January 25th, 2012
And of course, (Seattle-area pastor Ken) Hutcherson goes there: “If this law is passed, what is going to happen? Now ask your guests in the studio. Do they believe that if they change the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, what is going to stop two men one woman, two women one man, one man against a horse, one man with a boy, one man with anything?“
Horses, huh? The problem with Hutcherson (aside from the the obvious batshittery-craziness) is that he’s not very original.
Simile of the Day
January 23rd, 2012
Courtesy of anti-gay Seattle pastor Ken Hutcherson:
(Washington Governor Christine Gregoire) might as well change her name to John Wilkes Booth because what she’s doing now is trying to put a bullet in the head of one of the greatest traditions that has ever existed and has built our society, and that is marriage between one man and one woman.
Right. Extending civil rights is just like killing someone who extended civil rights.
Hutch presided over Rush’s wedding
June 16th, 2010
I thought it peculiar that Rush Limbaugh would hire Elton John to perform at his wedding. But it now seems the wedding participants were even more unexpected.
The preacher who signed Limbaugh’s and wife Kathryn Rogers‘ marriage license, Washington State-based mega-church boss Ken Hutcherson, is an internationally known critic of the gay rights who believes that many of the world’s ills stem from homosexuality.
It would appear that Hutch has reinterpreted “God’s definition of marriage” from “one man, one woman” to be “one man, four women, sequentially.”
I have no problem with Hucherson officiating. In my opinion, Limbaugh can have whoever he likes at his weddings, be it this one or his next, or the one after that. I’m just surprised that they were able to squeeze that much ego into one room.
Ken Hutcherson has blood on his hands
June 7th, 2010
Conservative Christians are often infuriated by discussions which link their anti-gay activism to violence against actual gay people. They will angrily say that they oppose violence and they love the sinner. That Christians are not the ones going around attacking gay people.
But the truth is plain. Cultivate a culture of condemnation and you will soon see hostility. Oppose tolerance and you’ll get intolerance. Dehumanize gay people and soon you’ll find that there are those willing to treat gay people as something other than human.
And a clear example is evident in Washington.
For years, Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, WA, has been fighting to make Mt. Si High School a miserable place for gay students. He’s tried to get teachers fired for challenging him on gay issues and threatened to put another on his list. He’s sent his daughter to monitor Gay-Straight-Alliance meetings. He’s preached that God hates effeminate men and “joked” about beating them. He’s spread the message that the Bible opposes tolerance.
Unable to stop the event, in 2008, Hutcherson took his bullhorn and staged a protest on the Day of Silence across the street from Mt. Si. About 600 of the 1,400 students stayed home that day.
Johnson said her son appointed himself the protector of a new friend who was being intimidated and followed by a group of boys in the hallways at school. She said the taunts included anti-gay slurs. One night, Johnson said, she found her son texting the other boy, “Just stay by me.”
On Friday, Nov. 6, shortly after noon, the two 14-year-olds came into the locker room to change after PE class. Johnson said the freshman who allegedly led the harassment started taunting the one boy about his presumed sexual orientation.
When Johnson’s son swore and told him to leave his friend alone, a 16-year-old junior stepped into the dispute. He struck Johnson’s son twice in the face, lifted him off a bench, kneed him in the face and, when he fell to the ground, kicked him, according to witness statements to the police. A school-surveillance camera caught the 16-year-old leaving the locker room, shaking his hand as if in pain, said Johnson, who has watched the tape.
Johnson was summoned to the school by a frantic call from her son. When she arrived about 1 p.m., she said her son was bleeding from the eye and nose and was nearly “unrecognizable” on the left side of his face. She assumed that an aid car had been called, but one wasn’t summoned until 1:16 p.m., according to police records.
She also learned that a vice principal had asked the boy to go back to the locker room and search for his missing tooth.
The assault broke his eye socket, two teeth and left him with a concussion. The picked on kid’s conclusion? “I think a lot of people don’t like gays.”
Things like this happen most often when society gives its permission. When preachers and parents and teachers and administrators make it clear that small awkward less-masculine boys are sinful threatening menaces to the community with an evil homosexual agenda. And one man is more responsible for that message at Mt. Si High School than any other.
Am I taking it too far to say that Ken Hutcherson owns some responsibility for this kid’s assault, that he has blood on his hands? No.
The seeds of hatred that blossomed into this violent attack were sown by Rev. Ken Hutcherson. Sown, watered, tended and nourished.
A review of the Manhattan Declaration
This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
November 20th, 2009
A group of conservative Christians released today their manifesto of their agreement across lines of faith and tradition. Entitled Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, this document lays out areas in which the signatories declare commonality of purpose.
Who they are
First, let us say what this document is not. It is not, as the NY Times described it, a situation in which “Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues“. Indeed, this is but a segment of Christian thought, claiming the mantle of Christian history and tradition but excluding broad segments of the faith.
One need only glance at the signatories to know the nature of the alliance. Present are some who are well known names in the political culture wars who have long striven to impose their religious views by force of law on the unbelievers: Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Gary Bauer, and Tony Perkins. Some are religious leaders who have been recently shifting their realm of influence away from faith towards secular domination: Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Jonathan Falwell.
But this is not just broadly social conservatives. There is, instead, a concentration of those who focus on “opposing the homosexual agenda”. There are a few religious activists who seem dedicated and committed (obsessed, one might think) to fighting equality for gay people: Ken Hutcherson, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Jim Garlow. And then, inexplicably, some who are not religious leaders at all but social activists whose primary occupation is in seeking the political institutionalizing of inequality to gay people: Maggie Gallagher, Frank Schubert, and William Donohue.
Perhaps the most difficult to explain, and by far the most troubling name present, is The Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria.
There is no explanation provided as to what relevance Akinola has on what is a uniquely American collection. But his participation is not accidental. And, as I will discuss momentarily, his is perhaps the key that explains the true nature of this manifesto.
This could be seen as nothing more that “the usual suspects”, a rehashing of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition or any other of the loose groupings of religious authoritarians, were it not for one import inclusion. There are nine Catholic Archbishops who signed on to this document.
Ideologically as dissimilar as possible, these two Christian extremes – one whose doctrine is based in tradition, liturgy, and hierarchy, the other whose doctrine is based in reform, spirit-led worship, and direct divine revelation – have set aside ancient hostilities and theological beliefs that doubt the other’s right to be considered “Christian” and have now joined in a common purpose: denying your rights.
But as important as who is present, is who is absent.
Among the signatories I was unable to find any members of the United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Friends (Quaker), Disciples of Christ, Unitarian Universalists or American Baptists. There was one United Methodist minister.
In short, a whole branch of Christianity, Mainline Christianity, was missing, including many who no doubt would agree with the goals of banning abortion and forbidding same-sex marriage. This exclusion is, I believe, integral to understanding the true purpose of this manifesto.
The agreed upon issues
While this alliance is one that does not reflect the face of Christianity, it also is not a declaration of a new-found position of agreement based on shared Christian teaching and ideology. There is no mention of shared faith in creeds or teachings, no virgin birth, no resurrection, no divine redemption.
Rather, this is a statement of political purpose by an alliance of socially conservative activist who oppose abortion and marriage equality. Indeed, although the document speaks in lofty terms of Christian tradition and religious freedom, the only commitments it makes are to oppose legal abortion (some day down the road) and the immediate attack on the ability of gay people to avail themselves of civil equality.
This is, in short a political alliance. It is a pact and a threat.
What it means
While on the face of it, this manifesto purports to be a rededication to fight two specific political issues, I think that this is but surface dressing for a deeper meaning.
This is not a war over civil marriage definition – nor, indeed, has that ever been the real motivation behind anti-gay marriage drives. Rather, this is a war over religious domination, a fight over who is “really a Christian” and an effort on the part of a long-suffering religious subset to spite those who have long had what they coveted.
Political power in the United States had long been in the hands of what is now called Mainline Christianity. Our presidents have included over a dozen Episcopalians (as is the National Cathedral), about ten Presbyterians, with most of the rest being Methodists, Unitarians, Disciples of Christ, and Quakers.
There has been exactly one Catholic. There have been four Baptists, of whom the two Southern Baptists were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. There have been no Pentecostals and no members of mega-Churches. In fact, though some Republican presidents have been religious and conservative, there has never been a President of the United States that was both denominationally and ideologically within the fold represented by the signatories of this Manhattan Declaration.
And now they want theirs. And, not content at the rise of their own political power, they will not be happy unless they can diminish those denominations whom they seek to replace.
Note the presence of the second signatory, Peter Akinola? He is the Nigerian Anglican who has been missionizing the United States in an effort to hurt the Episcopal Church. His inclusion is a very clear message sent to the EC that they are a target for the Catholic Church and the evangelical churches who will use whatever political power they may wield in the future to thwart her position in the nation.
This manifesto is, I believe, less a declaration of war on gay people and those with unplanned pregnancies than it is a declaration of war on other Christian faiths.
One absence that seems to confirm this alliance is a denomination that one might have expected to be quick to affirm its commitment to the right to life and protection of the family. But there are no representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). The exclusion of this church, considered by most conservatives to be “NOT Christian”, suggest that this manifesto has less to do with social goals and more to do with Christian definition.
This manifesto says, in effect, “We are the Christians. We are the ‘heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s word’, and we alone will speak for the faith.”
What the manifesto reveals
In addition to highlighting the division in the Christian body, there are also some clues as to future items on the agenda of this newly affirmed political alliance. Here is how I translate some of their declarations.
we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our government … truly Christian answer to problem pregnancies is for all of us to love and care for mother and child alike
Only lip service will be paid to the shared objection to abortion. Little time, money, or political capital will be spent on this already lost goal. However, should opportunity ever swing in their direction, they will stop at nothing short of a full ban on all abortions without any consideration of rape, quality of life, or the life of the mother.
But absent the abortion issue, these allies have but one other shared issue: attacking you and your life.
Around the globe … take steps necessary to halt the spread of preventable diseases like AIDS
The situations in Nigeria and Uganda are not accidental nor unrelated to the efforts of conservative Americans. Although virtually all of the spread of AIDS in Africa is related to heterosexuality, this will be an excuse to pass draconian laws seeking to repress, incarcerate, or execute gay men and women.
In addition to being a slam against the Episcopal Church, the inclusion of Akinola announces that pogroms against gay Africans will have the endorsement of both the Catholic Church and conservative evangelical churches.
We should not expect the calls for criminal prosecution of gay people to be limited to foreign soil. Should such a fervor be fostered internationally, it is unquestionable that this will lend support to efforts to reinstate or bolster oppression here.
It is no longer a matter of curiosity that the Catholic Church has not spoken out against the Kill Gays bill in Uganda. Nor had Dr. Mohler or Dr. Dobson. Nor, indeed, has any signatory of this document.
The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships … there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships … Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital … the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships
The Manhattan document does not in any place refer to same-sex relationships without simultaneously mentioning multiple-party relationships. This will no doubt translate to a new commitment on the part of the signatories to try and tie the two together in their political campaigns.
Frankly, I wish them godspeed in that decision. Americans have, I believe, moved beyond the point in which gay couples are viewed as identical to polygamists.
as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.
This probably tells us nothing but the extent to which these people are self-righteous and truly deeply smarmy. They are willing, lovingly, to sacrifice your life and freedom and equality, not their own. Oh how loving. Oh how Christ-like.
Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.
There are, as we all know, no requirements for any churches or ministers to act contrary to their faith. We have long since debunked their claims of oppression and shown them to be nothing more than a retraction of special privilege when the religious groups in question wanted to use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against gay taxpayers. There are no instances in their recitation in which religious groups were forced to compromise in any areas of faith in the administration of their own funds or time.
That is of no consequence. Liars lie. We expect the morally bankrupt to behave without integrity.
But what I think we can anticipate, based on their conclusion, is a concerted effort at political stuntery. A dedication to dishonesty. And an ongoing campaign of lies.
As a Christian, it distresses me to see the name of my faith and the mantle of its history usurped by those who have no respect for its greater principles but instead gleefully glom onto its darker bloody history. Rather than exalt in the liberties that have evolved from Christian thought, they seek to equate the faith with its most prejudicial, superstitious, exclusionary and dictatorial moments.
But perhaps something good may come of this.
It is possible that out of this declaration of war, the moderate and liberal branches of the faith may find common cause, if nothing else in defense of their own good name. Perhaps they will decide that they have a purpose and meaning in modern America and will let go of residual guilt and angst and take up the mantle of protector of the oppressed and champion of justice and mercy.
Let us hope and pray that they do.
Day of Silence and Various Responses
April 13th, 2009
In an effort to reduce bullying and to encourage tolerance, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network created a program called The Day of Silence in which students show their sympathy for harassed gay students by pledging to be silent for a day. Those who “oppose the homosexual agenda” have responded in a number of ways.
I will briefly compare the various responses:
Sponsor: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
Participants: Hundreds of thousands of students in over 8,000 schools
Purpose: The Day of Silence’s purpose is to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and effective responses.
Date: Friday, April 17, 2009
Length of Program: Thirteenth year
Process: Participants take a day long vow of silence and distribute or wear speaking cards with information about anti-LGBT bias and ways for students and others to “end the silence.” Through Breaking the Silence events, which are typically held at the end of the school day, students can speak out against harassment and demand change for their schools and communities. Students do speak when required by class participation.
Message: What are you doing to end the Silence?
Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the fi rst step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.
What are you going to do to end the Silence?
Response to Objection: In high schools, approval from the principal or other appropriate staff is important when student organizers are working on any project. When approaching your school’s administration, it helps to have the backing of a student club and its advisor(s). If your administration does not approve of or support the Day of Silence, you may want to consider planning a community event outside of school, in the morning or evening.
Theme: To draw attention to the abuse or bullying of GLBT people who are often silenced by social disapproval and unable to defend themselves alone.
Sponsor: Created by the Alliance Defense Fund. Currently administered by ex-gay group Exodus International.
Participants: Up to 13,000 students
Length of Program: Fifth year
Stated Purpose: The Day of Truth was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective. (It is a direct response to the Day of Silence).
Date: The Day of Truth is scheduled for April 20, 2009. This is three days after GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) will sponsor the “Day of Silence.”
Process: Participating students are encouraged to wear Day of Truth T-shirts, pass out cards, tell students about the evils of homosexuality, and inform same-sex attracted students about reorientation programs.
Message: It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality. There’s freedom to change if you want to. The truth cannot be silenced.
I’m speaking the Truth to break the silence.
True tolerance means that people with differing — even opposing — viewpoints can freely exchange ideas and respectfully listen to each other.
It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality.
There’s freedom to change if you want to.
Response to Objection: If the principal or other school official asks you to stop, stop immediately. Please call 1-800-TELL-ADF so that we can help resolve the situation quickly.
Theme: Rather than encourage gay-specific anti-bullying programs, gay students should be encouraged to enter ex-gay programs.
Sponsor: A long list of anti-gay activist groups including Americans for Truth (Peter LaBarbera), Liberty Counsel (Matt Barber), Mission: America (Linda Harvey), and SPLC-listed hate groups MassResistance, Illinois Family Institute (Laurie Higgins), and Abiding Truth Ministries (Scott Lively).
Participants: unknown number of parents. In 2008, 600 students were kept home from a school in Washington
Length of Program: uncertain, perhaps second year
Stated Purpose: To actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes and no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence
Date: April 17, 2009, the same day as the Day of Silence
Process: Parents are encouraged to express their opposition to the Day of Silence by calling their children out of school on that day and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members.
Public school teachers are encouraged to plan activities for this day that involve student speech: Schedule speeches or oral exams; ask questions; or plan discussion-based activities
that require participation from all students.
Church leadership is encouraged to follow the bold example of Pastor Ken Hutcherson who vocally opposed the “Day of Silence” in his community in Redmond, Washington. (Hutcherson is threatening to oppose school bonds if Mt. Si allows students to participate in the Day of Silence again this year).
Message: Students being silent is disruptive and ought not be tolerated.
Handout: none indicated.
Response to Objection: Explain that school districts lose money for every absence, which may help convince administrations and school boards that it is not merely unethical but fiscally irresponsible to allow the classroom to be used for political purposes.
Theme: Fighting the homosexual agenda.
Sponsor: Dr. Warren Throckmorton, with some support from Campus Crusade for Christ Regional Director, Michael Frey and Bob Stith, National Strategist for Gender Issues, Southern Baptist Convention.
Length of Program: Second year
Stated Purpose: To provide a response for Christian and conservative students who do not affirm homosexual behavior but also loathe disrespect, harassment or violence toward any one, including their GLBT peers.
Date: April 17, 2009, the same day as the Day of Silence
Process: To answer the Day of Silence’s question with a commitment the safety of GLBT students and peers as well as other who appear different based on the teachings of Christ.
A variety of options exist on the DOS, including silence. Whatever option one chooses, we do not encourage protests, divisive actions or criticism of others. One way to live out our faith is to treat others fairly and with respect.
Message: Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31).
This is what I’m doing:
I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated.
Will you join me in this pledge?
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31).
Response to Objection: None indicated.
Theme: To draw attention to the appropriate response of Christians when they are asked for respect and protection.
UPDATE: The previous version listed Americans for Truth (Peter LaBarbera) as a hate group and did not list Illinois Family Institute (Laurie Higgins) as such. These have now been reversed.
Ken Hutcherson: No Work, No Food
December 5th, 2008
Rev. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church, is fond of the spotlight. Sadly, that spotlight often reveals a person who is hard of heart and full of bitterness towards his fellow man.
I’m sure there are few who are unaware that this country is currently experiencing difficult times. Many people are finding themselves, due to no fault of their own, to be facing financial difficulties and some are suffering severe hardship. The Seattle Times has an article about how tent cities are springing up due to the foreclosure crisis and the rising unemployment rate.
Thirty-five year old Karissa Vaugh in Seattle is a tent city resident.
“As soon as I lost my job, I kinda of lost my place to live and came here,” Vaughn told CBN News. “This is something that, you know, it could happen to anybody. And the preconceived notions I had maybe before about homeless people are out the window.”
Aaron Beachage once lived in a $1,200 a month apartment. He now lives out of his van parked at the tent city.
“I have been homeless about three months,” he said. “I found myself in this predicament through my job as a truck driver, losing my job.
Although Karissa Vaugh may have had her notions about homeless people challenged, but Hutcherson appears to have held onto his views:
“Our Saviour died to keep us off the cross. I don’t think he’d be satisfied keeping us in tents,” Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Wash., said.
“I think the Bible gives it to us straight, if you don’t work, you don’t eat,” he said. “We’re supposed to give hands up, not hand outs to the point of letting people stay the way they are.”
As someone who is fairly conservative and skeptical about many social programs, I’m frankly shocked. Though raised in conservative Christian circles, I find this example of heartlessness to be extreme beyond anything I’ve experienced.
I do support the idea that education and responsibility is preferable to a lifetime of cash disbursements. And I recognize that there are some few who are lazy and will abuse any charity.
But come on!! Times are hard and people are hurting. And there just aren’t many people who are willing to brave Seattle’s winter in a tent if they had other options.
And as for what Our Saviour gave to us straight, we can find that in the 25th Chapter of Matthew:
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
For the sake of Hutcherson’s soul, I sincerly hope he was misquoted.
An Attack on Christianity
This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of the other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
December 5th, 2008
I do not often find that the social issues that get Bill O’Reilly worked up are worth my attention. But I am troubled about a situation that he has highlighted involving religious displays in the State Capitol of Washington.
Last year the Alliance Defense Fund took time from their anti-gay activities to sue the State of Washington over Christmas displays. As a consequence, a policy was established to allow use of public space to sponsor a display, regardless of belief.
This year three displays went up: a “holiday tree”, a nativity scene, and a statement by an atheist organization.
That in itself does not bother me entirely; I support the accommodation of diverse views. I am, however, bothered by both the language of the placard and its placement next to the nativity scene. The statement says:
At this season of
THE WINTER SOLSTICE
may reason prevail.
There are no gods,
no devils, no angels,
no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but
myth and superstition
that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.
This is not an endorsement of atheism; rather, it is an attack on religion, most specifically that religion next to which it was placed. Those who placed the sign, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, make no pretenses that this was not an attack on a Christian holiday nor do they apologize for the hurt and anger that they have caused Christians. In fact, they portray themselves as the victims.
In an interview with Fox News, the co-president had this to say:
DAN BARKER: If there is going to be a nativity scene that’s pro-Christian, which basically insults those of us who are not Christian, by telling us we’re going to go to hell unless we bow down before that Baby Jesus, then we want an equal time, too. We want a place at the table. We want to show America that we, atheists and agnostics, are here, too.
A statement of belief is not equivalent to a position of hatred and attack on others.
Nor do I think that the atheist organization is the victim here. The existence of a nativity scene is no more an insult or attack than a Sikh wearing a Dastar is attacking Muslims or the lighting of a menorah is an attack on Buddhists. That others observe that which I do not has nothing to do with me and I have no right to insist that they do so in secret nor does society have an obligation to respect my attack on them.
Many atheists are content with their conviction of the order of nature and the limitation of existence to that which can be observed. And they really don’t much care whether I agree.
But these particular atheists, like some others that I have encountered, are not interested in allowing disagreement. These evangelical atheists view the existence of anyone else’s religion as an attack on their own religious beliefs. It is not enough that each person determine whether to believe and that each religious viewpoint be respected, or at least allowed. No, rather than coexistence with religious faith, they want to attack religious faiths and those who practice them.
Ironically, this is very similar to the tactics and language employed by some religious opponents to gay civil rights. Those who are recoiling from the anti-Christian behaviors of this group includes, no doubt, many of those who made statements about gay marriage that were astonishingly similar.
The anti-gay marriage campaigns were full of those who indignantly demanded that gay people not have marriage because the mere existence of such marriages was at threat to their family. It was not enough that they had their own marriage, rather they insisted that mine not exist.
I think that our society would be better served if each of us allowed room for the other.
I am entitled to equality under the law, including marriage rights. But I can also respect those who disagree and I do not insist that my wedding be at their church. And while they can believe that I will burn forever in eternal torment, this does not entitle them to place placards next to the best man at my wedding.
This sort of religion-by-attack only escalates. Each slight is answered by a larger attack until the whole of society is embroiled in a nasty culture war.
Redmond pastor Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church called an 11 a.m. news conference Friday. The Olympian reports he’ll place his own pro-Christian sign in the Rotunda to mock atheists.
I think it is time for Washington State to establish rules that those seeking to display their religious positions are banned from attacking others. Tolerance does not include those who refuse to show it to others.
Further, I think that they should demonstrate some connection to the season. Perhaps the atheists could find a time of celebration, maybe the birthdate of a leader in freethought or a season in which there were fewer traditional mythologies. They can hardly expect to be taken with credibility when they oppose myth and mystery at the time of the Winter Solstice.
Hutcherson’s Wacky Priorities
May 9th, 2008
Every pastor knows that there are certain Sundays in which attendance will be high. Christmas and Easter, for example, will draw those who identify as Christian but generally find other things a higher priority at church time on Sunday mornings.
Another day in which visitors are expected is Mother’s Day, when dutiful children make Mom happy by going to church with her before brunch.
Some churches have a liturgical calendar that establishes themes for each Sunday across the denomination. But non-liturgical pastors tend to strategize their sermons on ‘Visitor Sundays’ so that they appeal to irregular attendees and so that they fit with the theme of the day.
For example, on Christmas a pastor might talk about Christ coming to the world and the change that Jesus made on history. Or he might discuss the sacrifice of His parents, the humbleness of His birth, or even the persistence of the Magi. So too would a pastor generally find Mother’s Day a time to celebrate the special recognition of mothers in the Bible.
But whatever the theme, on Sundays that are likely to draw visitors, a thoughtful pastor will avoid esoteric doctrines or the minutia of theological denominational differences. And while some fire-and-brimstone preachers will take the opportunity to call down God’s judgment on the sinner in the pew, most will avoid a sermon that is likely to frighten away or alienate a non-believer.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. And in honor of that event, Rev. Ken Hutcherson has selected a non-traditional theme. From his church’s website:
Friday, 09 May 2008
Please keep praying for a great turnout for this Sunday’s services for two reasons:
1.) It’s Mother’s Day! We want to honor all of our mothers.
2.) This Sunday will be the first of a two part series on why homosexuality is still a sin.
Pray that many lives will be changed.
What mother is going to want to bring her kids to church on her special day to hear a sermon about gay sex? I can’t imagine who – other than Pastor Hutch – would think this topic is appropriate for Mother’s Day.
Which makes me wonder: is Hutcherson completely obsessed with homosexuality, or is it the only subject that makes him a topic of discussion on blog sites and feeds his ego?
(hat tip GoodAsYou)
Hutcherson Brags About Disrupting School
April 29th, 2008
On his church’s website today Rev. Ken Hutcherson posted the following:
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Praise for the Day of Silence outcome! Whether they blame me or credit me, the fact of the matter is over 600 students, almost half the student body at Mt. Si were kept home by their parents on the Day of Silence. The school officials must realize they have some very unhappy parents.
Last night I met with the NAACP. Please pray for wisdom for them as they discuss what their move will be in response to the Mt. Si MLK Day debacle.
Please pray for me as I travel to Southern California today and as I return home on Saturday.
Like most braggarts, Hutch assumes that his actions are larger than they are.
Though he says students were “kept home by their parents”, even the most casual observer knows that many of these students just stayed away because it was a spring Friday and they could get away with treating it like a holiday.
And assuming that those who stayed away from Rev. Hutcherson’s bullhorned abuse are actually supporters of his message is downright delusional. Only 100 people turned up for his protest and there’s no indication that any of them were students.
But I do agree that there are undoubtedly unhappy parents of Mount Si students. I’m sure quite a few wish that Rev. Ken Hutcherson had decided to take his ministry to some other part of the country and left their school alone.
April 26th, 2008
Rev. Ken Hutcherson’s response to the disruption caused by students sitting silently.
Picture from the Seattle Times.
Hutch’s Disrupting Protest
April 25th, 2008
One of the consistent (and consistently stupid) claims of the anti-gay wacktivists is that the Day of Silence is “disrupting” of schools. Sitting there silent (unless called on in class) disrupts the education process by (silently) shoving your views down the throats of other students (the other frequent but oddly chosen catch phrase), ya see.
So Rev. Ken Hutcherson decided to protest, along with 1,000 of his prayer buddies.
Well, the Day of Silence has come and gone at the Mount Si High School. And how did Hutch do in quelling the disturbance?
Well, let’s see…
Around 7 am about 80 parents and supporters of the Gay-Straight Alliance came and silently stood to welcome those students observing the DOS.
“We want to let students in the GSA know they have support in the community,” said Lucinda Hauser, a parent of a Mount Si student.
Then at 9:30 am, Hutcherson’s bus showed up with him, his bodyguards, and about 100 supporters. Although he had placed an add in the local newspaper and was hoping for 1,000 angry anti-gays, he didn’t come close to meeting his goal. Hutcherson’s group began to pray and sing and wave signs with messages such as “Silence for Unnatural Behavior? Not ME”.
The parents and supporters had left around 8, not wanting to deal with Hutch and crew. But another group of about 150 counter-protestors were there to challenge the anti-gays. Some, it seems, were from Tolt UCC Congregational Church who ran an ad of support for the students in the same newspaper.
Ken Lauren, a Redmond parent whose son-in-law teaches at Mt. Si, shouted, “Are these the values you want your kids to grow up with — bigotry, intolerance, hatred.” He carried a sign that said, “I believe in separation of church and hate.”
The chaos outside was in contrast to the silence inside. About 200 of the 1,400 students took part in the effort to honor Lawrence King and to draw attention to discrimination and violence against gay kids.
But theirs was not the only message. The Mt. Si Conservative Club passed out red, white and blue ribbons to display their opposition to the silent students.
Inside the school, students and administrators said there were many T-shirts expressing opposing views and some intense discussions.
And to avoid all the conflict (or, more likely, because they could get away with it), about 500 students stayed away from school.
So how well did Rev. Hutcherson do in his quest to stop the disturbing effect of the Day of Silence at his daughter’s high school? Perhaps it would do to compare Mt. Si to other schools in the area.
Seventeen of 19 high schools in King County participated in the National Day of Silence, but none of the other schools had any of the tense moments seen in Snoqualmie.
So I guess we can say that Hutch didn’t succeed in his goal of bringing order from chaos. But some have doubts that this was his goal anyway.
Reverend Hutcherson and his supporters said they were there because they didn’t think school is the place for a demonstration about sexuality.
However, school officials think Hutcherson’s stand may be pay-back after teachers, since disciplined, heckled him at a civil rights assembly. And the school says Friday’s tolerance should be a lesson to both students and parents alike.
“The reverend is going to do what he’s going to do,” said Mt. Si High School principal Randy Taylor. “We certainly are disappointed that he’s taken this form of protest on a student-initiated, student-organized activity.”
I’ll bet Taylor is praying that Hutch decides on private schooling soon.
Hutcherson Supporters Speak Out
April 25th, 2008
Ken Schram at KOMO TV in Seattle has been critical of Ken Hutcherson’s campaign against Mt. Si High School. He’s provided a sample of some of the responses to him.
They are all worth a chuckle or a cringe, but my favorite is
Elaine Biggerstaff writes: “You are the perpetrator of hate when you refuse to tolerate the obligation Christians have to believe what God has revealed.”
I’m not sure exactly what Ms. Biggerstaff thinks that God has revealed about the murder of Lawrence King.
Hutcherson and Barber Talk About the Day of Silence and Reveal Hutch’s Paranoia
April 24th, 2008
Rev. Ken Hutcherson spoke with Matt Barber on a Concerned Women for America podcast about Hutcherson’s protest of the Day of Silence. Barber and Hutcherson both make some claims that do not seem to be fact based and, in Hutcherson’s case, appear to demonstrate paranoia:
- GLSEN is an “adult homosexual activist group” that uses children as “pawns to futher their very deceptive agenda”.
- some Christians are taking a “very soft approach” to the Day of Silence rather than “challenge it head on” because they want “the path of least resistance”. [I assume this refers to the Golden Rule pledge]
- kids who are kept out of school on the DOS may make up an excuse rather than “stand up”.
- he was invited to speak at Mt. Si because it was “a great time to ambush the Christian”.
- he’s been labeled the “number one homophobe in the United States”. He told “them” that as long as Dr. James Dobson is alive then Dobson’s number one and he’s is number two. [I can't find any reference anywhere to Hutcherson being labeled as the number one homophobe, much less that he responded in any way to "them"]
- there is a million dollar award out for information that would destroy his ministry.
- the minute his daughter introduced him on MLK day, white teachers booed [although news reports indicate that one teacher booed, Hutcherson repeated referred to "white teachers", plural]
- the school promised him that there would be nothing controversially done about his appearance
- four or five teachers run the whole school, along with the principal and assistant principal and they are all afraid of the homosexual agenda
- if you look through the Bible you cannot find one word in the Bible that relates to tolerance
- the reason Jesus didn’t condemn the woman at the well was because was “set up to sin” and the man she committed adultery with wasn’t also brought. He implied that otherwise Jesus would have condemned both of them.
Barber also seems to imply that Hutcherson should engage in violence against the school authorities. Hutcherson said, “now you’ve got an angry dad”, to which Barber replies, “I don’t blame you and I seem to recall that you played a little football”. [Hutcherson played in the NFL in the 70's].
All in all, I have to conclude that Hutcherson is either paranoid or not particularly concerned about the accuracy of his statements.
(hat tip to Good-As-You)
Hutcherson to Annoy Mt. Si High School Again
April 23rd, 2008
Rev. Ken Hutcherson is determined to be a general nuisance and all around pain in the ass.
He has opposed Washington’s non-discrimination laws. He’s threatened Microsoft with a hostile take-over because they support their gay employees. But now he’s set his sights a bit lower – Mt. Si High School where his daughter attends.
He has tried to get two teachers fired. He’s tried to get the Gay-Straight Alliance banned. He harassed and threatened the librarian. And now he’s going to be protesting the schoolkids who observe the Day of Silence.
Oh yeah, while kids on the inside are silently bringing attention to bullying, Hutcherson will be outside presenting himself as a screaming ranting example of the type of threat that gay kids face.
On his church’s website he says
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Prayer Warriors, it’s time to put on your knee pads and start praying! I am organizing a protest of Mt. Si High School and the Snoqualmie Valley School District. We will be protesting at Mt. Si High School on the Day of Silence, April 25 at 10:00 am. We have taken out a huge ad in the Snoqualmie Valley newspaper which will run next Wednesday. Please pray that over 1,000 people will participate.
Enough is enough. We have tried to work with the School District and they will not hear us. They will hear this protest. Pray it up! It’s time to make a moral stand in our public schools.
Please, no one tell Pastor Hutch that by next Wednesday the event will be over.
The Monday radio program that featured Hutcherson claimed that several high schools in and around Seattle are trying to stop the event from happening. All of the schools contacted by The Stranger, however, including some of those mentioned on the program, said the activity is going forward—sponsored by students and without interference from school administrators. “Of course we would hope that there’s tolerance of other people and other lifestyles, on any day of the year and not just one day,” said David Tucker, a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson.
Fortunately, the Reverend Ken Hutcherson will not be the sole voice of Christianity or community to be heard by gay kids at Mt. Si
A group at Tolt Congregational Church in Carnation plans to run an ad beside Hutcherson’s in Wednesday’s edition of the Snoqualmie Valley Record reading, “We are One in The Spirit,” and pledging to support the GSA. Another group, called “Friends of GSA,” is encouraging Snoqualmie residents to confront Hutcherson’s group outside of Mount Si on Friday morning, although McCormick isn’t thrilled about that. “A school is not the right place for this,” she said.
Poor Hutch. His efforts to stop the Day of Silence are not going to be any more effective than his bid to remove domestic partners insurance from Microsoft. But at this point I doubt that he has any illusions about his effectivity; he just likes to see his name in print.
Hutcherson Threatens and Intimidates High School Librarian
March 12th, 2008
The Snoqualmie Valley Record reports:
Mount Si librarian Elaine Harger said she had received an e-mail from Rev. Ken Hutcherson that referred to Mount Si’s Gay-Straight Alliance as a “sex club” and asked if Harger wanted to be added to the list of Mount Si teachers he was pushing to have fired.
“What had I done to justify that he would try to get me fired from my job? This is intimidation, pure and simple,” said Harger.
Hutcherson may call himself a Reverend and a Christian. He may even pastor a church. But I find his behavior to be indicative of a heart full of arrogance, anger, and self-righteousness and I want nothing to do with his form of religion.
UPDATE: (hat tip to reader a. mcewen)
The text of the letter was:
Dear Elaine Harger,
I see that my name was used many times in your letter to Mrs. Garding,(names removed). These are concerned parents, in which I am one, and not Hutcherson supporters as you have said. I could disappear at this very moment but the parents are not going away.
I want the teachers Kit McCormick and George Potratz fired and I will not stop until they are gone. Do you wish to be added to that list? I want the day of silence silenced and it will not happen during school time anymore. I have never said that the GSA should not be a club but have asked why a sex club is pushed on campus.
You have the right to invoke my name for being an invited guest, and as an invited guest that was treated very poorly, I demand that all students have a safe environment and not just the students of the GSA.
Do you think my daughter feels Mount Si is a safe environment for her? Do you think that conservative, ultra-patriotic, pro-war, Bible-stumpers as one administrator has said feels safe at Mount Si? Do you think Christian, Mormon, and any other religious groups of kid think Mount Si is a safe environment for them?
You and others may have wished I was never invited but I was so now you have to deal with me and how I was treated. I am here for the long run and I am not going away, even if letters like yours are continued to be written. Please do continue to write because I am collecting them for my case of a hostile environment for me as a parent, for me as an invited guest, for me as a Christian, and for me as a resident of the Snoqualmie School District.
Dr. Ken Hutcherson
Senior Pastor Antioch Bible Church
Hutcherson’s Hate Sermon
February 24th, 2008
On a Sunday when Tarico was present, Hutcherson was preaching on gender roles. During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, “God hates soft men” and “God hates effeminate men.” Hutcherson went on to say, “If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I’d rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end.”
“That was a joke,” Hutcherson said Friday, when I asked him about the comment. But it’s not really funny, is it?
No it isn’t at all. Especially in light of Lawrence King’s recent murder. Remember, he was described as effeminate by his classmates. It’s appalling to see a Christian preacher make light of violence like this. This man man has no sense of shame or decency.
With a constant torrent of statements like these coming from pastors, it’s no wonder that nearly eight out of ten evangelical youth consider their own church to be “too anti-homosexual.” Exodus International claims that they want to change that by “demonstrat[ing] love and compassion to homosexual individuals.” And yet, Hutcherson has been a regular speaker at Exodus International’s annual conference for some time now. If Exodus leaders proudly stand on the stand on the same stage as their “good friend” again this year, their sham will be vividly apparent to everyone.
Gosh, Why Would Hutcherson’s Daughter Make the GSA Kids Uncomfortable?
February 19th, 2008
As we previously reported, Rev. Ken Hutcherson has expanded his war on the lives of gay people from Microsoft to Mt. Si High School.
Convinced of his moral superiority, Hutcherson has no hesitation in making outlandish demands and accusations. The new targets in his sights are the teachers who he feels disrespected him and the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.
Hutcherson told OneNewsNow
In addition, says the pastor and father, teachers at the school have approached his daughter — and on at least one occasion, one of his daughter’s friends — in hopes of discouraging her from attending Gay Straight Alliance meetings in the aftermath of the assembly. They have reportedly advised that her presence causes members of the club to be “uncomfortable.”
On his church website, Hutch has the following message:
The text reads:
This poster is hanging in the window of a classrom [sic] at Mt. Si High School!
It’s time we wake up and realize we are in a culture WAR!
When teachers are allowed to hang posters like this in our local school, we’ve got a big problem. It’s time to take back our schools.
Hutcherson knows that the poster is a product of the students – or he should. So why is he complaining that a teacher was allowed to hang the poster? Because he knows that he won’t be able to stir up anger against children and honesty always takes a back seat to effectiveness in war.
I don’t know Hutcherson’s daughter. She may be delightful. But if I were a student who was part of Mt. Si’s GSA, I too would be uncomfortable to see her – or her camera – in the room. Her father has declared WAR on their lives, and it certainly appears that she is a soldier.
Hat tip: Good-As-You
Isn’t It Ironic, Dontcha Think?
February 15th, 2008
If you’re like me you’ve screamed at your radio, “No Alanis, rain on your wedding day is not ironic. It’s just unfortunate.” Irony is a discrepancy between what’s expected and what happens, especially when enlivened by ‘perverse appropriateness’.
Rev. Ken Hutcherson, an active opponent of gay civil rights, was invited to speak at Mt. Si High School on a day to recognize and honor Martin Luther King Jr’s work for civil rights. No, that’s not the example.
One teacher booed and one teacher questioned Hutcherson on his commitment to civil rights. Also, Hutcherson is very upset that some people in the community have began to think that he and his family are bigoted and homophobic because they hold anti-gay views. Still isn’t the example.
And Hutcherson objects that his daughter has been made to feel stress when teachers told her that other students feel uncomfortable when she monitors the Gay-Straight Alliance meetings. OK, we’re getting closer.
Although Mt. Si’s principal apologized to Hutcherson, he refuses to let this go. And though the two teachers received a letter of reprimand, Hutcherson demands that they be fired. One booed him and one questioned him and they need to go! And if the school doesn’t heed his demands they will “pay and pay dearly”.
“You can see the arrogance that’s going on in our public school system with the agenda of making our schools just so open and available to what the homosexual agenda is all about,” he remarks. “I’m absolutely amazed at the stubbornness that we’ve run into in our public education system, especially with teachers who think that nothing can happen to them.”
And that, Alanis, is ironic.
Hutcherson Attracts Conflict Again
February 9th, 2008
UPDATED: See Below
Rev. Ken Hutcherson is the senior pastor of a 3,500 member church in Redmond, WA. Hutch, as he’s called, was also a linebacker for the Cowboys, Chargers, and Seahawks in the mid 70′s. But what he’s best known for is as a vocal opponent of civil rights and equality for gay people.
Hutcherson is a founder of the anti-gay group Watchmen on the Walls, which has been known to justify violence and murder, he’s lobbied to overturn Microsoft’s anti-discrimination policies (including a bizzare scheme in which he encourages Christians to buy shares of Microsoft and give them to him), and most recently seemed to reject the Christian notion of loving gay people (“The Bible says when a sinner will not separate himself from a sin then he is condemned with it.”)
Hutcherson’s beliefs are not a secret. But somehow the principle of Mt. Si High School in the Snoqualmie Valley either did not know or did not care about Hutch’s very vocal and visible campaign to reinstate legal discrimination against gay folks in Washington State. So he invited Rev. Hutcherson to come speak at the school’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day assembly.
Hutcherson, whose daughter attends the school, did not speak about his homophobic social activism but instead discussed growing up black in Alabama.
But some students and teachers were shocked that such a vocal opponent of gay civil quality would be brought in to talk about civil rights on a day recognizing King’s contributions. One teacher booed when Hutcherson was announced and another teacher asked Hutcherson at the end of his presentation how he could claim to speak about civil rights when he so actively opposed them for gay people. Hutch got offended.
The principle sent out a public apology to Hutcherson and gave each of the two teachers a “letter of discipline” in their permanent files.
Well this event has stirred up a firestorm in the community. The assembly has now been the subject of two contentious School Board meetings. Some parents are furious that any teacher should voice their “personal and political views” while others are angry that the administration would not support the teachers who stood up to bigotry. Hutcherson’s wife, Jan, claimed at the meeting that the beliefs of Hutcherson have resulted in the family being “boldly called names like ‘bigot’, ‘homophobe’”.
But as the event was scheduled on his birthday, I can’t help but wonder why no one is asking what Dr. King would have done had he been in attendance.
Good-As-You brought to our attention a letter that Hutcherson wrote to his church:
Saturday, 09 February 2008
Last night at the Snoqualmie Valley School Board Meeting, the teachers supportive of the Gay Straight Alliance drew a line in the sand, and I am stepping over it. I spoke to the Superintendent this morning and he promised, “…it’s for the children.”
I said I want him to protect my daughter and I want Kit McCormick removed from the classroom.
Another teacher at the meeting last night, George Potratz, said that if I am trying to repeal rights for gays, he thinks we should start a movement to bring back slavery.
Mr. Potratz does not deserve to be on the faculty of the school and should be fired immediately. Over the next few days, I will be talking with the School Board and the school officials.
My theme will be a line from a Pink Floyd song, “Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!”
In response to what happened, one of our members, Steve Dudgeon, wrote the following letter: Click here to read!
I find it very disturbing that this man is trying to bully the school into firing a teacher for simply asking him a question at a school assembly. Does he really think that getting someone fired for disagreeing with you is remotely “Christian”?
The letter is even more laden with martyrdom language. Hutch and his congregation believe that they are the victims whenever those whom they are attacking stand up to them.
I was amazed at the vitriol and hatred shown by several pro-gay rights teachers toward us as Christians. They hate our guts.
In some rather strange parable about bull fighting, Dudgeon argues that a Christian is to go into a bull ring and wave a red flag. If the bull charges, the Christian demands that the owner of the bull build a smaller ring.
Oddly enough, I think that pretty well describes Hutcherson’s attitude and approach.