Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Meet "Mr. Heterosexuality"

Meet the Rev. Tom Crouse, pastor of the Congregational Church in Holland, Massachusetts, and committed heterosexualist. Back in February, Crouse organised a "Mr. Heterosexual" contest, which was attended by "an estimated 175 to 200 people" and involved daredevil contestants participating in such breathtakingly non-girly-man stunts as talking about the uses of duct tape, demonstrating to an electrified audience how they proposed to their wives (or would propose), and identifying various flavours of potato chips while blindfolded.

Crouse later filed a suit against the local municipal authorities(the city of Worcester), claiming they "violated his rights" by charging him $6000 for the police barricade he requested at the event in order to ward off the hordes of local sodomites who were just aching for a piece of Christian tail, and who Crouse knew would not be bought off by any concubine. (As it turns out, "
there were chants and even a “Queer Kiss-In” staging, but most [protesters] just lit candles and gathered in last night’s cold, saying they just wanted their protest to be heard." Protesters were outnumbered by police, in any case.)

For Crouse, who regularly rails against the Catholic Church on his blog and who has called for the Pope to be arrested, the "injustice" meted out to him by the city of Worcester is yet another instance of the "War on Christians"--the main focus of a Christian Right rally held recently in Washington DC in which Crouse (among a veritable who's who of Republican luminaries, including Tom DeLay) participated. As religious historian Elisabeth Castelli observes:

Whereas the left, whether religious or secular, decries the embeddedness of the current administration in the values and commitments of conservative Christianity, the participants in “The War on Christians and the Values Voter” seemed convinced that Bible-believing Christians are not being taken seriously by the politically powerful, despite the presence of so many of them at the conference. The rhetoric here moves back and forth between incommensurate claims -- Christians are persecuted and powerless, on the one hand, but constitute an irresistible and unbeatable majority, on the other. Aligning its point of view with that of God and its actions with God’s will, this movement must refuse to engage in political compromise because there can be no compromise when absolute truth or God are invoked. Hence the increasing intemperance of its rhetoric, the exuberance of its commitments, the unshakability of its resolve.

It is a movement that resoundingly denies that it is theocratic, dismissing such a characterization as one aimed at provocatively and cynically linking right-wing politicized Christianity to radical Islamism. At the same time, it is a movement that argues that political, social, and moral life must be solely grounded in scripture -- that there is no tension between the Bible and the founding documents of American political institutions, and that the separation of church and state demands an unacceptable compromise since, “if Jesus is your Lord, he is the Lord of everything,” as one conference preacher put it.
One of the main weapons the atheistevilutionistsecularistcommunist oppressors use to persecute Christians is the "homosexual agenda." (Homosexuals, you see, regularly convene to plot ways to force your 13-year-old son into gay marriage.) The bill sent to Crouse for his police protection from "rabid homosexual activists" is clear evidence of this anti-Christian persecution, as is, according to Repent America's Michael Marcavage, "the arrests of several Christian protestors who sought to interrupt a gay event in Philadelphia in order “to show the love of God to those who are lost and damned to hell for all eternity.”" And gay marriage itself is "an attack on the family because that’s where faith is passed on -- the goal is simply the destruction of religion" and "it’s an attack on biblical truth and therefore on God"--so banning gay marriage is really all about striking a blow for religious freedom and tolerance.

As Reason magazine's Cathy Young drily remarks:
Once, conservatives used to deplore the left's cult of victimhood and ridicule the obsession with real or imagined slights toward women, minorities, and other historically oppressed groups. Now, the right is embracing a victimhood cult obsessed with slights toward a group that makes up 85 percent of the American population.
(And in case you're wondering, I was never able to find out who in the end was declared "Mr Heterosexual.")