What Is True/Slant?
275+ knowledgeable contributors.
Reporting and insight on news of the moment.
Follow them and join the news conversation.

Nov. 20 2009 - 9:35 am | 250 views | 3 recommendations | 6 comments

Christian leaders unite to teach youth intolerance

James Dobson.

James Dobson Image via Wikipedia

A group of 145 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they will not cooperate with laws that “could be used to compel their institutions to participate in abortions, or to bless or in any way recognize same-sex couples.”

Citing Martin Luther King, Jr. as their inspiration for “civil disobedience,” the church leaders state they want to speak to younger Christians who have become engaged in issues like climate change and global poverty, and who are more accepting of homosexuality than the elders of the churches. They say they want to remind young people that abortion, homosexuality and religious freedom are still paramount issues. By that, the church means they want to remind young people to hate.

The 4,700-word document entitled “Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” reads

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 antilife act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent.

So who are these 145 leaders claiming to speak for all morally superior Christians? There’s Charles Colson, a prominent evangelical who founded Prison Fellowship after serving time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal, certainly a man who should be allowed to morally judge others, amiright?

Charles Colson (Image from timesonline.typepad.com)

Charles Colson (timesonline.typepad.com)

Then there’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who once said on the topic of gay marriage

There is an in-built code of right and wrong that is imbedded in the human DNA…Hard-wired into us is a dictionary, and the dictionary defines marriage as between one man, one woman for life, please God, leading to the procreation of human life. And if we begin to tamper with the very definition of marriage, then we’re going to be in big trouble

Yet, when asked to weigh in on George W. Bush’s stances on war and capital punishment, Dolan remarked that certain actions, namely abortion, and one assumes gay marriage, are “intrinsically evil,” while war and capital punishment — events that kill far more people — are “open to some discussion and are not intrinsically evil.”

Everyone got that?

Abortion and Gay Marriage = Shit That Gets You Burned For All Eternity

War and Capital Punishment = Ehhh…Maybe Okay Sometimes Depending On The Pope’s Mood

Tim Dolan (Image from 2.bp.blogspot.com)

Tim Dolan (Image from 2.bp.blogspot.com)

Naturally, another name on the document is Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who increasingly looks and sounds like a relic from America’s unenlightened, shameful past.

Books could be devoted to the inaccurate shit Dobson spouts on a daily basis, but let’s focus on this comment he made in his 2004 book Marriage Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle, in which Dobson suggests that heterosexual marriage rates in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have been falling, and that this is due to the recognition of same-sex relationships by those countries during the 1990s. Dobson claims that traditional marriage “is rapidly dying” in these countries as a result with most young people cohabiting or choosing to remain single, and illegitimacy rates rising in some Norwegian countries up to 80%.

Sounds scary, except it’s not true as True/Slant’s Barrett Brown pointed out in his article ‘Adventures in Math & Marriage‘ while citing a 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed page, where William N. Eskridge, Jr., the John A. Garver professor of jurisprudence at Yale University, and Darren Spedale, a New York investment banker, penned an editorial based on their new book entitled Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse? What We’ve Learned From the Evidence

Heterosexual marriage had increased by 10.7 percent. Norway did the same in 1993, and a decade later the heterosexual marriage rate had increased by 12.7 percent. Sweden followed suit in 1995, and ten years later the heterosexual marriage rate had increased by 28.7 percent. And these marriages were actually lasting. During the same time frame, the divorce rate dropped 13.9 percent in Denmark, 6 percent in Norway, and 13.7 percent in Sweden.

If one consciously dismisses all other variables i.e. unseen social forces that potentially influence marriages, like the economy and unemployment (hey, the church does it, so why can’t I?), one might conclude that gay marriage is actually good for straight marriages, at least in the Scandinavian countries.

At the very least, it appears two dudes getting hitched doesn’t have any influence on a totally separate straight marriage. Shocking.

But the above inaccurate lie is literally the least crazy thing Dobson has said or written. He also thinks “tolerance” and “diversity” are “buzzwords” from liberals’ “hidden agenda” to promote homosexuality, and that children should be strongly disciplined – like a dog, “only more so.”

In addition to hating diversity and loving to beat children, he objected to a bill expanding the prohibition of sexual orientation-based discrimination in the areas of “public accommodation, housing practices, family planning services and twenty other areas.” Dobson claimed that the passage of the bill would mean public businesses could no longer separate locker rooms and bathrooms by gender, which he claimed would lead to a situation where, “every woman and little girl will have to fear that a predator, bisexual, cross-dresser or even a homosexual or heterosexual male might walk in and relieve himself in their presence.”

To be fair, from ages 5 through 8, my worst fear was being attacked by a urine-filled drag queen in a rest stop bathroom.

Leith Anderson (Image from www.cambridgebibles.com)

Leith Anderson (Image from www.cambridgebibles.com)

Another name on the document is Leith Anderson, who replaced the meth-smoking homosexual, Ted Haggart, as president of the National Association of Evangelicals. Anderson once lamented to The Christian Post, “Evangelical leaders are very bullish on the future growth of Christianity, except in America.” If Evangelicals aren’t already the loudest, most bullish presence in America, I shudder to think what Anderson’s idea of really getting riled up looks like.

That’s just four people from the declaration. There are 141 other names the AP didn’t print.

The most frequent responses I receive for my articles criticizing Christianity — aside from the very un-Christ-like death threats — are from very nice people, who say I’m mischaracterizing an entire religion based on the actions of a few radicals like James Dobson. To that I respond: this is your leadership.

Unfortunately, these are the people who hog the spotlight and get their names in the newspapers. These are the people actively working to discriminate against human beings, and rob them of equal rights, including the right to employment free from discrimination, and marriage.

It doesn’t matter if you, nice Christian, are kind to gay people and keep a compost heap in your backyard. Your leadership remains cruel, hypocritical, and intolerant. And the church gets to remain tax exempt in a society where it pretends as though it wishes to remain autonomous from the functions of state, while actively working to influence state policy.

Sadly, instead of working to end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, or sending all capable bodies to fight the devastating plague of poverty in the third world, and even in America’s backyard, the church has devoted its precious resources to — you guessed it — teaching young people to bully and intimidate pregnant women and hate gays.

It’s fine if millions of children die from war, disease, and execution by the state. The church can’t be pro-life all the time. As Dolan remarked, not all these things can be “intrinsically evil.”

What a joke.


6 Total Comments
Post your comment »
  1. collapse expand

    So let me get this right. In 1960 WASPs worried that Kennedy would be taking orders from the Pope. Today it has happening by Bishops effectively banning a sacrament for all offending politicians. Yet it is my understanding that the Pope does put the death penalty up there with abortion.

    The Catholic church should stay out of anything involving children. They have no moral standing.

  2. collapse expand

    I guess I’m one of those very nice people, who assert that you’re mischaracterizing an entire religion based on the actions of a few. And let me assure you: The people you name in this article are not *my* leaders. I look to Cornell West, Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, Jim Wallis, Mara Vanderslice, Rebecca Voelkel, and Lynice Pinkard. These individuals, with many others, are Christian leaders who have a progressive vision for civil rights and democracy. They are Social Gospel Christians who believe like I do that Christianity has been hijacked in popular discourse by people who try to hide behind their ugly fear, bigotry and hatred by justifying it in perverse and twisted theology. This post very easily dismisses loving Christians who are working to build a just society and reclaim their church.

    Please don’t paint us all with the same brush. It’s insulting.

Log in for notification options
Comments RSS

Post Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment

Log in with your True/Slant account.

Previously logged in with Facebook?

Create an account to join True/Slant now.

Facebook users:
Create T/S account with Facebook

My T/S Activity Feed


    About Me

    I co-host Citizen Radio, the alternative political radio show. I am a contributing reporter to Huffington Post, Alternet.org, and The Nation.

    My essay "Youth Surviving Subprime" appears in The Nation's new book, Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover beside esssays by Ralph Nader, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Naomi Klein, who I'm told are all important people.

    G. Gordon Liddy once told me my writing makes him want to vomit, which is the greatest compliment I've ever been paid ever.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 453
    Contributor Since: May 2009
    Location:New York, New York

    What I'm Up To

    • In The Nation’s New Book


      Check out my article “Youth Surviving Subprime” in The Nation’s new book beside essays by Ralph Nader, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Naomi Klein.

    • Citizen Radio

      I co-host the biweekly political-comedy show, Citizen Radio. It’s like CNN, but with more swearing. Citizen Radio covers the stories that the mainstream, corporate media ignores. Past guests include: Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Matt Taibbi, Jeremy Scahill, Ralph Nader, Tariq Ali,  Janeane Garofalo, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, and more…

      Go to wearecitizenradio.com and click on the iTunes logo to subscribe to our podcast for FREE. Also, join us on Facebook

    • +O
    • +O