On Dec. 27, Exodus lobbyist Randy Thomas prided himself on his rejection of “false prophet Fred Phelps.”
Phelps is the patriarch of a Kansas fundamentalist cult that travels the country, threatening families with young children, in public settings, with foul language and graphically depicted death threats against homosexuals.
Compare Phelps’ attitude to that of Repent America, a Philadelphia-area group that shouts down families and officials in public places and supports the execution of homosexuals.
How is it that both Thomas and his employer, the exgay network Exodus, endorse Repent America but oppose Fred Phelps?
As XGW has previously noted, Repent America and its leader believe that:
A) fundamentalists should shout down public sporting events and homosexual gatherings with chants “sung” via megaphone and with threats of hellfire against fellow attendees. The tactics of Repent America are considerably more in-your-face and intolerant than the gay-affirming religious group Soulforce, a group that Thomas criticizes as militant.
B) fundamentalists should take control of local, state and federal government– Repent America’s methods include stealing the microphone and forcibly occupying the podium at Philadelphia-area government meetings
C) a fundamentalist federal government should methodically execute the nation’s homosexuals
Thomas has affirmed the beliefs and tactics of Repent America no less than 25 times on his web site. He portrays the thugs as Christian martyrs and, without explanation, rejects local officials’ comparison between Repent America and other groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis.
Death threats and a denial of free speech and public association may be committed against homosexuals. Democracy may be denied to town councils around Philadelphia, and Phillies fans may have their game disrupted by the ranting of a group with a sick sexual preoccupation. But if these actions are performed with a smile, a crucifix, and a Christian “hymn” shouted in the ears of others via megaphone — then Thomas and his employer Exodus not only overlook the hate but approve of it.
Exodus officials mistakenly believe that hate is an expression of extreme anger. In fact, hate is more appropriately defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” Whether or not sexual orientation is ever, rarely, changeable, Exodus endorses hate through doublespeak: When politically convenient, Exodus relabels the hate of Repent America and calls it love; it relabels abusive thugs and calls them martyrs.
Exodus rejects Fred Phelps and his family cult not because Phelps is hateful, but because Phelps uses foul language and — like a fading number of traditional Biblical inerrantists — believes in predestination: Once a homosexual, always a homosexual.
Perhaps it is that faint possibility of predestination in regards to sexual orientation that Thomas — a self-proclaimed inerrantist — finds most disturbing.
Afterthought: Fred Phelps exhibits many abhorrent personality traits, but deception is not one of them. He is quite honest about his hatred.
A false prophet, however, is deceptive. Deception employs tactics such as doublespeak, half-truth, and betrayal-with-a-kiss (or a hug, or a handshake).
Thomas is right that there are false prophets among his peers. He would be wise to reconsider their identities, however.