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Brokeback Religion

John on January 17, 2006 at 3:34 pm

I’m not an expert on gay culture, but from what I understand there is a concept known as a beard. According to the Wikipedia entry, a beard is:

[A] female companion used to hide a gay man’s sexuality by appearing in public as if she and the gay man were a heterosexual couple

In other words, it’s a socially acceptable cover story that hides who you really are. Though I haven’t seen it, I’m told there’s something like this in the movie Brokeback Mountain, which has yet to make 30 million at the box office despite a tidal wave of publicity. Both of the cowboys in the film are married, but one of them is depicted as really being interested primarily in other men. His wife, then, is a beard.

I’d like to suggest that gay cowboys aren’t the only group of people looking for a socially acceptable cover story. Another, group that falls into this category is the Democratic Party. You may recall that in the run up to the election of 2004, the democrats were making noise about recapturing the religious vote. John Podesta gathered a group of 350 left wing religious leader to Wasington in June of 2004. The Washington Post covered it on page A02:

They called for a stronger, more clearly religious voice against the Bush administration’s foreign policy and for environmental stewardship, universal health insurance, and efforts to fight poverty at home and abroad…Yet even as the conference at times took on the enthusiasm of a pep rally, there were sobering reflections on why the religious left lost its prominence after the 1970s and how hard it may be to regain it. At the core of those concerns was a simple set of statistics, reinforced by numerous polls: People who say they are frequent churchgoers vote Republican by a ratio of about 2 to 1.

The article goes on to discuss the problem and at one point quotes the Rev. Susan B. Thistelwaite of Union Theological Seminary:

We should take back the Bible, take back the theological principles and not just cede them to the religious right…It’s not good enough to talk in vague terms about values. We can do better than that. We can make the theological arguments.

All of which is true. They could make theological arguments if they went back to the Bible. However, so far neither thing has happened. What we get instead — what we’ve gotten from the left for about four decades now — are transparent attempts to co-opt and capitalize on the form and language of religion. Even atheist poster boy Michael Newdow touts his status as an ordained minister on his website. He at least is honest about his attempt to mock religion. Others on the left are more deceptive.

A classic case is Planned Parenthood’s “Clergy Advisory Board.” That’s a position sort of like the antebellum South’s ministry of black human rights. The individuals on the board are involved in helping PP take their message to churches. In 2004, PP named the Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera (from LA, where else?) as the the official Chaplain of Planned Parenthood. All of this ignores the obvious fact that the church at large has been advising Planned Parenthood exactly where to go for several decades now. The response has not been encouraging.

With the increasing push for mainstreaming gay culture in America, this type of religious tokenism is a growth industry. The Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest gay rights organizations, has its own pastor making the rounds with their message. You can read one of his sermons here. After a promising start in Luke, we get some talk about the gays as an oppressed minority, some religious pluralism and then he gets to this:

Together we are reclaiming the rich, powerful language of love, commitment, community, and justice and talking once again in language people in Ohio understand — faith language. We know there is great power within us all as human beings — and now we are tapping into the greater power that is the source of all our being.

You see, it’s the language that counts. The fact that none of this stuff about the “greater power within us” comes from the Bible is really beside the point. That’s what it means to be a religious beard for a group like Human Rights Campaign or Planned Parenthood, you’re there to cloud the issue, to intone the right words — even if the meaning has been lost in translation.

Call it Brokeback Religion. It has about as much to do with historic Christianity as Brokeback Mountain has to do with real cowboys. But as always with the left, it’s the symbolism that counts.

Update: Dawn Eden has a post which fits perfectly with mine. It shines a little light on both the anti-Christian nature of Planned Parenthood and the attempt to hide that fact.

Update 2: And here’s another story [HT: Drudge]. Activist Mel White wants to turn the annual White House Easter egg roll into a pro-gay statement. Not that Easter eggs have a lot to do with Easter…I guess one imitation Christianity is as good as another.

Wow, next thing you know someone will be writing a play saying Jesus and the apostles were gay. Oh, wait

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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