If the answer to that question is no, then they'd better start speaking up loudly and clearly. Because over the past few weeks, evangelical pastors have made headlines urging parents to beat boys who seem gay, calling for gays and lesbians and "queers" to be put inside an electrified pen and left to die, and urging the government to begin killing gays.
These declarations have been backed up by these pastors' followers, who've organized protests to support them and who've gone on national television to defend them (as have the pastors themselves), a proud hate movement going public. They're being whipped into a frenzy against President Obama's coming out for marriage equality and they're emboldened by the passage of Amendment One in North Carolina. They've been met with outrage and protest from LGBT people and pro-gay supporters, and from the many mostly non-evangelical Christian leaders who support LGBT rights.
But where are the prominent evangelical leaders who condemn homosexuality and don't support any rights for gays, but who claim they have nothing against gay people?
Where is Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council? How about former presidential candidate Gary Bauer of American Values? I've seen nothing about this on Pat Robertson's 700 Club. And how about Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association, who is often overflowing with moral condemnation? Where is Franklin Graham, who said the president has "shaken his fist at God" for supporting marriage equality? Do they agree with the pastors calling for gays to be put to death, using the very same biblical literalism that their own denominations often espouse, or are they just afraid to speak out and say that the biblical condemnations are wrong?
While we're at it, where is Mitt Romney, who accepts the endorsements of evangelical leaders who've remained silent, and who recently spoke at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in trying to shore up the evangelical base? Are he and others in the GOP liking just a little bit that some evangelicals are being whipped up against President Obama on gay marriage, even if it means calling for mass extermination? And why haven't we heard from the devout evangelical national politicians who also court the evangelical vote?
South Carolina's Senator DeMint? Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma? Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma? Senator Sessions of Alabama? I could go on and on. How about Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who garnered support from evangelical leaders and echoed all of their antigay attacks during the primaries? Where is North Carolina GOP Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, who has attacked gays vehemently and whose home state seems to be ground zero for the hate-spewing pastors?
All of the above and more were among the same people who railed that moderate Muslims needed to do cartwheels in proving that they didn't agree with Muslim fundamentalists' extremist views and calls for terrorism. In fact, Muslim-American leaders have spoken out consistently about the extremists in the Muslim world while we've seen nothing from evangelical leaders about their own extremists. As this current hatefest has exploded, the silence on the right has been deafening.
It may be true that the "death to gays" pastors and their followers represent a tiny portion of evangelicals. But a much larger group of white evangelicals (and their leaders), which represented half of all GOP primary voters in the current presidential race, is not speaking out against the people making claims in the name of their religious faith. And by not doing so they are giving tacit approval to calls for violence, murder and genocide.
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