A February 2008 poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 16 percent of America's 225 million adults are unaffiliated with any religion. According to the report, "When 'childhood religion' is compared against 'current religion,' the unaffiliated show a net increase of 8.8 percentage points, compared to a 7.5 point loss among Catholics, for example, or a 2.6 percent loss among Protestants."
It is my belief that outrageously hypocritical behavior by conservative religious authorities is directly responsible for the surge in non-believers or those who shun organized religion. The ubiquitous scolds who dominate cable TV and Republican politics are too often conservatives of convenience, who believe they are exempt from practicing the strident rules that they preach.
For example, South Carolina's First Lady, Jenny Sanford, filed for divorce last week after her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford (R), admitted an affair with a woman from Argentina. Until the scandal broke, Mark and Jenny posed as a beacon of Christian family values.
I can understand Jenny's disgust with her husband, who left his four sons to cheat with his mistress on Father's Day. But one can't masquerade as a Bible-thumper when it comes to gay rights and other issues, and then say that the Bible is suddenly irrelevant when it comes to divorce.
Both Jenny and Mark profited from their charade, yet jilted Jenny wants to conveniently abandon biblical absolutism and utilize liberal divorce laws because her feelings are hurt. Sorry Jenny, but a mistress does not negate your marriage vows. Anyone can embrace the "sanctity of marriage" in good times. A true person of fundamentalist faith stays with the vows even when the relationship sours.
To highlight such hypocrisy, John Marcoa, a Sacramento Web-designer, has drafted a 2010 parody ballot measure that would ban divorce in California. Tellingly, the right wing organizations that fought to save marriage from gay couples have not lined up to support it.
From mega-churches to suburban strip mall ministries, fundamentalist youth rail against the secular culture, even as they ape it. They sport gaudy tattoos of Jesus, wear earrings in their noses and play imitation rock. On their fingers are silly chastity rings, when they really need chastity belts.
A recent New York Times magazine article points out that "More government money has been spent on the cause of sexual abstinence in Texas than any other state, but it still has the third-highest teen birth rate in the country and the highest percentage of teen mothers giving birth more than once."
Former beauty queen Carrie Prejean is the perfect spokesperson for liberal bashing libertines. She moralized over same-sex marriage, but expected forgiveness and understanding when, thanks to tabloid pictures, America got to know her in the biblical sense.
Perhaps the most amusing part of studying conservatives is their absurd claim that America is a Christian nation, which is impossible, because no two people can define what it means to be Christian. A new Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report entitled, "Many Americans Mix Multiple Faiths," concludes that people are now choosing to "blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs". Who knew crystals and Christ went so well together?
Last month, Watergate felon Chuck Colson joined a batch of wing nuts to write "The Manhattan Declaration". This supposedly conservative manifesto began by shamelessly co-opting historical liberal successes. The Declaration reads:
"It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery...Christian women stood at the vanguard of the suffrage movement...The great civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 60s were led by Christians...
It is true that Christians played a role in these movements. However, it was non-believers teaming up with liberal Christians to overcome the opposition of conservative Christians. The anti-gay signers of The Manhattan Declaration are the ideological heirs to those on the wrong side of history. It was remarkable how efficiently they scrubbed their own embarrassing past and replaced their monumental failures with liberal accomplishments.
Social conservatives are a loud bunch, but their power is slipping. I think back to Middle school, when I attended a Houston Rockets basketball game with my father. During a time out the "Voice of God" announced that a gay rights measure had been crushed. The enthusiastic crowd burst out in to loud cheers, which was quite devastating to a thirteen-year old coming to terms with his sexual orientation.
On Monday, Houston voters elected openly gay Annise Parker as mayor. Unlike my youth, I watched a Houston crowd cheer for progress instead of prejudice. No doubt there were countless social conservatives across the city slamming beers, ogling women who weren't their wives and betting on sports -- while bemoaning the city's fallen values.
This is the lifestyle of today's conservatives of convenience. They are all creed and no deed.
Besides the lesbian mayor in Texas of all places, I just saw on the net that DC just passed gay marriage equality! You know, the same place where the roman catholic church threatened to stop all social services if this equality bill passed--the same institution that protects, defends and hides child rapists. Satanists have more compassion than these assholes! We've said it before and it continues to be true--the right wingnuts have been hysterical over the culture war because they're slowly losing it--and they know it! We *almost* had gay marriage passed here in NJ, but it has been temporarily defeated. Unfortunately we have a new republican governor coming in, in January, so I can safely say that we won't have equality here until his ass is out and we have another democratic governor.
posted by gary, at
12/15/2009 5:05 PM
What was Nancy Reagan famous for saying? "JUST SAY whatever it takes to get what you want. The rest doesn't matter." NO?
posted by ewe, at
12/15/2009 11:40 PM
The DC marriage equality vote isn't a done deal as far as I know. It now has to go for a congressional vote and I suspect it will probably fail, I hope I'm wrong.
Re the election of an openly gay mayor in Houston....this woman is a conservative democrat and said that she won't be pursuing marriage equality and leaves that to the legislature to deal with. Texas like New York, has no ballot initiatives, not that that guarantees safe passage as we saw in New York recently.
Gary, I'm not hopeful NJ will get marriage equality but I hope I'm pleasantly surprised, my gut feeling says otherwise though. You can't trust democrats after New York's disastrous result, the worst of all. Unfortunately, in these severe economic times, no state can afford to lose tax revenues, but that's what's going to happen while Connecticut will probably benefit from the bulk of the hundreds of millions of dollars that will not be spent in NJ or NY states, proceeds from same-sex marriages and all that they entail. To me, those who vote away our rights are voting against and harming the state economies. I wonder why nobody is discussing this in the media?
posted by Robert, NYC., at
12/16/2009 11:59 AM
When it comes to same-sex marriage, I am totally relaxed about it. Here's why: I recently went back to NYU to finish my degree. I've started out by taking only two classes, since it's my first semester back. In both classes, and especially in Psychology class, the topic of same-sex marriage has arisen.
Ninety-percent of the students are amazed at the fact that anyone could be opposed to allowing loving same-sex couples the right to marry, and they have no hesitancy about expressing that fact. There may be a lull in regards to this issue, but justice will not be denied.
posted by Chris L., at
12/16/2009 2:39 PM
That's encouraging to know, Chris. Good luck with your studies.
To digress, some of you may already know but Portugal may just get marriage equality as early as April 2010. I hope it succeeds just in time for the arrival of the rottweiler from the Vatican. What a lovely welcoming gift it will be and a slap on the face for Maggy Gallagher and NOM.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
12/18/2009 11:03 AM
I love being gay! I also love Randy Thomas! I knew he was going to be in the same vacinity as me, so I decided to put everything I've heard in the Media to one side, and go and find out for myself. And I'm so glad I did. He's such a nice guy! Not what I expected from what I'd heard in the Media. I expected an iron fist, I expected rules rather than love, I expected a monster. I was so glad I found out the truth about this man for myself. And he has been so good to me, in all my family troubles in the past year since. So, I dare anyone reading this to put to one side what they've read in the Media, and to facebook Randy Thomas, and arrange to meet him for coffee, or just chat. You might not agree with everything he says, but at least you would have met him yourself, instead of slamming someone you've never met, and made a decision based on first-hand experience, rather than what a Media biased against most Christians claims this person is. I dare you to find out for yourself!
posted by Catherine H, at
12/18/2009 8:08 PM
Get over yourself and go find a Christianist board to post on! The fact that he is paid to promote programs which do no good and have proven this time and time again says that he deserves to be slammed. Start challenging this asshole and I guarantee the velvet glove will quickly be removed.
All these fundie idiots are all sweetness and light until you say something they don't like. And if you are not GLBTQ what you think of this person really doesn't matter to the GLBTQ community. And if you ARE GLBTQ, then know that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting to find someone nice of your own gender, marry and settle down. NOTHING AT ALL.
Most media are being truthful about the evil which comes out of the "ex-gay" movement. There is no need to put GLBTQ people through the torment of trying to change what cannot be changed, and more importantly, does not need to be changed.
I have no intention of tryng to ring up Randy Chambers for tea or anything else. He makes his living victimising GLBTQ people, although like so many fundamentalist Christianists, he likes to whine that he is the victim whenever he is called out.
Gary I am happy about our victories this week, too. Congrats to Annalise Parker and to the DC City COuncil for doing the right thing and for not caving into the blackmail of the RCC.
posted by Merlyn, at
12/19/2009 7:16 PM
I agree with Catherine. I have met Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas. They are very different than what the media and the vultures that respond to Wayne's articles say about these men. Alan and Randy are people who are trying to live out what they believe. You may not agree with them but at least they have the "balls" to speak into the homosexual debate. I would assume that most of the people who write their words on this website wouldn't even think about spending time with someone they disagree with. It is much easier to spew out one's venom on this site than to actually build a relationship with an ex-gay person. Oh, I forgot....you don't think ex-gay people exist.
posted by JayJay, at
12/21/2009 7:19 AM
You are such a phony.
It is documented, beyond a reasonable doubt that Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers are habitual liars.
(Remember when they promised to leave politics, then played a major role in Prop 8 -- just one example).
Ex-gay ministry is consumer fraud that bilks people out of their hard earned money. Perhaps you are one of those people who they are pick pocketing?
I and many others have tried to build relationships with Chambers. However, it is impossible because he speaks out of both sides of his mouth - much like you.
posted by Wayne Besen, at
12/22/2009 11:24 AM
Could you be any more shallow?
I suppose we should put aside all of Thomas' many lies. We should put aside that he is in the leadership of a group that helped cause a murder bill in Uganda. We should forget that his group has run bootcamps for gay youth (Love in Action) while he was in leadership. We should ignore that his ministries harm people and do not work - yet he pays his salary with the money wasted on such failed programs. We should forget that it took Thomas and Chambers six months to remove a predator from its Michigan ministry.
Why should we have such amnesia? Because Thomas is pleasant to have coffee with.
I happen to agree that Thomas is fun. I actually enjoy talking politics with him and he is pleasant enough. He has a good sense of humor.
Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas are both in DENIAL. Sure they are nice to you until you call them on their psuedo crap, then they pull out their christian dogma while putting gay people down. Essentially they are putting themselves down. And i for one am not the least bit interested in giving either of them any credence which means i could care less to hear them tell me or anyone how to suppress your authentic selves. Catherine and JayJay are obviously self hating homosexuals who have to prop up these people in order to have their lies appear as truth. You both are so pathetic. You know... on a larger level, Adolph Hilter was quite nice to blond cherub faced little boys but he did not feel that way about certain others. That does not make him a "nice guy" even if you happen to be the little aryan soaking up the artificial misplaced adoration. Wake up. The both of these idiots want your cash as well.
posted by ewe, at
12/23/2009 7:09 PM
I don't have truck with peopke like Alan Chambers or Randy Thomas, who run programs that do not work and only exist to attempt to "guilt" LGBTQ people into "changing".
I have a better idea. Why don't all you jackasses who believe in this "ex-gay" BS get together and start your own "ministry"--only restrict it to yourselves and maybe you won't eventually be sued for malpractice and fraud.
posted by Merlyn, at
12/23/2009 11:21 PM