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Christian Pastors Partying Like It’s 538-332 BC

by Benjamin Phillips on June 10, 2012

in Benjamin Phillips

This is the best time in the history of the planet to be homosexual. New York was added to the marriage equality club, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is now the embarrassing relic of the past, and we have never had a better ally in the White House than President Barack Obama. Public opinion is on our side for the first time in the history of the country, and our movement has finally obtained the momentum necessary to see even broader successes in the future. Things are better than they ever have been, and the future promises profound gains in our struggle for full national equality.

Perhaps due to these victories, it becomes more and more difficult for the gay community to appropriately quantify for the general public the depth of opposition we still face. Our society is a little drunk with progress, and it is easy to mistakenly assume that the fight is all but over. I wish that were true, and I wish all this progress made me feel better about the state of things.

Let’s look at those polls. Back in 1996, according to the New York Times, support for gay marriage was about 25%. I am guessing this number was primarily made up of gay people, hardcore progressives, and the families of those gay people forward thinking enough to cast their prejudices away and embrace equality. The most recent polls show that this has grown to around 54%. Great right? Look at those gains!

 


Genocide. Awesome. Not only do I have to deal with the fact that my boyfriend and I can’t get married because of Jesus reasons, I also get to live in a world where fundamentalist Christians want me and my millions of LGBT brothers and sisters put to death.


 

Except that sucks. 54% fails any class on earth. The same poll shows 40% opposed. It’s these people I am concerned with. If I filled a room with 10 people. 6 of them think I am a person, 4 of them do not. Of those four, one of them is this guy, New Hope Baptist Church Pastor Curtis Knapp.

“[Gays] should be put to death, that’s what happened in Israel, that’s why homosexuality wouldn’t have grown in Israel,” Pastor Knapp says. “It tends to limit conversions, it tends to limit people coming out of the closet. ‘Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them?’ No, I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should. Say, ‘I can’t believe you, you’re horrible, you are a backwards Neanderthal of a person.’ Is that what they are calling scripture? Is God a Neanderthal backwards morality? Is this his word or not? If it’s his word, he commanded it. It’s his idea, not mine, and I’m not ashamed of it.”

Genocide. Awesome. Not only do I have to deal with the fact that my boyfriend and I can’t get married because of Jesus reasons, I also get to live in a world where fundamentalist Christians want me and my millions of LGBT brothers and sisters put to death. Fantastic news. I can’t adequately describe for straight people the feeling you get when large groups of your fellow citizens, people who you have never even met, much less harmed in any way, passionately advocate for the execution of you or anyone like you. I really didn’t need this in my day.

Really look at that statement. He is saying four things:

  1. Homosexuals should be rounded up and murdered.
  2. The collection and extermination of homosexuals should be the official policy of the United States government. He sounds almost annoyed by the idea that he would personally have to do any of this killing, instead insisting that it is the job of the government to stage this particular public policy. This is apparently one government program he can get behind. Socialized Genocide. What fun he must be at parties.
  3. This would “limit the conversation” and keep people in the closet. I expect this part is likely true.
  4. I may be wrong, but he appears to believe that there are no homosexuals in Israel. This may be a bit of a surprise to the many LGBT Israelis living and working in Israel.

This isn’t just one psychopath’s extreme view. This stuff crops up all the time. Here is another one from last week. This time, the pastor has a plan.

“Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there,” Pastor Worley says, as his sermon builds. ”Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

Apart from the basic incoherence of this statement, I find myself a little confused about the overall concept. Gay people come largely from straight parents. You can round us all up for today, but we are genetically impossible to entirely eliminate. New models come out all the time. Are fresh homosexuals going to be arrested and sent to this concentration camp upon discovery of their sexuality? Are there going to be special police assigned to “round up the homos” detail, or are the regular beat cops going to be expected to do this dirty work? What of children? If a 13-year old boy comes out of the closet, do you wait until he’s 18 to imprison and then murder him, or do you tear him from the arms of his parents right then? Is there food in this camp, or are we intended to starve to death? I’m just not sure how this is all supposed to work. Details are important.

 


If you are opposed to equal rights for LGBT people on religious grounds, then you must therefore support the part about killing all of us. I didn’t make this up, your guy did, and you can’t have it both ways.


 

Two pastors, two different states. These are simply two examples of anti-gay genocidal religious extremism, only notable due to their close proximity in the news cycle. What percentage of fundamentalist Christians feel this way? If it is a number higher than zero, then Christianity has a problem. Keep in mind, these churches aren’t empty on Sunday. Pastor Worley was immediately defended by his parishioners.

“So he had every right to say what he said, about putting them in a pen, feeding them. The Bible says they’re worthy of death. He only preaches the word,” says Geneva Sims of the Pastor’s plan to kill gay people. Sims is a parishioner of Pastor Worley and fully supports him.

The problem here is that she is absolutely correct. That is exactly what the bible says. I turn to Leviticus 20:13.

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

That seems pretty clear. The problem for me here is one of intellectual consistency. As religious conservatives can’t wait to remind everyone, the Bible is straight forward about this subject, and those passages are the basis for most of the resistance seen by the 40%. However, if the word of God is basis enough to deny homosexuals the right to marry, then what is to be done about the “put to death” part. Which is it? Is the word of God literal truth, or not? I get that some parts of the Bible are somewhat ignored. The slavery stuff, and the horrifying treatment of women are mostly avoided. People seem to be plenty busy on the sabbath, and there is enough divorce and adultery to fuel 1000 reality shows a minute. But with the Leviticus passage, mainstream conservative political figures are attempting to both disavow, and enforce, two parts of the exact same sentence. If you are opposed to equal rights for LGBT people on religious grounds, then you must therefore support the part about killing all of us. I didn’t make this up, your guy did, and you can’t have it both ways. If I will be forced to live under these rules, despite my not being Christian, then I just want to be able to make sense of them. In these times of oppression at the hands of our Christian rulers, even an Atheist has to be a little bit of a biblical scholar.

 


The Christian community, by not explicitly denouncing these people in large, public, and explicit terms, are tacitly endorsing these extreme views. Every pastor preaching genocide should be met with one hundred preaching love and acceptance.


 

Keep this in mind as you hear these people call for the death of all gays. This kind of hate doesn’t belong only to the Westboro Baptist Church. There are hundreds of Westboro Baptist Churches out there, and these people aren’t kidding. This isn’t hyperbole for them. This is a matter no less important than the preservation of their their immortal soul, and the salvation of what they see as a morally bankrupt society. These people are trying to be good Christians. If we are ever going to have real progress on LGBT issues, we need to be honest about where everyone stands, and who asked them to stand there. Christianity is a large component, justification, and sanctuary for hate based anti-gay bigotry.

Is this all Christians? Of course not. Does this make up all of what Christianity is about? Also no. But those decent, good hearted Christians who take the long view of history by supporting equal rights for all of our nation’s citizens have a responsibility. As a card carrying Sodomite, it is unlikely that anything I say will have much sway over those who wish nothing more than my federally mandated execution. It is up to decent, non-genocidal Christians to clean up this mess. Know that when people like Pastors Worley and Knapp give fiery speeches about how horrible gay people are, and how awesome it would be if the government would exterminate us, this reflects on Christianity as a whole. This dogmatic quagmire isn’t our problem to solve. This war needs to be waged in the pews of every country church, and in the hearts of every decent Christian. The Christian community, by not explicitly denouncing these people in large, public, and explicit terms, are tacitly endorsing these extreme views. Every pastor preaching genocide should be met with one hundred preaching love and acceptance. Christianity must get its house in order. Christians must adapt their dogma for the modern age, or embrace the basic hatred at the heart of those passages. Either the homosexuality part of the Bible is to be ignored, or homosexual genocide is part of the Christian platform. Anything else is either cynical political posturing, or a demonstration of shockingly poor reading comprehension skills. Again, I didn’t make these rules. Your guy did. Either these passages are to be taken seriously, or they aren’t.

Either way, let me know about the fence. If you are going to round up all gay people and throw them in an electrified desert pen, I’d like to pack a few things for what will surely be the party of the century. Think Bonaroo, but with better alcohol. We’ll have people waiting in long, long lines trying to get into our side of the fence.

Benjamin Phillips is a Humor Writer, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.

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{ 11 comments }

Scott_Rose June 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

Mussolini and the Vatican collaborated in demonizing Italy's homosexuals, many of whom were deported to concentration camps. Most victims were sent to concentration camps outside of Italy, but there was one concentration camp near Trieste. Today, a memorial to the gay victims stands at that site. Mussolini's grand-daughter, though, has said that it is better to be a fascist than a faggot.

BearFlagCitizen June 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

The problem with these kinds of Christians is, they only use the Bible when it's convenient to their cause celebre. That part in Leviticus about kicking your woman out of your home while she's in her moon cycle? (Leviticus 15:19) We can ignore that one. And that one about cutting your hair at the temples? (Leviticus 19:27) Nope, don't need to follow that one. Shellfish? Making sacrificial offerings? Cotton-poly blend clothing? Nope, nope, nope…does not apply to THEM, only towards people they hate. When you call these Christians on their duplicity, they merely come back and say, well those rules only apply to the Jewish people, or to *other* people. "We're Jesus' followers," they'l proudly proclaim. Yet still, "Thou shalt not lie with a man," seems to be their rallying cry against gays everywhere.

The second problem is the other Christians, the ones who lead by Jesus' examples, do NOT stand up and put these people in their place. They are guilty by their complacency to let these religious nutjobs continue their hatred. And if you think these nutjobs don't have an influence on people, think again. How many of the parishioners of those two pastors spoke out against them? How many stood up, walked out and picketed their church? And it's not just these fringe Baptist preachers in small churches. Let's take a look at the modern conservative Evangelical movement for a minute. Almost all of them are conservative, do not believe that gays are equal and should absolutely be denied marriage in all cases. Take the capacity of *just* the top 10 Evangelical megachurches, multiply times the number of services they have per weekend (most have three), and what you get is the population the size of small city like Sacramento CA, every weekend, all hearing the message that gays are not deserving of equality. Or worse, that gays are evil, predators, immoral, diseased and so on. How many of *these* parishioners walk out of THEIR megachurches and picket their church and say this is not Jesus' message? They either quietly sit there and make excuses, "Well not everyone believes like this," or if they do leave, don't do anything to stand up against the hatred. These people are NOT our allies!

Christianity as an organized religion is fundamentally broken at all levels. And it's not that I have a thing against Christianity or am anti-Christian, far from it. I think Jesus had many fine things to say and serves as a good example of living a life of charity, humbleness and servitude to even the least of people. The problem lies with the preachers and pastors who grasp their position of power and authority with iron claws, and also lies with the parishioners who simply refuse to engage their brains for themselves and instead follow blindly what their preachers tell them to believe, instead of by living their lives by Jesus' example.

cntrygrlsrbest June 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I agree with you 110%. I am definitely not Anti-Christian at all myself. I am a proud Christian, but i am Anti-Religion. I do not have a Religion or a Church that I attend. I am a a Christian I study the Bible, I pray, and I sit with others like myself and discuss our views on what we get from reading the Bible. That is what Jesus wanted us today gather together, in love not hate, and discuss what you have learned from his teachings. The Bible was not meant to mean the same thing to everyone, it should not be taken literally. God does not always reveal the same thing to everyone from the same verse. If you are reading it in love and not in hate for power, then you will get from the Holy Spirit the loving message that you need at that time in your life. God is not going to do it all on his own either he expects you to look for yourself research learn about the history. These people that call themselves Christian really don't know much of anything about the Bible, it's history, the language, etc. It says in the Bible for Christians, because it talks nothing of Religion, to watch for those who speak lies in his name, this meaning false prophets. I believe those teaching hate and not love from the Bible are those we as true Christians should look out for. I am a bisexual woman with a loving family. We are not a family of divorce, children in trouble with the law, or children that have dropped out of school. We are a normal everyday family with all the ups and downs of every family, but we are a family. Not a lot of what society calls normal family can say they are all still together. They are divorced, drug addicts, people that have lost their children, or parents who are in jail. These "normal families" are ok nothing so hateful is ever preached about them. But a "abnormal family", a lesbian couple, a gay couple, bisexuals with families, etc., should be put to death or tortured. We are treated like aliens not even human beings at all. It sickens me how these people can make MY GOD look so horrible. I can so understand people running from God because of the lies these people tell. My God is nothing like what they preach. He does not hate anyone. He has love that we can not even understand. He can love a child molester, a murderer, anyone. We as humans are not even capable of that. He loves us unconditionally. The "preachers" will preach that. They will say he loves you unconditionally, unless you are a homosexual. That is how they think. I just pray everyday that it will get better, people will learn not to listen to the lies these people spew. Their God is not my God. I can honestly tell you that from the heart of a true Christian. I want people to know the God I worship who would never turn his back on them. The God that loves them regardless. The God that wants to be your father and for you to love him as a child would their father. I am no religious freak, and do not push my beliefs or ways onto anyone. I do not judge anyone for how they believe and expect the same for myself. I am willing to listen to anyone else's point of view on Christianity and God. If I don't agree with you, then I don't but I don't judge you or tell you you are wrong. Your belief is just as important to you as mine is to me. I don't think either are wrong I think they are right for you at that time in your life. Any belief that shows love not hate can not be wrong. I have given my thoughts and testimony on this subject, I just wanted to share them with you. I never mean to offend anyone and I hope I got that point through in my comments. If I did I apologize. Hope everyone has a wonderful day. Thanks for reading my comment.

maeflo June 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Okay I'll need to post this in multiple parts I apologize:

I totally agree with you here. There are way too many people like this in the world, but as a Christian and a closeted bisexual who made it through an evangelical university unscathed I have achieved almost a covert perspective of whats going on inside the churches on the issue of gay rights. There is a HUGE revolution of thought going on right now within the academic arena of the Christian tradition. Especially, since the President made his announcement in the support of gay marriage, there have been several articles written by evangelical Christians that have made excellent arguments FROM biblical perspective in support of gay marriage (http://www.musingson.com/ccCase.html) (http://jbyas.com/2012/05/09/i-still-stand-as-an-evangelical-for-gay-marriage/). These aren't going unnoticed, and many fundamentalist Christians have been circulating these articles on facebook and twitter, keeping the conversation going. While there likely will not be a 180degree change overnight, things are moving in the right direction. There are nuts out there, but in my opinion, the reason they are being so violent and distasteful is because they recognize they are fading away and are panicking.

Also I feel like this is something that needs to be pointed out. While it's true there are still churches like Westboro and others, it is actually very UNTRUE that these churches are going unchallenged and undenounced by the Christian communitty. Westboro is in complete opposition with the majority Christian views on the interpretation of the Bible and cannot actually associate itself with the Baptist denomination. No actual baptist minister actually agrees with the teachings of Westboro et al and none consider them fellow Baptists (most do not even consider them fellow Christians). Churches like Westboro are created and funded not by a community of bible scholars or christian conferences, but by a group of people who have the money to fund their own paranoid, ignorant way of thinking. They are rogue churches who have been stripped of their association with the Christian community and still continue to worship under the laws of the state. Despite Westboro falsely calling itself Baptist, they are not allowed membership of the North American Baptist Conference or the Southern Baptist Convention, and membership in these communities is what MAKES you Baptist, but there's no law against naming yourself whatever you want. Unfortunately, because of their right to religious freedom, REAL Christians can't do any more but call them out, disapprove, and join others in protest against them. Which many have done. Not enough in my opinion, but it's happening and it will get better.

maeflo June 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Part 2:

Also, any Christian who claims that "the Bible says this… therefore there is no other argument" is not encountering Biblical text the way that you are taught to encounter it in any introductory college level biblical interpretation class. When reading the law in Leviticus this is in fact extremely important. Most of the laws that are listed in Leviticus are categorized by Christians in "Old Covenant Law," meaning law that was given to the Israelites before Jesus came and created a new law. This is why we don't get all in a fuss when Christians eat shellfish or wear clothing with different fibers, and why we don't stone our wives or think slavery is okay. Generally, most people focus on the New Testament to decide on what is appropriate for Christians. Unfortunately, Paul had a homophobia of some kind and transferred that homophobia to the new covenant as well. Even so, the intolerance of gays in these letters is limited only to what is going on within the church, not outside of it. "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. . . .” -1 Corinthians 5:9-13a. Yea, Paul the homophobe said that. So The apostle Paul would not have been in support of Westboro et. al., and neither should any real Christians.

Things are moving forward. The current generation of evangelical Christians (18-29) are nearly half-and half on the issue of same sex marriage. By the next generation, that number in support will most likely be in the majority. Same goes for Catholics, who now have a slight majority in support of gay marriage. That can only grow larger. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/07/gay-marriage-evangelicals_n_952888.html)

It remains uncertain whether Christianity will ever openly dismiss it's opposition LGBTs on matters of religious principle, but even that is slowly happening. It may never happen completely, but there are some who will do so. The majority of Christians are becoming more tolerant (maybe not as tolerant as we want them to be, but at least as tolerant as they feel they can be without abandoning their convictions). To go against what you have been taught and what is written in your holy text is a brave and significant step. Many Christian LGBTs or LGBTs that were formerly Christian can testify to this. We shouldn't forget the sacrifice that some Christians have made stepping forward in support of LGBT rights. We shouldn't downplay their efforts and we shouldn't ridicule them for not going as far as we want them to. I truly believe they will get there. The nuts are dying away with an old generation and the new generations will pave new ground.

maeflo June 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

In conclusion:

I guess I just want to encourage my fellow LGBTs. Things are going to get better. They have to. But let us not make perceive Christianity an antagonist of LGBT rights. As its been proven, the word "Christian" can be used to mean many different things. For us, let it mean a lifestyle of love, that accepts all kinds, and let us say to those who would define it differently… well, let us say they are not Christian at all.

Lou Gagliardi June 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

The problem is when you mention the other parts of the Leviticus that are also bad you get "Well, Jesus died on the Cross..so we don't live by the Law anymore."

Yet..they'll quote that part exclusively. I call myself Christian, because I really don't have a better way to describe my beliefs BUT I believe in a loving, caring God that created ALL people and loves us all equally and would never condemn anyone to Hell.

I'm also transgendered.

danielwalldammit July 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

It is funny that people seem to remember the irrelevance of leviticus so soon after citing it authoritatively.

danielwalldammit July 31, 2012 at 11:29 am

It's amazing just how dificult it can be to distinguish Christian love from simple hatred.

Alyssa_Corpus September 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm

At this modern age, it amazes me how some people can't still get a grip on how society has stepped up in terms of respect to the LGBT community. I am a member of an organization who supports them, and as a matter of fact next month we would be having an event for LGBT at a party bus perth with the them… no other than… Lady Gaga!

Alyssa_Corpus September 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm

At this modern age, it amazes me how some people can't still get a grip on how society has stepped up in terms of respect to the LGBT community. I am a member of an organization who supports them, and as a matter of fact next month we would be having an event for LGBT at a party bus perth with the them… no other than… Lady Gaga!

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