Friday, October 01, 2010

Taliban Dan, Meet Taliban Sharron, Your Sister in Hatred


When Alan Grayson exposed the ominously strong connection between Republican candidate Daniel Webster and Christo-fascist hatemonger Bill Gothard with his Taliban Dan ad, the brainless, lazy media-- both in Orlando and nationally-- jumped all over him and said it was offensive to accuse another American of being like the Taliban. Markos had the same reaction to his brilliant new book, American Taliban, which was deemed "too mean" by the mainstream media.

Digby turned me on to some of the writings of Daniel Webster's guru, Bill Gothard, who he used to brag about but is now strangely silent about. And, as I pointed out yesterday, part of Gothard's vision that Webster takes so much inspiration from includes "stoning as a form of capital punishment for rape, kidnapping, murder, heresy, blasphemy, witchcraft, astrology, adultery, 'sodomy or homosexuality,' incest, striking a parent, extreme juvenile delinquency, and 'unchastity before marriage'.”

Webster has used Gothard's hateful fanaticism as an inspiration for legislation in the past. The media should be writing about his Covenant Marriage bill and his attempts to outlaw divorce in Florida instead of whining about Alan Grayson being mean in his ad. That aside-- and I'll let astrologers, people who have sex outside of wedlock and blasphemers, heretics and juvenile delinquents deal with the idea of being stoned to death on their own-- I want to focus on the age-old drive on the far right inhabited by creatures like Taliban Dan and Bill Gothard to exterminate gay people-- and to do it in the name of Christ, God, religion, the Bible, the Koran... whatever. Gothard wants to stone us to death. When Taliban Dan was singing his praises-- before the campaign-- he didn't say he was inspired by him except in the case of stoning gays to death. There were no exceptions.

And Taliban Dan isn't the only Republican radical who hides behind the Bible and transforms it into a tome of hatred and bigotry in the service of calling for the extermination of the LGBT community. Let's not forget Taliban Sharron (R-NV). Although recently eclipsed in national infamy by Christine O'Donnell, readers of DWT are no doubt aware of Sharron Angle, a former state Assemblymember who "has repeatedly come under fire for her comments about autistic children and gay adoption; opposing abortion for rape and supporting a constitutional amendment against marriage for same-sex couples, among other issues." Derek Washington, chair of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada likens her to "a peach with knuckles" but warns he knows "perfectly normal people who are social liberals" who support her. "She’s just weird."
Washington predicted dire consequences for LGBT Nevadans if Angle defeats Reid.

"This woman will lay waste to the gay community here; I can say that without reserve," he said. "This woman seeks nothing short of a right wing fascist state where here extreme views are the norm."

Chris Miller, president of the Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus, agreed.

"They [LGBT Nevadans] are afraid if she’s elected, she will take the LGBT community in Nevada and around the country a step backwards," he told EDGE from Las Vegas.

..."She’s got to be stopped," said Washington. "If she wins, it can’t be hopeful for our country and it will be disastrous for our community here. I get physically ill at the thought of looking at the election result and seeing that woman won."

Homophobia, albeit not usually as openly extreme as Bill Gothard's, is, despite Ken Mehlman's belated coming out party, an integral part of the 21st Century Republican Party coalition. At the minimum, the homophobic crazies are part of their big pup tent. The Party is filled with anti-gay sociopaths who are constrained from publicly screaming "Nigger! Nigger!" these days but encounter no such constraints when it comes to gays and lesbians. American Taliban like Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and Steve King (R-IA) regularly go on hysterical anti-gay tirades and Republican congressional closet cases like Patrick McHenry (R-NC), David Dreier (R-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Adrian Smith (R-NE), etc are so petrified about being outed that they automatically adopt extreme anti-gay legislative attitudes.

These are attitudes-- from the stoning to the bigotry-- that you would expect to find in a history book, or at worst, in a country ruled by an oppressive regime that uses religion as a form of political control, the way the Taliban does. We don't want that in American-- not in Orlando and not in Nevada. Let me know if you hear of any reporter asking Daniel Webster about his relationship with Bill Gothard, a relationship that ReligionDispatches has had more success looking into than anyone else:
[C]ontrary to both and PolitiFact's assessments, Webster's 2009 talk is actually an excellent example of the point made in the Grayson ad: that Webster holds views that are outside the mainstream. He is unself-conscious about his sense that God is on his side and that God opposes his opponents. And he has aligned himself with organizations and individuals who advocate the application of biblical law to contemporary society, including wives submitting to their husbands.

...Webster has aligned himself with an organization that espouses an orientation to the Bible and its role in civil society that is certainly relevant to his campaign for public office, the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and its affiliated Advance Training Institute International (ATI). He claims to pray for IBLP founder Bill Gothard "every day," has traveled with Gothard, has spoken at Gothard’s conferences (2009 and 2010 programs are online), and has contributed to "Wisdom Booklets" training materials that include David Barton and his Christian American history. These include The Light and the Glory, a Christian American history textbook popular in fundamentalist Christian schools and home schools. Webster's section itself cites Christian Reconstructionist Gary DeMar’s work in "Optional Resources."

Over at AlterNet, Bruce Wilson writes that Gothard wanted to use Christian Reconstructionist R.J. Rushdoony's seminal Institutes of Biblical Law for his programs if it weren't for their disagreement over divorce. In his post, Wilson focuses too much on the issue of the capital offenses for which some Reconstructionists advocate stoning. That emphasis favors sensationalism over more pressing issues in our political culture -- like the fact that this wing of the home school and Christian school movements wants to eliminate public education by replacing it. In the meantime, they want public schools to teach their revisionist Christian history as well as Creationism. (If you think they can't accomplish that, consider, as Lauri Lebo has documented at RD, the fundamentalist revision of the Texas public school curriculum, and Barton's role in that.) They believe in an entirely second-class status for women (some believe women shouldn't vote). They are virulently hostile to gays and lesbians. They believe that any social safety net should be eliminated and replaced by church programs—available only to believers. (And they succeeded in getting an exemption from the health insurance mandate for believers.)

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At 8:25 AM, Blogger Bula said...

If you want to go all Old Testament, we need to legalize polygamy and slavery.....The Bible is like a salad bar, you can always pick out what you like, and leave the rest...

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Mark Scarbrough said...

I am a Gothard survivor. Or something. I can't say, but the stories I could tell. . . . I was subjected endlessly to (as I came to call him) "Goatherd's" seminars when I was a teenager. Let's just say this: at 50, I'm still blowing that crap out of my head. I went to what were then called the "Basic Youth Conflicts" seminars. And was a star pupil. I had the binders, the books.

I don't think people know about this form of American Christianity. They know about evangelicals, those mega-churches with soft carpeting and elevatorish praise songs wafting from the "band" on stage. And they know about the crazy-ass holy rollers: the snake handlers, hand wavers, and speaking-in-tonguers. But they don't know about the part I was reared in, the oddly hidden but biggest part, the part that took over the Southern Baptists in the early '80s, that tried to undo the Presbyterians in the early '90s: the second wave of American fundamentalism that emanated out of Lewis Sperry Chafer and Dallas Theological Seminary (where, yes, I was once a student) and which went on to foster countless Bible colleges and training centers, went on to create James Dobson and his frowning ilk. Not the smiling, mewling Jimmy Swaggart. Not the sweater-wearing, smarmy Jim Bakker. Not the whole dollhouse show that's the Trinity Broadcasting Network. But instead that created the likes of Chuck Swindoll and Charles Ryrie, figures so joyless, so lifeless, they defy logic, but who have trained a generation of nuts, including many of the crooks now in the hallowed halls of government. These are the fundamentalists who can outline Deuteronomy in five seconds. They do not raise their hands. They are stern and forbidding. They beat their kids in the name of God.

And they hate gays. With an almost illogical passion. I mean, if you really thought gay people were condemned to hell and you really thought that you were somehow following Christ (whatever that means), wouldn't you want to seek out these people and, well, have dinner with them? Isn't that what Christ supposedly did? Have dinner with the "whores and lepers"?

I'm not saying gays (aka, me) are whores and lepers. I'm trying to follow out the logic and show how it breaks down in the face of an almost nonsensical hatred.

And I know. Because I've sat at the dinner table with many of these types. Sometime, I'll tell you about my dinner with Lahaye, the lead guy (of the two) who wrote the left behind nonsense. It all is enough to freak you out.

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous me said...

Believe me, it does freak me out.

Living in this world, in this country, I feel like I'm trapped in an insane asylum that the inmates have taken over. It scares the piss out of me.


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