Forget Same-Sex Marriage: Southern Church Prohibits BLACK Wedding

Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson were banned from having their wedding at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi because they are black.

Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson were banned from having their wedding at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi because they are black.

This is UN-FRIGGING-BELIEVABLE!

Forget about same-sex marriage: some southern Christians still can’t get past BLACK weddings!!

ABC News is reporting that First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi has prohibited the wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson from taking place in its building because they are African-American:

“There has never been a black wedding at the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Miss., since its founding in 1883. According to Pastor Stan Weatherford, some church members objected so strongly to breaking that precedent, they threatened to oust him from his pastorship.”

David Kenney of WLBT News in Jackson, Miss. reported the rationale of the pastor:

“This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that,” said Weatherford.

Seriously? This is what is STILL happening in the American South?? This is still an issue?

For the record, this is what we’re dealing with when we talk about racism and homophobia. And this is why people are so outraged about the Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A scandal. Yes, they are different issues, but they are treated the same in the eyes of many fundamentalists. Many of the same “Christians” that are actively campaigning to suppress the civil rights of gay Americans and prohibit same-sex weddings are also still campaigning against allowing African-American weddings. They are different issues, but the hatred and condescension and racist/homophobic fear is all the same.

Think about it: this church REALLY banned a black wedding!!! And yet, for some reason, we are supposed to value their opinion on same-sex weddings???

This is the mentality we’re dealing with in conservative Christianity. Gay weddings are not allowed. Black weddings are not allowed. Only white, straight Christian weddings please.

NBC News reported the frustration of the groom, Charles Wilson:

Charles Wilson said he doesn’t understand the ban. “I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn’t stand up,” Wilson said.

This is why we must stand up and we must report the absurd behavior of those who seek to use religion to prohibit anything different them themselves.

I’m still waiting for the church to claim that they were prohibited from getting married in the church for some other reason, as racism and homophobia are usually disguised in a something else. It still wouldn’t change the fact that the church has never hosted a black wedding.

Maybe Chick-fil-A can sponsor the next potluck for the First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi…

(HT: Jim West)

Chick-FAIL-A: Dan Cathy’s Selective Appeal to ‘Biblical Principles’

It’s funny how selective and subjective the term “biblical principles” can be to some fundamentalists.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy recently said in an interview with the Baptist Press that that he aims to operate his restaurant chain “on biblical principles”:

“We don’t claim to be a Christian business…But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles.”

He added:

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. … We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

It always amuses me when Christian fundamentalists cite “biblical principles”, they often select only those that oppress homosexuals. For instance, Leviticus 19:19 quite clearly reads:

“Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.”

Nowhere in the New Testament do we find a verse or command that countermands, rescinds, or trumps this injunction from God (like there is in Peter’s vision in Acts 10:9ff ( see esp. vv. 14-15), where Peter is told to “kill and eat” food that was previously pronounced by God to be “unclean”). There is no such verse unbinding the command of God not to mix fabrics in garments, and yet, the online Chick-fil-A store advertises the following:

Biblical principles? Which ones?

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said his business is run on ‘biblical principles’. Apparently, however, he’s only interested in the ‘biblical principles’ that oppress gay individuals.

Note the “cotton and poly” blend of the sweatshirt? One must ask: is this sweatshirt produced according to “biblical principles”?

Now, while some might call this “nitpicking”, the hypocritical and highly selective appeal to “biblical principles” is glaring: often times, when Christian fundamentalists invoke “biblical principles”, they do so selectively, and only when they are seeking to suppress the rights of others with whom they happen to disagree. I’ve discussed “cherry picking” and the fallacy of an inconsistent hermeneutic before. It repeatedly seems that fundamentalist Christians will ignore clear “biblical principles” they find inconvenient, but are quick to invoke them when there is a chance to suppress the rights of gays.

And for this egregious, homophobic biblical hypocrisy, I shake my head.

(HT: Found at Addicting Info.)

God Hates Chick-Fil-A

Congratulations to Chick-Fil-A, the new corporate symbol for Christian homophobia.

Congratulations to Chick-Fil-A, the new corporate symbol for Christian homophobia.

Congratulations to Chick-Fil-A, the new symbol for corporate Christian homophobia.

(I, Robert Cargill, made this mash-up.)

The mash-up below I found on the internet.

Chick-Fil-A: Official Chicken of the Tea Party, American Family Association, and Westboro Baptist

God Hates Chick-Fil-A

God Hates Chick-Fil-A.

When I first read The Onion article (“Chick-Fil-A Debuts New Homophobic Chicken Sandwich: ‘Queer-Hatin’ Cordon Bleu’ Goes On Sale Wednesday”), I simply thought it was a goofy satire on the well-known Christian fried chicken business, which is closed on Sundays.

It was not until this afternoon (I am presently in Israel digging at Tel Azekah) that I realized that the article was a response to comments made by the President of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, who was quoted last week as saying he was “guilty as charged” for supporting, what he called the “biblical definition” of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Biblical definition? Really? How fundy is this guy? I’ve addressed this issue before.

The Chick-Fil-A President continued:

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

Married to our first wives“??? What is he saying? NONE of Chick-Fil-A’s employees are divorced? Only upper management? Apparently it’s not enough to not extend benefits to same-sex couples. It’s not enough to publicly take a position on gay marriage (which is NEVER a good business move). But now we’re going to make an issue out of anyone who has been divorced and/or widowed and remarried??

This is a good business strategy? Apparently, if your business strategy is run by Rick Santorum’s campaign.

It’s no wonder that cities like Boston and Chicago are blocking the expansion of Chick-Fil-A into their major metropolitan areas. Who wants a bunch of fundamentalist-owned businesses opening in major urban areas?

A Chicago Sun-Times story reads:

Appearing on the Ken Coleman Show, Cathy was further quoted as saying, “I think we’re inviting God’s judgment when we shake our fist at him, you know, [saying], ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ And I pray on God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try and redefine what marriage is all about.”

It is “prideful” and “arrogant” to stick up for the civil rights of certain Americans? I seriously can’t tell if this quote is from the present same-sex marriage debate or the Civil Rights movement decades ago.

This is REALLY not helping the image of the South and southern companies as a bunch of fundamentalist, homophobic, Christians makin’ fried chicken except on Sundays.

And as for me, I’ll never eat at Chick-Fil-A again. Done. Let them become the poster child for the Tea Party, the American Family Association, Westboro Baptist, and any other individual or organization that wants to openly discriminate against others based on their sexual orientation.

this week’s example of bigoted child abuse in the church: child sings ‘ain’t no homo gonna make it to heaven’ in church

Some people ask me why I spend so much time debating the issue of the legalization of same-sex marriage. Apart from the academic side of the intellectual argument, and the textual/theological argument, we often forget that the outcome of this debate and the charges and claims made during the debate itself hurt real people and adversely affects their lives. And I’m not just speaking about those gay individuals who are discriminated against on a daily basis, but I’m also referring to the children who are taught to mock and even hate by their parents from a very young age in church!

For example, watch this latest video taken from the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, the same town where a gay high school student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg IN, Billy (William) Lucas, recently took his own life apparently due to the anti-gay bullying he was receiving from his peers.

Listen to the lyrics of the song sung by the child, and watch the reaction of the adults in the audience.

The child sings the following lyrics:

I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong.
Romans one and twenty-seven (Rom 1:27)
Ain’t no homo going to make it to heaven.

Watch the room full of white adults stand and cheer and laugh in approval. The pastor nods and laughs. They are celebrating bigotry. They are celebrating their belief that gay Americans are going to burn in hell. One person is even heard to yell proudly, “That’s my boy!” And toward the end of the video, they have the child sing it again. Note that in the first performance, there is another child standing with the boy, and they boy ends after one verse, but in the second performance (see the 1:07 mark in the video), there is no second child, and the little boy sings the verse multiple times. This was no accident or lapse in judgment, it was an encore performance!!!

And what’s worse, from this point on, this child knows that every time he calls a gay individual a “homo,” he’ll have the cheering support of his church behind him. Remember, he’s a child: someone taught him this song! Every time he condemns a gay individual to hell, his parents will applaud. They might even invite him up in front of the church to sing of the gay individual’s condemnation to the church, who will shower him with applause and laughter.

This is child abuse. It is hateful indoctrination at its worst.

The pastor in the video is Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle at 1114 Westridge Parkway W in Greensburg, IN 47240. You can email Pastor Sangl at jsangl@tds.net or call him at the church office at (812) 662-8224. You can also contact him at his family business (I kid you not), the Flatrock Whitetail Deer Farm, where they raise whitetail deer to hunt them at (765) 525-9488.

Apparently, shortly after this video was posted online, and the public outrage began, the pastor abruptly left on vacation. The church immediately posted a statement on its website, stating among other things:

The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives.

We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible. We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.

So once again, while the church simply denies that they teach hate, the video shows otherwise. AND, we see that the church is quick to excuse and dismiss its abhorrent behavior by invoking religious freedom stating that “we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.” Once again, even in their non-apology, “religious freedom” is used to excuse hatred taught to children.

THIS is why I take this issue so seriously. What “thoughtful conservatives” see as the simple upholding of “traditional marriage” is all too often manifest as teaching children to mock and hate their neighbor…in church. It has to end, and I for one as a scholar of religious studies, will stand with the oppressed on this one.

Cherry Picking: The Fallacy of an Inconsistent Hermeneutic

Man tattoos Lev. 18:22 to his arm.

Man tattoos Lev. 18:22 to his arm.

A 2009 story ran in the Advocate (later picked up by other outlets) of a man named Marcel Gelmi who SO homophobic, and SO ready to use a passage from the Bible to defend his hatred of homosexuality, that he (I kid you not) TATTOOED LEVITICUS 18:22 ON HIS ARM in a highly visible area to remind all who look his direction that:

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22

Furthermore, Gelmi is a friend of a suspect in a brutal hate crime in Queens, N.Y. He insists that the assault was, in fact, not a hate crime, but that the openly gay victim deserved what he calls a “beat down” explaining:

“I mean, I don’t want no man blowing me a kiss either. I mean, things happen,” he said. “I’ve been beat up like that too, but you don’t see me on the news and my family crying and this and that. Wounds heal.”

So, he tattooed the NRSV text of Lev. 18:22 on his arm, thereby justifying his stance on homosexuality.

However, this act of TATTOOING a particular verse to one’s arm (or on one’s mind and constantly repeating it like a mantra in debates) demonstrates perfectly one of the problems I have with the opponents of same-sex marriage (beyond the fundamentalist/literal reading of Iron Age social religious regulations and insisting that they become the modern law of a secular government supposedly separate from the rules of any specific religion like the Christian equivalent of Islamic Sharia law).

The problem is with “cherry picking,” or more specifically, the inconsistent use of a biblical hermeneutic (way of reading the Bible) to promote one particular verse in the Bible over, and at times, to the complete neglect, of another verse. (Of course, you can do this if you concede that the Bible contains numerous errors, is not infallible, and was written by a number of different people over a great period of time and was later edited and redacted by a host of anonymous others, and therefore some verses are more applicable and relevant than others. BUT since there is a very high correlation between people arguing against same-sex marriage and a belief in biblical inerrancy, that the Bible is the inspired and infallible “Word of God,” and that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Tim. 3:16) and therefore every command is apodictic and applicable for all time, I’m guessing many will succumb to the temptation of cherry picking.)

One argument I make consistently to those who would seek to use the Bible to suppress the civil rights of modern Americans is, “Choose a hermeneutic and stick to it. However you choose to read the Bible and interpret this verse, use that same interpretative hermeneutic to interpret all of its verses.” Put simply, you can’t read one verse in the Bible and say, “This is binding for all time,” and then read the very next verse in the same chapter of the same book and declare, “Well, that was just part of that particular cultural context. We don’t need to obey that command today.”

Choose a hermeneutic and stick to it.

(Again, we’re not talking about mixing genres here, where one verse is obviously poetry and the other verse is a list of apodictic legal commands. I’m speaking of two verses in the same literary genre and context.)

For instance, if you’re going to argue that “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” (Col. 3:18) is still binding, as it is a command from the inspired apostle pseudo-Paul, then you probably should be prepared to defend the command that appears only a few verses later that says, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.” (Col 3:22) That is, it’s very difficult to argue that one verse is still binding and the other is not, and still maintain any semblance of credibility.

If you use one hermeneutic (e.g., “This is absolutely binding apodictic law for all time because that is the way God made it”) to interpret one verse, and use a completely different hermeneutic to interpret the very next verse (e.g., “Well, this is obviously terrible and was simply a part of the ancient context and therefore we don’t need to follow the teachings of this verse”), then you betray the glaring inconsistency of the way in which you read the Bible. You pick and choose (cherry pick) the verses you feel should still be binding upon modern civil society, while dismissing the verses you don’t agree with as dated and oppressive.

The point is that the Bible didn’t stop saying “Slaves, obey your masters” during the Civil War. It’s always been there. We simply learned to “read around” that verse. Most have learned and agreed to read the verse calling slaves to obey their masters as a product of an oppressive cultural context that endorsed slavery. But, here’s the good news: we changed! While the Bible still says “Slaves, obey your masters,” we took it upon ourselves to agree that slavery is evil (despite the fact that God himself gives instructions on how to make a slave in Exod. 21:2 and Exod 21:7) and to fundamentally ignore the verses that dictate how we should make slaves and that slaves should continue to obey their masters. We moved away from a literalist “God said it, that settles it” mentality and moved toward a progressive reading of the text that concedes that portions of the Bible may have captured some less than ideal elements of the ancient world, such as slavery or the victimless act of two consensual adults loving one another.

Because if you’re going to claim that there should be a law against same-sex marriage because God explicitly prohibited it a couple of thousand years ago, then it’s probably not a good idea to TATTOO a prohibition onto your arm that is only a few verses before this one:

You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:28)

I know of no New Testament command countermanding or otherwise “trumping” this law against tattoos. And yet, this particular tattooed “cherry picker” violates one outright command so that he can advertise his endorsement of another.

This individual is SO consumed with hate for homosexuals, that he violates the latter command against tattoos to express his disgust of the violation of the former.

Sheer and utter hypocrisy.

But that’s what we’ve come to expect from many who want to use the Bible to legislate against the single issue of same-sex marriage, while they completely ignore commands against other equally “abominable” practices, and do not seek to legislate against them.

And THAT is cherry picking and the fallacy of an inconsistent hermeneutic.

imagine that picture of you protesting same-sex marriage 40 years from now: YOU ARE ‘THOSE PEOPLE’

Imagine that picture of you protesting same-sex marriage 40 years from now, with your Bibles and your flags and your signs:

Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years: Mixed Marriage vs. Same-sex marriage.

Imagine how stupid you are going to look in 40 years: Mixed-race marriage vs. Same-sex marriage.

In 2008, I wrote:

“I ask Californians, especially Christians, to look within their hearts and ask themselves whether we want to treat homosexuals today as we treated women in the 1920’s, and blacks in the 1850’s. Will we look back in 40 years’ time in disgust and shake our heads and ask how we ever voted to deny civil rights to groups based upon a personal sexual choice?”

An artist sums up what I wrote in one picture.

If you are campaigning AGAINST same-sex marriage, that’s you. In the picture. That’s you. You ARE that person. You are the person in the picture that we look back on in disgust, shaking our heads, and asking, “How on earth were people EVER that mean? Why did they EVER believe that? How could those people discriminate against others that way? And use the BIBLE to do so?”

YOU ARE “those people.” And in an age of social media, where EVERYTHING is written down, captured, and remembered, it will be that much easier for us to show our children and grandchildren the faces and the names of those people who argued AGAINST the civil rights of others. And our children will look back in disgust at the images of people protesting same-sex marriage the SAME way we look back and shake our heads at the bigots protesting mixed-race marriage 40 years ago, or desegregation before that, or women’s right to vote before that, or slavery before that, and using the Bible to do so!

YOU ARE THOSE PEOPLE!

(HT: Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill via FB)

Would Billy Graham Encourage You To Vote For Slavery?**

**Could you imagine the poster below? (Full disclaimer: I, Robert R. Cargill, marked-up the ad below to illustrate my point. I changed “marriage” to “slavery.” The ad is REAL, the red additions and the “Could you Imagine” text at the top are my own addition.)

VOTE FOR SLAVERY! (A marked-up Billy Graham marriage ad).

VOTE FOR SLAVERY! (A marked-up Billy Graham marriage ad).

The argument in Dr. Billy Graham’s newspaper ad above is based upon the biblical definition of a social practice articulated approximately 2000 years ago. I’ve switched ONE WORD to show the sheer absurdity of the argument toward another biblical definition of a social practice articulated approximately 2000 years ago.

No one would ever believe an elderly white preacher from the south would advocate for SLAVERY from the pulpit, would they?? Then why should we think any differently if that same preacher argues for a different 2000-year old biblical social definition, and an amendment to a modern state’s constitution banning gay marriage?

It’s the same argument, only with this generation’s civil rights issue.

Reject “Sharia Christianity.” Don’t let a 2000-year old religious book’s definition of social contracts like slavery, divorce, and marriage dictate modern law.


For more by Dr. Cargill on this subject, see:

It’s OK for Christians to Vote No on Prop 8

Full Text of Dr. Cargill’s Remarks at the Pepperdine GSEP Panel Discussion on Racism and Homophobia

A Note to Christians Opposing Gay Marriage: Get Over It

The Day After: Thoughts on the Response to the Overturn of Prop 8

i am very, very proud of the fact i am moving to iowa

Well Done: Iowa’s Zach Wahls Featured on the Daily Show about Being a Child Raised by Gay Parents

See also:

“michigan republican anti-bullying law provides exception for religious bullying

a study in masculinity: comparing michael irvin and mark driscoll

absolutely sickening homophobia from the pulpit

See also the classic West Wing segment on YouTube.

what exactly is biblical marriage?

Have you ever wondered what real “Biblical Marriage” looks like? Before you go arguing for “traditional,” “biblical” marriage, take a look at this handy dandy chart.

Biblical Marriage Chart

Chart of Biblical Marriage

So essentially, you can have your choice of anything from the chart and you can still be considered “biblical.” You raped someone? That’s ok, just pay your fine (to her father) and make sure you marry her.

Or, if you’re a soldier, perhaps take a prisoner of war and marry her.

You can choose any one of them – after all, they’re all biblical and often ordained by God himself.

Now, for those of you who will argue, “but the New Testament superseded the Old Testament. I believe in ‘New Testament’ marriage,” well, for you there’s 1 Cor. 7:8:

“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am.”

and, of course, 1 Cor. 7:25-26:

“Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.”

and 1 Cor. 7:32-34:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.

So, you basically have the choice of not getting married if you want to be truly biblical.

Of course, if you are totally weak and completely lack self-control, then as a concession, you can marry (1 Cor. 7:9). Just remember what Paul warned you in 1 Cor. 7:28b:

“Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.”

Then again, some might respond and say, “Hey now, you’re leaving out the verses that say nice things about marriage, like Romans 7:2:

“Thus a married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the law concerning the husband.”

and Matt 19:5//Mark 10:8//Eph 5:31 all citing Gen 2:24, noting that people, in fact, do get married. But is that not most likely referring to one of the acceptable forms of the “biblical marriage” from the above chart? And there are other verses that speak about marriage, but should not the fact that the above verses are also “biblical” be a bit disconcerting to those who argue for “scriptural authority” for marriage?

Now, please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not advocating against marriage. I love being married to Roslyn, and we are quite happy together. But we define the arrangements of our partnership, and we chose to love each other. Likewise, any two other consenting adults, regardless of race or gender, should be able to enjoy the same joys and benefits of marriage that Roslyn and I do.

That is to say, if you’re going to argue that same-sex couples cannot get married because it is not a ‘sanctioned’ form of marriage in the Bible, then be prepared to defend those forms of marriage that are sanctioned in the Bible, like forcibly marrying rape victims and prisoners of war, for according to the Bible, these too are sanctioned by God.

Or, you can stop discriminating against the civil liberties of homosexual individuals while hiding behind some mythical construct of “biblical marriage” and let people who love one another and want to commit their lives to one another actually get married.

At the very least, before you go advocating for “traditional” or “biblical” marriage, it’s probably not a bad idea to read the text and make absolutely sure you actually want to argue in favor of “biblical” marriage.

Have a nice day.

HT: Travis Spackman via Kim and the Rabbi with thanx to nonstampcollector.

i am very, very proud of the fact i am moving to iowa

…and here is one more reason why. Listen to Zach Wahls speak to the Iowa House of Representatives during a discussion about House Joint Resolution 6, which seeks ban same-sex marriage in Iowa. The presentation excellent and his argument is sound.

And I shall continue doing my part (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) to combat the discriminatory hatred that continues to be spewed forth by those so-called ‘Christians’ who seek to impose their selectively hypocritical self-righteousness upon others, like this unnamed fundamentalist:

(I love how the opponent is too cowardly to even give his own name, and how those in attendance start walking out.)

Some use religion to condemn and marginalize, others to serve and heal. You tell me which of the above acted like a real ‘neighbor’?

HT: Scott Bailey

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