The Christian Right has gone over the edge
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Journal Contributing Writer
Feb 24, 2006, 22:45
The Agape Press headline said it all: �Grandmother Gets Help
Asserting Preschooler�s Right to Share His Faith.� The story was even
�Zachariah� was apparently �sharing his faith� with classmates at his preschool
when the teacher told him he could not talk about religion at school. Grandma
got pissed off and contacted the American Family Association Center for Law and
Policy, where Steve Crampton, �a specialist in constitutional law,� took up the
notorious for making outlandish statements, such as the one he made following
the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that �equal� means �equal� in
relation to all civil institutions,
including marriage: �Unless the people of the State of Massachusetts
rise up with one voice in opposition to this lawless and socially destructive
behavior [marriage], it will destroy society as we know it.�
More recently, when the University of Florida began offering
health care coverage to same-sex domestic partners -- all 25 couples who
initially signed up -- he had this
nonsensical response: �Steve
Crampton, chief counsel with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, says, in this
case, homosexuality appears to be the preferred lifestyle of the State of
Florida . . ."
Crampton�s parent organization, Don Wildmon�s American Family
Association (AFA), has been busy raising its
profile among dogmatic fanatics -- albeit with little if any finesse -- by
calling for boycotts of companies that treat their gay and lesbian employees
equally, organizations that promote equality for all Americans, and television
shows that offend their delicate and distinctly humorless
Now, the legal arm of AFA is defending the constitutional
right of a 4-year-old to dispense
theological truths in the playground:
In this case, Crampton notes, �The teacher was basically
insinuating herself into a private conversation between Zachariah and one of
his classmates. The over-zealousness on the part of this teacher is
extraordinary, and I�m sure she thought she was doing a good deed, trying to
protect the school. But, in fact, she was interfering with Zachariah�s own
A 4-year-old�s cognitive capabilities don�t extend much
beyond Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and are certainly not capable of
comprehending theological scholarship or understanding the convoluted, man-made
complexities of religious dogma. So aside from possibly scaring his classmates
with tales of fire and brimstone, �Zachariah�s� evangelical message was
essentially like talking about the �old woman� in �Hansel and Gretel� or the
bogeyman under the bed.
What isn�t harmless or amusing is AFA�s and Crampton�s
campaigns to deny certain adult
Americans their �constitutional rights� as equal citizens deserving of equal
access to all civil institutions, including the one called �marriage,� while
striving to protect the �constitutional rights� of a 4-year-old to �share a
faith� he is incapable of understanding.
The Christian Right has gone right over the edge. They�ve
become a caricature of themselves. A serious hoot was provided by Edward F.
Blick�s article �Laughing
at Evolution� that appeared on the website of �The Christian Underground.�
Blick was identified as �Emeritus Professor of Engineering, Univ. of Oklahoma.�
Dr. Blick began his treatise with this: "We all love to
laugh, it�s good medicine. We laughed at the Queen in Lewis Carroll�s 'Alice in
Wonderland.' She 'sometimes believed in six impossible things before
breakfast.' Similarly, I laugh at Darwinian professors who teach impossible fairy tales to their students. [italics added]
Professor Blick�s Christian Underground article went on to
make preposterous �leaps of faith,� absurdly inaccurate statements in childish
language, and to blame all of America�s �ills� on evolution: "In the last
half century, evolution hijacked America and its schools and inflicted a great
defeat on American culture. Crime has skyrocketed, homosexuality and gay
marriage have been mainstreamed, and our morals have submerged into a cesspool.
Why? Kids brainwashed with this kooky
nonsense are taught that they evolved from apes, there is no God and that
morals are relative . . ." [italics added]
Blick�s �teach impossible fairy tales to their students� and
�kooky nonsense� would perfectly describe a course approved at Frazier Mountain
High School in Lebec, California. As the New York Times reported
last month, �A group of parents are suing their small California school
district to force it to cancel a four-week high school elective on intelligent
design, creationism and evolution that it is offering as a philosophy
course.� [link added]
Since creationism and intelligent
design are definitely not
science, a philosophy course might seem an appropriate venue, however, �the
parents, represented by lawyers with Americans United for Separation of Church
and State, contend that the teacher is advocating intelligent design and �young
earth creationism� and is not examining those ideas in a neutral way alongside
Earth Creationism is an even more �kooky� version of creationism. It claims
that dinosaurs played with human children in Eden and that Mr. and Mrs.
Tyrannosaurs rex were passengers on Noah�s ark. But here�s the real hoot:
"In their suit, the parents said the syllabus originally listed 24 videos
to be shown to students, with 23 'produced or distributed by religious
organizations and assume a pro-creationist, anti-evolution stance.' They said
the syllabus listed two evolution experts who would speak to the class. One was
a local parent and scientist who said he had already refused the speaking
invitation and was now suing the district; the
other was Francis H. C. Crick, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA .
. ." [italics added]
Francis H. C. Crick died on July 28, 2004, yet the syllabus
for this supposedly �academic� course claimed he would be speaking to a class
in 2006. That�s quite a trick.
But perhaps the best line in Prof. Blick�s article was �Darwinists know they have to hide their
atheist religion.� Any dictionary illustrates that lexicological chicanery. I
used the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster�s
Atheism: a disbelief in the existence
Religion: the service and worship of
�Atheist religion� is an oxymoron.
Amusing oxymorons also came from Colorado:
�Saying they were motivated by love, a coalition of religious and family groups
formally kicked off a drive Wednesday [February 1] for an amendment to the
state constitution that would ban gay marriage.� Huh? How could �love� motivate
a desire to prevent the ultimate expression of love, �marriage�?
If that doesn�t make sense, ponder this statement from
Bishop Phillip H. Porter, Jr., of All Nations Church of God in Christ, one of
the �loving� backers of the anti-love amendment: �We can have it [love]. We are
all called to have that love even when it hurts us, even when it hurts others.�
Huh? Who�s being hurt by gays and lesbians getting married? And if by some
strange delusion same-sex marriage �hurts� Bishop Porter, he did say that hurt
is okay with him: �even when it hurts us.�
The tragic love story of Brokeback
Mountain has been a frequently discussed topic in all media
outlets. What the film is about has been very well publicized. However, some of the members of the
Crossroads Community Church in Bedford, Indiana seem to have a lot of trouble understanding
what everyone else does:
Two members at the church went
to Bloomington a few weeks ago to catch a film. They
weren�t familiar with the content of �Brokeback Mountain,� and watched it
based on the playbill.
�About halfway through it, they
decided they needed to leave because they were getting physically sick . . . ,�
[associate pastor Phil] Thorne said. �We feel like other than what�s been in
the media about it, the advertisements have not been clear and have not really
told what�s actually being shown in the movie.� [source link added]
Assuming the parishioners of
the Crossroads Community Church get and read newspapers and magazines, have and
watch television, have and use the Internet, how could Brokeback�s numerous �advertisements� -- not to mention the
ubiquitous stories about the film�s content -- have been unclear?
Thorne also made another
comment: �We feel this [Brokeback
Mountain] is an anti-biblical stance.� One can only presume, therefore,
that Rev. Thorne and his parishioners obey all the death penalty biblical laws
in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. If not, he and his congregation are just
homophobic hypocrites. If they do obey all those biblical laws, the population
of Bedford must be very small and dropping fast.
The dogma so rife in the Christian Right�s rhetoric often
ends up amusingly arguing against their point. In answering a question from a
reader about how genetic
evidence would -- or should -- affect society�s view of homosexuality and
treatment of homosexuals, someone at James Dobson�s Focus on the
Family (FOF) responded
with comments like these: "What if it could be demonstrated beyond a
shadow of a doubt that homosexuality is, as activists claim, genetic,
biochemical, and neurological in origin? We would still want to know, so
Who cares about the American covenant that we don�t
discriminate against people for things beyond their control? Theocracy is
Dobson�s and FOF�s goal, with the �kingmaker� in charge,
of course, and nothing in the media but evangelical preachers saying �God�
needs your money.
One comment in the FOF response provided the punch line:
"I know of no instance in Scripture where God winked at evildoers because
of their flawed inheritance . . ."
Who the �I� was
giving the response was never made clear, but think about the statement. If
�God� specifically created each person
-- as the Christian Right dogmatically maintains -- wouldn�t �flawed
inheritance� mean �God� screwed-up? It seems far more likely that man-made,
politically motivated �dogma� perverted spirituality and common sense, not to
belief in civil equality for all
You have to wonder if any of the leaders of the Christian
Right or their political and legal brethren ever saw Kevin Smith�s 1999 film Dogma.
And if they did see it, did they understand it? Probably not given their
continued �dogmatic� rants, such as the one enshrined in a February 21 Agape
�Homosexual Activists� War Against
Christianity� by Ed Vitagliano of the American Family Association. You
remember Mr. Vitagliano: the AFA�s homophobic �researcher� who began the whole SpongeBob fiasco.
While Mr. Crampton is busy protecting the Constitutional
rights of a 4-year-old to evangelize at preschool, I suggest the dour, sour
leaders of the Christian Right who take offense at just about everything have a
look at The Christian
Humor Hotline: �We believe that our
God is a laughing God, and God who enjoys Himself, and that this joy extends to
us as believers.� While all the sections on the site are good, I
particularly like the �Bulletin
Bloopers and Blunders (a
compilation of actual Church Bulletin and Service bloopers).� Here�s a brief
Lutheran men�s group will meet at 6 p.m.
Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for
a nominal feel.
next song is �Angels We Have Heard Get High.�
let worry kill you -- let the church help.
in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the
church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
at 4:00 p.m. there will be an
ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.
at 5:00 PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mother�s Club. All ladies
wishing to become �Little Mothers� will meet with the Pastor in his study.
being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg
on the altar.
ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be
seen in the church basement Saturday.
senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to
join the choir.
is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.
associate minister unveiled the church�s new giving campaign slogan last
Sunday: �I Upped My Pledge -- Up Yours.�
I wonder how the sanctimonious leaders of the Christian
Right would react to these if they didn�t know their source. And even if they
did know, might Don Wildmon and the American Family Association launch a
boycott of the Christian Humor Hotline for mocking Christianity and being
For those who would enjoy some laughable Republican ranting, I suggest Ted
Baiamonte�s �Dumb Democrats� website.
His latest hoot began with �In the last week I happened to catch six Democratic
sound bites each one of which speaks to the obvious need for a Constitutional
Amendment to make Democrats illegal.� No, he�s not kidding. He once wrote �I
hate Democrats because they hate freedom, and you should too.�
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