�Middat Sdom�: Lou Sheldon, Fred Phelps, and George W. Bush
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 11, 2006, 01:34

America�s two most flaming homophobes � Rev. Lou Sheldon and Rev. Fred Phelps � now have something else in common: the language they use to describe those they fear and loathe.

At the recent conference on the �War on Christians� Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition urged the participants to stop using the terms �homosexual� and �gay.� Sheldon recommended such [terms] as �sodomites� and �the perverted ones.� [link added]

But in his insightful article �Gays are not the real Sodomites according to the Bible,� Richard Mahtis also explained why �sodomite� does not really pertain to gays and how �the perverted ones� clearly appertains to Sheldon, Phelps, and their organizations.

After summarizing the allegory of Sodom and Gomorrah as passed on in Genesis 19, Mahtis pointed out the first of many anomalies:

The way many conservative Christians interpret this [story] is that God destroyed Sodom because the residents wanted to rape two foreign men. Amazing, that all the residents of the town, the Bible says, showed up to rape the two angels. That means the women and children had to be there. [italics added]

Genesis 19:4 says, �But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house� [italics added]. Even if women and children were not included in the patriarchal expression �all the people,� is it realistic to believe that all the men of Sodom were homosexuals?

Genesis 19:5 says that all the people of Sodom demanded, �Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them� [italics added]. As Mahtis pointed out:

The Hebrew word used was �ya,da.� This verb means �know� with an ambiguous meaning. The verb ya,da appears over 900 times elsewhere in the Old Testament, normally used in the sense of knowing a fact. There are a dozen or so uses when it means sex and then it is always obvious such as a man knowing a woman and her getting pregnant. The sexual references are always heterosexual. . . .

As to the crowd being a bunch of randy gays wanting to rape two male angels, certainly Lot, as a citizen of Sodom, would have known his neighbors sexual preferences. If they were wanting male booty, he wouldn�t have added insult to injury by offering the rioting gays a couple of girl virgins.

Those �girl virgins� were, of course, Lot�s own daughters. In Genesis 19:8 Lots says, �Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please.�

Given the dogmatic beliefs of conservative and fundamentalist Christians, one has to wonder why they don�t condemn Lot for offering his virginal daughters as sexual sacrifices, especially in light of the �purity laws� expounded in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Or why �God� would save a man who offered his own young daughters up as victims. But then again, that same Old Testament �God� did command Abraham to sacrifice his own son, to �Him.� (But settled for the foreskin of Isaac�s penis. A rather kinky �sexual� trade-off, don�t you think?)

Ah, but that was the Old Testament �God.� Christians look to Jesus as the messenger of �God�s� new wishes. That new message was conveyed in Matthew 10:9-15. But as Mahtis pointed out, Jesus�

reference to Sodom is that it was a city that was inhospitable to strangers and the poor. In the Jewish tradition � and I do believe the rabbis know more than a thing or two about Hebrew scriptures � the phrase �middat Sdom� has been long used. It translates as acting or thinking like the Sodomites and means lacking charity and hospitality. It means ignoring the needs of the poor, sick, and the widows and orphans. Throughout the Bible, it always has been a moral obligation and duty to help those in need. Indeed, every prophet warned of the indulgences of the leaders and/or people while they ignored the real needs of the poor and downtrodden . . .

Ezekiel said the sins of the Sodomites were that they were �arrogant, overfed and unconcerned.� Ezekiel might as well have been talking about a lot of Americans. What else did he say? �They did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things . . ." [italics added]

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Rev. Louis P. Sheldon argued against giving aid to the surviving members of gay and lesbian partnerships, many of whom had children. Is that what a �moral� man would think and say after such a horrible tragedy? Or are those the thinking and words of a good Sodomite?

Many of Rev. Sheldon�s other comments confirm his �middat Sdom� nature. For example:

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.�

Since Rev. Sheldon likes to use the Hitler analogy, let�s pursue it. Sheldon believes homosexuals are the bane of civilization and will destroy society. Hitler thought the same about homosexuals and Jews, and he acted on those beliefs in much the same way Sheldon suggested homosexuals and HIV-infected people � that include millions of children � should be dealt with. He urged they be rounded up and put into �cities of refuge� (aka �concentration camps�).

Hitler claimed that he and his vision for the new German state were �persecuted� and endangered by Jews and homosexuals. How appropriate the most absurd assertion at �The War on Christians� conference came from Sodomite Fuehrer Sheldon when he claimed that the radical Christian Right � that plays victim while victimizing everyone who disagrees with it � has �fared poorly� because "Christians are nice guys, and nice guys finish last.� That �nice guys� assertion is right up there with �Arbeit Macht Frei.�

But no one exemplifies �middat Sdom� � or does as Sheldon suggested and uses the term �sodomites� in relation to gays more frequently � than Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church:

The man responsible for the �� and �� websites picketed the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Thursday with a dozen of his family members and followers. They carried signs stating, �Thank God for Maimed Soldiers,� �Thank God for Dead Soldiers� and �God Hates You.� [links added]

As Jeff Johnson�s Cybercast News Service also reported,

�God almighty is punishing this evil nation by killing their kids over in Iraq and by maiming, crippling and mangling their kids over in Iraq,� Phelps told Cybercast News Service. �This nation is going to continue to be punished by God until they repent, but we don�t believe they�re going to repent.� See video.

Phelps believes military personnel share the blame for court decisions and legislation favoring homosexuality, even if those service members do not support that lifestyle.

�It�s irrelevant whether they as individuals support them. They joined an army and became a part of a military establishment, voluntarily, knowing that that military establishment was packed and jammed with homosexuals,� Phelps argued. �If they join an army that they know is a sodomite army and fight for a nation that they know is a sodomite nation, they are equally guilty.�

Phelps and his group not only protested at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old Wyoming man viciously beaten and murdered because he was gay, they also have a history of protesting at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq.

Other than Sheldon�s political lobbying to advance his agenda of bigotry and hate, and the bizarre, disgusting protests by Phelps, neither of them or their organizations seems to be actively or directly involved � as in their hands being soiled via face-to-face, digging in the dirt working with those devastated by recent natural disasters � in helping �the poor, sick, and the widows and orphans.� Sheldon and his Traditional Values Coalition just don�t see � much less care about � the poor, sick, or widows if they�re gay. Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church see them, and then gleefully damn them in the most vile terms they can �think� of. Both Sheldon�s TVC and Phelps� WBC are vehemently opposed to same-sex couples adopting orphaned or otherwise homeless children.

Dressed in his finely tailored suits, Sheldon sits comfortably in his �corporate headquarters� belching bloated bigotry. With his Brokeback Mountain cowboy hat and traveling bigotry brigade, Phelps is even more �out there,� literally and metaphorically. But both men do more than fit Ezekiel�s definition of Sodomites. They are �arrogant,� �unconcerned,� �haughty,� and they do and say �detestable things.�

George W. Bush also fits all those adjectives and description. He claims his bogus war was meant to �free� people and to ensure the equality and civil rights of all Iraqi citizens. So why isn�t the born-again Christian crusading cowboy from Texas saying or doing something about this:

A gay man identified only as Ammar was abducted and shot in the back of the head in January 2006.

Following a death-to-gays fatwa issued last October by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani death squads of the Badr Corps have been systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution, gay Iraqis say. But when they ask for help and protection from U.S. occupying authorities in the �Green Zone,� gay Iraqis are met with indifference and derision. [italics added]

Could it be that like sanctimonious Sheldon and wing-nut Phelps, GWB really doesn�t give a damn about gay people, whatever their situation or nationality? Domestically, Bush has actively encouraged discrimination � and the violence that inevitably spawns � against them and their civil right to be.

As John D. Moore, author of Confusing Love With Obsession: When You Can�t Stop Controlling Your Partner and the Relationship and professor of health sciences and psychology at American Public University, noted in a March 8, 2004, article:

When President George W. Bush decided to publicly embrace a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, cloaking his remarks in the guise of religion, he psychologically violated millions upon millions of gay and lesbian youth around the nation as well as the many millions more who are their parents and relatives. In short, Mr. Bush has made it fashionable to declare �open season� on a segment of our society. Make no mistake � his intolerant message was quite clear: �You and your family are not part of the American [or global] family.� . . .

Consider what one 20-year-old student wrote in an essay about this topic in a class I instruct on gender psychology: �I have beaten up faggots before, and I used to feel guilty � not anymore! Bush says fags don�t count, so I guess it�s cool to do it.� . . . [links and italics added]

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