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Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Why is it that the loudest voices in the evangelical Christian movement are often saying the worst things?
Five examples of right-wing evangelicals who are giving religion a bad name:
There’s “nothing more Christian” than gutting food aid and letting millions go hungry
Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s former attorney general and the Family Research Council’s current senior fellow for “family empowerment,” believes that the Republican-led cuts to food stamps are a Christian way to make families feel “worthy” and “empowered.”
“I think through empowering others and creating self-sufficiency … there within lies the path to sense of worthiness,” Blackwell told the Christian Post. “When I was growing up, there was fundamental belief, that there were times in people’s life when they needed a hand up … there were [sic] temporariness to those programs, where they were structured so that they didn’t breed dependency.”
Blackwell also believes there is “nothing more Christian” than things like food aid cuts, because social welfare programs create a “permanent dependency on government handouts.” But by kicking four million people off of food stamps and leaving their families to go hungry, the government is “making sure they are participants in their own upliftment and empowerment so that they in fact through the dignity of work and can break from the plantation of big government.”
AIDS research is a “futile” use of government money in the service of people who live an “aberrant” lifestyle
Years before Pat Robertson would accuse people living with HIV of cutting others with “special rings” in an effort to spread the virus, the Christian television host was a vocal advocate against funding for AIDS research and efforts to promote the use of condoms. In Robertson’s view, gay people lived “aberrant” lifestyles and deserved to die while their government stood by and did nothing.
In a 1987 interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, then Republican presidential hopeful Robertson said of funding for AIDS research:
“The homosexuals are saying, ‘Spend more government money, find a cure so we can continue our aberrant lifestyle.’ And I don’t think that is a proper request.”
About 92 percent of AIDS victims are male homosexuals or intravenous drug users, he said. ”If those two groups would stop that type of conduct there wouldn’t be any more AIDs epidemic.”
Spending more than the half-billion dollars devoted to research would be a futile way of throwing money at a medical problem, he said.
“And to tell people there’s safe sex if they use this kind of device and that kind of device to continue this kind of conduct, that’s an illusion, because there is no such thing as safe sex.”
Christians should tell gay couples to die on their wedding day
You’ve probably never heard of Kevin Swanson because he is among the fringier members of the Christian fringe, but the Christian radio host’s marginal status actually gives him a lot of leeway to say despicable things that other leaders in the conservative evangelical movement may agree with — but can’t always get away with saying outright.
Case in point: during a September radio broadcast, Swanson told his audience that the only reason to attend the nuptials of a same-sex couple would be to tell them to die. According to Swanson, guests can “attend the wedding and hold up the sign Leviticus 20:13 word for word: ‘If a man sleeps with a man as he sleeps with a woman the two of them have committed an abomination and they shall both be put to death.’ You could attend a wedding and hold up that sign.”
Christians should oppose efforts to reduce anti-LGBTQ bullying
The Concerned Women for America — a “coalition of conservative women which promotes Biblical values and family traditions,” founded in 1973 Beverly LaHaye, the wife of the evangelical minister who authored the “Left Behind series” — is just one among many Christian groups to claim that laws to prevent LGBTQ bullying in schools are an example of how the “radical homosexual lobby has done a masterful job of infiltrating our government schools to gain control of the minds of America’s youth.”
As a report from People for the American Way notes, the group, which believes that “homosexual acts are unhealthy” and “like smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse, they should be discouraged,” also argues that anti-bullying laws laws are designed to indoctrinate “very young children.”
Rates of violence, depression and suicide among LGBTQ teenagers are currently off the charts in the United States, and, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of LGBTQ teens report experiencing bullying and regular harassment at school.
Christian dads should “protect” their daughters by keeping them from going to college
Raylan Alleman, a Louisiana-based certified public accountant who moonlights as a Christian life coach, can speak for himself on this one:
h/t Right Wing Watch
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)