The State reports that Lexington state Senator Jake Knotts called his political opponent (and fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate) Nikki Haley a "raghead" on an Internet political talk show this week: The term is a slur typically used against Arabs or other ethnic groups who wear turbans or headdresses. Haley, a state representative from Lexington, is the child of Indian immigrants. "We already got one raghead in the White House," Knotts said. "And we don't need another in the Governor's Mansion." According to those present and watching the show, "Pub Politics," Knotts also talked at length about Haley's parents' religion and her family. Haley was raised as a Sikh, but converted to Methodism and has said she attends both services. Alex Seitz-Weld writes for Think Progress: The South Carolina Republican Party quickly condemned Knotts' slur (I imagine they did since we only ever hear this stuff coming out of the mouths of conservatives), and he eventually issued an apology. (If I had a nickel for each time a Republican candidate has been caught making racist remarks I would be a wealthy man.) "My 'raghead' comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest," Knotts said in a statement... Knotts' apology seems insincere. He "defended his remarks" immediately following the interview while talking to reporters, and upped his rhetoric then by calling Haley a "fucking raghead." He then avoided retracting the comment, clarifying to say "he did not mean to use the F-word." He also repeated his line about the "raghead in the White House," and said, "This isn’t the first time I’ve said it." Knotts went on to say that Haley - who was raised as a Sikh but later converted to Christianity - was not Christian enough to govern South Carolina, and that she was being directed by a secret cabal of Sikhs."
I wonder if the nativist paranoia of Fox News host Glenn Beck and his Tea Party followers is contagious. Moving along...
For more than thirty years, Bob Stith was pastor of Carroll Baptist Church in north Texas. He's now tied to Exodus pray-away-the-gay International. He's also the Southern Baptist Convention's National Strategist for Gender Issues - whatever the hell that strange appellation denotes. It obviously denotes something of consequence to Bible thumpers since the dependably homophobic Baptist Press gives his opinions a torrent of coverage. Most recently, the right-wing website sought Stith's saintly assessment of the presidential proclamation recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. Grandpa Homobigot piously declared that any recognition of LGBT Pride "marginalizes" Christianity. He added: "Some of the most joyful, Christ-like Christians I know are those who've walked out of homosexuality. Those of us who have never struggled with this issue could learn much from them. Unfortunately their story is not accorded the same respect either by this administration or the secular media."
Their "story" is not accorded respect because it is fiction posing as non-fiction, and it damages people's lives. I did find the phrase "walked out of homosexuality" amusing. It sounds so commonplace. "Have you seen Harry lately?" "No, he walked out of homosexuality." And doesn't it just break your heart when elderly white straight male Christians like Stith worry about being marginalized? Over at Science Blogs, Ed Brayton wastes no time in responding: Isn't that funny? A tiny, tiny portion of those who choose to try to change their sexuality manage to cover it up -- not change it -- and those are the only people on the planet that the bigots think have anything to teach them. It couldn't possibly be that the overwhelming majority of gay people could possibly teach them anything about, say, tolerance. Feel marginalized, bigots? Hey, maybe you should think about how gay people feel being relentlessly browbeaten by assholes like you telling them that if they just prayed hard enough they could magically transform into someone just like you. Then again, why anyone would want to be just like you is a mystery in the first place.
More horse pith from Stith: "This issue for most evangelical Christians is not bias or prejudice. (Perish the thought.) It is simply maintaining the freedom to speak the truth about Scripture. It is one thing to be loving and tolerant. It is something else altogether to encourage pride in what God clearly says is sin. The bottom line, is that if God defines something as sin, we do no one any favors by attempting to blur those lines. Nor will we be doing future generations any favors by obliterating barriers God has put up for our protection. On several occasions the Bible uses the phrase 'every man did that which was right in his own eyes.' In every case it turned out badly."
There's no point in taking apart Stith's little sermon. We've heard it all before. Right-wing Christians sing the same old song because it is the only melody they know. Sin, Sin, Sin. La, La, La. It's beyond astonishing that fundamentalists are able to turn something as convoluted, enigmatic, fantastical, and contradictory as the Bible into a such a dull and disharmonious ditty. To narrow minds and shallow hearts, though, this is music.