WHO SHOULD DENOUNCE AND REJECT HAGEE? OTHER EVANGELICALS.

As Think Progress documented on Wednesday, John Hagee, in an interview with conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager, reiterated his belief that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment on the city of New Orleans for a gay pride parade. MoveOn protested and called on McCain to reject Hagee's endorsement. All McCain would do was call Hagee's statements "nonsense."

But the problem with Hagee's statements is not that they're nonsensical (although they are). The problem with Hagee, as Pastor Dan so eloquently put it, is that he's a "disgusting, hateful homophobe." The conservative evangelical obsession with the "sin" of homosexuality, which leads to harassment and abuse (both verbal and physical) and the psychologically and emotionally catastrophic movement to "convert" LGBTQ people to heterosexuality, should cause all the leaders of the emerging evangelical center to bow their heads in shame. They claim they won't tolerate the sort of gay-bashing political agenda of the old religious right. But the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) maintains its official view that homosexuality is sin, and that it's the right and duty of all Christians to recruit LGBTQ people for the straight team.

Surely there's some, albeit achingly slow, movement to get evangelicals to emerge from the dark ages. David Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University, recently penned an op-ed for the Associated Baptist Press entitled "On Homosexuality: Can We At Least Talk About It?" In evangelical circles, this was a radical move, which met with public condemnation of Gushee in a conservative Baptist magazine. Gushee, who has also been at the forefront of a religiously-based movement to pressure the Bush administration to end torture, wrote that "In light of the hatred, mockery, loathing, fear and rejection directed at homosexuals in our society -- and in our churches -- I hope to God that I am not and never have been a perpetrator. But I fear I have indeed been a bystander. I am trying to figure out what it might mean to be a rescuer." Gushee called on his fellow Christians to, among other very basic requests, completely reject "a heart attitude of hatred, loathing, and fear toward homosexuals," "any form of bullying directed against homosexuals or those thought to be homosexuals," and "political demagoguery in which homosexuals are scapegoated for our nation’s social ills and used as tools for partisan politics."

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