“The Evil Modern Day Works of Satan”

NOM’s blog today quotes a sermon from Bishop Robert Evans:

I submit that today, in the State of Rhode Island, we are faced with a challenge to our baptismal promises to renounce the modern day evil works of Satan and confess our belief in Christ and His holy Catholic Church…This challenge takes the form of an attempt to grant to same sex couples that recognition reserved for the oldest and the only institution God created in His own image: Man as male and female united in marriage.

The evil modern day works of Satan.

NOM claims they’re not anti-gay.  They’ve complained about unjust accusations of hatred.  I have to ask:

If it’s not hatred to say your opponents are working to advance the cause of Satan, then what is?

That’s not a rhetorical question.  I really want to know where NOM sees the line between civil discourse and hatred.  I want them to make it clear.

To me, this is hate.  I don’t care that it’s based on religious belief — anyone who’s studied history knows that religious passion can inspire hatred, and vice versa.  And I don’t even want to shut him down — “hate speech” isn’t a crime in this country and I hope it never is.

But we still need to denounce it when we hear it — shine the light of truth on it and call it out for what it is.

The good and gentle Bishop’s statement has a few more problems:  He repeats the lie that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality, when every Bible reader knows the prophet Ezekial said:

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Jesus extends this condemnation of arrogance and inhospitability when he tells his disciples:

Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Anyone who reads the story can tell you it’s not about commited same-sex relationships but about the violent gang rape of two men/angels, which surely we can all oppose.  Evans’ lie about this Bible story makes it all the more ironic when he tells his parishoners:

Remember the title Jesus gave Satan: “The father of lies.”

There’s more.  Evans tell his flock:

In this battle, there is no neutrality, no demilitarized zone.

Is this just a case of awful timing?  I don’t think for one moment he meant this as anything but a metaphor (a literal interpretation would leave him open to charges of incitement to violence, a criminal offense that long predates hate crime legislation).  But Evans gave this sermon two days ago, on Sunday, January 9.  Given our current turmoil over the limits of rhetoric, along with the long and very real history of anti-gay violence in America, shouldn’t a spiritual leader be in the vanguard of those pulling back from such speech?

But leave aside his unfortunate phrasing.  This man is lying about the Bible and saying that gays are doing the work of Satan.  And NOM is spreading the message.

I have to ask again — if that’s not hate, what is?

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15 comments to “The Evil Modern Day Works of Satan”

  • 1
    Ben in oakland says:

    Of course it’s not hatred. It just sincere religious belief when you call your neighbors a threat to god’s kingdom, evil, and so forth.
    Of course it is hatred. It’s just dressed up in its sunday-go-to-meetin’ drag, which makes it not hatred at all.
    I’m sure it wasn’t anything as personal as hatred when they were burning all those witches four centuries ago. It was just God’s word.
    Take your pick.
     
     
     
     

  • 2
    Ben in oakland says:

    I also forgot…
    right on cue from the good bishop, while we are having this national discussion about the place of vitriolic and demonizing rhetoric.
    Just because something is your “sincere religious belief” does not make it right.
     

  • 3
    DN says:

    It’s a delicious irony that Maggie Gallagher is always saying, “if we allow marriage equality, people like me will be thought of as bigots.”
     
    This is archetypal anti-gay / NOM thinking: they have the right to force people to think good of them, but they have every right to call other people Satanic.

  • 4
    Diana Marie Davis says:

    Rob,
    Would it not be more correct to say “’hate speech’ *by itself* isn’t a crime in this country?”  As you’ve stated before, though perhaps not in these words, hate speech by itself it is protected by the first amendment.  Only in combination with an actual crime can hate speech be taken into account.
    I’m sorry, I honestly can’t remember right now – or maybe I never truly understood this – if you can add a count of hate speech to an indictment, making it an actual crime in the presence of another crime.  In the context of another crime, is it a crime per se or just an “enhancement?”  And if it is an enhancement, what exactly does that mean in legal terms?  Can someone with legal knowledge or expertise set me straight on this?
    I point this/ask this out not to correct you per se, but I can only imagine that a troll or two will take your statement out of context somewhere, somewhen, possibly simply because like me, they don’t really understand the nuances of hate crimes legislation.  So sorry if my “correction” is also inaccurate!!!
    Thanks!

  • 5
    robtish says:

    Diana, I’ve written more about hate crime legislation here.  Regarding your particular question, here’s what the FBI says:

    [H]ate crimes are not separate, distinct crimes; instead, they are traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias (for example, an offender assaults a victim because of a bias against the victim’s race).

  • 6

    Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did detestable things before me.  Does this mean that Republicans are actually the true sodomites?

  • 7
    Wade@MacMorrighan.Net says:

    What *I* would like to know, Rob, is how NOM can quote this intro., and yet deny that they are a religious front group!  But, you’re absolutely right: How can it not be an example of hate-speech?  Then again, NOM’s founder, Maggie Gallagher, has long opposed censuring so-called “religious speach” as “bigotry”.

  • 8
    Richard Rush says:

    The Bishop:

    . . . This challenge takes the form of an attempt to grant to same sex couples that recognition reserved for the oldest and the only institution God created in His own image: Man as male and female united in marriage.

     
    I had always assumed that God was a spinster.

  • 9
    Ben in oakland says:

    Nope. It’s a three way. Trinity and all. But one of the three is a bird.

  • 10
    Neil says:

    I put it to you, Rob, that you are a confessed proponent of the modern day works of Satan. Exhibit H is your blog entry entitled Sinful Homosexual Thanksgiving Behaviour.
     
    In this blog entry you willfully exhort us into the sinful homosexualist behaviour of Satanic spell casting by means of a recipe for Sweet Potato and Apricot Puree with Pecan Streusel.
     
    Acting under the influence of your evil modern day works, I whipped out my cauldren and fashioned this concoction for the purpose of snaring the object of my affections and wanton lusts. Not only are we now boyfriends but the line was crossed on Christmas night.
     
    I’m thinking of sending for the witch-smeller pursuivant.
     
     

  • 11

    [...] When Bishop Robert Evans announced gay marriage represents “the evil modern works of Satan,” NOM was there to spread the message. [...]

  • 12

    [...] When Bishop Robert Evans announced gay marriage represents “the evil modern works of Satan,” NOM was there to spread the message. [...]

  • 13
    moncler012 says:

    I put it to you, Rob, that you are a confessed proponent of the modern day works of Satan. Exhibit H is your blog entry entitled Sinful Homosexual Thanksgiving Behaviour.
     
    In this blog entry you willfully exhort us into the sinful homosexualist behaviour of Satanic spell casting by means of a recipe for Sweet Potato and Apricot Puree with Pecan Streusel.
     
    Acting under the influence of your evil modern day works, I whipped out my cauldren and fashioned this concoction for the purpose of snaring the object of my affections and wanton lusts. Not only are we now boyfriends but the line was crossed on Christmas night.
     
    I’m thinking of sending for the witch-smeller pursuivant.

  • 14

    [...] straight parents can, cannot love their partners, are worthy of death, and are in the thrall of Satan, Satan, Satan, Satan, [...]

  • 15

    [...] straight parents can, cannot love their partners, are worthy of death, and are in the thrall of Satan, Satan, Satan, Satan, [...]

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