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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian University President Falsely Attacks Pete Buttigieg: ‘Please Stop Telling Us What Kind of Sex You Like’

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“Please stop telling us what kind of sex you like,” Christian school’s president says, only because Buttigieg – who has never talked about sex in his campaign – is married to a man. “This is a matter of your proclivities,” and “your personal peccadillos,” says Dr. Piper.

Dr. Everett Piper is the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, a small private evangelical Christian college that leans far to the right.

He’s also a contributing columnist at The Washington Times, a newspaper founded in 1982 by a conglomerate owned by the Unification movement, a Christian church founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Born in what is now North Korea, Rev. Moon believes he is the “messiah,” and has created an entirely new “brand” of Christianity known to many for the mass weddings of thousands of people like the 1982 mass wedding of 2000 couples in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

So it’s incredibly ironic – and hypocritical – for Dr. Piper to have penned an attack on Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a prominent 2020 Democratic candidate for president, accusing him of making up his own Christianity.

Pete Buttigieg doesn’t get to make up his own Christianity,” Dr. Piper writes, in a newspaper founded by a man believes he is the second coming of Christ and literally made up his own brand of Christianity and spread it around the world.

Piper’s logic is totally lacking.

“South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, recently took to the national stage to attack Vice President Mike Pence and, by association, tens of millions of America’s orthodox Christians,” Piper writes.

Mayor Buttigieg, in fact, did not attack the Vice President, but did attack the Vice President’s decades of anti-gay policies and positions. In fact, Buttigieg has made very clear that he too is a Christian with deeply-held religious beliefs.

Calling Buttigieg’s words a “rhetorical cheap shot,” Piper continues, quoting the South Bend mayor:

“My [homosexual] marriage ” said Mr. Buttigieg, “has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God If being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far above my pay grade. That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Piper, who clearly does not care for or respect LGBTQ people, like so many far right wing religious extremists, boils them down to a sex act.

“Mr. Buttigieg, has it ever occurred to you, that the ‘Mike Pences of the world’ don’t have a problem with ‘who you are,’ but rather we just disagree with what you do? We believe human identity is much more than the sum total of someone’s sexual inclinations. In fact, the ‘creator’ whom you so boldly reference makes this pretty clear.”

What if LGBT people talked about heterosexual people’s marriages as merely “what you do”? Can you imagine, and rightly so, the outrage?

Dr. Piper’s attack is far from over.

“You see, Mr. Mayor, this is a matter of your proclivities, not your personhood,” Piper falsely claims, talking about Buttigieg’s personhood, as if marriage is a “proclivity.”

“What you don’t seem to understand is that when it comes to your personal peccadillos, most all of the ‘Mike Pences of the world’ really don’t want to know. Your sexual appetites are your business. The thing about obedient and faithful Christians is this; we consider someone else’s private life to be just that — Private. Please stop telling us what kind of sex you like. We don’t want to know. If you want us to stay out of your bedroom, please shut the door. Stop opening it up and forcing us to applaud and celebrate,” Piper commands.

The school Dr. Piper runs ranks in the bottom half (85 out of 140) of US News’ Best Regional Universities West Rankings.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Evangelical Christian Conservatives Are Giving Americans an ‘Allergic Reaction’ to Religion: Researchers

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The number of Americans identifying as atheists is increasing — and recent social science research suggests that the Christian Right is playing a key role in making that happen.

As reported by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, new research has found that distaste for Trump-loving Christian conservatism has not just turned some Americans off from individual churches but from religion altogether.

“As recently as the early 1990s, less than 10 percent of Americans lacked a formal religious affiliation, and liberals weren’t all that much likelier to be nonreligious than the public overall,” FiveThirtyEight notes. “Today, however, nearly one in four Americans are religiously unaffiliated. That includes almost 40 percent of liberals — up from 12 percent in 1990, according to the 2018 General Social Survey.”

Other studies have similarly concluded that the marriage of evangelical Christianity with the Republican Party has led more Americans to spurn religion all together.

“It’s like an allergic reaction to the mixture of Republican politics and religion,” David Campbell, a political scientist at Notre Dame University, explains to FiveThirtyEight.

Read the whole report here.

Image by Mor via Flickr and a CC license

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian Ministry Tells Teachers and Students They Must Support School’s Anti-Gay Beliefs – Some Are Quitting

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Jacinta Tegman, the new head CRISTA, a massive $100 million Christian ministry in the state of Washington, has been pushing an anti-LGBTQ agenda since taking over in January. She told the organization’s members that “sexual intimacy” must be “confined within the marriage of one man and woman.” Over the summer the head of the organization’s K-12 King’s schools, Eric Rasmussen, sent families and faculty an email “to reaffirm the school’s core values, and repeated Tegman’s line that sexual expression only occurs within a heterosexual marriage,” the Seattle Times reports.

The school now has a textbook that calls homosexuality “unnatural,” and “a result of the failure to worship God.” Both claims are false.

At least five teachers and two students have quit the school as a result of these attacks on LGBTQ people.

And while families may be upset at the loss of the teachers and students, Tegman apparently is not.

“This may not be the place for everybody,” Tegman told the Seattle Times. “So if it’s not, we just want to make that clear so people can make a good decision whether they want to stay.”

Some teachers questioned the email that was sent over the summer. In response, the head of King’s schools responded.

“You can continue to work at King’s if you are a Christian, confirm understanding and alignment with our doctrinal statement and willingly conduct your personal life and professional role of educating our students in a manner that is not in disunity with King’s theological beliefs,” he wrote.

One teacher, Megan Troutman, called working at the school “an amazing experience,” but resigned, saying, “I cannot, in good faith or conscience, teach in a place that creates policies that negatively impact an entire section of the student population.”

“I could not be complicit in a policy that could harm or ostracize any student.”

One student spoke out after deciding to leave.

“Colby Crispeno, 17, agreed” with Troutman. “He attended King’s since preschool, but eventually decided to leave at the end of his sophomore year after coming out to his family as gay.”

“Even as he struggled with depression and anxiety at King’s, he found solace in a family friend who taught there. She too left the school over the summer,” the Times notes.

“You don’t have to accept me or the LGBTQ+ community, but when you’re the head of the school and this decision brings some youth closer to suicide, you lose my respect,” Crispeno said.

CRISTA “runs private schools, retirement communities and radio stations in addition to its international relief work. The schools serve more than 1,300 students, from preschool to high-school,” the Times reports.

KIRO published this video report:

 

Image by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia
Hat tip: Towleroad

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Right-Wing Religious Prayer Pleas Make Hurricane Victims Worse Off — Here’s How

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Right-wing evangelical leaders often make grand displays of piety and sympathy for those in the path of deadly weather events like Hurricane Dorian. But as Rewire.News’ Tony Keddie noted in an opinion column, those who preach the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” are in fact bringing further harm to these victims.

“In between advertising her own books and promoting her rock star husband’s albums, Trump’s Prosperity Gospel confidant, Paula White-Cain, took a moment to acknowledge those affected by Hurricane Dorian,” wrote Keddie. “White-Cain tweeted a link to the evangelical pastor Greg Laurie’s Fox News article defending ‘prayer’ as a legitimate response to mass shootings and hurricanes … This is surprising because Laurie has criticized Prosperity Gospel preachers like White-Cain for glorifying the human will more than the divine will and prayer can often be a point of contention in these debates.”

“Whereas Laurie stresses ‘the power of the one we are praying to,’ White-Cain stresses the power of the one who is praying,” wrote Keddie. “This is a subtle theological distinction that enables Prosperity Gospel preachers to insist that believers should bootstrap their way to physical and financial prosperity. Shortly after tweeting out Laurie’s article, White-Cain used a Prosperity Gospel keyword, ‘favor’: ‘I pray open doors that no man can shut, favor, promotion, divine opportunities and connections for you to fulfill the purpose of God in the name of Jesus!’”

The upshot, Keddie wrote, is that evangelists like White-Cain are preaching that God wills people to be self-sufficient and individualistic — and that they, like Republican political ideology generally, oppose government intervention to help the destitute. Another example of this, he wrote, is Joel Osteen, the Houston megachurch pastor who did not open his doors to Hurricane Harvey victims until considerable public backlash.

“Laurie and White-Cain present two prevalent views of free will that are often used to support Republican opposition to what they call ‘Big Government,’” wrote Keddie. “Whether believers are supposed to rely more on God or themselves as a hurricane destroys their homes, they are not supposed to rely on the government. Sure, Christian relief organizations like Samaritan’s Purse and Convoy of Hope might offer some aid, but their role in disbursing federal funds is also an indictment against government institutions of relief, as Inderpal Grewal observes in Saving the Security State, and they often come with strings attached.”

“When we hear conservatives using the language of ‘prayers’ and ‘favor’ as a disaster strikes, it’s important to recognize that this pious rhetoric conceals neoliberal politics that impede the work of government institutions of disaster management,” concluded Keddie.

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