This Week in Religion: Fundamentalists Freak Out in Texas

While the 'Duck Dynasty' clan talks tough, Pope Francis had a message of peace and acceptance.

Photo Credit: CREATISTA/Shutterstock

If you woke up one morning this week and thought you landed in an alternative universe, Alan Robertson, of the "Duck Dynasty" clan, might have the answer why. Robertson, the son of bearish homophobe Phil Robertson, believes that America has morphed into Nazi Germany.

Alan spoke with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on his radio program this week about the city of Houston’s new LGBT non-discrimination ordinance and some wayward subpoenas issued by independent attorneys for anti-gay pastors’ sermons. However, Houston Mayor Annise Parker said the subpoenas would be withdrawn, after politicians like Ted Cruz said they were assaults on religious liberties.

But even after the mayor backed down, saying it was the work of ambitious independent politicians, Robertson still sees brown shirts: “When I first heard about this and when you and I talked, I was just like, is this 2014 America or is this 1930s Germany that we’re living in? I mean, it was shocking and appalling.”

Robertson continued to claim that the events demonstrated “the importance of our spiritual and religious liberties.”

Robertson was not alone in feeling anger toward the events in Houston. Local pastor David Welch also lashed out at the subpoenas, calling Mayor Parker, who happens to be a lesbian, "wicked," and accusing her of giving LGBT people “superior rights” over others.

During an interview with Christian broadcaster Rick Wiles, Welch said. “The big issue that we rallied everyone around pretty clearly was that [the ordinance] imposed specific protections for transgenders — those gender-confused — to be able to go into whichever restroom they wanted to. So any man who simply declared himself a woman that day could go into a woman’s restroom and the business could do nothing about it.”

Despite Parker withdrawing the subpoena from all churches, anti gay-rights activists are calling for her removal from office.

While Alan Robertson was busy fighting lesbian mayors in Houston, his father, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, taped a political ad for his nephew Zach Dasher who is running for congress in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. Seen in the ad holding an assault rifle and a Bible, Daddy Robertson says, “Hey, Louisiana: Bibles and guns brought us here, and Bibles and guns will keep us here. Zach Dasher believes in both. That’s why I’m voting for him.”

Or, as translated by blogger Hemant Mehta: “If you’re not the right kind of Christian, Zach Dasher doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you.”

Dasher made headlines when announcing his candidacy by claiming that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was the result of atheism.

A father in Revere, Massachusetts has pulled his son out of school after learning that the school’s history class teaches the students about Islam. This caused outrage among a few parents and one father, Anthony Giannino, is especially mad, telling a local television news show that "no religion should be taught at school. In their paper it says Allah is their only God. That's insulting to me as a Christian who believes in just Jesus only."

But it’s impossible to learn about world history without discussing the world's many religions. As one parent who supports the curriculum said, "When you're talking about a specific region in the world, there's going to be traditions and there's gonna be religions that children should learn about."

The superintendent of Revere Public Schools issued a statement regarding this one-man brouhaha: "I want to be very clear that no religion is taught with the purpose of converting students to that religion...."

But the superintendent’s statement didn’t stop Eric Owens of the right-wing alarmist website Daily Caller from writing that the school is indoctrinating its students into the Islamic faith by printing part of the Muslim call to prayer and its portrayal of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

Owens said, “Students in the oceanfront Boston suburb of Revere, Mass. are taking the time to learn all about Islam — in the most embarrassingly shallow and cheerleading way imaginable.” Owens continued to cherry-pick parts of the textbook that discuss Muhammad in a positive light instead of vilifying him as the Al Qaeda-like terrorist the Christian Right assumes he was.

And in a somewhat surprising announcement, Pope Francis has assured us that God is not a magician and urged the Catholic Church’s followers to accept both evolution and the “big bang” theory to help explain our existence.

The call to accept mainstream scientific theories is not earth-shattering for the Catholic Church. For several years, it has accepted this science as consistent with biblical teachings. But what made the Pope’s announcement seem more pertinent was his call to all Christians —especially Christians in the scientific community—to do what they can to protect the environment. The Pope called it a “grave sin against God the creator” to destroy the environment.

The week, however, was not all rosy for the Catholic Church as the names of 17 priests in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota were released to the public for “substantiated” claims of sexual abuse to a minor. These 17 names now bring the number of priests deemed to have committed the crime of sexual abuse with a minor to 55.

So while the Pope may finally be speaking up to protect the environment, some people are wondering when he is going to step up and finally protect innocent children.

Dan Arel is the author of Parenting Without God and blogs at Danthropology. Follow him on Twitter @danarel.
 
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