Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mohler's God of double standards

Ahhh yes, another wingnut salivates ponders over the endless possibilities should science ever give us the ability to determine sexual orientation in utero. And I suppose I should have seen this coming several years back when I heard Rush Limbaugh discussing it on his radio program. But as I wrote before, I was so stunned and sick to my stomach thinking about the possible consequences of people knowing ahead of time that they were going to have a child who would grow up to be gay or lesbian that I had to pull to the side of the road and concentrate on not losing my lunch right there in the car. So it didn’t really occur to me then that the most heinous part would be that the very people who find it so convenient to deny science and its advances whenever it suits their religious beliefs would also be the ones who’d turn to science and its advances in a heartbeat if it meant undoing God’s little “oopsie daisies” with some sort of “prenatal treatment”. And the best part according to Mohler? It would be biblically justified. Who knew?

Now I know this is actually old news at this point. Albert Mohler wrote this nonsense back on March 2nd. I just chose to ignore it because I’ve been suffering from major “fury fatigue” lately and I just could not muster the energy to even acknowledge his idiocy let alone get angry about it. (I am slowly learning that these loons are so not worth it anyway.) But I stumbled upon an article that so beautifully articulates the profound hypocrisy of people like Mr. Mohler that I decided not to waste brain cells or energy when it’s so eloquently done in this wonderful OPED:

Science is stealing up on America's religious fundamentalists, causing much alarm. Consider the dilemma of the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and a leading figure in the Southern Baptist firmament.

Writing in his blog this month, Mohler acknowledged that "the direction of the research" increasingly points to the possibility that a "biological basis for sexual orientation exists." Should sexuality be determined in utero, Mohler continued, that still wouldn't justify abortion or genetic engineering.

Gosh darn it, the Mohlers of this world just might have to admit that {gasp} homosexuality is “as genetically determined as hair color”. And believe you me, that is not something that will go down easily in the evangelical world, just ask the ole “rev Mohler” himself. Just mentioning the possibility on his blog produced a massive amount of angry email responses from those who don’t like believing that God intended some people to be gay. And besides, that would totally blow their whole argument that “homosexuality is behaviorally induced and thus can be unlearned”.

The OPED goes on to point out that if we do one day find out that homosexuality is genetically determined, it will indeed create a great moral dilemma for those who believe the “Bible's condemnation of homosexuality as a sin” because it would mean that “God is making people who, in the midst of what may otherwise be morally exemplary lives, have a special and inherent predisposition to sin.”

Mohler's response is that since Adam's fall, sin is the condition of all humankind. That sidesteps, however, the conundrum that a gay person may follow the same God-given instincts as a straight person -- let's assume fidelity and the desire for church sanctification in both cases -- and end up damned, while the straight person ends up saved. Indeed, it means that a gay person's duty is to suppress his God-given instincts while a straight person's duty is to fulfill his.

Mohler's deity, in short, is the God of Double Standards: a God who enforces the norms and fears of a world before science, a God profoundly ignorant of or resistant to the arc of American history, which is the struggle to expand the scope of the word "men" in our founding declaration that "all men are created equal." This is a God who in earlier times was invoked to defend segregation and, before that, slavery.

And it just keeps getting better:

This is a God whom vast numbers of this nation's self-professed believers (not to mention its nonbelievers, such as I) neither heed nor like very much, particularly the young, who in growing numbers support gay marriage and certainly don't consider gay coupling any more sinful than they do straight coupling. That said, this God still commands millions of followers, among them Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Old Time Religion, who recently declared homosexuality immoral in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

Indeed, this God commands so many followers that the initial tendency of presidential candidates who know better was to duck when they themselves were asked about the morality of gay sex. Sen. Hillary Clinton, when first asked if homosexuality was immoral, answered that it was for "others to conclude," before righting herself to say that she didn't think being gay was immoral. Sen. Barack Obama, according to Newsweek, avoided a direct answer three times before coming to his senses and disagreeing with Pace. The spokesperson for Sen. John "Straight-Talk Express" McCain said that "the senator thinks such questions are a matter of conscience and faith for people to decide for themselves." Such political and moral contortions are hardly confined to presidential candidates.

But the biggest problem of all is this, if one day science does prove a genetic link to homosexuality, how will the Mohlers of the world reconcile “a God who creates homosexuals with a God who condemns practicing homosexuals to hell?” The OPED puts the biggest moral dilemma for these people in a nutshell:

A mysterious God may be well and good, but a capricious or contradictory God can inspire so much doubt that He threatens the credibility of the entire religious enterprise.


After all, there are few American believers who don't profess at least some faith as well in the verities of proven science and the rightness of our national credo's commitment to human equality. By effectively insisting that God is a spiteful homo-hater, his followers saddle him with ancient phobias and condemn him to the backwaters of American moral life.

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