Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Paul Harvey on Recent Southern Baptist Convention Meeting: Media Get It Wrong, Ignore Continuing SBC Commitment to Culture War re: Gender and Sexuality Issues

Paul Harvey reports at Religion Dispatches about how the media have spun the recent Southern Baptist Convention meeting to suggest that Southern Baptists turned some major corner in their wars with contemporary culture, when they passed a resolution condemning display of the Confederate flag. As he notes, the culture wars remain alive and well among Southern Baptists (and conservative white evangelicals in general, hence the continuing strong support of conservative white evangelicals for one Donald Trump).

Harvey does a good job of showing how gender issues have now supplanted racial issues as the culture-war matters occupying a central role in the imagination of Southern Baptists. It has by now become crystal clear to Southern white evangelicals that they can no longer win their war to keep segregation in the name of biblical values alive following the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They are finally and definitively admitting defeat in that arena, and admitting that their use of the bible to support racial segregation and white supremacy was flatly wrong. It took them over 50 years to come to this point, but . . . .

Now, it's "biblical sexuality" that they're choosing to absolutize in precisely the same way they previously absolutized verses that blessed slavery and, to their way of thinking, valorized white skins at the expense of darker skins. Their newfound absolutization of what they're calling "biblical sexuality" (hat tip to Pope John Paul II and his theology of bible-based gender "complementarity") pretends that the bible has one single, neat template for understanding gender roles and sexuality. (If anything, that template is the template of polygamy, which was the pattern for Old Testament culture for many centuries — one man, many wives, concubines and slaves included among the wives). 

What Paul Harvey does not note but what needs noting is that the supposedly "liberal" new position being taken by the SBC on racial issues is a deliberate strategy to cement an alliance of anti-LGBTQ white and black evangelicals.

And it's ultimately all about keeping women subordinate to men. The gay issue is just one manifestation of an agenda that is really all about equating "biblical sexuality" with subordination of women to men and with entitlement of (heterosexual) males. Again, hat tip to Pope John Paul II and his attempt to ground his theory of "gender complementarity" in biblical passages, setting this reactionary movement into motion in a decisive way at a global level . . . .

Not unrelated: Valerie Tarico at Alternet on why conservative white evangelicals keep on loving the Donald: 

He's mean. He's racist and prejudiced and demeans women. He's bellicose and vindictive, and doesn't mind a bit contradicting facts. He's rich as can be and promises you will be, too, if you follow him.

And Trump's a whole lot like him — which explains why evangelicals are flocking to Trump.

The photo appears to be a photograph of protesters at the Arkansas state capitol in Little Rock during the integration crisis of 1957, when Governor Orval Faubus called out the State Guard to stop the integration of Central High School. I find this photo, which seems to be from an historical archives, at a number of sites online, but with no indication of its provenance.

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