Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rise of $3 Dollars: American Taliban Update

An upcoming change in my life will hopefully prompt me to revive my blogging career. More on that in a few days... for now, this article was enough to get me to post an entry.

Via Joe.MyGod.:

American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer has called for sending homosexuals to prison for forced reparative
therapy, a move he says is sanctioned by the Bible.

[Mr. Fischer clarifies:] It might be worth noting that what I actually
suggested is that we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual
behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose
the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. I'd be curious to know what you
think should be done with IV drug abusers, because whatever it is, I think the
same response should be made to those who engage in homosexual

If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an
effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through
an effective reparative therapy program.

Mr. Fischer then goes on to quote one of our favorite of the "clobber passages", (passages that are frequently brought up to dismiss non-heterosexuals as deviant, corrupt, immoral, or less than) 1 Timothy 1: 8-11. Mr. Fischer's Bible translates the unlawful as being among murders, liars, profaners, enslavers, people who hit their parents, and "men who practice homosexuality."

We'll skip for now how the Bible NEVER addresses female same-sex activity (not even in Romans) and look briefly at how the word homosexual could possibly show up in the Bible. The term homosexual, was created in Germany around the mid to late 1860's and became more widely known through Nazi literature and the rise of psychoanalysis (not to conflate the two).

Daniel Helminiak in What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality concludes that the two words that Paul uses are completely debatable. One term is very unclear and the other doesn't refer to "homogenitality" but rather "soft" or "effeminate" and then only in the sense that effeminacy was opposite to a virtuous man (so it is rooted in negative concepts about women, not same sex behavior). The other fairly unknown and uniique term likely refers to sexual perversion, prostitution, pederasty or sexual abuse.

The best argument against this term being applicable today is we we would view as modern forms of homosexual expression were not forms Paul (or anyone of that day) would know about - which is not, IMO and as an aside, a basis to make a case for the politically expedient but potentially dangerous "hey we're just like you but gay" argument.

One of my other favorite arguments against Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is that while the Bible may have injunctions against us, the Bible teaches a lot of things that we do not endorse in modern Western society.

All of that to say this: 1) these kinds of arguments make little if ANY headway against members of the American Taliban /Religious Right and 2) the great thing is that, so far, our country's laws are not based on any religious text, so in terms of who has what rights or who gets sent to jail, what does it matter what the Bible or Koran, or Talmud or any similar religious work (Dianetics?) say?

To answer my own rhetorical question, what matters of course is that there is at least a percentage or concentration of individuals who think our laws should be based on their particular interpretation of their (usually the Bible) religious work and there are politicians who either agree with that viewpoint or are willing to pander to it for votes. The religious right should not be ignored or trivialized. It is still a movement with some degree of power and influence, although that seems to be waning. However, the calls to action and voice of the leaders of the religious right has become more strident and intolerant than ever - hopefully because they see their power diminishing - but things can get much worse before they get better. It will still be a while until these fascists are fully and completely disregarded as the hate mongers they are.

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