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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘They Hate Doing It’: Extremist Pastor Says People in the ‘Homosexual Community’ Commit Suicide Because of ‘Guilt’

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Far right wing Christian extremist pastor Kent Christmas says gay people die by suicide at a high rate because they feel guilty about being gay. Christmas sees homosexuality as an act, not as a state of a person’s being, and declares “they hate doing it,” meaning, being gay.

“Hallelujah!” Pastor Christmas declared. “When we see God begin to do some powerful things in the Spirit, God begins to set men and women free by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

“I cannot tell you how my heart goes out to the homosexual community because there are so many of them,” Christmas said in video published by Right Wing Watch (below.) “Suicide amongst the homosexual community is one of the highest rates of suicide of anything in the earth. And part of it is because of the guilt, they know that it’s not right but they, they’re bound, and they hate doing it.”

Christmas recently attributed the increase in people who identify as LGBTQ to a “demonic spirit that comes after our seed.”

Pastor Christmas is right that the rate of suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior is higher among the LGBTQ community, especially youth and teens, but he is entirely wrong as to the cause.

“Research shows that anti-LGBT discrimination and victimization contribute to an increase in the risk of suicidality and that LGBT people are at disproportionate risk of suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts,” UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute reports.

One study of LGBQ youth published just this week reveals that these children are “less satisfied in their family and tend to experience more bullying at school and in social media,” which can lead to “high rates of suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts.”

Conversion therapy, which LGBTQ people have compared to torture, is also a cause. Pastor Christian has said his own son “was” gay, and suggested he went through some type of religious conversion therapy.

“I watched the Holy Ghost deliver him and set him free,” Christmas said.

The Williams Institute also reports that “LGB people who have undergone conversion therapy almost twice as likely to attempt suicide.”

And a Trevor Project study last year revealed 48% of “gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and other gender nonconforming young Americans…said that in the last 12 months, they engaged in self-harm; that number rose to 60% for trans and nonbinary youth.”

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Evangelicals Scrambling to Oust Belief in Trump as Congregations Are Torn Apart

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In an extensive piece in the Atlantic, former George W. Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner explained that some evangelical leaders are picking through the wreckage of their congregations that were torn apart by the influence of former president Donald Trump.

Wehner, a highly vocal Christian, has been no friend of Trump and is worried that the Christian faith has been damaged by the embrace of the one-term president by high-profile evangelical leaders which, in turn, has left some congregations in tatters as Trump supporters drag his politics into the daily church dealings.

Case in point, he notes, is a battle at a Virginia church where congregants were influenced by Trump’s toxic rhetoric.

“The election of the elders of an evangelical church is usually an uncontroversial, even unifying event. But this summer, at an influential megachurch in Northern Virginia, something went badly wrong. A trio of elders didn’t receive 75 percent of the vote, the threshold necessary to be installed,” he reported before pointing out that “… church members had been misled, having been told, among other things, that the three individuals nominated to be elders would advocate selling the church building to Muslims, who would convert it into a mosque.”

According to Wehner, David Platt, the 43-year-old minister at McLean Bible Church had already been facing accusations ” … by a small but zealous group within his church of ‘wokeness’ and being ‘left of center,’ of pushing a ‘social justice’ agenda and promoting critical race theory, and of attempting to ‘purge conservative members.'”

As Wehner explains, what happened at McLean Bible Church is not an isolated event.

“What happened at McLean Bible Church is happening all over the evangelical world. Influential figures such as the theologian Russell Moore and the Bible teacher Beth Moore felt compelled to leave the Southern Baptist Convention; both were targeted by right-wing elements within the SBC,” he explained. “The root of the discord lies in the fact that many Christians have embraced the worst aspects of our culture and our politics. When the Christian faith is politicized, churches become repositories not of grace but of grievances, places where tribal identities are reinforced, where fears are nurtured, and where aggression and nastiness are sacralized. The result is not only wounding the nation; it’s having a devastating impact on the Christian faith.”

Speaking with Wehner, historian George Marsden explained that “political loyalties can sometimes be so strong that they create a religious like faith that overrides or even transforms a more traditional religious faith,” the author recalled.

“When Trump was able to add open hatred and resentments to the political-religious stance of ‘true believers,’ it crossed a line. Tribal instincts seem to have become overwhelming,” Marsden explained before adding that Trump’s Christian followers, “have come to see a gospel of hatreds, resentments, vilifications, put-downs, and insults as expressions of their Christianity, for which they too should be willing to fight.”

“For many Christians, their politics has become more of an identity marker than their faith. They might insist that they are interpreting their politics through the prism of scripture, with the former subordinate to the latter, but in fact scripture and biblical ethics are often distorted to fit their politics,” Wehner wrote adding, “The former president normalized a form of discourse that made the once-shocking seem routine. Russell Moore laments the ‘pugilism of the Trump era, in which anything short of cruelty is seen as weakness.’ The problem facing the evangelical church, then, is not just that it has failed to inculcate adherents with its values—it’s that when it has succeeded in doing so, those values have not always been biblical.”

You can read more here.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Indicted Congressman Is ‘Longtime’ Member of Secretive Religious Org Tied to Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill: Report

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U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), indicted on federal charges on Tuesday for allegedly lying to the FBI about campaign finance issues, is a longtime member of the highly secretive, highly political, and largely evangelical Christian group known as The Family.

That organization was recently highlighted in a Netflix documentary inspired by Jeff Sharlet’s investigative book, “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.”

In addition to its highly secretive political work The Family also hosts the annual National Prayer Breakfast, which has been attended by every U.S. President since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Many Americans became aware of the existence of The Family a decade ago when it was revealed the group had ties to the Uganda lawmaker pushing extreme legislation known as the “Kill the Gays” bill. The Family allegedly supported the bill. It provided the death penalty for homosexual acts, and after years of international outrage the text was watered down to become the “Jail the Gays” bill, imposing a life in prison sentence for LGBTQ people. It was signed into law in 2014, and later invalidated by the Ugandan Supreme Court.

On Wednesday The Young Turks exclusively reported Congressman Fortenberry’s membership in The Family. TYT notes the secretive organization has also “been tied to multiple political scandals in recent years,” although that report does not mention The Family’s connection to Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

“Fortenberry’s involvement with The Family has not been previously reported,” TYT adds. “However, his chief of staff, Andy Braner, is a fellow insider, who has spoken publicly about his attendance at the National Prayer Breakfast, dating back to 2014, and has ties to The Family dating back as early as 2006, according to his LinkedIn profile.”

Fortenberry has hosted highly anti-LGBTQ guests at the National Prayer Breakfast, including Timothy Broglio, the Archbishop for the Military Services, USA. Broglio, who recently came out against Pope Francis’ position on vaccines in order to publicly oppose them, supported then-President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender service members. He also opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

TYT’s report also says that Congressman Fortenberry “has been invited to multiple events overseas connected to The Family, two of which he was apparently invited to attend on The Family’s dime. Congressional disclosure forms filed by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) list Fortenberry as having been invited on at least two of Aderholt’s trips sponsored by The Family.”

Also unknown to many is that, according to TYT, anti-LGBTQ evangelical activist Franklin Graham is the National Prayer Breakfast’s only financial donor.

You can read the entire report here.

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Preacher Who Suggests He Is Acting Like Christ Laments Government Isn’t Executing LGBTQ People

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An Oklahoma Baptist preacher angry the U.S. government isn’t “executing” LGBTQ people and angry hate crime laws are, he claims, prohibiting “violent attitudes toward the f****ts and sodomites,” is also suggesting he is acting like Jesus Christ by name calling.

“Now they want to execute judgment on the good who will disdain the abominable act of sodomy: you know, the faggots,” Brother Salvador Alvarez of Stedfast Baptist Church in Oklahoma City preached on Sunday, as Friendly Atheist’s Hemant Mehta reports.

“People who will have a violent attitude towards the f****ts and sodomites will be reported as having committed hate crimes,” Alvarez lamented, calling it “a mixed-up justice system” that “needs to be called out.”

“If they were to execute judgment, you know, that ‘he beareth not the sword in vain,’ where they execute, you know, executions, executions like the Bible says? They actually execute? You know, you don’t go with a sword and you know, slap them. It’s the sword to be able to have executions in Romans 13.”

Alvarez suggests he is acting like Christ by “calling names.”

“If they would actually commit executions on the pedophile, executions on the f****ts, on the sodomites. If they had executed, executed, you know, an adulterers are committing adultery with another man’s wife then, then, we wouldn’t have to call them out. There’d be no reason to call out a fox that is not a fox. But Jesus Christ wasn’t afraid to call a fox a fox. He wasn’t afraid to call names.”

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