At long last, we can finally put a name and a public face on what is the anti-gay, theocratic Christian Right: The Arlington Group
After his abandonment by his friends in the Christian Right, former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has taken his frustrations public and is naming names. Thanks to a tip I got from reading one of our fundamentalist allies against Dominionism, we were led to this website which does a great job in further investigating the membership roster of the Arlington Group. According to PJ Miller:
The Arlington Group is a coalition which unites the leaders of almost all of the most prominent Christian Right organizations in the United States.
Founded in 2002 principally through the efforts of American Family Association President Donald Wildmon and Free Congress Foundation Chairman Paul Weyrich, the group seeks to establish consensus goals and strategy among its members and translate its combined constituency into an overwhelming force within the Republican Party, particularly at its highest levels.
Its membership and purpose overlaps to a high degree with the Council for National Policy; but the group is much more narrowly focused, choosing to emphasize such issues as same-sex marriage, abortion, and confirmation of like-minded federal judges.
If you’ve ever wondered what a “brood of vipers” looks like, look no further.
The Arlington Group:
Alliance Defense Fund – Alan Sears
American Family Association – Donald Wildmon
American Values – Gary Bauer
Bott Radio Network – Richard Bott
CatholicVote.Org – Raymond Flynn
Center for Moral Clarity – Rod Parsley
Citizens for Community Values – Phil Burress
Coalition of African American Pastors – William Owens
ConservativeHQ.com – Richard Viguerie
Coral Ridge Ministries and Center for Reclaiming America – D. James Kennedy
Covenant Marriage Movement – Phil Waugh
Exodus International – Alan Chambers
Family Research Council and FRC Action – Tony Perkins
Florida Family Policy Council – John Stemberger
Fieldsted & Company – Howard Ahmanson, Jr.
Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action – James Dobson
Free Congress Foundation – Paul Weyrich
High Impact Leadership Coalition – Harry Jackson
Inspiration Television Network
Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration and Vision America – Rick Scarborough
Liberty Counsel – Mathew Staver
Liberty University – Jerry Falwell
National Association of Evangelicals – Leith Anderson
Ohio Restoration Project – Russell Johnson
Salem Communications – Stuart Epperson
Southern Baptist Convention – Richard Land
Susan B. Anthony List – Marjorie Dannenfelser
Teen Mania Ministries – Ron Luce
TeenPact – Tim Echols
TheVanguard.Org – Rod D. Martin
Tradition, Family, Property
Traditional Values Coalition – Lou Sheldon
If, to many people, Mike Huckabee’s book tour of “naming names” seems a little too much about crying over spilt milk because of his own Christian Right credentials, well there is good cause. Mike Huckabee’s own view of civil rights for the LGBT community is extremely dark. As Pam’s Houseblend notes, Huckabee is on record of comparing homosexuality to bestiality and necrophilia, says being gay is “a choice”, wants to recriminalize sodomy, wants to prevent lesbian and gay couples from adopting and to prevent same-sex partners from receiving spousal survival benefits.
More recently, Huckabee speaking on the television show “The View” complains that “”People who are homosexuals should have every right in terms of their civil rights, to be employed, to do anything they want (odd, considering everything he’s said in the past – see above)…..But here is the difference. Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge.”
I guess Huckabee’s never heard of Matthew Shepard. Or perhaps he hasn’t read the FBI’s latest statistics showing that, although hate crimes on the whole have dropped, hate crimes against lesbians and gays has risen 6%. How many skulls are enough for Huckabee to acknowledge another American’s civil rights?
The question might be raised, is Huckabee the lesser of two evils or, simply, the evil of two lessers?
Name: Alexey Ledyaev (aka Aleksej Ledjajev, Aleksejs Ledjajevs)
Organization: New Generation Church, First Party of Latvia (LPP), No Pride, Watchmen on the Walls
Title: Pastor, Musician
Location: Riga, Latvia
A Latvian of Russian-ethnic origin, Alexey Ledyaev, emigrated from his native Kazakhstan in 1985. Since then, he has helped found and minister over the New Generation Church, a “Russian Baptist” (a Pentecostal sect not affiliated with the mainline Baptist church) megachurch with approximately 5,000, mostly Russian or Russian-speaking members, and which also has an American franchise in Springfield, Massachusetts. Ledyaev, a self-proclaimed “activist for human rights”, is also active in the First Party of Latvia (LPP), a political party with a theocratic bent that represents Latvia’s Christian Right.
Taking cues from the anti-gay American Christian Right (and many times working in direct contact with), Ledyaev makes his base in Riga, Lativa, working to tear down the wall between Church and State while demonizing lesbians and gays with his unofficial offshoot, “No Pride”. “No Pride’s” logo mirrors the obscene anti-gay imagery of Fred Phelps “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church and is plastered onto the t-shirts and signs of Ledyaev’s supporters and collaborators. For his so-called human rights work, Ledyaev has been called “one of the major forces behind gay-bashing in Latvia.”
When the LGBT community of Riga held their first Pride Parade in 2006, Ledyaev’s followers, in association with neo-nazi skinheads and members of the Latvian National Front, held a massive counter-demonstration that escalated into a vicious display of anti-gay hatred and violence, including pelting LGBT Christians and their “homosexualist” supporters with eggs and bags of feces as they left a local church.
“When the service concluded, the priests asked the congregation to exit the church to avoid a group of men who had been spotted gathered angrily in the front of the church. Half of us had exited when a group of around ten to twelve men swung from the front entrance to the back and began to verbally insult the churchgoers. Shortly thereafter, one individual reached into his shoulder bag and threw a small plastic bag at the priest. The priest dodged the missile and the stench emanating from the bag as it hit the ground made it evident that it was full of shit. Soon, other assailants were laughing, yelling, and throwing eggs and shit at the members of the church gathering.”
“According to the organizers of the gay pride day in Riga on July 22, members of New Generation’s congregation met them outside the Anglican Church after a service held by the openly gay priest, Maris Sants, where they proceeded to throw excrement at parishioners. “People in my group recognized them,” Juris Calvitis, the Anglican minister who oversaw the service, says.”
Attacks against lesbians and gays continued along the parade route and into a local hotel that had hosted the event’s sponsors while the local police looked on. A year and a half after the event, a member of the New Generation Church and a member of the LPP were sentenced to 100 hours of community service for their involvement in “hooliganism” against the civil rights marchers, as Ledyaev and 20 of his supporters stood in the court for support.
Unlike many “Talibangelists” in the United States, Ledyaev does not mince words in his hopes for a theocratic state in Latvia and, presumably, America.
These quotes are taken directly from his website:
For our mind it’s so natural and traditional to take in the concepts like “Islamic State”, “Islamic government.”
But as soon as the conversation turns to “Christian state” and “Christian government” all the world is put in motion.
Somebody has separated church and state to unimpededly (sic) demonize and control the rulers. Somebody has criminally agreed with that, but somebody is earnestly protesting, proclaiming from the high housetops, that in the last days God will return church to state as the sole solution for all problems.
Church will be able to destroy the works of the devil on the governmental level, to clear the government from magic and witchcraft, and to proclaim the just principles of the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ in the country.
And if there are Christian principles in the basis of the ideology, it means that such concepts as ‘Christian country’ and ‘Christian government’ will become a real experience and will easily be taken not only in human mind, but also in the Chronicle of the Last Revival.”
And what would be the role of the LGBT community in this “Christian country” with a “Christian government”, you might ask?
“Homosexuality is a…dangerous and contagious disease. The contagious should be isolated and treated. Otherwise, an epidemic will sweep through the entire community.
Homosexualism is a global problem and it is only the first wave. After that comes Islamization. If we won’t stop the first wave, then the second wave won’t wait for long.
In the name of Jesus I curse this phenomenon! I curse the root of this movement!
Let a stone, without the assistance of a hand, come off the rock and hit this homosexual idol right on its legs! Let this idol come down to ashes!
You, the Pharaoh of homosexualism – we will not give a hoof, a rusted nail to you!”
To the recent dismay of many LGBT Americans who now find themselves under siege by anti-gay counterdemonstrators at recent Pride Parade events, Mr. Ledyaev and his associates have now exported excrement to America’s shores.
Along with notorious Holocaust Revisionist and professional queerbasher Scott Lively and his partner-in-crime Ken Hutcherson, Ledyaev has partnered with right-wing Russophones and dominionists in the United States to create what The Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an extremist group called Watchmen on the Walls.
The Watchmen on the Walls is made up of some of the most far right, anti-gay elements on American and International soil, including:
Vlad Kusakin (US; the host of a Russian-language anti-gay radio show in Sacramento and the publisher of a Russian-language newspaper in Seattle)
Scott Lively (US; Christian Reconstructionist and Holocaust Revisionist author)
Alexey Ledyaev (Latvia)
Wade Kusak (US; anti-gay host of a Russian-language radio show in Sacramento, California)
Chalcedon Foundation (Christian Reconstructionist organization)
Rev. Ken Hutcherson (US; active in Redmond, Washington and nationally)
Vadim Privedenyuk (US; runs an anti-gay church in Springfield, Mass)
Once considered a longtime safe haven for lesbians and gays, the influence of the extremist “Russian Baptists”/Pentacostals in mobilizing thousands of anti-gay supporters at LGBT events in Sacramento has turned this once tolerant city into a community gripped with terror. The level of viciousness emanating from the recently arrived Russian-speaking community has made many lesbians and gays in Sacramento fear for their lives. And with good cause.
According to the SPLC:
On the first day of July (2007), Satender Singh was gay-bashed to death. The 26-year-old Fijian of Indian descent was enjoying a holiday weekend outing at Lake Natoma with three married Indian couples around his age. Singh was delicate and dateless – two facts that did not go unnoticed by a party of Russian-speaking immigrants two picnic tables away.
According to multiple witnesses, the men began loudly harassing Singh and his friends, calling them “7-Eleven workers” and “Sodomites.” The Slavic men bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a “good church” like theirs. According to Singh’s friends, the harassers sent their wives and children home, then used their cell phones to summon several more Slavic men. The members of Singh’s party, which included a woman six months pregnant, became afraid and tried to leave. But the Russian-speaking men blocked them with their bodies.
The pregnant woman said she didn’t want to fight them.
“We don’t want to fight you either,” one of them replied in English. “We just want your faggot friend.”
One of the Slavic men then sucker-punched Singh in the head. He fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. The assailants drove off in a green sedan and red sports car, hurling bottles at Singh’s friends to prevent them from jotting down the license plate. Singh suffered a brain hemorrhage. By the next day, hospital tests confirmed that he was clinically brain dead. His family agreed to remove him from artificial life support July 5.
In August of Sacramento authorities charged Andrey Vusik, 29, with involuntary manslaughter as a hate crime in Singh’s death. Vusik has since fled to Russia and is being sought by the FBI. A second suspect, Aleksandr Shevchenko, 21, was arrested at his home and charged with intimidation and interfering with a victim’s rights, also as a hate crime.
Ledyaev, and other members of the Watchmen, have refused to condemn the hate crime killing of Satender Singh. As of November 2008, Ledyaev continues to enter the country freely and recently bragged that he toured four states in 30 days, delivering 30 sermons in support of banning same-sex marriage and tearing down the wall of separation between Church and State.
Name: Lou Engle
Organization(s): Justice House of Prayer, The Call
Title: Co-Founder, preacher
Location: Kansas City, MO
Lou Engle is a charismatic Evangelical who belongs to the Apostolic-Prophetic Movement and whose religious philosophy has been linked to Dominionism. Despite claiming on his website that “we deny the Church will take over all the governments of the Earth before the return of Christ,” various statements he has made in the past demonstrate that he does not renounce dominionism and believes that the United States should be a theocracy. Sponsorship of “The Call” event in San Diego, which rallied against same-sex marriage, was in large part funded by Howard Ahmanson, a wealthy Reconstructionist/Dominionist.
Dominionists believe society should be governed exclusively by the law of God as codified in the Bible, to the exclusion of secular law. For lesbians and gays, this means State-sponsored stoning executions of suspected and confirmed homosexuals.
Engle, along with Bob Jones and Paul Cain, is one of the leaders associated with the Kansas City Prophets, a group that has been long suspected of being a cult. Bob Jones, whom Engle is oft to quote, was removed from his leadership position in the Vineyard Anaheim church because of sexual improprieties, which consisted of encouraging women to undress in his office so they could stand “naked before the Lord” in order to receive a “word.” Cain was exposed after movement leaders determined he had engaged in a pattern of “unbiblical behavior” that included heavy drinking and homosexuality.
Engle founded a Christian revivalist organization called The Call in 2000 that organizes mass rallies of young Evangelicals to publicly fast and pray, often against abortion and gay rights. In November 2008, a Call rally was held in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium to oppose same-sex marriage. During the course of the rally, Engle (who often goes into hysterics while preaching) called for spiritual warfare, a “cleansing” of San Francisco – presumably against homosexuality/tolerance of gays – and for young people to be martyrs for a Christian take-over of government.
Engle is also the founder of “Justice House of Prayer” (JHOP), an offshoot of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), located in Kansas City, and founded by his co-religionist Mike Bickle. JHOP has franchises in San Francisco, Washington DC, San Diego, Boston, and New York City.
Among the “mandates” against abortion and a support of Israel (Christian Zionism), JHOP’s mandate against homosexuality claims to “deliver and redeem” the “homosexual community”, which “raises itself up against the knowledge of God and seeks to destroy the identity of our generation.” JHOP’s seeks to “convert” lesbians and gays to heterosexuality and text-proofs Luke 7:47, which viewed in its entirety (Luke 7:40-50) is about the equality of forgiveness through faith, and not at all about “redeeming” or condemning homosexuality.
Believing lesbians and gays can be cured through prayer (and if that doesn’t work, keeping in mind the dominionist undercurrent running through JHOP, through stoning), JHOP’s San Francisco franchise rallies weekly in the heart of San Francisco’s gay community. JHOP San Francisco is led by Lou’s son, Jesse Engle.
For the most part, they have been ignored. However, with the passage of Proposition 8, JHOP received a less-than-welcome reception when they attempted to antagonize lesbians and gays on the night of Friday, November 14th 2008. In what can only be called a spontaneous uprising against homophobia, angry Castro residents and visitors chased the group out of the community while the SFPD were called in to “protect” the proselytizers.
Afterwards, members of JHOP, claimed they were sexually assaulted and threatened, although no evidence has come forth to support such claims. It would be fair to assume that such charges were made up to defame the lesbian and gay community while currying sympathy for those who purposely came into the Castro to gloat over the passage of Prop 8 and antagonize the victims of hate.
Right-Wing Watch has a collection of articles on Lou Engle that are well-worth checking out. Some excerpts are below:
Engle is an unabashed “dominionist” – someone who thinks the church, under the leadership of modern-day apostles like him, should rule over government and other institutions of society. He thinks of himself as a John the Baptist who badgers Christian teens to adopt a radical lifestyle of fasting and prayer that will bring God’s intercession against gays, liberal judges, and the like.
“It just tells about the significance of the moment and the real need to pray,” Engle, whose ministry is based in Kansas City, said in an interview Wednesday. “I spoke recently with a man from a Muslim country, who said to me, ‘Lou, we’re praying for you all over the world, for what you’re doing, because if same-sex marriage stands in California, it will sweep all over the world.’ “
It turns out that The Call and its founder Lou Engle are closely aligned with a militant Christian dominionist movement called “Joel’s Army” run by self-proclaimed prophet and faith-healer Todd Bentley.
Lou Engle is married to wife, Therese, and have five sons and two daughters.
Name: Frank Shubert
Organization: Schubert Flint Public Affairs, Yes on 8, ProtectMarriage.com
Title: Campaign Manager, co-Chairman
Location: Sacramento, CA
Frank Schubert is president of Schubert Flint Public Affairs and was the campaign co-manager for California’s Proposition 8, a voter approved initiative aimed at banning same-sex marriages in the State of California by amending the state’s constitution to declare marriage between a man and woman only.
According to his company’s website, “Mr. Schubert lives in Lincoln, California with his wife and three children. He is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Political Consultants and WIND Youth Services, Inc., a nonprofit group assisting homeless teens. He serves as Captain of the Catta Verdera Men’s Golf Club and previously served as president of the St. Francis High School Booster Club.”
Passage of Prop 8 couldn’t have happened without the expertise of Schubert. From the start, he shaped a campaign that purposely obscured the anti-gay intent of the initiative while engaging in what can only be described as anti-gay Blood Libel, by using children to stoke irrational fears and hatred about a persecuted minority to take rights away from that minority.
Here are some examples:
“One of our campaign cornerstones will be the fact that if the initiative [to ban gay marriage in California] doesn’t pass that public schools will be forced to teach the difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.” – Jennifer Kerns, Campaign Spokesperson for ProtectMarriage.com
“In health education classes, state law requires teachers to instruct children as young as kindergartners about marriage. (Education Code 51890). If the gay marriage ruling is not overturned, TEACHERS WILL BE REQUIRED to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage.” – Text stricken from Voter Information pamphlet after lawsuit by the No on 8 campaign
“Ask yourself this: do you know of a single constitutional right that isn’t taught in the schools? Once gay marriage is established as law they have to teach it along side of regular marriage and they will teach it.” – Frank Schubert, Culture 11
“‘We bet the campaign on education,’ Mr. Schubert said.” – New York Times
Not all parents with children were pleased with Schubert’s use of children, especially their children, in the anti-gay effort to ban same-sex marriage. In San Francisco, several parents (of their own volition) took their kids to the wedding of the children’s teacher who was married to her wife in a private ceremony. When the Yes on 8 campaign obtained footage of the event, it was used to as further “proof” that schoolchildren would be indoctrinated that gay marriage was normal and that homophobic parents would have no choice in the matter.
When these parents attempted to confront Schubert in his office, he had them thrown out of the building. Said one parent, “I want to ask him how he would feel if his children were manipulated like this.” Schubert refused to meet with the parents.
Schubert himself denies that he is anti-gay, although a lesbian niece disputes that. Two of his sisters and a niece are lesbians, although, as many of us know, having a lesbian or gay relative is not necessarily a pass when it comes to anti-gay prejudice. After the passage of Prop 8, Schubert’s niece felt so disgusted that she wrote an apology to same-sex couples now prevented from marrying thanks to the work of her uncle.
Since the passage of Prop 8, Schubert continues to function as an anti-gay activist. After massive, but mostly peaceful, marches and rallies against Prop 8 erupted in cities across California and the U.S., Schubert continued his public defamation of the lesbian and gay community by equating such demonstrations as “hateful”, “intolerant”, and (ironically) as “trampling on civil rights”; even going so far to use the “T-word” and while describing these events as “wildfires of hate going out of control.”
“It strikes me as quite ironic that a group of people who demand tolerance and who claim to be for civil rights are so willing to be intolerant and trample on other people’s civil rights.” – Time Magazine
“Amidst all this lawlessness, harassment, trampling of civil rights and now domestic terrorism, one thing stands out: the deafening silence of our elected officials,’ said spokesperson Frank Shubert of ProtectMarriage.com. – WeHo News
“This is a very disruptive, small group of fanatics protesting because they were unable to persuade Californians of their position.” – Fox News
Referring to the targeting of the Mormon church over their huge role in bankrolling the campaign and to envelopes containing harmless white powder sent to two of the churches (although no one has claimed responsibility for it nor is there any indication that whomever sent them was angry about gay rights):
“They mean to frighten and to intimidate the people who supported Proposition 8 and those who have stood up for traditional marriage. This is the very definition of terrorism and that is what is occurring in California today.” – KTLA.com
What the future holds for Frank Schubert as an anti-gay activist remains uncertain. It may be very likely that he will be involved in similar future campaigns aimed at dismantling what little civil rights the LGBT community has or curtailing through initiatives any chance at obtaining rights.
We’ll have to wait and see.
After the passage of Proposition 8, I was angry, saddened, and disappointed – as many of us were. And like many of us, I couldn’t just shake it. Here we were being confirmed as “lesser than” simply because of who we choose to love and live our lives with. Many of us, especially those of us who live in places like San Francisco, had gotten complacent and didn’t feel the sting of discrimination as sharply as perhaps those of us who live in areas where religious and government-based persecution of queers is the norm.
But the passage of Prop 8 reminded us once again that, like our LGBT brothers and sisters living in communities of intolerance, we were all in the same boat. Many queer folk like myself aren’t activists – most of us just want to get on with our lives and live it in peace. But as we’ve learned in the last few weeks, we will never live in peace until we live in justice. And injustice against our community is in full-gear, as we saw in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, and California.
As much as I’ve tried to temper my anger into positive action, this blog originally became a way to not only attack the heteronormative mindset of the anti-gay bigots, but also attack heterosexuality itself. Although I tried to make many good points, even I could read afterwards that my anger was misdirected and had the capacity to alienate our friends, family, and allies in the straight community. Taking on the propaganda and hate of the anti-gay Right, like those in the AFA or people like Peter LaBarbera, and substituting the word “heterosexual” for “homosexual” didn’t satisfy me at the end of the day. Instead, it made me feel like an accomplice to hate instead of an agent of love and reconciliation.
We won’t win this fight by dividing people and speaking in shrill tones to people who, not only are already on our side, but those who might be convinced to renounce their anti-LGBT beliefs and support equal rights.
My change of heart concerning my activism came from several avenues. The first avenue is my committment to living the life of someone who loves God and loves God’s creation with impartiality. Although I don’t hold many of the traditional dogmas of the Christian faith, many of which I think are a perversion of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I continue to look towards the words and acts of Jesus and the early apostles (and most recently, Paul, whom is a confusing and misunderstood figure in the faith) as one kind of example of how to live.
The other avenue has been watching straight people stand up for equal rights. How easy it would be to divide the world into black and white, or straight and gay. But the fact is, this movement about equality has left the gay ghetto and has been taken up – though it still has a way to go – by our straight friends, families, and co-workers. We cannot make progress simply by demanding straight people support us – we must, if possible, integrate into their communities and them into ours. However, integration is not assimilation and we must continue to make the case for diversity and respect as companions to equal rights. Not all of us will choose to emulate the way some straight people live, and neither will they suddenly choose to emulate some of us. Like it or not, we sometimes have distinct cultural differences and we must respect each others differences while fighting for the right of everyone to be treated equally under the law.
Lastly, this last big rally at City Hall (November 15th, 2008) began the process of healing my heart of the pain and anger caused by the revoking of our rights to be treated equally by the State where marriage is concerned. I came away from that rally changed, and charged with love. I vowed then to not fight hate with hate, or anger with anger, but to work and use my skills for the cause of good, for the cause of healing, and for the cause of changing hearts and minds.
So why focus on the anti-gay activists if I want to change hearts and minds? Why dwell on the persecutors of the LGBT community?
For me, it’s my way to understand who these people are that attack us. We may never know why they attack us, other than they just hate us, but I feel that when we know who is attacking us and from what angle they’re attacking us, we disable the “surprise factor” that often leaves us confused and bewildered. A Chinese General by the name of Sun Tzu once conveyed this when he said:
“It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”
So while we are learning that we aren’t alone in our struggle, that we know ourselves and who are friends are, we must spend an equal portion of our learning time to understanding who is waging war against us. That is why this blog resource exists.
It is my hope that it is but one resource that contributes in our struggle for full equality and respect the world over.
In the beginning, God made Adam and Steve.
And he deemed this to be Fabulous…or so it would seem.
After several millenia, God grew bored. True, Adam and Steve were always good for some witty chit-chat and they hosted fierce parties in their meticulously maintained Garden, but God was planning on writing a book and no one wants to buy a book where the plot is missing a conflict, climax, and resolution. Happy, healthy gay relationships that don’t end up in tragedy don’t sell books or movies, and God knew this. He is, afterall, the Supreme Brainiac.
To make his publishers happy, God – life’s editor – re-wrote the Creation Story and Adam and Steve’s life together was suddenly relegated to a draft; they were made “roommates”. But God is a loving and generous creator, and seeing as though he was splitting up the first happy gay couple, he rewarded Steve with a position in his heavenly choir which, like all church choirs, was already full of queers.
Soon thereafter, Steve was promoted to Heavenly Enforcer, or “God’s Bureaucrat”. More than anyone in the universe, Steve was in God’s eyes the ultimate Process Queen. Steve fussed over ever single, minute detail – so much so that everytime God rolled his eyes a star was born (no, not Barbara Streisand). Always the trendsetter and never one to miss reinventing himself, Steve changed his name to the more ornate-sounding Sataniel – friends called him Satan (and “Ol’ Horny Goat” when he wasn’t listening) – and happily went about enforcing God’s laws. Wherever Steve went, the angels would crank their necks and snap, “would you get a look at Miss Day Star! Fah-lawwwless!”
This left Adam all alone and sad. To make Adam happy (and to please his publishers), God in his mighty voice proclaimed “I want my babyback, babyback, babyback…Chili’s Babyback Ribs” and out of Adam’s rib came the gay man’s sidekick for all eternity: Eve – The First Faghag. Eve was also the world’s first Beard, but I digress.
And thus – convenient heterosexuality was born.
As the centuries wore on, God decided to shop around the book to all of the tribes of the ancient world. There were many choices, such as the Hitites (oh, they were fun!) and the Kadmonites (a little icy for God’s taste), but in the end God settled on the Jews.
For, though he felt sorry for the Jews – and who doesn’t from time to time? – he had no idea how paranoid his new chosen people would be. Paranoia was rampant in Hebrew society and several times God had to reveal himself just to say “Chill, my people, chill. That fire-raining-down thing is just an urban legend spread by Lot in order to make a few shekels on some real estate.” But it was to no avail. Nevertheless, it did sell books and that’s all God was really concerned about.
As God’s chosen people, paranoid Jews of the Bible gave us homophobia. And can you really blame them? You can’t throw a stick without hitting a gay Jew! Or should I say, you can’t be a harp-playing future king of Israel without getting a little wang from the present king’s son….I’m just saying.
Heterosexuality shaped by Jewish paranoia is rampant in the Hebrew Scripture and yet, the Jewish people never really latched on to queerbashing as a way of life –if only because they couldn’t agree with various Halakha, such as which stones were clean and unclean; should the stone be used to strike the homosexual in the forehead or in the neck, and is stoning a homosexual on the Shabbat permitted if it is considered a mitzvah? “Oy vey, Feygeleh!” they would say. Oy vey, indeed.
As we come to the Christian Scriptures, we see Josh the Jew burst onto the scene making fabulous pronouncements, hanging out with the riff-raff, wining and dining, and generally being a Drama Queen With A Cause. “Jesus”, as he is known in Koine Greek (which was the lingua franca of the time), founded the first inception of ACT-UP with Mary Magdelene as the token straight woman/faghag. Operating as he did in Jewish society, Josh was often forced to address the paranoid questions of the Pharisees regarding – whatelse! – heterosexuality, such as “is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” and “whose wife belongs to which brother” and so on.
“Oh, Mary!“, he would say in Aramaic.
“Yes, Lord?”, Mary Magdalene would reply.
“Oh, no dear, I wasn’t talking to you. I was just thinking out loud.”
How refreshing it was for Josh to actually do something good for The Gays, when he happened to stumble on a sad Roman Centurion whose young lover* was laid up sick at home. When the Centurion saw Josh, he threw himself at his feet and asked for Josh’s help. Josh wasn’t about charity for charity’s sake, and he asked the Centurion to have faith and that his faith would reward him and his young lover. And with two snaps, the twink was healed.
(*Some translations of the text indicate “servant” or “slave”, which would imply that these two were in a consentual S/M arrangement. Although, the Greek word “pais” which is used to describe the subject of the Centurion’s grief, would seem to indicate that he was actually a twink. Or, the “chicken” to the Centurion’s “chickenhawk”; the “sugar” to the “sugardaddy”, and so on.)
Josh’s confirmed bachelorism and refusal to condemn The Gays ultimately led to his martyrdom in the name of protecting heterosexual tradition and for violating the sacred laws of heteronormalism, such as the 50% divorce rate and the enjoyment of privilege over others. But like every gay boy, he sure knew how to host a supper party. To this day, Christians remember that last locally-grown, all organic, seasonal meal by the partaking of Communion, in which Josh’s body and blood are ingested in a form spiritual cannabalism typical of the modern paganistic Christian faith.
Had the paranoid Jewish invention of heteronormality stopped at Josh’s crucifixtion, heterosexuality as we know it today would have been radically different. But then something, or should I say someone, came along and fucked it all up for all time. He was a Pharisee named Saul – the first Evangelical wingnut. Saul was so Jewish, he could braid challah, kvetch about the Samaritans, and tease his Jewfro all at the same time. As with most Pharisees obsessed with sex, he was totally hung up on what other people were doing in the privacy of their own homes, and even whether their hair length was appropriately heterosexual enough.
Since Saul, aka “Paul”, was a Hellenistic Jew, he was exposed to and appalled at non-Jewish society which, in his mind, had committed the worst sin of all – they didn’t experience guilt over piddly shit.
Paul never met Josh, but when he saw how the followers of Josh were living in equality and harmony, he was so moved that he made a huge jump over to the other side, similar to the many Republicans who voted for Barack Obama. But while Paul, through spiritual osmosis, attained some of the good qualities of the first Jewish apostles like James, Mary, and Peter, the early Christian church absorbed some of that Pharisee hetero-dogmatism, proving that if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Or as the Book According to (someone we believe is named) Matthew succinctly puts it: “Don’t throw your pearls before swine. Instead: elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, touch pearls, blow a kiss.”
As Josh’s best friend Peter and his brother James were cast aside by an ambitious goody two-shoes, the early Christian church set about spreading the good news to the pagans, aka the “Respect Diversity” bunch. This had actually been quite easy since, with the exception of that nasty little incident orchestrated to take the spotlight off of Emperor Nero, the Romans pretty much left them alone. Of course, it didn’t matter to them whether they were being persecuted or not – the Jew-“ish” paranoia of heteronormative persecution had been firmly set in place in the goyim mind.
When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, this heteronormative paranoia became law of the land and what was once the persecuted religion of Josh, quickly became a religion of persecution roughly about Jesus. For many centuries, Christianity continued to de-evolve into a pantheistic (three-headed God and numerous demigods, aka “saints”) imperialism with hetero Jewish hangups, all the while making life hell for the Jews they coopted fragments of their religion from. We see this obsessive drive at negative assimilation to a similar extent today, with the hetero-seizure of queer slang and colloquialisms such as “out of the closet”, “manscaping”, and even the term “straight” itself.
However don’t be alarm, as having Gay On The Brain is symptomatic of heterosexualism and not to be mistaken as an acquiescence to sexual or cultural diversity.
And yet, throughout the Middle Ages, hetero society seemed mostly obsessed about itself while engaged in hetero-social customs such as wars of conquest, slavery, and mailorder brides. Gayness was cast to the margins, even if it would pop up later in gloomy witch trials geared at destroying the Lesbian Menace. Hetero-society in the Middle Ages, like today, was constantly paranoid that its grip of control over society would slip and only absolute authority over every facet of life could prevent the undoing of heteronormalism. Oddly enough, this desire for absolute control made criminals out of those whose sole objective was simply to translate the bible into languages people could actually read. As I will document on future blog posts, the hetero mind is anything but rational.
While hetero men and women were literally fighting over bible translations (as the heteronormalist mind cannot conceive of a world were there might be diversity of thought), it was in 1604 that a flaming, nelly bisexual by the name of King James I of England attempted to put the question to rest by soliciting a new and harmonious translation of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. This translation of the bible became in proceeding centuries the translation of choice by homo-fearing Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, despite the fact that when the translation was undertaken, the term “homosexuality” hadn’t yet been invented.
In fact, the term “heterosexuality” wasn’t invented until 1868 as a juxtaposition to a new term: “homosexuality”. As one of the later gifts of the Age of Enlightenment, heteronormative society was at last defined in terms of being different from a certain perspective, not the centerpiece from which all things revolve around. But as we’ve seen, it was irrelevant whether passages in the Scripture singled out “homosexuals” since hetero-paranoia was hard-wired into the religion, culture and society of the day, and of this day. If the word “homosexual” had been missing from the King James Bible before 1868, as it was, it would now be coopted from the “homosexualists” and inserted into subsequent editions by the hetero-paranoids.
That’s why, my young padowan, Christian heterosexuals and their brainwashed ex-gay sob-sisters can proudly tell you that homosexuality is a sin – because it now literally says so in the bible, version 1587.08 or best guess.
Despite our knowledge of the revisions and additions to biblical text, of which not a single original manuscript exists (kind of weird if you believe the bible is the literal and inerrant word of God; seems like you’d want to preserve the original text at all costs), heteronormality continues to go about its merry way irrespective of what is and isn’t rational.
Yet, it warms my heart to think that somewhere Sataniel, the Day Star and fabulous faggot angel formerly known as “Steve”, is laughing. He got out of the game before it turned into the hot mess we’re stuck with today.
So go ahead Steve. Have a good, long laugh.
God, you’ve got dibs on the screenwriting credits.
It’s the Greatest Story Ever Told.