After reading Elijah Friedeman’s promising, but somewhat confusing article “Hey, let’s stop the gay-bashing” on the American Family Association website—home of Bryan Fischer, arguably T-H-E most disgusting, hate-mongering homophobe masquerading as a “Christian”—I decided to take some time off. Would Friedeman’s article have any effect on AFA and Fischer?
Friedeman argued that “Homosexuality isn’t the biggest moral problem facing our nation. Homosexual marriage isn’t the biggest threat to traditional marriage. And homosexual activists aren’t the biggest threat to freedom. This may be tantamount to heresy to some people, but it’s true.” He ended his article with “for some reason, a lot of Christians want to attack homosexuality exclusively. Not only is this harmful to Christianity, it’s outright wrong and runs contrary to what Jesus taught.”
But in between he made this bizarre statement: “I’m sure every homosexual will soon realize the error of his ways, because of the bombastic, invective anti-gay rhetoric coming from some Christians. But while that compassionately virulent language is working to change the hearts and minds of every homosexual . . .” One can only hope Mr. Friedman was being sarcastic.
When I checked back in, the answer was all too obvious. Bryan Fischer was still vomiting anti-gay rhetoric and pretending it had something to do with “Christianity” and the message of “Jesus.” Even worse, Fischer was defending Scott Lively, one of the “evangelical Christians” who went to Uganda to support that country’s “kill gays” law and whoop up murderous homophobia:
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP)—A prominent Ugandan gay rights activist whose picture was published by an anti-gay newspaper next to the words “Hang Them” was bludgeoned to death. Police said Thursday his sexual orientation had nothing to do with the killing and that one “robber” had been arrested.
Activists were outraged over the death of David Kato, an advocacy officer for the gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda. His slaying comes after a year of stepped up threats against gays in Uganda, where a controversial bill has proposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts. . . .
And what was Mr. Lively’s response to the murder?
By Rob Anderson
January 28, 2011
After the brutal murder of a Ugandan gay rights activist Wednesday, a Massachusetts preacher accused of helping incite anti-gay sentiment during a trip to the African nation responded to the killing with a feeble, callous statement. The pastor, Scott Lively, also offered his own bizarre theory about who may have killed activist David Kato by bludgeoning him to death with a hammer.
The killing is still being investigated, but gay rights activists in Uganda have connected Kato’s murder to the anti-gay climate fostered by a trip there by Lively and other American preachers in 2009. “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,” said Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.”
During their 2009 trip to Uganda, Lively and other U.S. evangelical preachers spoke at a conference condemning homosexuality, which gay rights groups say galvanized anti-gay sentiment. After that event, during which Lively argued that homosexuality “will lead to social chaos and destruction,” the Ugandan government drew up legislation allowing for the execution of gay people, and a Ugandan publication printed the “leaked” names and pictures of gays and lesbians in the country. Kato’s picture was featured on the cover under the words, “Hang them.” Before his death, Kato had received numerous death threats. . . .
Lively, who relocated to Massachusetts in 2008 and opened up a Christian coffee shop in Springfield, has come under fire lately, and not just because of his anti-gay views—which, Lively told the Globe, he is trying to downplay. News surfaced earlier this month that Lively employed a convicted sex offender at his Springfield coffee shop. This was after town officials slammed Lively’s shop for providing a safe haven for students who were skipping school during the day.
In his defense of Lively, Fischer had this to say:
Well, it turns out that Lively had absolutely nothing, nada, zip, zilch to do with any part of this gruesome killing.
According to Reuters, a man has now confessed to the killing, and police are saying a “personal disagreement” let to Kato’s untimely death. Meaning, of course, the whole thing had nothing to do with Lively or any other pro-family leader in America. . . .
No doubt Reuters was reporting what they’d been told by the Ugandan authorities following the international outcry over Kato’s murder. But can one really believe the state-controlled “authorities” of a country that looks favorably on and even wants to legalize the killing of gays? Is it possible the “revelation” about a “personal disagreement” was little more than Ugandan damage control?
What’s for certain, however, is calling Scott Lively a “pro-family leader” is beyond ridiculous. Only someone as twisted as Fischer would do so. I’ve relayed this personal experience before. It bears repeating given Lively’s supposedly “pro-family” activities in Uganda.
In early 2003 I began corresponding with a 25-year-old Ugandan. He was an accomplished dancer, musician, painter and sculptor living in Kampala. He was a lead dancer in several companies, and some of his art had been purchased by the President of Uganda. He was finishing his studies in Organizational Studies at the university. The future looked bright, until his evangelical Christian parents discovered he was gay. His lawyer father informed the police and had his son arrested.
Ugandan law punishes same-sex love with life imprisonment. Under this harsh law, even individuals who elude imprisonment face constant fear, stigmatization, and the threat of extortion by the police. —Kamal Fizazi, Regional Program Coordinator for Africa and Southwest Asia, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Upon release—pending further legal action—straight friends abandoned him, he was dismissed by dance companies and barred from art exhibits that received public funds, which virtually all of them did. His family disowned him and his unfinished art was destroyed. Homeless, broke and alone, naturally he considered suicide, but felt “God” had something planned for him.
Finally, after months of harassment, rearrests and releases pending further legal action, the police appeared at the home of the woman where he’d been hiding. Since he couldn’t pay the officers the 1.5 million Ugandan shillings (about $756 US) they required to “lose” his file, he was told to leave the country or be arrested. But because of his previous arrest record he could not leave the country. Two days later I lost touch with him. Some time later I learned his fate: arrested, convicted, sentenced to life without parole. But his life sentence lasted only ten days. He was beaten to death in prison by a group claiming to be doing “God’s work.”
Scott Lively supported, encouraged and inflamed hatred of gay people in Uganda based on his twisted version of “Christianity” and some pathological need to see gays disenfranchised, tortured and killed. And, of course, Fischer is right there supporting and defending him. No, Lively can’t be held directly responsible for Kato’s murder. But he is morally culpable, as are people like Fischer and those who use religion and the pulpit to propagate dissension and hate.
By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement
A few months ago, just after September’s devastating anti-gay bulling suicides that took the lives of at least 10 teens, the Public Religion Research Institute released an amazing study that showed 65 percent of Americans—a vast majority—blame churches for the “higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth,” and that 72 percent of Americans believe “messages about the issue of homosexuality coming from places of worship contribute to negative views of gay and lesbian people.” . . .
The sad irony, of course, is what Rev. Steve Brown, pastor emeritus at the Family of Christ Presbyterian Church in Greeley, Colorado, pointed out in his article “Biblical assumptions about homosexuality are not always accurate.” After noting that “‘homosexuality’ is not a biblical word. It first appeared translated from German into English in 1892” and citing a New Testament scholar who confirms “there is not ‘an exact equivalent for ‘homosexual’ in either Greek or Hebrew,’” Rev. Brown pointed out that the Greek word “malakos,” a term used in Matthew 11: 8 refers “to soft clothes or garments,” and that the word was sometimes used in reference “to soft or effeminate boys or men,” but that does not automatically denote sexual activity.
Rev. Brown makes another linguistic point:
In 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, the Greek word “arsenkoites” is translated as “sodomites,” depending on which Bible one is using. Here the problem is that it is difficult to know how to interpret what it really means. Why? Because this is the first time this word has been used in either Greek or Jewish literature, which causes one Bible scholar to say that apparently the apostle Paul just made up the word “arsenkoites.” Although in Greek “arsen” means “male” and “koites” means “bed,” it isn’t valid linguistically to say that this new made-up word means men having sex with men. . . .
He concludes with knowledge and common sense, something both Mr. Lively and Mr. Fischer lack:
A further consideration is that out of the thousands of verses of text in Hebrew and Christian scripture, there are at most only eight texts that pertain to what some might think of as homosexuality. None of these texts is about Jesus and none includes any of his words because he was silent on the matter of homosexuality. . . .
Since our culture is far removed in time from that of Jesus’ and Paul’s, it is not legitimate simply to take a word or phrase from the Bible, slap it on a bumper sticker and expect that to be the final authoritative word: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” That kind of biblical triumphalism often is hurled at the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in various forms. It needs to stop because for centuries the GLBT community has lived with the reality of judgment, ridicule, hatred, cruelty, threats, bullying and murder.
We cannot take first century cultural assumptions about homosexuality and apply them to our own cultural assumptions, nor vice versa. Robin Scroggs, professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, summarizes his scholarly book on homosexuality in this one sentence: “Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to today’s debate.” . . .
“Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to today’s debate.” Neither are many other biblical edicts, such as it’s okay to sell one’s daughter into slavery, and it’s righteous to stone to death non-virgin brides and those who wear clothing made of two different thread. How about these: young widowed women must remain celibate for the rest of their lives (1 Timothy 5:5–15), interracial marriage must again be made illegal (Deuteronomy 7:3, Numbers 25:6–8 and 36:3–9, 1 Kings 11:2, Ezra 9:2, Nehemiah 13:25–27), marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian must be outlawed (2 John 1:9–11, Corinthians 6: 14–17), a married man who looks at a woman lustfully is guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:28), marriage between a man and any woman unwilling to promise in her wedding vows to obey her husband in all matter must be outlawed (Ephesians 5:22–24, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Timothy 2:11–12, 1 Peter 3:1), marriages that would occur within the woman menstrual cycle must be outlawed (Leviticus 18:19, 20:18, Ezekiel 18:5–6), a rapist must be required by law to marry his victim (Deuteronomy 22:28–29) unless, of course, the victim did not cry out (Deuteronomy 22:23–24)?
Do these supposedly divinely inspired edicts apply to twenty-first century America? Should we base our civil laws and sense of fairness, equality, and basic human dignity on them?
Spirituality is quiet, introspective. It’s a place of reflection, a non-judgmental place of harmony. Dogmatic religion, such as that espoused by Lively and Fischer, is bombastic and designed to encourage bigotry and hate. It’s propagated by the arrogant and hypocritically self-righteous who earn their living by condemning others, especially those who have been wronged by the very dogmatic, murderous religion its purveyors advocate:
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
By Bryan Fischer
In all the discussions about the European settlement of the New World, one feature has been conspicuously absent: the role that the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality of native Americans played in making them morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil. . . .
Need any more be said?