A Map of Evangelical Paranoia

Barely two weeks before the November 4 election, the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family posted a long "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America," purporting to describe changes wrought by a President Obama, should he be elected-what a conservative Christian would call a "worst-case scenario."

As with many worst-case scenarios, the Letter projects some plausible events and then extrapolates trends from them, reaching far into the realm of fantasy. The Letter necessarily ignores political and popular resistance to any such changes and the inevitable compromises necessary to bring about the changes.

But the Letter is useful as a compendium of issues the Religious Right is focused on, from maintaining Christian special privileges to opposing moves toward gay and lesbian equality, from opposing sex education, birth control and abortion to outlawing pornography. Surprisingly, there is little about such "family" issues as easy divorce and domestic violence.

The Letter begins by implausibly postulating a sea change on the Supreme Court. Not only do liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens retire and are replaced by "ACLU-oriented" liberals. But then Justice Anthony Kennedy and shortly thereafter Justice Antonin Scalia retire, allowing Obama to create a solid 6-3 liberal majority on the court. This supposedly removes any Supreme Court opposition to the changes that follow.

But this all assumes that Obama would not take into account possible congressional opposition to far-left justices and appoint more moderate liberals. It also implausibly assumes for many of the changes that "ACLU-oriented" liberals run roughshod over First Amendment protections for speech and religious observance.

According to the Letter, same-sex marriage was determined to be a constitutional shortly after Scalia and Kennedy's departure. But not only has marriage always been a state matter, it is unlikely that the court would move on something so controversial until there is much greater popular support for the decision and (as with its sodomy decision) a significant majority of states have allowed gay marriage.

Shortly thereafter the court ruled that the Boy Scouts had to allow gay Scoutmasters, which led the Boy Scouts to disband rather than allow gay Scout leaders to sleep in the same tents with young Scouts. We see here openly expressed the religious conservative fears about gay child molestation and recruitment-or at least the Letter's willingness to play to those fears. It is their obsession, their idée fixe.

Schools were required to include instruction about varieties of sexual and gender expression beginning in first grade. This led to the resignation or firing of thousands of evangelical teachers who refused to teach about something they regarded as morally wrong. Here the idea is not-so-subtly insinuated that learning about something makes children find it attractive and want to try it, another notion dear to the anti-gay propagandists.

Catholic and evangelical adoption agencies were required to stop discriminating against same-sex couples as adopters, leading many of those agencies to close rather than place children with "immoral" parents. Here the obsession is with the canard that role models influence children's sexual orientation, the third great anti-gay myth. The Letter cites no evidence to support its implications.

President Obama himself reversed the exclusion of openly gay people from the military. But this is absurd. The Letter writer seems unaware that the exclusion of open gays is a law passed by Congress and would have to be repealed by Congress. In fact, the Obama administration plans to work for this, but not in the near term.

There is much more anti-gay material in this long pre-election Letter-sections opposing the outlawing of anti-gay hate speech including religious speech in churches quoting the bible, the outlawing of discrimination against lesbians for artificial insemination services, the requirement that churches allow gay couples to use their facilities for weddings, the loss of licenses by counselors who refuse positive counseling for gay and lesbian couples, etc.

There are other issues too, dealing with removal of restrictions on abortion and pornography, banning the church use of public (government) school facilities, and removal of the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. But the lead part of the Letter and more than one-third of the items relate to homosexuality and homosexuals.

(Fans of the Christian numerological tradition will note that the first 12 items (counting the unnumbered same-sex marriage item) and the 33rd paragraph all deal with homosexuals. Both numbers are important for certain Christians.)

6 Comments for “A Map of Evangelical Paranoia”

  1. posted by Patrick on

    Does the Gay Agenda give guidance as to how to handle those of us whom haven’t filled their quota? I am ashamed to admit but I haven’t ever recruted anyone to the gay lifestyle. Will I lose my gaycard due to this or am I just banned from actively participating in a White Party? I simply cannot believe I have been so remiss that I have not done my part to destroy this nation. What if I read Heather Has Two Mommies to my neices and nephews? Would that work? Does it have to be more drastic like wearing my “The Ball and Chain is with me” tee shirt while walking past a preschool with my husband? I thought just having a monogamous sexual relationship with him in the privacy of our own home sufficed but clearly thats not enough. Does anybody know? Those G*D Damn Defeatocrats, they picked the wrong year to bet on Hope!!(that’s for Bobby)

  2. posted by Bobby on

    “hey picked the wrong year to bet on Hope!!(that’s for Bobby)”

    —Funny how democrats talk about uniting the country while yelling “F-ck Bush.”

    And I hope we don’t ever challenge the Boy Scouts again! Crap like that makes us look bad.

    Sometimes it’s ok to be not wanted.

  3. posted by tavdy79 on

    Catholic and evangelical adoption agencies were required to stop discriminating against same-sex couples as adopters, leading many of those agencies to close …The Letter cites no evidence to support its implications.

    They probably wouldn’t feel it necessary as doubtless many conservative Christians would be aware that this is exactly the situation in the UK: British adoption agencies are banned from discriminating on the basis of sexuality.

  4. posted by Brian in NYC on

    I am glad you mentioned the issue of easy divorce. I have always thought that the casual nature of marriage today is more destructive of the institution than same-sex marriage, but there seems to be little passion for revoking no fault divorce laws.

  5. posted by TS on

    tavdy79: This is a thorny issue. The real matter of ambiguity is whose responsibility a child becomes when the parent doesn’t want em anymore. If it is the orphanage, they ought to be allowed to enforce their own adoption policy. If it is the state, then adoption must be equally available to everyone who would make a good foster parent by objective criteria, without discrimination. I don’t know what the right answer is, but forcing agencies to adopt when they object is clearly a bad move at present. I suspect the UK’s policy is what it is because in that country’s religious heritage, the church has been the state’s lapdog for centuries, and all c/s questions are settled in favor of the state.

    The thing that really entertains me about this letter (plus, of course, Dobson’s typical gay obsession, which I find always makes me wonder about his sexuality) is that they obviously don’t know jack sh*t about Obama. He thinks he’s some kind of “great conciliator.” We are too divisive so he stashes us under the bus. Maybe he’ll throw us a bone (e.g. a gay cabinet member) in his second term. He’s not going to make any of the good policy reforms that inspired the runaway fantasies in this letter.

  6. posted by Arthur on

    If an adoption agency takes the taxpayer?s dollar they cannot discriminate against said taxpayer. The remedy is for religious based agencies to just say no to government money and they can do what they please.

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