Jul 31, 2011

Christian Fundamentalist Caught Telling the Truth

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Bradlee Dean

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is being sued for quoting Christian rocker Bradlee Dean word for word. The excerpt from his radio broadcast was aired during an August 9, 2010 broadcast and reads as follows:

"Muslims are calling for the execution of homosexuals in America. They themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible, the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than the American Christians do. Because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination. If America won't enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that."

Dean does not dispute the accuracy of the quote. But despite the fact that Maddow also quoted his disclaimer -- "we have never and will never call for the execution of homosexuals" -- Dean argues that his intent was distorted.

Despite the very clear disclaimer by Bradlee Dean on his ministries website and elsewhere regarding the false accusation that he was calling for the execution of homosexuals, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and others seized on and accused Dean on her show of supporting the killing of homosexuals, as is the practice in some radical Islamic countries. This seriously has harmed Dean and the ministry, who pride themselves on respect and love for all people.

The transcript of Maddow's broadcast can be found here. (Scroll down for video.) Nowhere does she claim that Dean actually supports a death sentence for gay people. The only text from which such an inference could possibly be drawn is from Dean's own words. Maddow's "slander and defamation" of Bradlee Dean, for which he is suing MSNBC and Maddow personally for $50 million, lies in her use of his exact words in his own voice.

His biggest complaint against Maddow and the news network appears to be their liberal agenda.

The lawsuit is filed by attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, in DC Superior Court and seeks in excess of $50 million in damages. However, money is not the issue. "This case is filed as a matter of principle," stated Klayman. "We need more Bradlee Deans in the world and hateful left wing television commentators must be made to respect not only his mission but the law," he added.

I found the use of the word "hateful" in this context particularly interesting because it strikes me as such a clear case of projection. It would be hard to describe Dean's message as anything but hateful, despite his protestations of love for gay people. You can read a more complete quote released by Dean and his organization You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Ministries here. (Boy, that doesn't sound too threatening, does it?) Not included in Maddow's excerpt was some blather about loving his gay friends who "nitpick" everything he says and some sharp words about President Obama's hypocrisy.

The problem with Dean's statement is that he is at cross-purposes with himself. He doesn't want to be perceived as calling for the death of his "gay friends" but he is openly gushing about Muslim extremists having the courage of their convictions. He describes them as "more moral" than Christians in America. He attributed the "raising up of a foreign enemy" who would call for the death of gay people to none other than God. That's hard to misconstrue. It's pretty blatant. But when it comes to the follow-through, he flinches. He can't quite bring himself to admit that a literal reading of the Bible would indeed call for the execution of gay people. And fundamentalist Christians claim to take "God's word" literally.

"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them." ~ Leviticus 20:13

That seems pretty straightforward to me.

The unfortunately named John Thomas of Philadelphia took it quite literally and murdered a gay neighbor the Biblical way -- by stoning. And yet, he was prosecuted for it. It would seem the American legal system is not in alignment with scripture -- a point I've made before.

There are actually numerous offenses that call for the death penalty in the Bible, so Bradlee Dean is really cherry-picking. At least, to my knowledge, he has not similarly praised Muslim fundamentalists for killing adulterers or girls who've otherwise lost their virginity. That said, he has given voice to something many have long argued -- that Christian and Muslim fundamentalists have a lot more in common than they will usually admit to publicly.

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