Friday, October 14, 2016

The Moral Bankruptcy of Evangelical "Leaders"

This week saw the observance of "National Coming Out Day."  Ironically, it was in October, 2001, that I began my coming out journey, being clueless at the time on a host of LGBT issues, but struggling to deal with the Catholic religious brainwashing that I had been subjected to over my childhood and teen years. Thankfully, coming out is becoming easier for younger generations, although we are far from reaching the point where being gay is a non-issue. In my own case, the process was made easier by the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal that exploded in 2002 as recounted in the Academy Award winning movie Spotlight.  Suddenly, I realized that the bitter men at the Vatican and in bishoprics across the globe were not only hypocrites when it came to preaching about sexual morals, but were in many cases criminal conspirators who care absolutely nothing for children and youths.  

Now, in the age of Donald Trump, when even some Republican elected officials who generally show few limits to their willing to self-prostitute themselves for votes are stepping away from Trump, many of the so-called evangelical Christian "leaders" - most of who are stridently anti-LGBT - are holding fast to their support of Trump.  These individuals, mostly men, are now revealing themselves to be just as morally bankrupt as the Catholic Church hierarchy.  Instead of turning away from Trump as decent moral individuals should do, they are justifying their continued allegiance through various disingenuous statements, all of which ultimately come down to their lust for power and whatever deals Trump has promised to them at secret meetings shielded from public view.  Bob Felton has put together a short summary of these homophobic, modern day Pharisees.  Here are highlights:
Those of you wondering how evangelical leaders can rally to the support of Donald Trump after his latest remarks about women … The Pious are sick, deformed people with a corrupt concept of the ‘good,’ and we need to drive them out of our public life.
James Dobson:
And James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and now host of the show Family Talk, stood by his Trump endorsement on Monday.[ … ]“The comments Mr. Trump made 11 years ago were deplorable and I condemn them entirely,” he said. “I also find Hillary Clinton’s support of partial birth abortion criminal and her opinion of evangelicals to be bigoted. There really is only one difference between the two. Mr. Trump promises to support religious liberty and the dignity of the unborn. Mrs. Clinton promises she will not.”
Jerry Falwell, Jr.:
“We’re never going to have a perfect candidate unless Jesus Christ is on the ballot,” he said. “I’ve got a wife and a daughter, and nobody wants to hear their women talked about in that manner.”[. . . ]I don’t think the American people want this country to go down the toilet because Donald Trump made some dumb comments on a videotape 11 years ago.”
Robert Jeffress:
Well, let me be very clear about this. These statements were lewd, offensive, and indefensible, but they’re not enough to make me vote for Hillary Clinton. Last week, I was in Trump Tower. I moderated a meeting between Mr. Trump and religious leaders, and I said, with Trump seated to my left, I said, “look, I might not choose this man to be a Sunday school teacher in my church, but that’s not what this election is about.” It’s about choosing the best leader to reverse the downward spiral of the nation.
Franklin Graham:
 Evangelist Franklin Graham condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for his 2005 remarks about women, but said the real estate magnate’s comments are as indefensible as “the godless progressive agenda of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton” and that the Democratic candidate would prove to be more harmful for America’s future.
Ralph Reed:
Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a member of Trump’s religious advisory board, has also said he’s still with the Republican candidate.Reed told NPR in an interview Saturday, adding that Trump has apologized. “I think given the stakes in this election and those and other critical issues, I just don’t think an audiotape of an 11-year-old private conversation with an entertainment talk show host on a tour bus, for which the candidate has apologized profusely, is likely to rank high on the hierarchy of concerns of those faith-based voters.”

LGBT citizens continue to be openly condemned and stigmatized by these individuals even though every legitimate medical and mental health association in the nation (and most of the advanced world) holds that homosexuality is a normal phenomenon.  Yet these people continue to support a man who brags about his aggression against women and who has now been accused of sexual harassment by more and more women.  I sincerely hope young LGBT individuals and their parents and friends will ignore these "men of god" and that soon being a "evangelical Christian" will hold far more stigma than being LGBT.

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