Lies and Violence


The clip is from a sermon given by a Pastor Sean Harris, employed at the Berean Baptist Church.  In it, you can clearly hear him advocating child abuse.  He tells parents that if their sons ever get that limp wrist (a stereotype quite unfairly attributed to gay men) that they should break the child's wrist.  He also says that they should punch their son if he displays effeminate behavior.  He then goes on to say that they should also discourage their daughters from being butch--that they may play sports, but that they are also to dress up and "look pretty".

The first and foremost reason I find this offensive is because he is advocating violence--and not just any violence but possibly the worst kind of violence: domestic violence.  He is clearly telling parents to punch their sons and to break their wrists.  (Fortunately, in this clip I did not hear him advocating violence toward the daughters.)  Physical abuse is never appropriate.  Parents should not strike their children for any reason at all, but certainly not anything as violent as breaking a bone.  This is despicable.

When I heard about this, I wrote an email to the pastor.  I will quote the email below.  Immediately upon sending the message, I got an auto-reply with a link to the this post on his blog which is his apology for what he said in his sermon.  First, here is my message.
It has come to my attention that in a recent sermon, you encouraged those in your congregation to physically abuse their children. I wanted to let you know that this behavior is inappropriate and I am gravely disappointed that you would simultaneously preach that and claim to be a representative of the love of Christ.

It is not appropriate for parents to break their sons' wrists, or to punch them, or any other manner of physical harm. I hope that you are reported to the authorities and that action will be taken against you for encouraging child abuse. You do not represent the principles Christ taught in the New Testament. You represent hatred and violence. You have no love in your heart and you encourage your followers to have no love in theirs. It is utterly despicable that you encourage such horrific behavior.
I would like to quote parts of his apology and give my commentary on them, but first, I'll give my overall impression.  His apology was very typical of the kind given by the LDS church.  He admits doing no wrong.  He refutes having said what he said and insists that he was only doing the Lord's will.  In short, being caught in a horrible place, he proceeds to lie.  I've thought about what might cause this, since it seems to be the same for churches all over.  It leads me back to what my parents always taught me about lying when I was young.

My parents always taught me that one reason why lying was so bad (aside from the fact that it's dishonest) is that you need to keep telling more and more lies to cover up your previous lies.  You have to go deeper and deeper into your lie and thus further and further away from the truth.  And thus it is with the religious.  They are lying by maintaining that their fairy tell is fact, so when it gets them into trouble, they simply lie further to save face.  It is a horrible and vicious cycle.

Now, to quote his apology.
By now you may know that my words, from Sunday morning's sermon, about effeminate behavior in children are being completely taken out of context by those in the LGBT community. (Nearly every article is misquoting me.)
He starts off his article playing the victim card.  He can't admit what he actually said.  He simply claims that people are misquoting him.  Well, the clip I have can't possible be misquoting him because it's his actual voice and it's an actual sound-byte from  his actual sermon.  He really, truly did say that parents should break their sons' wrists if they are limp.  In fact, you can hear audible "Amen"s from the congregation whenever he says something hateful like that.  Clearly, the people in his congregation agree with him on the matter.  They also believe that it's not only acceptable to brutalize their son, but that it's what Jesus would want them to do.
For the record, I want to ensure everyone that I do NOT believe physical force is capable of fixing effeminate behavior or homosexual behavior. Parents should not punch babies or children.
I am glad that he is clarifying his position on this matter here, but it is clearly in direct contradiction to what he said in his sermon.  But, he goes right on to say "I would never advocate for such discipline or actions on behalf of a father or mother."  Well, you just did advocate it.  So, stop lying and saying you never would because you did.  You're welcome to apologize and say that you didn't mean it, but own up to what you said.  Admit it.  Confess that you really did advocate such discipline, but that you were wrong to do so.  Have some integrity.
Either Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 are true and we should communicate the truth in love for fear of not entering the Kingdom of God or the entire Bible cannot be trusted to be the Word of God.
Now, that's something I can agree with.  Clearly Paul's words are not true and therefore the Bible cannot be trusted to be the word of god.  He's got a point there.  Not the point he was trying to make, since clearly he means to advocate for the Bible.  However, the way he's worded it, I can fully support him.

But, all joking aside, what he's trying to do is bully people into accepting his interpretation of the Bible.  He's essentially saying that a person cannot accept the Bible as holy writ unless they accept the homophobic statements made in it.  A similar argument could be made to tell Christians they must not eat pork or shrimp or that they shouldn't get tattoos.  The fact of the matter is that people are welcome to accept as much or as little of the Bible as they choose.  But he, like most Mormons, is trying to make it seem like an all-or-none scenario.  Since Christians believe in the Bible, they're clearly not going to go the route of "the entire Bible cannot be trusted", so they'll side with him on being homophobic.

In conclusion, there is one point that I really would like to address and it is very important to me.  He said something that I do actually agree with wholeheartedly.
Those in the opposition are suggesting all sorts of hateful things and using ungodly and profane words. Those who speak of the love of God are using the most hateful terms I have ever read. We must never resort to such language.
Firstly, I would like to point out how hypocritical it is of him to say his middle sentence--condemning people for using hateful terms--since he himself encouraged parents to do hateful things toward their own children, all in the name of the love of god.  But, aside from that, I agree with him.  It is not appropriate to speak hatefully against other people.  I have spoken of this before.  I have even made a YouTube video stating this position.

I think that anger is a perfectly acceptable emotion, and that it is fine for someone to be angry at another person's actions and even to express that anger.  However, I do not feel that it is appropriate to be violent in word or in deed.  Unlike Pastor Harris, I never ever advocate violence of any kind.  Children should not be punched, adults should not be punched, no one should be punched.  No one deserves to have their wrists broken.  No one deserves to be called hateful names or told they should die or go to hell or any other similarly hateful thing.  It should not be done.  It is inappropriate.  Anyone who says such horrible things to someone else does not have my support.  If someone is arguing in favor of gay rights and calls another person a hateful name, they are not fighting my cause.

As you can see in the message I sent to Mr Harris, I was respectful.  I told him precisely how I feel on the matter, but I did not use any obscene language.  I do not feel it is acceptable to use hate speech under any circumstances.  Gay people, black people, or any other minority should not receive special protection by the law.  Hate is hate whether it is directed toward someone in a minority or in the majority.  To return hate for hate is base and vulgar.  We, as a human race, must rise above that.  We must not return hate for hate.  We must resist evil, but we must do so in a respectful way.  It's fine to be angry when you're getting your point across, but it is not okay to be hateful.  Remember the golden rule.  If you don't want people hating on you, don't hate on others.