Know Thy Enemy
Not everybody who disagrees with you is an enemy. Mostly they’re simply opponents. But there are some people who have given themselves over to evil, and with whom there can never be compromise or cooperation.
Within Christian church circles, the lines must be drawn sharply and clearly between orthodox Christians and people like these “faith leaders” who recently showed up at Planned Parenthood’s new clinic to bless it. Excerpts:
“In almost every message to our staff, I talk about our doing sacred work,” says Dr. Laura Meyers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. “This confirms the sacredness of the work we do.”
The NoMa health facility, which opened in September, rang with the sound of drums as visitors entered, courtesy of all-female percussion troupe Batala Washington. Erin Schmieder, a Batala member, says the group chose to participate in the event organized by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice because “there are a lot of us throughout our lives who have benefited from Planned Parenthood.”
Before the ceremony kicked off, religious leaders gathered upstairs for their own prayer circle, led by Rabbi Michael Namath. The program director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism called upon their obligation to the world to “make it whole and holy.”
Then the formal event began, featuring leaders from different Christian denominations, a rabbi, abortion providers, a Planned Parenthood patient, Hindu priests, an Imam over Skype, visual art, and a liturgical dance.
Understand, part of what they’re blessing is an abortion clinic. More:
Reverend Doctors Christine and Dennis Wiley of Baptist United Church of Christ organized the event with RCRC and PPMW, and acknowledge that anti-abortion perspectives dominate many religious institutions. “The conservative voices are big,” says Christine. “It drowns out the progressive voices, but it’s not that progressive voices aren’t there.”
Meyers agrees. Anti-choice activists have “tried to separate those of us working on or supporting the right of women to choose a from a sense of deep spirituality,” she says. “So today is a shift in that narrative.”
For many of the speakers at the ceremony, their religious faith was precisely why they stood in solidarity with Planned Parenthood.
Rabbi Namath spoke of the belief in Jewish tradition that making healthful decisions about one’s body is a way to honor God.
Here’s a short video clip of the thing:
I’ve not been able to find a full listing of the churches with pastors and others involved in this thing, but the bio page of the leaders show Baptists, a Methodist, and a member of the United Church of Christ.
Blessing a place where the lives of unborn children are exterminated.
In other news, the Rev. Jeff Hood is a super-progressive Baptist pastor in the Dallas area. How progressive? From the biography on his website:
The author of 16 books, Dr. Hood is particularly excited about the release of his latest 2 books, Dallas and The Execution of God. In 2016, Dr. Hood’s book The Courage to Be Queer was named the third best religion book of the year at the Independent Publishers Book Awards. In addition to writing books, Dr. Hood’s work has appeared extensively in the media, including in the Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Los Angeles Times, WIRED magazine and on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR amongst a whole host of other outlets.
Dr. Hood has served in the governing leadership of multiple organizations, and presently serves on the board of Fellowship of Reconciliation USA. In 2013, Dr. Hood was awarded PFLAG Fort Worth’s Equality Award for activism and service. In 2015, Hood was named Hope for Peace and Justice’s Ambassador of Justice for his theological activism and also the Next Generation Action Network’s Person of the Year for his work against police brutality. In addition to being the husband of Emily and father of Jeff III, Phillip, Quinley Mandela, Lucas & Madeleine, Dr. Hood also maintains a close friendship with multiple death row prisoners.
With deep soul and a belief that God is “calling us to something queerer,” Dr. Hood is a radical mystic and prophetic voice to a closed society.
Yeah, well, today on his blog, Rev. Jeff hears God calling us to something even queerer than you can imagine. He recalls a hospital conversation a few years ago with a man who had been injured by his Labrador retriever, with who he had been having sexual relations. Excerpt from the dialogue he recounts on his blog. “F” is “Frank,” the patient; “C” is himself, the Chaplain:
F8: Yes. When we were intimate the other night, Lucy sank her long teeth into my neck. She had never done that before. Lucy became very vicious very quickly.
C9: (Still holding his hand…) Sir, if you don’t mind me asking…what exactly is Lucy?
F9: Lucy is 88 beautiful pounds of Labrador.
C10: (Still holding his hand…) I appreciate the clarification. I’m sorry that things are not proceeding as well as you would prefer in your relationship with Lucy. Do you think the disconnect you’re feeling from Lucy could possibly be attributed to the vast differences between your species?
F10: I have thought about that…but things have been going fine for the last four years.
C11: What attracted you to Lucy in the first place?
F11: I have had numerous failed relationships. This relationship with Lucy just seemed to work.
You really have to read the entire exchange, realizing that the progressive pastor is presenting himself as the voice of compassion here. And maybe he was, in his way. He did end up talking Frank out of continuing to have sex with a dog. That’s not a bad thing.
But later, he came to wonder if he had done the right thing. Says Pastor Jeff:
I was very shaken by the encounter with Frank. Not long after I left, I went and talked with a psychologist. When I told him what happened, he challenged my assumptions. “What makes you think that someone can’t be in a consensual sexual relationship with an animal? It doesn’t just have to be all about sex either. Real intimate partnered love is a possibility too. Many animals are intellectually and emotionally more capable of healthier relationships than we are.” While it has been many years since these events transpired, I think about them often. I still don’t have clarity on what I should have said to Frank. I simply did the best I could with the understanding that I had.
The truth is that Frank is not alone. If you survey the online and print data out there, there are at least thousands of people currently carrying on intimate relationships with animals. Regularly, news stories come out after a relationship is revealed. These frequent occurrences bring about an important question. Can an animal consent to such a relationship? Through expanding science, we are gaining knowledge that animals are as intelligent if not more intelligent than humans. I’m still uncertain if consent is possible. I do know that there are an increasing number of people who claim that it is. The more I think and read about it the blurrier the lines seem to get.
I also think about what Jesus would say. There is nothing in the gospel narrative that speaks to intimate relationships with animals. In the midst of such absence, one is even left to wonder if Jesus might have even had intimate relationships with animals.
“One” is? What a pervert and a blasphemer. But he’s not a random nut. A straight man who is married and the father of children, Hood is a big presence on the SJW scene in north Texas, it appears (see here and here). When you abandon Christian orthodoxy, there’s no brake stopping the slide into the abyss. I do wonder, though, where progressive religionists draw the line on their left side. Are there any religious enemies to the left? Will The Christian Century blog network continue to host the blog of a Texas pastor who says God incarnate might have been into bestiality? What, exactly, does a guy have to do or say to be disfellowshipped from progressive Christian circles (besides vote Republican)?