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Richard Grenell, Romney and the (Religious) Politics of Hate

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As noted in the Huffington Post, "The Romney campaign told Grenell to 'be quiet and not to speak up until it went away,' said a source familiar with the matter, referring to criticism of his sexual orientation." The "IT" that had to "go away" was the religious right's vicious reaction to Romney daring to work with a gay man. Then the Romney campaign bowed to the religious right they told Richard Grenell -- working for them -- to shut up. Their token gay man had to keep his mouth shut to appease the bigots. As the New York Times noted:

"The day after Mr. Grenell was hired, Bryan Fischer, a Romney critic with the American Family Association, told nearly 1,400 followers on Twitter: "If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead." The next day, the conservative Daily Caller published an online column that summed up the anger of the Christian right, linking Mr. Grenell's hiring to the appointment of gay judges to the New Jersey Supreme Court."

... which brings up the context of the Romney punch-the-token-gay fiasco...

If you came to earth from another planet right now as the proverbial "visitor from Mars" and tried to figure out what most religions all seem agree on and care about most you'd conclude that it was about keeping women down and bashing gays. Call this the "ecumenism of oppression."

From the pope slapping down American nuns for being too tolerant to the rise of the incidence of woman abuse by Islamist fundamentalists in Turkey, to Orthodox Jews in Israel spitting on young female children who are wearing dresses that are "too short" to the American Roman Catholic bishops working with far right evangelicals (like the late Chuck Colson) to redefine depriving women of access to contraception and depriving gays of rights to marry as "religious liberty" issues... one message is loud and clear: Fundamentalist religion of all kinds fears women and gays.

(By the way ever wonder how anything can be called a civil rights issue when it is about depriving someone else of their civil rights?)

The worldwide practice mostly in Islamic "conservative" countries of mutilating women by slicing off their clitoris' so they may be "protected" from sexual pleasure, the hubris of the Roman Catholic Church that has wrapped up a fifty year period of presiding over a network of pedophiles only to make the pope that protected the institution rather than the children -- John Paul II -- a "saint," the bashing of gays in the anti-gay marriage surge of activity.... none of this would be believed unless it actually happened.

It did happen. It is happening. It is politics raw, and naked power politics at that, masquerading as religion.

It just seems so ludicrous that religion of all things should be the leading voice to deprive people of human rights. And that the people leading the charge are the same people that have also been fighting of legal suits over decades of child abuse and other multitudes of hypocrisy only makes the situation all the more tragic.

Frederick Douglass writes in An American Slave (Chapter 9) a good example of everything that is wrong with relying on religion instead of on your heart. When it comes to justifying bad behavior Captain Auld reminds me of today's Roman Catholic bishops, the evangelical anti-gay activists and the women haters in Islamic countries:

"In August, 1832, my master [Captain Auld] attended a Methodist camp-meeting held in the Bay-side, Talbot county, and there experienced religion. I indulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that, if he did not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane. I was disappointed in both these respects. It neither made him to be humane to his slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion than before."



If you asked the visitor from Mars who this Jesus was that these misogynists from Captain Auld to today's bishops were "following" based on the evidence of their actions he'd conclude that Jesus must have founded an anti-woman child abuse cult to replace (or augment) the cult of racism and slavery that similar white men propagated before them. The Martian visitor might also note that these child-abusers and women haters and gay-bashers have an odd habit of telling everyone else what to do while they seem to have no ethical rules at all.

How odd it is that if you read about what the actual Jesus said and who his friends were (powerless women and outcasts) you'd conclude that he was a revolutionary in his patriarchal times and a pro-woman and pro-child leader in every instance.

Can you really picture Jesus defining religious liberty as the right to deprive women and gay men and women of their basic rights to employment, marriage equality and family planning?

Jesus healed on the Sabbath just to piss off the "bishops" of his time. He took the side of the woman adulteress against the "popes" of his day. He hung out with whores when "good men" didn't do that and in a time when treating women as equals was as unlikely then as it would be now for conservatives to accept the fact that to be born gay or female is as normal as to be heterosexual or male and as God-blessed too. I don't see Jesus telling Richard Grenell to shut up in order to keep the religious leaders and other bigots happy!

Between the Roman Catholic anti-contraception, anti-gay marriage bishops, the Islamic fundamentalists mutilating their daughters and the American evangelicals trying to force women to have children they don't want (and trying to force Romney to join the religious right) our visitor from Mars will fly home with the news that religion of the bishops, pope, Islamists, and evangelicals is really a misogyny/homophobic cult. He might also report that this cult of hate and fear is also a practitioner of politics masquerading as religion.


Frank Schaeffer is a writer. He is author of Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway.