Al Mohler's confessed "fascination" with homosexuality (see below) sent me back to a "Shop & Save" column I wrote for PRISM magazine in 1999.
In that column I noted — and praised — the relatively recent recognition by conservative evangelicals of the idea that investment and consumer decisions should be in accord with one's professed values. Evidence of this newfound recognition included the Timothy Plan (a socially screened mutual fund) and the Family Research Council's program (now defunct) on "Stewardship and Corporate Responsibility."
It was such an unexpected delight, I wrote, to see the FRC using a phrase like "corporate responsibility" that I didn't want to douse this timid spark by criticizing the rather limited list of social concerns that these efforts took into account. It was particularly curious, I pointed out, that the largest component of FRC's program had to do with what it referred to as "Homo-, bi- and transsexuality." Hence the column's title: "Buy Curious."
The remainder of the column explores the idea that one might be able to write things one otherwise wouldn't be able to in an Evangelical Press Association publication if one uses really long, elliptical sentences.
The FRC Web site points out that American church members "generate $2,952 trillion* in annual income." This means the purchasing power of the "religious" market vastly outweighs the paltry $220 trillion* a year "gay market." Our values are bigger than their values. The rallying cry is clear: use the economic might of Christian America to prevent h/b/ts from subverting our culture via health insurance and shows like "Ellen."
It may seem a bit odd, in a world of human rights abuses, ethnic cleansing, ecological and agricultural decay, sweatshop exploitation, child labor, religious persecution and persistent racism, that the most powerful, affluent and educated Christians in the history of the world have chosen to concentrate their efforts combating corporations that provide generous health care for their employees' Significant Others because, while these benefits may only go to aid ailing parents or siblings, they may also aid Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters or, even worse (and the worst thing, apparently, that we can imagine) Persons of the Same Sex Sharing Living Quarters.
One might even ask whether this particular choice of priorities does not reflect something askew in the brand of Christianity that has evolved in our culture — and whether this apparent obsession with sex doesn't betray something unseemly and leering about us. One need not even disagree with the FRC's stance on the specific issue of domestic partner benefits to explore whether their preoccupation with h/b/ts doesn't reflect some kind of irrational or subrational fear, and whether such phobias properly determine the agenda for a people whose priorities are supposed to reflect those of Christ and of Scripture — although perhaps it's better to avoid loosening the lid on that particular can of worms and not risk troubling the deep waters of psychological and/or childhood trauma that might await anyone willing to ask, directly, just why this particular sin, of all sins, seems at once so utterly repugnant, yet strangely compelling and fascinating, to so many of our coreligionists.
That's about when I realized I needed to quit that job.
* (The way-too-high-seeming figures are the FRC's.)