Anti-Gay Ideas of the Army of God Going Mainstream?
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed May 25, 2011 at 05:11:38 PM EST
Rev. Bradlee Dean brought much deserved scrutiny on himself when as Chaplain for the day, he opened a daily session of the Minnesota House of Representatives, with a prayer that insulted the religious character of president Obama.  Bruce Wilson blogged about some of the scrutiny of Rev. Dean here at Talk to Action,
As reported by the Minnesota Independent, pastor Bradlee Dean, whose ministry is supported by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and brings its hard-rock gospel into public schools, stated on a May 15, 2010 radio show,

    "Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America," Dean said on YCR's May 15 radio show on AM 1280 the Patriot. "This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination."

As it happens,  the "chaplain" of the violent, revolutionary, antiabortion Army of God, Rev. Michael Bray, made similar remarks about Muslims and homosexuality back in 2002.   Such views were surprising and original in those days.  But now similar views do not preclude Rev. Dean from gaining access to prestigious pulpits.

I reported for Salon.com on the Army of God's then-fresh escalation of violent anti-gay rhetoric at the time.  Here are a few excepts:

Feb 19, 2002 | "Let us give thanks," Army of God "chaplain" Rev. Michael Bray proclaimed on the Army of God Web site, after sword-wielding officials in Saudi Arabia beheaded three gay men New Year's Day. The official Saudi Press Agency reported that the men had "committed acts of sodomy, married each other, seduced young men and attacked those who rebuked them."

Best known for its terror campaign against abortion providers, the militant Army of God has lately displayed a virulent antigay animus in recent postings on its Web site. The sudden trend has set off alarms among human rights groups.

"This is really chilling," Surina Khan, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, told Salon. "It really disturbs me, in terms of the rhetoric and what effect it has."

Ironically, the Army of God is expressing new solidarity with Muslim extremists just as the right-wing extremists have come under new scrutiny by the U.S. government for their own links to terror, post-Sept. 11. The violence-prone Army of God drew intensified federal attention thanks to its praise ("great idea!") for the anthrax scare at 550 clinics and abortion rights organizations last fall, perpetrated by self-described antiabortion "terrorist" Clayton Waagner. Waagner signed his threats "Army of God."

...with its antiabortion threats coming in for more government scrutiny, the Army of God has apparently decided to ratchet up its antigay rhetoric. The antigay animus of the group's Web master and spokesman, Rev. Donald Spitz, has erupted into obsession in the two special sections of the group's Web site. One offers a selection of links to various news stories, some from dubious sources. For example:

"Saudi Arabia chop the heads off three homos" [sic]

"Homosexual fag Elton John says he is lucky not to have AIDS"

"Presbyterians Wrestle Over Ban on Homo Clergy. If they have an question about it, they are obviously apostate."

"American Red Cross to give 9/11 funds to sodomites" (about a story on providing aid to 9/11 victims regardless of sexual orientation)

"Homo fag TV channel will soon be broadcasting their filthy crimes against humanity" (on the prospect of an all-gay cable TV channel)

"Massachusetts Governor picks sex perverted sodomite as running mate" (after Massachusetts Acting Governor Jane Swift picked an openly gay man as her candidate for lieutenant governor)

Another section of Spitz's site is devoted to explaining "why you should never give money to the United Way." The reason? The United Way gives money to family planning organizations and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood but "refuses money to the Boy Scouts because the Boy Scouts will not let child molesting homosexual sex perverts become Scout Masters and take your children out to the woods to molest them."

While Spitz has a sharp eye for potential antigay headlines, Michael Bray has been more focused on the opportunity the Saudi gay beheadings may afford to get some "discussion" going toward a more theocratic order in America.

"While the Christians among us westerners would decline to emulate our Muslim friends in many ways ... " he notes, "we can appreciate the justice they advocate regarding sodomy. Might these fellows also consider an embryonic jihad? Let us welcome these tools of purification. Open the borders! Bring in some agents of cleansing."

"In the meantime," he concludes, "let us pray for justice: viz., that the heads of adulterers, sodomites, murderers, child murderers (abortionists), witches, traitors, and kidnappers roll."

Bray's cheering of the Saudi executions is striking in light of the usual contempt for all things Islam expressed by the far Christian right. "One has to appreciate the cosmic irony here," said Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates in Somerville, Mass. "They can side with a religion they don't approve of against a scapegoat they both loathe and demonize."

Berlet isn't surprised by the Army of God's antigay outbursts. "Within the Christian Right, there is a distinction between the reformists and those who want insurgency," he says. Revolutionary groups like the Army of God, he says, see before them a "three-headed monster -- of liberalism, feminism (which includes abortion), and the gay and lesbian civil rights movement. And the monster doesn't die," he observes, "unless you cut off all three."

Fortunately, no obvious wave of anti-gay violence followed the Army of God's post 9/11 ideological refocusing. However, if Rev. Bradlee Dean's 2010 radio is interview is any indication, Michael Bray's views may have become more common that any of us thought possible in 2002.




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