This is part two, started here.
The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has released its ‘Top 10 list of Anti-Christian Acts of 2009’ and they point the finger at Larry David, Obama, the Department of Homeland Security, but mostly at gays, and the oh-so-scary gay marching band that participated in the inauguration.
From both a public relations and human rights perspective, I can appreciate the desire of any group to ensure that representations of its components are accurate and non-defamatory. In order to honestly carry out any mission to prevent defamation, it’s important to understand what defamation is; Princeton University defines the term as “a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions.”
Reverend Dr. Gary Cass, President and C.E.O. of the CADC, said–with no sense of irony–“Christians were killed and bullied for their witness, ministers and churches threatened with violence and vandalized for standing for marriage, and Christians were fired for not compromising their faith. If these are not bona fide examples of persecution, than (sic) I wonder what more it might take?”
Given that 3 of the Top 10 listed Anti-Christian Acts directly target the LGBT population, it’s important to review Dr. Cass’ quote before dissecting the acts he goes on to enumerate. Perhaps Christians were indeed killed and bullied, threatened with violence and vandalized, or fired for their faith; if this is case, then certainly steps should be taken to discourage such behavior.
LGBT persons and groups are a minority group whose numbers can’t even be counted because our very existence is vilified by these same Christians who claim opposition to defamation. There is no question that LGBT people have experienced “bona fide examples of persecution”, routinely at the hands of Christians who have, historically as well as recently, opposed legislative acts designed to provide protections against such persecution.
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act added sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability to the already-protected classes including race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin. Christian organizations were the most vocal opponents to this historic piece of legislation designed only to discourage hatred. Much of the vitriol from Christians included the outright lie that pastors would be prosecuted for sermons discussing the church’s stance on homosexuality. See item #1 on this list…
Christians claiming “to stand for marriage” are the greatest obstacle to tax-paying American citizens seeking to assert the right of equal protection under the law by ensuring equal access to civil marriage. There is no legal basis whatsoever for the denial of this right–all arguments are either transparently or thinly-veiled religious diatribes, thus imposing the religious views of one group on another via statute.
Lastly, Christians vehemently oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is intended to expand protections from employment-related discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Discrimination is already prohibited on the basis of gender, religion, disability, and other common factors. Again, Christians fabricated the lie that churches would be required under proposed law to hire “queers and transvestites”–in spite of the crystal-clear exemption of religious institutions from this law.
Dr. Cass, the CADC, and Christians in general are clearly in favor of special rights granted only to Christians. All while claiming that civil equality for LGBT Americans amounts to “special rights”…
Here are their Top 10:
10. Pro-life Pastor Reverend Walter Hoye of Oakland, CA was jailed for exercising peaceful, pro-life speech.
This pastor was jailed not for his speech, but because he violated an existing law barring protestors from coming within 8 feet of anyone entering an abortion clinic. Upon violating the existing law, a judge imposed an order requiring that Mr. Hoye stay 100 yards away from an abortion clinic–Mr. Hoye unsuccessfully argued that this order was unconstitutional and then sentenced to 30 days in jail. Mr. Hoye could have chosen to carry out his sentence by volunteering, but it was more politically beneficial for him to ascend to martyrdom.
Perhaps if “Pro-Life” Christians weren’t so fond of murdering medical personnel in cold blood, such laws wouldn’t be necessary in the first place.
9. Rev. Fred Winters was murdered while preaching in his pulpit in Maryville, Illinois.
This is truly a sad story. Rev. Winters was murdered while preaching a sermon on happiness one Sunday morning in March. His killer was a 27 year-old man who suffered from schizophrenia, but there are no reports suggesting that the motive was religious in nature.
8. HBO’s program “Curb Your Enthusiasm” aired an episode where the main actor urinates on painting of Jesus. When confronted HBO would not apologize.
Free speech is sometimes difficult to fully appreciate. Provided that no other laws are being broken, Americans have the right to say just about anything they want; protected speech also extends to the subjective realm of art and entertainment and HBO’s wildly popular show “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. I haven’t seen the episode in question and am not a fan of the show in general. Since I didn’t watch the show, I choose not to comment about the specific content of the episode. I will say that it’s interesting that the CADC believes Reverend Walter Hoye’s right to free speech to be greater than that of Larry David and HBO, particularly since Mr. Hoye chose to break the law, whereas Mr. David’s scene was simply in questionable taste.
7. The overt homosexual participation in Obama’s presidential inaugural events by “Bishop” Vickie (sic) Eugene Robinson, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D. C., and a homosexual marching band.
This one really bothers me, for a few reasons.
First, I don’t quite know what constitutes “overt homosexual participation”, but I do know that Bishop Robinson, the Gay Mens Chorus, and yes, even the gay marching band, are made up of tax-paying American citizens who have every right to participate in an event that so symbolizes the freedom and democracy of our nation. Further, Bishop Robinson didn’t participate in the main inauguration event, but was instead relegated to a hastily-prepared event at the Lincoln Memorial. Famously anti-gay Evangelical Christian Pastor Rick Warren was chosen by the Obama administration to provide the “official” invocation at the ceremony.
Second, the word games being played with Robinson’s name are abhorrent. I’ll give the CADC the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t double-check the spelling of his first name, which is “Vicki”, not “Vickie”. It’s sloppy, but I don’t know for sure that it was intentional. What IS intentional is the framing of his title of Bishop in quotation marks. Whether the CADC or Christians in general like it or not, V. Gene Robinson is absolutely a Bishop duly appointed according to the processes of his denomination. OneNewsNow, the Family Research Council, and other Christian groups play the quotation game with words all the time. Apparently, someone can be “gay”, and two people of the same sex who file a legal marriage license are only “married”. This is yet another way Christians marginalize LGBT Americans on an ongoing and malicious basis.
I sent a card of congratulations to Bishop Robinson when he was appointed, which was at a time when I was still struggling with matters of personal faith and seeking peace with who I am and how I envisioned my life. In my card, I told Bishop Robinson that I admired his dedication to his faith and his ability to live a happy, successful life as an out gay man who was also in the clergy. Sending the card was cathartic on its own, and I never expected a reply of any kind. So I was pleasantly surprised when a card came in the mail from New Hampshire with a hand-written note from Robinson encouraging me to return to my faith and ministry. There was no exhortation to advancing any kind of gay agenda or anything. The guy told me to go to church. Does that sound like something an evil guy would do? Even though I’ve since reconciled my own beliefs differently, I’ll always treasure the compassion and sincerity of his note.
6. Police called to East Jessamine Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky to stop 8th graders from praying during their lunch break for a student whose mother was tragically killed.
I don’t know enough about this and can’t find any elaboration on the specific circumstances online. The feeling I get from such a broad, difficult-to-substantiate allegation is that there’s much more to this story.
Generally, I’ll say that I don’t have a problem with student-led prayer at school, provided that it is done during non-instructional time and is non-disruptive to the normal operations of the school.
5. Pro-life activist Jim Pullion was murdered in front of his granddaughter’s high school for showing the truth about abortion.
I’ll give the CADC this one. Mainstream media reports indicate that this was a premeditated murder (which included another victim) and was spurred by the pro-life activities of the victims. Is it in the best of taste to display giant posters of aborted fetuses across from a school? No. But that’s not a valid reason to murder people.
4. An activist judge ordered a home school mom in New Hampshire to stop home schooling her daughter because the little girl “reflected too strongly” her mother’s Christian faith.
The inclusion of this story is so incredibly suspect.
The real story is that the girl’s parents divorced when she was young and agreed to share decision-making authority, employing a mediator when an impasse arose. The parents had a disagreement over where the child should be educated, and the issue was resolved in the previously-agreed-upon manner. The father has been unequivocal in his support of his child’s faith, while the mother feels normal societal interaction would be detrimental to the girl’s faith. This is absurd.
3. The Federal Department of Homeland Security issued a report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate” that labeled conservative Christians extremists and potential terrorists.
Once again, the CADC perpetuates a complete lie. Read the report for yourself.
At no point in the report are conservative Christians lumped together as extremists or potential terrorists–instead, the report notes that there are radicals within the Christian faith, a fact that should be unsurprising to any thinking person. These radicals were noted not because of any anti-Christian sentiment, but because they have proven to be threats in the past and are worth at least knowing about.
Incidently, the term “Christian” appears only once in the entire document, and is used in reference to a very specific group within the much larger Christian world.
2. President Obama’s appointment of radical anti-Christians like homosexual activist Kevin Jennings as the “safe school czar;” pro-abortion advocate Kathleen Seblius made Secretary of Human and Health Services, and Chai Feldblum, pro-homosexual and anti-religious liberty judge nominated for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Again, with the typos and mystifying quotation marks…
Having worked in politics for over a decade, I’ll simply say that the President is free to appoint whomever he deems suitable for any position in his administration. No matter what you may think of these individuals or how fraudulent the stated claims against them are, let us not forget that President Bush was never called out by Republicans or Christians for appointing Michael Brown to head FEMA.
1. The Federal Hate Crimes Bill that attacks religious liberty and freedom of speech. For the first time in our history ministers are vulnerable to investigation and prosecution for telling the truth about homosexuality.
This is a complete lie. The CADC should be ashamed of themselves for so clearly breaking a Commandment with this utter garbage. READ THE ACT. §10(C) says:
(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.