Like ISIS, US Christian Extremists Advocate Killing Gays – But ISIS Is Actually Doing It

ISIS executes a gay man by pushing him off  of a rooftop
ISIS executes a gay man by pushing him off of a rooftop

While ISIS has been barraging the world media with horrific images — burning a Jordanian pilot alive and beheading journalists, aid workers and, most recently, 21 Egyptian Christians — it has also been executing gay men by hurling them to their deaths off of rooftops and other high places. Two men were also reportedly crucified for being gay.

ISIS appears to be handling these two kinds of public murders differently. By releasing videos of its executions of hostages, ISIS seeks international publicity as a gambit to stoke outrage, fear and horror in order to lure the civilized world into an Armageddon-like conflagration in the Middle East. The executions of gay men are handled with less fanfare, however, because ISIS views these murders as simply carrying out God’s judgment for the sin of homosexuality, based on scriptures in the Koran.

Most Americans view this sort of barbarism toward gays with detachment — it’s a faraway Muslim death cult acting out its extremist views. In fact, on the issue of homosexuality, ISIS is aligned with Christian extremists right here in the United States, many of whom also interpret God’s law as calling for the execution of gays.

There is a key difference, of course. While Christianists advocate killing gays, ISIS is actually doing it.

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast recently, Pres. Obama made the point that Islam isn’t the only religion beset by violent extremism. “Terrible deeds have been done in the name of Christ,” the president said. This is an irrefutable historical fact — people have been tortured and killed in the name of Christ for nearly as long as Christianity has existed — and yet the president’s suggestion that there was a parallel between Islamic and Christian extremism sent Republicans into an apoplectic rage.

The parallel between Christian and Islamic extremists’ positions against gay rights is striking. And while the president did not point to the similarity directly, the venue he chose for reminding Christians that they have their own history of extremism could not have been more apt.

The host organization of the annual National Prayer Breakfast is a powerful Christianist cult called “the Family.” Founded 80 years ago to combat New Deal progressivism — one of its founders was TV preacher Pat Robertson’s father, Virginia Sen. Absalom Robertson — the Family has counted among its members U.S. senators and House members, as well as governors and other highly placed officials, nearly all of whom are Republicans. Many of them live in a townhouse dormitory on Capitol Hill’s C Street that was the site of a series of sex scandals a few years ago. (There’s a list of powerful cult members compiled in 2009 here.)

The cult’s foundational principle is that its members have been blessed with power, not because voters elected them — they see their elections as part of his divine plan. As God’s anointed powerbrokers, these officials believe they are unbound by both biblical morality and civil law — an untethering from reality that led Family members on C Street — including former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, former Mississippi Rep. Chip Pickering, former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici and former Nevada Sen. John Ensign — to feel they were free to commit the mortal sin of adultery with impunity. Rep. Pickering used the C Street house, which was registered as a tax-exempt church, as a love shack, and Ensign and fellow cult member Tom Coburn, then a senator from Oklahoma, met there allegedly to conspire to buy the silence of Ensign’s former aide and best friend Doug Hampton, the cuckolded husband of Ensign’s mistress.

Around the same time that these adulterous scandals were blowing up, a member of the Family was revealed to have instigated an effort to codify execution of gays into law in Uganda. David Bahati, a Family member who was also a member of the Ugandan Parliament, was in the audience when hate-group leader Scott Lively, founder of the U.S.-based Abiding Truth Ministries, delivered a seminar in Uganda advocating the execution of gays:

In early 2009, having toured Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, and Belarus, advocating the eradication of homosexuality, Lively was invited by evangelists in Uganda to participate in a so-called protection of family values seminar called “Exposing the Homosexuals’ Agenda.” What Lively did there, he would later boast, had the effect of “a nuclear bomb.”

…Lively preached that homosexuals were coming into Uganda to recruit Ugandan children and that homosexuals would rip apart the very fabric of Ugandan society — the family — if they weren’t stopped. He used the United States as an example of what could happen.

“They have taken over the United States, the United States government, and the European Union,” he declared. “Nobody has been able to stop them so far. I’m hoping Uganda can.” One Ugandan legislator said afterward, confirming the impact of Lively’s visit, “We must exterminate homosexuals before they exterminate society.”

Inflamed by Lively’s propaganda, David Bahati drafted what came to be known as Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill. In its original iteration, the bill imposed the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and for gay couples who marry, as well as prison sentences of five to seven years for promoting homosexuality in the media and similar “crimes.” Later, reacting to international pressure, parliamentarians soften the penalties from execution to life in prison. (Read the bill [PDF].) Parliament eventually passed the law, but it was struck down in court last year. According to recent reports, Parliament will consider a similar bill later this year.

Washington elites associated with the Family seemed to distance themselves from Bahati when he visited in 2010. For his role in inspiring Bahati’s “Kill the Gays” law, the hate group leader Scott Lively is currently awaiting trial in the United States for crimes against humanity. He has desperately backpedaled from his advocacy of exterminating gays, claiming he supported the changing the penalty for being gay from death to life imprisonment.

Whether or not Lively is found guilty, the fact remains that he was simply advocating taking action on a principle at the core of right-wing Christian ideology, as evidenced by the recent endorsement of ISIS’s executions of gays by one of Lively’s fellow ideologues, James David Manning, leader of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York City:

“I’m a preacher of the word of God,” [Manning said,] “I’m not the one who wrote the scripture. Listen, Moses said that sodomites should be stoned. It’s right in the book of Leviticus. I’m not the writer of that. I’m just a preacher of it, so don’t blame me. If you want to be upset with somebody, be upset with Moses.”

Manning also called being gay “a heinous violation of humanity,” and said he would agree with ISIS or Al-Qaeda or anyone else who “has the wisdom and the integrity to reference that” biblical passage that calls for stoning gays to death for being gay.

(It should be noted that Manning also recently asserted — apparently apropos of nothing and certainly without attribution — that Starbucks lattes were flavored with gay semen.)

Calls for Executions

Manning and Lively are hardly alone in advocating the death penalty for homosexuality. In December, Tempe, Ariz., minimall preacher Steven Anderson called for killing homosexuals in order to rid the world of HIV:

“Here’s what the Bible says, Leviticus 20:13, ‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.’ And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS. It was right there in the Bible all along.”

His message is that killing gays is a divinely sanctioned way to rid the world of AIDS.

“Because if you executed the homos, like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” Anderson said on the video.

In August, Chattanooga megachurch preacher Robby Gallaty also cited Leviticus when he advocated the death penalty for gays:

“God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live. So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, God gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins, ‘They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.’

A black man can’t change his race; a white man can’t change his race. A homosexual can stop engaging in homosexual acts. Sexuality is a choice, gender and race are not. It’s not the same issue here.”

In 2012, Jonathan Phelps, son of Fred Phelps, the late founder of the clownish “God Hates Fags” cult that calls itself the Westboro Baptist Church, went on the record explicitly calling for gays to be executed:

…Jonathan Phelps said he “absolutely” supported the death penalty for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, though he stopped short of elaborating when it came to how he thought the U.S. government should enforce such punishments.

In 2010, Joel McDurmon, director of research for American Vision, a Christian Reconstructionist organization that advocates dismantling the U.S. democratic republic and replacing it with a Christian theocracy, published an essay titled “A Perfect Hatred,” in which he called for the execution of gays:

“God has revealed that specific sins are also civil crimes … God also reveals specific punishments for specific civil crimes,” he writes. “He revealed that some civil crimes require restitution, a few require the death penalty. Where God says a civil crime deserves the death penalty, I propose that we keep in step with the first greatest commandment and recognize His total sovereignty in heart, soul, strength, and mind.

“Now, it just so happens that God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty,” McDurmon continues.

In AV’s view, homosexuality is just one among many crimes that merit the death penalty. Christian Reconstructionists call for the death penalty for as many as 20 offenses, including adultery, homosexuality, fornication, witchcraft, incorrigible juvenile delinquency and spreading false religions.

One prominent Christian Reconstructionist leader, Gary North, has even made the case that stoning is the biblically preferred means of execution.

(Another crime for which God demands the death penalty is working on the Sabbath — bake a cake, mow your lawn or stop by the office on Sunday and you will be stoned to death under the coming Christian caliphate.)

Sean Harris, pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., takes things a step further. He says gays should be put to death and exhorts his congregation to physically abuse their their own children — punch them and even break their wrists — if they show any signs of homosexuality.

Mainstreaming Hate

It’s easy to dismiss these Christian extremists’ calls for exterminating gay people as ravings from a powerless radical fringe. In reality, their views are seeping into mainstream politics through highly placed connections to the Republican Party. In 2012, Tony Perkins, head of the GOP-aligned hate group, the Family Research Council, tweeted that by supporting executions of gays Uganda’s president was “leading his nation in repentance.” Two years earlier Perkins had recorded a message for right-wing radio in which he criticized Pres. Obama for denouncing Uganda’s death penalty for gays. The FRC later attempted to delete the recording, but activists found it in Internet archives. Listen to it here.

One of Scott Lively’s most vocal defenders is Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for the American Family Association, another Republican-aligned anti-gay hate group. According to Right Wing Watch, on his AFA-sponsored talk show “Focal Point,” Fischer defended Lively in 2013 by “downplaying [Lively’s] work shaping Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill and advocating … imprisonment of gay people as simply giving ‘talks supporting natural marriage.’ But Fischer, who shares Lively’s views on criminalizing LGBT status and blaming gays for the Holocaust, asserted that Lively ‘did the same kind of stuff over there that we do every day on [AFA radio].'”

Just last month, however, the AFA suddenly found itself embarrassed by some of Fischer’s views — not his position on homosexuality, of course, nor by his bigotry toward African-Americans, whom he has described as “rutting like rabbits,” but rather because of his statements claiming that Judaism is not covered by the First Amendment because “America was founded by Christians for the glory of God and the Christian faith.”

The AFA’s abrupt embarrassment about Fischer was prompted by news reports by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and other journalists exposing the fact that the hate group was sponsoring an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel for members of the Republican National Committee. After its ties to AFA came to light, the RNC stopped answering press inquiries about the trip and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus opted not to join the tour. At the height of the controversy, AFA fired Bryan Fischer from his position as the group’s director of Issues Analysis.

AFA allowed Fischer to keep his radio show, however, which meant he retained his position as the hate group’s highest-profile spokesman — suggesting that his loss in rank was a distinction without difference. Fischer’s demotion also meant that AFA was insufficiently embarrassed by his views to repudiate him and fire him outright, which underscores the fact that, ideologically speaking, on the issue of executing gays, at least, the only difference between even “mainstream” Christianists organizations like FRC and AFA and Islamicists like ISIS is their willingness to take action on their extremists views.

8 Comments

  • Travis
    March 9, 2015 - 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Let’s review history for just a little bit.. There were laws against homosexuality even in the early American colonies. In the New Haven colony, homosexuality was even punishable by death. By the late 1800’s, homosexuality was considered a psychiatric illness. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association voted that homosexuality was no longer a mental disorder. And although gay marriage is now (recently) accepted in the U.S., I would guess close to half of Americans still think it is wrong. I personally know plenty of nice gay people and wish them well. But when CNN showed ISIS throwing gays from the rooftops, I could just imagine some of the more conservative Christians and rednecks quietly (or not so quietly) saying,”Alright! Where do I join ISIS?” I love the way everyone is trying to make believe that this is something new that muslims or ISIS has made up. If anything, they have followed in America’s footsteps. I guess maybe ISIS just hasn’t caught up to our “high standards” of accepting gay marriage

  • May 13, 2015 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Numerous Christian Evangalists have made trips to Africa speaking out on Gay issues, and have even incited laws to be passed, which favor arresting and torturing homosexuals.

  • Steven Davis
    July 13, 2015 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Says the gay man: I am loading my shotgun. I am waiting for you

  • Holns
    February 28, 2016 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I constantly read christians advocating the killing of homosexual people dettached from any common sense. The contradiction is evident in that christians claim to be loving and compassionate, defender of life yet their minds and mouths don’t hesitate in advocating the killing of homosexual people as if discussing wat car they want to buy next.

  • Pingback: Killing Gays: the Republican Agenda | ZekeBlog 2.0

  • Liz
    June 13, 2016 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Christian pastors and constituents are constantly calling for the killing of gays. I could post pages of quotes. Just ask.

    • SG
      June 14, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      Please do post pages of quotes. Links would be fine.

  • akima tendo
    October 11, 2016 - 2:16 am | Permalink

    legalism – the school of force – fuels lgbt bashing as well as communism and fascism
    and other tyrant schools. it is time for america to adopt nonviolence, avoiding aggression, and nonsinning, avoiding harm to others – and to return to a constitutional republican mortal state and a liberal democratic mortal society. let the gop rot from within – and bring on a multi-party parliamentary system under a new constitution with a declaration of rights of the person and the citizen. lgbt bashing will then fall into the dustbin of history – along with the war on terror, the war on drugs, and other madness. make america an example of liberty – not state terrorism. buddha, tao, gods, and goddesses bless to all – for it is not either-or or both… it is all.

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