The AFA’s Extraordinary Lack of Irony


You simply must read this article at OneNewsNow about the image problem that evangelicals have in this country:

According to noted author and lecturer Rusty Wright, evangelicals have an “image problem.” And because past actions may have tarnished the witness of the Christian right, he says some bridge-building may be in order…

“A lot of people, when they think of evangelical Christians, they think of people who are gay-bashing, women-haters, abortion doctor-killers — things like that,” Wright suggests. “They’re thinking of the extremes, and they don’t realize, maybe haven’t even been exposed to a lot of the very positive things that Christians do and the positive qualities of Jesus that [Christians] try to emulate.”


So here’s what he suggests:

But while he believes that followers of Jesus can be shining lights, Wright points out that Christ’s followers can sometimes be “downright weird” and that some Christians have behaved badly — and that, he argues, is why it is important for believers to get to know their intellectual and philosophical adversaries. So he encourages liberals to “take a conservative to coffee” and for conservatives to “take a liberal to lunch.”

“You can almost always find at least one or two things that you agree with related to your opponent,” Wright assures. “And if you can start there, a lot of times, that can be the basis for further understanding.”

Mind you, this is on OneNewsNow, which is the news site of the American Family Association. Yes, the same AFA that employs Bryan Fischer as their public face. They don’t make irony meters strong enough to withstand that kind of blow. In related news, Fred Phelps is shocked to find out that gay people think he’s a jerk.

Comments

  1. says

    “A lot of people, when they think of evangelical Christians, they think of people who are gay-bashing, women-haters, abortion doctor-killers — things like that,” Wright suggests.

    My suggestion is that they stop doing those things.

  2. eric says

    But the first part doesn’t mention liberals or conservatives, it mentions gay-bashers and abortion doctors. Seems to me, if he were really serious about ‘better understanding,’ he should suggest that evangelicals take a gay married couple to lunch. Or picnic with an abortion doctor to try and understand their perspective.

    Of course he’s not going to suggest that. To his evangelical audience, there are opponents and then there are those evil bastards whose poison infects anyone who listens to them.

    Want to know in which of those categories atheism falls? “[Atheism is] dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!” Monique Davis, Illinois state legislator, speech on the senate floor, April 14 2008.

  3. harold says

    If current right wing authoritarian fundamentalists were to stop gay-bashing, woman-hating, and using abortion as a fig leaf “moral justification” for violence…

    They’d be replaced with new leaders who did advocate those things. Those are what the people want.

    If McDonald’s tries to sell steamed broccoli instead of french fries, their customers will just go to Burger King for french fries.

  4. The Lorax says

    Yes, because us filthy Godless heathens can be won over by coffee and lunch.

    Rusty, you, sir, are a fucking genius.

  5. Sastra says

    “A lot of people, when they think of evangelical Christians, they think of people who are gay-bashing, women-haters, abortion doctor-killers — things like that,” Wright suggests. “They’re thinking of the extremes …

    Actually, we think the people you define as “moderates” are too extreme, too.

    You don’t have to actually smash gay people on the heads with bricks to be considered a “gay-basher:” believing homosexuality is a crime or perversion is still too far. You don’t have to actually despise women to to be considered a “woman-hater:” respecting women in their role as subservient helpmeet is too far. You don’t actually have to kill abortion doctors to be an extremist: demanding that physicians who perform abortions be treated as murderers is far enough.

    The evangelical image problem is not due to a few loony toons advocates: every group has those. It’s a concern over basic doctrine.

  6. Ellie says

    The AFA, who employs Bryan Fischer, the cowardly scum who spews hatred and venom every time he opens his mouth, wants liberals to make nice with them? The mind boggles.

  7. raven says

    If current right wing authoritarian fundamentalists were to stop gay-bashing, woman-hating, and using abortion as a fig leaf “moral justification” for violence

    If current right wing authoritarian fundies were to stop hating, there wouldn’t be anything left.

    That whole perversion of xianity is based on hate, lies, and hypocrisy.

  8. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    In related news, Fred Phelps is shocked to find out that gaysane people think he’s a jerk.

  9. says

    So he encourages liberals to “take a conservative to coffee” and for conservatives to “take a liberal to lunch.”

    What type of close-minded asshole doesn’t already have friends with other viewpoints? This just shows what kind of circle-jerk these people are ordinarily in the middle of…

  10. Abby Normal says

    If the AFA seriously wants to build bridges it could start by refusing to publish hateful articles like this one, blaming gay rights activists for the killing of a gay teen. Or this one, condemning interfaith cooperation and religious tolerance. If I had a dollar for every dishonest, hateful, or fear mongering article they publish and had to pay a dollar for every article that lacked those qualities, I could retire comfortably tomorrow.

  11. says

    (slightly off-topic, as this deals with the Tea Party rather than evangelical Christians)

    I am the Chair of my county’s Democratic Party. Last month, I attended one of the local Tea Party meetings because they had a judge from the 6th Circuit coming to speak to them, and I was interested in what would be said. Since I signed in as myself (not trying to hide my identity), they ended up calling me up to the front at the end of the meeting and giving me the mic.

    I had no intention of speaking that evening, so I had nothing prepared, and I just asked if any of the audience members (a crowd of around 80) had any questions for me. Since it provided them an opportunity to ask a Democrat anything they wanted to, it started a very pleasant conversation. I think they were expecting me to match up with the demonic image they have in their heads of a scary Demoncrat, but since I was very polite in answering all of their questions, and they saw that the answers I provided were not unreasonable, it shattered that pre-conceived image.

    What I also found was that they were very eager to prove to me that they wouldn’t match up with the media’s portrayal of the Tea Party. Based on what you see on TV, you’d expect them to get unruly and begin to shout at me as I was answering questions, but they did nothing like that. They were no less polite than I was.

    After the meeting, many members came up to me to start private conversations. I got the impression that the everyday members are itching to begin a dialogue with those they disagree with. I’m not so sure that the Tea Party leadership shares that same desire.

    I think they called me up there because they wanted to catch me off-guard (which they did) in hopes that I would say something stupid (which I didn’t). The first question was “How can the government spend money it doesn’t have?” I explained how the economic cycle has highs and lows, and it is fiscally optimal for the government to borrow during the bad economic times and pay off that debt during good economic times in order to smooth out that cycle. The Tea Party leader then said that questions should not be policy-based, but rather more general. So they asked me things like “Do you consider yourself a Democrat or progressive?” and “What’s your position on people calling Tea Party members ‘racists’ and such?” Things that by answering wouldn’t have an impact on their policy positions.

    So I may be wrong, but I left that event with the feeling that the members want to talk with those on the left, but the leaders are afraid of the consequences of such a conversation. I hope I’m wrong, and instead the leaders actually are open to starting a dialogue, but it’s unclear right now.

  12. lexaequitas says

    “A lot of people, when they think of evangelical Christians, they think of people who are gay-bashing, women-haters, abortion doctor-killers — things like that,” Wright suggests. “They’re thinking of the extremes, and they don’t realize, maybe haven’t even been exposed to a lot of the very positive things that Christians do and the positive qualities of Jesus that [Christians] try to emulate.”

    Because, you know, if someone does something good you just have to assume that *everything* they do is good. If they’re Xian, anyway. And because the possible positive qualities of a semihistorical figure thousands of years ago make up for things like murder of doctors and oppression going on right now.

    Ugh.

  13. savoy47 says

    So he encourages liberals to “take a conservative to coffee” and for conservatives to “take a liberal to lunch.”

    Liberals only need to pay for coffee and conservatives have to pick up the tab for lunch.

    First time I ever saw a conservative do anything that worked out in a liberals favor. Must have been an oversight.

  14. bananacat says

    The Christians that actually attempt to do the good things about Christianity are generally not the ones who are trying to convert people.

    It’s also incredibly inane that he assumes conservative=Christian and liberal=non-Christian, considering that the vast majority of people in this country are already Christian, and that includes liberals. I guess he’s the type that believes non-Evangelical denominations aren’t Real True Christians (TM).

    So yeah, if someone is doing good in the name of their religion, I don’t really care. But as soon as they attempt to convert me, no amount of good image will make me want to continue talking to them.

  15. Abby Normal says

    If the Association wanted to show me reason, they shouldn’t have sent a character assassin.

  16. bananacat says

    What I also found was that they were very eager to prove to me that they wouldn’t match up with the media’s portrayal of the Tea Party. Based on what you see on TV, you’d expect them to get unruly and begin to shout at me as I was answering questions, but they did nothing like that. They were no less polite than I was.

    Well I can match your anecdote. I went to a town hall during the debates over health care reform and the teabaggers were a clear minority but the loudest and most rude. They interrupted constantly with chants or just shouting. It was a big meeting so people who wanted to ask questions had to submit their name ahead of time and they were chosen randomly. When one person was called and didn’t come to the microphone right away, a teabagger lied and said it was her so she could ask some “question” that was basically a rant asking how we could all be so stupid.

    So it’s one anecdote versus another, and I don’t think either of them are particularly meaningful on their own.

  17. Aquaria says

    “A lot of people, when they think of evangelical Christians, they think of people who are gay-bashing, women-haters, abortion doctor-killers — things like that,” Wright suggests. “They’re thinking of the extremes

    That’s not the extremes. Other than the abortion-killers, there isn’t much else that distinguishes the moderates from the extremists when it comes to the people you hate, dimwit. You loudly proclaim your hatred of gays, women, non-christians, liberals, Democrats, secular humanists and scientists every time you open your disgusting mouth.

    Go to coffee with you? Fuck you. I tried that bullshit. All any of you morons did was lie, hate, proselytize and insult me–while smugly congratulating yourselves on how much more compassionate and wonderful you were in comparison, even though you were a deluded, hateful bigot. I went with the intention of understanding a fuckface like you. You had far different motives.

    This sniveling fraud is a common lying opportunist like the rest of his ilk, with his classic bait-and-switch of saying all this Kumbaya bullshit as a means to get to atheists and the other people they hate, to convert them. They don’t give a flying fuck about who we are or how we see the world. They. Don’t. Fucking. Care. They only care about coercing more dupes into their bullshit delusion by any means necessary so they can get brownie points with their genocidal scumbag deity.

    Never trust an evangelical when they say the “want to understand you.” Ever. They can’t–and they don’t care to. If they had curiosity, compassion, empathy or tolerance, they wouldn’t be evangelicals.

  18. anteprepro says

    “gay-bashing, women-haters, abortion doctor-killers”

    One of these things is not like the others. One of these things, doesn’t belong…

    I swear, they intentionally put “abortion doctor-killers” into the fold in order to pretend that “gay-bashing” and “women-haters” are viewed as just as fringe and heinous as politically motivated murder. Which plays nicely into the “We’re not so bad, let’s all get along!” schtick, but doesn’t happen to mesh as well with reality.

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