The Nashville Statement and the Moral Bankruptcy of Evangelicalism

I’m not going to dignify the CBMW’s Nashville Statement with any kind of point by point response, the whole thing is a tiresome rehash of what evangelicals have been saying about LGBT people for years. I already did a point by point breakdown of the SBC’s anti-trans resolution a few years ago, it basically covers the same things I would say here, so consider that my response to the statement itself. What I’d rather talk about is what evangelicals aren’t issuing joint statements condemning, namely, white nationalism. Their silence in the face of the rising tide of fascism and white supremacy in this country is deafening.

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Guilt By Association: The Injunction Hearing

Well kids, this week’s installment is at the end of the week instead of the beginning because my body decided that having a food allergy attack so I had to be doped up on Benadryl was a good way to keep me away from this barely readable novel. As I keep mentioning by calling our hero lawyer variations on, “Author Avatar Peter,” the character is a pretty obvious self-insert author avatar, down to the character matching an idealized depiction of his physical characteristics, and while Farris has mixed some things up so it’s not a one-to-one match, he’s not a good enough writer that it’s not obvious that he sees the character as an especially heroic version of himself. It’s time to soldier on, because as unreadable as this book is, it’s a glimpse into the mind of Michael Farris and this stuff needs to be documented so it’s out there.

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Which one of you have we wronged?

I’ve got a guest post for you all today. Sophie Anna Platt wrote this on Facebook in response to James Dobson’s recent statement that marriage equality will lead to a civil war. She was was kind enough to let me republish it here.  To the James Dobsons and Mike Farrises of the world who literally want a civil war over gay rights and gay marriage, I ask this. In fact, I should ask certain members of my own family. I ask the same thing Jesus once asked. Which one of you have we wronged? Which one of you have we cheated or stolen from or harmed in any way? I’m not saying we are perfect, but what did we ever do to you that could make you hate us SO MUCH that you literally want a civil war over us being allowed the same rights that you have? What could possess you to put us through the things you have? How can you bring yourself to hate another person – much less a whole group of people- to the point that you force us even as children into “reparative therapy” which is just a fancy word for psychological and physical torture? I’m not even speaking metaphorically here. After everything you have done to us one might expect we would be the ones with hatred in our hearts. That we would be trying to outlaw the religion that has been used in such vile ways against us. The truth is that many, many of us still believe in God, and we certainly support your right to do so. We do not support your right to use your religion as a weapon against us, and that really shouldn’t surprise you. How can you say that we and those who love us and[…]

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Breaking down the SBC14 Resolution on Transgender Identity

I figured that while I was at it on blogging about the Southern Baptist Convention, I might as well do a section by section dissection of the SBC’s resolution condemning trans people. One of the talking points attacking critics of the resolution is to claim that we mustn’t have read the whole thing, well, here’s the proof that I have read it all and found it wanting. The text I break down below is taken from the website of Denny Burk, author of the resolution and associate professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College. The tl:dr version: This is all about reinforcing patriarchy at the expense of our trans siblings. — ON TRANSGENDER IDENTITY WHEREAS, All persons are created in God’s image and are made to glorify Him (Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 43:7); and I won’t argue with you there. The answer to question one of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Actually, scratch that, I am going to argue with this one. The “enjoy Him forever” part of the Westminster Catechism is important, when you only talk about glorifying God and leave out the enjoying bit, you forget that God didn’t create us to be miserable automatons that exist just to make Him look good. WHEREAS, God’s design was the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6) which designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race; and WHEREAS, Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every human heart (Genesis 2:18, 21–24; 1 Corinthians 11:7–9; Ephesians 5:22–33; 1 Timothy 2:12–14); and First, isn’t it funny how biological[…]

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Dark day: The Southern Baptist Convention officially condemns trans people

The Southern Baptist Convention managed to double down on their awfulness. The anti-trans resolution they passed today is in direct contradiction with scripture. The word “eunuch” as used in the near east did not just refer to people who were castrated, but also to what Jesus referred to as “born eunuchs,” those who occupied a space outside of the gender binary. Many of those individuals were what we would understand today to be transgender. The SBC today has condemned that which Jesus specifically mentioned approvingly. Not only that, the very first Gentile convert was the Ethiopian eunuch, and while scripture does not distinguish what category he fell into, it cannot be overemphasized that scripture makes it clear that this person, who existed outside the gender binary that the SBC has chosen to so rigidly enforce, was blessed by God to be the first Gentile ushered into the kingdom. While I will acknowledge that the gay thing is open to theological debate, the trans issue is quite clear when you have a basic knowledge of the historical context. The SBC has put their own bigotry ahead of the very words of Christ himself. I weep for our trans brothers and sisters who have been rejected today. 

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One final thing about the World Vision fiasco

I wasn’t going to say anything else about the World Vision thing. I don’t have any more energy. I’m tired of feeling. I’m tired of the hurt, the anger, I’m tired of caring.  There’s one more thing I have to say. I’m troubled with how some of the people who are critical of World Vision’s reversal are dehumanizing the poor. Well, dehumanizing the poor and dehumanizing gay people, to be precise. It’s as if the poor should be content with second best. They’re starving after all, why not send some gay people to help them? The religious right is being terrible because they won’t even let the homos help people who are starving.  It’s the human equivalent of sending the poor your raggedy t-shirts that you would have cut into rags to wash your car. Not even sending them the nice new t-shirts from the losing Super Bowl team, sending them your worst and expecting them to be content with rags, because after all, they’re poor, they should be happy with any scrap they get. The poor shouldn’t have to be content with second best. Gay people aren’t second best. People who are poor deserve to have the people with the best skills and talents working with them in their communities to help empower them. To give them the tools they need to empower themselves to make change. Not some scraps because if they’re starving they should be happy with anything. Some of those people who have the skills and talents to empower people to escape poverty are gay. They aren’t the second best scraps to send to people who should be content with whatever we give them. They’re the ones who are best equipped with the tools to help people overcome the structural barriers that are holding them back.   We[…]

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So this is how the religious right tosses out people who are no longer useful

World Magazine today posted Andree Seu Peterson’s column, “Remember the Signs,” from their upcoming July 26th issue. The piece is about Exodus International disbanding and presents the Gay Christian Network as the enemy (remember, in christianese, “the enemy” means “satan”) leading Alan Chambers away from the truth. Oh, yeah, and she pretty much says that Alan Chambers is also a tool of satan and a heretic now too. It doesn’t matter that he still believes basically the same thing that World does, their one time “Daniel of the Year” decides to be nicer about it and stop being used as a tool of anti-gay religious right politics and they turn on him. This was going to be a snarky and sarcastic rant like my post about Marvin Olasky’s persecution complex DOMA scare piece was, but I think instead I’m going to to talk about how Christian culture uses people and then discards them like so much yesterday’s garbage when they’re no longer useful to the agenda. Before I get to that though, I need to point out that Peterson shapes her narrative around a story from C.S. Lewis’ children’s novel, The Silver Chair. It’s one of the Narnia books, and in it Eustace Scrub and Jill Pole are taken away from their horrible boarding school and brought to Narnia, where they’re sent off on an adventure to rescue the now King Caspian’s son, Prince Rilian, who has gone missing. It’s the Narnia book that scared the crap out of me when I was five, and it’s now probably my favorite–a grand adventure across foreign lands with strange giants to rescue a bewitched prince. It’s also probably the story that’s closest to Lewis’ goal of writing a fairy tale and not allegory. In the story, Aslan gives Jill and Eustace four signs to[…]

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The one thing I can’t write about

For a time during my pre-teen and teen years, I was involved with Operation Rescue. Been there, done that, have the t-shirts (t-shirts I can’t bring myself to throw away). I’ve tried time and again over the years to sit down and write about that time in my life and I can’t do it. Not that there aren’t pages of text in “draft" folders of long-abandoned blogs, and various files on my computer, but none of it ever seems right.  How do you even begin to discuss a very influential time in your life when it’s something that so few people have lived through and that was, to be honest, more than a little weird? How do you explain just how surreal it was to be at the state capital lobbying with Equality Florida when the last time you were there wandering those halls was as a kid who was there to play a role as the “poor little innocent kid who will be made a criminal if you pass this abortion clinic protest buffer zone law"? That the memory from your trip as a kid that came flooding back was of learning, on the way home, that just before you went in front of microphones and television cameras doing the innocent kid act and proclaiming the movement’s commitment to non-violence, the movement had turned deadly. How you felt learning that the Operation Rescue spokeswoman had already gotten word of what had happened in Pensacola but sent you out in front of cameras anyway, even though your insistence that the movement was non-violent was now a lie. How is anyone who hasn’t lived that ever really going to understand what it’s like? Back then I was so sure about everything, it was all so simple and cut and dried. I[…]

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Or, you know, you could always treat people with respect

Or, you know, you could always treat people with respect Dear World Magazine: The snarky and sarcastic headline I’ve reproduced below aside, has it ever occurred to you that treating people like asses is counter to what Christ said about, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? The headline in question: “Seven steps to not offending homosex—I mean, gays at the DOJ.” The article itself is even worse. Seriously, even back when I was still a good little conservative, treating people like rubbish because I disagreed with them was not something that crossed my mind. You should always treat people with dignity and respect even if you don’t agree with things in their life. This is the kind of thing that’s why I’m over evangelicalism. Conservative American Christianity acts like being a jerk to people you disagree with is somehow their God-given right. It’s antithetical to how Christ treated people. I’ve lost patience with this kind of smug, sarcastic, priggish behavior. I keep sources like World in my twitter feed because I don’t want to live in an echo chamber, but between World, John Piper, and some of the people from my past, all it’s doing is making me loathe conservative evangelicalism. Sometimes I think that the smug judgmental pricks in the evangelical world and the PCA are deliberately trying to drive people away from the faith. I certainly don’t believe because of those people — if I were looking to the persons of my past life as my only examples of faith and Christianity, they’d make me an atheist. No, I believe in spite of those people, because I believe that the message of the Gospel is one that can and does change lives and the model Christ lived is one that can change the[…]

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