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New SBC Leader Lumps Gay People With Racists and Child Molesters

Jim Burroway

June 19th, 2012

The Southern Baptist Convention elected its first African-American president this week, marking an especially historic milestone for a religious denomination which owes its very existence to the nineteenth century split from its northern brethren over the Southern Baptists support for slavery. But when Rev. Fred Luter from New Orleans spoke following his election, his remarks remind us that Southern Baptists have merely exchanged one form of prejudice for another:

“Only the Word of God can change the heart of a racist; only the Word of God can change the desire of a child molester,” he preached. “The Word of God can change a lifestyle of a homosexual. The Word of God is the only hope for America today.”

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JT
June 19th, 2012 | LINK

But apparently the word of god can’t change the heart of a bigoted religion.

Ben in Oakland
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Apparently, my memory is a good deal clearer and longer than this reverend man.

It was the word of god that gave heart and support to the racists. It was the word of the united states government that changed the racist heart of this nation.

StraightGrandmother
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Oh Ben in Oakland I LOVE this, I added a little formatting to make it jump out.

It was the Word of God that gave heart and support to the racists.

It was the Word of the United States Government that changed the racist heart of this nation.

Richard Rush
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Only the Word of God can delude the hearts of hateful bigots into believing they are loving. The Word of God is the Grand Old Delusion in America today.

Hunter
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Well, now we know how a black man was elected president of the SBC.

Ben in Oakland
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Thanks, SGM. And thanks again for all your work on the regenrus’s fraud.

Blake
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

I’m all for reconciliation, but the owning of human beings is indefensible in my book. I can’t understand how a man whose ancestors were owned could possibly want to lead a denomination which not only justified said ownership but made it a central part of their theology all the way through the civil rights era too. I mean these weren’t just the slave holders best friends these were the Ku Klux Klansmen themselves. This was Talmadge’s & Maddox’s church for Christssake. But there’s a lot I don’t understand.

For example, a small number of wealthy free black people owned slaves in the antebellum south. Ah well, human nature, I suppose.

Snowman
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Really?? Someone who holds an office in a denomination that was formed because of racism (and was on the losing side, too!) has a HELL of a lot of nerve comparing anyone else to racists.

Snowman
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Oh and, no, the Word of God can’t seem to change child molesters, at least not if recidivism rates are any indication. Not that that has one damn thing to do with gay people, because child molesters usually aren’t gay.

Snowman
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

The one person I happen to know who is a sex offender is, by the way, a minister. He got religion in jail. He ran into another co-worker outside of work once at a gas station and almost got beat up for making inappropriate comments about a 13 year old girl.

Charles
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Slavery was not invented by the United States and did not end with the War Between the States. It still exists today in some parts of the world. It is sad that this man holds the views that he does. In my opinion his views are utterly deplorable.

Charles
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Does anyone know if he burned his NAACP card while he made these remarks?

TampaZeke
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

How interesting. I can still remember how African-Americans who came into the Southern Baptist church that I grew up in were met quickly by ushers and very sternly told that they would be happier at the church down the street and across the railroad tracks. If they insisted on staying they would be told that they were NOT welcome at the church would then be forcibly removed.

I witnessed this first hand on more than one occasion. How sad that HE is now the head usher escorting another “unwelcome” minority out the door.

And how sad that he is every bit as self-righteously sure of himself and his religious dogma as the pious racist in the church I grew up in.

Mark F.
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Actually, more than a few Christian denominations (some now considered liberal) supported slavery at one time or another, not just the Southern Baptists.

There is no passage explicitly condemning slavery in the entire Bible.

Muscat
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

@Ben in Oakland

Cute, but a bit of an oversimplification, since Christianity was also the central driving force for abolitionism and the civil rights movement.

Priya Lynn
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Muscat said “Cute, but a bit of an oversimplification, since Christianity was also the central driving force for abolitionism and the civil rights movement.”.

Uh-huh. And when gay equality is in place and widely accepted christians will be claiming they were the central driving force behind it.

TampaZeke
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn, EXACTLY!

I know Southern Baptists who were die hard segregationists and extreme racist who now act as if they were marching arm in arm with MLK Jr. in Selma. At least when they’re in mixed company. When they’re among their own they’re still racist segregationists.

Ben in Oakland
June 21st, 2012 | LINK

Well , muscat, what you say is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

But it wasn’t exactly the point I was trying to make. But it does underline myusual point about hermanEutics, which is the exquisite art of getting your holy books to say exactly what you need and want them to say.

As Ambrose Bierce was wont to say, what’s moral is what’s convenient.

Charles
June 21st, 2012 | LINK

Christianity is evolving into reversing its former position on homosexuality. Now we can all wait until hell freezes over when the same can be said about the Islam.

TampaZeke
June 21st, 2012 | LINK

Charles, how many Muslims do you know personally? How many Muslims do you count among your close friends? I have MANY Muslim friends and they’re much more supportive of gay rights, including marriage equality, than many Christians I know.

Comparing American Christians with Saudi Arabian/Iranian Muslims seems a bit unfair. Why not compare American Muslims to Ugandan/Russian/Jamaican Christians?

See how that works?

I’m no fan of Christianity or Islam or any of the fanatical sects of the Abrahamic religions, but I know people of all three faiths who are champions of justice and equality and people of all three who are champions of oppression and injustice.

Timothy (TRiG)
June 21st, 2012 | LINK

Actually, more than a few Christian denominations (some now considered liberal) supported slavery at one time or another, not just the Southern Baptists.

True, but as far as I know the SBC was the only denomination founded explicitly to support slavery, when other Christian groups were moving away from it.

TRiG.

Priya Lynn
June 21st, 2012 | LINK

Trig, the SBC may have been the only denomination founded explicitely to support slavery but I think its highly unlikely they were the only denomination in favour of it. I don’t know the details of the history of christian support for slavery but I certainly wouldn’t trust any christian’s word that christianity was the “central driving force for abolition and the civil rights movement”

Charles
June 21st, 2012 | LINK

“Charles, how many Muslims do you know personally? How many Muslims do you count among your close friends? I have MANY Muslim friends and they’re much more supportive of gay rights, including marriage equality, than many Christians I know.

Comparing American Christians with Saudi Arabian/Iranian Muslims seems a bit unfair. Why not compare American Muslims to Ugandan/Russian/Jamaican Christians?

See how that works?

I’m no fan of Christianity or Islam or any of the fanatical sects of the Abrahamic religions, but I know people of all three faiths who are champions of justice and equality and people of all three who are champions of oppression and injustice.” – TampaZeke

I mostly speak of the horrible Muslim fundamentalism that is sweeping throughout the Muslim dominated world. Today Iraq Christians are fleeing in great numbers. And, if the Muslim Brotherhood seizes power in Egypt the same will happen in Egypt. If you can give me a link to any sect of Muslims in the United States that have come out openly and supported gay rights in any form, I will be glad to retract my statement in full.

Jim Burroway
June 21st, 2012 | LINK

For Charles’s (and other’s) reading pleasure:

http://www.imaan.org.uk/

http://www.safraproject.org/sgi-intro.htm

http://www.mpvusa.org/our_principles.html

Charles
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Jim, thanks for the links. However, I think we all know that currently Islamic fundamentalism is sweeping throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. And, some countries are adopting archaic Sharia Law. This is even happening in Iraq. Too bad we didn’t have a five star General like MacArthur ruling Iraq, who could have written the Iraqi constitution. MacArthur constructed a constitution for Japan that brought their society from medieval era into the modern era. It is my feeling that Islam is very deeply flawed religion, much more so than Christianity. The follow quote is from Patton on the Wikipedia website. It appears to myself he had a great sense of what troubles the Arab people:

After reading the Koran and observing North Africans, he wrote to his wife, “Just finished reading the Koran – a good book and interesting.” Patton had a keen eye for native customs and methods, wrote knowingly of local architecture, even rated the progress of word-of-mouth rumor in Arab country at 40–60 miles (64–97 km) a day. In spite of his regard for the Koran, he concluded, “To me it seems certain that the fatalistic teachings of Mohammad and the utter degradation of women is the outstanding cause for the arrested development of the Arab. . . . Here, I think, is a text for some eloquent sermon on the virtues of Christianity.”[116][117]

TampaZeke
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Charles, so you quote my statement and then AGAIN you compare American Christians to Iranian, Iraqi and Saudi Arabian extremists Muslims.

Then you go on to parrot Fox News talking points about the spread of Sharia law. Please cite reputable examples of Sharia law being instituted, or even being seriously considered, in ANY western country.

It isn’t MUSLIMS who are pushing the anti-gay death penalty law in Uganda. It’s Church of England, Catholic (YES, CATHOLIC) Bishops and evangelicals who are being supported and encouraged by AMERICAN Christians.

MUSLIMS aren’t the ones murdering gays in Jamaica. Muslims aren’t the ones making it a crime to support gay rights in Russia. Muslims aren’t the ones forming mobs that are attacking gay pride marchers in eastern Europe.

Again, I’m not defending the Muslim faith. I think it stinks just like the Christian faith does but good is done by people of both faiths and hateful, unjust things are done by fearful, extremist bigots in both faiths.

One more thing. As a person who grew up in a conservative Southern Baptist family in Mississippi, I can assure you that the main difference between the extremist behaviors of extremist Muslims in the Middle East and those of extremist Christians in America comes down to opportunity. If this country gave fundamentalist Christians full control of our government and justice systems we would quickly have a system that was indistinguishable from Sharia law.

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn…

In many places, Christianity is the driving force towards equality. There are communities in CA where there is no organized gay presence but where churches and ministers take civil action. I’m reminded of the town in the Cental Valley of California in which the United Church of Christ ladies opposed Prop 8. They didn’t have any gay members, but no one else was doing it and their faith taught that discrimination is against God.

And in the past year or so I’ve seen a huge increase in religion based pro-gay advocacy. It has become a significant factor in Washington and Maine.

It’s also true that the biggest force in opposition to equality is found in religion. Like most things it can be used for good or for bad.

Priya Lynn
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, I don’t dispute that many christians have worked towards equality, I just would say its wrong to say christianity was the central driving force behind the abolition of slavery or the progress made to date on LGBT equality.

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

If you read abolitionist tracts, it seems clear that they believed that Christianity was their driving force. If, as you say, they were mistaken about their motivations then I think the impetus is on you explain what else it was that drove them.

Both sides termed their arguments in the language of religion. But I think sociologists and historians agree that the pro-slavery Americans were driven primarily by economic factors and secondarily by social structure and that religion was justification rather than actual motivation.

Economics and social structure don’t seem to have given abolitionists much reason. As best I can tell, the objections to slavery were moral ones. And the history of humanity suggests that there is little inherent instinct to oppose slavery – on the part of the non-slave castes. So to say that Christianity provided the moral opposition – or at least the zeal – does not seem to me to be unreasonable.

That is how they understood it, and I don’t see any more likely alternate motivations.

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Yes, to date Christianity has not been the significant force behind equality. I suspect (though it is a guess) that it will be before we win the hearts of the South.

But irrespective of whether it is ever a net positive force, when it’s over churches will teach equality and most people will convince themselves that they always supported equality just like their church teaches. Memory always sides with the winner.

Priya Lynn
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “If you read abolitionist tracts, it seems clear that they believed that Christianity was their driving force. If, as you say, they were mistaken about their motivations then I think the impetus is on you explain what else it was that drove them.”.

That’s not what I was intending to say. I’m not saying that those, or many of those who were opposed to slavery weren’t motivated by their christianity, in fact I have no opinion on what their motivations were. What I’m saying is that I believe there were likely more christians in favour of slavery at the time than opposed. I don’t have any detailed knowledge of the history so, of course I could be wrong, but based on what I do know that’s what appears to be the case to me.

Charles
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

TampaZeke, I can’t dispute what you are saying about what is going on in Uganda, its a mess. But where can you show me that Christians are behind the recent show of force by the authorities in Russia or the gangs of murdering thugs who murder gays in Jamaica? And, what is this about me citing Fox News talking points about Sharia laws being imposed upon western nations. I never said any such thing. I did state that there is a fundamentalist Muslim wave sweeping the Muslim world that wants to impose Sharia law in countries where such radicals gain control. Sadly, even in Iraq and Afghanistan they have, to some extent, adopted Sharia law in their constitutions even while our military forces were present in there countries. It might be shocking to you, but some gays in the Middle East seek refuge in Israel. I was born and raised as an Episcopalian. One of the more liberal of Christian religions. We have had our internal fights over homosexuality and the gay rights advocates have won. Other Protestant religions are having internal battles within their ranks over gay rights. Show me a gay rights Muslim Mosque that supports gay rights and let me know if they are not living in some fear of their lives from fundamentalist Muslim fanatics.

StraightGrandmother
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Timothy David Blankenhorn jsut came out for same sex marriage. He Evolved!!!
Ask everyone to send Blankenhorn a THANK YOU. I called and got his e-mail address.

Blankenhorn@AmericanValues.org

I called and sent an e-mail because I am extra happy :) :)

Priya Lynn
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Thank you sent, StraightGrandmother.

William
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

“The fact that William Wilberforce became a committed Christian and championed the passing through Parliament of the Bill to abolish the Slave Trade could be, and indeed has been, taken by Christians to be both evidence and example of how Christianity inspires radical social action and transformation. Although that is an attractive thesis and has within it seeds of truth, the fuller picture is much more complicated.

“The Establishment countenanced both slavery and the trade, fearing that abolition would threaten the British Empire with economic ruin. The Bishops, with the notable exception of the Bishop of Chester, Beilby Porteus, who later went on to become Bishop of London, sided with the Establishment.”
– Rt Rev. James Jones, Current Bishop of Liverpool

At a meeting in 2006 of the Church of England’s general synod in London, the Rev. Simon Bessant described the involvement of one of the C. of E.’s voluntary missionary arms, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Foreign Parts, in the slave trade. The SPG owned the Codrington Plantation in Barbados, where slaves had the word “society” branded on their backs with a red-hot iron.

TampaZeke
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Charles, Every story I’ve read about the crack down on gay demonstrations in Russia points to the deep involvement of the Russian Orthodox Church. Where do you get your news?

“Show me a gay rights Muslim Mosque that supports gay rights…”

The Islamic Community of Tampa Mosque in Temple Terrace Florida and CAIR (Council on American/Islamic Relations) of Florida BOTH took a position AGAINST Amendment 2 (the anti-gay marriage amendment) in Florida in 2008.

“…and let me know if they are not living in some fear of their lives from fundamentalist Muslim fanatics.”

NO, they’re not.

Just because you are unaware of facts doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Yet, just up the street in Gainsville a Christian church burns Qur’ans and LYNCHES President Obama in effigy holding a rainbow flag.

Charles
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

TampaZeke, Great you found a mosque and that even CAIR supported gay rights in one instance. I personally have little respect of CAIR. As for some crazy lone Christian burning the Koran and hanging Obama in effigy. I seem to remember that the hanging of Bush was a common event during his administration among certain groups and him being compared to as a chimpanzee was and still is common. The following is a site where you can still buy such a poster: http://www.zazzle.com/bush_or_chimp_poster-228527593129259283 …………..try doing that with Obama and you are called a racist and or bigot. The following is directly from Wikipedia:

“Homosexual activity is a crime and forbidden in most Muslim-majority countries. In the Islamic regimes of Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, North Sudan and Yemen, homosexual activity is punished with the death penalty. In Nigeria and Somalia the death penalty is issued in some regions.[2] The legal punishment for sodomy has varied among juristic schools: some prescribe capital punishment; while other prescribe a milder discretionary punishment such as imprisonment. In some relatively secular Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia,[3] Jordan and Turkey this is not the case; and there are no specific civil laws against homosexual practice.”

For further reading you can read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_and_Islam

You are welcome to burn a Bible in the United States anytime you wish. Just don’t try to do it in Afghanistan, you may end up being truly lynched or starting a riot.

Christianity is certainly not perfect, but I would rather live in a country that is dominated by Christians than Muslims.

Jim Burroway
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Charles,

You do realize that Albania is a majority Muslim nation, right? It has recently passed legislation to provide non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people. Its Prime Minister came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2009, although its Parliament has not approved the measure. This year the Prime Minister welcomed Albania’s first gay pride celebration after denouncing a defense minister’s anti-gay tirade.

Albania is 70% Muslim. I would call that “dominated” by any measure.

I know you hate it when you make sweeping statements and people call you on it with, you know, facts. The best way to avoid that from happening in the future is to avoid making sweeping statements.

TampaZeke
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Way to move the goal post Charles. You challenged you to give you “A MOSQUE…”. I gave you TWO examples within five miles of me and then you scoff and claim that two examples are insufficient.

I won’t waste any more breath on you. You seem quite contented in your ignorance.

TampaZeke
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Should have been “You challenged me…”

Oh, and I’ll give you one more breath. I don’t want to live in a country where ANY religion dominates. I want to live in a country where the CONSTITUTION, reason, justice, fairness and equality dominate.

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn

What I’m saying is that I believe there were likely more christians in favour of slavery at the time than opposed. I don’t have any detailed knowledge of the history so, of course I could be wrong, but based on what I do know that’s what appears to be the case to me.

Yes and no.

What I mean is that at some point in some places slavery had a presumption of acceptability and so yes, then and there more Christians supported slavery. Today virtually none do. At points between, the numbers changed.

But I don’t think that Charles was trying to make a point about numbers. I think that he was trying to say (before he jumped off the cliff about Muslims) that while virtually all of the people involved in promoting or opposing slavery were Christians, the influence that led from point A to point B was Christian preaching and zeal.

It need not have been Christian. It could have been Taoist or based in Reason. But in the US and English Abolitionist movement it happened to be Christian and it happened to be driven by values that (while shared by other faiths or belief systems) were experienced as “Christian” by those involved.

In other words, Christianity was a positive influence in motivating change. While it was used as an excuse by those who favored slavery, they had very strong economic motivations pushing them to keep things the same.

But those seeking change did so “because it was right” and they believed it was right to change because of their Christian beliefs (which were, of course, different from slave-holders’ Christian beliefs).

An awful lot of people died because they strongly opposed slavery. My great-great-grandfather was among them.

Equality is different in that the earlier pro-gay social pressures came from outside of religion and most often were opposed most strongly because of religion. Often it has been opposition to religion that has encouraged questioning inequality. (In other words, anti-Christianity has been a positive motivation.)

But that is shifting. Right now, Religion is weighing in HEAVILY on both sides. We now have allies who support us because of their faiths (and not just Christians). Ultimately, I am guessing that in parts of the country it will be pro-gay religious zeal that will be necessary for us to be ultimately fully included.

Priya Lynn
June 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “Yes and no.

What I mean is that at some point in some places slavery had a presumption of acceptability and so yes, then and there more Christians supported slavery. Today virtually none do. At points between, the numbers changed.”.

Its just “Yes”. I never said anything about today, I was talking strictly about back then.

Timothy said ” I think that he was trying to say (before he jumped off the cliff about Muslims) that while virtually all of the people involved in promoting or opposing slavery were Christians, the influence that led from point A to point B was Christian preaching and zeal…In other words, Christianity was a positive influence in motivating change.”.

Yes and no.

Yes christians were a positive influence in motivating change, but they were also a negative influence in opposing change. I maintain there were more christians in opposition to change than there were supporting change but if you have something beyond your opinion on the truth of that I’ll consider it.

As I said earlier I have no opinion on what motivated christians opposing slavery, it may be christianity, or as occurred to me after you brought it up, just the same sense of fair play that leads me to oppose slavery. You’ll probably claim their sense of fair play was from their christianity but I think that’sdebatable, It may be that a sense of fair play is inherent in most people and people probably assign to christianity values they had before they were really indoctrinated into it.

What I do know for sure is that christianity was used to justify slavery and there was a LOT of ammunition in the bible to support that viewpoint.

So, on the whole in my opinion christianity did more to support slavery than to oppose it and Charles’ claim that Christianity was the central driving force for abolitionism and the civil rights movement is wrong on every level.

I’m not going to argue with you any more about this so you can have the last word.

Charles
June 23rd, 2012 | LINK

“So, on the whole in my opinion christianity did more to support slavery than to oppose it and Charles’ claim that Christianity was the central driving force for abolitionism and the civil rights movement is wrong on every level.” – Priya Lynn June 23rd, 2012

I said no such thing, you have me confused with Muscat who wrote on June 20th: ” @Ben in Oakland

Cute, but a bit of an oversimplification, since Christianity was also the central driving force for abolitionism and the civil rights movement.”

Charles
June 23rd, 2012 | LINK

“Should have been “You challenged me…”

Oh, and I’ll give you one more breath. I don’t want to live in a country where ANY religion dominates. I want to live in a country where the CONSTITUTION, reason, justice, fairness and equality dominate.” – TampaZeke

As Jim said I made some sweeping statements and those sweeping statements have been found wrong. You have found some Muslim Mosques that say they support gay rights. And, Jim has pointed out what is going on in Muslim Albania. I too want to live in a country where a constitution, reason, justice, fairness and equality dominate. But, what I see going on in the Muslim world by far not that kind of country. Currently most are run by dictatorships. And, wave of Muslim fundamentalism is on the rise in the Muslim world and has been, ever since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. On the whole he plight of gay rights in Muslim countries is dismal. My link to Wikipedia stated the fact that homosexual acts in some Muslim nations were punishable by the death sentence. Let’s all hope that the liberal forces of Islam will win out over the fundamentalist forces. But, I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime or anytime in this century.

JohnAGJ
June 24th, 2012 | LINK

It isn’t MUSLIMS who are pushing the anti-gay death penalty law in Uganda. It’s Church of England, Catholic (YES, CATHOLIC) Bishops and evangelicals who are being supported and encouraged by AMERICAN Christians.

The guilt of the Christian churches you name is quite apparent, but let’s not whitewash, gloss over or ignore the equally reprehensible actions of Ugandan Muslim religious leaders in this mess. Besides, don’t forget that Muslims make up about 12% of the population of that country.

http://wthrockmorton.com/2010/05/30/nothing-brings-christians-and-muslims-together-in-uganda-like-plan-b/

http://wthrockmorton.com/2010/01/19/ugandan-muslim-cleric-threatens-to-hunt-down-gays/

http://atheism.about.com/b/2007/10/22/exile-the-gays-ugandan-muslim-leader-calls-for-gay-explusion.htm

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