Monday, September 5, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly Dies at Age 92

Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, and unrepentant anti-feminist, died today at age 92, according to the New York Times. In a Facebook post, the Eagle Forum described Schlafly as an "iconic​ American​ leader​ whose love for America was surpassed only by her love of God and her family​​".

Figures and organizations from the Religious Right are mourning Schlafly's passing on Twitter.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

News Tidbits

Colorado Springs Gazette:  Leadership diversity a challenge for Colorado Springs evangelical organizations

KTRE 9: Lufkin business owner refuses service to gay couple, explains why in ad

Des Moines Register: ACLU warns Iowa schools about anti-gay Christian group

Metro Weekly: Anti-gay activist writing God-centric government textbooks for public schools

Religion News Service: New Jersey priest suspended for supporting gay groups

Pink News: Church of England vicar suggests gay pride encourages child abuse

Commentary Tidbits

The Mighty: To Those Who Think I Can 'Pray Away' Depression

Friendly Atheist: Christian Charity That Rejected Huge Donation From Atheists is Now "Extremely Behind on Funds"

And the Wisdom to Know the Difference: Shall We Stop This Bleeding?

The Ring of Fire Network: Trump’s Campaign Staff Is Literally Filled With White Supremacists

Vice: Kim Davis's Hometown Just Had Its First Pride Celebration

Think Progress: Mere Months After Orlando, Evangelicals Declare New Commitment To Rejecting LGBT People

Huffington Post: ‘Christian’ College Gives Heave-Ho To Professor For Supporting LGBT People

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Religiosity Linked to Acceptance of Rape Myths, According to New Study

A new study found a correlation between Christian religious devotion and belief in rape myths. "Religious Affiliation, Religiosity, Gender, and Rape Myth Acceptance: Feminist Theory and Rape Culture", published online in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, looked at the relationship between religious devotion and embrace of rape myths among college students in the U.S.

In a study of 653 university students ages 18-30, most students identified as Christian, with 52.2% identifying as Protestant and 23.9% identifying as Roman Catholic. A smaller percentage identified as atheist (10.4%) or agnostic (13.5%). Students completed surveys gauging their religiosity as well as their political ideology on social and economic issues. The students' rape my acceptance was measured by the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale–Short Form, which involved students rating statements on a scale such as "If a woman is raped while she is drunk, she is at least somewhat responsible for letting things get out of control", and "Although most women wouldn’t admit it, they generally find being physically forced into sex a real ‘turn-on'".

Researchers found that after controlling for political ideology, Protestants and Catholics demonstrated higher acceptance of rape myths than their atheist and agnostic counterparts. Higher religiosity was correlated with greater acceptance of rape myths. The authors speculate that people who are more involved in Christian church activities are exposed to patriarchal teachings more often, which may reinforce toxic attitudes about sexual violence.

Studies like these remind us how patriarchy poisons Christian communities. Misogynist attitudes and teachings in Christian churches are just as poisonous to clergy as they are to congregants. Two studies of American Christian clergy found that sexism was associated with negative attitudes toward rape victims.

While some Christian denominations respect women, many more still need to jettison their misogynist attitudes and doctrines. Too many faith communities still believe that men should have authority over women, that husbands are entitled to their wives' bodies, that female bodies exude temptation, and that rape victims are culpable for their victimization.*  Communities that espouse Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull tenets are especially egregious.

This is unacceptable. Rape culture (and its sibling, purity culture) are reprehensible. We must challenge them wherever we find them, be it in secular society on religious settings.

* = As if attitudes condoning violence against women weren't bad enough, sexual violence against male victims isn't even on the radar of many churches. Men who have been victimizated find themselves out in the cold, hushed into silence or shamed.

Friday, September 2, 2016

News Tidbits

Indianapolis Star: Son had 36 bruises. Mom quoted the Bible as defense

Texas Observer: Signs of God: How a mayor’s campaign to keep a Jesus sign brought discord to a God-fearing East Texas town

KCRA 3: California: Carmichael faith-based hospital denies transgender man hysterectomy

New York Daily News: Queens Democratic candidate wants to erase same-sex couples from school textbooks

Gay Star News: 'Christian Warrior' threatens to kill LGBTI people in chilling Youtube video

Christian Today: Mars Hill racketeering case against Mark Driscoll and former elder dismissed

The Advocate: Clinic offering 'abortion reversal' could open next to New Orleans Planned Parenthood

CBC: Two private schools won't comply with Alberta LGBTQ policy, says pastor

NPR: Catholic Church Groups Fight Bills To Revive Old Sex Abuse Cases

NPR: Latest Religious Liberty Battle: Church-Affiliated Colleges And LGBT Students

Commentary Tidbits

Religion Dispatches: The Theology of Westboro: The “World’s Meanest Church” Is More Than Picket Signs

Broadly: Elizabeth Smart Is Standing Up for Rape Victims — And Tearing Down Purity Culture (Trigger warning)

Daily Beast: When Trump Met Mr. Brexit—the Alt-Right Coalition Goes Global

Daylight Atheism: Christian Apologists React to the Rise of Atheism

The Red Hot Preaching Conference: Steve Anderson Rants and Raves

As discussed in a prior post, Steve Anderson, Roger Jimenez, Donnie Romero, and David Berzins came together for the Red Hot Preaching Conference in Sacramento, California on July 28-31. Steve Anderson was in rare form when he preached at the podium, ranting about the End Times, the alleged persecution he endured from Paypal, and his unbridled hatred of gays and the media. Anderson's sermon was a flood of hatred and projection, in which he unleashed his hatred against others while condemning others for allegedly hating him.

Citing Matthew 16 and 1 Thessalonians 5, Anderson warned the audience that they were living in the End Times at the 57:40 mark.
"We are not going to be taken by surprise because we have the Bible telling us all the things that will lead up to it, and we can see the signs of the times ... We don't have to be in the dark tonight. We have the word of God to tell us about the events of the End Times. We know the sequence of events. We know what things will be like when the end is approaching. We can read it in the Bible, and then if we have our eyes open, we can discern the times of the times that we're living in. I submit to you that if we look around today, we can see many signs that we are living in the last days."
"We can see now that the technology is in place where the scriptures in the book of Revelation could literally be fulfilled," he insisted. Live broadcasts and the internet would allow the whole world to see events during the End Times as described in Revelations 11:1-10, he explained. Anderson also claimed that the passage in Revelations 13:11-18 (in which no one engages in trade without the mark of the beast on their head or hand) describes technology in a cashless society. If the government declares cash to be worthless, paper money won't be used for transactions anymore, he said.

As evidence, Anderson pointed to Paypal shutting down his fundraising account in response to his homophobic hate speech (more here). At the 1:01:19 mark, he fumed over the Paypal incident.
"Look how easy it was for them to shut down our Paypal accounts as soon as we started preaching things that they didn't like ... That's where things are going. You preach the word of God, you don't get on board, we'll shut down your account."
Anderson's End Times rhetoric was laced with conspiracy theories. Later, after a paranoid rant about the United Nations setting the stage for a world government, Anderson claimed that religions are coming together under the auspices of the Antichrist.

Anderson turned his attention to the current generation, which he blasted as selfish and sinful. At the 1:03:00 mark, he raged at "Generation Selfie Stick" for condoning abortion.
"One of the things that characterizes the End Times is that people would be self-centered, self-absorbed, lovers of their own selves, and we see that in this generation more than any other generation, this overly sensitive--just worried about themselves, everything's about me. You know, people have called it Generation Me, Generation Selfie, Generation Selfie Stick ... What could be more selfish when you think about major big sin, sins like murder and adultery? What could be more selfish than murdering your own child for your own convenience? That's exactly what abortion is. You're so concerned with yourself that you're willing to murder an innocent baby just so you can have a different quality of life."
He raged on against supposedly selfish people who only attend church to hear sermons, arguing that church is like a workplace where people should work. Anderson mocked people who disagreed with him for calling church a business. "Only communists and hippies don't like the word business!" he sneered. He seemed oblivious to how selfish his own expectations of congregants were.

No Anderson sermon would be complete without homophobia. "It's starting to look like the days of Lot out there!" he lamented at the 1:19:04 mark. "I got off the airplane in Sacramento, California this morning, and it was two minutes before I saw a dude walking through the airport with a skirt on!" he complained.

Anderson's fury burned hot at the 1:08:13 mark, when he screamed at the top of his lungs at the media and the pro-LGBTQ demonstrators protesting the event. Anderson howled in rage against "freaks and perverts" and dared the media to link LGBTQ people and HIV. His screaming fit was met with applause from the audience.
"We're living in a day where the wicked despise those that are good, and now, it's even getting to the point where even mainstream America is starting to despise those that are good ... What's interesting today is that these bunch of freaks and perverts out there, for example, that are protesting this event, they are despisers of those that are good. You know what? These people from the media here, I mean, unless they turn over a new leaf and start telling the truth, which probably isn't very likely, but these bozos from the media over here, they're going to show all the 'love wins' and 'love conquers hate'. They won't show you how God-fearing family men and women walk in this church, and women are called a slut and a whore, and they've never even seen these women in their life, because they just rail and hate and spew out all their filth, and they're disgusting.

Anderson's spewed even more homophobic hatred at the 1:10:31 mark, when he accused "homos" of wanting to murder him and the other attendees. Ever heard of projection, Steve?
"Every single one of those homos would love to tear me apart limb from limb. If they could get in here and the police wouldn't stop 'em, they'd love to come in here and rip us apart and kill us all, and they don't just hate me. They don't just hate Brother [Roger] Jimenez. They hate all Christians, and they would love to destroy us all ... And yet they say that we're hateful. Well you know what? At least I admit that I do hate pedophiles and perverts! But these people are hypocrites!"
What saddened me about this toxic sermon was that several children were in the audience. Anderson was feeding his witches brew of homophobia, End Times paranoia, self-righteousness, and rage to impressionable children. My heart broke when I realized how many lies those children had been fed about the world by that fundamentalist subculture. The world's going to end. Gays want to destroy you. Act like a real man or else. Be a workhorse for the church or else. Where was room for truth, joy, love, and freedom in these children's lives?

What kind of inner turmoil produces the kind of hatred and rage that we see in Steve Anderson? What kind of misguided faith brings people to his church and to the Red Hot Preaching Conference? What spiritual nourishment can be had by listening to a hateful man rant and scream?