Thank God The Christian Right Will Be Destroyed By Its Homophobia

 

This article  is by Valerie Tarico and was first was published by AlterNet as “Will the Christian Right Hang Itself With Its Own Homophobia?

 

 

When teenagers, even many Christian teenagers, look at the Christian right’s homophobia these days, it makes no sense to them. It just looks ugly.

With marriage equality battles in front of the voters in four states, the faithful are out in flocks to defend traditional wedlock. I don’t know exactly what traditional means in this context. It certainly doesn’t mean biblical, or it would include captive virgins and sex slaves and fathering children for your deceased brothers.

But whatever.  I hope they fight tooth and nail and keep fighting until they are so old that their teeth and nails fall out. The battles are expensive, but they are worth every penny. Why? Because of all the nasty things that religion is doing in our country, beating up on gays is one of the most visibly nasty, especially to the young people who will be shaping our future. When teenagers, even many Christian teenagers, look at it, it makes no sense to them. It just looks ugly. So bad, in fact, that Christian homophobia may have the power to take down the whole ugly edifice of tribal text worship that has had Western culture in its grip for the last 500 years, also known as bibliolatry. Fundamentalists fear that homosexuality is going to do in their enterprise. I hope and pray to the universe that homophobia does.

To some extent, religion is big business, and when it comes to gay marriage Big Christianity has hired some of the best political ad consultants around. They are sophisticated; they have won at the ballot box 32 times since 1998. But every time they win and force us to have this conversation one more time, they expose the toxic consequences of fundamentalist thinking.

 

At best the anti-gay ads are arrogant and othering; at worst, they are plain old mean. They insinuate between pop songs that nice gay people who have the legal protection of civil unions shouldn’t want the stuff that feels special to the rest of us. They remind anxious queer-ish, questioning teens that a whole bunch of people think they really ought to fit the gender binary. They suggest that the pigtailed kindergartener in your daughter’s class should keep her two beloved mommies a little secret. They imply that your neighbor, friend or brother is a moral question mark who shouldn’t be around your kids or maybe even his own.

Sermons and pastoral pronouncements can be even worse.  Mega-church minister Ken Hutcherson, who has railed against effeminate men, once joked to his congregation that if a man opened a door for him he would “rip off his arm and beat him with the wet end.” More recently he warned that if marriage equality becomes the law of the land, “you can marry a horse.”  Seattle’s Catholic Archbishop Peter Sartain pronounced that marriage “would be harmed beyond repair” if equality passed. Hutcherson was trying to elicit disgust (and laughter) among believers, but men of the cloth like Hutcheron and Sartain are actually stirring disgust among a lot of other people—and not against gays. When it comes to sexual matters, whether the topic be pedophilia, contraception, celibacy, masturbation, or orientation, fewer and fewer people think of the authoritarian Church as father- knows-best.

 

There are lots of important reasons to loathe and to fight against Iron Age thinking, as transmitted through over-valued ancient texts, and encrusted institutions, and social communities built on both. Thanks in large part to the Church, women around the world are dying, literally, for lack of contraceptive access when what they really want is to “bring every good thing to one child before I have another.” Here at home, poor women are stuck with 1960’s Pill technology that they can buy on the cheap at Walmart while the Righteous oppose the kind of coverage that would give them genuinely modern options. The sacred web of life on our planet is being strained to the point of collapse while religions that are stuck in the past preach “be fruitful and multiply” and other forms of competitive breeding. Creationist contortionists have committed themselves to taking down the edifice of evolutionary biology—putting the next generation of scientific education and engineering, medicine and biotechnology at risk—rather than question their inerrant Bible. Their assault on science has undermined our ability to tackle the greatest moral challenge of our time, climate change, and extreme weather is hitting vulnerable communities in America and elsewhere. Meanwhile, as the Middle East dances at the edge of catastrophic conflict, close to half of Americans shrug their shoulders because of something an unknown author using apocalyptic code language that sounds hallucinogenic wrote about the Roman Empire.

But each of these issues, for one reason or another, is harder than gay bashing to hang around the neck of Conservative Christians. The linkage is less direct or more convoluted, or simply less visible. Some of these problems—like maternal mortality or the ever growing number of hungry children or the ever shrinking number of even hungrier animals—are complicated. Religious fundamentalism is mixed with a host of other causal factors, and the solutions are even more tangled. Some problems, like shoddy creationist textbooks and shiny creationist museums, are isolated in specific communities and so seem not to touch us, even though in the end they do.

 

Gay rights, though, is everywhere, because gay people are everywhere. They surprise us as Honey Boo Boo’s Uncle Poodle or Dick Cheney’s daughter, Mary, who, by the way, got married this fall. They show up as my best friend, Meilin, at Wheaton College (the Illinois one of Billy Graham fame) or as my younger brother, David, or as the beloved but wildly effeminate son of a Mormon client who would rather stop loving her religion than stop loving her child. They show up as your neighbor or niece or even your grandmother, if only you are listening.  Sexual orientation has no regard for politics, social class, or religion.

 

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder of Wisdom Commons. She is the author of “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light” and “Deas and Other Imaginings.” Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.

 

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • http://wholenewmom.com Adrienne

    I find this article to be sad. Just because some people have said things in a sinful matter about homosexuals does not mean that anyone who things homosexuality is a sin is a “homophobe”.

    And clearly, the author isn’t quite the most winsome person either. To “thank God” that the Christian right will be destroyed is not the nicest thing to do say, is it?

    The author also needs to be better acquainted with what “gay rights” is. A desire for homosexuals to destroy marriage. Marriage is, by definition, between a man and a woman and for gays to say they want that makes no sense b/c of what it is by definition. Logically, if homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land, polygamy will follow and it (and other “configurations of marriage)) is already being proposed in the U.S.

    I sin daily and I am am always willing to call it for what it is. Christians need to stand up for what is right and call sin “sin”. But just because we say that homosexuality is a sin doesn’t mean we despise the sinners. It also doesn’t mean that I am a “homophobe.” It just means that I believe what the Bible says, regardless of how uncomfortable that teaching may make me.

    • NakedAnthropologist

      Really? This sounds like you are whining to me – you want to act like a bigot by outlawing practices that don’t harm anybody because you consider them “sin” but are offended when people call you out on it. The Jews I know don’t eat pork, but they don’t try to make bacon illegal because breakfast is between a man and his bagel. Feel free not to marry someone of the same sax as you, it doesn’t effect me or anybody else – but do others the same courtesy by not trying deny our fellow citizens their basic civil rights because your interpretation of Christian theology doesn’t like gay people.

      • kate

        “breakfast is between a man and his bagel”

        Comment of the week :)

    • http://www.DestinationNetwork Garth

      For your sake, I hope that ignorance is bliss. Gay marriage is already happening, and is it hurting you? I think not. How is it that you feel so superior to anyone else on this planet that they are not entitled to all that you enjoy. Definitions change all the time, beginning with single mothers and family; new words are added to the dictionary every year. All you have to do is listen to others and hear their story. They are no different than you and all men and women are created equal. The Religious right is against abortion, unless it grows up to be black or gay…and then they want to take away the rights of a baby they fought for so desperately. What’s up with that. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Live and let live!” Get on with your life and get out of others. Love one another and celebrate everyone’s differences. It’s a fine way to live-you should try it.

    • kate

      “But just because we say that homosexuality is a sin doesn’t mean we despise the sinners. ”

      Except that’s exactly what it does mean. You are telling gays that even in the context of a loving committed relationship they must deny an essential element of their being, they must deprive themselves of the perfectly natural intimacy and joy that married couples take as their right, and they must make themselves believe that their normal, natural sex.ual urges are wicked. Not only that, but they must do it FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES with no possibility of change.

      That’s not love. That’s psychological torture.

      Don’t kid yourself. That whole “love the sinner hate the sin” thing is NOT love. The people on the receiving end of it do NOT feel loved. The effect on their lives is hateful, damaging and destructive and YOU need to take responsibility for the harm you are inflicting. The fact that your Christian conscience seems content with that, is one key reason why I (and millions like me) have abandoned your hateful religion.

    • Adam J

      “I believe what the Bible says, regardless of how uncomfortable that teaching may make me.”

      … and that is your problem.

      Regardless you do sound like a bigoted narcissist and despite what you think you don’t have a right to tell ANYONE how to live their life.

    • Jasmyn

      We have already changed the definition of marriage, however. Fathers can no longer sell their daughters into marriages. Women are no longer required to marry their rapists. Women can now marry for love rather than social standing in their “caste” (Yes, I am aware that is technically part of the Hindu religion, but it is undeniable that every culture, at one point, required people to marry within their own social class. Look at Victorian England.), and they are no longer required to either A) marry the father of their child, or B) give the child up for adoption, should they become pregnant out of wedlock. What would be the harm in reworking the definition once again?

      A marriage is a relationship based on the primal feelings of love, trust, honor, and respect. As long as two people start their life together with those qualifications, then their gender shouldn’t come into play.And if your marriage is based on the principles as well, then you shouldn’t be affected by two men, two women, or another man and woman getting married and experiencing the same level of happiness you are allowed with your own spouse day in and day out. Our culture would do better to require pre-marital workshops to ensure spouses are suited and decrease divorce rates than they would spending millions of dollars to deny people their right to get married.

      Oh, and until you decide to murder your children for back-talking (Leviticus 20:9), do not cite religion for your prejudice.

    • Mary

      I can always tell the difference between a homophobe and someone who just disagrees with homosexuality in principle. It is the hysterical language involved. “Gays are out to destroy traditional marriage!”

      Gays being out to destroy marriage is as true as inter-racial couples being out to destroy “traditional” marriage-which is not at all.

      If the religious right dies, it will be their own fault. They will die under the weight of their own hubris. I will not shed any tears.

  • courtney

    And who says Christians get to decide what the definition of marriage is? You realize that marriage wasn’t even created by Christians, right? You realize that different cultures and different religions have different definitions, right?

    This is the United States of America: a democracy. If we want to change the definition of marriage so that it includes all humans, then we have a right to do that.

    • http://aol.com/mail Evelyn

      Actually, regardless of where it originated from, marriage has always been between a man and a woman. Do some research on Egypt, the Mayans, etc. Sorry you are so misinformed about what marriage is….

      • kate

        @”marriage has always been between a man and a woman”

        Even if you were right (which you aren’t) what relevance would that have in a 21st century democracy. Historically, women couldn’t vote and blacks were slaves. If “because it always was” was a valid argument, no laws would ever change.

      • Adam J

        Evelyn– As a matter of fact you know nothing. Stop professing to have a unique perspective when you clearly are anti-intellectual. There is no restriction of gender in the definition of marriage. You clearly are trying to force you agenda witch insults our intelligence.

      • gimpi1

        I’m afraid you’re mistaken, Evelyn. All of the societies you mention were actually polygamist. Some allowed for concubines, sort of a cross between a wife and a slave. Some required parents to arrange and approve of any marriage. Some permitted the wife to literally be bought, and treated her as a slave. Some permitted divorce, some didn’t. Most of them have virtually nothing in common with marriage as a voluntary partnership between equals, the sort of marriage most of us have today.

  • http://aol.com/mail Evelyn

    Sorry I forgot to include this but marriage is a religious thing, not government. Separation of state and church etc etc, therefore it should not ever be part of something that involved voting through the state of government. I am an agnostic bisexual by the way, so no this is not some bible thumping crazy lady with homophobic values.

    • kate

      “marriage is a religious thing, not government”

      You have that exactly the wrong way around. It is a civil, secular contract governed by civil, secular laws. If you want a religious union, and you want to call it marriage, go right ahead. It has no legal force.

  • James

    Christians don’t read their bibles. They know the passage from Leviticus, a man shall not lie with another man, but has anyone really read the rest of this crazy ass book? The author Moses-whose historical identity has never been confirmed, apparently wants us to know how to sacrice lambs and grain and what type of fur to wear during a ceremony. The best parts of the book include condoning the owning and beating of slaves(if you don’t kill them and they aren’t your kind) and of course banishing a woman when she is on her period (maybe not the worst idea). Obviously this was a book written for superstitios desert dwellers, not 21 Century people. If you take this stuff literal you need to find the nearest mental institution or mega church.

  • Rose

    Marriage has existed between people of the same gender in MANY cultures, not the least of which a variety of Native American cultures, which consider such marriages sacred, and have been believing and practicing that for a long time before the Europeans came.

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  • Donalbain

    What religion is involved when a couple get married in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator?


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