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07/28/2011

Glenn Stanton says homosexuality is a 'particularly evil lie of Satan'; why does that get a pass?

by Jeremy Hooper

In this post, I will present one of the the most frustrating facets of "pro-family, pro-marriage" social conservatism, in a nutshell. So as not to be hypocritical, let me say at the outset: I do think many people were made LGBT; do not believe that homosexuality is failure; don't see gays as some sort of pawn in a Satan v. God cage match; don't believe that any of this "culture war" nonsense need be contentious at all, regardless of personal belief; and do in fact think that LGBT people glorify this world in many ways. My views on civil marriage equality are fundamentally guided by these outlooks.


Okay, so on to the post: In a new article for Baptist Press, Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton spills 959 words of digital ink discussing both the human and state interest in marriage policy. The words are measured and the "explanations" seemingly grounded in Stanton's fair read of the land's lay -- a read that obviously comes from a certain point of view and that clearly seeks to fulfill the idea that gay citizens' marriages are inauthentic, but one that at least seems fair, as far as "fair" goes in this innately unbalanced conversation. Stuff like this:

stantonMarried adults and their children are less of a drain on a state's social services and welfare rolls, sometimes by half to three-quarters. Married men and women earn and save more money than their single or cohabiting peers. They are therefore able to pay more taxes into state coffers and produce more goods for the community.

If you are the governor of a state or the president of a nation -- and you know the social research -- you will have a deeply pragmatic interest in marriage. It helps boost nearly all of the good things your state needs to thrive. And it costs you nothing. The government has an interest in both marriage and babies not because it is sentimental about blushing brides and beautiful new bouncing babies
.
FIRST-PERSON: What interest does the gov't have in marriage? [Glenn Stanton for BP News]

Again: We who understand the benefits of marriage equality disagree with Stanton's limited read, natch. But it's not like incendiary, overtly hostile stuff. The article certainly doesn't come across as firebranding.

But here's the thing: Right now, as we speak, anyone who goes to the "Marriage & Relationships" section of Focus on the Family's website will find the very reason why Glenn Stanton opposes same-sex marriage. This is the instructive advice Stanton gives to Focus on the Family's large network of supporters:

All sexual sin is wrong because it fails to mirror the Trinitarian image, but homosexuality does more than fail. It's a particularly evil lie of Satan because he knows that it overthrows the very image of the Trinitarian God in creation, revealed in the union of male and female.

This is why this issue has become such a flashpoint. It will become even more contentious because nothing else challenges this image of the Triune God so profoundly and thoroughly as homosexuality. It's not what we were made for.

How We Dishonor God in Our Sex Lives [Glenn Stanton for Focus on the Family]

"A particularly evil lie of Satan"? An issue that "overthrows the very image of the Trinitarian God"? The idea that gayness is "not what we were made for" and something that spits in the eye of the Man Upstairs in a way like nothing else? Let's get real here: *This* is the reason why Glenn Stanton opposes civil marriage equality. All of the skewed studies, limited research, and carefully workshopped language are simply attempts to justify the fundamental belief. The story here is of a man who thinks the world's huge LGBT population (and, by extension, the LGBT equality support network) is living and/or supporting "a particularly evil lie of Satan."

And remember, this is something that Focus on the Family is proudly running as advice to supporters. So it's not even just Stanton -- this is officially sanctioned Focus on the Family rhetoric. This is what underlies it all.

The bottom line: Glenn Stanton should lead every single thing he writes with this introduction. If again booked on "Dr. Phil," this belief system should be a crucial part of his preview package. Because seriously, how it can it be ignored? Why are these far-right social conservatives so often allowed to cast us out of God's mortal and eternal purview yet pretend that their political engagement is grounded in anything *BUT* this fundamental stance?! Why are those of us who engage in this national civil rights conversation forced to contend with talking points that are rooted ringside at God and Beelzebub's Heavenly Wrestlemania?

The answer: We shouldn't have to. And when people like Glenn Stanton start having enough fortitude to admit the the reasoning that motivates their political engagement -- when before Congress, when before TV cameras, when in a nationalized campaign -- we can actually get to the real debate here: One between those who think LGBT people are in the natural world because someone or something wants them around and those who think that some people are fundamental broken and therefore unworthy of a benign, fair-minded shake at this whole life thing.

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