There aren’t many sure bets in today’s crazily wired society. Oh, you can always count on your checkbook being six cents off the mark; or a long distance telephone call when you are in the shower; or a broken shoelace when you are late for a meeting. All part of life’s annoyances.
Finally, we can always count on a delirious preacher to rush forward to blame a natural disaster like Sandy on gays, which is profoundly annoying.
For today’s sermon on hate in America, I refer to the Rev. John McTernan, a Pennsylvania preacher who wants you to know that God is severely punishing us because of the “homosexual agenda” in the land. Oh, in case you didn’t already know, also because President Obama is “100 pct. behind the Muslim Brotherhood” – a wildly infectious myth embraced not only by the faithful but by many otherwise educated people in a way that could turn the election to Mitt Romney. (Folks, you know me well enough by now to understand why I would describe Romney’s election as God’s punishment, even if Mitt is one of the straightest candidates I’ve ever witnessed on the stump.)
But Pastor McTernan is not alone in his post-disaster discourse into the dark realm of right-wing pulpit morality.
As we know, Pat Robertson has made a good living being the Nostradamus of our unbroken pace to the end of days. When hasn’t he seized a natural disaster – hurricanes, earthquakes, blah blah blah) to orchestrate his conception of an unnatural disaster – homosexuality. He even frets about a meteor destroying a corrupt Planet Earth. If it’s that bad, we can hope!
The growing cast of preening preachers and gay-bashers has produced Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-fil-A, who made it into the anti-gay marriage hall of fame when he declared in a radio interview that “we’re inviting God’s judgment when we shake our fist at him and say we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” He said he was praying for God’s mercy, as well he should.
And let’s not forget Fred Phelps, the preacher at Westboro Baptist Church (and disbarred lawyer) in Topeka whose ground troops show up at gay pride events and military funerals to protest what he avows to be affronts to God.
Preacher Mike Huckabee has a different spin. He has told his radio audience that anybody who votes for Obama will be consumed in the fires of Hell. I am pained to think how many of his listeners will believe it.
And the biggest blast of all: The Rev. Billy Graham’s personal storm shower of costly full-page ads around the country to decry same-sex marriage and not so subliminally urge us to vote for the white guy.
This may be as opportune a time as ever to remind my Jewish friends that these are the same Christians who swear that Jews cannot pass through the gates of Heaven unless they convert to Christianity. Sort of makes you wonder, don’t you think?