Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators.
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble. Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half a century. He was one of the pioneers of the Christian homeschooling movement, but is probably best known to us as one of the leaders of the Quiverfull movement. Indeed, the most famous Quiverfull family of them all, the Duggars, are big fans of his. He's rubbed noses with the likes of Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Sonny Perdue. Back when Sarah Palin was just the mayor of Wasilla, she attended one of Gothard's conferences and had Wasilla adopt his "Character Cities" program.
But that's in jeopardy after the board of the ministry he founded, the Institute for Basic Life Principles, placed him on administrative leave amid allegations that he sexually harassed female employees and failed to report child abuse. The bulk of these claims, which go back as far as the 1970s, have been posted at Recovering Grace, a Website run by former Gothard followers.
The allegations against Gothard dovetail with financial woes. In recent years, IBLP’s net revenue has dropped significantly, and the ministry is losing money. In 2009, it reported a net income loss of $1 million. It lost $4.1 million in 2011, and $3.5 million in 2012, according to its most recently available tax forms. Its net assets dropped from $92 million in 2010 to $81 million in 2012.
Since it started as a class at Gothard’s alma mater, Wheaton College, in 1961, more than 2.5 million people have gone through his “basic seminar” training on authority, success and other issues. IBLP held 504 seminars in 2010, but that number dropped to fewer than 50 in 2012.
The financial decline came around the same time that the whistle-blowing website Recovering Grace was formed in 2011. A string of allegations has been posted on the website, including one alleging Gothard molested a woman who was underage in the early 1990s. Four articles allege Gothard engaged in sexual harassment, and four articles allege his failure to report child abuse to Child Protective Services.
Calls placed to IBLP Thursday and Friday were not immediately returned.
Some of the stories are absolutely gut-wrenching. Among them:
- "Ruth," who worked for Gothard from 1970 to 1980--the last seven years as his personal secretary--reports that Gothard not only interfered with all of her relationships, but also frequently peeked in on female staffers in their nightgowns on retreats. She died of breast cancer in 1994, and her husband Larne shared her story.
- "Lizzie,"who worked for Gothard from 1994 to 1998, claims that Gothard touched her, stroked her hair and played footsie with her on numerous occasions. She also claims that Gothard had been warned as early as 1997 by his own board about taking girls as young as 15 on trips and acting inappropriately on those trips--and yet, his behavior didn't change.
- "Annette" was taken in by Gothard after fleeing from an abusive environment at her home. She claims Gothard took advantage of her in a sordid and despicable way--touching and petting her in much the same way that "Lizzie" experienced.
- ""Charlotte" writes that not long after she started working for Gothard at age 16, he began playing footsie with her. It progressed to hand-holding and hugging, and then to touching her breasts. On one occasion, they were coming home from a conference, and he put his hand up her legs and felt her all the way up. Incredibly, this was actually the second time she's been molested like this--her preacher father had been molesting her since she was seven years old. Two fellow staffers, "Dixie" and "Ryan," corroborated Charlotte's account of what happened to her.
- "Grace" writes that soon after she came to work for Gothard in 1999, he deliberately tried to get her to play footsie with him. It continued for her entire yearlong commitment to work for him. When she told her parents--who had been devoted to Gothard's teachings since she was six--they didn't believe her. As she put it, "they chose to believe that the man they followed and trusted with their lives — and the life of their first-born daughter — was infallible."
- "Rachel" says that when she went to work for Gothard, he stroked her hair, rubbed her legs and played footsie with her. She said that what happeed to her was similar to what other girls experienced, and can also vouch for what happened to "Charlotte."
This isn't the first time that Gothard has been under fire. Back in 1980, his ministry was almost destroyed when it emerged that his brother Steve had been having sex with students and staffers. It was a lot easier for fundies to survive dumdum bullets back then, though.
IBLP board chairman Billy Boring says that the board will respond "at an appropriate time" once the review is complete. The only acceptable response, if it hasn't happened already, is to call the police. And if this is at all true--and there's little reason to doubt it is, based on reading what Recovering Grace has gleaned--it doesn't matter if Gothard is 79 years old. He needs to go to prison.
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job. Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate of the United States. You may remember that he stole a wedding picture and used it on anti-gay flyers in Colorado two years ago. At last report, a lawsuit against both Delgaudio and his organization is still pending. But Delgaudio may have concerns nearer and dearer than that lawsuit. Since 1999, Delgaudio has been a member of the Board of Supervisors (county commission) in Loudoun County, representing the Sterling area. But several of his constituents are trying to use a little-known Virginia law to have him removed from office for gross misconduct--including using county money to run Public Advocate.
The story began in September 2012, when one of his former aides, Donna Mateer, claimed Delgaudio forced her to raise money for his campaigns on Loudoun County's dime. She also claimed Public Advocate footed the bill for several courses she attended, as well as fundraising lists she was told to use. She also claimed that at one point while she worked for Delgaudio, Public Advocate essentially took over his office. Mateer also said the working environment in that office was extremely hostile--to the point that several people quit.
Mateer's allegations were serious enough to trigger a criminal investigation by Theo Stamos, the commonwealth's attorney (district attorney) for nearby Arlington County. The investigation concluded last June. Ultimately, the grand jury declined to indict Delgaudio--but only because Loudoun County supervisors serve part-time, and therefore aren't covered by state laws governing misuse of public money. Read the full report here. When Delgaudio's colleagues on the all-Republican Board of Supervisors read the report, they dropped the hammer on him. Delgaudio was formally censured, stripped of his committee seats (though he got one of them back in January) and lost control of his district budget to the full board. One of the supervisors, Ralph Buona, said--rightly--that Delgaudio had only escaped being brought up on criminal charges due to a technicality.
That didn't go far enough for several of Delgaudio's constituents. Two weeks ago, a group called "Sterling Deserves Better" filed a petition asking the Loudoun County circuit court to remove Delgaudio from office. Under Section 24.2-233 of the Virginia Code, constituents can petition a court to remove an elected official from office for "neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office." The text of the petition largely echoes the grand jury's findings. In essence, Sterling Deserves Better is saying that even if Delgaudio's actions didn't technically break the law, based on the grand jury report he is manifestly unfit for office. The case is currently on hold because the judge slated to preside over it wants the entire bench of Loudoun County recused.
Delgaudio has, true to form, played the persecution card. In a story on OneNewsNow, he claims that those evil libruls are trying to boot him out because he opposes gay rights. No, Eugene. You're fighting for your job because your constituents don't want to be represented by someone who's corrupt.
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland.
Cross posted from the HRC blog.
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
January 21, 2014 by Dan Rafter, Associate Director of Communications
The city of Starkville, Mississippi today passed an inclusivity resolution recognizing the inherent worth of all its city's residents - including those who are LGBT. This is the first time any municipality in Mississippi has recognized the dignity of its LGBT residents. HRC President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:
"The city of Starkville, Mississippi is sending a message to its residents that all people - regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity - are worthy of respect and equality. These are fundamental American values, and Mayor Parker Wiseman and the Starkville City Council are setting an inspiring example for their fellow lawmakers in surrounding cities and towns. While we must continue pushing for ordinances that codify these values into law across the state, the impact of this resolution on LGBT people - particularly youth - will be powerful."
"I want to thank the Board of Alderman and all those involved with the equality resolution," said Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman. "The resolution makes it clear that Starkville is a community that works proactively to prevent workplace discrimination before it happens. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that "we must learn to live together as brothers..." I hope the equality resolution lives up to the beliefs of Dr. King and sends a message that Starkville is a city that is intolerant of discrimination against anyone and in any form."
Public opinion on equality in Mississippi is ahead of the law in the state. A poll conducted last summer found that nearly 60 percent of Mississippians under the age of 30 support marriage equality, while 64 percent of residents back workplace non-discrimination protections for LGBT employees.
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into the waiting arms of the GOP. Robert Knight, a frequent columnist at Town Hall and the Washington Times, tells OneNewsNow that the GOP could reap a major windfall if it runs on--wait for it--opposition to evolution! He was heartened by that Pew Research poll that shows only 43 percent of Republicans believe in evolution, and thinks this could potentially be a winner both in 2014 and in the long run.
"Evolution is at the core of a left-wing, secular, humanist worldview that has been breathing down everybody's necks in America for years [and telling us that] the best we can do is empower government to make our decisions for us," he offers. "That leads to terrible things like socialism and communism and fascism and Nazism and the more extreme forms of liberalism in this country."
The political commentator is encouraged that more Republicans reject the concept – and believes it could bode well for the GOP at election time later this year.
"The Republicans have a great opportunity to say Look, we've witnessed the collapse of a lot of lies that liberals have told over the years, and now we're questioning evolution more than ever as a basis for people's worldviews," Knight suggests. "So the dynamics are fascinating – and I think they could add up to an enormous conservative revival in this country."
So let's get this straight. Knight thinks that if the GOP declares itself the party of scientific ignorance, it will not only win in 2014 and beyond, but win big. Apparently Knight's forgotten that the reason any competent Democrat starts out with at least 245 electoral votes is that moderate suburbanites in the Northeast, Midwest and West turned on the GOP when it started running hard right on social issues. This demographic swung hard to Clinton in 1992, and have been solidly in the Democratic column ever since. Knight also seems to forget that a significant bloc of younger evangelicals aren't as hung up on social issues as people of Knight's generation. So he wants to take the GOP into fantasyland? Please proceed.
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached to it. That priest, William Avery, later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an altar boy at his new parish. To prosecutors' minds, that was child endangerment--and a jury agreed, sentencing Lynn to three to six years in prison. Yesterday, an appeals court threw out Lynn's conviction, saying that the law under which he was convicted didn't apply to him at the time.
In their 43-page ruling, the judges - John T. Bender, Christine L. Donahue and John L. Musmanno - sided with Lynn's attorneys, who argued that the child-endangerment law that was on the books in the state when Avery held his position only applied to people who had direct supervision of children, like parents and other caregivers.
The law was changed and broadened in 2007 to include employers whose employees end up harming children.
"I'm happy. This is very rewarding," Thomas Bergstrom, one of Lynn's attorneys, said yesterday.
"This was a labor of love. We fought long and hard, so it's nice to know that you were right."
Bergstrom said he hopes that Lynn will be released from a state prison in Wayne County in the next few days.
Prosecutors were not so pleased.
"I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the court's decision," District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement distributed to the news media.
"While we are deciding what our next course of action will be, we most likely will be appealing this decision."
Read the full ruling here
. It found that while Lynn put the archdiocese's reputation above protecting children, it was not enough to prove intent to endanger kids. In essence, it found that while Lynn's actions ultimately ended up putting kids at risk, the law didn't apply to him at the time.
Lynn's lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, appeared on CNN's New Day earlier, and claimed that the acquittal happened mainly because prosecutors knew they were prosecuting the wrong man. When CNN's Chris Cuomo wondered how Lynn wasn't responsible by way of transferring Avery, Bergstrom said that in order to get a conviction, Lynn said that Williams and his team would have had to prove Lynn was the equivalent of a parent, a guardian or a supervisor--and Lynn was merely a supervisor of a supervisor. Incredibly, though, Bergstrom maintains that Lynn did the right thing--even though he didn't report Avery to the police. Watch here.
Incredibly, church officials are actually considering whether to let Lynn back into the ministry again.
Kenneth Gavin, the Archdiocese's director of communications, said church officials would have to decide whether Lynn will return to active ministry.
"I know the monsignor would like to be able to serve in some capacity," Bergstrom said.
Lynn most recently had served as pastor of St. Joseph Church in Downingtown, which opened a new $9 million facility earlier this year.
Apparently there are some in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who forget that the bar for acceptable behavior is a much lower one than the bar below which you go to jail. The fact they're even considering letting Lynn preach again shows just how much cleaning up needs to be done in the higher levels of the church.
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the American right (e.g. Fox News' Megyn Kelly and Bill O'Reilly
) and the evangelical right (Sarah Palin, Bill Donohue
, The American Family Association
and the Family Research Council
, etc.) and anti-pluralist themes to be found within overtly Christian anti-Jewish propaganda that was originally written by Americans and published in America, and then distributed by Hitler and his Nazi Party in the early 1920s.
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests
The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the Vatican of the enduring problem of abusive priests, and fit with Francis’ pattern of willingness to set a new tone in the governance of the church nine months into his tenure.
Whether the new commission portends a significant change in how the Vatican deals with abusive priests and their protectors remains to be seen, experts on the church said. Yet the timing of the announcement, two days after a United Nations panel criticized the Vatican over its handling of abuse cases, suggested that the pope and his closest advisers wanted to at least be seen as tackling the issue with greater firmness.
Had it not been for the death of Nelson Mandela yesterday, this likely would have been THE major story yesterday. No word yet on who will be on this commission, but according to Sean Cardinal O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston and one of the main fixers in the abuse scandals, it will include priests, men and women from religious orders and laypeople and will have a sweeping mandate to develop "norms, procedures and strategies for the protection of children and the prevention of abuse of minors."
However, in what can only be described as a disappointment, it will focus mainly on pastoral care rather than judicial functions. And that gives two groups serving as watchdogs on this issue pause.
(T)he Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, the leading United States-based support group for clergy abuse victims, called the news a disappointment that reflected badly on the new pope. David Clohessy, executive director of the group, said the announcement suggested that the Vatican remained strongly resistant to making sexually abusive members of the clergy and their church protectors accountable to external criminal prosecution.
“A new church panel is the last thing that kids need,” Mr. Clohessy said in a telephone interview. “Church officials have mountains of information about those who have committed and those who are concealing horrible child sex crimes and cover-ups. They just have to give that information to the police.”
BishopAccountability.org, an organization that has amassed an enormous collection of documents on the abuse problem in the church, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement, but also expressed skepticism.
“It’s good that the Vatican will be giving this terrible problem high-level and focused attention,” Anne Barrett Doyle, the group’s co-director, said in a statement. “But we are concerned that the commission will be toothless and off-target.”
In a press conference, O'Malley claimed that it was important to focus on pastoral care as well as the judicial aspect. The problem with that argument is that there are quite a few bishops who turned a blind eye to abuse, and one word from Francis would end their careers on the spot. Most notably, Robert Finn, who knew or should have known as early as 2010
that one of his priests, Shawn Ratigan, was a pedophile--and yet didn't do anything until the issue was essentially forced on him.
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy. An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different. On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition of Praise the Lord that aired on November 1. On this show, Hagee claimed that the Jewish people will make a deal with the Antichrist just before the End Times start. As a result, they won't accept Jesus until he returns. Watch here.
When Hagee said this, another "prophecy" snake oil salesman, David Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries, claimed that two-thirds of Jews won't survive the End Times, and the one-third that will survive will "come to the end of themselves" before accepting Jesus.
Watch the whole thing--if you can stand it--here. Hagee also claims that the 2008 financial crisis and the 9-11 attacks were both divine retribution.
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."
Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating,
There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance. I have confessed my sin to my wife and family, my local church, and the board of Vision Forum Ministries. I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not "know" each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.
Phillips, who founded Vision Forum in 1998, is one of the biggest names in the world of homeschooling as well as Biblical patriarchy, Quiverfull ideology, and the Family Integrated Church. He is the son of the late Howard Phillips, founder of the Conservative Caucus and U.S. Constitution Party.
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or just bored that there is nothing original to report. The same folks are still claiming that if you let your child dress up as Spiderman or a Disney princess and collect candy from the neighbors, that child will wind up killing cats and murdering babies as offerings to his or her Dark Master Darth Vader--er, Lucifer. Or at the very least they'll end up sneaking copies of Harry Potter books which will lead them into corruption and Satanism, with usual cat killing and baby murdering along the way. You do get the usually advice that you should give out Jack tracts warning of the dangers of Halloween (dead cats and babies, and eternal damnation, natch) to the poor misguided innocents who expect candy, not a cheesy cartoon pamphlet designed to lure them into Dominionism . Funny how these people are always screaming "parental rights" when it comes to their kid being exposed to the theory of evolution or accurate info on birth control and STI prevention--but have no qualms about foisting their values on the children of people who don't buy into their rather unpleasant version of Christianity.
I thought I had nothing to write about this year, and then I remembered something that gave me chills. Back in 91-94, we were living in Brunswick, ME, and we often visited friends near Boston. One afternoon, we decided to head over to Salem. There are number of great museums there, from the House of the Seven Gables, where Nathaniel Hawthorne's ancestor and one of the judges of the witchcraft trials, lived to the Peabody Essex Museum, home to many exhibits of historical interest but particularly rich in the China Trade. The first time we went we concentrated on that museum and having a late lunch. We avoided the more touristy aspects like the plague.
In 2010, Liberty University got more federal funding than the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
In a 2011 Talk To Action story, contributor Bill Berkowitz covered the new trend in which right-wing evangelical colleges and universities were vacuuming up federal dollars. Berkowitz focused on the late-Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, which promotes Young-Earth creationism.
""I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" - The Rev. Jerry Falwell, America Can Be Saved
This year, the fortieth anniversary of Liberty University, Rev. Falwell's dream -- now being looked after by his son Jerry Jr. -- has become a reality thanks in large part to America's taxpayers.
Founded by Falwell in 1971, Liberty University, which according to its website is "the largest and fastest growing Christian Evangelical university in the world" and "the largest private university in Virginia," is "celebrating 40 Years of Training Champions for Christ."
Liberty U. receives massive government aid
During the last fiscal year alone, Liberty received about $445 million in federal financial aid money, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Over the past few years, Liberty University has raked in so much taxpayer money from the federal government that is now ranked among the top ten universities in the United States receiving federal dollars. It is also Virginia's top recipient of federal money.
In a 2009 piece for RH Reality Check titled "Why is the Federal Government Supporting Evangelism?", Eleanor J. Bader pointed out that LU's [Jesse] Helms School of Government "crows that it turns out 'Christ-centered leaders, able to apply God's word in every area of life.' What's more, LU's webpage showcases its mission, promising students an 'action-oriented curriculum dedicated to world evangelism and repudiation of political correctness.'
"Not sure what that means? The site explains: 'A strong commitment to political conservatism, total rejection of socialism, and firm support for America's economic system of free enterprise.'"
Since it doesn't get much more religiously oriented than Liberty University, a fair question to ask is: Should a private sectarian institution be receiving federal funds?"
Earlier this week, Rick Joyner, one of the main leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation--an out-and-out fascist offshoot of the religious right that believes it can bring about Jesus' return by taking over the world--called for a military overthrow of the government of the United States. Joyner declared that since there's no chance the people who can really bring change to this country will ever be elected, nothing short of a military coup can save the nation from oncoming tyranny. People for the American Way got a clip, but it's been deleted--at least for now--due to a takedown demand from Joyner. PFAW is working to get it back up, arguing--rightly--that the clip was fair use. But you can watch the whole thing here. Joyner's call for a coup comes at roughly the 7:40 mark.
Well, late yesterday, in a bulletin to the members of his dominionist-oriented grassroots group, the Oak Initiative, Joyner--who is reckoned as a "prophet" in dominionist circles--declared that ever since receiving a message from God in 1987, he has believed that this country is going to go through martial law.
In 1987, I began warning about what is now happening. When I was first shown this in the prophetic experience I wrote about in The Harvest, I was as disconcerted and grieving as much as some were when they saw the Prophetic Perspectives program in which I boldly stated these things. For this reason, I fully understand and empathize with their outrage. However, everything I was shown in that vision has either come true or is unfolding now.
I have the benefit of seeing many things unfold the way I was shown, and I surely understand the outrage of those who do not have this benefit. Some infer that this is something I actually want to happen in America, but that could not be further from the truth. I don’t prophesy what I want to see happen, but what I am shown. In fact, I know it is something that the Lord did not want to happen, which I will explain below.
At best, even with the best martial possible, martial law is a very dangerous thing. America is now sailing deeper and deeper into these most treacherous seas. If there was any prophecy that I have made that I hope does not come to pass, this would be one of the highest on that list. However, like it or not, see it or not, this is where we are headed.
Can this be avoided? Until it happens, I do think it can be avoided. However, unless you change your direction you will end up where you are headed, and martial law is where we are headed. In 1987, this was very hard for me to see. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, it was even harder to see, but since then all of the changes in our nation have been more in the direction of this.
When I began to see that this is now almost certainly unavoidable, I did receive encouragement that even if our present government collapsed, if we, as a nation, returned to the Lord, it would be used for good and not evil. It could be a reset, a jubilee, and our Republic could be restored on a solid foundation, one that would not be so easily shaken again. I still hold to that promise. Not only will our Republic be restored, but even more importantly, America will turn back to the Lord and fulfill our destiny and purpose.
That being said, without a soon and very radical turn back to what we were called to be as a nation, we are going to pass through a time of martial law in America. The crucial issue is who the martial is going to be. This could be a very difficult time, much darker than we can probably imagine, or it could be a time when peace and stability is restored, and the Republic is restored to its Constitutional moorings. That choice is up to Americans.
What's important here, though, is what Joyner didn't
say. Nowhere did he repudiate his earlier call for a coup. Incredibly, he actually claimed that it only sounded that way because "some on the national news edited the video to make it seem what I was not saying." I invite you to watch for yourself. If Joyner seriously expects anyone to believe that he was misquoted, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell him.
Joyner is based only 20 minutes south of me in Fort Mill, South Carolina--at the old Heritage USA complex built by Jim Bakker. And yet, he's almost unknown here in Charlotte even though his church has existed since 1995. It's all the more reason to put the hot lights on both him and his other compatriots in a movement that is the closest thing to fascism we've ever seen in this country.
Pope Francis' recent statements urging restraint by the Catholic Church on hot-button issues is a hopeful sign that he may be looking to modify the Church's behavior in the political sphere. His words are likely a reaction to the hierarchy's tendency of late to identify with the political right and to use doctrinal litmus tests for determining the loyalty of Catholics. If one wants a true indicator of Francis' real intentions, however, it might be best to go beyond the general tone of his remarks and explore how much he seems to agree or disagree in specific instances with the worldview of his hard-line predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. In particular, where does he stand, as far as can be determined, on the broad issue of secularism in modern society, a favorite preoccupation of Benedict's.
A couple of weeks ago, I wondered if the vile behavior of the likes of Westboro Baptist Church may be on the verge of becoming mainstream for the religious right. After all, you had two "mainstream" fundie leaders encourage their followers to engage in tactics straight out of Fred Phelps' playbook. Gordon Klingenschmitt suggested that born-again photographers who work LGBT weddings ought to deface the pictures with Romans 1:32, and Kevin Swanson called for Christian cake decorators to write Leviticus 20:13 on LGBT wedding cakes.
Well, we may be getting yet more proof that Phelps' behavior is gaining more acceptance--or at the very least, more mainstream fundie leaders are willing to condone it. Yesterday, one of the more popular fundie radio hosts and speakers, Dave Daubenmire, noted how often fundies join the chorus of criticism of Phelps' actions, and suggested that they should back off because he may be doing what God tells him to do. For good measure, Daubenmire also said that born-agains have no business speaking out against Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones either--after all, he may be just obeying God. Watch here.
There is so much wrong with this that I don't know where to start. Is Daubenmire saying that we shouldn't speak out against a guy who finds it acceptable to picket the funerals of kids? And is he saying that we shouldn't speak out against a guy who not only thinks it's OK to burn the Quran--especially during Ramadan, which would be like burning a Bible on Easter or Christmas--but to put an effigy of Obama hanging from a noose in front of his church?
This video seems even more dense considering Daubenmire's background. Daubenmire was a longtime high school football coach in Ohio, his last stop being in London, south of Columbus. I would expect such head-in-the-sand commentary to come from someone who spent his career in the fundie bubble, not someone who spent so much time in the secular world.
Then again, considering Daubenmire's past, something this warped isn't as surprising. Starting in the early 1990s, he came under fire for forcing his players to take part in religious activities. The ACLU sued the school district in 1999. Just before the case was to go to trial, the school district and ACLU reached a settlement in which the high school's principal was required to report any complaints about religious indoctrination to both the school board AND the ACLU until 2001. Under the agreement, any violations could have been reported to the federal court in Columbus and resulted in citations for contempt. And yet, Daubenmire claims he won. Talk2Action's Bruce Wilson also reports that Daubenmire filed a libel suit against a group of seven parents and faculty members who spoke out against him, and lost. And it turns out that Daubenmire has taken part in Koran burnings himself.
We already knew the religious right is increasingly becoming a ghost from the past. But if they really are starting to think Phelps and Jones' behavior is even remotely OK, then this movement really has become a cartoon.