Earning their millstone necklaces

Matthew 18: 5-6 (KJV): “Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

First stop, North Carolina, where the religious right is crusading to pass Amendment One. Anti-gay discrimination is already part of state law, but Amendment One will make it part of the state’s constitution.

For a sense of the kind of people supporting this, meet Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville. Berean Baptist, the church’s website says, was founded in 1967 “in reaction to the liberal influence in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Pastor Harris’ sermon on Sunday commanded parents in his congregation to beat their children at the first sign of anything gay-ish. Here’s a summary from David Badash, who also posted audio from the sermon:

Pastor Sean Harris told parents they are “authorized,” and that he was “giving them a special dispensation” to attack their children. “Give them a good punch,” and “crack that wrist,” Harris told parents, if their four-year old boy, for example, “starts acting a little ‘girlish’.” Pastor Harris added that parents should tell their four-year olds to “man up, son, get that dress off you get outside and dig a ditch because that’s what boys do.”

… “Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see that son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch. OK? You’re not going to act like that — you were made by God to be a male and you’re going to be a male,” Pastor Harris tells his parishioners. …

“And when your daughter starts acting too ‘butch,’ you rein her in. And you say, ‘Oh no. Oh no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play ‘em, play ‘em to the glory of God, but sometimes you’re going to act like a girl and talk like a girl and talk like a girl, and smell like a girl, and that means you’re going to be beautiful, you’re going to be attractive, you’re going to dress yourself up’.”

Our second stop is in Ireland, where “offending one of these little ones” won’t get you in trouble with the church hierarchy, but offending the church hierarchy will.

In the Irish Times (via Bilgrimage), Fintan O’Toole writes that the “Vatican is loud on liberals, but silent on abuse.” O’Toole is not impressed with the Vatican’s newly efficient discipline when it comes to “liberal” Irish priests. Where was this remarkable efficiency when other priests were abusing children?

This is the institution that told us that it was unable to control child rapists in its ranks because it couldn’t just issue orders. Remember Cardinal Cahal Daly writing to the parents of a victim of the hideous abuser Brendan Smyth: “There have been complaints about this priest before, and once I had to speak to the superior about him. It would seem that there has been no improvement. I shall speak with the superior again.” Remember the stuff about how bishops were lords in their own dioceses and religious orders were their own kingdoms?

When priests were raping children, the institutional hierarchy was wringing its hands and pleading “what can we do?” The Vatican was very busy and very far away. But when a priest makes some mild suggestions that women might be entitled to equality, the church is suddenly an efficient police state that can whip that priest into line. The Vatican, which apparently couldn’t read any of the published material pointing to horrific abuse in church-run institutions, can pore over the Sunday World with a magnifying glass, looking for the minutest speck of heresy.

Matthew 18: 5-7 (KJV): “Woe unto the world because of offences, for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

  • PonyFanDerp

    See, now, you are all getting too upset over this. As a pastor, Harris speaks for God, and Jesus, and Heaven, and knows whats best for all Anericans, in all situations, at all times. So, clearly, when he talks about beating and abusing your children in either a physical manner or emotional, to get the gay (gayness? gayocity?) he preaches the will of Jesus Christ. You know, the long-haired, unemployed guy? hung out with hookers and poor people and minoriteis and advocated loving one’s neighbor, turning the other cheek and genreally NOT BENG A COLLOSAL F***ING DOUCHE-NOZZLE? That one. He clearly advocated child abuse and obviously Harris speaks for him.

    Right?

  • Lunch Meat

    “We know when you’re saying something seriously and when were supposed to just understand the intent and not the application,’ ” Harris said.

    So…you’re just supposed to intend to beat kids? You’re just supposed to think of QUILTBAG-ness as a beating-worthy offence, but you’re not actually supposed to apply it?

  • veejayem

    I’ll bring the wine.

  • Lori

    And the inevitiable non-apology has been issued.

    From Sean Harris’ personal blog (which I’m not linking to because, ew):

    I do not apologize for the manner in which the Word of God articulates sexual immorality, including homosexuality and effeminacy, as a behavior that is an abomination to God. Nothing in this official statement of retraction should be perceived as an apology for the overarching intent and message of the sermon and the need to define marriage as one man and one woman and to maintain the gender distinctions that God created from the beginning when He made them male and female (Genesis 1). I recognize that there are those in the LGBT community who believe that their sexual behavior is not sin. I do not agree with them and this official retraction should not be misunderstood as an apology for the gospel of Jesus Christ or the Word of God. I do not apologize for the manner in which I emphasized the importance of one man and one woman getting married and staying married for the benefit of their children and society.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    So…you’re just supposed to intend to beat kids? You’re just supposed to think of QUILTBAG-ness as a beating-worthy offence, but you’re not actually supposed to apply it?

    “Fear will keep the local systems in line..”

    You don’t need to actually beat kids; just force them to sit in the pews while the minister tells parents that God himself would approve of beating them in certain circumstances. Fear alone can be quite damaging.

    The not-pology is particularly impressive in its evolution.

    First, the pastor posted an “important clarification” to his sermon, saying in part:

    ….my words, from Sunday morning’s sermon, about effeminate behavior in children are being completely taken out of context…
    I do NOT believe physical force is capable of fixing effeminate behavior or homosexual behavior. Parents should not punch babies or children…I would never advocate for such discipline or actions on behalf of a father or mother.

    Someone must have pointed out that there’s actual recordings of him explicitly advocating for parents to punch their children, and it’s directly in the context of claiming that such physical force will modify effeminate behavior. Because then Mr. Harris issued his not-pology, which contains the following:

    The purpose of this document is to issue an official statement of retraction of any and all words that suggest that child abuse is appropriate… I should not have said what I said about “cracking,” “punching,” and particular bias toward outward attraction of girls. Nor should I have used the words “special dispensation.”

    So he’s retracted his remarks, but will not apologize for the mindset that birthed them. He’s sorry… that someone noticed what he said. He’s sorry… he got caught. And to my perspective, he’s just plain sorry.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    the LGBT community
    - in Harris’s non-apology.

    QUILTBAG people have already won.

    Why?

    Because even an extremely bigoted person like Harris has to use the appellation the non-straight community uses for itself (or a variant, anyway) rather than the one that he probably would like to use (cf. “queer” or other rude words), because to use the word “queer” or otherwise would mark him out too openly as an asshole and therefore not worth listening to.

    It’s only a matter of time. He’s on the wrong side of history.

  • Tricksterson

    Is it okay if I hear those responses in Gil Scott Heron’s voice?

  • Tricksterson

    Or just walk away from you and cost you a child.

  • Tricksterson

    A place where they’re forced to wear pink feather boas, thongs and glittery eye makeup?

  • Tricksterson

    Plus, who digs ditches now?  That’s what steam shavels and backhoes are for.  Plainly this is a man has who never left the 19th century and has no intention of doing so.

  • Tricksterson

    Oh I’m sure he did and I’m sure the son hates him while telling himself that he really loves him.

  • Tricksterson

    Yeah but you gotta admit, even among the vast field of his wretched ideas, that one stands out.

  • Tricksterson

    His logic is not like our Earth logic.

  • P J Evans

     With luck one of those gay kids will grow up and run a company that does pipeline construction work: trenchers, backhoes, cranes….

  • ReverendRef

     Oh my . . . now I’ve got a very scary image of James Dobson in a thong.

    Ewwwwww

  • Andrew Ridgway

    one of the strongest arguments against god’s existence is that so many of those who act in his name go about unsmitten.

  • Tricksterson

    I’m sorry.  (Hands ReverendRef a bottle of brain bleach)

  • everstar

    If my choices really are between breaking my kid’s wrist and burning next to him in hell, I’m with Mark Twain every time.

  • Raj1point618

    teh loldalek sez, “DO NOT WANT! DOOO NOT WANT! DOOOO NOT WAAAAANT!

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Pastor Sean makes me think of the Soldier from Team Fortress 2, only not funny.

    The Soldier:
    This is the problem with the youth of today: too much time inventing
    nonsense words, not enough time taking a bullet in the lung defending a
    hill. I don’t have to know what the hell twitters and texting and body
    sprays are to understand that they’re not the sort of thing men should
    be engaged in. Like conversations, or painting things that aren’t a
    house.

    The following is a short list of things men should be engaged in, at all times:

    1. Getting a haircut

    2. Yelling

    3. Digesting ribs

    4. Hill defense

    On the bright side, this probably means Pastor Sean doesn’t own a bazooka.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Argh, HTML formatting fail on that last post, sorry.
    and TW on the previous link:  Silly but bloody CGI violence.

    Here’s The Soldier, on masculinity:

    This is the problem with the youth of today: too much time inventing
    nonsense words, not enough time taking a bullet in the lung defending a
    hill. I don’t have to know what the hell twitters and texting and body
    sprays are to understand that they’re not the sort of thing men should
    be engaged in. Like conversations, or painting things that aren’t a
    house.

    The following is a short list of things men should be engaged in, at all times:

    1. Getting a haircut

    2. Yelling

    3. Digesting ribs

    4. Hill defense


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