"Death For Gays" And American Christianism
Nick Baumann writes:
...it's been hard for Sullivan to find examples of the National Review or the Weekly Standard or the American Conservative or Commentary denouncing the Ugandan law. The writers at those magazines may disagree with Sullivan on a lot of things, but I suspect they think it's pretty obvious to most Americans that executing gay people is wrong.Most, but definitely not all:
God in His law requires the death penalty for homosexuals. [R.J. Rushdoony, Reconstructionist theologian, in a letter to Mel White]Oh, and you might want to look further on that link to see what Rushdoony has to say about slavery.
The Bible is without reservation in its condemnation of homosexuality . . . „If a man also lie with mankind . . . they shall be put to death.‰ (Lev. 20:13) . . . This is certainly clear enough and there is not a single text in all of the New Testament to indicate that this penalty has been altered or removed. . . (pp 422-25). . . We find that St. Paul far from setting aside the law and its penalties appeals to the death penalty against homo-sexuals as an established and continuing fact. (Rom 1:32) (p735) [R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law]
"Yeah, yeah, so what?" you say. "The late Rushdoony never had any more influence or access to power than, say, Fred Phelps." Think again. Rushdoony's membership in The Council For National Policy, where he consorted numerous well-known christianists is just one indication of the considerable respect this lunatic had. A cursory scan of the list of CNP members includes the likes of Phyllis Schafly, Oliver North, Grover Norquist, Pat Robertson, Bob Jones, Tim LaHaye and other psychos who had frequent access to the president of the United States during the Bush administration and who are still heavily involved in today's Republican party.
To be clear: I doubt - except when I'm in a particularly unforgiving mood - that any American evangelical directly told anyone in Uganda to sponsor a "kill the gays" law. But the concept is far more common among American christianists than Nick Baumann realizes, and I have no doubt that the language those evangelicals did, in fact, use in Uganda, made capital punishment for homosexual behavior sound like a reasonable idea. For example, here's a reminder of the kind of foul garbage influential Republicans have felt no compunction spewing into our discourse.
In 2004, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn rated the 'gay agenda' as a more pressing danger than any terrorist activity affecting Americans. Naturally, the worthy Senator is not calling upon anyone to kill gays. He just thinks gay sex is a more pressing danger than terrorist activity. And since neither Coburn nor many Americans would have any problems executing terrorists...
There's a larger point here: Christianists, and the modern GOP, are far more radical than many people, no matter how well-meaning and intelligent, realize. Buffoons they certainly are, but they are very, very powerful buffoons. The Ugandan law is a direct outgrowth of radical American christianism and its high-level reach within our national politics.