this week’s example of bigoted child abuse in the church: child sings ‘ain’t no homo gonna make it to heaven’ in church

Some people ask me why I spend so much time debating the issue of the legalization of same-sex marriage. Apart from the academic side of the intellectual argument, and the textual/theological argument, we often forget that the outcome of this debate and the charges and claims made during the debate itself hurt real people and adversely affects their lives. And I’m not just speaking about those gay individuals who are discriminated against on a daily basis, but I’m also referring to the children who are taught to mock and even hate by their parents from a very young age in church!

For example, watch this latest video taken from the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, the same town where a gay high school student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg IN, Billy (William) Lucas, recently took his own life apparently due to the anti-gay bullying he was receiving from his peers.

Listen to the lyrics of the song sung by the child, and watch the reaction of the adults in the audience.

The child sings the following lyrics:

I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
Romans one and twenty-seven (Rom 1:27)
Ain’t no homo going to make it to heaven.

Watch the room full of white adults stand and cheer and laugh in approval. The pastor nods and laughs. They are celebrating bigotry. They are celebrating their belief that gay Americans are going to burn in hell. One person is even heard to yell proudly, “That’s my boy!” And toward the end of the video, they have the child sing it again. Note that in the first performance, there is another child standing with the boy, and they boy ends after one verse, but in the second performance (see the 1:07 mark in the video), there is no second child, and the little boy sings the verse multiple times. This was no accident or lapse in judgment, it was an encore performance!!!

And what’s worse, from this point on, this child knows that every time he calls a gay individual a “homo,” he’ll have the cheering support of his church behind him. Remember, he’s a child: someone taught him this song! Every time he condemns a gay individual to hell, his parents will applaud. They might even invite him up in front of the church to sing of the gay individual’s condemnation to the church, who will shower him with applause and laughter.

This is child abuse. It is hateful indoctrination at its worst.

The pastor in the video is Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle at 1114 Westridge Parkway W in Greensburg, IN 47240. You can email Pastor Sangl at jsangl@tds.net or call him at the church office at (812) 662-8224. You can also contact him at his family business (I kid you not), the Flatrock Whitetail Deer Farm, where they raise whitetail deer to hunt them at (765) 525-9488.

Apparently, shortly after this video was posted online, and the public outrage began, the pastor abruptly left on vacation. The church immediately posted a statement on its website, stating among other things:

The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives.

We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.

So once again, while the church simply denies that they teach hate, the video shows otherwise. AND, we see that the church is quick to excuse and dismiss its abhorrent behavior by invoking religious freedom stating that “we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.” Once again, even in their non-apology, “religious freedom” is used to excuse hatred taught to children.

THIS is why I take this issue so seriously. What “thoughtful conservatives” see as the simple upholding of “traditional marriage” is all too often manifest as teaching children to mock and hate their neighbor…in church. It has to end, and I for one as a scholar of religious studies, will stand with the oppressed on this one.

imagine that picture of you protesting same-sex marriage 40 years from now: YOU ARE ‘THOSE PEOPLE’

Imagine that picture of you protesting same-sex marriage 40 years from now, with your Bibles and your flags and your signs:

Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years: Mixed Marriage vs. Same-sex marriage.

Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years: Mixed-race marriage vs. Same-sex marriage.

In 2008, I wrote:

“I ask Californians, especially Christians, to look within their hearts and ask themselves whether we want to treat homosexuals today as we treated women in the 1920’s, and blacks in the 1850’s. Will we look back in 40 years’ time in disgust and shake our heads and ask how we ever voted to deny civil rights to groups based upon a personal sexual choice?”

An artist sums up what I wrote in one picture.

If you are campaigning AGAINST same-sex marriage, that’s you. In the picture. That’s you. You ARE that person. You are the person in the picture that we look back on in disgust, shaking our heads, and asking, “How on earth were people EVER that mean? Why did they EVER believe that? How could those people discriminate against others that way? And use the BIBLE to do so?”

YOU ARE “those people.” And in an age of social media, where EVERYTHING is written down, captured, and remembered, it will be that much easier for us to show our children and grandchildren the faces and the names of those people who argued AGAINST the civil rights of others. And our children will look back in disgust at the images of people protesting same-sex marriage the SAME way we look back and shake our heads at the bigots protesting mixed-race marriage 40 years ago, or desegregation before that, or women’s right to vote before that, or slavery before that, and using the Bible to do so!

YOU ARE THOSE PEOPLE!

(HT: Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill via FB)

the irony of african-american support for banning same-sex marriage

Dr. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Upper Room Church of God In Christ, and his wife Pamela Wooden celebrate early returns that show strong support for Amendment One during an election night party at the North Raleigh Hilton on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

Dr. Patrick Wooden Sr., pastor of the Upper Room Church of God In Christ, and his wife Pamela Wooden celebrate early returns that show strong support for Amendment One during an election night party at the North Raleigh Hilton on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. (Photo: Travis Long for NewsObserver.com)

OK, I’ll say it:

The sheer irony of many African-Americans, especially Christians, celebrating what they believe to be the biblically ordained suppression and discrimination of another group’s civil rights betrays the short memory of those who were once themselves oppressed for being nothing more than who they are.

This irony is not new; it has been discussed in the past regarding California’s Prop 8 here and here. Is the same true in North Carolina?

I am not an African-American, so one could argue that I’m not permitted to discuss this topic. But I must say that as one who is neither gay nor black, but who has written extensively about this topic for years now, to me this political demographic anomaly ranks among the grand ironies of our era.

I do believe one can make a case that the African-American community has once again been ignored as a voting block. It is not enough to argue simply that black churches are socially more conservative than their white counterparts. The fact is that much of the time and money spent on educating the public – especially Christians – about the problems of attempting to ban same-sex marriage upon biblical or ‘traditional’ grounds in a secular state has been spent on persuading the much larger white voting block, while comparatively little time and money has been spent on educating and entering into dialogue with the African-American community. Thus, the African-American community has once again been overlooked in favor of focusing attention, time, and money upon white groups for political advocacy efforts.

Whatever the underlying reason, the irony still remains: many African-Americans like Pastor Patrick Wooden (pictured) are actually celebrating the suppression of civil liberties (note: not religious liberties, but civil, secular, state liberties) of an otherwise oppressed group, who only want the same civil rights as those in the majority.

To me, the use of religion to suppress the civil liberties of a minority group of any race, religion, gender, color, or sexual orientation is shameful. For one underrepresented group to suppress another only increases the burden.

Repost and respond away!

UPDATE: Half-Hearted “Retraction” Issued by Berean Baptist Church Pastor Sean Harris

Sean E. Harris, Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC

Sean E. Harris, Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC

Sean E. Harris, Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC, who recently called on parents to hit their children for demonstrating any semblance of what he interpreted as “effeminate” behavior, has issued an audio “retraction” for advocating that parents beat their children, but not for his bigotry.

I can’t tell what’s more stomach-churning: his initial comments, or his self-justifying, holier-than-thou attempt at righteous indignation and his claim that his words ‘were taken out of context’ by those involved in the political process of legalizing same-sex marriage.

If you want a lesson in how NOT to apologize, listen to the audio “retraction.” Bill Clinton apologizes better than this guy.

Would Billy Graham Encourage You To Vote For Slavery?**

**Could you imagine the poster below? (Full disclaimer: I, Robert R. Cargill, marked-up the ad below to illustrate my point. I changed “marriage” to “slavery.” The ad is REAL, the red additions and the “Could you Imagine” text at the top are my own addition.)

VOTE FOR SLAVERY! (A marked-up Billy Graham marriage ad).

VOTE FOR SLAVERY! (A marked-up Billy Graham marriage ad).

The argument in Dr. Billy Graham’s newspaper ad above is based upon the biblical definition of a social practice articulated approximately 2000 years ago. I’ve switched ONE WORD to show the sheer absurdity of the argument toward another biblical definition of a social practice articulated approximately 2000 years ago.

No one would ever believe an elderly white preacher from the south would advocate for SLAVERY from the pulpit, would they?? Then why should we think any differently if that same preacher argues for a different 2000-year old biblical social definition, and an amendment to a modern state’s constitution banning gay marriage?

It’s the same argument, only with this generation’s civil rights issue.

Reject “Sharia Christianity.” Don’t let a 2000-year old religious book’s definition of social contracts like slavery, divorce, and marriage dictate modern law.


For more by Dr. Cargill on this subject, see:

It’s OK for Christians to Vote No on Prop 8

Full Text of Dr. Cargill’s Remarks at the Pepperdine GSEP Panel Discussion on Racism and Homophobia

A Note to Christians Opposing Gay Marriage: Get Over It

The Day After: Thoughts on the Response to the Overturn of Prop 8

i am very, very proud of the fact i am moving to iowa

Well Done: Iowa’s Zach Wahls Featured on the Daily Show about Being a Child Raised by Gay Parents

See also:

“michigan republican anti-bullying law provides exception for religious bullying

a study in masculinity: comparing michael irvin and mark driscoll

absolutely sickening homophobia from the pulpit

See also the classic West Wing segment on YouTube.

Well Done: Iowa’s Zach Wahls Featured on the Daily Show about Being a Child Raised by Gay Parents

Iowa's Zach Wahls appears on THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART.

Iowa’s Zach Wahls appears on THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART.

Very proud to be an Iowan and of Zach Wahls, who was interviewed as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Wahls discussed his new book, My Two Moms, and how the 12 rules of the Boy Scouts were exemplified by his parents in raising him.

The video of the Daily Show interview is here.

His original speech to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in opposition to a proposed amendment to ban gay marriage is below.

absolutely sickening homophobia from the pulpit

Here’s this week’s reason why Americans need to take a good, hard look at the bigoted venom that is being spewed forth from many of our houses of worship.

Neal Broverman shares with us this story of Sean Harris, the senior pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Fayatsville, NC.

This is absolutely sickening. I guess it’s not just Mark Driscoll in the great northwest that is preaching this homophobic nonsense, but now it’s of Berean Baptist Church in Fayatsville, who argues that parents should hit little boys (“crack that wrist” and “give him a good punch”) for showing the “limp wrist,” and “reign in” daughters who are “acting too butch.”

Then, listen as the pastor clarifies his story, stating that he in no way meant that parents should physically harm their children, but reiterates his hatred of homosexuality.

Did you catch the end of the news piece? The pastor got some “nasty,” even “threatening” phone calls and emails?? I’m certain they weren’t literally intending any harm. It was probably just “hyperbole.”

Question: at what point can we conclude that advocating violence against children – for whatever reason, but especially for reasons of bigotry – from a Christian pulpit is ABSOLUTELY NO different than when militant preachers of other religious traditions advocate violence from the pulpit?? Can we condemn one and not the other? And can we go ahead and admit that inciting violence in the name of God is reprehensible and unworthy of the protections commonly afforded religious institutions?

article: fundamentalism, biblical interpretation, feminism, and gay rights at bible and interpretation

David A.J. Richards

David A.J. Richards, the Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University School of Law

There is an article at Bible and Interpretation entitled, “Against Fundamentalism in Christian Bible Interpretation: The Biblical Case for Feminism and Gay Rights,” that is worth a read. David A. J. Richards, the Edwin D. Webb Professor of Law at New York University argues:

What is astonishing about all the forms of American fundamentalism—new natural law, Protestant fundamentalism, and Mormonism—is that their hostility to feminism and gay rights rests on a reading of ostensibly Christian texts that pays little or no attention to the life and teaching of the historical Jesus.

The article concludes:

What they fail to see is how the alternative anti-patriarchal reading of Christianity I propose clarifies what Jesus thought were the difficulties for us of an ethics of love under patriarchy and why he expressed these difficulties through the command to love even our enemies under the terms of a patriarchal culture that made such love unspeakable, indeed unnatural. The familiar King James version translation of Matt. 5:48 is: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Bible, Matt., 1998, 8). Jesus models our love for one another (including loving even our enemies) on God’s love for us, as relationally responsive and responsible persons and as equals. If so, the deepest impulses within Christianity call for a love only possible for us as equals in responsible relationship, the basis for what is distinctive in contemporary feminism and gay/lesbian rights.

Give it a read.

i am very, very proud of the fact i am moving to iowa

…and here is one more reason why. Listen to Zach Wahls speak to the Iowa House of Representatives during a discussion about House Joint Resolution 6, which seeks ban same-sex marriage in Iowa. The presentation excellent and his argument is sound.

And I shall continue doing my part (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) to combat the discriminatory hatred that continues to be spewed forth by those so-called ‘Christians’ who seek to impose their selectively hypocritical self-righteousness upon others, like this unnamed fundamentalist:

(I love how the opponent is too cowardly to even give his own name, and how those in attendance start walking out.)

Some use religion to condemn and marginalize, others to serve and heal. You tell me which of the above acted like a real ‘neighbor’?

HT: Scott Bailey

fake study: men who stare at breasts live longer, healthier

Fox News reports German "Staring at Breasts" Study

Really? German study says "staring at breasts" increases men's health.

According to an old fake German study making the rounds again, the healthiest men are those who stare at a woman’s breasts for at least ten minutes a day. And myFox Boston fell for it, and even provided video:

Five-hundred men participated in the German study. Half were told to refrain from looking at breasts for five years, the other half were told to ogle them daily.

The study claimed that men who stared at breasts more often showed lower rates of heart problems, a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.

The authors of the study recommend that men stare at breasts for 10 minutes a day.

Really? REALLY? There is some German study that gives men an “excuse” to ogle women (like they need one)?

The purported author of the study, gerontologist Dr. Karen Weatherby (yes, a woman to make the story more believable), supposedly argues that gawking at women’s breasts is a healthy practice, equivalent to an intense exercise regime.

She added, “Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out.”

Seriously? Staring at a woman’s breasts for 10 minutes is the equivalent of a 30 minute workout???!!! This simply cannot be true. How do I know? If staring at women’s breasts for 10 minutes was the equivalent of a 30-minute workout, bibliobloggers would be the most physically fit people on earth. And this is simply not the case. And I know – I’ve seen them all together in a room together.

I shake my head. In fact, I have a few questions that arise from a “scientific study” like this one:

  • How does one muster enough nerve to propose a study like this?
  • Who actually funded this study, the porn industry?
  • Is the decreased heart rate due to the process of looking at the breasts, or some correlated physical activity that may immediately follow the ogling?
  • Who volunteered to be in this study? (And how did they react when they were told they’d be in the control group?)
  • How do women decrease their resting heart rate?

Seriously, I can hear it now: “Honey, I have to. Doctor’s orders.”

HT: RC

Update: This appears to be a recurring hoax, which MyFoxBoston fell for.

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