Donald Andrew Henson II

What’s Wrong With North Carolina?

In Current events, Religion and Society on May 26, 2012 at 3:25 am

I wouldn’t own up to enjoying Broadway plays, Cher, Madonna, or Judy Garland if I lived in North Carolina. (Actually, out of the four, I’m pretty keen on Broadway plays, myself.) I certainly wouldn’t admit to enjoying Will and Grace or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

The past few weeks have been a heyday for the anti-gay in that state. First it was Pastor Ron Baity who suggested that laws criminalizing homosexuality when our nation was founded should still be in force – and enforced. Then Pastor Tim Rabon explained how allowing homosexuals to be married would lead to laws that permitted bestiality. Not to be outdone, Pastor Sean Harris instructed any father who saw his son with a ‘limp wrist’ should, as he put it, ‘crack that wrist’. In another sermon, he seemed to think a punch in the face would be effective as well.

This week we have the Rev. Charles Worley, who wants a piece of the anti-gay action too, suggesting that gays and lesbians be placed in what sounds like concentration camps surrounded by electric fences. If you haven’t seen this snippet of his ‘sermon’, have a look.

These four men (I want to call them the Four Horsemen of the No-cock-or-lisp  – is that too irreverent?) are only saying what many in their churches already think – that homosexuality is a sin against God. And, I suppose, they have a right to say that – but not a right to suggest beating and imprisoning people who don’t conform to their religious beliefs.

 

I said once before that the gay marriage issue was not one that I felt strongly about one way or another; but every time a Charles Worley speaks, I tend to become more in favor of letting people do what they want as long as they’re not bothering anyone else. I don’t think guys like Harris and Worley should win the day.

But I don’t have to be in support of gay marriage or alternative lifestyles in general to be offended by Mr. Worley; he offends me on a number of levels.

I’m offended by his obvious pride in his good-old-boy brand of ignorance. He’s not ‘against’ homosexuality, he’s ‘agin’ it. Now he certainly knows how to pronounce the word correctly – perhaps in his day, a North Carolina school teacher cracked his wrist for mispronunciations such as these, or at least made him stand in a corner. I attended public schools in the South, and I can assure you that English teachers there, like anywhere else, teach people what’s correct and what isn’t. But Mr. Worley is making a statement with this kind of speech. He’s identifying himself with the anti-education strain that threads its way through religious circles. To sound educated is to be suspect in his group – everyone knows that real knowledge comes from God. You may think I’m making to big of a deal out of this, but I’ve lived in the South, and I grew up in Southern Pentecostal churches. And I know preachers who pander to the uneducated when they know better.

I’m offended that he called the President of the United States a ‘baby-killer’. Where’s the proof of this? I know he’s referring to the abortion issue, but there’s no logic to follow here. When did President Obama – his wife or previous girlfriends – ever have an abortion? I thought to be guilty of something, there had to be some evidence of a willful act. (Don’t get me started about children being killed by our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – if you want to call a POTUS a baby-killer for initiating military conflicts – well, you’d have to put a lot of names on that list.) Wouldn’t you have to somehow personally be involved in aborting a fetus before you can be called a baby-killer?

Are we talking the sin of omission here? Because the President doesn’t overturn Roe v Wade, he’s guilty by omission – that must be the point. But if that were true, then we’d all be guilty of infanticide. If you have never been a war protester, you would be, by proxy, a baby-killer. If you have never sent Sally Struthers a check to feed those poor kids on the late night TV ads, you are a baby-killer by omission.

I’m offended that he calls the President a ‘homosexual lover’ – whatever that is. President Obama has made it clear that he has struggled with the idea of gay marriage, torn between the teaching of his Christian upbringing and his belief in the rights of the individual. To attempt to slander a person because they are working through a complex issue is insulting; because he doesn’t agree with Mr. Worley’s narrow-minded point of view, he’s subjected to taunting epithets.

I’m offended that Mr. Worley gets to promote his political views – whom he thinks we should vote for, what legislation we should oppose – yet continues to enjoy his tax-exempt status. If he uses his pulpit as the mouthpiece of a specific political group, his church should pay tax. I’m beginning to think that all churches should be taxed on any non-charitable income.

I’m offended from a Christian point of view that Mr. Worley offers no scriptural references to support his doctrine. If he really follows the Bible and believes it is God’s word, why doesn’t he share with us what the Bible has to say about homosexuality? In truth, because it doesn’t say very much. In the few places where it does condemn homosexuality, it also says a lot of other things that most Christians just wouldn’t agree with, like bans on eating all shellfish or killing children by stoning when they disrespect their parents. It’s difficult as a pastor to open up the book of Leviticus and tell people to follow this scripture to the letter – but don’t pay any attention to those other verses in the same book. Wouldn’t want to look hypocritical.

One reader took offense when I said I hadn’t heard a sermon on gluttony in a long time – and it was obvious that churchfolk were struggling with this sin at least as much as they were with latent homosexual feelings. Mr. Worley and the other pastors may or may not be struggling with the fear of their own homosexual tendencies – a la Ted Haggard – but it’s not too hard to see the results of over-eating. I read today that one-third of American are obese – including homeless people! Wouldn’t anti-gluttony make for a good sermon as well? Or how about one of the six other deadly sin? Why is it that fat, lazy, vain-glorious people (all three in the deadly category) want to point a finger at others who are struggling with only one deadly sin, lust, if that?

I’m offended that Mr. Worley and others get to preach in the luxurious surroundings I see on the video, subsidized by you and I, while the buildings in which we hope to educate the next generation of Americans are falling apart. He gets a cathedral from which to spew his nonsense for a few hours a week, while elementary school teachers toil away 50-60 hours a week in rundown buildings.

Finally, I’m offended by the lack of Christian love. What ever happened to ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’. Would Mr. Worley suggest than any other kind of sinner be put behind electrified wire and allowed to die out? Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer – yet many conservatives hoped he might be the next president. Even if you believe that homosexuality is a sin – seriously, concentration camps? And aren’t we supposed to pray for our political leaders instead of calling them names?

Homophobia isn’t the only problem with North Carolina’s brand of Christianity.

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  1. sadly part of the culture here. ‘proud to be ignorant’. can’t even go to the gym without overhearing people spouting stupidity with swagger. i do think the moment the word ‘vote’ comes across a pulpit, the IRS should immediately revoke tax-exempt status(not that this huge industry should get to dodge taxes in the first place). a tax break is a goverment subsidy any way you look at it. the cost of running the country is still the same, so the rest of us pick up the slack.

    • I think if a pastor says ‘ you need to vote’, that’s one thing. When he says ‘don’t vote for a baby-killer’ and everyone in the room is clear on which guy he’s talking about, then I think he’s using his pulpit as a political forum and should be taxed accordingly. One commenter said that in Australia, churches are only tax-exempt for truly charitable, community work. Everything else is taxed. We should be looking at how that might work in America. Right now, churches and rich people get to influence the political scene with excess cash that they should be paying in tax.

  2. As a Christian, I’m offended by these kind of guys! I don’t know why the idiots always get the limelight! I guess it’s the same as the news reporting on a UFO sighting & they interview the one in rollers, missing most of their teeth, so the whole idea is debunked just with the sight of the witness. Lol. I do hate they are spouting hate from their pulpits. It shouldn’t be that way. My church does teach “hate the sin, love the sinner” & think that should Be the same with anything, gay or gluttony. We shouldn’t look & judge…we should love. In fact, my pastor just preached on this sort of thing this past Sunday…stepping on everyone’s toes by covering all sins…gluttony included. God sees all sins the same…we, humans, are the ones that decompartmentalize. These ‘preacher’s’ spouting hate may have to answer to God on how they turned people off & turned people away. Jesus only taught love. In fact, he hung out with the types others liked to judge & spoke against the Pharisees that only went by rules, laws & not love.  So I see these hate speakers as the Pharisees of the day, along with those that I’ve been hurt by in church growing up with the same attitude. I just hate that we as Christians get lumped in with the crazy ones like that when there are other groups preaching love and helping their communities, & helping other countries build houses, schools, & wells, like my church. I wish that kind of stuff was shown more but instead the “one with the rollers & missing teeth” gets to hog the camara! Ha. 

    • Yeah, I think it’s a shame that guys like this make all Christians look stupid. But, looking at how nice the choir loft looks in the video, he must be preaching in a fairly well-off, good sized church. That means there are a few hundred people going there every Sunday – and probably agree with what he says. Sure there are good churches preaching love and trying to see what Jesus really wanted people to live like. But the crazies aren’t just a tiny fringe group either – you know as well as I do that every church has them, and some churches are composed almost completely of them.

      • Yes.  The crazies do seem to take over in the small churches like some disease! Lol. I’m not sure how they can skew & twist the gospel so bad to where the original message is lost. I guess it’s like you’ve mentioned before that when people pick & choose what they like to fit their agenda is where people go all wrong.  If they took the 4 Gospels chapter by chapter & actually paid any attention to Jesus’ message, they would see what really needed to be changed…the person reading it, not their neighbor. 

        That’s why, after me being hurt by the church & being mad at God for a few years, I finally came to the conclusion that the crazy ones, no matter what the percentage, did not accurately show the heart of God. I began to wonder why I would let those handful of people steer me away from what I really knew in my heart to be true. So now I just try to focus only on God, his heart & not the crazies that aren’t representing God’s love. It definitely simplifies things. 

  3. Checked my email after posting & this verse was there. This is what it should be about..love, not hate & condemnation.

    John 3:17
    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

  4. I just finished reading a sociological study about girls’ experiences growing up in high school. The researchers broke down the groups into different groups, but as one might expect, the group at the top of the list where the so-called “popular girls.” In interviewing these popular girls (who had by now grown up) the researchers determined that the one power they had was the power to exclude others from their group. Any girls not deemed pretty enough or rich enough, were not allowed into the inner circle of popularity.

    It seems to me that the religious community is doing something very similar here when it comes to the issue of gay marriage. They are exercising the power to exclude; they want to exclude gays from having the same rights and privileges as anyone else. Those of faith proclaim their desire to “do unto others,” but they are showing a level of hypocrisy that even the popular girls would surely cringe at.

  5. […] Christians are guilty of this kind of proleptic thinking all of the time. We cannot help but read first century writings through the lens of our own time, twenty centuries later. We ask, “What would Jesus do?” when there is no possible way for us to know what he or any other person living at the time might do. Even men who spend their lives studying that specific juncture in history could not do more than postulate on what a given individual might or might not do.  So, rather conveniently, ‘God’s will’ ends up being pretty close to our own. Yes, yes, I hear you God – buying the Cadillac would certainly bring you more glory than the buying a Ford. Jesus hates homosexuality, so I’m agin’ it too. […]

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