Christian says Sean Harris is an asshole pastor

Quite possibly the best Christian blog post I’ve ever read comes from the relatively new – but awesomely titled – WTFaith.

Previously, I have called for Christians to start policing their own – wondering where these ‘moderates’ were all hiding. Why not put some distance between yourself and ‘punch your gay kids’ pastor Sean Harris, or the oligarchy in King, N.C.? Quality control involves kicking extremists to the fringe.

My plea ended like this:

Ridicule them, chastise them, teach them… do something!

WTFaith’s Daniel Mitchel accomplishes all three, and even avoids the No True Scotsman fallacy. Here are some excerpts, but you really should check out Daniel’s whole post.

Anyone who says that the Bible is “crystal clear” on the subject of homosexuality is, in my humble opinion, not researching this shit. I use the word “research” deliberately, because many people do not know that there is an argument against the sin nature of homosexuality. But there is.

Now, I have, in the past, mentioned that Jay Bakker got flack for taking a “radically inclusive” stance  that basically states that homosexuality is not a sin.Well, much of Jay Bakker’s position on  homosexuality is influenced by Rev. Mel White, who wrote this extremely helpful pamphlet about it. And while I do not feel that White has definitively answered the “gay” question once and for all, I think he presents data sufficient to cast doubt on the traditionally-iron-clad assumption that homosexuality is a sin.

Some people don’t see it that way, of course. The day after the article about the North Carolina “go ahead and beat your young flamers” pastor came out, Billy Graham made the news by publicly supporting Amendment One. Because he loves me, and he loves giving me things to poke fun at, Mr. Graham used my all time favorite catch phrase about the scripture.

“The Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.”

What I find so funny about the phrase “the Bible is clear” is that it is never used about things that are actually clear. Nobody ever says, “Dude, stop murdering people, the Bible is clear on that.” Idolatry - that is a sin the Bible is crystal clear on. Not taking care of the poor is definitely poo-poo’d. These are things for which the above statement can be appropriately used.

…snip…

When that guy in North Carolina talks about punching your sons if they act in an effeminate manner, I’m not upset because he’s just some asshole. I’m upset because he’s an asshole pastor.

“I’m gonna set back the church fer decades, YEEEEE-HAWWW!!”

Honestly, it’s time like this that I wish I had a mega-blog – not because I have an ego (although God knows) but because I wish I could be a loud voice in speaking out against this kind of anachronistic nonsense. I wish that anyone cared how I feel about Sean Harris’s hate-filled sermon. I wish more people knew that there is good, solid room for doubt about how the Bible addresses homosexuality. If you don’t know why that is, and you didn’t read the link I put up about Mel White’s pamphlet, seriously, read his pamphlet.  Maybe you won’t agree with it one hundred percent, but it can’t hurt to see an opposing viewpoint, right? At least it could start a positive conversation.

…snip… (note: avoiding ‘No True Scotsman!’)

And I know that Sean Harris isn’t really a bad guy. Neither is Billy Graham. Both of them are people who have dedicated their lives to doing a very difficult job, and they are my brothers in the Body of Christ.

But here’s the thing – part of a brother’s job is to tell people when they are being an asshole. It’s especially important now, because all those little kids who might get their wrist “cracked” because it was “limp”, they’re my brothers and sisters, too. And I love them just as much.

So, Pastor Sean Harris – I love you, brother, but you have some reading to do.

More like this, please! WTFaith also satisfies a rule I have – I don’t trust people who don’t swear. To clarify, I don’t trust people who say things like ‘frick’ instead of ‘fuck’. I know what they meant to say, so they are still swearing… and on top of that, they just frickin’ lied about which word they want to use.

Though, I must say that I have no empathy for awful people like Billy Graham. Sean Harris went on the defensive, attempting to convince everyone that he was taken out of context. He wasn’t! In case you didn’t see it yet, I interviewed him. After we got through his rehearsed answers to the easy questions, he said this:

www.youtube.com/embed/fFXlWtyN97M?

He said it again!

Other reporters were there, one TV crew was even filming this exchange. However, every single bit of journalism I saw framed the issue as “Oh hey, we were wrong about this dude. He apologized and said he wouldn’t beat kids.”

He gets a free pass because all of those reporters decided what their story was about before they even got there. They read his retraction and believed it. Lazy and unethical journalism, clearly. Hopefully their false ‘redemption stories’ never grabbed the same headlines as his initial blunder.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the post at WTFaith. You should check it out and leave a comment!

About Justin Griffith
  • Jim

    >wondering where these ‘moderates’ were all hiding.

    You probably won’t find them on sites where all the headlines are “lol another stupid fundie does something stupid. upvotes to the left”

  • Justin Griffith

    Jim, I’m not talking about at my site. I’m referring to Christians on Christian sites, and in real life, and in the media.

    FYI – I helped Priscilla organize the protest at his church that preceded this interview. We actually did end up getting some support from Christians – albeit mostly from the battle-hardened LGBT crew.

    This post is interesting because it illustrates a young straight christian calling out this horrible man – just like all the other Christians should be doing. They need to boot child-beaters to the extremist fringe like WBC.

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    While I appreciate that calling the pastor an asshole is better than ignoring or supporting him, I hardly think doing so warrants praise. Daniel Mitchell merely said what he should have said.

    As well, by insisting that interpreting the bible is a valid method of determining morality, he is enabling assholes like Harris. Mitchell insists that one can look at the bible and determine right and wrong…reason and empathy be damned. Well, guess what? That’s the same bullshit rationale Harris uses to determine that it is morally right to beat children. They just interpret the same bullshit text a different way. Mitchell is really just cherry picking those biblical passages and interpretations that don’t offend his reason and empathy while ignoring those that do, thereby proving he doesn’t need the damn book in the first place, but he’s too brainwashed to even realize it. He should not provide credibility to those who cherry pick those parts that satisfy their bigotry.

  • Jim

    >Mitchell is really just cherry picking those biblical passages and interpretations that don’t offend his reason and empathy while ignoring those that do, thereby proving he doesn’t need the damn book in the first place, but he’s too brainwashed to even realize it. He should not provide credibility to those who cherry pick those parts that satisfy their bigotry.

    I dare you to post that comment on his blog and see what happens. For Science, right?

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    I did post it on his blog

  • Leo

    Yeah, I was going to make comments similar to MarkNS. I skimmed over the pamphlet Mitchel refers to and part of it was the “You’re interpreting it wrong!” argument. Harris can pretty much just come back and say that it is the moderates/liberal who are interpreting it wrong.

    The one positive part of the pamphlet was that it did have a “Look at all this bullshit* in the Bible” argument. That’s more like it! Except it still leaves a problem of “How do you determine what’s bullshit in the Bible?” Likewise, “Why should I accept that what the Bible says on homosexuality is bullshit?”

    * In homage of Dan Savage.

  • Rock Puppet

    >I dare you to post that comment on his blog and see what happens. For Science, right?

    FOR SCIENCE! It must be done.

  • Justin Griffith

    There are two things about the pamphlet that I liked:

    1) It is aimed at Christians.

    2) The profound 1958 statement –

    Greek scholars don’t know exactly what arsenokoitai means. And a good part of this tragic debate is that we don’t know. Some scholars believe that Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of “the effeminate call boys.” We would call them “dirty old men.” Others translate it as “sodomites” and never explain what that means.

    Then, in 1958, for the first time in history a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided that it meant homosexuals; when in fact there is no such word in Greek or in Hebrew. But at that time, a translator decided to make the decision for all of us that placed the word “homosexual” in the English-language Bible for the very first time.

    In the past, people used Paul’s writings to support slavery, segregation and apartheid. People are still using Paul’s writings to oppress women, and to limit their role in the home, in church and in society.

    Now, we have to ask ourselves, “Is it happening again?”

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    To clarify…I didn’t post exactly that comment. I reworded to make sense as a response to him and expanded on the ideas a little. Posted under the name kafoodie.

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    And it’s “awaiting moderation”

  • oldebabe

    Well, all this is if you think the compilation of stories and verses in the `Bible’ is some kind of authority. Personally, I find that it is just an amalgam of other peoples opinions, thoughts, etc. from a long time ago…

  • Jim

    @MarkNS

    >To clarify…I didn’t post exactly that comment. I reworded to make sense as a response to him and expanded on the ideas a little. Posted under the name kafoodie.

    I saw it. I also saw that you left out this important sentence:

    >Mitchell is really just cherry picking those biblical passages and interpretations that don’t offend his reason and empathy while ignoring those that do, thereby proving he doesn’t need the damn book in the first place, but **he’s too brainwashed to even realize it**.

    But don’t worry…I’ve sent him a link to your original, unedited comment, and it is also “awaiting moderation.” So he will know that you think that he is literally brainwashed.

  • efrique

    kudos for pointing out a moderate actually calling them on it.

  • Justin Griffith

    >Well, all this is if you think the compilation of stories and verses in the `Bible’ is some kind of authority.

    The Bible is clearly loaded with crazy shit, and that we can agree on. The point of this is to say – finally someone on their side sees the need to ‘police their own’. And he even did it without committing the ‘no true scotsman’ fallacy!

    To be sure, I think all religion is bad. Moderate religion is indeed a grenade with the pin still in. However, in order to protect children now – any and all tactics are welcome.

    It’s not good enough for me to simply say “ha ha ha, they are so dumb about religion.” That’s one tactic – and it’s a good one – humor is a very powerful weapon for change. Another good tactic is engaging them on the internet and in real life for counter-apologetics. Obviously, this is very helpful and successful, and I do this too. This other tactic of encouraging them to become moderate on this issue may or may not work. If it does work, then perhaps lives will be saved. I prefer to check more than just one box, and try all the strategies simultaneously.

    Gay kids get beaten up at school, and then they come home to it too? Fuck everything about that.

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    Jim,

    Am I supposed to be upset that Daniel now knows I think he’s brainwashed? Okay, I was a little more polite (and not very polite at that) when commenting on his blog as I was trying to provoke a discussion. So what? He is brainwashed…just like every other christian, jew or muslim in the world. Believing nonsense without evidence only happens to those who have been indoctrinated (i.e. brainwashed) in some way. They are irrational, deluded and, frankly, damn annoying.

  • Jim

    That must be tough, going through life thinking that almost everyone around is literally the product of a secret CIA MK-Ultra brainwashing program and literally has Stockholm Syndrome, and also is literally a Manchurian Candidate.

    You probably have quick reflexes though.

  • http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com MarkNS

    Jim,

    Now you’re just being silly. Do you know what “literally” means?

  • Jim

    Yes I do.

    In fact, I understand the definition of “literally” so well that I know for a fact that CHRISTIANS ARE LITERALLY HITLER!!!!!

    Not only are Christians Literally Hitler, but if you disagree with that, then you are…

    …*drumroll*…

    …De-lusional!!!!

  • Justin Griffith

    Well played, Jim

    Godwin – it’s not just a good idea, it’s the Law.

  • anubisprime

    So we got ourselves one xian with a modicum of integrity…and probably 5 million other ‘brothers in christ’…with no clue that the word ‘integrity’ actually exists…not brilliant odds I would hazard!

  • http://fakedrudge.com Fake Drudge

    I go to a pretty swinging church these days, but just can’t bring myself to say FUCK or SHIT in the place, even if there aren’t any blue-hairs in this particular joint. Do you curse under the steeple of your father, or in the disco-mini-mall church of your kids? Granted if either of my pastors reads my blog they gotta be prepared for some adult entertainment, but still I’d like them to be able to recommend it.

    I try not to curse in front of the kids period, but they exasperate so…

  • Justin Griffith

    I guess it’s an army thing. I don’t want to fucking comment ;)

  • Tony

    Jim @16:

    That must be tough, going through life thinking that almost everyone around is literally the product of a secret CIA MK-Ultra brainwashing program and literally has Stockholm Syndrome, and also is literally a Manchurian Candidate.

    If you weren’t brainwashed into your beliefs, how did you come by them?

    It seems you’re not one of the millions (if not billions) of people around the world who are raised from birth already within a particular religious belief system. Clearly you didn’t have one particular religion that shaped your life for many of your early, impressionable years. As a child you must have been different than so many other children. You must not have been swayed by religious beliefs impressed upon you before you learned how to assess those beliefs critically. I’ve got to say I’m impressed. How do you do it? Given that so many people are reared within a particular religion from birth…given that children don’t develop the essential critical thinking skills before having their parents’ religion a constant presence in their life (similar to Santa, though a bit more significant)…you must have some secret. Tell us, how do you avoid believing the same stuff as your parents, thus avoiding the brainwashing effect (perhaps indoctrination would work better for you)?

    P.S. since you weren’t brainwashed/indoctrinated into a religious belief system, did you take the time as you grew to examine the various world religions to determine which one worked best for you? What criteria did you use to determine which religion was truthful and which ones were not? Am I correct in thinking that you chose a belief system with a more progressive mentality? I mean no one in their right mind would pick a belief system that advocates stoning teenagers, chopping off the hand of a woman, blaming people for the actions of their ancestors, casting off ones family to follow a prophet, killing homosexuals, owning slaves, raping women, or committing worldwide genocide by way of a flood. Those who are part of such a system must obviously have been brainwashed from a young age. They were force fed a particular belief before they were able to think about it critically. Sadly, unlike Santa Claus, these children are never informed that said belief system was made up a long time ago by some mysterious men in a faraway land.

  • Tony

    Justin:

    At Dan Mitchel’s recommendation, I read Mel White’s pamphlet, and found it intriguing once or twice, but ultimately I didn’t like it. While he didn’t employ “No True Scotsman”, his assertion that people are “interpreting the bible incorrectly” was fucking annoying. As if there’s some magical way to read that horrible book the “right” way.

    I also can’t respect some of the information since he provides no citation. This is especially relevant with regard to the supposed 1958 mis-translation. While I can search for the information myself, by failing to provide any citation for his sources, Mel White undermines his credibility. Even though he apparently was doing this for good reasons, he wound up employing some of the same tactics as other preachers in the pulpit: telling people things with the expectation that they’re just going to believe him. I would like people to understand that bigotry against myself and other LGBT is morally wrong and unjustifiable. We need people to think for themselves, not blindly follow an ideology, no matter how attractive and seemingly progressive it is.


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