How are conservative Christian bloggers responding to the news reports this week about Jimmy Swaggart? You know, Swaggart--that wacky evangelist who advocated the murder of gay men in a recent sermon ("I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."), and then later issued an insincere, half-ass apology?
Well, at the conservative mouthpiece of Christianity Today, there's this piece by Ted Olsen which proclaims "Homophobia might be a word thrown about too carelessly by the left, but remarks like Swaggart's are why the word exists in the first place. Let's be 'blunt and plain': Biblically speaking, for a Christian minister to make such a comment is at least as sinful as it is for people to engage in homosexual activity." So according to this religionist, Swaggart's remarks are now the moral equivalent of the behavior of lovemaking by homosexual persons. How sad it is that some Christians seem unable to tell the difference between HATE and LOVE.
Conservative journalist Douglas LeBlanc at the GetReligion blog echoes approvingly Olsen's remarks, and also comments in vaguely dismissive generalities ("One might think it indeed.") about Swaggart's hypocrisy (while not actually using the word hypocrisy) and otherwise not seeing fit to criticize the comments. Could you ask for anything more wishy-washy?
[Edited to add: LeBlanc's post is critical of Swaggart, though not as critical as I would like to have seen.]
When it comes to conservative Christians, the filth and hate-mongering of Swaggart is sadly only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath the most obvious bigots there lies a soft bigotry encased within the conservative Christian's theology of heterosexist supremacy. They twist the essential truths of spirituality with their adherence to an ideology that men should be real men, ladies should be ladies, and homosexuals are nothing but disordered heterosexuals. For the heterosexual supremacists such as Ted Olsen at Christianity Today, the Bible is a tool to justify the basest of prejudices and religion a vehicle for marginalizing the already despised and marginal. Make no mistake, it is the ideology of heterosexist supremacy, and not the example of Jesus of Nazareth, that such so-called Christians follow.
Olsen's commentary manages to be just as insulting to the intelligence of thinking people as Swaggart's. It finds moral equivalence between the bigot and the target of bigotry, and therein offers an unintentional support or justification for the hatred. The vile theology of heterosexist supremacy may have lost favor among the majority of thinking people in America today, but its dangerous ideology still holds sway in journalistic backwaters such as Christianity Today. [Edited.] Let's be blunt and plain: For religionists such as Ted Olsen, no comment is so vile, prejudiced or stupid as to be automatically justified with two little magic words: "Biblically speaking..."