This is the twenty-first installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a clip from a sermon preached by Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona.
The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society — the media arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses — recently released a video on their Becoming Jehovah’s Friend channel that is meant to educate children about Jehovah’s view of same-sex marriage. No surprise here. The God of the Jehovah’s Witnesses disproves of same-sex marriage. Enjoy!
The First Amendment guarantees our rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion. Yet, college campuses have implemented speech codes and created “safe spaces” to protect people from opinions they find disagreeable. Corporations have followed suit, as have governmental agencies. Increasingly, differences of opinion are labeled “hate speech,” thus ending reasonable debate.
Now the Indiana legislature, through Senate Bill 100, is on the verge of weaponizing this politically correct movement by giving protected-class status to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. People with differing worldviews can coexist as neighbors who care for one another. This, sadly, is not where the politicized LGBT movement is leading. Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla Firefox, was stripped of his position simply for supporting a traditional marriage amendment. Kelvin Cochran, an African-American fire chief, lost his job for writing a book on marriage. ESPN commentator Craig James was fired for expressing his views on traditional morality. Government agencies and corporate America have grown inhospitable to people of faith.
I believe in marriage equality, but I hold to the definition of marriage that has itself defined civilization. Every child has a reasonable right to a father and a mother.
Parents are equal but not interchangeable. Not every couple has a child, but every child has a biological mom and dad, and for that there is marriage. While some disagree, this position is based on reason and love.
Meanwhile, as our society moves from same-sex marriage to legalized polygamy, polyamory, temporary, open and even incestual marriage, we do well to encourage public discourse. Together, we need to ask, “What is marriage?”
Our opponents seem to think that marriage is a societal construct, something we can change as we please. But any type of marriage that purposefully deprives a child of a mom or dad is unjust.
SB 100 is called a compromise by offering certain protections for churches and religious institutions. There are two basic problems to this approach.
First, SB 100 turns our inalienable rights into privileges and exemptions. Second, rights belong not simply to groups, but to individuals. The free exercise of religion is more than the freedom of worship; it is the right of every single person to live according to his conscience.
While Scaer doesn’t directly mention the Bible (he is much too smart for that), make no mistake about it, it is, for Scaer and his fellow Missouri-Synod Lutherans, God’s infallible word that has the final say on human sexuality. The Lutheran Church-Missouri-Synod (LCMS) denomination officially espouses Evangelical beliefs such as creationism and Bible inerrancy. Missouri-Synod Lutherans vehemently reject homosexuality and same-sex marriage, considering both to be sinful rejections of God’s version of Masters’ and Johnson’s book on human sexuality (see LCMS position papers on human sexuality).
This post is designed to briefly show that Fundamentalism is not only the domain of Baptists and Evangelicals. Every Christian sect has a wing-nut division.
The supernatural monster who orchestrates the kidnapping, enslaving, and thousand-fold drugging, selling, raping, and killing of girls around the globe, is the same one who has masterminded the murderous cultural delusion — from the highest court to the lowest porn-flick — that the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly. John Piper, August 3, 2015
Charismatic Calvinist and Christian hedonist John Piper recently said Satan, a fictional being from the Christian Bible, is out to deceive and destroy the masses. But praise be to Jesus, we have John Piper, former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, watching out for us and ever ready to let us know what this fictional Satan is up to.
Like many fundamentalists, Piper is enraged over the recent U.S Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. What this decision has done is flush out the homophobes and bigots. Unable to contain their outrage, preachers such as Piper expose for all the world to see the hate that lies underneath their theological beliefs:
Lie: “. . . the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” Behind all the relational descriptions of so-called same-sex marriage is the unspoken fact of “anal or oral copulation,” and in particular, “copulation with a member of the same sex.” That’s the dictionary.com definition of sodomy.
Someone will say: Choosing that word signifies your belligerence toward people with same-sex attraction. No, it signifies my hatred for what can destroy people with same-sex attraction. What destroys people is not same-sex attraction, but the lie that same-sex copulation is delightful, and not deadly.
What is truly belligerent is the promotion of shameful acts as beautiful acts. Belligerent is the right word, because the Bible says that you should “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). So those who encourage the indulgence of these passions (whatever they are) are making war on souls — they are literally belligerent.
The word sodomy has two advantages: it refers to the act of same-sex copulation, not same-sex orientation; and it still carries the stigma of shamefulness. Those who love people with same-sex attraction should want to preserve the stigma of shameful practices which destroy them — just as we should try to preserve the stigma of stealing and perjury and kidnapping, and fornication, and adultery. It is a gracious thing when a culture puts signs in front of destructive behaviors that read: Don’t go there; it is shameful.
…Lie: “. . . the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” The second word in this sentence that may be twisted is “practice.” When the Bible links “men who practice homosexuality” with “thieves,” and says that neither will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10), it is important to note two crucial things.
One is that the warning is not sounded against those who are tempted to steal, but who practice stealing — thieves. Similarly the warning is sounded not against those who are tempted to practice homosexuality, but against those who actually do practice it. To be sure, there are all kinds of inward heart-lusts that are sinful, but the focus here is on the practice…
…Lie: “. . . the practice of sodomy is delightful, not deadly.” The third word in this sentence that may be twisted is “deadly.” I am not referring to AIDS or to hate-crimes against people with same-sex attraction. I hate hate-crimes, and I would love to see a cure for AIDS. I am not talking about the painful fallout of sodomy in this world — as real as that is (Romans 1:27).
I am talking about “the second death.” All unforgiven and unforsaken sin is deadly in this sense. It leads to the second death. “As for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8)…
While Piper would like to be thought of as a man who desires to love homosexuals all the way to Jesus, his insistence on using the word sodomy reveals what he really thinks about homosexuals. He knows this word is patently offensive, yet he uses it anyway. How then is John Piper any different from the Phelps clan and Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas? Just because Piper doesn’t stand of a street corner with a sign that says God Hates Fags doesn’t mean he disagrees with the sentiment.
Piper, like the Phelps clan and Al Mohler, is a Calvinist. The Calvinist God has the world divided into two categories, elect and non-elect, saved and lost. Since Romans 1 intimates that homosexual behavior is a sign of a reprobate mind, why not just come out and say God Hates Fags? Instead, Piper pretends to have love for the sodomites’ souls, deeply desiring to see them come to Jesus:
…In other words, not all practice of sin excludes from the kingdom of God. “All sins will be forgiven the children of man” (Mark 3:28). The sins that exclude from heaven are the sins we keep on pursuing without regarding them as God-dishonoring, and without seeking forgiveness through Jesus, and without making war on them as the enemies of our souls….
…For all those who trust in Christ, Satan is disarmed (Colossians 2:15), because the only thing that condemns us in God’s court is unforgiven sin. And in Christ, sins are forgiven (Acts 10:43). Satan’s accusations against Christians come to nothing. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33).
Therefore, we have the happiest and most horrible news in the world. In Christ there is light and freedom and life. Outside there is darkness and bondage and death. Failure to name the beauty of the light and the dreadfulness of the darkness is an abdication of truth and love…
According to Piper, there will be no homosexuals in heaven. Since our eternal destiny is predestined by God and no homosexual shall inherit the kingdom of God, doesn’t this mean God predetermined that the homosexual would have same-sex attraction?
Piper may say he loves the sodomite, but his theology tells a different story. Surely Piper would agree that the Christian should love what God loves and hate what God hates. Does God hate homosexuals? Does God hate same-sex anal sex but not heterosexual anal sex? Does God hate same-sex oral sex but not heterosexual oral sex? Why does God hate the one and not the other?
Here’s what I think. John Piper is a 69-year-old man who can’t wrap his fundamentalist mind around two men loving each other and desiring to have sex. Like many men of his generation, the very thought of homosexual sex repulses him, and since it does this means God also must be repulsed by it. The Bible gives Piper cover for hating what he can not or will not understand.
Like others of his ilk, Piper thinks “sodomy” is akin to “kidnapping, enslaving, and thousand-fold drugging, selling, raping, and killing of girls.” Here’s an educated man who can’t qualitatively tell the difference between two people of the same-sex loving each other and enslaving and raping girls. I am at a loss as to how to respond to such stupidity.
Millennials, those born between 1981-2000, (there is some debate over the exact time frame) now ages 15 to 34, are less religious than their parents and grandparents. Why they are remains a subject of intense debate. Regardless of the reasons why, millennials are less likely to be a part of an organized religion than earlier generations. According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, nones, those who are not affiliated with any religion, continue to increase numerically. 55 million Americans are now a none. Granted, this is still a small percentage of the total U.S. population, but 34-36% of millennials are a none, compared to just 17% of their parents and 11% of their grandparents.
A new survey from Catholics for Choice on the opinions of Catholic millennials as regards doctrinal issues might make the church’s traditionalists want to brace themselves. But its findings are also somewhat unsurprising to anyone who spends time around younger Catholics, whose political and social leanings mirror the open-minded stances of their increasingly non-religious peers.
Birth control and abortion, arguably the Catholic church’s most contentious issues, are not always perceived in a negative light by young Catholics. Among those polled, more than half say abortion should be legal in “almost all” or “most” cases, and 31 percent say it should be legal in “just a few” cases. Only 17 percent say it should be illegal. 78 percent say birth control should be included in insurance coverage, no matter where a woman works.
In spite of the widely mocked Catholic Vote video of young people “coming out” as believing that marriage is between a man and a woman, marriage equality is embraced by Catholic millennials. 69% “strongly” or “somewhat” support legal same-sex marriage.
In the wake of the firing of multiple Catholic school teachers who are openly gay or lesbian or married to a same-sex partner, and the ensuing grappling over Catholic teacher contracts that explicitly prevent teachers from being open about their sexuality, younger Catholics have chosen the side of the teachers. 71% say Catholic schools should not be able to fire teachers for being LGBTQ. On gender in the church, Catholic millennials follow similar thinking, with 75% supporting women having an equal role in the church.
Pope Francis is popular among young Catholics, with only two percent having a negative view of him. But the American church hierarchy is not looked on so kindly, and there is an increasing emphasis on a separation between politics and religion. A full 80 percent of respondents said they felt no need to follow the bishops’ advice when it comes time to vote, and 77 percent said Catholic politicians were under no obligation to follow the bishops either.
They are also opposed by a wide margin to bishops withholding communion to the divorced and remarried, those who support legal abortion, and those who support marriage equality.
What’s missing from this survey, however, is the question of church attendance. How much are these Catholics who disagree with and question church teaching are actually showing up? Christian Smith, the head of the National Study of Youth and Religion at Notre Dame, says the situation with Catholic millennials participating in church culture is “in fact, grim.” Only 16% of millennials self-identify as Catholic according to Pew. That 16% is the group the church is struggling to hold on to.
So if they are increasingly choosing the liberal side in the culture wars, are they really still Catholic?…
…What is clear, however, is that the more young Catholics start to embrace marriage equality, safe and legal abortion, access to contraception, and the liberal side on many other issues in the culture wars, the more of those same Catholics will also drift away from a church they perceive as incapable of change.
Perhaps they’ll attend mass on occasion, and perhaps they’ll still call themselves Catholic, but in many ways, their faith will be a loose garment rather than a straightjacket.