Friday, July 30, 2010

Subverting the American Family Association's Bigotry

I subscribe to the online American Family Association newsletter. If you are from Mississippi, you are probably familiar with the AFA. They have a radio station which is very popular among our devout christian fellow citizens. Very much in the James Dobson, Jerry Falwell version of good old time religion. The reason I subscribe to their newsletter is that it is always good to see what they are taking seriously. I learn from this site much earlier about issues affecting my world than I would from mainstream media or even the non-religious cyberverse. The AFA is the organization behind the referendum to get human life declared as starting at conception, for instance. I found out about this campaign first on the AFA website.

American bigotry
Their latest campaign involves a university student in Georgia, a good christian young woman who has views on homosexuality informed by her faith. Views she has voiced in her counseling classes. Yes, she is a counseling psychology major with religiously informed, negative opinions on homosexuality. The Augusta State University faculty decided she could not graduate holding such without having some interaction with actual homosexuals, in order to find out what their life is like, and recommended she take part in some sensitivity exercises about homosexuality before she became eligible to graduate. They did not say she had to change her views; they just said she had to have some contact with the homosexual community before she graduated. She refused.

The AFA was outraged. They claim this impinges on her rights to her religion. They have one of those links you can click on and send a form letter to the Georgia State Board of Regents to express your displeasure at the Augusta State University's infringement on the young woman's freedom of religion. I clicked on this link, wiped out the text of the AFA's form letter, and put in my own text supporting the ASU's position. I stated that this woman had a right to her religious beliefs, but beliefs are not facts. I said that it is comparable to allowing a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription for a legal, prescribed contraceptive to a woman because it violates his or her religious beliefs. Health providers have to separate their religious beliefs from their legal obligation to provide appropriate health care to their clients, or we will have real problems.

I can't tell you how much fun it is to use their contact information to subvert their message. I am even listed as a pastor on their website (I am the one and only ordained minister of the First Church of the All-To-Human Revelation), so I have some juice. The First Church of the A-T-H Revelation is a church I started as a project for a religion class I took as an undergraduate at Western Michigan University studying under the remarkable Dr. E. Thomas Lawson. I used the seminar on Rationality and Religion I was taking to recruit members to my church. We met weekly at our class, and later at a two-for one special at a local bar, to establish that the congregation met weekly and consisted of at least twelve people. That made my church official in the eyes of the State of Michigan. I even performed a wedding ceremony. The couple I married in 1978 are still happily married, enviously wealthy, with five wonderful children. You could say I quit the marriage biz while I was ahead.

The Revelation of my church was that we are all alone in a big, cold, uncaring universe, and our only chance of surviving is to take good care of each other, because no big sky-daddy is out there to take care of us.

Check out the AFA and subvert their message. It is fun.

Mims

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