The headline reads thus:
“Franklin Graham says Pete Buttigieg needs to repent of his homosexuality citing Leviticus.”
Now, I am not going to go on a rant, nor am I going to get into a Biblical/theological argument (mostly because I think most people don’t actually read it, and I am not going to defend homosexuality from anyone. There’s no reason.)
What I am going to do is make a list of things that American Evangelicals (including Graham and his friends) ought to apologize (or repent) for:
1: Racism – It wasn’t until 1995 that the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for their support of Slavery, Segregation, and Jim Crow Law which treated blacks as second class citizens throughout the lynching years and beyond. It should also be noted that several Southern Baptist Organizations fought integration and even sued to open White Only Christian Schools in the 1970s using their 501c3 (Bob Jones Sr. Vs The United States). The Supreme Court decided that despite their deeply held Biblical beliefs, they could not use their 501c3 to discriminate against African American people who applied to their University.
*note: Bob Jones Sr. University apologized for its racist past including the prohibition of interracial dating….in 2000.
*It’s also worth noting that the attack on public education, the low pay public educators receive, and the focus of charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling is a direct result of racism and the anger of people at the idea of unsegregated schools.
2. The Anti-Abortion Movement/ Anti-Civil Rights movement and the Rise of the Religious Right. Piggybacking off of the first point, The Southern Baptists (along with other conservative evangelical organizations) in the early 1970s supported the right of women to choose to have an abortion. Citing things like women’s health, fetus viability, income, rape, etc. were all reasons why they could support this practice. However, they have since renounced this practice and have become fierce advocates AGAINST a woman’s right to choose. An article written for Politico entitled The Real Origins of the Religious Right by Randall Balmer dated May 27, 2014, cites that “In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.” The debate over Abortion is still a hotbed of anger and sometimes murderous violence.
3) The hiding and protection of sexual predators/ violent abusers in their organizations. This is from a Newsweek article dated 2/10/2019, “The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News collected the mug shots and sexual abuse reports of hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders from the past two decades. More than 220 leaders, including ministers, pastors, and Sunday school teachers from the Southern Baptist Convention’s 47,000 churches have been convicted of sex crimes, which included disturbing and heart-wrenching anecdotes of church affiliates raping young children.” Furthermore, an article I was quoted in had to deal with Fundamental Baptists. In an article written by the Fort Worth Telegram entitled “Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S.” by Sarah Smith, details, again, that the Catholic Church -while often vilified by protestant evangelicals in America for their role in the molestation of women and children, have they themselves been practitioners of this type of inhumane and devastatingly awful deviancy that leaves devastation in its wake. The difference is, unlike the Catholic Church where there is one central figure or Pope, American Protestantism has many central figures or “Popes” if you will. This makes tracking down all of the victims and therefore assigning blame, that much harder.
3. The dehumanizing of women and children in theology and practice and the handing over of so said population to predatory men – see above.
4. The support of an Anti-Christ like American President – Donald Trump is vile. A disgusting human being who’s used racism (see above) sex (Grabbing women by their P*ssy, having an affair with a porn star, beating his wife(s), the ripping away of children from their families at the border, the demonic practice of putting these people in concentration camps, and his support of white supremacy and racism. This is where the American Evangelical movement is now – they’ve attached themselves to Trump the way the Lutheran Church abdicated to Hitler’s authority in a quest for Power and Pride of Place in Germany in the late 1930s. (Charles Marsh, Strange Glory: A life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.) This includes Mike Pence.
5) The Denial of Climate Change and the rise of Anti-professionalism/ Anti-Intellectualism. God saves our souls, he doesn’t save us from the natural outcomes of our actions. This includes but is not limited to Climate Change, Immunization, etc. Also, the rise of the mistrust in Academics, and the American Media has its roots in certainty addiction that these pastors sell as a part of their snake oil salvation. You can’t be all powerful if your parishioners are receiving an education or their information from other than ‘trusted’ sources.
American Evangelicals have stolen, wrongfully, words like “Patriotism, Family, and Faith”, They’ve been wrong in ways that have been detrimental to the United States for a couple of hundred years. Why should anyone, Pete Buttigieg, etc. et al, take anything they say with ANY rational level of reason? The American Evangelicals (Franklin included) have abused their spiritual and theological authority, they’ve abused and been a party to the murder, rape, and subjugation of African American people, they’ve abused, raped, molested, and spiritually maligned their own people in a quest to remain in power, they’ve subjected and attempted and continue to try and subjugate women to their masculinity. This has even lead to the murder of Abortion Doctors. The only reason these people haven’t lowered in their pride of place in this country is because of how they vote.
***Personal Note. I am a gay married man. I’ve been married to my husband for six years. We’ve been together for almost ten. Having been raised in a fundamentalist tradition of the Baptist Church known as Independent Baptist, my relationship with evangelicals and evangelicalism is a complicated one. Having suffered at the hands of the philosophical teaching of the late Jack Hyles and his influence over my family, I suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD). One of the primary reasons that I left the church, however, was over issues of racism, sexism, and this general disconnect that the church cultivated between their members and the outside world. As these articles I cited above show quite clearly, there is a country inside of this country, a society inside of our society, that has abused their members in every single way imaginable (and some unimaginable). There are thousands of survivors out there who suffer in silence out of fear of retribution, or out of fear of God himself because they’ve been taught that God said it was okay for their preachers to do to them what they’ve done.
There is no war on religion in this country unless you count Muslims. There is, however, a war on secularism. A war on intellectualism. A war on professionalism and a war on the cohesiveness of American society as a whole. As someone who has a political science and history degree, I have watched this erosion of Americanism by the hands of those who swear to be the most faithful and most patriotic. They don’t have the market cornered on these things and should they insist they do, understand this.
It’s a lie.
This is no endorsement of Pete Buttigieg for President of the United States (I haven’t decided who I am voting for). This is simply laying out of historical and political facts that have been obfuscated over the years. And while this in no way a total sum of all the sins committed against America and its people in general by the aforementioned, I personally believe we are living in an apocalyptic moment in this country. A great revealing of what has been festering underneath the surface of J.C. Penny suits, the softer side of Sears, ideology, and public prayer. We’re in a bad way, as a country, and my sincere hope is that we as Americans can turn to each other and vow to protect each other from all enemies be they foreign or domestic. Gay marriage has nothing to do with where we are as a country or how we got where we are.
We can do better. We must do better. It’s going to be hard work, trust me, I have the medical bills, the pharmacy bills, and the therapy bills to prove it. But’s it’s worth it. We’re worth it. America is worth it. God’s worth it. I don’t want there to be a ‘rise of the religious left’, I want there to be a rise of actual Christianity in this country that could heal us as it says in Second Chronicles 7:14
Someone should let Franklin know that the jig is up.