Tuesday, December 3, 2019

AFA resorts to Third Reich imagery to promote anti-gay bigotry

We care about the beliefs of Christians a great deal less than Mr. Wildmon cares about what we do in our bedrooms.
Tim Wildmon
Hate Group Leader  Tim Wildmon - American Family Association
via YouTube
American Family Association need never wonder why they are deemed an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Tuesday, AFA's leader, Tim Wildmon, sent out an email titled: Christians Must Not Fold to LGBT Activist Pressure. I have no problem with Wildmon's recitation of his understanding of biblical beliefs. People are entitled to believe anything they want:
According to the Bible, God allows sexual activity only between a man and a woman who are married. All other sexual conduct is forbidden.

Sinful sexual activity can be forgiven, to be sure, and the Christian is called to overcome the impulses that lead to sexual sin. This has been the teaching of the Christian church since its inception 2,000 years ago.
And I have friends who believe that eating pork or shrimp is forbidden. Indeed, Jesus probably kept kosher. It was Paul who changed the rules to make it easier to proselytize. (He also did something about painful surgery.) Wildmon goes on to quote scripture in support of his position that gay sex is a sin. So be it. Most Christians disagree.
In the past three decades, LGBTQ activists have demanded the embrace of homosexuality by society and the church. This LGBTQ demand for “equality” has gone viral, and its stormtroopers take no prisoners.
I will assume that Wildmon is not referring to the Star Wars adversaries in white uniforms and helmets. Presumably stormtroopers refers to members of the Sturmabteilung or SA. It was a paramilitary organization that was instrumental in the rise of Adolph Hitler. The leader of the SA was Ernst Röhm. Röhm was openly gay. Comparing us to Nazis is a message of hate.

Wildmon is also confused. “Embrace” means to willingly and enthusiastically support something. These people need to accept the simple truth that we don't care. We do not seek — and certainly do not require — his approval or the approval of the church. Note how he ties approval to equality with the word “[t]his.” They are two entirely different things.

Equality (which Wildmon inexplicably puts in quotes) means the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. I am twice-blessed because Wildmon does not approve of Jews either (his father, Don Wildmon, is a rabid anti-Semite).

Tim's disapproval of Jews might be no more than disdain for our not accepting Jesus Christ as lord and savior. Nevertheless, federal law generally prohibits discrimination based on religion. In no way is that conditioned on approval. In fact the very premise of nondiscrimination laws is to eliminate approval from certain decisions.
There is no end to the bullshit:
They don’t allow Christians to take a “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach. No, they would say that by not affirming homosexuals, we are fostering what they call “hate.” And they desire to outlaw hate and punish those who preach it.
Hate, in this context, is not defined by the absence of affirmation, which is another way of saying approval. Hate is defined by practices that malign an entire class of people, generally due to their immutable characteristics. I do not know who the “they” are in Wildmon's rhetoric but he is creating a mythical adversary. One that seeks to punish those who preach certain beliefs. He is also claiming that “they” want to outlaw certain beliefs.

In other words, Wildmon is lying about LGBTQ people and about what constitutes hate in order to disparage and marginalize us. That is an example of promoting hate which is … hateful. Nice job Timmy.
Many Christians don’t know how to stand firm when criticized on this issue. They understand what the Bible teaches on this topic, but the idea of being called a “hater” is mortifying to them, so they try to straddle the proverbial fence. It happens a lot. Here are some examples:
The way that Wildmon has constructed his rhetoric, “this issue” means withholding affirmation (approval). The very premise is false because we do not require anyone's approval. But let's examine the first of his examples:
The Boy Scouts of America: While not an explicitly Christian organization, the BSA upheld Christian values to millions of young boys for decades. In recent years, they have completely sold out to the homosexual cause.
What Wildmon has done is to attack the BSA (claiming that the “sold out”) for treating gay people fairly. The message is that his expectation is that gay people should be treated unfairly. Just one more example from Wildmon (there are seven in total):
Lauren Daigle: The music of this popular gospel singer has blessed millions of people. Recently she was asked her view on homosexuality being a sin, and she responded with this answer: “I can’t honestly answer on that. … I can’t say one way or the other.”
Wildmon is criticizing Daigle for not answering in the affirmative. Daigle's answer is actually more correct than Wildmon's assumption. Many Christian and Jewish scholars believe that passages about homosexuality are a reflection of the time in which they were written.

Homosexuality, in Jesus' time as an inhabitant of the Roman Empire, was understood to be the involuntary sexual submission of a young slave to his aristocratic master. Jewish scripture (the Pentateuch) was finalized during the Persian period (538–332 BCE) when the same conditions were present. Homosexuality, as we understand it today, was unknown in the ancient world. Consenting adults maintained total secrecy in regards to gay relationships.

The obligatory:
The most recent example is Chick-fil-A. This is a company founded on Christian principles – and it is extremely popular in the Christian community because of that fact.…
In conclusion, more demonization and mendacity:
Make no mistake, for those in high-profile positions, the pressure to conform to the world’s standards on this issue is enormous. However, we are talking about mature Christians who should know better than to surrender on one of the great moral issues of our time. And what’s worse, when they cave on this issue – with either actions or silence – they are unwittingly siding with those who ultimately want to criminalize Christianity.
The pressure is to be kind. Not to do what AFA and Mr. Wildmon persistently do. Furthermore, keep in mind that most Christians disagree with Wildmon. Yet the opinions of Christians are irrelevant to our wellbeing. Conduct is another thing entirely. That hateful conduct includes someone saying that our goal is to “criminalize Christianity.”

Wildmon is projecting. Wildmon would love to recriminalize homosexuality but that no longer seems possible. We care about the beliefs of Christians a great deal less than Mr. Wildmon cares about what we do in our bedrooms.

My theory is that Wildmon is required to believe that we seek his approval. The principal levers of religious conformity are approval and shame. If we do not care (and we do not) then Wildmon has less power over us.

Tim Wildmon can affect our lives by promoting hate but we refuse to provide him with power over our sexuality. Another requirement of Wildmon's belief system is his false conviction that our sexuality is voluntary. That, in turn, requires adoption of another lie; that conversion therapy is effective.

Tim Wildmon's very existence is premised on the notion that we are adversaries. If he and others would cease their bigotry HRC could fold its tent and this blog would be history. However, to support his belief system, Wildmon is forced to create LGBTQ boogeymen.

Wildmon does create an adversary which would not otherwise exist because we won't put up with his prejudices and hate mongering. We react accordingly.

Wildmon's faith is one thing. Tim Wildmon is burdened with many assumptions that are objectively false. These are not articles of faith. At least they shouldn't be.

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