Sunday, May 21, 2017

How I figured out Paul was right and homosexuality was wrong

As the Texas state legislature is fighting new battles against the LGBT agenda and in some cases winning ground, there also appears an uptick in people trying to discredit the proper Biblical position on homosexuality--which is, of course, that homosexual activity is a sin that any person is capable of committing, and any person is capable of resisting. They often come under hashtags like "#faithfullyLGBT" and proclaim they offer a safe space for people who want to be Christian but who do not want to give up their homosexual activities. Below are some of the more colorful tweets that I have recently seen on Twitter:




This is one position people take sometimes: to make accommodation of this un-Biblical activity look like a smarter-than-thou, kinder, less savagely anti-intellectual position rooted in erudition, rather than like the destructive loss of discernment that such statements betoken. Here is another tweet:





In this one, self-proclaimed "gay Christian" Matt Nightingale explains that there is some kind of healing or medicinal katharsis to be gained by giving oneself over "honestly." He mentions wrestling but intends, from what I can gather, capitulation to the thoughts of his own mind, which loudly tell him to ignore Scripture or disfigure it, so that he can indulge worldly forbidden lusts and feel no shame or guilt about it (or conviction).




In this tweet, someone offended by my defense of Romans 1 emphasizes "stories, voices, and narratives," and accuses those who do not grant such stories the right to override Scripture of "maligning and marginalizing" them. Hence, in this worldview, gay people's feeling that they have suffered for being gay grants them a prophetic, almost antinomian veto on the Bible, a right to insert themselves into conversation between a believer and God to make certain exegesis off-limits.

And here's another predictable LGBT flourish--the condescending one-liner designed to gather likes and applause from imaginary people in cyberspace:




This tweeter, Kathryn Brightbill, seems a young lesbian blogger. To her mind, when people are told they are wrong to engage in homosexuality it is character assassination, but when people are called haters and forced out of their jobs for upholding Scripture it is not character assassination--it is just being told they are wrong, and as she later says, "the truth hurts."

Ironically she jumped onto my timeline because I had posed the question, "do LGBT-affirming Christians ever address the character assassination and smears perpetrated by LGBT groups against Christians who oppose sodomy?" Her response was the tweet above. It would merit laughter if not for the fact that this individual actually thinks that by "character assassination" I was referring to "being told you're wrong," as opposed to being accused of violating Title IX for taking students to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, getting branded fascist and Nazi by chanting psychopaths, losing one's employment (including tenure), being tear-gassed, and having blatantly false information about you blasted all over Google and Wikipedia (and so much more that I don't have time to discuss). Her tweet, striving for sardonic supremacy, indicates that either:

(1) she has no idea about how many false allegations and/or truly crude attacks GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Right Wing Watch, and Southern Poverty Law Center, along with filthy commentators Jeremy Hooper, Scott Rose, Straight Grandmother, Claire Potter, Cathy Brennan, Sheena Malhotra, Wayne Besen, and Joe Jervis have made against tons and tons of people,  or

(2) she knows that these things go on and, as I posed in a question in the first tweet, she refuses to resist such behavior by LGBTs because she thinks gay people are beyond any code of good and evil and she is herself a sadist who enjoys and justifies seeing innocent Christians suffer in her name. This would imply that she is faithfully LGBT, yes, in the sense that she has placed her faith in gay identity politics (all of her faith, with none left over to place elsewhere).

I pointed out to her that actually everything she tweeted at me would make more sense if she tweeted it at herself:


This triggered a chain of similarly childish tweets, none acknowledging the conundrum into which she'd worked herself. What was the "truth" that supposedly hurt me, which she claimed I deserved and which she claimed was not character assassination? That I "hated" gays, as Human Rights Campaign claims, because I said homosexuality was wrong. So wasn't her statement, "character assassination isn't the same as being told you're wrong" absolutely more applicable to her own camp, and not to me? Gays should not claim they are the victims of a hate crime just because Robert Oscar Lopez states that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. Duh.

And finally there is this:




Here this person claims that God does not shame anyone and therefore no godly person would say anything that would cause him personally to feel ashamed (regardless of the speaker's intent). This reading of God, utterly unrecognizable from the Bible, conveniently allows him to engage in his pet vice of sodomy without having any doubts about his innocence presented to him, purposefully or otherwise, while his own refusal to examine himself allows him to shame and disgrace and condemn those who read Scripture more faithfully.

In the midst of so much banter, exhaustion looms as the only possible endpoint. While in love I say this, I say it nonetheless: these sad people, trapped in their darkened thoughts, cling desperately to the only weapons available to them: sarcasm, snark, personal attacks, confusions, posturing, deflections. That they wield such weapons leads to the question--what are they fighting against? They war, with such venality and relentless bitterness, against something to do with homosexuality.

Why when homosexuality arises do people find so much darkness? Sin! Sin! Sin! Their gay sex is a sin, they abuse their flesh, they abuse the flesh of others, and they abuse God. The act alone might be bad enough, but as these tweets and the thousands of similar ones attest, the things they must say to justify their act lead them much more ominously into the world of darkness and vice. Something about homosexuality warps their thoughts, blinds them to reason, forces them to project what they do upon others, feeling themselves the victims and others the aggressors even as those whom they attack and shame and humiliate try to behave graciously toward them.

And it's exceptionally vicious. People sensitive about their divorces do not organize and hunt down anyone who says divorce is wrong. Promiscuous people may dislike Christians who denounce premarital sex but they have not, to date, formed armies of tweeting accusers and trolls like the gays have.

Homosexuality Is Not Like Other Sins

In a recent podcast I recorded with Peter LaBarbera, we realized that we had different approaches to homosexuality as an issue. One approach is equivalence, which Peter leans toward. In our podcast, he noted that if you substitute homosexuality for other sins in people's parlance and say things like "we should have an adultery pride parade" or "you are adultery-phobic and that's bad!" it becomes obvious how ridiculous it would be to protect one sin, like homosexuality, so zealously from criticism. He has a point.

Yet I do not follow his path. I look at gay exceptionalism, as I started to do here in 2015. Homosexuality is exceptionally emotional, exceptionally rancorous, exceptionally divisive, and exceptionally convoluted as an issue, because it is not like adultery, rape, pedophilia, fornication, or other sins. It is in a class by itself, and not in a good way. It is one of the deadliest human evils precisely because it has a tendency to collapse personhood with sin ("this is who I am and how I was born") despite the truth that nobody really is homosexual or gay.  These adjectives describe acts, not lifelong identities for people. Yet there is a tendency to cling to and internalize the logic of homosexuality, which we do not see with other sins.

What will follow is an account of my journey of discovery, which has to do with how I read Paul's letter to the Romans as a young man in the 1990s, and now as an older man in the 2010s.

I am not going to focus on the other "clobber verses," except perhaps tangentially, such as the Sodom story or Leviticus. This deals specifically with the strange appearance of a categorical vilification of homosexuality in Romans 1. That homosexuality would be singled out and given such an extraordinary focus in the first chapter of Paul's important epistle contains a great deal of meaning. Nothing in the Bible is there by accident.

So let us begin.

Romans 1

Paul states in his first letter to the Corinthians that when he was a child, he thought like a child, and then he became a man and put away childish things. Reading falls under such age-based evolution for me. When I was a child, I thought I was gay. The whole world told me I was gay. My late mother had been gay. I had had sex with many men and had had no sex with women. So in my childish reasoning, I applied the way everyone around me discussed sexuality to myself. They said "gay" was something people were, and what they described as "gay" sounded vaguely like things about me. Therefore I was gay.

My mother died in 1990. She had raised me liberation-theology Catholic. I wanted very badly to be Christian. More precisely, I wanted to be religious. But like so many young men, I wanted "religious" to mean something that would affirm who I was. "Gay" was so important to me, such a huge component of my identity, that anything about being "religious" that conflicted with homosexuality had to be tamped down, twisted around, or rejected. I was studying then under John Boswell, an especially seductive theologian at Yale who convinced many people that the Bible did not really ban homosexuality. He drowned his listeners in antique linguistic references and erudite cultural facts so people felt unable to counter him. Everything he said made sense to me then.

I knew, back then, that Jesus had never mentioned homosexuality (or so I thought, but more on that in a bit) and that Paul had referred to homosexuality as a sin in his letters. Paul was not one of Jesus's disciples. Armed with John Boswell's manipulative theological flourishes, I added two and two to come up with twenty thousand. Paul wasn't really the word of God, he was just some guy whose writings happened to capture the attention of the councils that finalized the Bible. I didn't have to pay attention to his dictates.

Moreover, the passage in Romans 1 could not be what Christ intended, as far as I could see. Christ was about love and forgiveness, I had been told, and Paul's statement about homosexuality sounded so harsh with its references to "unnatural lusts" and "reprobate minds" and whatnot. When I looked logically at the sex act between two men, I knew it was unclean. I knew it was painful. I knew it was shameful enough that even proud gays didn't talk about the various problems caused by anal sex. But all this, I thought, was not enough to justify the claim that somehow homosexuality would be a curse upon an idolatrous society and would result in so many social cruelties unleashed.

At that young age, circa twenty-two years old, I assumed that a description of something as cursed or ungodly had to make sense to me in the terms I had at my disposal. If I had no evidence of homosexuality leading to such a fall from God, and I could not reasonably anticipate that one thing (sodomy) would lead to the other (falling from God), then the cause and effect must not hold true. Still too arrogant to know that I was not God and could not see everything, I assumed that my own thoughts were strong enough to form the basis for what parts of the Bible I accepted and what parts I rejected.

I felt, ultimately, that I had the right to tear out Paul's letters if I wanted to. They were boring and vague, in my mind poorly written and not very literary. They had all the verses that sounded closed-minded and (worst of all!) judgmental. They made pronouncements that did not match what I could certify through reason and empirical observation. And the people quoting Paul the most always seemed the mean people I didn't like. The "Bible thumpers."

Paul's letter to the Romans

As a man in my forties, I discovered things about Paul's letter that I had no way of understanding. With more scholarly attention the purpose of the epistle fell into better focus. With maturity I had come to understand that patience in reading mattered more than the text's immediate satisfaction of my requirements. Failures and hardships had humbled me so that I now came to scriptures understanding that I was nothing but a filthy sinner, no better than any other man, lucky to have been given a chance by God to even read His word. As a result, I knew, as I did not know before, that it was not the text's job to validate itself to me. The onus was on me to see if I could understand it, and see whether I was living by it. Some of this maturity and perspective came from reading Jesus's words in their entirety rather than quoting the parts about love and forgiveness and everything being great.

To understand Paul's letters correctly, I had to have read through the whole Bible and particularly Jesus's words in the Gospels. Jesus explains why he uses parables when he says, "because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them. For whoever has, more will be given to him." Revelation from Jesus Himself was structured so that His Word would be misunderstood by many, probably most. The less you "get it" already the less you are going to get going forward. Once you start "getting it" all of a sudden more will keep coming to you. As a young man who got almost none of the Bible yet thought he knew everything, scriptures like Paul's letter could seem like a useless and dumb passage about homosexuality, but now I saw it was actually full of wisdom.

I might try to dismiss Paul as someone who wasn't there when Jesus ministered. But I gradually realized from reading Jesus's statements that Paul's words were not a random offshoot but integrally connected to what Jesus said too. Jesus did not see sexuality as a free-for-all and occasion for nothing but good times, love, and forgiveness. In Matthew 15, while Jesus does seem to minimize the role of the older ceremonial laws related to eating, he does so in a passage that simultaneously reinforces the role of sexual purity in His new law. When challenged about eating without having washed his hands, Jesus says: "It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, that defiles a man...what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies." (Matthew 15:10-14).

"Defilement" was the same general word used to describe men lying with men, in Leviticus. So Jesus was willing to free mankind from some of the more ritualistic rules in the old law, but He was not waiving the laws about sex. In fact, He seemed to be giving them more importance and specifying that the thought and speech justifying or romanticizing sexual immorality was "defilement" even apart from the act itself. None of the usual exegetical tricks I had used in my youth to brush this aside and give myself a green light to hook up with men worked anymore. Especially because of other parts of the Bible where Jesus warns His disciples to beware false teachers and those who place stumbling blocks before children, I contended with the reality that people do get things wrong to justify themselves. There was no reason for me to believe that I had not been misled by people telling me the Bible did not really condemn homosexuality. In Ephesians Paul warns not to be deceived by empty arguments. Had I fallen for such arguments?

The door creaked open in my mind. Could I have gotten everything wrong when I was studying under John Boswell? It seemed that way. And then, now open to the possibility that God was infinitely huger than the small, cramped world that my stupid mortal brain could process, I turned to Paul's letter to the Romans. And one day, it dawned on me what had happened.

Paul's exceptional letter to the Romans

Paul writes to Rome saying he is excited to go there and connect with his "brothers" who are also spreading the Gospel in this powerful city. In 1:16, Paul states, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek." Why the mention of being "not ashamed"? Paul states this because he acknowledges that in a worldly city such as Rome, where people come from many walks of life, the gospel will likely clash with what people want to hear. The reference to Jews, who hated sodomy, and Greeks, who practiced it quite voraciously, offers us a clue as to the progression of Paul's thoughts. His mind is on practices, habits, physical actions, which may differ from group to group, and which frame the way people think about things.

Then he states this line, which will change Christianity permanently: "God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: the righteous will live by faith."

The most important point of this opening chapter from Paul is that in a world where many people will cross one's path and will have many habits and tastes and appetites, the righteous will have to live "by faith," trusting that the Gospel's rules are the way to God even if they do not make sense given the way people live. In fact, even if the Gospel demands things that would make one "ashamed" before people whose ways of life clash with the Gospel, one must be faithful to the Gospel, whether it makes sense or not.

Then Paul jumps to describing God's wrath. The lines progress starkly, stating that some people "by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Paul states that such people who suppress truth do not have an excuse no matter where they come from, because God has revealed His "eternal power and divine nature... clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made." (Romans 1:20). Throughout this chapter Paul refers to the imperfection of the mortal mind, the fact that so often what makes sense to man is not what God means, and what makes sense to God does not make sense to us. God gave mankind the natural world, from which one could, if one were brutally realistic with oneself, extrapolate the general rules of God. For instance, one could notice that humans are born male and female, and that almost all males desire females and vice versa, and they can only have children with the opposite sex. One could figure out: a man sodomizing another man or two women seeking pleasure without the ability to achieve intercourse both would be, at the very least, strange and contrary to what God ordered. But note that Paul does not mention sexuality just yet.

But even if people did not "get it" from watching the natural world, by the time Paul wrote this letter, God had also revealed Himself in the Mosaic law and through Jesus Christ. So by now they really have no excuse. Yet Paul takes the time to tell a story about homosexuality, as a way of reinforcing yet again this point. The point is: human beings are not God. They easily make mistakes. They often err by trying to get truth to match what they with their foolish heads can understand. They can only find righteousness by saying:

I give up.
I am not God.
Whatever God says, I believe.
I may not get why God said it, but I am nothing but something God has the mercy to love even despite all the reasons He has not to love me.
I will surrender to God's Word. If He says not to do something, I will not do it.
If He says something is defilement, I will not do it. I will not tell others that they can do it.

It is within this context that Paul introduces homosexuality into the story. Paul explains, for the benefit of our flawed minds, how people can go wrong when they do not live by faith. At the beginning they know God, but they do not glorify Him. Then their thinking becomes nonsense, and the senseless minds were darkened. "Claiming to be wise, they became fools." In this self-deluded state, they begin to exchange the true immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

The birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles might be easy for me to dismiss saying, "ah, that was Rome but not now-- we don't get crazy like that!"

But there is that clause that doesn't let me off the hook. Paul says, they "exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal men."

What does that mean? That refers to people saying things such as "God does not shame anyone" and "God wouldn't want people to hate homosexuals," based on what we think a generally good person would do, not on who God is in His immortal glory. With clouded thoughts, some redefine God as a nice person in the terms we understand from fellow men. Because we with our foolish minds think a nice person would never shame someone, and because we think God is basically just a nice man like the people we like here on earth, we then think "God does not shame anyone." But this is precisely the terrible error described by Paul.

And then, at this stage, God "delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity..." Just before jumping into the description of homosexuality, Paul returns briefly to the misrecognition error, saying, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever."

Two things come just before the bruising description of homosexuality: the lie displacing God's truth, and creation as mentioned with references to the created and Creator. Here it is important to remember that Paul referred, earlier, to the fact that nature has revealed God's truth since the creation of the world. When God created the world in Genesis, He created male and female (only one of each in Eden) and He did so with an explicit purpose for future generations: so that they would cleave to each other, become one flesh, and create children. 

Sex and sexuality are absolutely crucial facets of creation. Paul seems to imply that their centrality to God's creation of the world, and His gift of procreation to men, mean that human beings have an extremely useful litmus test to see when they have fallen into the nonsense of their own minds, no longer even know when they are worshipping a real God, and sink deeper into defilement. You know these things are happening, basically, when homosexuality thrives and when people accept it. The act itself, while vile, is actually not as bad as the entire set of delusions, lies, false statements, and social coercions that become necessary to perpetuate homosexuality and shield it from criticism.

The clincher, for me, was when I finally had a clear mind and read through to the end of Chapter 1 of Romans. The description of homosexuality is straightforward (and it is not, as some have alleged, merely a description of abuse or rape or pederasty--it is about men and women of equal status mutually coupling for the purpose of pleasing each other's "unnatural" and "shameless" lusts). There is a line about males receiving "in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error," which I take to mean that the physical damage caused by anal sex afflicted men, punishing them for following the lead of their own darkened minds rather than the common sense available to any who observe the natural world.

When I read Paul's letter in my twenties, the gay movement was still in its adolescence. It had not become powerful as it is today. It was easy for me, then, to see gay people as struggling individuals, often victimized by prejudice, untethered to any political structure that would demand accountability from them. By my forties that had changed. Gays faced very little stigma, had amassed wealth beyond people's wildest dreams, and were represented by powerful political groups like Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Lambda Legal, and the Southern Poverty Law Center--groups with real power and impact on people's lives.

Because of this change, the laundry list of negative things resulting from homosexuality in Paul's letter (Romans 1:28-31) made sense to me in my middle age in a way it could not have made sense to anyone in the 1990s. The truth is, the gay lobby, perhaps unwittingly, in its zeal for power, fulfilled Paul's admonition and vindicated this entire damning passage. For here is what Paul said came after the widespread acceptance of homosexuality:

And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. They are filled with unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice.

Another tier of negatives ensues, different from the list above. The list above recounts evils or vices in themselves. But the next list recounts types of people, implying that in the final stage, people become their sins. Their selfhood and their sinning become inextricable. See here:

They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. 

As recently as 10 years ago, these two daunting lists of evils could have been treated as completely hypothetical. But now the gay lobby has real power and is a structured political force in itself. Unfortunately, all these evils are easy to document as things that the gay lobby actually does and encourages. The warning is fulfilled. Below I will present certain examples from my journey and from general knowledge:

Unrighteousness



Gay pride parades are universally vulgar. Not only are they full of nakedness but also rudeness and inhumanity. Often sadomasochists showcase scenes of beating and whipping people. Children of gay couples are often dragged to these parades and suffer through hours of traumatic obscenity to please their parents. In the video above, the small boy shows that he is already well versed in pornographic dancing, and enormous crowds cheer him on. When conservatives saw this footage and were outraged that nobody in the crowd stopped this exploitation, gay trade journals accused them of being white supremacists because the parade was in Brazil. But Gay Pride Parades universally descend into filth and callousness, real indifference to the harm people do to each other.

Evil


It is common when homosexuals are caught doing truly despicable things, for gay activists to claim that such cases are anomalies and do not reflect gay culture. This dismissal grows harder to maintain as the number of gays in powerful positions, who enjoyed enormous support from the community, get exposed for truly evil behavior. The case of Walter L. Williams is instructive. Williams was a high-ranking professor at the University of Southern California and founder of the first major Gay and Lesbian Archives. He had received accolades for his work supposedly documenting indigenous religions that accepted homosexuality. He became one of the ten most wanted fugitives of the FBI after it was discovered that his multicultural pro-gay work was intricately tied up with his sex tourism to countries like Mexico and the Philippines, where he hired underage boys for sex.

Greed

Gay Americans have enormously high incomes. Crystal Dixon, a black Christian working in Ohio, was actually dismissed from her job over charges that she was anti-gay because she published an article about the massive wealth and high incomes hoarded in the gay community. She pointed out that gay men living together had a median income of $130,000 per year, over twice the amount of a median household in the United States. Yet even with this bevy of capital, it is common for gay student groups on college campuses to demand wildly extravagant budgets relative to other groups. While about 2% of the US population is "LGBTQ" but over 50% is pro-life, one university in California gave the LGBTQ student group $296,000 in funding for one year and $0 to the pro-life group, resulting in this lawsuit by Alliance Defending Freedom.

Wickedness

In 2014, with the help of a dozen investigators, I published this list of 300  instances of extremely vicious behavior from LGBT activists. The list would be double this long today. The crimes range from smashing windows to opening fire on the Family Research Center to getting countless people fired and sending hundreds of death threats to children who did not support gay marriage.

Envy

The entire movement for gay marriage and gay adoption found fuel in a wellspring of envy. All the arguments hinged on the accounts of gay people suffering because they saw other people receive things they could not have for themselves. Texas recently passed a law stating that adoption agencies could choose to place children only in homes that met the parents' and the agencies' criteria, which might mean excluding two homosexual parents. Gay activists were furious and waged a massive campaign exaggerating horror stories to the public to make it seem as though Jews, single moms, and Muslims were being unfairly targeted along with gays. This fury boiled over even though the entire field of adoption exists for the benefit of the child and to be faithful to the decisions of the biological parents who entrust a baby to the state. The envy embittering gay writers' rhetoric was unmistakable since no Jews, single moms, or Muslims had ever had the audacious idea that they had a right to bring other people's children into their home to raise.

Murder

Currently the HIV rate is rising, with the highest infection rate found among teenage boys who engage in unprotected anal sex. Among drug users, heterosexuals, and hemophiliacs, the rates have declined but now the vast majority of the increase is coming among men who have sex with men. While early hopes for a cure led to some expensive drugs that can reduce the virus to undetectable levels, nevertheless many people find the drugs too costly to obtain or they are insufficient to forestall the onset of AIDs. While people can live longer with HIV, many of these newly infected cases will die of it. Fifty percent of black men who have sex with men get HIV before the age of fifty. Gay males have inflicted death on each other through a culture of callous sex and disregard for one's sex partners. This is so preventable and unconscionable, it can be called murder.

Quarrels

If you go to any of the articles I published on American Thinker, you can scroll down to the comments section and notice something. If the article is about homosexuality there are hundreds of comments, many of which consist of ad hominem and vicious attacks from gay people hiding behind pseudonyms. There is no group of people that swarms with more invective and nastiness than homosexuals on the internet. This reflects, in fact, the state of affairs within the gay community itself, where people often find the constant bickering and drama unbearable.

Gossips

Many of the gay lobby's key victories have resulted from personal attacks or embarrassment of those considered their opponents. Often such victories depend upon gay activists having secrets or private information about people and revealing such things at a time and in a manner suited to humiliating them. In Alabama, the state's first openly lesbian lawmaker even warned the public that if the laws did not move in her direction, she would start dropping people's secrets into the press. Soon the governor, Robert Bentley did resign in the midst of scandal. GLAAD has a Commentator Accountability Project, which consists of webpages that preserve embarrassing things that GLAAD's informants catch people saying. Josh Duggar's fall from grace based on leaked juvenile correction documents got cited many times by gay activists wanting to present the self-described religious as hypocrites who are as likely to abuse as help people. The Human Rights Campaign used contacts within the Internal Revenue Service to release confidential tax returns in order to embarrass donors to the National Organization for Marriage. Once such details are leaked and posted on the internet, scouts will eagerly forward the URLs in the comments section, in reviews, or in Twitter/Facebook exchanges, wherever the target of the smear campaign appears to have made it into the news. Mark Foley was brought down by gossip, as was Ted Haggard. Sometimes the gay community outs people through gossip but the person tries to redeem themselves as an openly gay man. Such was the case with Ken Mehlman. Other times gay activists repeatedly accuse public figures of being gay (like Tom Cruise) and this starts to lose its effect. When I came under fire from the gay lobby, activists contacted my father, my siblings, my wife, my co-workers, cousins, and others, either to plant incendiary ideas in my social networks or to troll for information.

Here are some names attached to people who pretended to be new friends or supporters, befriended me, and then seemed to have sought to get information from me through email or Facebook exchanges: "Yisroel K," "Diane Ezer," "Mark Miner," "Gattoparda," and "Magenta." There are many more, too many to enumerate here. The pattern with them was the same: they would email me saying they were somewhere out in the public and just wanted to converse with me because they really liked my work. After a few exchanges they would start forwarding me links from things about me online, saying, "I just came across this--is it true?" The links were often from Jeremy Hooper's blog, Good as You; from Wayne Besen's site devoted to tracking down and "exposing" ex-gays; or other blogs run by gays hostile to me, including Towle Road, Equality Matters, or ThinkProgress. After a while I began to feel suspicious of such people and found ways to cut them out of my activities. They would reappear magically whenever another controversy arose, often mailing me things with my name on a list with many other conservatives in the CC field. At times they hope to get people to hit "reply all" and began exchanges where others are also hitting "reply all." This way they can do as Jeremy Hooper did to embarrass some conservatives and bring down Exodus--at some point they insert another person into the distribution list when people do not know, now allowing a gay operative to see everything in the conversation. My friend in Utah found a passage from one of her emails suddenly quoted in the city's newspaper, attacking her. Gossip appears so repeatedly among gay activists, one can say that the LGBT movement has a unique affinity toward it as a political tool, probably because of the long history of "outing" and public shaming that shaped early gay culture.

Slanderers

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights organization in the world, put up a website and included my name on a list of people involved with a study by Mark Regnerus, with which I was not involved. They did this, one might suppose, so they could have a reason to post insulting information about me, most of which was twisted around. The HRC also sent an email blast to all its members claiming that I spoke at a conference in 2014 when I was not even there. They claimed I gave speeches at National Organization for Marriage marches which I never attended. A gay student at CSU Northridge accused me of causing him to fail my class because I let him attend a conference I organized at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley. According to the investigator, Susan Hua, the student claimed he was just coming to terms with himself and couldn't deal with the content targeting gays. But there was no content targeting gays in the entire day--none of the four presentations of 83 exhibits targeted gays at all--and he was actually an officer in a campus gay group, not a newbie coming out. He also was not in the class he claimed to be in, attended five classes all semester, and did not turn in any work. The number of lies gay activists tell is shockingly long. Homosexual Sean Patrick Maloney, a current member of Congress and former partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, served as counsel for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and this was key to his political rise. Yet the Foundation was founded based on a lie: Matthew Shepard was not murdered by homophobes because of anti-gay bigotry. The two murderers were actually dating daughters of homosexuals and they had gotten along with the gay parents. They seemed to have had an argument over a drug deal gone wrong. The case of Tyler Clementi likewise led to a cottage industry of advocacy and an act of Congress passed in Clementi's name. Yet Clementi was not the victim of a homophobic roommate--though his roommate served time in jail and was hounded by gay activists to get more time. Clementi was having sex with gay adults twice his age he did not know, whom he was meeting on the internet, and this reckless behavior was an obvious factor making him suicidal.

God-haters



In the video above, one sees a typical display from an unhappy gay man railing against those who believe in God. Mr. Ruff, an Assistant Vice Principal in North Carolina, harangues and berates two teenagers who exercise their free speech rights by advocating against abortion. Mr. Ruff, pro-choice, screams at the students that the aborted babies will go to Hell and that he does not care about God, because he is "gay as the day is long." His anger against God is linked to his homosexuality even though the students are addressing abortion, an issue that does not affect him.

Arrogant

Homosexual organizations such as GLAAD have such large egos that they assume they can destroy anyone's career who says anything remotely critical of them. GLAAD and other gay advocacy groups warred against the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty, the Benham Brothers, and even shows that merely depicted "gay" men who married women in a positive light.

Proud

The homosexual advocacy community has becomes so self-aggrandizing that massive efforts persist to force children across America, as young as four years old, to learn about homosexuals. See the work we do at Mass Resistance Texas. Part of the lesson plans put forward in such efforts involve teachers testing students on questions such as, "is it normal for a child to be raised by two gay parents?" And the child must answer yes or be marked wrong. Though representing a tiny part of the population, the gay lobby sees itself as so important that entire units must be devoted to them, displacing basic subject such as math and reading, even in poor urban schools, schools where children have not yet learned English, and schools populated by conservative rural Christians.

Boastful

No other group can compare to the gay community's tendency to exaggerate accomplishments. In recent years gay groups have tested the limits of truthfulness to claim they make better parents than straight people, they are more creative and better for the economy than straight people, and their achievements against sexual mores equal those of African Americans overcoming slavery and segregation. Tim Cook, the homosexual in charge of Apple, said his homosexuality was a "gift from God." Many gay Christians have taken to claiming that their homosexuality makes them special and they have particular gifts to offer the church. Gays sometimes claim they need special housing just for them, bathroom access for transgenders denied to other students, and separate awards ceremonies.

Inventors of Evil

Paul alluded to the fact that with the distortion of sexuality come new evils that one would be unable to foresee. And so it has come to pass. Since the normalization of homosexuality, gestational surrogacy has exploded--this is, in a nutshell, the traffic in cash-for-babies with extraordinary trauma caused to carrier mothers. Three-parent embryos are now being developed after the UK legalized them, largely at the behest of homosexuals who want children genetically related to both of them. And finally, the transgender movement has fueled a growth in hormone drugs, destructive sex-reassignment surgery, and untested scientific procedures imposed on "transgender" children as young as pre-pubescent.

Disobedient to Parents

Gay activists have been circulating a fake statistic claiming that 40% of homeless teenagers are gay. This is the result, supposedly of vicious Christian parents kicking them out of the house for being gay. Upon closer examination, it seems the narrative must be broken down. Children can be emancipated by age 15 or 16, so it is strange to say that 17-year-olds have been "kicked out" by parents. That they cannot hold down jobs and find roommates or Section 8 housing stirs curiosity. Many cases seem to involve the child being difficult toward their parents and actually running away from home. But collectively, gay activists use cases like the suicide of Leelah Alcorn to demonize parents and blame them for their children not being fully happy as gay or trans.

Undiscerning

The political narratives so useful to gay activism often cloud the judgment of gay people, such that they cannot interpret or understand events around them objectively. For example, when Barack Obama invited gay activists to the White House, they took pictures of themselves making obscene gestures at Ronald Reagan. They still blame Ronald Reagan for the AIDS crisis, a pandemic caused by gay men having wild and irresponsible sex without condoms starting in the late 1970s. Ronald Reagan was president between January 1981 and January 1989. The AIDS crisis only became noticeable by about 1983, and especially with the death of Rock Hudson in 1985. How Ronald Reagan could have caused the crisis remains utterly incomprehensible, but the lack of discernment allows many politicized gay narratives such as this to persist. In this podcast, Brittany Klein and I discuss the widespread gay reaction when a major online prostitution ring was busted by authorities. Many gays viewed this as violation of their right to free speech.

Untrustworthy

In the fall of 2016, a young actor whose father was my friend told me he was interested in auditioning for a role in a play I wrote. The play was about me, so he was going to play me. He told me he was gay and biracial but interested in looking into the play with an open mind. I set a contract with him, and directed him for a week of rehearsals, during which he spent much of the time bad-mouthing the co-author and trying to convince the other actress that he was an innocent victim of my and the other author's cruel treatment. I paid him thousands of dollars in salary and flights, to bring him to London where the show was to premiere. He then told his father he was angry at the London producers, told the London producers he was mad at me, and told me he was mad at the co-author. Sabotaging rehearsals and making it look like the co-author was to blame, he then quit the play in a melodramatic email sent to all the principals involved that he could not perform because he did not feel safe and protected--two days before the play was set to go forward. At the age of 45, with no acting experience and having rehearsed none of the play, I had to play myself at the age of 15. It was humiliating, and he stayed in London for five extra nights at our expense, not even showing up to work or doing anything to earn his keep. He never repaid me his salary which I had advanced him. I messaged his father, who simply stopped returning my messages but continues to publish pro-family articles in the same circles where I move, feigning an identity as an honorable Christian spokesperson when his adopted son plays with Tarot cards, seems to flirt with Satanism, runs frauds on people, and apparently carries out acts of sabotage such as this with his contacts in the gay community. By the end of this horrible episode it seemed likely this was a hit job and some gay group sent him there to interfere with my life. This is not atypical of gay life. This is how gay groups do their political work. This is also, unfortunately, how many gay people act.

Unloving

When listening to Dan Savage, Wayne Besen, or most famous gay spokespeople, they are cruel. Dan Savage laughs about raping Rick Santorum and wishing Republicans dead on national TV. He starts rumors that Michele Bachmann's husband is gay. He is raising children but behaves like an adolescent still rudely trying to assert primacy in the schoolyard. Like many "gay parents," he shows few instincts that are kind. Yet he is seen as such a gay leader that Barack Obama received him at the White House and his "It Gets Better" project was taken up in Congress. When the vicious attacks came against children raised by gay parents who criticized gay marriage, not a single "gay parent" came forward to ask the community to treat its own children respectfully. The gays who did come forward, such as Paddy Manning and Jean-Pier Delaume-Myard, were homosexuals that were not raising children. Rosie O'Donnell and  Elton John both made high profiles of their family life and then behaved in unconscionable ways as parents, yet nobody can criticize them. This is not a community that has shown it can be loving. It has shown, rather, that it can be exceedingly unloving, and it usually is.

Unmerciful

Kim Davis went to jail because some gay men who were not from her county looked her up and drove to her county office to start trouble for her. When she got out of jail, they continued to sue her. Eric Walsh was driven out of his job in Pasadena and moved to Georgia, where the gays drove him out of his job again. His crime? He once preached a sermon, much like this essay, on homosexuality from a Christian perspective. The long list of people hounded out of their jobs and harassed by gays for the rest of their lives, often over nothing more than differing from their opinion, is long and ominous. The one thing that the gay community has never shown--ever--is a collective sense of mercy. Their grudges are epic, their punishments against perceived enemies epic

There is no doubt left in my mind

When I was a young man, I could not see that something as simple as accepting gay people, and telling them they could have sex without it being a sin, would be as complicated and traumatic as the modern gay movement has become.

I am not God. I cannot see what God sees. God said to stick to a vision of sexuality, set down at the beginning of the world, that involves man and woman cleaving together. Homosexuality is an exceptional problem because it creeps into our lives so easily, it distorts our thinking so totally, and wreaks destruction that we cannot imagine.

Live by faith. Some things are not understandable to our fragile sense of reason.

Homosexuality is wrong. I must say it. I must live by that credo. I cannot choose the predilections or vanities of fellow flawed mortals over what God commanded. And now I have all the proof I need that Paul meant what he wrote, and he was right, 2000 years ago.

Monday, May 15, 2017

African Scientist Speaks out on Obama's LGBT Policies in Nigeria, Senegal, et al.



AND MY DEBUT AS A RADIO HOST (GUEST)!

https://taxpayervor.com/?podcast=tvor-show-13-may-17-hr-1
https://taxpayervor.com/?podcast=tvor-show-13-may-17-hr-2

Top Ten Reasons that Academic Freedom Is a Dead End

The news out of academia is atrocious. About a million times I've said, it cannot get any worse. And then Berkeley bursts into flames, Catholic colleges ban Chick Fil-A to placate the legions of Sodom, Carol Swain quits her job at Vanderbilt, a Chicano lesbian gets a sitting US Senator no-platformed at a black college in Texas over same-sex marriage, and the AAUP--the professorial advocacy group most responsible for our language of "academic freedom"--rushes to defend the crazy white woman from your local bookstore's attic, Melissa Click. The AAUP wouldn't help me when a gang of racists drove me out of my job in L.A., presumably because most of the racist ringleaders were homosexuals. But they're on the case when a redheaded white woman incites goons to attack an Asian American reporter.

As I've written a bunch of times, academia is horrendous and won't improve unless somehow people find a way to cut off all federal money to it. Chances of that happening are slim to none. Since my last English Manif post on the topic, in which I basically tell everyone to give up on higher ed, I have received more missives saying, "you can't say such things!" from conservatives who think that somehow if they are just even more groveling, desperate, and cloying, a few liberals will convince the rest of academia to treat us like human beings. Fat chance! I am reminded of a passage from the Book of Malachi, which I recently covered in my daily devotionals:

"Look, I am going to rebuke your descendants, and I will spread animal poo all over your face-the crap left over from your festival sacrifices-and you will be thrown out with the poo." --Malachi 2:3

How the elitist caste system in the US works and seems so difficult to fix (hint: it's not about Wall Street)

The origins of the United States
university system.

THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED IN LATE 2011.

The most depressing thing about being a professor is being part of the United States professoriate. I love teaching, scholarship, ideas, and service. But the professoriate is, unfortunately, an integral cog in the machine that is the American academy. And the American academy is literally a feudal, caste-based holdover from the Middle Ages. Harvard and Yale, the two first colleges founded in the United States, were patterned after European colleges which were themselves designed around the religious authority of the church.

Professors are called "doctors" because their title comes from "doctus," a Latin term meaning "learned." A "doctor of the church" was an ecclesiastical authority who proved to superiors that he knew the scriptures and exegesis well enough to be trusted as an authority on the Bible. One prerogative afforded to the doctors of the church was the right to define articles of faith. If Christians failed to demonstrate sufficient understanding or commitment to articles of faith, they were tortured. Those who were not Christian were tortured until they recited articles of faith, or in some cases massacred.

Monday, May 8, 2017

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE



In the eighth chapter of the Book of John, Jesus Christ makes two statements in rapid succession. They encapsulate in a few phrases wisdom to cure many Christians of the anxieties that afflict the conservative movement. In 8:31, Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” A few lines latter, Jesus adds, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.”

An Update

My Twitter feed has exploded in recent weeks, with plentiful panic about the pitiable state of free speech on college campuses. Big cases—big because they both worsen and reveal the deep structural wounds caused by the purge of Christian and conservative professors—played out this week: John McAdams, Anthony Esolen, Rebecca Tuvel, Paul McHugh, Carol Swain, Keith Fink, and Paul Griffiths.

I know of other professors, and of people who know of still others, who are in similar purges but who have to stay silent because of confidentiality gags. Then you must account for all the adjuncts like Mary Grabar who never got tenure-track jobs, earlier exiles like John Zmirak who got out of the academy for better lives, and the many conservatives in grad school who sold their souls to liberals, ran out of the hallowed halls screaming, or were chased out by the usual mobs of screeching race hucksters, homofascists, feminazis, climate-change cabalists, and Marxophonies before they could get their doctorates.

When the dust settles on this sandstorm, there will be many, many, many, many academics on the list of casualties. Seven in one week are but the tip of a big iceberg untouched by global warming.

Okay, the Time to Stay Calm is Over, Conservatives!

We don’t know how many conservatives the liberal academy is surgically removing in what can no longer be denied or ignored for what it is—a concerted putsch. This is the big political story of our era: money, propaganda, conspiracies, corruption, fraud, sex, lies, and hidden bodies.

This is bigger than McCarthyism, and way more expensive. It has involved financial corruption, tuition-based price-gauging, nepotism, and conspiracy to use publicly funded charities (universities) to advance one political party and stifle dissent. Besides persecuting political opponents, academia has corrupted research, knowingly spread profligate falsehoods (especially about sex, gender, and race), and defrauded millions of college graduates who went into debt for an overpriced education that left them dysfunctional, unemployable, mentally unstable, and brainwashed.

We have witnessed a criminal transfer of wealth from hard-working poor and middle-class families to fund managers and university administrators swimming in a deluxe swamp of untaxed endowments that are not being used to advance the common good.

Save the Evidence-Because It’s Really Bad for the Left

The left perpetrated this and must be held accountable, not only through shaming and a thorough accounting for the history books, but also, through some kind of massive restitution. The liberal corruption of academia coincided with enormous increases in tuition and student debt (discussed in my book).

Some estimates of student loan debt range between one and two trillion dollars, but this does not count all the money funneled into university tax shelters, which are not being taxed, and all the payments to colleges for tuition, books, fees, and other expenses, in exchange for a faulty product people were forced to buy through false advertising and a crooked credentialing system. A massive part of the nation’s economy—and of countless families’ budgets—went into a black hole of waste, creating a drag on our country’s economic growth and productivity, which nobody has yet fully theorized. And the people who did this were insufferably smug and completely wrong about everything, on top of all that. (Who will do a study on this when all the economists are paid by or scared of universities?)

Several months ago, when I came out with a book on higher education called “Wackos Thugs & Perverts,” people thought the title was outrageous. Now, as Berkeley has seen three riots and three guest speakers blocked by politically correct outrages, the harsh title seems almost too gentle. Isn’t there something deeper going on?

Everything is getting worse every day. Remember when it was only conservatives who saw their freedom crushed and they were generally deemed deserving of such treatment? I remember. I remember when even conservative watchdogs thought lots of us who came forward with stories were just loonies because why else would so many people in the academy think we were crazy?

At last, some who caviled are now realizing what is afoot. The AAUP responded to my SOS calls in 2014 with unworried emails, saying there was no tenure or academic-freedom issue there. They had the usual routine down, which they use, presumably, when being forced to deal with a kook: “My job is to make you go away, here’s a cookie; this gentleman with the holstered Taser and a security badge will see you out the back way. Good afternoon, Sir.” Now the AAUP is actually starting to sweat (too late to help me, of course—I left that job.)

But Conservatives Need to Get Serious

We can’t get it twisted, though; large numbers of conservatives were either complicit with the racket or contributed to it by their own foolishness. In 2015, I remember trekking to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican lawmakers about academic freedom, with the explicit aim of alerting them to the Higher Education Act and provisions therein, which would enable them to intervene in persecution cases like mine.

After months of trying to get appointments, my friend and I arrived to be told no lawmakers could meet with us, but instead two charming twentysomethings would greet us in their dungarees and flats, with mugs of coffee and yellow legal pads, the pages of which I am sure did not survive five minutes after my departure. These were interns or clerks or something—I wasn’t quite sure.

They told me they were concerned and keeping watch over academic freedom, mostly by reading stories about Laura Kipnis. Prof. Kipnis was a liberal Northwestern professor who wrote a column defending the practice of professors sleeping with students, and alluding to an ongoing rape investigation with dismissive comments about the (unnamed) accusers. As a result of this, the individuals who had raised the rape charges filed a Title IX retaliation charge against Prof. Kipnis, which resulted in her being investigated for two months and then cleared of all charges. I asked the Hill interns, “are you aware of other cases, for instance conservatives opposed to homosexuality, where people were actually investigated for years and then lost their jobs?”

They replied something to the effect of, “I am sure such cases exist.”

My friend stepped in to say, “It would be a very sad thing if you guys diddled around talking about academic freedom while Dr. Lopez, who’s been under investigation for 9 months already, had to leave his job in California, and nothing got done about this. Think of all the others who will lose their jobs.”

The writing could not have been darker on the wall than it was on that day. But the Hill interns said I should email them with any updates (I did, with no response) and they would keep an eye on things and let the appropriate lawmakers know they met with me. My friend and I got phone calls with various staffers over the next year, with nothing other than repetitive references to the case of Laura Kipnis. “We sent a letter to Northwestern about Laura Kipnis’s case,” one told me. I responded, with growing unease, “great! She seems a great lady! But she was cleared of all charges and has a job. Do you think you might send a letter to my college?” 


“We don’t want to make things worse,” they said.

“You need hearings!” I was screaming like a crazy person screaming, “soylent green is people!” My dean, who would be named the head of the Clinton Global Initiative on campus and got elected to be president of the National Council of Deans of Arts and Sciences (which is interesting since she is dean of neither arts nor sciences), methodically loaded up my personnel file with reprimand letters and procedural annoyances until at last I decided the only fate worse than losing tenure at Cal State Northridge would be having tenure at Cal State Northridge. But as I was on my way out, I had some consolation that finally Congress was going to hold hearings about academic freedom.

The “hearings”

Professor Robert George, distinguished with his grey locks and gleaming spectacles, appeared before Congress alongside a bunch of his students and a leftist who was told he could not hang up Bernie Sanders posters at Georgetown.

They spoke about the importance of free thought and exchange of ideas, etc., etc., etc., while I proceeded to pull out most of my hair screaming at the wall, “this is it? These are your hearings? These people aren’t about to be fired. When will we talk about defunding the colleges and subpoenaing all the creepy Medusa figures in the administration who keep landing millions of dollars in grants and harassing conservative Christians until they leave?”

Get ready for the death toll-but stop diddling

On many campuses that pushed out conservatives, the routine was frighteningly similar. Well aware of FIRE and other groups devoted to academic freedom, the administrators had learned, by a few years ago, that they could not attack conservatives by openly repudiating their conservatism. They either frame them for some unrelated procedural violation (falsifying files if they have to), or else drag them into a complicated investigation that they know will not survive an academic-freedom challenge, but will likely lead to the victim breaking a rule like confidentiality, notification, disclosure, or non-retaliation.

Because this was how the system worked and still works, countless people live now under investigation, facing certain ousters. They are hostages but we do not know where they are, since they are cowed by confidentiality rules, gag orders, and the observation that courts are siding with liberal oppressors.

Reality Check

If you want to save academic freedom, be aware of some hurtful truths.

First, conservatives dropped the ball. Nothing they’ve done worked and if they don’t try new approaches, this will become even worse.

Second, no painless strategy can fix this. You love homecoming, reunions, the football games, and the friends you made in college. You may have nostalgia for all you learned and the warm professors who guided you into adulthood. But those charms chain you to an oppressive system that threatens our democracy.

Universities are utterly hostile to your values and to God—even the vast majority of religious colleges. They got this bad because they rely on a steady stream of money that has never slowed or stopped, no matter how outraged the nation became. The only strategy that will work will be financial. The federal government must cease all public funding for colleges and universities, save for trade or vocational programs and seminaries (which are vocational). Our nation’s debt matches, roughly, the enormous amounts of cash that this corrupt system has funneled out of the functioning economy into their twisted Wonderland of emotional torture, sexual depravity, and fiscal recklessness.

People you love in the university system will experience pain if this system is to be fixed. Grants, backing of student loans, and tax exemptions on donations must all cease. Forget the conservative refrain of local and state control—the federal government got thoroughly entangled in all this and must take the lead. These are not non-profit charities so that loophole smacked of fraud from the beginning. In the case of most Catholic colleges, the non-profit status actually constituted charities fraud since the church has not yet reversed its stance on chastity yet these Catholic colleges not only fund homosexual social groups but even persecute people who defend Biblical sexuality on their own campuses.

Were such a strategy pursued, we would see massive job losses, the abolition of tenure, the closing of many struggling colleges, and cuts in pay. The wasteful and parasitic administrative class would have to go, causing painful unemployment to possibly millions of people who have made their living off the fat of this monstrous system. So many good people with good intentions would be hurt in the process. For that we must grieve.

But I left my job and quit tenure. It can be done. The universities and their workers brought this infernal crisis on themselves. They had adequate warnings and have no excuse for why they let the situation get this far.

Let go of “academic freedom”

Lastly, you must realize that this is not about academic freedom in the way we have discussed it thus far.

If you are truly conservative, your end goal is not a state of academic freedom, which would imply a situation in which all ideas are expressed and allowed on campus forums, and nobody is blocked from or suffers retaliation for their statements. Such a world would lack all discernment. It would be without virtue, without distinctions, constantly doubting its morals, and incapacitating the triumph of any position over others even in matters of grave importance. It would be demonic.

If you are conservative, and especially if you are Christian, what you seek is the Truth. The Truth is from God and exists as wisdom un-darkened by confusion and sinful thoughts. The Truth is not only what is, but what is right. With our imperfect minds, we cannot rush to decide what Truth is. We cannot censor competing views, except when we can show certainty. But academic freedom within such a system is a means to an end, a tool to build our monument to the Truth. In debates eventually we must acknowledge Truth where it lies, not remain uncommitted.

The left became horrendous because the left was wrong. Their prescriptions about improving race relations did not work because they were wrong. They were wrong about homosexuality and now we see the falsehoods of the LGBT movement growing more arrogant and multiplying as people who were celebrated for their errors now see further false affirmations as their entitlement, and Truth as an attack on their fragile sense of self.

The Truth is on our side. Now as we see all of higher education declare war on Truth, and on us because we championed it, we have nothing to lose. Do not hide behind caveats of academic freedom, as if all we want is to be given a chance to speak, a slush fund to bring Ann Coulter for a speech, a seat on a panel beside people peddling lies—that is not what we want. We want the left to stop lying. We want to proclaim the Truth so people see it, and stop listening to the left, and start listening to God. If this means that academia crashes and turns into ruins of a lost past, do not be mournful. Rejoice, for God has given us victory. Do not worry for tenure or being published somewhere prestigious or stuffing your resume with awards and grants. God gave you legs to walk and a tongue to shout His Word from the rooftops.


Academia is lost. We will never get our desks and library carrels back. Harvard will not ask us to speak what we know from behind a podium with a brilliant seal while the future leaders of America applause and smile. We have won our freedom. Enjoy it. 

ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Tale of Two "Offensive" Pics--and One Old & Stale Narrative

Recently Jemar Tisby of the Washington Post ran a column with the title, "Why a racially insensitive photo of Southern Baptist seminary professors matters." A photograph posted on Twitter by five professors working at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), then deleted, prompted Mr. Tisby to write said article. Here is the photo:


Readers will have to show patience in parsing this incident, since it is extremely complicated. I will explain more about the photo later. First let us establish the genesis of Mr. Tisby's article. (His Twitter profile states that he is a PhD student, which I assume means he has not defended a dissertation yet. Out of respect, I like to call people the highest title I can infer, so that would be "Mr." here, though I would call him Dr. or Prof. if I could extrapolate that from what's published about him.)

The picture above only circulates on the web because some people took screen shots of it and continue to post it around, against the wishes of those who first published it. But Mr. Tisby seems in concord with those who republish the image. He fears that with the deletion of the photograph, which offended him, people might forget about it before he and others have a chance to explain why it hurt them.

Who deleted the photo from Twitter? The people who posted it. These are also, incidentally, the people in the photo. That the photo vanishes seems to worry Mr. Tisby, since he wants to focus his readers' attention on it for a lengthy, long-term, ranging meditation on race in Southern Baptist America. So Mr. Tisby not only wrote this piece for Washington Post but also retweeted fan mail to highlight that the article had impacts on others:




And:

Amid all this tweeting, some people who had nothing to do with the imbroglio jumped in, like Yolanda Pierce, an African American professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Below are several retweets involving Professor Pierce, with comments, which I posted. I no longer have evidence of the tweets to which I was responding. Professor Pierce blocked me without responding to any of my points. Here's one such tweet:


Eric Walsh
Where is all this coming from? Unless my memory fails, Professor Pierce had posted that the Seminary had insulted black people by deleting the supposedly offensive photo, apologizing, and calling for discussions of race on campus. In her mind the fact that the photo existed at all (and had been brought to her attention by people who took screen shots before it was deleted!) showed that such commitments to racial reconciliation weren't sincere. "Talk is cheap," she charged.

Crystal Dixon
My reply to her invoked the memories of Eric Walsh and Crystal Dixon, two professionals discussed in prominent stories that anybody worried about black Christianity would have to have known about. Ms. Dixon and Dr. Walsh, both African American Christians, lost their jobs in California and Ohio because they angered white LGBT activists with their insistence that homosexuality was not morally equivalent to black civil rights.

As Professor Pierce, a Christian woman, surely knows, it is no small thing to accuse brothers in Christ of things and cite scripture to imply that their actions are ungodly. (Professor Pierce stated that this was clear racism and it harmed the body of Christ; she stated this in a tweet reproduced and requoted in Huffington Post and other places.) The issue of the photograph is not clear-cut, so as Christians reading her condemnation, we must analyze closely her words to see if hers is the trustworthy position. Even though she is black and works at a famous seminary, she could just as easily be a "whitewashed tomb" or a pharisaical abuser who likes long tassels and being hailed at the marketplace. We cannot jump to take her side and humiliate the people she embarrasses on Twitter.

So what do we do? Jesus tells us to know the good tree from the bad tree by its fruit. Anybody can run around claiming saintly status, impugning the motives of others and calling it racism. Do they make such harsh claims because they are a good tree overflowing with the love of Christ's Word? Or do they make such harsh claims because they are a bad tree profiting from the people's confusion? In John 16:2 Jesus warns us that such things would come to pass: "a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are rendering a service to God." Paul reinforces the same warning in 2 Corinthians 11:14, when he notes that Satan comes masquerading as an angel of light. In the Old Testament God also cautions His people that sometimes they can misread things that happen and end up lying about God's will rather than telling the Truth. For in Job 42:7 God even tells the well-meaning comforter, Eliphaz, "you have not told the truth about me, as my servant Job has."

What comes out of our mouths reveals what is in our hearts. So did Professor Pierce show the same fierce defiance when shown the persecution of two African American Christians who were doing the right thing--two educated and professional achievers who had earned high positions and stood by God's word when it counted--or has she been flattering and groveling before white LGBTs for fear of being considered unfashionable in the liberal world of Princeton, where she works? The answer, which I never received, would indicate to me whether her tweets are falling from a good or bad tree.

Now, I would be remiss if I interrogated Professor Pierce without offering up proof of my own record on standing up against racism. My series of tweets sought to be thorough in this regard. While not tagging her, I also tweeted a number of articles to demonstrate that I had been writing about the problem of sexual radicalism and its harms to racial civil rights for quite a while:

In a Federalist article, I had challenged white icons like Norman Mailer who had misrepresented the black civil rights movement in the late 1950s and spread the false idea that civil rights sprang from the same source as the sexual revolution:

In a piece for Humanum Review, I had criticized Allan Bloom's legacy as a denouncer of academic liberalism. In that piece I also called to task a reputable Baltimore organization for devoting its legal assistance only to transgender black rioters, while doing nothing to address the dangers posed to heterosexual black men and women caught in the city's street violence just as Obergefell passed before the Supreme Court.


In 2013, I reported on information I received from colleagues in Africa and Asia about the effects of the United States' imperialistic approach to international LGBT advocacy.
I had published, in Colorful Conservative, connections between Phillis Wheatley's work and Horace's poem about a Persian slave boy, which had not been noticed before. As a Wheatley scholar (there are very few of us who did substantial research on the first black poet published in America), I had applied her poetry to the lasting trauma caused by shattered familial bonds, a topic with clear relevance to African American Christians. A point I have repeatedly made to my students is that critics of Phillis Wheatley err by complaining that she never denounced slavery strongly enough. Wheatley's care was foremost for God. Slavery ended when enough Christian warriors from the Union had faith that dying in the Civil War was fitting to be true to God. Her celebration of Christianity did more for emancipation, nearly a hundred years before the fact, than an outright statement against slavery would have.

More recently, I had brought attention to the problematic failure of the government's civil rights agencies to afford proper protection to black people. Lest someone object that my pitting LGBTs against racial minorities is a peculiar pet obsession, I point out here that actually the existing structure of anti-discrimination law has been undermined by LGBT ideology more than any other force. The ones with most to lose are the ones who need anti-discrimination law most to safeguard them--African Americans. LGBTs gained all their legal advances by equating their sexual choices to the African American civil rights movement. Such an equivalence required the erasure of Christianity among civil rights leaders, the redefinition of blackness as something comparable to a carnal sin (whereby LGBTs then declare that all sin is acceptable the way all races are lovable human beings), and gross exaggeration of the hardships and needs of powerful white people who happen to enjoy homosexual relations. Consider the offensiveness of Dustin Lance Black, a wealthy white man, producing an entire miniseries implying that black people and homosexuals face the same struggles. It is impossible to rearrange anti-discrimination law this much without essentially transferring the protections away from black people toward white LGBT people. The article referenced below explains:


I tweeted a few other links to show that I had spent a lot of time researching and contemplating these issues. I had also done all I could to publicize these questions. The main barrier to my ability to spread awareness was the refusal of outlets like Washington Post to publish any of my submissions.


The article tweeted below is noteworthy. In it I laid out the effect of the LGBT movement's particular persistence in erasing black people's history to replace it with one favoring their sexualized vision of civil rights. As a result, several organizations -- including the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and the Southern Poverty Law Center -- cited the article as proof that I was a dangerous hater. As a result I was blacklisted and barred from many public platforms. Hence I could claim credit for having staked a great deal for the sake of defending black civil rights.




In bringing these points to light, I used no language that Professor Pierce had not used in attacking the white professors at the Seminary (who had not caused anybody to be fired). My question rested on a simple point of accountability: as a sister in Christ willing to hurl vile accusations at other Christians while quoting gospel, had she been the good shepherd to fellow Christians of color when the white LGBT wolf came? Or had she acted as the hireling and fled? "If not, we know which talk is cheapest," I mused.

I meant it. How can Professor Pierce say that Paige Patterson's talk is "cheap" if she exerts her energies on a photo that harmed nobody, yet lets black Christians lose their jobs because white gays are "appropriating" their racial history?

If a photo of white professors dressed as thugs is offensive, then the allusion to "Freedom Riders" with the jeu de mot "Equality Riders" to describe buses of homosexuals driving from town to town to make sure that college students can engage in forbidden sex acts without reproach or guilt would be exponentially more offensive.

Some of the articles I tweeted delved deeply into the ways in which the LGBTs' appropriation of black history damaged and undermined people of color, robbing them of the protections against discrimination that the civil rights leaders had fought for. Among others, Austin Ruse has noted that the Southern Poverty Law Center's focus has fallen so heavily on protecting LGBTs from even mild criticisms, that they are hardly doing anything for blacks anymore. Similar points hit at the ACLU. Because so much of LGBT advancement depended on the distortion of black history, black Christians were, rather than given protections, singled out for particularly harsh treatment by pro-gay liberals. And black leftists have been very poor in coming to the defense of black conservatives targeted this way.

I had demonstrated, for example, that nations like Senegal and Kenya were being held hostage by foreign aid guidelines that required them to de-criminalize sodomy or be punished financially. I had also documented the ways in which Title IX under President Obama gave so much greater power to charges of sex or sexual orientation discrimination that the equality and diversity offices were, in cases like mine, literally being used by gay white people to silence and drive out people of color who question the gay-as-black false equivalency.

Along similar lines, I responded to a tweet from Professor Pierce, which had stated that she was "SICK" of people describing things like the photo as racial overtones, rather than denouncing such behavior as racist and responding with due force. Since Professor Pierce spiced her tweets with repeated citations of scripture, I spiced mine with some scriptural turns as well:


Do black women who feel SICK of racism have no need for grace, mercy, or fairness? Is Christianity for them based on a different Bible with all the calls for self-criticism and self-sacrifice cut out?

Mr. Tisby retweeted other statements like this one, to let people know that his friends and he had a quick comeback for anyone who might question the "this is incredibly racist and these guilty white Baptists must nod while I condemn them publicly with no grace at all!" response that was quickly winning over hearts and minds along the corridor between Washington and Princeton.



But let's get back to the image that sparked all this conflict. Remember-it was the photo full of stereotypical, offensive depictions of people of color which provoked a heartfelt apology and sympathetic coverage in the Washington Post immediately:


As you can see... wait! Stop. Hold on.

That isn't a photo of five white men in a Texas seminary. I must have uploaded the wrong pic. What is that picture, you ask? That's a gigantic wall mural full of highly stereotypical images of Latinos, whites, and strange racial "others" looking like ghouls, which has remained prominently in Jerome Richfield Hall of Cal State Northridge since 1999.

I know about that image because I taught at that institution for eight years (more on that in a moment), during which time I fought for diversity in hiring and curriculum, plus advocated for both veterans and Latino Christians who complained repeatedly about the mural to no avail. There was no apology--only perpetual backlash, radio silence from all the nationally recognized antiracists involved in the current debate, and my ultimate ouster.

The threats against me at Northridge were no child's play. I had evidence that a white professor had spread vicious rumors among Latinos, for seven years, that I worked for the CIA and had come to CSUN to spy on them and engage in government-backed sabotage. Needless to say, the rumor was utterly false. As I explained this to one of the diversity investigators on campus, a white Englishwoman named Alexandra with blonde locks and sky-blue eyes, I baffled her. Why, Alexandra asked, would it matter if Latinos on campus thought I was a CIA snitch?

"Do you know what they do to snitches in Latino neighborhoods?" I asked her. She did not know.

I fought real racial oppression. I know the power of an image and the danger caused by racially charged words--so as I return, now, to Mr. Tisby's article about a photograph from Southwestern Baptist Seminary, I do so with the confidence that I have some authority on this issue.

As I left CSUN like a refugee, rushing off campus fearful of being murdered by gang members who believed I was really a CIA plant there to deport their relatives, my only hope was the job offer that had saved me from the racial Hades of Los Angeles. And where was that job offer from?

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

None other than Paige Patterson had found me in LA and offered me a job. When I joined the College at Southwestern, I came as a full professor, receiving the promotion and raise that the racist white liberals in California had repeatedly denied me. At Northridge my dean, a white lesbian, and her minions blocked me from raises, promotions, grants, and resources, though I had higher qualifications than white co-workers who'd received those benefits and rewards more quickly and more generously. Those who feel skeptical and want hard evidence can find full documentation of these issues in Wackos Thugs & Perverts, which MassResistance published in February 2017.

I find myself, therefore, with quite a useful microscope in my possession, for I witnessed and documented responses from white secular liberals at one university and white conservative Christians at another, around a surface issue (public display of provocative and stereotypical images misrepresenting people of color) plus serious institutional issues (fair treatment, promotions, pay, anti-discrimination safeguards, etc.). I have a clear litmus test to find out if the tut-tutting accusers who claim outrage about the Baptist-professors-as-thugs are blowing gusts of hot air. People like Mr. Tisby, Professor Pierce, Dr. Edmondson, and Mr. Scott cannot claim they had no way to know about the injustices cited in the aforementioned articles about people of color who suffered discrimination because of white liberal policies. I am not the only one who raised such questions and, as the tweeted articles reflect, I have left a deep and long paper trail.

So, Mr. Tisby, if you are out there--are you listening?

A paradox vexes Mr. Tisby's disquisition, because on the one hand the photo infuriates him and on the other hand he wants the world to keep reviving it even after those he deems the culprits have acknowledged the offense they caused. They removed it so it would not cause any more harm. They hoped that their apology and remorse could soothe any injured feelings on the people whom they knew they offended. But Mr. Tisby sees so much important knowledge to gain from talking about the briefly-posted-then-quickly-deleted photo, he has taken a minor Twitter mistake people hardly knew about, and elevated it to national news at the Post. He and his associates granted no such escalating power to other cases of racial discrimination that were far more urgent and severe.

The differential use of his platform reflects Mr. Tisby's divergent estimations of what matters.

If the phrase "Why x matters" feels vaguely familiar to you, you have probably read a number of similar essays whereby a respected or at least snugly employed polemicist explains to you why you should stop paying attention to things that you care about and instead worry about the author's pet obsession. "Black Lives Matter" became the name of a movement. In 2014, like a copycat I named a conference about family ties Bonds that Matter to signify to those in attendance that our relationships to our mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters all mattered. My use of the phrase "Bonds that Matter" brought the wrath of white liberals on me. In their view, by arguing this point I was implying that gays and lesbians, who want children to love and obey them instead of their own mothers and fathers, didn't matter as much as they wanted to matter. So I was charged with being an anti-gay bigot and driven out of my job (by white women and white liberals who found my advocacy for racial diversity distressing, no less!)

Even among the less famous causes, the slogan "this matters" has become so common it elicits very weak reactions.

For example, you can hear from N.T. Wright on FoxNews why the cross matters more than we think. In less ethereal quarters, we hear from Jane Houlihan that cosmetics and your health matter. Rachel Gee reminds us that the 50th Consumer Electronics Show also mattered. But that's not to neglect the point by Tim Slade, Cath Chapman, and Maree Teeson that women's alcohol consumption matters, especially because it is increasing almost to the level of men.  Amelia Hamilton insists that Missouri's new labor law really matters, which is not to discount, necessarily, Scott Cendrowski's insistence that Elon Musk's plans to expand TESLA into China matters. But for real, Sara Chodosh also has a point that Pluto's status as a planet matters.

By now you may be wondering why you should think about things based on the direction of Jane Houlihan, Cath Chapman, or Scott Cendrowski, most of whom you probably do not know and have no reason to invest tremendous confidence in. It is impossible to find a guideline indicating what should matter and what should not, why you should care about the price of pancakes along Interstate 35 versus the rampage of lime and mustard colors coloring the Paris runways until Fashion Week looks like a sorbet factory exploded.

We care about things that we care about and don't care about other stuff. People like Mr. Tisby and Professor Pierce care about beating up white Southern Baptists who sought only to be gracious toward them, while they do not care about me, black Christians losing their jobs, Senegalese people being colonized by UN's white feminists, the 50% of black MSMs who will contract HIV, Latinos who have seen an offensive mural mock them for two decades, or black and Latino men who get driven from their jobs by gay whites who use Title IX to lash out at Christian people of color.

Mr. Tisby cares about counting the number of black professors at a conservative seminary headed by a Southern Baptist white man. He seems to care less about the headcount of black professors at a College of Humanities in Northridge, headed by a white liberal lesbian tied to the Clinton Global Initiative. If the latter mattered to him as much as the former, then he would have written about the mural in Jerome Richfield Hall a year ago, when it was causing a stir in the press and I brought testimonials from offended Latino students to the public.

Paige Patterson cares about bringing a Latino Baptist suffering from racial discrimination and anti-Christian animus out of suffering, and giving that Baptist a chance to share his witness in a place where people can profit from it. He cares about a photograph that was on Twitter for a few hours, too. So of everyone, perhaps he stands on the most solid moral ground.

I care about Christian men who are being wrongly accused of racism by people who do not know them and do not know how dedicated they are to people of color and working-class Christians who could find no solace by studying in Princeton, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. As the links in this article also show, I care as well about people of color, racial fairness, and faith.

To be perfectly frank, I do not care about the feelings of professionals who accuse others of the sin of prejudice without any evidence, especially if they have no track record of assisting all the Christians of color who I know suffered in recent years at the hands of leftist persecutors ... even if they are people of color. 

Mr. Tisby says this in his Washington Post piece:

But the biggest problem doesn’t show up in the picture. The presence of any person of color would have reduced the chances of this photo ever happening. But a photo like this evolves in an environment that lacks meaningful interaction with people from other cultures, especially on the leadership level. The seminary’s website appears to picture all white men in an administration and an entire preaching faculty. Even if a school has diversity in the student body, if the decision-makers all come from a similar racial and cultural background, then they will remain oblivious to their own racial blind spots. Unfortunately, racial homogeneity is a shortcoming within white evangelicalism as a whole. Looking across evangelical denominations and nondenominational networks, leaders tend to come from similar backgrounds. They are predominantly educated, middle-class white men. Racial uniformity in the leadership means blunders like this photo will probably keep taking place.  


He links to the preaching faculty without noting that there are other divisions like Scarborough College, where I am one of the three full professors; the important School of Music, whose dean is African American; or Theology, which has Latino and Asian faculty.

The Seminary is in a heavily Latino and African American neighborhood and does significant work in prisons, ministering to people of all races who have largely been unserved by educational establishment types. They have a missions program that sends students all around the world. As the advisor to the Latino students on campus, I can point to significant interaction among students from different backgrounds. One could be crude and count heads of people of color as if indexing cattle, but if this litmus test works for Mr. Tisby, then he should count the number of blacks and Latinos at my old employer, CSU Northridge, especially since he curates the African American Museum in the same city.




Spending so much time in Los Angeles, I wonder why he never took time to investigate whether the claims by a brother in Christ at Northridge were true. Indeed my claims are true! The number of blacks and Latino full-time faculty in the largest department, English, fell from five to one between 2008 and 2016. Over eight years I fought for more diverse hiring and curriculum, but white colleagues blocked me and kept my proposals for more ethnic literature from getting out of committee.

Then Mr. Tisby ends with accusatory questions he could have posed directly to people at the Seminary:

Southwestern could certainly use this opportunity to dialogue about race and diversity, but I hope the seminary goes further. I hope it will commit to hiring professors and staff members from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The professors could conduct an audit of their curriculum to see if they are assigning works by scholars of color. The seminary could review the places it goes to recruit students. The leadership could visit other seminaries with more diversity to learn how they could change their own campuses. Sit down with minority students and ask them if they are willing to speak honestly about their experiences at the seminary.  


Check done, the seminary is doing all this, which is why I had the glorious opportunity to come as a full professor. For my section of Literary Interpretation, I used a syllabus that I had tried for five years to implement at California State University-Northridge. In liberal California, I had been forbidden from ever using the syllabus to teach English, because powerful people on campus, especially the white professors, kept shooting down the proposals. At Northridge the English department even had a white homosexual, who grew up and was educated under South African apartheid, posting on the listserv that I was not to post any of my opinions there-to the applause of the white man who was teaching about bilingual Latinos!

At the seminary I taught a multicultural world literature syllabus without a problem. Each week my students studied a theorist and a creative writer. Among the theorists, they read Henry Louis Gates Jr., Edward Said, Gauri Viswanathan, Gayatri Spivak, Chinua Achebe, and Paulo Freire. Among the creative texts, they read African American, Latin American, and Asian writers, who comprised over half the syllabus. To match a writer with Achebe's theories about imagining Africa, I had to translate Leopold Senghor's poetry into English because I found no available translation for them.

So think about this. The students at Cal State Northridge who finish English majors will never get to read poetry by Leopold Senghor, a key figure in the Negritude movement and early leader of Senegal. Why? Because I am not there. Why am I not there? Because the white liberals at CSUN drove me out. The leftist race critics did nothing to help me, and the white seminarian Baptists, whom Mr. Tisby wants to excoriate, brought me to their campus to teach the students.

About that photograph...

These five white males in the photograph teach in the School of Preaching. It appears that they posed for this photograph as a farewell card to Vern Charette, a Native American professor who is leaving the School of Preaching to lead a church. Trying to be funny and not entirely succeeding, they not only gave the picture to Dr. Charette but also posted it on Twitter at around 12:11 PM on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. It did not go over well. Jonathan Merritt from Atlantic Monthly seems to have come across the photograph and forwarded it around. Shaun King, Lecrae, Don Cheadles, and a number of other people had seen the photo within hours.

By three and a half hours later, the photo was deleted from Twitter, the Seminary had tweeted a note stating that it was gone, Dr. David Allen (second from the left) had tweeted remorsefully that he'd taken it down, and there was no sign anywhere that the five white men in the picture or anyone on the Seminary's campus or anywhere in the world sought to anger black people.

Why talk about this any further? If the point would be to remind everyone that black people are still healing from racist oppression, the melodrama of the tweet's backlash and ensuing spectacle of remorse served quite well to remind everyone.

If the purpose would be to reiterate that black people do not all wear loose-fitting urban apparel and carry guns, then the photograph would seem to be a poorly chosen focal point. There are no black people in the photo, nothing in the photo implied they meant to be viewed as black, there is no blackface, and it is a rather obvious truth known to every American who spent eight years with President Obama that a black man dressed in formal business attire warrants no surprise. Our time could be better spent aiding people of color who have education and wear business suits--like Crystal Dixon and Eric Walsh--but who receive disrespect from white liberals.

And here is an important point--if the purpose would be to move people toward substantial actions to change the lives of people of color, shouldn't we start talking about the actions we plan to take to change the lives of people of color? I could use some help. When does my phone ring off the hook? When do I get to wail that I am offended, and win apologies and remorse from people for the price I paid (and many didn't) for standing up for racial justice?

A picture speaks a thousand words. But reality speaks a hundred thousand.

ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ