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 1991)

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 bile.

�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 Department?�

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 rhetoric:

Traditional Values Coalition Rebukes State Assembly for Passing Pro-Homosexual Textbook & Indoctrination Bill, Urges Governor�s Veto

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:


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 �anti-family.�

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:

Take Action!

Show Rev. Lynn that his threats don�t scare you by printing and distributing the AFA Voter�s Guide. Click here.

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 than propaganda?

One of the AFA �ministry�s� other activities is OneNewsNow. They spin and twist �news� items to suit their agenda and inflame the sheeple: �Federal judge 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
by Robert Weitzel

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, 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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