Apparently Only Christians Are Constituents of Alabama’s New Governor

The manifest destiny of a Christian American theocracy took a bold step towards the light this week with the inauguration of Alabama’s new governor, Robert Bentley.

The day before taking office, Bentley, a deacon at First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, spoke at Dexter Street King Memorial Baptist Church, once led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. An occasion meant to honor Dr. King on his holiday seemed to have quite the opposite effect. Said Bentley:

But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have, if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives with me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.

Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.

Maybe he was just getting it all out of his system while he could.

What’s worse, if you read the news article, you’ll see plenty of people (the Anti-Defamation League notably excepted) are open to defending him or at least equivocating about his intentions. It must be really bad for non-Christians in Alabama if they’re afraid to even say, “Yeah, I was pretty damn offended” on the record.

This is ridiculously offensive. We’re a nation with a history of denying groups of people a role in their government, and here’s a newly elected official who seems eager to govern in just that way.

And who says “daddy”?

I don’t think folks realize how fragile the separation of church and state is. They’re not non-overlapping magisteria; they both deal with serving the people, so we have to try our hardest to maintain the boundaries we can. Electing religious leaders to government positions does the exact opposite, and Bentley is a shining example.

If you pause and consider the phenomenon of the religious right, you realize how bizarre it is that a political point of view so concerned with the constitution is the most concerned with violating the intentions behind it. Of course, snap back to reality and remember that integrity has nothing to do with it; it’s all about power. Try to make rhyme or reason out of it and you’ll get nowhere (If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college).

We’re not a Christian nation. That meme is just the largest-scale example of the George W. Bush approach to truth. Say it enough and act like it enough and people will buy into it.

Alabama, you have my sympathies. Maybe all you Jews, nonbelievers, and other non-Christians can be at least counted as 3/5 of a brother or sister.

You know what would be great? To hear some Christian groups condemn him, to stand up and say, “This was not Christian behavior and we disapprove of infusing such evangelism into state government.”

I guess they’re all too busy filing their amicus briefs to help the Department of Justice defend DOMA.



The Reason for the Season: It’s Dark

Long-time followers of the blog will recall my post from last year about why I really like the holidays so much.

Rather than regurgitate my reconciliation of my atheism with a not-so-secular holiday, I thought I’d share a simple thought today (Christmas Eve for many).

Lots of billboards debate the reason for the season. Some atheist groups like to point out that Jesus is a myth, which is a reasonable point. Some Christian groups like to hammer home that Jesus is the reason. I never understood what makes the birth of a baby in a stable a compelling story unless you 100% accept the virgin birth, which I think is a stretch for most believers. (That’s besides the fact that if Jesus was born, he most definitely was not born in December.) Jews, meanwhile, already celebrated that there was enough oil to burn for eight days instead of one—not as miraculous as the virgin birth of a god, but at least a bit more original (or did Osiris have long-burning candles, too?).

None of those stories really matter, though. See, way back in 46 BCE, Caesar figured out that December 25 was the Winter Solstice, the day when the Earth’s tilt is farthest way from the sun and thus it is the shortest day and longest night of the year. The calendar was off though, and the date started shifting to earlier in the year. Pope Gregory XIII standardized it in 1582, but screwed up and restored the date to December 22. (Maybe he didn’t want all his loyal followers in the Holy Roman Empire to be suspicious about Jesus just happening to be born on a day already celebrated by many Pagans.)

But that’s why we have holidays around this time. It’s dark.

So we need to light it up and warm it up (though admittedly, the wintry association with this time of year is biased to the Northern Hemisphere).

We need pretty lights and warm food and stirring music and good company. We need to make each other smile and show each other how much we love each other and exchange presents as tokens of that love.

And that’s it. That’s all it’s about. That’s all that’s important.

No myths or legends necessary! Just the intention to warm the hearts of your loved ones. We all owe ourselves and each other to do so at least once a year, and what better night than (almost) the longest of the year?

So whatever you do this holiday season, enjoy it. Do what it takes to make it really feel like the holiday season and not just the dark one. Celebrate that which makes us all human: love.

Season’s Greetings from ZackFord Blogs!



What If Republicans Didn’t Believe in an Afterlife?

It’s been quite a while since “Religious Right” didn’t sound redundant, and while plenty of folks can articulate differences between “social conservative” and “fiscal conservative,” it seems rare that anyone has to take exception to their conflation. While they might mean different things, they arguably have the same motivation.

Consider the belief in an afterlife. This single, simple, commonplace belief can easily define the context for a person’s entire life. Juxtapose 80 years with eternity and priority number one becomes getting into that afterlife, according to the prescriptive guidelines. Priority two might be a compassionate attempt to get others to abide by the same guidelines so they can get there too. And once all the ducks are in a row for the afterlife, all that’s left to do is sit back and tolerate life.

Yes, yes, this is a simplistic generalization that doesn’t recognize the nuance of belief—I hear ya. But at a basic level, it is still fair to say that believing in an afterlife can impact every single decision a person makes as the very motivation that leads them through life. This dubiously simple factor provides an important context for understanding the concept of “conservative,” particularly in the malicious way it is being employed by Congressional Republicans during this lame-duck session.

Fundamentally, there is a “me” factor: I want to go to Heaven, I want you to go to Heaven the same way, and I want God to be pleased with what we did in the meantime. Social conservatism is wanting society to abide by God’s laws… or at least not stray from them any further. (Just ignore that shifting Zeitgeist.) Fiscal conservatism is just a way to make that happen. It’s the same philosophy of unchange; let the people with money keep it. And while Jesus may have said to let go of all your possessions, having money in a capitalist society is great leverage for enforcing a social agenda. It also makes the ride incredibly more comfortable until that Rapture comes along.

So consider this “hostage situation” regarding tax cuts for the rich. Hoarding money is clearly not Christian (a memo many Christian leaders have missed), and Reaganomics (or as Rachel Maddow calls them, “Riganomics”) clearly fail. So why are they “all in”? It could be greed, which itself could be reflective of subservience to the afterlife. But it could also be for leverage. Leverage against the DREAM act. Leverage against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal. Leverage against support for 9/11 first-responders. Remember, the one budget Republicans will never cut is defense; we are, after all, engaged in two wars on behalf of Christianity.

The will to impose the proper afterlife on others is not benign. Just today, a story on good old OneNewsNow complains that Liam Neeson suggested that Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia (whom he voices) represents non-Christian spiritual leaders. Because, damn it, Aslan is Christ and that’s what C. S. Lewis intended! Don’t worry, “Dr.” Marc T. Newman (whoever he is) comes to the rescue with ideas for how Narnia can be an effective evangelism tool.

And while critics of my post will argue that believing in the afterlife is not a reasonable reduction of Republican motives, I think it’s hard to find a better one. Sure, there is an obsession with power (and ascension thereof) as well as the gluttony of being lobbied, but while there might be incredible focus on their own lives, I’m not sure that conservatives are motivated by the lives, per say, of anybody else. Who cares if people have money, or food, or a job, or a house, or healthcare, or citizenship, or integrity? As long as everyone is abiding by the Bible, they’re going to Heaven, and they should be thankful for that.

It’s not a surprise that the Christian myth of an afterlife (social conservatism) and the myth of the American dream (fiscal “bootstraps” conservatism) have become so intertwined. They both are founded on self-determination. They both assume that the individual is responsible and that no other context plays a role in an individual’s success. And both ultimately help a very small group prosper while creating false hope for all the rest.

The opposite of all this, after all, would be true for progressives. Not believing in an afterlife (or at least not abiding so stringently by such a belief) makes it much easier to recognize the needs of others now, in life. Rather than a focus on “me” until everybody goes to Heaven, it’s a focus on everybody because right now is all we have. Being a social progressive means recognizing that the human species is capable of learning more about its own nature and adapting to accommodate that new information. Being a fiscal progressive means trying to help the most number of people, even if it means asking those who have to make sacrifice for those who have not, because it’s life that matters. Life is all that we have control over while we’re living.

Imagine, though, a completely different universe, altered in just the way that no one believed in an afterlife. Would these political hijinks be par for the course? Maybe. But at the very least, they wouldn’t be based on complete irrationality.



Fake Steve Jobs is an Atheist, Too!

In response to The Manhattan Declaration debacle (the creation of and the elimination of an iPhone app for the document that promotes breaking the law in order to perpetuate anti-LGBT beliefs), Fake Steve Jobs has written a scathing rebuke of the whiny groups upset the app was pulled. The whole thing is brilliant. The best part… even though it’s intended as satire, pretty much everything in it is true, too. Check out this entertaining critique of Christianity and defense of LGBT rights.

Here are a few highlights:

Second, your “religion” is a myth. It’s bogus. Jesus did not die and rise from the tomb and ascend into heaven. Okay? That. Did. Not. Happen. God did not take the form of a little bird and fly down and impregnate an unwed teenage virgin girl so that she could give birth to a half-human half-divine man-god. Immaculate conception, virgin birth, raising people from the dead, walking on water, loaves and fishes — great stories, but correctly filed under “fiction.” The sad fact is, what you call “faith” is a form of mental illness. It’s amazing enough that so many of you are running around in your mental case dream world. But it’s simply unacceptable when you start trying to impose your delusions upon the rest of us. Cynical politicians may feel the need to humor you and kowtow to your demands. I, however, do not.

It’s wonderful the things you can get away with using satire…

Oh, and here’s one that you even put on your own Manhattan Declaration document, which is ironic because you don’t seem to understand what it means and in fact what you’re doing is the exact opposite of what this statement intended: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. In other words, do not become entwined with the state. Focus on the next world, not on this one. Or, to be more blunt: Stay the hell out of politics, you boneheads. If a state or federal government wants to marry gay people, that’s their decision. Leave it alone. Go say some prayers.

Yet somehow you’ve twisted this around and interpret it to mean that you should impose your will onto others by passing laws that would force other people who do not share your beliefs to be bound by the rules of your Bible, even though (a) your Bible is fiction and (b) you’re not even interpreting the fiction correctly.

It’s bad enough that you’re hateful bigots. But to dress up your hate and bigotry as an expression of Christianity? That, my friends, is pure evil. If you want to go around hating people, fine. Go for it. It’s stupid, and pointless, but whatever. Go hate people. Just don’t go around saying Jesus told you to do it.

So, listen up. You can’t put your bullshit in my app store. I’m sorry. But I won’t let you use my store to spread your hate. I don’t want any part in the spreading of your phony religion, either. There is no God. There is no heaven. There also is no hell, which is too bad, because if hell did exist, you would surely be spending eternity there, with red-hot pokers up your butts. And nothing would make me happier.

Go read the whole thing.



Two Arguments for Faith I Don’t Get (Blair vs. Hitchens)

So, Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens had a debate recently about whether religion is a force for good in the world.

I’ve created a playlist for all the clips below. It’s pretty good, and Hitchens is still right on his game, despite his health. I particularly appreciated Hitchens’ argument that the way to end poverty is to empower women. It’s worth a listen.

Tony Blair continued making two arguments throughout the debate that I just do not understand. I mean, I don’t think either of them actually help support his point that religion is a good thing to have.

The first was the idea that faith is good because lots of people already have faith. Since we can’t convince everyone to suddenly not have faith, we should encourage people who have faith to apply that faith in good ways.

Is this really an argument for anything? This is the same argument people make to support smoking. They say, Oh, well lots of people are smokers (i.e. addicted to smoking), so we should just let them keep smoking. Umm, no! Sorry smokers. Your habit is gross and makes me sneeze. Go outside, keep your tar clouds away, and yes, keep trying to quit!

Just because people have faith doesn’t mean faith is good! Like Tim Minchin says in his song White Wine in the Sun, “I don’t believe just because ideas are tenacious that they’re worthy.” This argument is really a concession. It doesn’t demonstrate anything at all about the difference faith makes, just that we’re stuck with it, so we ought to try to make the most of it. If anything, it sounds more like a strategy for coping with the persistence of faith.

The other argument he made a lot is that though some people use religion for bad things, some people also use religion for good things. This is not a good argument in favor of religion. It actually demonstrates how pointless religion is. If it can be used for both good and bad, then it doesn’t make a difference at all! It just is.

My argument has long been that there are no unique benefits to religion/faith. None of Mr. Blair’s arguments challenge that claim at all. Sure, some people do good things inspired by their faith, but so what? Plenty of people do good things without faith, and honestly, they’re often better things in the absence of proselytization.

If you are supporting the claim that religion is a force for good, you have to be able to demonstrate that there is something we get from faith that we could not get without it. Given that there are plenty of bad things that are unique to religion—the very suspension of critical thinking that faith requires is itself a detractor—I really don’t think Mr. Blair had much to offer. Admittedly, my expectations were not high given that his opening statement included mention of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, hackneyed jabs at atheism that don’t hold up (and which Hitchens didn’t even bother addressing). It’s not surprising that Mr. Hitchens successfully swayed a much larger percentage of the audience than did Mr. Blair.

The debate is not short, but throw the playlist on and listen while you’re at work. Share your own thoughts about these arguments or other things that are said in the discussion.

httpvp://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=45A081C92957109B



To Whom Are You Thankful This Year?

It’s Thanksgiving! Folks around the country will be sitting down to dinner today and will share what it is they’re thankful for.

As I wrote last year and discussed on yesterday’s Queer and Queerer, Thanksgiving has an underlying assumption that God is responsible for those things. So today, rather than just thinking about WHAT you’re thankful for, think about WHO you’re thankful to.

We’re all just monkeys in shoes and all we have is each other, so take a few minutes today to show your appreciation to those who have made a difference in your life.

I know that I am thankful to all of you out there who support me and this little old blog I write. It’s not been an easy year, but it’s meant a lot to have your support and your feedback.

Best wishes for a lovely day with friends and family.



Bunk Research, Lesbian Recruitment, and a Crazy Poll!

Remember, like… an hour ago when I pointed out that both the American Family Association and Family Research Council are now both certifiable hate groups? Well, the AFA’s news arm, OneNewsNow, has a headline story up today about “research” apparently done by… *Dun dunna duh!* FRC!

A recently released study shows a link between childhood family structure and the rate of female homosexuality — undermining the claim that sexual orientation is genetic or biological.

First of all, there is a lot of research that shows there is at least some genetic component to homosexuality, so it’s not just a claim.

Second of all, it shouldn’t really matter if it’s genetic or biological; it’s still not a choice, and it’s still dangerous to talk about it like it is.

So what did Pat Fagan have to tell us about this study he “co-evaluated”?

“Once the girl grows up in a home in which her father is not present, it’s about three times” more likely she has had or will have homosexual partners, he says — but when she is raised by parents who are married and “always intact, it’s about a four-percent rate.” Moreover, he explains that rate is “slightly higher in the always-intact-but-cohabitating parents — that’s parents who never married.”

Statistics are also higher with step-families, the cohabiting step-family, and the single divorced parent, adds the FRC spokesman.

“The big take away from this study is that clearly, this [type of sexual behavior] is not genetic,” Fagan points out. “The different rates of homosexuality among women are very reactive to the family structure within which they grow up. If it was genetic, you would find pretty much the same rates all across.”

He further notes that, according to the results of the study, women who claim to worship weekly or monthly have a lower rate of lesbianism, while those who rarely or never worship are at a higher rate.

Okay, so this is a joke. And the fact that there is no title, citation, or actual results to this “study” doesn’t help. Remember, too, that this is all written with the assumption that lesbianism is bad and should be prevented. But let’s think about this a bit with the limited information we have.

These anti-gay “family” groups use the word “fatherless” a lot. They assume that the same conclusions about children of single moms applies to children of lesbian moms because both are “fatherless.” Of course, we know this is an absurd assumption to make. A loving committed couple is a lot different than a single working parent.

And so it’s quite possible that some of the children described as “fatherless” are actually the children of lesbian couples. Given that they’d have grown up in a home where sexual orientation was regularly discussed and they had the freedom to explore, it would not be surprising if they were more likely to do such exploring! Further, if the biological mother of those girls is a lesbian, that’s actually evidence in favor of a genetic argument. The ambiguity, unfortunately, does not give us much to work with.

What’s also important to note here is that they identify “lesbianism” as behavior, not identity. By this definition, there are plenty of happy heterosexual women who probably qualify. And thus, the claim that the behavior is not genetic becomes meaningless. No one ever claimed that behavior was genetic. Moreover, the claim that rates would be the same “all across” would be even less true if there were a genetic component.

Lastly, the connection between worship and lesbianism is highly constructed. Given that most religious organizations condemn homosexuality and actively discourage it in their members (to the point of intimidation and bullying), it is not surprising that women who receive more of those messages are more scared to not explore their own sexuality. It’s kind of sad, really.

So, if you’re curious about the way these groups propagate hate, they gave you a shining example right out the gate today!

Oh! And I cannot leave out the icing on the cake, ONN’s accompanying poll. The AFA learned long ago that their polls get crashed, so they began designing them in ways that are win-win-win for them, making them utterly pointless. Take a look and decide how you would vote! I’m not going to show you the results, so you’ll just have to vote and see where you stand. My answer’s in 2nd place.

Stop back here next time for a poll about the best way to trap unicorns.



It’s Official: AFA, FRC, and Other Anti-Gay Orgs are Hate Groups

Today the Southern Poverty Law Center has updated its list of hate groups and it now includes many prominent Christian organizations that promote anti-gay messages. This includes the American Family Association and Family Research Council, groups who receive media attention on at least a weekly basis. (Truth Wins Out has the full list of the new additions.)

For some, these are obvious choices. Others might think it overreaching. Personally, I think this is a very important step, and I’m very proud of the SPLC for making it.

Let’s not forget that Tony Perkins, in particular, is regularly included in national newspapers and mainstream cable news discussions. It is always done in the name of “showing both sides” of the story. Now, one of those sides is clearly designated as “hate.” Similarly, the AFA’s Bryan Fischer, who is never short on astonishing talking points, is also clearly labeled as “hate.”

There are many who seek to somehow bridge the gap and claim that beliefs that homosexuality is a sin somehow do not amount to hate. This is very murky territory. The idea that homosexuality is a choice (and a bad one) is the most hurtful idea our community still fights. It has no ounce of truth, and yet it persists quite widespread. It is used to create shame, promote bullying, and maintain inequality. Anyone who holds such ideas is certainly contributing to the negative experiences of the LGBT community, but anyone actively promoting and reinforcing such ideas is most definitely a bully.

The culture war is all about one thing: legitimacy. With these new designations applied to some very large organizations and prominent anti-gay speakers, it is a big win for the groups promoting the health, safety, and prosperity of LGBT people.

Not all ideas are created equal. We now have some important reinforcements in the fight against hate.



Will Catholics Ever Admit The Church Has a Problem?

Last week, I was going to write about this story, where a woman at Benedictine University lost her job, but not for being gay or getting married. She lost it because she had the gall to publish a wedding announcement. Change.org followed up with a statement from the university defending the decision, running the appropriate headline, “Benedictine University: It’s Moral for Catholics to Fire Gay People.”

But as you might recall, when I last wrote about Catholicism two weeks ago, I pointed out that people complain I “bash” Catholicism too much. So rather than just add one to the pile, I thought I’d compile the posts I’d written here about Catholicism. I want to really put it to all my Catholic readers out there… is there ever enough evidence of Church shenanigans that will make you question your loyalty? And more importantly, do you recognize that by putting money in the offering at Mass, you are endorsing all of the following behavior?

Take a look and just the few examples I’ve written about, a list that is hardly exhaustive.

November 1 – Cardinal-Designate Raymond L. Burke said that discrimination against gays is okay, because they “suffer” and are “wrong.”

October 28 – Materials I was handed at a summer street fair show that Catholics guilt teenage girls out of abortion with twisted facts, gender police dating rituals, and condemn homosexuals as “disordered” using bunk Paul Cameron research.

September 17 – The Pope told the Queen of England that “atheist extremism” was responsible for the holocaust, ignoring the fact Hitler had been Catholic.

August 24 – The group Catholics for Equality creates an opportunity for LGBT advocates to defend their Church at the same time (thus maintaining the very cognitive dissonance this post is meant to challenge).

July 13 – Chicago’s Reverend Robert Barron used atheist Christopher Hitchens’ terminal illness as a petty opportunity to promote prayer.

June 7 – The New York Times celebrated “A Gay Catholic Voice Against Same-Sex Marriage,” a profile of Eve Tushnet, who promotes harmful ex-gay therapies or condemns gay people to chastity.

April 12 – The Pope’s #2, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, promoted the (completely wrong) idea that homosexuality and pedophilia are related.

April 3 – A senior Vatican priest speaking before the Pope compared the backlash against the Church for sexual abuse scandals to the persecution of the Jews.

March 16 – A lesbian couple cared enough about their children being Catholic that they didn’t care if their kids learned that they were actually going to Hell for their relationship.

March 12 – Bill O’Reilly actually defended the aforementioned lesbian couple when their kids were kicked out of their Catholic preschool; Father Jonathan Morris, not so much.

March 5 – A number of highlights! The DC Archdiocese ended their foster care program and all spousal benefits rather than subscribe to marriage equality. An Italian cardinal made it clear that if you support same-sex marriage, you can’t be Catholic. Distributing condoms to help fight AIDS in the Philippines is also anti-Catholic, according to bishops there. That was also the week we heard about the gay prostitution scandal inside the Vatican.

November 20 – Many Catholic leaders signed the very anti-gay Manhattan Declaration, just a week after threatening to pull out of DC charity serves should marriage pass there (as we saw above the ended up doing).

..

So there are my posts about Catholicism from the past year (aside from reminders here or there about Catholic positions on LGBT issues). That completely ignores the huge sums of money they gave both in 2009 (Maine) and 2008 (California and elsewhere) to fight marriage equality, as well as all scandals of sexual abuse, which continue to come to light.

So… you all okay with all of that? How many cracks will it take to break your diplomacy dike and cause you to raise some concern about your Church? If you disagree with the above actions and statements, why do you still support them both financially and in name? And if all of these things are so wrong, how is it that your beliefs are still so right?

Are you still proud to be Catholic? How did Catholicism get to be so important in your life? Can the values Catholicism represents for you ever be separated out from support of the Church?

Let me hear from you all.



Anti-Gay Christians Unfit To Be Foster Parents

When WorldNetDaily files a story under “Faith Under Fire,” it’s always worth a look.

This story comes from Britain, where a Christian couple was told they may not be fit to be foster parents under new laws about sensitivity to gay and lesbian kids.

Mrs. Johns told London’s Daily Mail, “The council said, ‘Do you know, you would have to tell them that it’s OK to be homosexual?'”

“But I said I couldn’t do that,” Johns continued, “because my Christian beliefs won’t let me. Morally, I couldn’t do that. Spiritually I couldn’t do that.”

The Johns appealed to the courts, hoping it would force their council to clarify whether Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics would be forbidden from adopting foster children.

I think it’s brilliant, aside from being perfect common sense. We want kids to go with parents who will love unconditionally. If the parents are going to condemn a same-sex orientation, that is quite far from love unconditionally.

Now, I’m not going to quote too much from the WND story; I quickly grow weary of being called homosexual and “gay” and having my “rights” talked about. The mocking quotes are so degrading. But I want to share this next bit because it clearly shows how Christians really struggle to understand the privilege they have, perceiving a reduction of the oppression they cause as a loss to the supposed “equality” they think they have.

The groundbreaking legal collision of homosexual “rights” and the freedom of religion has generated extensive public attention, including an open letter from several British clergy and signed by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton:

“The High Court is to be asked to rule on whether Christians are ‘fit people’ to adopt or foster children – or whether they will be excluded, regardless of the needs of children, from doing so because of the requirements of homosexual rights,” the clergy write. “This ‘equality,’ however, privileges homosexual rights over those of others.”

“There is a ‘clash of rights,’ which the court must settle,” the clergy continue. “If the court believes that those with traditional Christian views on homosexuality can be discriminated against, the state has taken a position on a moral question, namely that such religious belief is problematic.”

The Christians are suddenly concerned about the needs of children! That never happens when there are same-sex couples ready to adopt. But when there are Christian parents ready to bully their own children for being gay, now that’s a home for a needy child.

Guess what, such a religious belief is problematic. And I hope the British courts say so!

And, as is already happening, I hope the American conservative movement freaks out.

And then, I hope the American LGBT movement has the courage to stand up and say the same thing: Religious beliefs against homosexuality are extremely problematic whether a child turns out to be gay or not.

“The city council needs clarity on this matter,” [Jeremy West, representation for Derby City Council] said. “It defends diversity and equality and has treated the Johns as it would have treated anyone else. It would be inappropriate for the council to approve foster carers who cannot meet minimum standards.”

Weston also said, however, “It would be difficult and impractical to match children with Mr. and Mrs. Johns if they feel that strongly.”

Weston added that the Johns’ application could also be ultimately denied should the Johns be found “unsuitable” for other reasons, including “if Mrs. Johns’ attendance at church twice on a Sunday would limit available time [to care for children].”

So what comes first, children or God? To any of the Christians out there who might possibly be torn about this dilemma, you need to seriously reconsider how much influence you want your faith to have over your life.