11 August 2010

A Spokesman for Superstition

Back in March, Cal Thomas wrote an opinion column denouncing Rev. Fred Phelps, the "God Hates Fags" minister who tries to hold vigils at military funerals blaming deaths in combat on America's tolerance of homosexuality. He accused Phelps and his followers of "advanc[ing] a judgmental agenda that is rejected in the Scripture in which they claim to believe." He condemned them as "deeply offensive, un-American and un-Christian."

After reading his latest column, I wonder what Thomas was complaining about five months ago. He's now enraged by the judicial ruling striking down California's Proposition 8, describing the decision as an act of "judicial vigilantism." By that he means to accuse the judge of taking the law into his own hand, but he means more than that. He denounces the judge as a "false god," implying that the jurist had played god by daring to dispute Christianity's exclusive jurisdiction over the institution of marriage. For Thomas, the ruling is simply the latest outrage in sixty years of moral decline, dating back to the founding of Playboy magazine, during which sinful humans rejected God's guidance on sexual matters. We have gone wrong, he laments, because we no longer accept biblical revelations as absolute truth and law. He quotes Proverbs 29:18 in two translations, the point being: in the absence of divine authority, people have no restraint.

But what of it? What is the consequence, or what might be the consequence that so troubles Thomas? He explains it plainly enough:

Most great powers unravel from within before invading armies (or in America's case, terrorists) conquer us. A preacher might develop a good sermon on how nations fare when they mock God. No less a theological thinker than Abraham Lincoln concluded that our Civil War might have been God's judgment for America's toleration of slavery. If that were so, why should [God] stay His hand in the face of our celebration of same-sex marriage?

Let's review. In March Thomas condemned Fred Phelps for saying that every American death in combat could be blamed on our tolerance of homosexuals. This week, he writes that gay marriage (a moral equivalent of slavery???) might provoke God to destroy the United States, either from within or without. Perhaps Thomas thinks he's sticking to speculation while Phelps expressed obnoxious certitude about the will of God. Maybe "God Hates Fags" is just too vulgar a way to express what Thomas himself feels about homosexuals. But these distinctions are too fine to maintain any meaningful difference between Thomas and Phelps in the realm of homophobia. They are equally bigoted, but Phelps at least has the honesty to reject the mendacious "love the sinner, hate the sin" stance of so many Christians, which is unsustainable when it comes to homosexuality. If you hate homosexuality as a sin, that means you hate homosexuals. Period.

Thomas adds this: "Muslim fanatics who wish to destroy us are correct in their diagnosis of our moral rot: loss of a fear of God, immodesty, especially among women, materialism and much more. While their solution -- Sharia law -- is wrong, they are not wrong about what ails us." That left me wondering why Thomas thinks the Sharia is wrong. Yes, there's an obvious reason: it doesn't come straight from Jesus. But what about the content of the Sharia would he think is wrong. These days homophobic sophists like to ask defenders of gay marriage on what grounds they would deny the right to marry to anyone if they won't draw the line at homosexuals. In the same spirit I'd like to ask them why they don't embrace Islam, become Islamists and impose Abrahamic morality the old-fashioned way? People like Cal Thomas strike me as mullahs in all but title and language. While he often disclaims any desire to use state power to impose morality, given the gravity of the crisis as he sees it now, how much longer will he restrain himself, and how soon will he send out the suicide bombers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So "god" is only going to wreak vengeance upon us for tolerating homosexuality? He isn't going to wreak vengeance on us for any other sin we tolerate, such as greed, violence, sloth, hate, etc. It's just that one particular sin that gets his goat?

Yet, if we hold "god" to his own biblical standards, he, himself, is a liar, a deceiver and a sinner. Did he not have relations with another man's wife? Is he not guilty of envy and wrath over the Hebrews' worship of other gods? Is he not guilty of the wholesale slaughter of almost the entire human race during the lifetime of Noah?

Who elected "Jehovah" as god of the universe? What are the term limits? When is the next election? So "god" does not support democracy. According to the first four or five commandments (depending on which version of "his word" you read), he does not tolerate freedom of religion. "God", by his biblical description is nothing more than a tyrant and his word has no more legal authority in the United States than Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein.

Superstitious cretins like Mr. Thomas better learn that lesson very soon or they may have to face a revival of another ancient "christian" tradition - martyrism.