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Al Mohler’s truly stupid bigoted statement

Timothy Kincaid

April 30th, 2012

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, seldom agrees with me on matters of theology, freedom, and civil rights. But, in general, I find him to be a man searching for a way to reconcile his faith with his observations and that his positions, while based in blind tradition, tend not to be driven by animus. While his instincts are almost invariably wrong, I don’t consider Mohler to be a bigot.

However, I may be mistaken.

Mohler has come down on the side of the Boy Scouts on the issue of their refusing to allow a lesbian to serve as Den Mother for a first grade group of Tiger Scouts. That isn’t where I see bigotry. Frankly, if the Scouts want to ban left-handed Scots or Asian Episcopalians I think they should have the right to do so. It’s incredibly stupid and they’d best not be using my tax dollar, but I’m okay with people being stupid.

Mohler makes a case for his support of the scouts and, while I find it lacking, it isn’t illogical or full of knee-jerk radicalism. Other than one paragraph which floored me:

The Boy Scouts of America has the right to establish policies consistent with its convictions. Indeed, the group’s policy of excluding homosexuals from leadership would seem to be necessary and prudent. A consideration of recent national scandals should make that point sufficiently clear.

Recent national scandals? Based on homosexuals in leadership? Didn’t happen.

That statement is pure bigotry, undiluted by excuse, unfiltered through prejudice, not tempered by misunderstanding, but based in the vilest of places: the willingness to believe and repeat lies designed for no purpose but the denigration of the innocent.

Perhaps Mohler might argue that when pedophile priests molest children that this proves them homosexual. Just like if a priest has a drink he must be Irish. And if he if burns crosses on the lawn of African Americans, I suppose that proves that the Catholic priest is really a Southern Baptist.

But research conducted by the Catholic Church (which chose to ignore its own reports) found that the priests who molested children were not homosexual either in identity or in attraction. They were not attracted to adult men. They were pedophiles. And that their victims were primarily boys was due to availability.

Mohler has access to the facts. I guess he simply chooses to believe evil of the innocent. But by doing so, Mohler selects the path of bigotry. It is his own choosing.

Comments

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boywonder3919
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

I don’t know how to break this to you Timothy but the BSA does indeed get your tax dollars indirectly. The BSA gets sweetheart deals on use of government owned buildings that other groups do not. Additionally, until this year, the national jamboree has bee held at Fort A.P Hill and the DOD was spending about $2 million a year to subsidize the scouts. See, Winkler v. Rumsfeld

esurience
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Let’s say we have two groups of people with two different traits, we’ll call them “Trait G” and “Trait P”.

People with “Trait G” are adult men who are sexually attracted to other adult men, and engage in sexual activities with them.

People with “Trait P” are adult men who are sexually attracted to little boys, and engage in sexual activities with them.

Why the hell does it make sense for what people with “Trait P” do to impugn on the people who have “Trait G”?

It makes no sense at all. What these bigots try to do though, is play a trick with language. They say, well people with Trait G are “homosexual” and people with Trait P are “homosexual” too!

We could come up with a word that defined both a serial killer and a preschool teacher, and then somehow claim that the actions of serial killers impugned preschool teachers because, hey, we’re using the same word to refer to them!

But that’s all it is, a trick with language.

There’s no reason to suppose that people with Trait P have anything at all to do with people who have Trait G. No reason to suppose it, and the empirical evidence even shows that these two things really do have nothing to do with each other.

But they’re insistent on trying to connect these two things together. Notice how right-wing publications use the term “homosexual pedophile”, in an attempt to connect homosexual identity with pedophilia.

Hyhybt
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

The priests also weren’t lesbians, so even if the rest were true it would still be irrelevant :)

Andrew
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Mohler may have theoretical access to the facts, but, given who surrounds him, he may have been spoonfed “facts” that, based on an utterly uniform assumption in his circle of people, goes without saying — everyone knows, right?

The question is, once brought to his attention, how does he handle the issue?

As an Eagle Scout, btw – I support their theoretical right (from a Freedom of Association basis), but am continually disappointed by the BSA position re: same-sex leaders. I was fortunate enough to have one of the very few exceptions to their uniform ban on female leaders in the early 80s (a subject of much eyebrow raising I might add), and it brought a great sense of perspective and balance to our adult leadership (and she was a heck of an outdoorsman (or would that be outdoorswoman? does it matter?)).

Given that sexuality was never, ever, ever a topic of conversation, and also given how mindful, observant, and strict BSA is about ensuring the safety of boys with respect to adult leaders (and they are smart enough to know that any man can be a predator, not just gay ones), I find it disappointing that BSA gets such a black eye — and loses access to so much public funds — for an organization with such lofty ideals (except for this one, and the bit about banning atheists — also not much of a topic of conversation). It feels like a tremendous distraction on an issue so far removed from their mission, and the only ones suffering are the Scouts.

I think, in my heart of hearts, that they are *most* afraid of is that parents might think that BSA has a bunch of secret homosexuals leading troops, and that their children are unsafe while isolated and out of their care in fairly intimate situations. There’s a tremendous question of trust that goes into parent/leader relationships, leader/scout relationships, and scout/scout relationships, and I have to wonder if they don’t see the loss of support from a great deal of America as a comparatively smaller price to pay than a quiet loss of support from not only homophobic, but even “open-minded” parents who nonetheless balk when the rubber meets the road and they’re packing Johnny up for 2 weeks of overnight camp if there’s a gay scoutmaster… (and yeah, I know people who are “pro-gay”, but only because they’re “supposed” to be… put them in a decision making situation, and things change pretty quick).

Hunter
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

It’s the same transposition that everyone else in the will-bash-for-cash crowd uses: the victims were mostly boys, ergo, the perpetrators were homosexual. It doesn’t matter that homosexuality and pedophilia are different phenomena — they don’t care because it doesn’t advance their agenda. Gay = child molester is a nice little scare meme to throw at their audience.

I’m afraid you’ve given Land too much credit — he has perhaps been a less virulent voice, but the substance is the same. I can’t recall seeing anything from him that would lead me to believe that he’s interested in making his assumptions conform to objective reality.

Steve
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

@Hunter
Timothy gives every Christian too much credit. It’s really the greatest flaw in his articles

StraightGrandmother
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

It is true that Timothy always sheds the best possible light on motivations and actions of Christians. He is probably remembering back was it about 18 months ago (?) when Mohler said something reasonable about sexual minorities, I can’t remember exactly what it was but I read it on Warren Throckmortons’s blog. But hen like 2 days later Mohler came back and put forth a hard line again.

Timothy it appears to me, always looks for the good in Christian Leaders and is thus disappointed when he is let down. I have changed in the last 2 years I have gotten much smarter on this issue. I realize that there is no changing these people and that they WILL cling to their myths and stereotypes. All sexual minorities were abused as children etc. etc. These so called Christians know the facts but yet they cling to their superstitions.They won’t let it go, because to let it go means stepping one step closer to realizing that to be honest about homosexuality means that their interpretation of the Bible is wrong. It is morally wrong.

I used to be more like Timothy in my opinions, I am two years later, less like him.

Blake
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Hyhybt: Exactly. Mohler’s not thinking critically about the issue. Look, there comes a point when ideology runs up against facts and we’d all like to believe that that’s the point where the facts win out, but usually the opposite happens.

The ideology of “there are not gay people just people engaging in gay sex acts” has become very loud lately & his statement is a reflection of that ideological nonsense. Clearly he doesn’t care to think about it critically or he would’ve considered lesbians. He’d rather just parrot what he believes to be true & probably has thought is true for a long time. For all we know his thinking is still clouded by the NAMBLA controversies of the early 90’s.

I’m sorry he offends you, but Southern Baptists aren’t well renowned for thinking outside the box.

As you pointed out, consider the Catholic Church’s example. They studied it and then ignored their own study’s conclusion because the conclusions didn’t conform to their bias. Bad reasoning in action. Ideology over honest critical thinking.

I don’t blame any of them though. We all have our blind spots & relying on ideology is much more satisfying and righteous and easy than thinking about an issue critically. Human Nature?

Blake
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Unclear pronoun: the yous in the above refer to Timothy.

Rick Loesser
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Anyone who presents himself or herself as an expert has no excuse for ignorance of the facts.

Timothy Kincaid
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Boywonder – yes, and I support the decision of cities etc. to cut their funding.

Andrew – he’s the head of a university. I’m less forgiving for him being uninformed.

Hunter – Mohler and Land are quite different. I see Mohler as more open.

Reed
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

A friend of mine who is even less kind than I has one standard response to this sort of thing (stereotype spoiler alert): “Nobody knows how to bear false witness like a Southern Baptist.”

The denomination was born of a desire to enslave, oppress, and de-humanize other human beings. And despite the apology for being pro-slavery (some 20 years after the Mormons discovered that “black people are worthy”), the self-righteous and oppressive mind-set seems to still operate with full force and vigor.

Regan DuCasse
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

The BSA’s bans on gays and atheists is based on the belief that neither of these can be ‘morally straight’. That it’s impossible and not in the character of either to have the qualities expected in Scouts.
That is archaic prejudice. And apparently, the BSA cannot get out from under it’s own hypocrisy and contradictions in terms.
In this, the BSA is dishonorable.

To maintain their exclusions, they sued on the basis of being a PRIVATE organization. And with that PRIVACY deserved to have what members they saw fit without gov’t standards and designations.

So, when it came to gov’t (re PUBLIC), lands, buildings, facilities and full access to them, the BSA wanted to have it BOTH ways.
Benefiting from the private exclusions AND public access.
Forcing gays and atheists to support their own discrimination.

So this is what they are teaching young boys. To be prejudiced and distrustful of gays and atheists, AND to demand deference in gov’t and public support for their org.
And to not be challenged on their hypocrisy when it’s staring us all in the face.

Such moral values, I tells ya!

Allen
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Regan, I’m a former Boy Scout and Eagle Scout who won’t have anything further to do with the organization. While I never felt that I was taught to be distrustful of gays and atheists (and if I were such teaching obviously didn’t take) I do find the BSA’s attitude extremely distasteful.

I also find it sad. I find it sad that an organization that gave me so much would have excluded me if I’d held the same beliefs I do now and if I’d known things about myself that I didn’t when I was much younger.

Even though I’m no longer a Scout I still try to follow the Scout Law (including being reverent, which I think means being respectful of others’ beliefs even if I don’t share them).

And when I look at what the Scout Law asks a person to be I can’t help thinking the organization would be much better as a whole if its leaders tried to live by the same principles.

cowboy
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Reed,

Just a point of clarification: The Mormon (LDS) Church haa never formally ‘apologized’ for their racist past. You are supposed to think they did and then move on.

What a fine job their PR department has done isn’t it?

Jessica Naomi
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Why do all you self-loathing queers think that any self-respecting lesbian should send her children to the KKK Boy Scouts of America let alone want to be a KKK Den Mother for a tyrannical theocRAT cult that tells Boy Scout brats that the only good gay is a dead gay? WTF is WRONG with EVERYONE? Just because this stupid lesbian wants to be a KKK Den Mother why are you all supporting this stupidity?

Hunter
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Timothy:

“Mohler and Land are quite different. I see Mohler as more open.”

My bad — I conflated the two. However, after doing a quick comparison of their views on various social issues, I don’t see that much space between them.

Timothy Kincaid
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Reed,

As much as I oppose over-the-top anti-religious statements, it is actually literally true that “The denomination was born of a desire to enslave, oppress, and de-humanize other human beings.”

The history of the Southern Baptist Church was that it separated from northern Baptists and united around the theological position that God endorsed the ownership of black humans.

One would think that such a history would shame them into trying to avoid such instincts in the future. One would be wrong.

Hyhybt
May 2nd, 2012 | LINK

“One would think that such a history would shame them into trying to avoid such instincts in the future. One would be wrong.”

It would… if they were any good at recognizing it. They’re not, even when it’s pointed out to them.

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