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