So North Carolina residents are due to go to the polls on May 8th to vote on Amendment 1, which is a ban on not only same-sex marriage, but any and all civil unions and domestic partnerships. Apparently same-sex marriage is already illegal, but I guess some people are so scared that homosexuals could share in some of the same legal protections as marriage that they wanted to essentially write the ban in stone. The wording would look like this:
Sec. 6. Marriage.
Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.
And in yet another example of the church getting increasingly involved in political affairs yet maintaining their tax exempt status, pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayettesville spent about an hour this past Sunday frothing at the mouth over both the proposed bill and homosexuality in general. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which side he’s on. Audio aid and partial transcript (thanks to Huffington Post) below:
(if the link doesn’t work it’s also on the Huffington Post link above. That will have it.)
“So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,’ you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Go outside and dig a ditch? What the hell kind of family do you live in? Seriously if my kid acted a little “girlish” at four years old it would likely be because he isn’t aware that liking the color pink puts him on the path to rainbow fabulosity later on in life. And honestly, I wouldn’t tell him, since I’m not so uptight as to worry that every little thing my kid said and did could suggest that he were gay.
And, if he were, there’s very little I could do to change it. If I were to find out in later years that he was going to bring a boyfriend home for Thanksgiving, the only concern I’d have would be for his well being … since I know that assholes like Harris are firing up their parishoners with “hands-on” ways to beat the gay out of our youth.
Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign her in. And you say, ‘Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'”
Give him a good punch! Because at the age of four, your kid should have a full understanding of gender roles as interpreted by some ignorant shit-kicking moron who still clings to some of the more politically convenient passages of a two thousand year old book while ignoring all of the unsavory parts. Again, the only thing this will accomplish is a decades-long resentment between parent and child, resulting in either an eventual coming out and abandonment of said family (and possibly religion) or a lifetime of self-loathing.
As a brief aside, when I was about three or four, I walked downstairs in our house wearing a shirt and a towel wrapped around my waist. My father asked me why I was dressed like that, and I said, “I’m a girl today.”
Because, really, at the age of three, the only way I could tell the difference between the genders was by personal attire and hair length. And even then, some people were still iffy.
My dad promptly rolled up the sports section and bopped me over the head with it. “Fer Chrissakes, put on some pants and go outside.”
And that was pretty much the end of it. I can only thank him for expressing God’s love for me like that, otherwise my life – and sexual orientation – would be vastly different today.
Back to the story.
After Pastor Harris’s comments spread throughout the Internet and sparked a media firestorm, he offered up an apology, saying that given the opportunity, he probably would have chosen better words to describe his feelings on the subject, but …
“If I had to say it again, I would say it differently, no doubt,” Harris said Tuesday. “Those weren’t planned words, but what I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I’m not going to compromise on that.”
See my post on an analysis of the biblical passages “condemning” homosexuality and the likelihood that it’s not even a biblical sin (the analysis was not written by me). At least our interpretation of homosexuality. Anyway:
Harris said in the sermon that same-sex couples are free to live together.
He argued Tuesday that there was “not an ounce of hate being communicated in that,” but said in the sermon that such couples live together “in the most sick and ungodly way.”
And that’s the reason I call bullshit on his apology. This guy spoke from the heart, told his congregation to strike their children when they deviate even slightly from their interpretation of proper gender roles, and he meant it. Listen to the energy in his voice. Listen to the enthusiasm. Worst of all, listen to the response he gets. “Amen!!” “Yeah!!” Laughter at all of the appropriate spots. There were people who obviously agreed and thought he was right on the money with his preferred treatment of homosexuality.
And there’s a tremendous problem. He can say he was “joking” as much as he likes. But who the hell even jokes about “punching the gay” out of your kids? That’s like joking about lynchings or sexual assault. Sure, you can do it, but most people end up thinking there’s something wrong with you.
Speaking of which, he’s gotten plenty of criticism from other Christians on this one. Clearly his view isn’t shared by many people:
“I would not dishonor the word ‘sermon’ by identifying it as such,” said Tony Cartledge, who teaches Old Testament at Campbell, a Baptist university in Harnett County.
He noted Berean Baptist appears to be an independent congregation.
“We must be careful not to assume that every Baptist, or even everyone who believes homosexual behavior to be sinful, would endorse Harris’ over-the-top promotion of beating gay tendencies out of their children,” Cartledge said via email. “At the same time, we have to state unequivocally that Harris’ position presents a distorted view of scripture that is completely out of keeping with the teachings of Jesus.”
But it was obviously shared by some, given the positive responses I heard in the audio. The notion of “love the sin, hate the sinner” is being replaced with “throw red meat to the loons, give them what they want”, who will subsequently go home and treat their kids – and very likely anyone else – like freaks if they don’t conform to biblical masculinity and femininity.