Nationally Syndicated Columnist Takes-on Faith-Based Bigotry
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 08:58:10 PM EST
The inconsistencies of people who take their Bible literally, or say that they do, are legion. Such matters have been much discussed and argued about in many forums. It's a worthwhile thing for people to argue-out Biblical interpretations; to discuss the misuse of Biblical verses to push patently political purposes; and so on. Talk to Action is not a place for people to argue with each other about Biblical interpretations. However, if people can offer lines of argument that can be useful in answering the religious right, that is always helpful.  

When a nationally syndicated columnist points out the inconsistencies of Biblical literalists in defense of the rights and dignity of gay and lesbian Americans, it is worth sitting up and taking notice.  Leonard Pitts Jr. appears in many papers nationwide, including one of my local papers, The Sprinfield Republican. But home base for Pitts is The Miami Herald.

Pitts took exception to a statement by a high school teacher made as part of a public school presentation on issues of homosexuality.

Here is part of Pitts' collumn, but check out  the whole piece; email it around; keep the conversation going.

You and a few students, actually. One told classmates homosexuality was ''unacceptable in the eyesight of God.'' Another said gays were ``unrighteous.''

The coup de grace, though, was you invoking Sodom and Gomorrah and telling students homosexuality was ''wrong according to the Bible'' because God ordered humanity to multiply, which gay couples cannot do....

It seems to me there's a difference between proselytizing for a religion and explaining how one's faith has influenced one's opinion.
You're entitled to think what you think, no matter how stupid it might be.... My biggest frustration lies elsewhere. Put simply, I've had it up to here with the moral hypocrisy and intellectual constipation of Bible literalists.
By which I mean people like you, who dress their homophobia up in Scripture, insisting with sanctimonious sincerity that it's not homophobia at all, but just a pious determination to live according to what the Bible says.

And never mind that the Bible also says it is ''disgraceful'' for a woman to speak out in church (1 Corinthians 14:34-36) and that if she has any questions, she should wait till she gets home and ask her husband. Never mind that the Bible says the penalty for going to work on Sunday (Exodus 35:1-3) is death. Never mind that the Bible says the man who rapes a virgin should buy her from her father (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and marry her.

I'm going to speculate that you don't observe or support those commands. Which says to me that yours is a literalism of convenience, a literalism that is literal only so long as it allows you to condemn what you'd be condemning anyway and takes no skin off your personal backside.

As such, your claim that God sanctions your homophobia is the moral equivalent of Flip Wilson's old claim that the devil made him do it.
You resemble many of your and my co-religionists, whose faith so often expresses itself in an obsessive focus on one or two hot-button issues -- and seemingly nowhere else.

They're so panicked at the thought that somebody accidentally might treat gay people like people. They run around Chicken Little-like, screaming, 'Th' homosex'shals is comin'! Th' homosex'shals is comin'!'' Meantime, people are ignorant in Appalachia, strung out in Miami, starving in Niger, sex slaves in India, mass-murdered in Darfur. Where is the Christian outrage about that?

Quoting Bible to attack gays is hypocritical
by Leondard Pitts Jr.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 09:04:03 PM EST

Kudos to Mr. Pitts

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 12:41:10 PM EST

Reading this column is like clearing stale, poisonous cellar air out of one's lungs.  Ditto Bruce.  Kudos to Mr. Pitts.  It's about time someone with a public platform read these hypocrites in front of God and everybody.

by tikkun on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 07:35:31 PM EST

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