We seem to be entering a period of exposure for extremist Christians with the latest being one Pastor Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, saying that gays should be killed:
They should be put to death. That’s what happened in Israel. That’s why homosexuality wouldn’t have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversions. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet. — ‘Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them, no?’ — I’m saying the government should. They won’t but they should. [You say], ‘oh, I can’t believe you, you’re horrible. You’re a backwards neanderthal of a person.’ Is that what you’re calling scripture? Is God a neanderthal backwards.. in his morality? Is it his word or not? If it’s his word, he commanded it. It’s his idea, not mine. And I’m not ashamed of it.”
Of course Knapp was later interviewed by CNN and of course he claimed that he was misunderstood. But, of course, his own words tripped him up as he said:
We punish pedophilia. We punish incest. We punish polygamy and various things. It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.
Such ideas are not fringe to those Christians who call themselves reconstructionists, meaning that they want the equivalent of Sharia law, a return to Old Testament law, and dominionists, who want to install a theocracy by stealth (again mirroring the much quoted idea by anti-Islamists from Islam that you can lie and deceive to achieve God’s purpose).
Someone like Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has argued openly for America law to be “bible based” and has called for homosexuality to be recriminalized, though has been careful to avoid calling for execution.
In a number of instances, the links between those explicitly calling for the death penalty for gays and very mainstream religious right figures have surfaced.
Last December, Ron Paul was discovered to be touting the endorsement of “Eminent Pastor Rev. Phil Kayser, Ph.D.” Kayser is the pastor of Dominion Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and supports the death penalty for gays, delinquent children and adultery. Paul’s campaign later removed the endorsement from his website.
George Grant, a well-known reconstructionist, was the co-author for Mike Huckabee’s 1998 book, “Kids Who Kill: Confronting Our Culture of Violence.” In the book, Huckabee and Grant lumped homosexuality with pedophilia, sadomasochism and necrophilia as “institutionally supported aberrations.” Grant has called for the execution of gays.
Glenn Beck’s “Black Robe Regiment” was an effort to get pastors and religious leaders to take a stand on political and cultural issues. It included another Pastor ‘out’ for killing of gays, Steven Anderson from Tempe, Arizona.
Then we have the ties between Michele Bachmann and a ‘hard rock ministry’ in Minnesota which broadcasts from the very mainstream conservative Heritage Foundation. It says that countries that execute gays are “more moral” than America. Bachmann has ignored calls to disassociate from that ministry.
The now viral video of a four-year-old boy at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, singing “Ain’t no homo’s gonna make it to heaven,” where the congregation leap to its feet in shouts and applause, may have shocked some, but the point is this is not isolated.
Greensburg is where 14-year-old Billy Lucas killed himself because he was perceived as being gay and that community banded together for a massive cover-up. That led Box Turtle Bulletin to call Greensburg America’s Ugliest Town, but it is far from the only place where murderous hatred is the norm.
Writing about the death penalty call from Knapp on Glenn Beck’s Blaze website, Billy Hallowell says it is “almost unbelievable.” Unfortunately, it is completely believable — you just have to look at some of the comments underneath his post.
Photo credit: Jacques Callot's "The Hanging" via Wikipedia