Pharyngula

Today’s excessive religious hysteria

A gay rights group called Soulforce had a sit-in (it warms my heart to hear the traditions of the 1960s have not completely died) in the offices of Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and typical homophobe. One of our local bible scholars, Reuben David, an assistant professor of Communication Arts at North Central University, took it upon himself to criticize these militant gay rights activists; I’m really impressed with his perspective:

Osama Bin Laden’s threat against the West is milder compared to the movements of [Soulforce founder] Mel White and others who are eating away at the vitals of a traditional society like zombies threatening to destroy traditional families … This is a guerilla war against traditional human marriages.

ZOMBIES ARE ATTACKING MY MARRIAGE, THEIR LEADERS ARE WORSE THAN OSAMA BIN LADEN! I’m a little confused by the metaphor; I don’t usually associate zombies with the idea of chowing down on an abstract concept like traditional marriage. They seem more direct, interested in brains as meat rather than love and sex. I also don’t associate zombies with homosexuals. Maybe he was thinking of vampires, not zombies — vampires have a more sexual vibe and a better fashion sense.

I’m also baffled by the reference to traditional human marriages. Are non-human marriages safe from the gay zombies? Is it OK for chickens and people to get married, or is Mr David concerned only about the sanctity of chicken-chicken marriages? Does he know of any?

I can’t say that I’m a fan of this Mel White fellow. He’s all wrapped up in this absurd religion stuff, and he seems to have had a history of supporting fundagelical loons like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Jim Bakker, and only broke away from them when their theocratic leanings threatened his personal sexual choices. A deluded man, perhaps a little bit self-centered, but now fighting for civil rights and personal freedoms through nonviolente resistance…who doesn’t sound at all like a terrorist.

The person in this affair who bears the greatest resemblance to an intolerant religious fanatic who responds hysterically to people with different beliefs is, well, Reuben David.

(via Minnesota Monitor)

Comments

  1. #1 Peter M
    March 31, 2007

    “Prof.” David has an M.A. from Regent University, which was founded by Pat Robertson. It has a pretty dismal reputation.

    Now, LOL, even though I’m going to make a biblical reference here. Look up “Mar Saba” and “Secret Gospel of Mark,” the fascinating story of a gospel fragment that suggests Jesus was gay. Wikipedia has entries on these topics but there are many more. It’s a real historical detective story, even if you’re not that interested in the Bible.

    One update you probably won’t find online. The biblical fragment has been “lost” by the Bar Saba monastery — one of Professor Bart Ehrman’s books has the update.

    I don’t buy the whole heaven, God bit, but I have a Bible history in my educational past, and it would be very amusing if there were “Pearly Gates” and Jesus was in fact gay.

    And if you cite the “Lost Mark” story to religious ranters, it makes them froth.

  2. #2 BlueIndependent
    March 31, 2007

    I’m really thinking it’s got to suck to be conservative, and having to fight a war lurking around every corner and under every pebble. But their tendency toward open campaigns to deny what is patently obvious and unavoidable (i.e. a gay rights group in their political midst) is sadly telling of their willingness to broach the subject and find a solution. It’s obvious they’d rather than just go straight into dust-up mode and take it from there.

  3. #3 Justin Moretti
    March 31, 2007

    Whenever I hear these homophobic God-bothering lunatics being referred to as “conservative” and “right wing”, my blood boils. They are neither Conservative nor Right Wing – those are labels which should be restricted to describing far more respectable individuals. What they really are is extremist theocratic fascists.

  4. #4 beepbeepitsme
    March 31, 2007

    How can you cure something that isn’t listed as a disease?

    “Homosexuality was only removed from the international classification of diseases in 1992; prior to that it was defined as a mental illness.” http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb264/is_200411/ai_n13131104

    And homosexuality has not been listed as a mental disorder since 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association decided to drop homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

    Perhaps homophobia needs to be listed as a mental illness instead.

  5. #5 Kseniya
    March 31, 2007

    I’m really thinking it’s got to suck to be conservative, and having to fight a war lurking around every corner and under every pebble.

    Yes, yes! The irony is that they think the same of liberals: that we’re always fighting some needless, reactive war against things that don’t exist, don’t matter, or can’t be defended – things like environmental protection or climate change, marriage rights for gays, or the rising tide of creationist ignorance and christian dominionism. I guess that all seems rather frivolous to people who think the greatest threats to the American way of life are socialized health care and the biannual video threat from Osama bin Laden.

    Meanwhile, I’m enjoying sitting back and watching the Bush administration collapse under the weight of its own record of lies and malfeasance.

  6. #6 Mena
    March 31, 2007

    Why does it seem like getting up in arms about really stupid causes is a requirement for people who yell the loudest about “the left” and how they are good conservatives? The flag is in danger, get yer guns! Well, microphones to get on the radio and use the media to tell people how evil the media is.
    I’m also baffled by the reference to traditional human marriages.
    Well, if gays are allowed to get married people will start being allowed to marry their dogs, didn’t you get the memo from Rick Santorum?
    When did insanity become a requirement for getting leadership positions and air time? I miss the good old days when the unhinged were not listened to, let alone not idolized. Am I a conservative? ;^)

  7. #7 stogoe
    March 31, 2007

    Unfortunately, conservatism is just as functionally bankrupt as fascist theocracy.

  8. #8 Joshua
    March 31, 2007

    Bin Laden is still releasing videos? Man, I loved that 9/11 vs. Shakira mashup he did. I can’t wait for his next one to drop. Why isn’t his stuff on MTV?

  9. #9 Stuart Coleman
    March 31, 2007

    The zombie metaphor made me laugh, even though I’m sure he meant it seriously. He must be a master wordsmith, to be able craft such fine metaphors.

  10. #10 Jeb, FCD
    March 31, 2007

    I’m also baffled by the reference to traditional human marriages.

    I think he’s implying that homos ain’t human.

    What a complete TOOL!

  11. #11 Caledonian
    March 31, 2007

    How can you cure something that isn’t listed as a disease?

    The listing of homosexuality as a disease did not make it one; the removal of homosexuality from that category doesn’t make it not one.

    It’s not difficult to answer the question. What’s more difficult is dealing with the assumptions behind it.

  12. #12 dorid
    March 31, 2007

    Peter M,

    Of course Jesus (and probably God the Father) are gay. You said it: Pearly gates. If they were straight the Gate to Heaven would be cast iron, probably with razor wire on the top.

  13. #13 BlueIndependent
    March 31, 2007

    “Whenever I hear these homophobic God-bothering lunatics being referred to as “conservative” and “right wing”, my blood boils. They are neither Conservative nor Right Wing – those are labels which should be restricted to describing far more respectable individuals. What they really are is extremist theocratic fascists.”

    ***This is going to be somewhat OT***

    Well yes, many of them are theocratic fascists using the rhetoric of extremism to further their cause. Unfortunately the reality is they have taken/stolen the reigns of the political party typically thought to be conservative, and have driven it towards their ends for the last 40+ years, and had been in fact vowing to do so 2 decades before that. This is a political storm that made its goals known as far back as the 40s, spent 20 years setting the individuals in place, and since 1964 have been putting the whole plan through its paces to get to where we are today. I do in part blame the liberal party for bending so easily to certain strides by their political counterpart.

    If the conservative party truly wants to get back to the roots of Teddy, Eisenhower (with better foreign policy skills) and Lincoln (or even Bush 1 without the subplots), it only need but do so. The real problem though is they have gotten so used to bashing liberals and the liberal party for the last 100+ years, it’s apparently the only thing they do well. They do not put forth any sense of urgency in actually pulling from their own past to formulate and enact policy. They built their head of steam on the perfection and dissemination of rhetoric, and it shows in the absolute deluge of liberal-bashing books that come out monthly, coupled with the kind of buzz-word talking-point spewing mania that only a Madison Avenue marketing and PR firm could appreciate.

    This is why a gay-basher gets lumped in with the “conservative” title: the conservative party has made a habit of making such announcements publicly for decades, and continues to do so unabated by the internet, television, print and radio. It is highly uncommon, in contrast, to see a liberal politician openly use epithets and agressive language toward the same sorts of people (not that it doesn’t happen, it just happens far less often).

    And I say all of this holding the ignominious distinction of being one of those that actually voted for Bush 2 in 2000, and then McCain in 04. Needless to say, I pay more attention now. If “conservatism” – whatever that is anymore – is to be saved and returned to its roots, then the party should figure it out for itself, shove all the extremist theocratic fascists out and make them start their own party, and get back to reality. That is far easier said than done of course, but that’s what needs to happen.

  14. #14 Tony Popple
    March 31, 2007

    With the large number of marriages ending in divorce these days, I know plenty of individuals who have survived a failed marriage. The stated reasons for these marriages falling apart are diverse and complicated.

    However, I have yet to encounter a straight couple who blame homosexuality for their divorce.

  15. #15 Djur
    March 31, 2007

    Justin Moretti: Uh, there’s certainly an argument that they aren’t conservatives. They’re reactionaries. But they’re definitely right-wing by any historical or modern definition of the term. Conservatives are right-wing, but so are fascists, theocrats, and reactionaries of all stripes. Hell, even within the Left, authoritarians like Stalin are considered right-wing.

    The term ‘right-wing’ has always applied to monarchists, fascists, anti-liberals, reactionaries, and even conservatives. My personal use of the term is local, while terms like ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ are more universal. In the United States, the political left wing is very faintly liberal, while the political right wing is hard reactionary — true, not even conservative by most measures.

    But certainly right-wing.

  16. #16 Troublesome Frog
    March 31, 2007

    Is there some form of Godwin’s Law referencing terrorists or Osama Bin Laden yet? I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s thought along those lines.

  17. #17 Cody
    March 31, 2007

    These people came to Baylor a week or so ago. The entire student body received an email the morning they came that read something along the lines of “There’s this group of homosexual activists coming to campus . . . we’re all fine with a discussion on human sexuality, but we don’t want to have it with them.”

    Turns out the group was told that they would be welcomed on campus only if they could get invited by a student group or a faculty member. So the Baylor Democrats tried to invite them . . . only to be told that we couldn’t. Way to go, Baylor.

  18. #18 Molly, NYC
    March 31, 2007

    Y’know, although divorce is a horrible experience, it does mature one.

    For example, fundies say a lot of silly things. And they divorce at least as much as normal people. But I’ve never heard one who claimed afterwards that the deal-breaker had been homosexuals in general “threatening to destroy traditional families.” That kind of dumbassery is reserved for the sort who still believe marriages to be made in Heaven.

  19. #19 Justin Moretti
    March 31, 2007

    Djur, yes, I see where you’re coming from. The problem is that “right wing” has become an epithet – it lumps those who (like me) are happy (for example) for Australia to remain a constitutional monarchy but aren’t displeased with social progressivism (gay rights/marriage, access to abortions, etc) into the same camp as those who’d render women barefoot and pregnant & probably not bat too many eyelids at burning gays at the stake.

    The big problem I see is with the terms themselves – “right (wing)” and “left (wing)” – applied to politics in general: when used by the other side, they have become perjorative. Likewise, I don’t like it when support for initial or continuing engagement in the Mid-East/Afghanistan/Iran arena is seen as an automatic marker of unreason, but that’s another matter.

  20. #20 Interrobang
    March 31, 2007

    His use of the term “human marriages” is particularly interesting, in light of something I read at Orcinus (which was confirmed by a quick transcript search). This strikes me as a “dog-whistle” reference to (crazed reactionary frother) Mark Steyn’s contention that, because of homosexuality and the existence of liberal social programmes, “It’s getting harder not to conclude that parts of Europe are evolving into a kind of post-human society.” This classification of everything Steyn doesn’t happen to like as “post-human” (and not in the Transhumanist sense, either) implies that basically anyone to the left of him is essentially non-human.

    David Neiwert at Orcinus documented where the next logical step went from there, courtesy of Mark Noonan at someplace called “Blogs for Bush.” The short form is, “Death or conversion, take your pick.”

    This marginalising of disliked groups by the right-wingers, and its attendant increase in eliminationist rhetoric, is getting progressively (regressively?) more and more fascist in tone (and I mean that in the classic political sense, of a corporatist state characterised by belligerent nationalism, a cult of machismo and misogyny, and eliminationist tendencies/action towards anything it perceives as its enemies).

  21. #21 Moody
    March 31, 2007

    Okay, I just have to say that I continue to be terribly baffled by all this nonsense about homosexuality. The physical genitals of the people involved in a sex act is a trivial matter in comparison with how people treat each other generally. Why in the world do people think it matters if two men or two women want to “get busy” with each other? Why does it matter if three or more consenting adult people want to “do it”? I mean, really, who cares? More power to ’em!

    People who want to breed or raise children will continue to find ways to do so. Gay couples and polyamorous triads/quads/etc. will continue to raise children just fine (save insofar as outsiders cause problems for them). Male(1) + Female(1) + Offspring(avg. 2.1) is certainly not some magic formula ensuring “goodness” or “success” in childrearing or making a family. I’m guessing that failed heterosexual marriages are worse for kids than successful homosexual marriages any day; and a failed homosexual marriage would be no worse than failed heterosexual marriage (again, save insofar as outsiders cause problems for the people involved).

    But the raving fundies continue to freak out about what others do with their own genitalia, spouting nonsense about what their precious “The Book” says — when in fact it says very little, and that little demonstrably comes from an auld lang syne society (one apparently insane with religion) and not from some alleged bogeyman in the sky.

    Comparing a gay sit-in to the work of another fundamentalist ne’er-do-well and conflating the issue with the eating habits of the noisome and insatiable undead is both absurd and TMI about Reuben David, whatever one thinks of Mr. White. And Mr. David’s shrillness still fails to address the real issues surrounding the pathetic bankruptcy of his kind’s unintentionally bathetic Weltanschauung, who are up to their big ears in personal moral failures and highly dubious success in the bilking business.

  22. #22 llewelly
    March 31, 2007

    Troublesome Frog:

    Is there some form of Godwin’s Law referencing terrorists or Osama Bin
    Laden yet?

    For any political discussion, the probability of a comparison
    involving terrorists or Osama Bin Laden has been at or near one
    continuously since 12 September 2001 .

  23. #23 386sx
    March 31, 2007

    Reuben David’s article is here.

    He says: While the world’s less fortunate are going without food, shelter and clothing, it is a monumental shame to waste one’s energy, time and resources to fight for a movement that has no redeeming value for life except that it seeks to annihilate families in the long run.

    Reuben David teaches mass communications at North Central University.

    Well hey, teaching mass communications seeks to annihilate local communications in the long run! While the world’s less fortunate are going without food, shelter and clothing, it is a monumental shame to waste one’s energy, time and resources to teach mass communications at North Central University! Maybe Reuben David should teach mass fallacies at North Central University!

  24. #24 sailor
    March 31, 2007

    “However, I have yet to encounter a straight couple who blame homosexuality for their divorce.”

    Well I did not of a bloke that ran off with someone’s husband once…..

  25. #25 Leni
    March 31, 2007

    That zombie thing is pretty funny. Although I’ve always assosiated zombies with, you know… large, unstoppable, mindless hoardes.

    The irony (as usual) appears to be utterly lost on these idiots.

  26. #26 SLC
    March 31, 2007

    North Central University appears to be a bible college with all the academic distinction of Liberty University. It’s not surprising that they would have a numbnuts like Mr. David on the faculty.

  27. #27 bigTom
    March 31, 2007

    From their point of view considering these people to be more dangerous than OBL makes perfect sense. In fact other than the name of their God and his Prophet, their beliefs are basically the same.

  28. #28 Molly, NYC
    March 31, 2007

    Tony Popple – Great minds, etc.

  29. #29 BlueIndependent
    March 31, 2007

    “…Likewise, I don’t like it when support for initial or continuing engagement in the Mid-East/Afghanistan/Iran arena is seen as an automatic marker of unreason, but that’s another matter.”

    The application of the marker of unreason has nothing to do with engagement in the Middle East. It has everything to do with how we are engaging that part of the world. And at this point, a lot of unreason has been brought to bear.

  30. #30 JS
    March 31, 2007

    I think I figured out the ‘Mel White and others who are eating away at the vitals of a traditional society like zombies threatening to destroy traditional families’ passage: Most here seem to put an implicit comma is put between ‘society’ and ‘like.’ That would be my first interpretation as well. However, it makes much more sense, however, if you place the implicit comma between ‘zombies’ and ‘threatening.’

    So, fundies aren’t good at punctuation. Hands up, who’s surprised?

    – JS

  31. #31 SMC
    March 31, 2007

    At times like this, I’m always reminded of an article in The Onion from many years ago…

  32. #32 chuko
    March 31, 2007

    Actually, divorce rate among American evangelical christians is very high: 34% in small evangelical churches, 29% in baptist churches, 25% in other protestant churches, and only 21% amongst us godless heathens. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

  33. #33 rjb
    March 31, 2007

    Didn’t conservatives get all up in arms when Ward Churchill compared 9/11 victims to “little Eichmann’s”? Now, this guy is comparing peaceful protestors to Osama Bin Laden!! Somehow, I just don’t think the media will pick up this story the same way.

  34. #34 beepbeepitsme
    March 31, 2007

    RE: “The listing of homosexuality as a disease did not make it one; the removal of homosexuality from that category doesn’t make it not one.”

    There were obviously reasons as to why it was listed, and there are obviously reasons as to why it was removed. I would suggest that it was removed as such because there was a lack of evidence to support it being listed as one.

    In other words, there appears to be a a lack of scientific evidence to support the case for homosexuality as being listed as either a disease, or a mental illness.

  35. #35 Luis Mack
    April 1, 2007

    Vampires have … a better fashion sense? As the slayer said, “Only somebody living underground for 10 years would think that was still the look.”

  36. #36 Tony Popple
    April 1, 2007

    NYC Molly,

    Nice to know I am not alone in my insanity.

  37. #37 Millimeter Wave
    April 1, 2007

    Is there some form of Godwin’s Law referencing terrorists or Osama Bin Laden yet? I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s thought along those lines.

    I’m pretty sure that Godwin’s law applies implicitly. Zombies, on the other hand, is a completely new one on me.

    This seems appropriate:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/12/all_we_want_to_do_is_eat_your.php

    great song, too 😉

  38. #38 Uber
    April 1, 2007

    divorce rate among American evangelical christians is very high: 34% in small evangelical churches, 29% in baptist churches, 25% in other protestant churches, and only 21% amongst us godless heathens

    these are old numbers. The younger generations of all the above examples hover around 50% give or take a few. None of which changes the fact of what Molly said above.

  39. #39 Dustin
    April 1, 2007

    Caledonian wrote:

    The listing of homosexuality as a disease did not make it one; the removal of homosexuality from that category doesn’t make it not one.

    It’s not difficult to answer the question. What’s more difficult is dealing with the assumptions behind it.

    Here’s another easy question to answer: Do you think homosexuality is a disease?

  40. #40 Chuck C
    April 1, 2007

    Well, there’s my new band name:

    Gay Zombie Millitia.

  41. #41 Kevin Bryant
    April 1, 2007

    personal sexual choices.

    Hmm choice what? At least I chose the more-fashionable way (though some may debate that.)

  42. #42 Leon
    April 2, 2007

    “Are non-human marriages safe from the gay zombies?”

    AH! You’re killing me! That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all year. You know, that’s a good enough one-liner that we could turn it around and make it into a PYGMIES + DWARFS thing, re. this sort of fundamentalist gay-bashing.

  43. #43 Leon
    April 2, 2007

    I realize it goes without saying, but this fellow’s comments are so over the top I just have to say it. Homosexuals legally agitating for equal treatment are WORSE THAN OSAMA?! In other words, it would be better for us to suffer more 9/11s than for gays to have full equality? Did you check your sanity at the door or something?

    I have to say I do agree with him, but only if the victims of said 9/11s are all hate-filled individuals of his stripe. And only if the neocons aren’t in charge of the White House, because they would find a way to use that tragedy to justify some more atrocities of their own.

  44. #44 Jason
    April 2, 2007

    beepbeep,

    In other words, there appears to be a a lack of scientific evidence to support the case for homosexuality as being listed as either a disease, or a mental illness.

    Well, I think it’s rather more complicated than that. I doubt either the decision to list homosexuality as an illness in the first place, or to remove it from that list later, were based solely on scientific evidence and were entirely free of political or ideological motives. Perhaps it would be more proper to view homosexuality as a disorder or disability than as a disease. The gay journalist Jonathan Rauch describes his view of his own homosexuality as follows:

    As it happens, I experience my homosexuality as a (mild) disability. If I could have designed myself in the womb, I would have chosen to be heterosexual, because I feel I am missing out on something special and irreplaceable by not being able to conceive and raise a child with the partner I love.

    I suspect many gay people share this view. If some kind of future fertility treatment were developed that allowed gay people to have children with their same-sex partner, it might become very popular, in the same way that IVF and other treatments have become popular with heterosexual couples who suffer from fertility disorders.

  45. #45 thickslab
    April 30, 2007

    Posted by: Jason | April 2, 2007 06:26 PM
    [Quoting gay journalist Jonathan Rauch] As it happens, I experience my homosexuality as a (mild) disability. If I could have designed myself in the womb, I would have chosen to be heterosexual[end of quote] I suspect many gay people share this view.

    Only the ones suffering from internalized homophobia. All of *my* gay friends are well adjusted and none of us would wish to change what we are.

    How can it be a “disability” when there are no negative psychological consequences of it? Evelyn Hooker went over this shit decades ago. Let’s move on already.

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