Support groups should be off-limits.
Last night, on the organization blog, Exodus International denounced recent statements by Bradlee Dean and You Can Run International regarding the morality of gay executions. The post Randy Thomas begins:
I was alerted to Dr. Warren Throckmorton’s post about Bradlee Dean’s (pictured) public comments saying that Muslim countries who call for homosexuals to be killed are more “moral” than American Christians. I listened to the segment of Mr. Dean’s radio program and was shocked. Click here to visit Warren’s blog and listen to Mr. Dean’s comments.
We called our contacts in Minnesota and apparently Mr. Dean is somewhat known in Christian circles there. They have run into him a couple of times but have not appreciated his strident tone. They were as upset by his statements as we are. I would imagine he will be getting a few phone calls.
What might those phone callers say?
Using Old Testament scriptures to condemn a person to death is not “loving” … it is incomplete theology and powerfully irresponsible. To say that murderous actions are more “moral” than tolerating free will is to completely ignore that Jesus did not call for the deaths of sinners. He died and paid the price for all of our sin, including those of us who have or do struggle with homosexuality. He paid that transcendent price and still left us with the free will to believe in Him or not. That’s what makes faith in Him authentic and not coerced.
Putting down the stones of condemnation and serving others with humility, dignity and respect is the Christlike response. According to Jesus Himself, selfless sacrifice has much more moral authority than the false piety of humans judging other humans guilty of breaking the law and deserving of social stigmatization and/or death.
As an aside, homosexuality seems to bring out the inner-Moses in a lot Christians these days. Calls to harshly criminalize homosexuality based on Mosaic law leave lots of questions about what other actions would be included in the long arm of current law (e.g., adultery, parent cursing, bearing false witness). Thomas goes on to summarize the behavior of Christ toward those who were outcasts in his society and shunned by the Pharisees — any casual reader of the New Testament knows that legislative solutions were not in Christ’s playbook.
On the other hand, the You Can Run folks are hung up on law being the remedy. On their YouTube page, one of the Sons of Liberty (except for people you disagree with) calls for the state of Minnesota to enforce the sodomy law which was set aside by the Supreme Court. This video is consistent with their recent statements, made from the Heritage Foundation, praising African nations for prosecuting homosexuals.
Liberty is not just for people of your faith. Freedom, if it means anything, means the freedom to choose your beliefs and guide your moral life.
Last week, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer gave us an illustration of the verb “to vilify” by saying on his radio show, among other things, that Hitler couldn’t find any straight people to work his evil, he had to find gay people to do it. He followed up with a column where he blamed homosexuality for “six millions dead Jews.” I hesitated to even write that because of the horror of trivializing the holocaust, even in reporting what someone else said. However, he said it and he did it as ammunition in the culture war. He should be ashamed as should the AFA.
There was another illustration of Christians vilifying gays in the name of the culture war last week that is a close second to Fischer. Instead of blaming gays for millions of deaths, this radio personality says Muslim law is better than US law in that it provides death for gays. Watch and listen to Christian rocker, Bradlee Dean and a too enthusiatic female caller discuss sodomy laws in MN and how moral Muslims are compared to Christians. Please note what makes those Muslims so good.
The whole issue may become a part of the Minnesota’s governor’s race and is being followed by Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent. Enter Mr. Birkey:
But recent controversial statements by Dean — that Muslim countries calling for the execution of gays and lesbians are “more moral than even the American Christians” — have drawn the ire of some both within and outside the party.
“Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” Dean said on YCR’s May 15 radio show on AM 1280 the Patriot. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”
“If America won’t enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that,” Dean continued. “That is what you are seeing in America.”
“The bottom line is this… they [homosexuals] play the victim when they are, in fact, the predator,” Dean said, before going on to make a claim that has no basis in fact: “On average, they molest 117 people before they’re found out. How many kids have been destroyed, how many adults have been destroyed because of crimes against nature?”
The statistic he quotes — 117 children molested — conflates pedophiles and homosexuals. It may not be accurate even about pedophiles. I have tried to find the source of it and the closest I can come is a website and book which sources it to a 1988 NIMH publication (not in newer editions) but with no specific study. Even if the stat has a legitimate source, it relates to pedophiles and not gays. It is possible I suppose that Dean is so misinformed that he believes his rhetoric. One wonders if he would change his position if he could be convinced that his view of gays was wrong.
On the whole, Dean’s radio performance comes across as a rant with little conherence but it is hard to come up with any other understanding of his words than this – he believes Muslim countries who kill gays for being gay have the moral high ground over the USA.
Some of the commenters on the other thread were discussing how this kind of rhetoric represents Christianity. So let’s keep that discussion going. Can’t you just feel the love?
UPDATE: Here is a 2006 Weekly Standard article about Dean’s Junkyard Prophet band. Wow.
UPDATE – 6/1/10 – Broadcasting from the Heritage Foundation (!?), the YCR guys are at it again…this time praising African countries who jail gays.
UPDATE: Exodus International posted a stinging condemnation of Bradlee Dean’s remarks on their blog. I suspect this will be followed by a similar statement from one of the Minnesota church affiliates, Living Word Christian Center. Exgaywatch is reporting that the You Can Run group was featured there last year at a high school function.