Opinion: Dispute Over Decency

Religious radicals are marketers of mistreatment, and it's time to call them on it.

Welch-McCarthy-HearingsIt is amazing what indecent things some people say and do in the name of decency.

If your Christian parents throw you out of the house for being gay, and they cite Scripture, it is probably St. Paul, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Regarding the reference to homosexuality, Bible Gateway explains, “The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts.” But let’s not quibble over translations, nor scour the Bible Concordance for the precise connection between God’s kingdom and kicking out children. The point is that some people really believe this crap, and it’s causing harm, and it’s time we stopped being shy about it.

After organizers of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade decided to allow an NBC-affiliated LGBT group to march, the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue envisioned gay marchers masturbating in the street. Father Charles Pope, blogging for the Archdiocese of Washington, called the parade an “anal sex” celebration. These men are quieter about the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic fleeing to Rome to avoid justice for abusing shoeshine boys.

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The Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins, attacking the American Library Association, called for “picture books that show the joy a little birdie experiences when after the West Nile virus deaths of her two daddies, she’s finally adopted by a daddy and mommy.” Higgins cannot give even grudging credit to same-sex couples who provide loving and nurturing homes to children whose daddy and mommy threw them away.

After football’s gay pioneer Michael Sam was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, right-wing lobbyist Jack Burkman promised a massive protest for Sept. 7, then canceled it claiming he received death threats. Burkman says, “We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled.” His former lobbying firm disowned him for pushing a ban on gay NFL players.

The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer claimed that Sam’s hiring discriminated against every straight player, as if Sam’s MVP collegiate record and strong preseason performance count for nothing. This assumes that any gay person, however gifted, ranks below the least gifted straight person. It is no wonder that most of the breakthrough gay athletes are black; they have dealt with similar blind contempt before.

The religious bullies love the angry Jesus chasing moneylenders from the temple. The trouble is, they themselves are the moneylenders’ modern equivalents. Televangelist Pat Robertson recently told an 80-year-old woman who could not pay her bills that she should go back to work and sell her junk on eBay to continue tithing. Elmer Gantry never left us; he merely traded his revival tent for better technology.


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 The old virtue of decency was powerfully defended amid Cold War paranoia in 1954 at the Army-McCarthy hearings. Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI) had attacked Joseph Welch, head counsel for the U.S. Army, by noting the past membership in the left-wing National Lawyers Guild of a junior member of Welch’s law firm. Welch’s televised rebuke made history: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Reactions suggested that Welch spoke for many others, but unlike others he stepped up.

Those who make their living spewing hysterical nonsense are not stopping. Mission America’s Linda Harvey calls LGBT youth centers recruiting stations. She previously blamed gay teens for their homelessness. We help defeat the Linda Harveys by showing in our lives and loves what real decency is about. As Jesus said, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16)

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