Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Janet Mefferd Lists Occupy Wall Street, Homosexuality, Abortion Under Rejection of God

Clearly, several members of the Religious Right disapprove of Occupy Wall Street, promoting a litany of stereotypes about its participants (see here and here). However, a right-wing Christian radio host has spoken of Occupy Wall Street in the same breath as abortion and homosexuality, two things that the Religious Right views with moral disgust.

On the October 17th edition of The Janet Mefferd Show, Mefferd interviewed Mike Wilson, founder of iamthe53percent[dot]com. Before she spoke with Wilson, she spoke for several minutes about how our society supposedly devalues marriage, claiming that several major networks have jumped on the "anti-marriage bandwagon." After sharing audio clips about women who have chosen to remain single, Mefferd argued that marriage is optional for people now because "we've taken morals off the table." Thanks to contraception and abortion, she insisted, women can be "promiscuous" without consequences.

This mentality, she argued, is rooted in a "pagan mindset" that rejects the authority of God. At the 13:05 mark of this audio (www[dot]janetmefferdpremium[dot]com/2011/10/17/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20111017-hr-2/), Mefferd listed abortion, homosexuality, and Occupy Wall Street as consequences of this mindset.

"This is the mindset, it’s more of a pagan mindset. I go back all the time to the movement of ancient paganism because it is on the rise. Whether people call themselves pagan or not, that’s what is at root here. People challenge the traditional authority of God. And when you challenge the authority of God, what happens next? It’s like a sea of dominoes, one goes over it hits the next one, it hits the next one, it hits the next one. If there is no God, if I don’t go to church, if I reject Christianity, if I reject the Bible, all bets are off. I can do whatever I want. I can go down to the Occupy Wall Street protests and scream about the bankers. I can go out in the woods and beat a drum and worship an owl if I want to. I can have sex with whomever I want as often as I want with no consequences, and if I do become pregnant I can just go get an abortion, and then I can march in the streets and talk about women’s rights and reproductive health. And eventually, I can talk about how wonderful homosexuality is and how it’s just another alternative lifestyle and it’s all about love."
Mefferd makes the tired assumption that rejecting fundamentalist Christianity automatically leads to a rejection of morality, which it does not. Non-fundamentalists do embrace many forms of morality, but because they look different from fundamentalist morality, Mefferd refuses to acknowledge them. Later, at the 14:27 mark, Mefferd claimed that such "rebellion" is really bondage.

"True freedom is in Jesus Christ. It's not in the world. It's not in sexual immorality. It's not in rebellion. It's not in any of these movements that we're seeing on the ascendancy in our culture. Those things are bondage."
I think many people would disagree with her: the gay man who can live openly without shame, the woman who can postpone (or forgo) marriage and childbearing until she is ready, the spiritual seeker who can tread a path other than fundamentalism, and the demonstrators who can raise their voices against economic injustice. I don't see bondage in these things; I see moral progress.

Religious Right disgust for homosexuality and reproductive rights is nothing new, but Mefferd's disgust for Occupy Wall Street surprised me. By lumping it together with homosexuality and abortion, she framed it in a sinful light as rebellion against God, but why? Her contempt for the Occupy Wall Street protesters was apparent at the 23:11 mark ...
"I think a lot of us who are watching the Occupy Wall Street people just, you know, hang around for weeks on end and not bathe. There are a lot of us who are working so hard and thinking to ourselves, get a job and stop protesting and quit complaining. You live in the greatest country in the world. Get to work."
... but her moral indignation at the movement baffled me. To brand the Occupy Wall Street protesters as somehow misguided, lazy, or dirty is one thing, but to view them as in rebellion against God makes little sense to me.

It's a shame, because Mefferd does sense that political and corporate forces wield considerable power over society. At the 4:27 mark, she had this to say.

"I think we're often intimidated by the elites. We're intimidated by the big guns. We're intimidated by the powerful. The mainstream media is so powerful. The politicians are so powerful. These big rich guys and kingmakers in our culture, they're winning. And here we are, Christians. All we have is the cross."
Unfortunately, the power of these elites can be grossly misused, and thus the forces wielding this power must be held accountable so that they wield it responsibly and ethically. This, I think, is what Occupy Wall Street is about, but Mefferd does not see it this way.

Hat tip to Right Wing Watch. To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Lez Get Real: Mefferd: Pagans Seek to Destroy Christianity Through Homosexuality


  1. It stems from their dualistic, two-valued, simplistic world-view, I think. There is good and evil, period. Evil is from Satan, meaning all evil ultimately is from the same source, which devolves into "everything I don't like is the same thing". She doesn't like abortion, homosexuality, paganism, or OWS, so they must all be vaguely the same thing -- Satan is probably behind all of them. She doesn't like people who don't bathe, so people she doesn't like for other reasons must not bathe. Everything bad is the same thing.

    Notice how this differs from the more nuanced and practical secular viewpoint. For example, I regard both Christianity and Islam as loathsome enemies, but that doesn't prevent me from seeing that they are also bitter enemies of each other. To deal with enemies, you need to understand them accurately. Fundies seem to have a huge amouunt of difficulty with that.

  2. Infidel753 -- That helps clarify this for me. A black-and-white, binary way of seeing the world leads to some strange conclusions.

  3. Thanks for this insightful post. Nuance is not familiar to Janet Mefferd. It is her way (her particular interpretation of God and/or the Bible) or the highway. It is sad that she does not see how she is upholding the power of the "elites" she abhors by promoting the "free market" and capitalism as somehow endorsed by the Bible. She has no compassion nor understanding of women's responsibility for their own reproductive choices. And she has no compassion for anyone who does not adopt the sexual or gender norms of society. See Frank Schaeffer's blog post on OWS and fundamentalism http://frank-schaeffer.blogspot.com/2011/10/wall-street-protests-and-religious.html
    Again, thanks for your post.

  4. Anonymous -- I'll check out that link. Thanks!

    As I listened to her radio show, I was struck by her disdain for women who did not want to marry, as well as women who exerted any kind of reproductive autonomy. Interestingly, she did not show the same kind of antipathy toward men who do the same, at least not in that episode. And yes, her understanding of how the elites operate is anemic.

  5. She is very inconsistent both in her arguments and her conclusions. The mental gymnastics must be a mind killer.

  6. Cognitive Dissenter -- You need to stretch before even attempting THOSE kinds of mental gymnastics. :)

  7. And God said: "Thou shalt not Occupy Wall Street" and Moses replied: "WTF?" for which he was excluded from entering the Land of Canaan. -- The Lost Verses of Leviticus

  8. Noodleepoodlee -- Ah, you must be reading from the New International Rightwinger translation.

  9. Yeah, I imagine such homilies will be abundant in the version that Phyllis Schlafley's (sp?)son is working on; he's the new King James I guess.

  10. I'm just so tired of these judgmental, hate-filled idiots. Today in Ottawa they buried a 15-year-old boy who committed suicide because he was being bullied for being gay. Mefford and all other bigots have his blood on their hands. Worse, they pass their hatred onto their offspring.


  11. Knatolee -- These LGBT teen suicides are harrowing. The homophobia needs to stop, starting with religious homophobia.


All comments are subject to moderation. Threatening, violent, or bigoted comments will not be published.