No, seriously. In a mass e-mail sent out today entitled "Killing Christians" the right-wing extremist political group called the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) said:
The San Francisco judge who overturned California's marriage ban, in his ruling, made snide remarks about churches disapproving of homosexual behavior. Such absurd and inappropriate comments raise alarms that potentially laws in this country could punish religious groups for disagreeing with prevailing political correctness.
But lest we exaggerate our own troubles in America, we should always remember Christians who suffer far more acutely. Last month, a Christian pastor in Pakistan and his brother were murdered outside a Pakistani court house where they were being charged with "blasphemy" for supposedly insulting Muhammad. Clearly they were being framed, and the police were likely to acquit them, but apparently radical Islamists wanted them dead, lawfully or unlawfully.
The rhetoric reminds me of when Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, compared the members of the Massachusetts Supreme Court to the 9/11 terrorists after they ruled in favor of marriage equality.
Such rhetoric is meant to inflame and divide Americans along religious lines. It is, without question, a misuse of the faith.
Mark Tooley was the author of the e-mail and is the president of IRD. Tooley is not a minister and IRD - despite their name - isn't a religious organization. It was set-up and founded by conservative political activists to undermine mainline churches that opposed Ronald Reagan's policies in the 1980s. Their ongoing goal: to actually take over mainline churches, silence those prophetic voices still speaking out against war and economic injustice, and to use the resources of Christian churches to promote the conservative political agenda.
Tooley knows the truth: the federal court decision does not in any way force churches to marry gays and lesbians and has no bearing on the ways in which churches interpret (or misinterpret) the teachings of Jesus.
Of course, Tooley has no formal theological training. His background is with the CIA. He is closely aligned with racist figures such as David Horowitz and Tooley's views on gays and lesbians are so extreme that the KKK has even reprinted his writing on their websites and endorsed IRD's anti-gay rallies.
A measure of IRD's growing extremism is their recent attacks on the National Association of Evangelicals, generally thought of as being the "religious-right" in America, for being too liberal.Related Post: Proposition 8 Was Incompatible With Christianity; Court Decision A Victory For All God's Children