Photo: KATHY BALDOCK [e]Executive Director, CanyonWalker Connections[m]
How and why do otherwise kind and Jesus-esque people become machines motivated by fear and unleashed in ignorance when the topic switches to the gay community?
And how, on this one topic, do some Christians neglect the clear Biblical mandates to care for the poor and the outcast and turn all their negative energy onto the LGBT community? Who can we “thank” for this diversion and inoculation of deception and ignorance?
For thirty years, the Rev. Dr. Mel White served the evangelical Christian community as a pastor, seminary professor and ghostwriter to powerful and famous leaders, including Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
In this book, White points us to several well known Christian leaders who have guided us to a place of blindness and passivity where fundamentalist faith is married to politics.
Fundamentalism of any sort is extremism. Christian fundamentalism is rooted in literal Bible interpretation. “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”
Of course, they are selectively literal, about women often, and about gays very often. With over 31 thousand verses in the Bible, how did the six on same-sex behavior trump the rest? White lays out the forefathers of this modern fundamentalist movement. Francis Schaeffer began the call to reclaim America as a “once great Christian nation” from secular forces in the 40’s and 50’s. Using hyperbole, half truths and lies, Schaeffer rallied Christians to fight “judicial tyranny.” Schaeffer set the stage for Christians to blend politics and faith.
W.A. Criswell, the senior pastor for 58 years of the 28 thousand member Dallas First Baptist, “fired the first shots in the fundamentalists’ war to purge ‘moderates’ and ‘progressives’ from their churches” using the litmus test of “the Bible is inerrant and anyone who disagrees cannot be trusted theologically.”
With the charismatic assistance of Criswell beginning in the 1990’s, fundamentalists won control of the national boards and committees of the Southern Baptist Convention. Literal understanding of the Bible became the measuring stick as ordained women were now denied the right to preach, and gay pastors, teachers and leaders with moderate views were purged from the denomination.
Beginning in 1979, Jerry Falwell took the organized troops and recruited and trained them within the Moral Majority . He created the platform of pro-life (anti-woman’s choice to reproductive rights and anti-Equal Rights Amendment), pro-family (opposed to the civil rights for gays and lesbians), pro-moral (anti- drug, -porn, -child abuse) and pro-American (“making the U.S. a Christian nation once again”). This movement was the pivotal turning point for the “threat” of the gay community and the rise of political power for the Evangelicals and Baptists.
Jerry Falwell began to use the term “gay agenda” and threatened his followers that “God and Christianity” would be eliminated from American society by the gay community.
Pat Robertson formed the Christian Coalition and “recruited, trained and equipped the army for political action.” He perfected the demonization of the gay community and reduced their existence to “disease, despair and decadence.” Anything that went wrong was attributed to the gays.
James Dobson, President of Focus on the Family, had almost 26 million weekly listeners to his radio show. Egotistical, controlling, power-hungry and influential, Dobson continued to use the fear and loathing of the gay community to raise millions and recruit support to “take back America.”
D. James Kennedy, Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian, grew a mega- church in Florida and lead 459 Christian fundamentalists, pastors and leaders to sign “A Manifesto for the Christian Church” in 1986. Among the twelve social evils listed in the Manifesto, in order of importance are: 1. abortion, 2. homosexuality, 5. unjust treatment of the poor and 8. racial discrimination. White does an excellent job laying out the details surrounding the Manifesto with players, dates and intentions. The direct link between gays and the destruction of America is centered in this document.
(Perhaps we have located the “Radical Fundamentalist Agenda.”)
The “logic” follows that the Bible is inerrant, and because the words we read say God condemns gays, then, if we do not fight against them, God will condemn America. So, if Christian fundamentalists do allow for the extension of civil rights, God gets mad and the nation suffers. Ergo, allow gays to survive and thrive, and God destroys America.
The next two chapters are the gems of the entire book: “The Secret Meeting at Glen Eyrie: Declaring War on Homosexuals” (1994) and “The Glen Eyrie Protocol.” These two chapters read like a secret spy novel; reading the account from audio tapes discussing the goals of these conservatives to intentionally manipulate Christians and the American public into hatred of the LGBT community is maddening.
Christians have been lead around like sheep, by the wrong shepherds. “Holy Terror” by Mel White is an excellent tool for understanding the past while giving insight to the anger and lies coming from fundamentalist and conservative family groups.