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Tag: Same Sex Marriage

Are Marriage Equality and the Right to Obtain Contraception Next on Right-Wing Supreme Court Justices Agenda?

handmaids tale
Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Article by Julia Conley, Common Dreams

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made clear in his concurring opinion regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade that the high court has no intention of stopping its rollback of Americans’ rights, naming cases that centered on marriage equality and the right to obtain contraception as previous rulings that should be revisited.

“It does not end at abortion. Republicans will not stop until they have stripped away every freedom they can’t load with bullets,” said MoveOn Executive Director Rahna Epting, referring to this week’s ruling by the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority that New York’s restrictions on carrying concealed weapons were unconstitutional.

In his concurrence, quoting Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion, Thomas wrote, “I agree that ‘nothing in [the court’s] opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.'”

“For that reason,” Thomas wrote, “in future cases, we should reconsider all of the Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.

The 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut ruling affirmed that the government cannot interfere in people’s procurement of contraceptives, while Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 overturned a Texas law which had effectively made sexual relationships between people of the same sex illegal in the state. Obergefell v. Hodges, decided in 2015, affirmed that same-sex couples can legally marry.

Like the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Friday, the overruling of the decisions listed by Thomas would be deeply unpopular with the American public.

That is unlikely to stop the right-wing majority from overturning those rulings, said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“It is clear he and the court’s majority have no respect for other precedents that have been won in recent decades,” said Jayapal. “This Supreme Court is out of touch with the American people and increasingly suffers a legitimacy crisis.”

The three liberal justices who dissented against the ruling denounced Alito’s claim that the decision would not have an effect on other rights previously protected by the court.

“They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decision-making over the most personal of life decisions,” the dissent reads. “The lone rationale for what the majority does today is that the right to elect an abortion is not ‘deeply rooted in history.'”

Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer added:

The same could be said, though, of most of the rights the majority claims it is not tampering with… So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.

Economist Umair Haque said the ruling handed down Friday was “just the beginning, sadly, of the theocratic fascist project reaching its culmination in earnest now.”

As progressives called for legislative and executive action to codify the right to abortion care into federal law, attorney and Democratic U.S. House candidate Suraj Patel called on Congress to “move now” to ensure the right to contraception, same-sex relationships, and marriage equality are protected.

“Congress has that power right now. Hold the vote,” said Patel. “For 50 years Republicans told us their playbook, they attacked Roe at the edges, we didn’t codify it. Let’s not be naive and not anticipate what’s coming.”

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Overturning Roe v. Wade is Just the First Step in the Evangelical War Against Women, LGBTQ People, and Anyone Else Different From Them

abortion texas

Article by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Critics Warn Alito Draft Threatens Much, Much More Than Abortion Rights

The draft opinion leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court Monday night portends future attacks not just on Americans’ right to obtain abortion care, said critics on Tuesday, but also on anyone whose rights the court’s right-wing majority does not view as “deeply rooted” in U.S. history.

In the opinion, Justice Samuel Alito cited a number of reasons for the majority’s objection to legal abortion—including a discredited theory that abortion care is a racist tool of eugenics and Alito’s incorrect belief that “the costs of medical care associated with pregnancy and childbirth are covered by insurance”—but central to his argument is the claim that Roe v. Wade protects a right that is “not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions.”

The phrase encapsulates “the most terrifying argument in that draft,” tweeted Oindrila Mukherjee, a professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Judging from the draft opinion—which, Politico reported, was also supported by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett when the court apparently voted to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year—”everything is on the table,” said writer Rebecca Traister, naming other Supreme Court decisions which affirmed rights for Americans.

In the opinion, Alito “disavows the entire line of jurisprudence upon which Roe rests: the existence of ‘unenumerated rights’ that safeguard individual autonomy from state invasion,” wrote Mark Joseph Stern at Slate.

“The Supreme Court has identified plenty of ‘unenumerated rights’ that lack deep roots in American history,” he added. “Most recently, the court established the right of same-sex couples to be intimate (2003’s Lawrence v. Texas) and get married (2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges). Alito dismissed both decisions in harsh terms.”

Other legal experts also raised alarm that the court’s conservative majority appears to be “a half step away from letting states criminalize same-sex sexual intimacy.”

Stern wrote that Alito appeared to include language in the draft opinion which suggested the overturning of Roe would not weaken the protections that were affirmed by Loving v. Virginia, which affirmed the right to interracial marriage; Griswold v. Connecticut, which protected the right to obtain contraceptives; Skinner v. Oklahoma, which held that compulsory sterilization of people convicted of crimes was unconstitutional; and Pierce v. Society of Sisters, which struck down a law requiring parents to send their children to public schools.

“But Alito actually makes it extremely clear that he is not including Lawrence or Obergefell in his category of safe precedents!” Stern said. “Instead, he appears to include them as an example of illegitimate rights like abortion, which he is overruling in this very opinion!”

“As written, the draft is quite blithe and unflinching in its disdain for the constitutional basis of gay rights,” he added.

Despite Alito’s claim in the draft that previous decisions pertaining to Americans’ right to privacy will not be overturned, journalist Emma Vigeland said, lower courts are likely to “chip away at birth control legality, appealing it all the way up to this extremist SCOTUS.”

At The Daily Beast, Jay Michaelson wrote that with abortion rights found by the court to be not “deeply rooted” in U.S. history and therefore not protected under the Constitution, marriage equality could be overturned “within a year or two.”

“Unless another justice leaves the court, the constitutional right to marriage for all is going to be overturned,” Michaelson wrote. “The only question is whether Republicans will have a veto-proof majority (or the presidency in 2024) to ban both abortion and gay marriage anywhere in the nation.”

As Common Dreams reported Monday, with evidence emerging that the court is preparing to overturn Roe—likely making abortion illegal in more than two dozen states—Republican senators are currently developing a strategy to pass a nationwide ban on abortion care after six weeks of pregnancy, and anti-choice groups have lobbied potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates to run on passing the legislation.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Is Every Sin the Same, Regardless of What the Sin Is?

homosexuality is a sin

Christianity, especially in its fundamentalist expressions, teaches that every human is a sinner in need of redemption. Sin is the problem and Jesus is the solution. From Adam and Eve forward, we humans have faced the consequences of sin. Every problem the human race faces can be reduced to our sin against God. Calvinists, Arminians, Mormons, and Catholics, all agree that the stain of sin has ruined the human race and only the blood of Jesus can wash that stain away.

When asked if some sins are worse than other sins, Christians will likely say no. Sin is sin, in God’s eye, they say, but are they really being honest when they say this? Take David Lane, a political activist and founder of the American Renewal Project. In a Charisma interview, Lane stated:

“Sin is sin, whether it is homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven. God gave us the recipe in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We as Christians must understand that. He will forgive us and heal our land, but only if we humble ourselves, pray and turn back to Him. I wholeheartedly believe in prayer, and that’s what it’s going to take. Our only hope is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

According to Lane, “homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven” are all the same in God’s eye. Really? If that is so, why haven’t I heard of any Christian outrage over adultery or stealing candy bars?  I checked out the American Renewal Project website, looking for action alerts, feature articles, or campaigns against the sin of stealing candy bars. I found none.

The truth is this: Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics, have raised the sin of homosexuality to a sin above all others. In their minds, it is the sin above all sins, the one sin that will destroy the United States and bring the judgment of God. These prophets of God, who seem to be profiting nicely off of America’s sin problem, need to stop with the “sin is sin” schtick. No one is buying it.

Look at the message of the above graphic. When’s the last time you’ve seen a graphic, read an Evangelical news article, or heard a sermon that said:  Stealing a Candy Bar is a Perversion! Repent or Burn, You Choose! I suspect your answer is never or not since Sister Judith’s Sunday school class in 1968.

I spent fifty years in the Christian church. As a child and youth, I never heard one sermon about the sin of homosexuality. Not one. In fact, it was well into the 1980s before I started hearing sermons about fags, queers, and sodomites. Why all the sermons and outrage now? Simple. LGBTQ people, as a class, want the same civil protections and rights that heterosexuals have. They want equal protection under the law. They want to be treated fairly and justly. Most of all, they want to love whom they want, without the government or anyone else telling them they can’t.

And it is these demands that have Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics upset. Why can’t the homos stay in the closet, they screech. Everything was fine, before THOSE PEOPLE wanted the same rights as everyone else, says the local Baptist preacher, forgetting that his ancestors made similar statements when opposing equal rights for Blacks.  Fearing the gay horde, they express their outrage couched in Bible verses and pronouncements from God, but in doing so they unwittingly expose the homophobia and bigotry that lies just under the surface of much of American conservative and fundamentalist Christianity. The problem isn’t sin; it’s homophobia and bigotry. It’s preachers who are afraid to find out how many of their church members are actually gay or bat from both sides of the plate. It’s evangelists and conference speakers who are afraid that their supporters will find out that they have a man in every city. As scandal after scandal has reminded us (see Black Collar Crime Series), those who roar the loudest against a particular sin are often doing that which they condemn.

The next time some lying Evangelical like David Lane tells you “sin is sin, whether it is homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven,” ask them for proof of their claim. From my seat in the atheist pew, all I see is wild eye homophobia and bigotry, and lots of candy bar thieves.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Polite Evangelicals and What They Really Believe

politeness

Most Evangelicals are polite, kind, decent people. Most Evangelicals are nothing like hate mongers Bryan Fischer, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, or the local street preacher. Most Evangelicals try to get along with others and do their best to integrate into society. When I go to the store to shop, buy groceries, get my car repaired, etc. I know that most of the people waiting on me are Christian. And here in God’s country, most of them are Evangelical.

But, here’s the thing. Behind the polite, kind, decent, loving faces are hateful, judgmental beliefs. As I stated several years ago, there is little difference between the beliefs of the late Fred Phelps and Baptist seminary president and preacher Al Mohler. The beliefs of the Phelps clan and Westboro Baptist Church are not much different from the beliefs of the Duggars. Some may smile and be polite and others might angrily scream, but both believe that every non-Christian who dies will go to Hell and be tortured by God for eternity. (Please see What Kind of Christian Are You?)

In 2015, Ana Marie Cox, a writer for The Daily Beast, wrote an article that exposes polite Evangelicalism for what it is:

The fight over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has pulled back the curtain on the Polite Right.

Beltway-centric but not moderate, these cautious spokesmen for civility do not practice your drunk uncle’s bigotry. They endorse a more soft-spoken and socially acceptable kind of prejudice. This prejudice comes clothed in talk of tolerance and piety, appeals to fairness and freedom. 

They talk about faith and religious rights but what defenders of the pre-“fix” RFRA really wanted was the privilege of condoning bigotry without actually being associated with it. It’s more than a rhetorical sleight of hand to turn denial of service into an “infringement upon religious practice.” It’s Solomon sawing Lady Justice in half. Such an argument insists that theologically-condoned discrimination is somehow less hurtful than the normal, not-God-approved form. “You can still get married!” and “You can continue to deny service to those you see as morally unfit!” do not cancel each other out.

Indeed, many of those who supported Indiana’s original law recognized this—that denying service to gay couples is an impediment to their gaining full civil rights. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, for one. Fischer is a nationally-syndicated radio host, not simply a lone fruitcake, even though the next exit down from his particular brand of crazy is the Westboro Baptist Church: His Twitter feed is full of references to “the Church of the Rainbow Jihad,” “same-sex cakes,” the “Gay Gestapo,” and several warnings that “Big Gay is not about ‘marriage equality’ but ‘homosexual supremacy.’”

It’s easy to mock the idea of “Big Gay” (what a size queen!), but Fischer’s logic is the perfect mirror to the argument of the law’s critics. All you have to do is scale down the hyperbole, and read “full civil rights” where Fischer fears “gay rule.” Indiana’s RFRA was intended to hamper the progress of “Big Gay and the Homosexual Supremacy” (my favorite Motown band). If the original RFRA had been implemented, the civil rights for LGTB individuals would have been diminished…

…The Polite Right wants nothing to do with Fischer. When I drew attention to his Twitter timeline, the proudly reasonable conservatives that populate the Acela Corridor were offended. They demanded that I acknowledge that Fischer is not representative of all conservatives, or even all defenders of the law—and that’s true, in the sense that Polite Right would never sully themselves with such obvious homophobia…

…But while it’s Bryan Fischer’s rhetoric that makes him so amusingly offensive, it’s his logic and his goals that demand an answer from those who are aligned with him as far as the RFRA goes. In other words: I believe my friends on the Polite Right when they say they don’t hate gay people; but when it comes to the RFRA, I am not convinced that emotional or theological context is less important than acts of discrimination itself. 

Put another way: Two different Christian bakery owners both refuse to bake a cake for two different gay weddings. One bakery owner says that’s because he believes gay people are sinful sodomites that regularly recruit and molest children. The other says she loves and respects gay people but “just can’t participate in a ceremony that goes against my faith.” The Indiana RFRA was written to protect both bakers, not just the nice one.

Of course, both sides of the debate have their drunk uncles. On the left, it was a bunch of randy Yelpers and rageful Twitterers that embarrassed the more selectively outraged RFRA critics. The Memories Pizza owners turned out to be the nice, presentable sort of discriminators, and some of their online critics went overboard in expressing their upset…

…I’m proud to live in a society where being accused of bigotry is itself offensive. I like it that decent people don’t want to be associated with obvious homophobes. But the polite solution to an association with an obvious homophobe isn’t to simply deny the relationship—it’s to ask yourself what you have in common.

The problem is that Bryan Fischer and the Polite Right want the same thing, for the same reasons, even if they use very different language to make their case. They’re activist allies, joined at the hip whether they like it or not. You might even say they’re married.

Let’s not pretend that smiling, polite Evangelicals don’t have reprehensible beliefs. Behind their façade are beliefs that promote hate, bigotry, and discrimination. But Bruce I am an Evangelical and I support the gay community in their quest for equal protection under the law. I think global warming is real, Hell is a myth, and I hate how many of my fellow Evangelicals behave. Fine, let me ask you this: why do you remain in the Evangelical church? Why do you continue to support beliefs and practices you object to? Perhaps it is time for you to exit stage left and move on to religious settings where love, equality, and respect for all are the rule. Are we not judged by those we keep company with? Silence is consent. If you truly love others and desire equality for all, how can you remain silent or support sects, churches, and pastors who preach hate, bigotry, and discrimination?

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

All Are Equal, All Are Welcome at My Church, but Not Really

same sex marriage

Here’s a comment from an Evangelical Christian I saw on Facebook:

My Church stresses inclusivity. All are welcome. By grace through faith anyone can enter the kingdom of God. We will find out at death, but right now it is above my pay grade. I only accept it.

I am in favor of equal treatment for all humans. I am not in favor of gay marriage. The Bible does define marriage as a man and a woman. I know at least one person from several gay couples. I have no problem. Their decision. God will separate the sheep from the goats. We are all going to be surprised who we find in Heaven or Hell. We may make a judgment, but God is the judge.

This Evangelical Christian thinks his church is inclusive, all are welcome. But is it? Can an LGBTQ person be a pastor, Sunday school teacher, nursery worker, or youth worker? Of course not. His or her wicked lifestyle precludes them from doing anything in the church but sitting in the pew. The goal is to convert LGBTQ people and rid them of their “Sodomite” lifestyle. Once delivered from their sin, then they can serve in the church.

This Evangelical, like many namby-pamby Christians, says it is up to God to judge LGBTQ people. Does he really believe this? Of course not. He doesn’t want to look like the bigot that he is, so he plays the God is the final judge card. However, since this person believes the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, he already knows God’s opinion on all non-heterosexual behaviors. Why is he afraid to say what God has said on the matter? Come on, tell the truth: All sexually active non-heterosexuals will go to Hell when they die and be tortured by God for all eternity.

He wants us to believe that there will a lot of surprises in Heaven. Really? Isn’t God’s Word clear? The Bible says in I Corinthians 6:9-11:

 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

and in Revelation 22:13-15:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Seems pretty clear to me . . . there will be NO LGBTQ people in Heaven.

This Evangelical Christian says he “supports equal treatment for all humans” and then turns right around and discredits what he said. He supports “equality” that is defined by the Bible. Since God defines marriage as one-man-one woman-for-life, same-sex marriage is a sin. He realizes this makes him look bad. After all, he is denying same-sex couples equal protection under the law and the same civil rights he enjoys, so he plays the HEY I KNOW A GAY COUPLE card. This is the same card played by racists.

He desperately wants to be seen as a nice guy. I know a lot of Christians like this. Good people, nice people. Great neighbors. But they have beliefs that are hateful and discriminatory. They want us to separate the belief from the person, love the person hate the sin. However, much like a skunk and his smell, you can’t separate a person from his beliefs. This Evangelical’s beliefs stink like a factory farm on a warm July day. Try as he might to spray perfume on his beliefs, they still stink.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Pastor Chris Gordon Says Gay Marriage is a New Religion

same sex marriage
Cartoon by David Horsey

What in the world is going on? Everything seems to be unraveling at the seams. Something very demonic is at work before us in our present moment. Dr. W. Robert Godfrey teaches the adult Sunday school class the Escondido United Reformed Church and he has started a new series titled, “What is Going On: Sex, Race, Politics and Power.” In the class, Godfrey has made the assertion that Christendom has come to an end in America.

This is not suggesting, of course, that Christianity has come to an end. Christianity is the faith of those who follow Christ according to his Word. Throughout history, Christianity has survived under the most brutal of all regimes. Christendom is a far different concept with which to evaluate our current moment. Christendom is the enshrinement of Christianity to be the favored religion in the governments of the world established in cultural dominance and law. That we have enjoyed the complete freedom to practice our faith due to a Constitution that enshrines the free exercise of religion is without question a most remarkable blessing.

Godfrey makes the case that for seventeen-hundred years in the West, Christianity has been the favored religion protected under law and cultural dominance. But something specific, says Godfrey, has happened in America that brought Christendom to an end.

….

Godfrey says the specific event that brought an end to Christendom in America is the 2015 Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage. But it wasn’t simply the decision that marked the end of Christendom, it was the fact that by and large, the masses bowed to it without dissent—collectively. This is a remarkable moment. This mandate, codified into law, has entered all facets of life and demands our submission. Our nation has made a desperate attempt to regain control and power to make us bow before this image. The fundamental difference with this image is that it is an ideological one, overtaking law and cultural dominance as a requirement for adherence from every citizen.

….

If Christians do not appreciate that what has been inaugurated in 2015 into law is a new religion being imposed upon us, we will not appreciate what we are up against. Obviously there are many tenants to this new religion. Original sin appears to be questioning that one can follow the desires of his heart. Sinners are those those who say that homosexuality is wrong. Saints are those who embrace the new sexual norm. Heretics are those who question the new orthodoxy. Penance is found in finding sympathy with those who practice what the Bible calls evil desire and tolerating the new sexual norm of the culture. And everyone is commanded to bow and celebrate what has now been enshrined into law. Obviously there are other theories at work that land in the same trajectory.

Until we appreciate that a religious system is being imposed upon us, we will be like a soldier fighting over his mandated uniform rather than engaging the true battle that enables all of these others power grabs. How many Christians are fighting Covid-19 mandates and yet have done little to help their people engage with the newly religious sexual revolution?

….

At present, we have not yet reached the point of being threatened with fire for refusing to bow to the new sexuality. That day may certainly come. But there still is a lot to celebrate, we have the freedom to come every Sabbath and worship at the feet of the true king of kings. Are we worshipping at the feet of Christ every week?

The battle is fought with the truth and God commands us to speak this truth without fear. We are being bombarded every day with sexual perversion, pornography, and the destruction of creation norms. Denominations find within their ranks those who are deceptively justifying the new cultural norm. With all this comes the pressure on our people to take on new identity’s contrary to our identity in Christ. Our children are crying out for help. Are we doing this in our homes with our children, in our churches, and to our neighbors? Or, are we still on the periphery fighting over masks and other symptoms of the political right and left, parroting that divide, while missing the much greater responsibility to stand on the truth of the gospel?

Chris Gordon, Preaching Pastor at the Escondido United Reformed Church in Escondido, California, The Aquila Report, Are We Bowing to America’s Golden Image?, November 8, 2021

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Just Remember, Satan was the First to Demand Equal Rights Says IFB Pastor Tony Greene

knoxville baptist tabernacle

Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle, pastored by Tony Greene, is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Knoxville, Tennessee. According to the church’s website:

In May, 1952, Dr. R.W. “Bob” Bevington led a group of earnest Christians in establishing the Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was founded on the principles of strong Bible preaching, house-to-house soul winning, separation from the world, and support for world-wide missions.

Through the years, some of America’s greatest preachers and soul-winners have spoken from our pulpit– men such as John R. Rice, Lee Roberson, Billy McCarroll, Fred Garland, Dolphus Price, Lester Roloff, among many others.

The Tabernacle was a participating host for many years of the International Fellowship of Fundamental Baptists.

Prior to Bro. Bob’s Homegoing in 2009, the Tabernacle called Bro. Tony Greene as its second pastor.  Bro. Greene continues the ministry in the same vein as Bro. Bob, with a strong emphasis on evangelism…

The church also operates a Christian school.

Several years ago, the sign at the top of this post caused quite a bit of controversy. WATE.com reported (link no longer active):

A sign posted by a Knoxville church continues to raise eyebrows and spark both discussion and outrage after it was posted online.

The sign posted by Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle Church read “Remember Satan was the first to demand equal rights.” Many people posted the picture to the WATE 6 On Your Side Facebook and Twitter pages, starting a debate about what the sign really means.

The pastor says the purpose of the sign was to send a message about unity and spark conversation in the community. He says it wasn’t meant to offend anyone.

Our sign referencing Satan demanding his equal rights to ascend into the heavens and be God was simply ‘I’ and all about that individual,” said Pastor Tony Greene. “It was not a statement against any one group in particular, you know what about the rights of the unborn babies, the rights of children, the rights of everyone?”

After the picture was posted on Facebook, there was mixed reaction to the message. Stephanie Settlemyre said, “As a Christian, I find this highly offensive, these kinds of signs and messages are exactly the reason why people are turned off by Christianity.”

Adam Miller posted, “Honestly thought that the photo was shopped, I thought, “surely someone wouldn’t post such a thing,” said Miller. “Makes me sad I was wrong, and doubly sad that these folks are in my back yard.”

Ashley Smith wrote, “Church offends many anyway, you could write Jesus loves you and someone would get bent out of shape.”

Now the sign reads: “Glad you reading, did not intend to offend, we all need Christ.”

Pastor Greene spoke about why he made the change.

“We are a diversity congregation of people. We’ve reached people that know us and know our stand in this community know what we’ve done,” said Greene. “My heart breaks in the dividedness of our country.”

Greene says they like to interact with the community and they typically change the sign once a week. Greene says they will have another message posted later this week…

knoxville baptist tabernacle 2

Does anyone believe that Pastor Tony Greene and the Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle didn’t mean to offend? Does anyone believe they had no particular group of people in mind? Of course not. It is in the DNA of IFB pastors and churches to offend anyone and everyone who believes, thinks, acts, or lives differently than they do.

Pastor Greene’s message is clear: those demanding equal rights — you know, LGBTQ people — are in league with Satan.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

What Pastor Doug Wilson Thinks of Feminists, Slaves, and Homosexuals

pastor doug wilson

Repost from 2015-2016. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Doug Wilson is the pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, a professor at New Saint Andrews College, and former editor of Credenda Agenda magazine. Back when I was a Calvinist with theocratic leanings, I read Credenda Agenda religiously.

A friend of mine sent me a quote from Doug Wilson’s book, Southern Slavery, As it Was. (his co-author was Steve Wilkins) Here’s what Wilson had to say:

Sodomites parade in the streets, claiming that if we do not appropriate more money to study why people with foul sexual habits get sick, we are somehow violating their civil rights. Feminists, in rebellion against God, invert the order of the home established by God. They do so in a way that seeks to rob women of their beauty in submission and their security in being loved. For two decades, we have seen millions of unborn children slaughtered in abortion clinics. How did we get here, and what is the way out? The question cannot be answered fully without careful study of the War Between the States and the controversies surrounding it. Slavery was one of those controversies.

Let this quote serve as a reminder that this kind of thinking is not the exclusive domain of groups such as Westboro Baptist Church, the Phelps clan, and Steven Anderson. Bigots can be found in almost every sect; with the number of bigots growing increasingly larger as the sect leans in a more conservative direction.

Wilson asks, which morality will it be, but same-sex marriage has nothing to do with morality. Allowing same-sex couples to marry affords them equal protection under the law and grants them the same civil rights as heterosexuals. Each of us have a right to privacy. Consenting adults have the right to engage in whatever sexual conduct that floats their boat without the government regulating the behavior. Theocrats such as Wilson desire and demand that their interpretation of the laws found in the Bible be codified and made the standard for everyone.

I find it hard to see how this is any different from Muslims who want to institute Sharia law. As the quotes below will show, Wilson is quite willing to use the power of the state to enforce his version of Biblical law. Wilson also thinks that there may be instances when execution is the rightful punishment for someone breaking the Evangelical God’s law.

Such thinking should cause all of us to shudder. While Islam is center stage in our culture, proponents of God rule are working behind the scenes to destroy America’s secular foundation and legislate and enact a Christian version of Sharia Law.

Here’s a Wilson quote I found on The Wartburg Watch:

“You might exile some homosexuals, depending on the circumstances and the age of the victim. There are circumstances where I’d be in favor of execution for adultery.

….

I’m not proposing legislation. All I’m doing is refusing to apologize for certain parts of the Bible.”

Here’s a Doug Wilson quote about rape and marriage I found on the Love, Joy, Feminism blog:

A final aspect of rape that should be briefly mentioned is perhaps closer to home. Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.

This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.

True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours.

Here’s a Doug Wilson quote about slavery I found on the Are Women Human blog (link no longer active):

Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, [slavery] was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence. There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world. The credit for this must go to the predominance of Christianity. The gospel enabled men who were distinct in nearly every way, to live and work together, to be friends and often intimates…

The [WPA Slave] Narratives consistently portray an amazingly benign picture of Southern plantation life. Affection for former masters and mistresses is expressed in terms of unmistakable devotion. Testimony to the good treatment, kindness, and gentleness of many so-called “heartless slave holders” abounds. Many of the old slaves express a wistful desire to be back at the plantation.

Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care. In the narratives taken as a whole, there is no pervasive cry of rage and anguish.. abuses came from a distinct and very small minority.

And finally, here’s Wilson’s take on the Boy Scouts allowing gay scouts:

I believe that certain unspeakable things will be going on in Boy Scout tents within about five years — with our current tolerance pimps making it all happen — and they will be things that could best be addressed by a judicious use of the strongest form of disapproval a culture has. While I believe that the judicial law of Moses ceased when the nation of Israel ceased, as the Westminster Confession teaches, I also believe the general equity of the law remains. I believe that the general equity of the law includes this strong rejection of homosexual behavior. I also believe that the law of the Old Testament was the model for our common law system, and our system should work in the same way.

By the way, no need for any comments saying that I have confounded homosexuality and pedophilia. I haven’t, and am just giving an example of the kind of same-sex behavior I could see supporting the death penalty for.

But look what I just did. I cited an application of Leviticus 20:13 that could still have broad societal consensus, even in these jaded days. This being the case, what you will have to do is bookmark this page, wait about ten years, and send your outraged cries up to the skies then. By that point, a large number of boys will have been ushered into the fellowship of these men, and there will have been at least two HBO series exalting the lifelong friendships that resulted, and it will then be obvious and apparent to all (in 2023) that I am an incorrigible hater.

Imagine living in a world ruled by Doug Wilson and his merry band of Fundamentalists. No thanks. And that’s why we must continue to fight against those who continue to clamor for and work towards the establishment of an Evangelical Christian theocracy. We must not rest until we have metaphorically driven a stake through the hearts of those who want to enslave the world with their anti-human beliefs.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Christians Who Support Equal Rights for LGBTQ People Will Burn in Hell

homosexuality hell

Brothers and sisters in Christ – I AM ANGRY. It’s a Righteous Anger. It’s a Godly Anger.  ARE YOU ANGRY?  Or are you going to say to me “But the laws of the land say that same sex marriage is legal.”

To that I will say that we have a HIGHER law and that Law is from GOD – the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE!  And if you call yourself a Christian – I’m not talking about a CINO (Christian in name only) I’m talking about a born again, blood washed child of the Living God who has repented and agreed with God that living in SIN is evil, and trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin; again, if you call yourself a Christian and yet you affirm gay marriage and the LGBTQ agenda, well I have some bad news for you – you are on your way to a fiery hell.  YES,  you read that right.

REPENT!!

— Geri Ungurean, Absolute Truth From the Word of God, Everybody Comin’ Out of the Closet Except For the Saints!” Well I say IT’S TIME!, July 20, 2019

Bruce Gerencser