Thursday, July 07, 2011

Frank Schaeffer on Michele Bachmann: She's too radical for Evangelicals

I have posted about Frank Schaeffer before, but it has been a while, March of 2009 to be precise. This is a man who has invaluable insight when it comes to the Religious Right. So if you have not heard of him, it is time to get acquainted. He and his parents (evangelical leaders Francis and Edith Schaeffer) played a big part in creating the monster we call the Religious Right. He was a major player up until the mid 80's when he defected. And now - he is their biggest nightmare. There is no better person to lay bare the gory, ugly innards of a movement he helped to start. And when he says it is a movement that has helped to destroy the Republican Party and looks set to destroy this country next - I'm prone to believe him.

Here is an excerpt of what he had to say back in 2009, but you really should go over to Huffington Post and read his "Open letter to Republican Traitors" in its entirety. It is still as relevant today as it was 2 years ago. And he doesn't mince words either:

You Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. You combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America. Now you have the nerve to criticize the "architect" America just hired -- President Obama -- to rebuild from the ashes. You do nothing constructive, just try to hinder the one person willing and able to fix the mess you created.

And now Frank Schaeffer is back with even more insight on one of the Religious Right's best hopes for the Republican nomination for President, Michele Bachmann. Only problem is, Mr. Schaeffer thinks even the Evangelicals will find her too extreme:

I am personally not convinced that Evangelicals will find Michele Bachmann  too extreme. I know a few people who claim to be Evangelical Christians, including one of my brothers and his wife, and sorry to say this but, they are so in the habit of checking their brains at the door of their mega-church and letting extreme right-wing moo-moo'd preachers like Rick Warren tell them what to think, I'm not so sure they'd find Michele Bachmann extreme. She says all the right things and uses enough dog whistles to win them over, but then it doesn't take much to win formerly smart people who have let their brains atrophy and shrink from lack of use (too harsh?).

And if you have never heard this interview he did with D.L. Hughley back in 2009, you must take the time to listen to it as well.  Here he discusses his life in the Religious Right and his views now that he has defected from both the Religious Right and the Republican Party. Again, he doesn't mince words and we'd do well to listen. I for one am scared to death of the Bachmanns and the useful idiots (read Evangelicals) who will vote for her simply because she hates abortion and absolutely loathes gays. That is really all they need to know in order to pull the lever for her.



Jeff Wilfahrt said...


I read this last night and went looking for his book today. Barnes and Noble locally didn't have a copy and the local public library doesn't have it yet either. At B&N the clerk suggested I try a religious book store since it is identified as Christian Content. If true maybe I don't want to read it.

Hope you're well. Sunday we leave for Oahu to greet the platoon home. I think it's gonna' open the wound.


Seething Mom said...

Know that you and Lori are in our hearts -- always. You are heroes to so many. We love you.

Kim said...

You should be careful not to jump on the Frank Schaeffer bus too quickly, one must always question someone that has attempted to throw his entire family "under the bus," so to speak.

I know you might not think so, but most Evangelical Christian's are not haters of gays. It is the fact that the lifestyle and actions of being gay violate a premise of the Evangelical Christian faith that they have a hard time with (I'll spare you the Biblical law explanation). Yet unfortunately many are not mature enough to properly take exception without being hurtful to others, which is indeed a shame. Let me be the first Evangelical Christian to apologize for those who have been hurtful to you and your son.

The unfortunate fact is that there is a decline of people in the church that understand the gracious balance of law and love. The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer (Frank's father) wrote about this in his book The Mark Of A Christian. Apparently Franky never read this book. In that book his father details that you have every right to judge us when we are not properly displaying these two important traits. So you should challenge any Christian who attacks you in the future on this point. Francis Schaeffer said, "truth without love is ugly and love without truth is compromise," these are primary tenants and BOTH must be observed.

On the gay issue. Being "anti-gay agenda" does not necessitate that you hate gays. In reality the position is that the homosexual lifestyle is a social dysfunction that is counter-productive to society. That is both an opinion and conviction of mine. I hold the opinion not because of just religious views, but also on the basis of the sociological implications. Yet I hold this conviction in the same way I feel about other social disorders. That those dealing with them are real people who deserve our real compassion and help. I am neither homophobic or hate homosexuals.

I took the time to read your story about the day you found out. I won't pretend that I truly understand what that felt like, but I do empathize with you. The sociological dysfunction of that moment must have been truly tramatic. Your descriptions sound nothing short of depression. I also read your write-up on the aftermath and it is here that I can see you begin to displace your anger. While the world may have a multitude of errors in how it deals with this issue, and I empathize with your analysis here also, the jump to attacking the overal social construct and Christians seems to me greatly misguided. Granted you were hurt, but at this point haven't you now become a hater yourself?

After years of this sort of writing and anger, and probably talking to less kind Evangelicals I wonder if anything I say will be taken as helpful. Yet, I wanted to at least offer a few sincere words.

Seething Mom said...

I appreciate the time you took to write your comment and I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you meant well. And though I respect your right to beliefs that run 100% counter to my own, you so completely lost me when you started backing up your "opinion" and "conviction" with words like "homosexual lifestyle" and "social disorders", which not only imply choice and defect, but truly show your profound ignorance on the subject. And that you used those words when confronting a mother of a gay child was quite telling and insulting.

I watched my son for years and knew he was struggling, I just didn't know why, and even counseling did not uncover the secret he spent most of his young life hiding because he thought it would cost him our love. And why would he believe otherwise? Between 20% & 40% of homeless youth on the streets are lgbt children, many of whom were either thrown out of their homes when they came out or were outed to their families. And though I do not have statistics on this, I'd bet my last dollar religion played a huge role in it as well because tragically, so many of these families are getting validation from their churches and religious leaders to be bullies, to throw their children out on the streets, or to subject them to horribly damaging programs that claim to change one’s sexual orientation.

I can tell you this, no sane person I know chooses to be something that will make him the scorge of the earth, an abomination, and to many people of faith, worthy of death. I would love to know exactly when you chose the "lifestyle" of being straight because I know from my own personal experience, my sexual orientation is every bit as innate to who I am as my eyes are brown. Neither is a choice and neither can be changed. But it is "both an opinion and conviction" of mine that you have made the "lifestyle" choice to be a holier-than-thou swathed so tightly in a false sense of smug sanctimony that I think you should get help. Being gay is NOT a social disorder, as you call it, but being a homophobe in denial, in my humble opionion, is.

And you are right, I do write with anger - a lot of it. And I make no apologies for it. And you are also right that I keep my exposure to "less kind Evangelicals" to a minimum. I happen to have a brother who is a born-again Evangelical (posted about him here, here, and here). He is a profoundly broken man who did what many of the Evangelicals I know did, he traded an addiction to alcohol and a lifetime of despicable, selfish behavior for an addiction to twisted religion that he uses as a weapon to judge and hurt others. I no longer expose myself or my family to him. He was far easier to be around as a beligerant, ugly drunk than he is now as a beligerant, ugly Christian. said...

Thank you for the response. I appreciated what you had to say and taking time to inform me from your perspective. You did say I was "ignorant" on the subject, and I admit that from a certain perspective I am. I have not lived directly with this as you have personally, although I have had friends, co-workers and even a boss that I worked with directly who were practicing gays. I do seek to understand how it impacts a family such as yours.

You targeted my comment on homosexuality as a social disorder, and called that "ignorant" on my part, and it came across to you as insensitive. I was hoping more to state it more as a clinical understanding, it was not my intent to offend you. There are some facts however that you should understand on this. Homosexuality was considered psychopathological up until 1980, when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality as a disorder in the 3rd edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Up until that time it was considered a disorder.

Next I wanted to caution you about your argument that homosexuality is innate to the person. I have always seen that position as very problematic since other sexual disorders such as pedophilia and hebephilia can very easily be justified using this same argument. Surely you would not condone a pedofile's actions by saying that he was born with it?

I realize that categorizing something as a "disorder" is not comfortable given your love for your son, yet understanding something as a disorder is a diagnosis of a problem a person is having where that person needs help. All of us have disorders in some way, so saying this is not intended to state that I am better or hollier than you or your son.

Seething Mom said...

I am having a very hard time even responding to your unbelievably offensive and hurtful comment. In fact I am so enraged and offended, I am not even sure I can compose a cogent response. You pass yourself off as a kinder, gentler, and more compassionate evangelical, but you have proven yourself to be none of those things. I am truly horrified and sickened by your latest comment.

Using terms like pedophilia and hebephilia to bolster your argument that my son's orientation is a disorder, or a choice, or whatever the hell point you were trying to make was like a knife in my heart. That is my son you are talking about. Stooping to such lows makes me realize you are probably not worth the time or energy it takes to respond. But this is my beloved son you have chosen to analyze and dehumanize so I will not let your hurtful words go uncontested.

Homosexuality involves two loving and very normal consenting adults (consenting and adult being the operative words here), there are no children involved, just two people of the same gender who are drawn to each other in the same way that I am drawn to my husband and my straight son is drawn to his girlfriend. There are no children, pubescent or prepubescent victimized, and there is absolutely nothing illegal or abnormal about the relationship. And by the way, the relationship goes so much deeper and is so much more complex than the sex act you and your fellow holier-than-thous get so hung up on. (It really is kind of creepy how it is all about the sex for you people.)

Homosexulity has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them. A new review made in 2009 of existing research showed that same-sex behavior is a nearly universal phenomenon in the animal kingdom, common across species. (The information I just sited can be found here.) Drawing comparisons with the illegal acts of pedophilia and hebephilia has exposed your ignorance and your deeply ingrained homophobia. Pretty much every accredited medical and psychiatric association now believes that homosexuality is no more a disorder than heterosexuality -- and every bit as innate an orientation as heterosexuality.

You have once again demonstrated your profound and very willful igonorance. And you seem completely unwilling to even consider that you might be wrong. But I am not surprised. You are the typical narrow-minded, right-wing evangelical today - completely entrenched in rigid beliefs that will never change, no matter how many facts contradict them. And the cruel way in which you chose to make your point about homosexuality, to a mom who has a gay child, reveals all I need to know about you. I now understand why Frank Schaeffer scares the living daylights out of you. He recognizes the monster that has grown from the work of his parents and he is right to be shining a spotlight on it and sounding an alarm.

Seething Mom said...

And one more thing...

I am not sure why you have chosen my blog as your forum to make your very misguided opinions about homosexuality known. If you are thinking you can win some hearts and minds here, you are woefully mistaken.

This is a crowd who has felt firsthand, the sting of words just like the ones you used here, the cruelty of judgment just like the judgment you used here, and the hurt of rejection just like the rejection you displayed here. They come here because this is a safe zone, free of the bigotry and ignorance that has so badly scarred them.

You will change no hearts and minds here. So if that was your intention, I'm afraid you are wasting your time and should probably go elsewhere.