Textbook & Indoctrination Bill, Urges
September 11, 2007 Anaheim, California - �The
State Assembly has turned its back on California�s families yet again,� said
Benjamin Lopez, Lobbyist for Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), who worked
heavily to stop Senate Bill 777. �Let it
be clear, it is Democrats who have paved the way for blatant homosexual
teachings, textbooks, curriculum and more in California�s schools. This vote
proves that it is Democrats who are pro-homosexual and anti-family.�
Despite Mr. Lopez�s ranting, here�s what SB
777 really says:
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
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.
Only a truly twisted mind could see such as measure as
Those same twisted minds vehemently oppose equality in the
workplace as well. When the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act was on
the legislative table, TVC was screeching and
twisting the facts as they had done with SB 777: �ENDA Protects Mental
Disorders and Seeks To Silence People of Faith.�
�Mental disorders?� Leaders of the Christianist Right still
argue that homosexuality is a mental disorder, despite all medical and scientific knowledge. But then again, knowledge is
anathema to bigotry. Sheldon has even suggested exorcisms to �cure�
homosexuals. He did
so on an American Family Association radio broadcast.
How could �people of faith� (whatever that means) be silenced since Section 6 of ENDA stated �religious
corporation, association, educational institution, or society which has as its primary purpose religious ritual or
worship or the teaching or spreading of religious doctrine or belief� would be
exempt from the bill�s provisions? They can cling to their religion-based
bigotry. But they can�t use it to discriminate in the public sector. It�s
called �civil equality.�
TVC is not the only �Christian� organization that uses
fallacious stereotypes and inflammatory rhetoric to incite hatred and fear of
gay Americans. The American Family
Association (AFA) is run by Don Wildmon and his son, Tim. AFA calls itself
a �ministry,� but their activities seem to go well beyond those of a ministry.
Perhaps that�s why �Rev. Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United
for Separation of Church and State, has asked that the Internal Revenue Service
investigate the American Family Association.� That news came in one of AFA�s
hysterical Action Alerts. It ended in the usual way:
Show Rev. Lynn that his threats don�t scare you by printing and
distributing the AFA Voter�s Guide. Click
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.
The AFA Store has a lot
of stuff for sale, or rather available for a �suggested donation.� One
particular item exemplifies AFA�s use of fallacious stereotypes and
inflammatory rhetoric meant to inspire hate and fear of gay Americans:
The accompanying PR for the �They�re Coming� DVD reads:
Residents of the small Arkansas town of Eureka Springs
noticed the homosexual community was growing. But they felt no threat. They
went about their business as usual. Then, one day, they woke up to discover
that their beloved Eureka Springs, a community which was known far and wide as
a center for Christian entertainment -- had changed. The City Council had been
taken over by a small group of homosexual activists.
The Eureka Springs they knew is gone. It is now a national hub for homosexuals.
Eureka Springs is becoming the San Francisco of Arkansas. The story of how this
happened is told in the new AFA DVD �They�re Coming To Your Town.�
City Councils are elected. Like all Christianist groups, AFA
constantly yammers about putting every measure that would recognize gay
Americans as equal citizens to a popular vote. Well, apparently the citizens of
Eureka Springs . . . voted.
AFA�s fear-mongering is as transparent as that embedded in
the hysterical rhetoric of the Traditional Values Coalition: hordes of homosexuals
are set to invade your town, rape your children and turn everyone gay.
The �suggested donation� for the 28-minute �They�re Coming
to Your Town� DVD is $14.95, but AFA offers a special deal to those willing to
spread its fear, bigotry and hate: �Special Offer! Save over 33%! Order a 5
pack and put this vital information in the hands of your local officials,
pastors and other community leaders.� Given the complexity of socio-political
issues, what can a highly and selectively edited 28-minute video offer other
One of the AFA �ministry�s� other activities is OneNewsNow.
They spin and twist �news� items to suit their agenda and inflame the sheeple:
bows to homosexual demands in Oregon.� The Christianist petition to thwart
Oregon�s domestic partner legislation failed to garner enough signatures to
place the measure on the ballot. Plain and simple. Beyond that, why would true
Christians want to hurt monogamous couples, their children and their families?
�We�re a family. We�ve been waiting for this for a long
time,� said a beaming Cathy Kravitz of Portland. She said she and her partner of 21 years will be among those
registering . . . [italics added]
Could it be that they�re not in any way interested in the
Christian message, but only in their own theofascist agenda?
Why? Why would those who claim to be �Christian� want to
propagate hate and civil discrimination? The answer is simple. They�re frauds.
As Jon Meacham wrote in his 2006 book American
Gospel, �a true Christian ought to be more interested in making the life of
the world gentle for others.� The Christianist campaign against gay people and
their families does just the opposite, something that�s becoming more and more
apparent to more and more Americans.
It�s amusing to watch the Christianist Right choke on their
own vile vomit. Let�s wish them well and hope they get exactly what they want.
Not in this life, of course, but in the next . . .
The Rapture Can�t
Happen Soon Enough to Suit Me
As an atheist and a skeptic, I try to limit my magical thinking to occasional
moments of vanity and revenge. But lately I�ve found myself wishing that if the
Rapture is on the level, it would happen soon . . . I mean real soon. . . .
Before I get too far into this, I want it understood that I�m not wishing these
folks ill. On the contrary, I�m wishing them what they�ve always wanted -- an
eternity of enjoying the unchallenged moral certitude they were never quite
able to fully enjoy here on Earth, but which nonetheless caused the rest of us
no end of misery.
The signs for finally seeing the backside of the Christian Right are
encouraging. According to raptureready.com, the Rapture Index (omens portending
the Rapture) stands at 163, the highest it�s been since September 11, 2001,
when it peaked at its all-time high of 182. I don�t know what the numbers mean
either. But I�m not making this up.
It appears Jesus is getting his transition team in place, what with the recent
raptures -- albeit by conventional means -- of the Rev. D. James Kennedy,
godfather of the American Dominionist [a.k.a. theofascist] movement and hater
of our secular constitution, and the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral
Majority and hater of all people he could think of to hate.
I do wish the Lord would get his jesters assembled and move on this. Think what
the Rapture will mean to those of us left behind. . . .
Having imagined all the above, my thinking is not so magical as to believe
there won�t be a few post-Rapture problems. After all, according to Revelation,
this will be the time of the Great Tribulation and we�ll still have Satan [a.k.a.
your choice] to wrestle with. But with the Christian Right enjoying eternity . .
. well . . . who cares where, we�ll have only one Devil in the ring at a time.
And he�ll be the one carrying a pitchfork not a Bible.
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