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27

Jun

2010

Promote Ignorance, Malign Gays, Kill Animals: Messages from Christian Fundamentalists
Sunday, 27 June 2010 05:29
by Mel Seesholtz Ph.D.

Bill Mahr said it well in his quasi-documentary Religulous: “faith means making a virtue out of not thinking.” Not all religions do that, of course, but the dogmatic ones revel in and glorify non-thinking. And no group is more dogmatic, oblivious and opposed to rational thought than Christian fundamentalists who insist the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – is literal history. By definition, there is nothing rational about religion or faith, but this group takes ignorance to a whole new plane:

Creation Museum continues providing answers

Allie Martin - OneNewsNow - 6/17/2010

A co-founder of the Creation Museum said the success of the three-year-old facility is due in large part to a hunger among Christians to be able to defend their faith against an onslaught of attacks. …

Mark Looy, co-founder of the 70,000-square-foot museum, says, “People really are looking for answers. Christians are looking for answers on how they can defend the Bible in this modern scientific age. …”

"When Christians come here and see that science and scripture confirm the accounts of the creation and the flood in the Book of Genesis, they’re more emboldened in their faith…” The Creation Museum is a project of Answers in Genesis. [italics added]

“Science and scripture confirm the accounts of the creation and the flood in the Book of Genesis.” This is nothing less than a blatant lie. Legitimate science contradicts the creation myth in Genesis in every respect. The pseudo-science Looy – and his “boss” Ken Ham – rely on is a perversion equal to that they’ve perpetrated on the concept of “faith.”

Faith: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”

Can one have “faith” in a Higher Power, in the concept of Divinity without believing that the earth is 6,000 years-old, that the human children played with dinosaurs in Eden, and that Noah’s flood carved out the Grand Canyon in a matter of days?

Of course. Billions of people worldwide do, but Ken Ham, the founder and president of Answers in Genesis and the driving force behind the Creation Museum doesn’t believe so.
 

When asked by Bill Maher in Religulous why he insists the earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs coexisted with humans, Mr. Ham responded, “If you’re saying this part [of the Bible] over here that says God made land animals and man on the same day is not true, then, ultimately, why should I believe this bit over here?”

Apparently Mr. Ham and those who share his “faith” also believe it’s legitimate to sell one’s daughter into slavery and stone to death those who work or do business on the Sabbath, which is very odd since the Creation Museum is open for business from noon to 6 pm on Sundays, the Christian “Sabbath.” So much for Ham’s consistency of “faith.” But that perverted “faith” has made him a very rich man.

Aside from his positions at Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, Mr. Ham has been giving pseudo-faith-based “don’t think” lectures worldwide for quite some time. He also has a series of podcasts available for a subscription fee: the profitable business of selling ignorance.

From medieval popes to modern televangelists, the history of Christianity is replete with “holy men” who used religion to sell ignorance and enrich themselves. So it’s not surprising the tradition continues, but what’s truly disturbing is that there are so many twenty-first century sheeple out there willing to buy into it. What kind of person is drawn to Christian fundamentalism and biblical literalism?

Generally speaking, someone who is very insecure and afraid of reality. Someone who is so insecure and so afraid of life and reality that s/he withdraws into a nice, cozy little box that has on its entrance: “No Thinking Required Here. Just Believe and Obey.” Someone so afraid to sample and experience all life has to offer that s/he denies and condemn the very experience of being human as well as human realities and knowledge.

Fundamentalism also seems to give its adherent a sense of their own moral superiority and that they – and they alone – know “the Truth” and will be saved during “the Rapture,” which brings up another point. Perhaps that’s also one of the draws of fundamentalism: to be among the elite, the righteous, the saved. Basically, they need to feel superior to others.

Christian fundamentalists also seem to thrive on a type of fatalism, a gleeful welcoming of the end of the world: a sentiment that would appeal to someone at odds with this world and life in general. I recently read an article titled “The World as It Really Is” by Jim Fletcher, whose recent book is titled It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), with the subtitle “How to stop worrying and learn to love these END TIMES.”

After listing some human miseries he saw while strolling around Austin, Texas, Mr. Fletcher stated:

But even in all this misery, I thought about how it confirms the Bible. If the Bible is true, we would expect to see a diseased and dying world. A physically dying world. Pollution. Corruption. Illness. …

The Bible’s early books contain the history of Earth’s beginnings. Genesis contains the historical account of man’s spiritual and physical fall. In those brief verses, we can know enough to figure out our world. …

If the Bible is literally true, human misery is good? Didn’t “human misery” exist before the Bible was cobbled together? But it’s the opening of the second paragraph that speaks to the essence of fundamentalism’s glorification of irrationality and mind-numbing simplicity. Genesis contains “the history of Earth’s beginnings”: the earth is a flat disk supported by pillars and covered by a dome to keep out all those celestial waters and, according to Mr. Fletcher, Genesis is all we need to know “to figure out our world.” The appeal of fundamentalism: no thinking needed.

The “wisdom” of Mr. Fletcher continued when he explained how it was not the slaughter and torture of million and million of people by religious zealots during the last two millennia, but “the beginnings of modern evolutionary thought, which has destroyed millions and millions of people, and now has America’s children in its grip.”

Can you think of ANY incident in the 150 years since the theory of evolutionary in which evolutionists killed, maimed, waterboarded, or in any way “destroyed” fundamentalists in the name of Darwin? Mr. Fletcher would, no doubt, bring up Hitler and the “connection” his ilk like to posit between Darwin’s theory and Nazi-style eugenics. Madmen such as Hitler cherry-picked and used whatever they could to advances their cause, including Christianity.

As for science, reason and critical thinking having “America’s children in [their] grip,” GOOD! Perhaps they can then see through the irrationality and inherent bigotry that underwrite religious fundamentalism.

Currently, Christian fundamentalists and biblical literalists are crusading against gay and lesbian Americans: a group of “sinners” that the righteous do not believe deserve equal civil rights because, they say, gays can change via “ex-gay therapies.” That was the message of a well-paid, outspoken advocate of “ex-gay” pseudo-science, George Alan Rekers.

Alas, Dr. Rekers got caught with his RentBoy male prostitute when the two were returning from a ten day “vacation” in Europe, after which his reliance on discredited psychologist Paul Cameron became front page news. “Rekers is a fan and has frequently quoted Cameron in his writings”:

THE MOMMY POLITIC

The high cost of pseudoscience

By Casey Woods

In the annals of hypocritical flame-outs, few can compete with George Rekers. The psychologist, Baptist minister and purveyor of anti-gay religious ideology is now notorious for having taken a 10-day European trip with a male prostitute who advertises on the gay-escort website Rentboy.com. …

A common thread that ties many of them [advocates of homophobic junk-science] together is the work of Paul Cameron, a psychologist who was expelled by the American Psychological Association and censured by the American Sociological Association for distorting research about homosexuality. For decades, he has published “research'” claiming that gay men are much more likely to molest children and to die before they reach their mid-40s.

He advocated for the establishment of isolation camps for sexually active homosexuals, ostensibly to slow the spread of AIDS. Most recently, Cameron came out against lifting the “don't ask, don't tell” policy because he said that gay enlistees are four to seven times more likely to “rape fellow servicemen.”

In a phone interview, Cameron said that the “defamation” of his writings is the product of a pro-homosexual tyranny that has seized the scientific community – an oppression he likened to Hitler’s rule in Germany. …

Mr. Cameron has been sounding the same murderous note for more than two decade:

At the 1985 Conservative Political Action Conference, [Paul] Cameron announced to the attendees, “Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals.” According to an interview with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Cameron was recommending the extermination option as early as 1983.

Mark E. Pietzyk, The News-Telegraph, March 10, 1995

More about Cameron’s “final solution” is available here and here.

Both Cameron and Rekers were prominently cited on the websites of virtually all groups in the Christian Right. Indeed, the Family Research Council was cofounded by Rekers and James Dobson. After the scandal broke, the FRC quickly distanced itself from Rekers, but its spokesmen are still as anti-gay as ever. Witness recent comments by Peter Sprigg, who blasted President Obama for including “two fathers” in his Father’s Day Proclamation. The paragraph that offended Mr. Sprigg – and the anti-gay zealots in other Christian Right organizations – was this one:

Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian. We owe a special debt of gratitude for those parents serving in the United States Armed Forces and their families, whose sacrifices protect the lives and liberties of all American children. For the character they build, the doors they open, and the love they provide over our lifetimes, all our fathers deserve our unending appreciation and admiration.

Mr. Sprigg’s criticisms were heralded and augmented, not surprisingly, in the propaganda organ of the anti-gay American Family Association:

Obama’s ‘two fathers’ reference inappropriate

Bill Bumpas - OneNewsNow - 6/23/2010

… Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council (FRC), tells OneNewsNow the president should have used the proclamation to celebrate the existence of fathers in the lives of their children rather than promote a controversial political and social agenda.

“If he’s going to mention the partner of a father at all, it should be to note that children do best with their own married mother and father, and the best thing that a father can do for his child is to marry the mother of that child,” says the FRC spokesman.…

“It’s just really inappropriate that he would be injecting this kind of controversy into a ceremonial proclamation in the first place,” Spriggs remarks, “but it’s particularly disappointing that he refuses to recognize the fact that children need a mother and a father – not two mothers or two fathers. [italics added]

President Obama did “celebrate the existence of fathers in the lives of their children” by acknowledging the reality that many same-sex parents – including two dads – are actively, productively and successfully raising their children. That’s a fact, a reality. It’s not a “political and social agenda”:

Children thrive equally with same-sex, heterosexual parents, psychologist testifies at Prop. 8 trial

January 15, 2010

A Cambridge University developmental psychologist testified at a federal trial in San Francisco today that broad research has documented that children of same-sex parents are just as likely as those of heterosexual parents to be well-adjusted.

“Studies have found children do not require both a male and female parent,” testified Michael Lamb, who heads Cambridge’s Department of Social and Developmental Psychology….

And yet another study:

Same-sex couples can be effective parents, researchers find

Updated 1/21/2010

By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

Children raised by same-sex couples appear to do as well as those raised by parents of both sexes, suggests an international research review that challenges the long-ingrained belief that children need male and female parents for healthy adjustment.

“It's more about the quality of the parenting than the gender of the parents,” says Judith Stacey of New York University, co-author of the comprehensive review. It will be published Friday in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

To say that President Obama “refuses to recognize the fact that children need a mother and a father” is the epitome of arrogance and ignorance. All children have a father and a mother. That’s how procreation works. But more than a few of those children were subsequently abandoned by either their father, their mother, or both. Moreover, many of the children adopted by same-sex parents are “hard to place” kids that no one seems to want. Apparently Mr. Sprigg would rather see these children remain parentless wards of the state rather than be accepted in a loving home. How very unChristian of him. But then again, FRC excels at unChristian activities:

Family Research Council supports death

By James Withers, contributing editor, 365Gay Blog 06.04.2010

The Family Research Council is a sponsor of murder. That is not Friday morning hyperbole. Joe, at Joe.My.God, found out FRC walked the halls of Congress fighting a resolution that denounced Uganda’s proposal to legally lynch gays. Two lobbyists were paid $25,000 to lobby the Senate and the House. …

This support for state sanctioned murder should not surprise. Remember when Ugandan MP David Bahati said he had private support from American evangelicals? More than likely he meant these kooks. And who can forget FRC’s Peter Sprigg? He wants gay sex to be a criminal offense and ‘mos deported. Sprigg is the same “scholar” who said gay rape would increase if DADT was removed. …

Vicious invectives against gay and lesbian Americans, “final solutions,” and putting Bronze Age edicts above contemporary science and common sense is also the forte of Bryan Fischer, homophobe, biblical literalist, and notorious bloviator for the American Family Association. In his “Focal Point” column, Mr. Fischer has offered these absurdities:

Bryan Fischer-Focal Point

Homosexuality, Hitler and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Date: 5/27/2010

The bottom line from what follows is this:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews. Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting. Maybe it’s time for Congress to learn a lesson from history. …

Bryan Fischer-Focal Point

Gay sex = domestic terrorism

Date: 6/10/2010

Some of England's leading newspapers - The Sun, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail - all had feature stories yesterday about the latest Taliban terror tactic: burying dirty needles with their bombs in an effort to infect troops with HIV. They are planting hypodermic syringes below the surface with the points facing upward in hopes that bomb squad experts will prick themselves and become contaminated with hepatitis and HIV. If the bomb goes off, then the needles become deadly flying shrapnel.

Said a member of Parliament, “Are there no depths to which these people will stoop? This is the definition of a dirty war.”

If we connect the dots here, the inescapable conclusion is that gay sex is a form of domestic terrorism. …

Don’t look for any logic or rationality – or even common sense – in any of Mr. Fischer’s preposterous non sequitur arguments. There isn’t any, nor is there any in another of Mr. Fischer’s Focal Point rants: “Jesus was a capitalist” (5/17/2010), the last line of which was, “Bottom line: Jesus … had capitalism in his DNA.”

In his February 25, 2010 Focal Point column titled “Bible ignored, trainer dies,” Mr. Fischer cited Exodus 21:28-29 as justification for his call to stone to death “Tilly” the whale and its Sea World owners:

"When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable " (Exodus 21:28). So, your animal kills somebody, your moral responsibility is to put that animal to death. … But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn't kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, "the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death" (Exodus 21:29).

Bible-thumping Fischer seems to be in love with killing:

Bryan Fischer-Focal Point

The Biblical Case For the Death Penalty

Date: 3/2/2010

These are the words of God as recorded in Genesis 9:5-6:5] “For your lifeblood I will require a reckoning…from his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.6] Whoever sheds the blood of man,By man shall his blood be shed,For God made man in his own image.”

God is here on record that capital punishment is morally necessary and right. He requires that it be carried out …

Killing animals and scientific research were the subjects of one of Mr. Fischer’s most recent Focal Point advocacies of Bronze Age superstitions:

Bryan Fischer-Focal Point

Bible ignored, grandfather mauled by grizzly

Date: 6/21/2010

History reveals that God’s covenant with an ancient nation suggests that one of the consequences for a nation which walks in his statues is that it will have nothing to fear from wild animals. “If you walk in my statutes...I will remove harmful beasts from the land” (Lev. 26:3,6).

On the other hand, “[I]f you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments...I will let loose the wild beasts against you” (Lev. 26:14,22).

A wholly preventable tragedy occurred outside Yellowstone National Park last week as a bear that only hours before had been trapped and tranquilized by researchers woke up from his induced slumber just in time to maul a 70-year old man who was out for a stroll. …

...Because these researchers were intent on studying the grizzly rather than killing him to protect innocent human life, a husband, father and grandfather is dead today. This was an utterly unnecessary death which could have happened only because our culture has jettisoned a biblical view of the relative value of human life compared to animal life.

Because this animal was given a nap instead of a bullet, a human being is dead, and a savage animal is alive, on the prowl, and ready to kill again. …

Apparently Mr. Fischer believes the grizzly should have been shot on sight. Forget scientific research on an endangered species. Forget the fact that those staying in the area had been warned about the grizzly research:

“There have been Forest Service people in the area talking to people who live in those cabins, and at the lodges around there, letting them know what’s going on,” forest spokeswoman Susan Douglas said Friday.

Forget the fact that if you go hiking – alone – two miles into an area where grizzlies are known to be, you do so at your own risk (just as “trainers” who swim with whales in order to force them to do tricks for the amusement of paying customers).

Notice that again Mr. Fischer cited the Old Testament as inviolable literal truth. No doubt he’s a supporter of Young Earth Creationism and the Creation Museum, and since he cited Leviticus here, no doubt he believes all the Bronze Age edicts in that book are to be followed, verbatim and without question. So I have some direct questions for Mr. Fischer:

  1. Do you believe the earth is flat, 6,000 year-old, and was created in six literal days as stated in Genesis?
  2. Again, based on Genesis, do you believe Adam and Eve were real people and that their children incestuously populated the earth?
  3. Do you believe those who work on the Sabbath should be stoned to death as demanded in Leviticus?
  4. Do you believe people who wear clothing made of two different threads should be stoned to death as demanded in Leviticus?
  5. Do you believe homosexuals should be put to death as demanded in Leviticus?
  6. Do you believe non-virgin brides should be stoned to death outside their father’s home as demanded in Deuteronomy?
  7. Do you believe all these biblical kill orders should be carried out?

Given the black-and-white, either-or, no-thinking “biblical reasoning” in your articles cited above, your answers to these questions must be a simple “yes” or “no.” If they’re not, then you’re guilt of cherry-picking and selectively interpreting the Bible to further your own homophobic, murderous agenda.

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