The evangelicals have their panties in a bunch over the change in President Obama's inauguration, which involves an evangelical preacher who proved to all his followers that he was a proper bigot a few years ago by assuring LGBT Americans that they are all going to hell. I am sure that he was heartily congratulated for his bold proclamation of the Word of God at the time, but it came back to haunt him when the President considered him briefly as a candidate to offer prayer at the ceremony.
It should be quite convenient for evangelicals to remember that the President is an evangelical Christian just like them--with the exception that he is African-American--and in fact he was the only evangelical candidate in the last election, which also involved a Mormon candidate and two Catholics. Apparently they can't wrap their minds around that, because it seems that the President's brand of religion is similar to that of the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, who is, according to his biography:
"The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy is president of Interfaith Alliance, a national, non-partisan grassroots organization that celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Dr. Gaddy also serves as the Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana, and he is the author of over 20 books addressing religion in American life. "
Although you might think at first glance that Dr. Gaddy is another pea in the pod of evangelical conformism, you would be mistaken, because the Interfaith Alliance goes on to say:
"Every week, he hosts State of Belief on Air America Radio, where he explains and explores the role of religion in the life of the nation. Dr. Gaddy provides regular commentary to the national media on issues relating to religion and politics."
So how, you might ask, did a Baptist minister get a forum on the liberal Air America Radio? Well, Dr. Gaddy is not entirely an unthinking bigot who never bothered to read the Old Testament; he actually knows what is in there and he has given it a lot of consideration over many years:
"Dr. Gaddy is recognized as a leading advocate for protecting the boundaries between religion and government. He has been a forceful critic of the faith-based initiative and, has been at the forefront of efforts to pass comprehensive hate crimes legislation, end religious profiling and keep religion out of public classrooms."
What, an evangelical pastor who is an advocate of the separation of Church and State? You'd better believe it--and if you don't you can check out what he has to say on his weekly Air America address. You also might catch him from time to time as a guest on liberal talk shows like The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, or calling it in to Ed Schultz.
There is no Commandment that says that evangelical Christianity has to be forced upon every American, and it seems that now the cry has escalated from accusations of apostasy to those of the suppression of religious freedom to the current catch phrase of Moral McCarthyism.
Seriously, though, I would be concerned if this were the first I heard of it, so I assure my readers that when this first began I looked thoroughly through the list of high-anxiety articles from the usual contributors to the Christian Post to see what they were concerned about. It turns out that, like evangelicals in England who have not yet given up on their "right" to persecute gays or at least spoil their whole day, it is all about the fact that public oppression of LGBT Americans is now frowned upon.
The egregious enforcement of equal protection under the law is getting to them--they used to be able to go as far as harassing what they decided were gay couples in public, but even that relatively-anonymous pastime has been interrupted. Last week there was a high-profile story on the Huffington Post about two men who were in line at a food truck. Another man in line began denouncing their relationship, but to everyone's surprise, the other customers put a stop to him.
To me this seems like relatively small potatoes, but it didn't seem to to evangelicals--they can hardly imagine that anyone would tell them to shut up or get out of line if they don't want to coexist peacefully with other line-standers. Imagine--they showed up for a sandwich and they had to stand in line with gay people! What an insult--and they were not even allowed to yell at the offenders! Moral McCarthyism at its worst!
Okay, so you can see that I have decided that it isn't really a big thing. But if you read the Religulous Right's web pages you will get the dire warning that America is going over the moral cliff with its tolerance of people who simply are who they are.
I have written before that it looks like we are simply going to have to wait until a generation or so dies off before LGBT Americans don't have to look over their shoulders when they are out in public. But balancing this was an announcement from my Communion, the Episcopal Church of the U. S. A., that they will allow same-sex marriages to take place in the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C. So for those of you who are LGBT, just keep in mind that the Episcopal Church Welcomes You--as who you are, always.