How Christian fundamentalism feeds the toxic partisanship of US politics


When evangelicals attack ‘the gay agenda’ of an anti-bullying event in schools, something is sick in America’s religious culture

 The idea is that on one day of the school year, kids are invited to have lunch with the kind of kids they don’t usually hang out with: the jocks mix with the nerds, lunch tables are racially integrated, et cetera. Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of theirTeaching Tolerance division, it arose out of a broad effort to tackle the problems of bullying in the schools and bigotry in society – and it appears to have been effective in breaking down stereotypes and reducing prejudice. Over 2,000 schools nationwide now participate in the program, which is set to take place this year on 30 October.

You can argue about how permanent its effects are, or whether other approaches might be better, but the idea of making new friends in the lunchroom seems utterly benign. Right?
Wrong, as it turns out – at least, according to the American Family Association, a radical rightwing evangelical policy group. Mix It Up at Lunch Day is, in fact, part of “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools”,according to the AFA literature. The program “is an entry-level ‘diversity’ program designed specifically by SPCL (sic) to establish the acceptance of homosexuality into public schools, including elementary and junior high schools,” warns the AFA website. “See if your child’s school is on the list.”
The AFA has urged parents to keep their kids home on 30 October, and claims that at least 200 schools have responded to its charge by canceling the program.

Written By: Katherine Stewart
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  1. Yep the good old xtian command to love thy neighbour as yourself.Unless of course he is gay,lesbian,transgender,atheist,humanist,secularist,a believer in global warming or just foreign,or if he or she has been raped by one of your clergy,in which case get thee to satan.Backward, vicious, xtian arseholes !

  2. Really nicely written and well thought out article.

    Loved this bit:

    The far right’s fixation on same-sex relationships is so ludicrous that it defines a sub-category of camp. 

    Well said Ms Stewart. We really need to keep up the ridicule of these fools.


  3. may i suggest fixing the link from mobile (m) to normal web (www). Great article though and very important to all secularists.

  4. What IS their fixation with homosexuals? What are they afraid of? That it’s some sort of virus and their kids may catch it? That it’s a lifestyle choice?

  5. Christians like to claim homosexuality is like horrible disease, say leprosy. For argument sake, let us presume they are right.  You as a Christian might do all you could to avoid getting leprosy or getting it cured.  But how would beating up lepers help anything? Christians don’t insist on the right to persecute people with any other “disease” than presumed “homosexuality”.

    Christians are furious that the government wants to interfere with their leper burning parties, just an they did not like anyone interfering with their witch burnings-at-the stake some centuries back.

    They openly call for killing gays in their “operating manual” the bible. Who else but gays are still such a potent scapegoat that this behaviour is ignored.  It is been going on so long, people can’t see it as unacceptable.

  6. If anyone is making a gay-rights issue out of every possible situation it’s them.. 

    Me thinks many of you protest too much.

  7.  It’s going to be very close by the polls. There are also the attempts at voter disenfranchisement. If you’re in the US, go and “get out the vote” as it’s said over there. AIUI, the more people vote, the better the Dems’ odds are.

  8. As one of the authors of the gay agenda, I wonder why so many people presume it must be something nefarious. It is very simple. We gays don’t enjoy being beaten up. We don’t like losing our jobs just because of our sexual preference. We don’t like being kicked out of our apartments just because we find sex with people similar to us, in the sexual plumbing department, a turn on, and sex with people different from us disgusting. We don’t like be sent to the back of the line in immigration. We don’t like people proclaiming that it is a virtue to kill gays. Further, we don’t like people spreading malicious lies about us such as “all homosexuals are pedophiles”, when the truth is, homosexuals are much less likely to be pedophiles. We don’t like being thrown in jail in some parts of the world, egged on by the Christians and Muslims, just for what others imagine we think, not even what we say or do. This legally-sanctioned discrimination is a modern day form of witch hunting with the same low standards of prosecutorial evidence. Our agenda is to put an end to this unfair treatment. We insist on being treated equally.

    And more recently, we have added the demand to have our long term relationships governed by the exact same marriage laws as mixed-gender couples. We don’t like people interfering with efforts to stop children from being bullied, on the nutty superstition that boys who don’t like football deserve/need to be bullied because they might grow up to be gay, and bullying them is the best way to ensure they either commit suicide or grow up heterosexual.

    We gays harbour no desire to recruit anyone. It is the Christians trying to recruit gays to become breeders (not just heterosexual) with their bogus “cures”. From grim experience trying to change ourselves, we gays know this cannot be done, and we have no reason to wish our scapegoat status on anyone. I wonder why Christians, in a earlier era, did not similarly demand black people “cure” themselves and become white. Many gays, myself included, considered suicide as preferable to living as gay. I no longer think that. I tortured myself with anti-gay propaganda from 15 years of age, when it first dawned on me my delirious crushes on fellow males were what others called the ultimate perversion, to 21 years of age, when I met my first gay people and discovered almost everything I had been told about gays was a lie. I then wrote a book called A Guide For the Naïve Homosexual and lead various projects including the Gay Alliance Toward Equality to rectify the situation. It is far easier to change physical gender than sexual orientation.

    We liberationists do, however, encourage gays to stop flagellating themselves and to stop lying about their true selves. Christians, oddly, consider this activity some mad plot to manufacture more gays. St. Paul pioneered this “prairie fire” view of homosexuality. He believed that once people had gay sex, they would never go back because it was so much more pleasurable. St. Paul erroneously assumed everyone else was as gay as he was.

    We gays want to be treated the same way as anyone else. This obsession Christians have with my physical plumbing is creepy, irrelevant and none of their business. We want the exact same rights as everyone else. With Red Queen logic, Christians keep claiming the equal rights we gays demand are actually “special rights” that others do not enjoy. Christians play games with language to argue like this: “Straight people have the right to marry an adult of the opposite sex. So do gay people. Therefore gays and straights have equal rights. Thus gays have no grounds for complaint. There is no discrimination; this is perfectly fair. Granted, only men have the right to marry a woman and women do not. However, this does not count as discrimination or gender inequality, because I said so.” I claim gay equality follows as a logical consequence of gender equality. I say anything a women is allowed to do a man should be legally allowed to do and vice versa. Neither gender should have special rights not afforded the other gender. This includes things from being a doctor to bathing topless. Still another way of look it is “Straight people are free to marry any adult they please, but gay people are not.” Yet another is “For all practical purposes, the law encourages straight adults to marry but forbids gay adults to.” In both those ways of looking at it, the discrimination is clear.

    With similar twisted logic, fundamentalist Christians believe in religious “freedom”. Everyone should be free to worship Jesus in whatever way they please.

    It is infuriating that Christians both block gays from marrying and complain that gays (both male and female) are more promiscuous than men in general when marriage is the social tool for encouraging monogamy. Don’t Christians realise they are promoting promiscuity? It seems the #1 priority of the modern Christian is preventing gays from marrying, whether they will ever meet the couple or not. Whether a couple marries or just cohabits can’t have any effect on the lives of Christian bigots. How could it possibly push them to divorce as they claim? Why must Christians meddle in affairs that do not concern them in the least?

    Christians are like tea Nazis who insist others not only drink tea rather than coffee in their presence, but even in private. They further demand that people pretend, at all times, to prefer tea to coffee, on pain of death.

    The Christian agenda of forcing gay men to marry women and breed, no matter how revolting their victims find it, has the net effect of perpetuating any hypothetical gay gene. The irony is, Christians are the ones trying to increase the percentage of homosexuals in the population, not us gays.

    Christians complain that we gays are out to destroy the church. We are! (aside from Stockholm syndrome gay Christians) Is it not rational to want to eliminate an institution whose founding document obliges the killing all gay people, even virgins? Our resistance to Christian superstition is no different from Jews trying to eliminate the Nazi party. It is not as though we want to eliminate Christians, just their crazy beliefs. It is not as though we gays advocate violence to destroy the Christian churches that promote the persecution and murder of gays. We are not about to stoop to the depravity of the Christian church.

    In summary, the gay agenda is simply that we gays want the exact same rights as everyone else.

  9. It sounds like you have come through a long struggle with your personality intact, fair wind to you and your course.  The idea that exposure to gay people, or gay discourse or gay literature or gay journalism could suddenly start the 95+% of straight males losing interest in women is ridiculous in the extreme.
    I doubt there is a “gay gene” human behaviour is very complex and not hopefully not reductive in that way. I hope this is so as what a historical irony it would be for tolerance of gay people to lead to their decline and disappearence. It has been seen in the UK Orthodox jewish community that a decline in anti-jewish prejudice has lead to an increase in “marrying out” and an overall decline in numbers.
    NB.I like the “Tea Nazi” analogy, I think I will be stealing that.

  10. Psychologists will tell you that children go through phases of admiration of older same sex people (often parents), and same sex peers. Some parents are so terrified of homosexuality that they try to suppress them, usually with scolding glances.  I wonder what the effect of having natural affection viewed with such suspicion will have on these people in later life.

    We gays use the term “homophobia” because it is indeed an extreme, irrational fear of homosexual people. Pretty much the worst thing they could do to you is flirt and see if you respond.

    It is amazing how fat, bald old men, who if they were gay would have almost no chance of ever getting laid, imagine that a gay Justin Bieber clone would have the hots for them, and might not take no for an answer.  The vanity!

    I had an incident at work once circa 1971 when a coworker went on and on with gay slurs in general.  I finally said, “I am gay myself, and I don’t appreciate your bigotry. Kindly shut up.” I might even have added, “or I will punch your teeth in”. My memory is foggy on that detail.

    He complained to my boss that I had made a “pass” at him.  My boss called me in. I explained what happened.  Happily there were witnesses. My boss told him to cool it or face dismissal. The  poor guy was utterly dumbfounded. From his Irish Catholic view, the boss was siding with a convicted murderer.

    In a similar way, parents have become so terrified of sexual predators that they won’t let their children walk to school, or even go outside unsupervised. It must be horrible as a child to never have privacy.  Pinker pointed out the actual risk of being kidnapped is extremely small, much less than drowning or being hit by lightning. The cure causes more overall damage than the disease.

  11. I see Romney, – in the face of presidential defeat,  has said that Democrats & Republican need to work together for the good of the people.

    Why the sudden U turn? 
    Does this mean Republicans  will stop opposing healthcare, social reforms, and environmentally responsible planning?  – or is this just more political rhetoric?

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