It's Elementary: Some Christians Are Nuts
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on Dec. 4, 1999.)
In early 1999, Reverend Roberta Nelson, a Maryland Unitarian Universalist minister, wrote, "The topic of conversation is homosexuality. It deals with young people's opinions, beliefs, misinformation and curiosity. It is non-judgmental and non-threatening. It supports our UU principle of 'the worth and dignity of every person'. It is consistent with what we teach in our sexuality program and affirms the concept of being a welcoming congregation." Reverend Nelson was describing "It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School", the 1996 documentary that has Jill Darling and other homophobic Christians outraged.
In her Review column (Nov. 20), Ms. Darling implied that the documentary is being used in some vast conspiracy to convert children into homosexuals. She cited a few selected verses from the Bible, and then repeated otherwise discounted propaganda to support her homophobic position against an entire class of human beings. All of her information is wrong, distorted, inconsistent, and selectively deceptive.
She wrote that "Children should be taught that all human beings are to be treated with love and respect…" and that "there must be tolerance and respect for all people", yet she concluded that homophobes should be given equal access to our children so that they can be presented with "all the facts" that will lessen the worth of certain people.
It seems that when the actual facts based on modern medical science are presented, and when these same facts diametrically oppose the views of Darling and other Biblical literalists, they cry foul and want equal time. The same ploy is being used to attempt to get Creation Science nonsense into our public schools.
In direct disagreement with the conclusions of the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, she continues with incorrect and deceptive propaganda that homosexuality is some kind of disease or mental illness that needs to be cured, and spews the homophobic political agenda of the Radical Religious Right about "curing" homosexuals.
According to the American Psychiatric Association: "There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of 'reparative therapy' as a treatment to change one's sexual orientation." According to the American Psychological Association: "no scientific evidence exists to support the effectiveness of any of the conversion therapies that try to change one's sexual orientation" and that "research findings suggest that efforts to 'repair' homosexuals are nothing more than social prejudice garbed in psychological accouterments." The primary reason why homosexuals are suffering today is because of people with distorted views similar to those of Ms. Darling.
She uses Biblical citations to support her claims, yet fails to mention that the same Bible: condones slavery; forbids the consumption of rabbits, pigs, and shellfish; commands burnt offerings after births; forbids tattoo marks; forbids mixed breeding of various kinds of cattle; forbids sowing various kinds of seeds in your field; forbids wearing "a garment made from two kinds of material mixed together"; and orders that "you shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard."
When was the last column that Ms. Darling wrote protesting tattoo parlors, barbershops, clothing stores, seafood restaurants, or cattle farmers? Did she burn animals after her children were born? Look around you at Christian services. How many men trim their beards? How many men even have beards? How many people are wearing clothing of more than one kind of material?
If you are a Christian who believes that the Bible is literally true and must be obeyed, but you do not follow ALL of its commands and orders and prohibitions, then you are a hypocrite and are practicing a cafeteria style of Christianity by selecting some Biblical orders and ignoring others. How do you expect to be saved? It is your Bible and they are your rules. Either follow ALL of the rules of the Bible, or admit that it is outdated and morally ambiguous. Perhaps your interpretation of an ancient text is grossly different from what the ancient writers intended. Or perhaps those who are interpreting the Bible for you don't know what they're talking about.
Ms. Darling wrote that she is "vehemently opposed to 'educating' children about homosexuality" without her "facts" also being presented. Similarly, I am vehemently opposed to 'educating' children and gullible adults about the Bible – the drunkenness, the divinely ordered rapes and wholesale murders of innocent children, the cannibalism, the homophobia, the incest – without including a rational secular view from those who don't embrace its superstitious platform and ambiguous morality. The Bible should be treated exactly for what it is – an ancient text relating the myths, legends, and stories of a minor early civilization and their attempts to explain nature. Aesop's Fables give far superior examples of ethics and morality without using sex and violence.
Stop using the Bible to degrade entire classes of people. It's for the good of the children. And for Christ's sake, we need to protect the children.
John L. Ferri