When hurting or killing people is the goal of religious fanatics
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jul 13, 2006, 00:37

The great Irish novelist James Joyce was no fan of organized religion. His last enigmatic novel, Finnegans Wake, began where it ended. That approach seems appropriate here too. �Organized religion and the self-serving, self-righteous dogma it inevitably produces may be the worst ideas humanity has ever concocted: �Bounty� For Killing Gays At World Pride.�

On July 5, carried a story by Associated Press writer David Eggert. The headline said it all: �Conservative group sues MSU for offering health insurance to partners of homosexual workers.�

The American Family Association of Michigan filed a lawsuit on July 5 �to stop Michigan State University from offering health insurance to the partners of gay workers.� According to the AP article, the Michigan affiliate of Don Wildmon�s American Family Association hopes �to get a ruling setting a precedent that would block domestic partner benefits at other state universities.�

Why? The only answer seems to be to demean, denigrate, disenfranchise, and hurt gay and lesbian Americans and their families as much as possible and in any way possible.

Don Wildmon�s American Family Association is well known for its anti-gay boycotts meant to hurt businesses -- and the families they support -- if they treat all their employees equally and/or advocate civil equality for all Americans.

In a June 2 article carried by Agape Press, self-proclaimed �pro-family� Wildmon claimed that AFA�s boycott was hurting the Ford Motor Company: �More than 20 pro-family groups are currently boycotting Ford . . ."

The �pro-family� designation is blatantly fraudulent, hypocritical and, in this case, malevolent. How many families -- including Christian and �traditional� ones -- are being adversely affecting by this �pro-family� boycott and the destructive social bigotry it inspires? Do the AFA and its allies care? Apparently not.

That was made clear by Rev. Wildmon in his mid-June statement:

The American Family Association says that its boycott of Ford Motor Company over the automaker�s support for LGBT issues is having an impact.

�The boycott of Ford Motor Company is working! Sales of automobiles made by Ford dropped 2 percent in May,� AFA chair Donald E. Wildmon said in an email to supporters.

What kind of man, what kind of �Christian� would take pleasure in hurting people and their families?

In a July 7 Agape Press article that began with sleight-of-hand deception, �pro-family� Wildmon was again gleeful about AFA�s boycott hurting Ford:

The latest sales figures for Ford Motor Company continue the ongoing story of the company�s declining bottom line -- a several-percentage-points drop in sales that the leader of a pro-family group ties in with a boycott and the economy.

What the writer of the article, Ed Thomas, conveniently forgot to mention was that Ford�s 7 percent decline in sales was the smallest -- by far -- among the three major U.S. automakers. General Motors� sales fell 25.9 percent; DaimlerChrysler�s, 13 percent.

The AFA and its state-affiliates are also well known for other activities meant to hurt people they don�t know and don�t care about.

Pro-Family Activist Blasts Penn. Senate�s Civil Union Compromise

The president of the American Family Association (AFA) of Pennsylvania says lawmakers in her state have voted to destroy traditional marriage. The pro-family group is decrying a move by Pennsylvania senators that weakened a proposed state marriage protection amendment by stripping from it a ban on civil unions.

Last week, the state Senate voted 38-12 in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment protecting marriage but removed language prohibiting civil unions. . . .

[Diane] Gramley [president of the AFA of Pennsylvania] says Pennsylvania senators have abandoned their Christian and pro-family constituents by supporting a constitutional amendment that would allow civil unions to be legalized. [italics added]

�Abandoned their Christian� ideology?" Apparently Ms. Gramley knows more about Christianity than Jesus did.

�Abandoned their pro-family� ideology?" Ms. Gramley seems totally unaware -- or just doesn�t care -- that gay and lesbian parents are rearing hundreds of thousands of children in loving families. Obviously Ms. Gramley is unconcerned about these children and their families and wishes to do them as much social, legal and economic harm as possible. Does that sound �Christian� to you? Does that sound �pro-family� to you?

Nevertheless, the �pro-family� and �destroy traditional marriage� mantras opened the June 27 story [about the Pennsylvania AFA charges] in James Dobson's Focus on the Family's �A pro-family group is charging Pennsylvania lawmakers with destroying traditional marriage for stripping a proposed state constitutional amendment of language that would prevent civil unions.�

�Destroying traditional marriage?� How? They never seem to explain that �how� part, do they?

Fact: same-sex civil unions and companies (or universities) offering same-sex partners benefits hurt no one (not even budgets), and they certainly don�t �destroy traditional marriage.� But they do help people and their families. Isn�t that the �Christian� thing to do?

Clearly the American Family Association, its Pennsylvania and Michigan affiliates are interested only in their own parochial agenda that is intentionally designed to hurt gay Americans and their families.

�Ah, but we can change gays into �normal� people� is the ridiculous rejoinder from the megalomaniacal leaders of the Christian Right and those who run for-profit �ex-gay� therapies:

The obvious truth and equally obvious hypocrisy were pointed out by Alan Hicks in his recent OpEd:

Reparative therapy unnecessarily tampers with the mind

Saturday, July 01, 2006

In response to Harlow J. Keith�s June 23 letter, which addressed a June 11 article on the ex-gay ministry Exodus International, I address a couple of Keith�s misconceptions regarding homosexuality, reparative therapy and the �only way out� Exodus International and the evangelical Christian community portray.

Reparative therapy, the psychotherapeutic process pioneered by Joseph Nicolosi and Charles Socarides, is widely condemned by the vast majority of mental health professionals, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association. In addition, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers and the Royal College of Nursing also have renounced it. . . .

The supposed need for reparative therapy derives solely from this assumption, that homosexuality is a mental illness and, therefore, in need of treatment. The fact that this assumption is based on spiritual-scriptural interpretation, rather than on scientific research and evidence, is apparent in that most reparative-therapy practitioners and centers are financially backed and supported by conservative Christian transformational ministries. They maintain that homosexuality is a socially destructive and undesirable chosen behavior, and that change is necessary and possible. Despite contradictions with current mainstream research results, reparative-therapy supporters continue to use biased research to purport this therapy to be an effective and safe alternative to an unhappy lifestyle.

Reparative therapy is, in short, a tampering and manipulation of the mind and conscience, the psychological well-being of a human being, something that we as humans do not have the right to tamper with. It is interesting and peculiar that this segment of the Christian community, which claims confidence in the power of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, would stoop to and participate in such medically unsound, potentially psychologically harmful techniques simply to satisfy their own egos and scriptural understanding. . . .

What else can one say about the AFA and its affiliates� rhetoric and actions, the �ex-gay� sham -- that has strong ties to the Christian Right�s campaign against civil equality for gay and lesbian Americans -- other than their goal is to demean, denigrate, disenfranchise, and hurt gay and lesbian Americans and their families as much as possible and in any way possible.

But the Christian Right is not alone, or even the most extreme:

�Bounty� For Killing Gays At World Pride

July 11, 2006

(Jerusalem) Hundreds of leaflets distributed to homes in Jerusalem�s ultra-Orthodox area and other parts of the city overnight offer 20,000 Israeli new shekels or about $4,500 US to anyone who kills gays marching in next month�s World Pride in Jerusalem.

The flyers bore the name Red Arm for Salvation and said the money would go to �anyone who will cause the death of one of the Sodom and Gomorrah people.�

�During this parade, 300,000 corrupt animals are anticipated to march through the holy city of Jerusalem, waiting avidly for the chance to put themselves on display before our children and our sacred Torah. They will try as hard as they can to defile as many of our innocent children as they can,� the leaflets said.

The flyers also gave detailed instructions on how to make a Molotov cocktail, an incendiary bomb using a bottle, to be lobbed into the parade.

Organized religion and the self-serving, self-righteous dogma it inevitably produces may be the worst ideas humanity has ever concocted.

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