The Wake Up Call of Words
This is an article circulating through the emails on the internet. We feel the sentiments expressed here are of real concern. Religious fanaticism can come in many forms and is dangerous in any form. We feel that those who condemn others in the Name of God are in denial of their own shortcomings, arrogant beyond belief, and only promote the concepts of intolerance and hatred --- which are the antithesis of Love and the Divine! To imply that God used such an event as took place on Tuesday as some kind of retribution for any human failing is not only absurd, but it is blasphemous and an insult to God Him/Herself. Such ideals are the food for the evil that took place in the terrorist attack! To use such an event to foster one’s theological concepts is selfishness in one of its lowest forms.
Printed with permission by Todd Tuttle
The Wake Up Call of Words
By: Todd Tuttle
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 04:37:47 AM
Subject: The Wake Up Call of Words
The Wake Up Call of
by Todd Tuttle
I was trained by men who believe that God’s holy wrath will shower down from heaven upon any nation who doesn’t repent of sin. Men, who believe that God will pour out judgment on those who do not believe like they do. Individuals who do not profess the same beliefs as the religious men who trained me are labeled heathen, wicked, and sinners. These men taught me passages like, "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked" and "The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy." The men who taught me these things are not Osama bin Laden or rulers of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan . They are men like Jerry Falwell, and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. And the verses I quoted above are not from the Koran, but from the book of Psalms, chapters 58:10 and 145:20.
When I heard that Jerry Falwell had made some horrible statements regarding the terrorist attacks on the 700 club television show, I was not surprised. Jerry Falwell is my former pastor and the chancellor of my former college, Liberty University. What is surprising to me is the response that these comments have received. I am not surprised that these comments are causing quite a bit of controversy and rightfully so. I am surprised that it has taken a national tragedy for people to really listen to the words of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. These men have been saying these kinds of things for many years.
Like those who tried to warn our government that terrorist attacks might occur in this country before last Tuesday, I have committed my life to trying to educate people on the segregating belief system that is Fundamentalist Christianity. I am a former fundamentalist Baptist minister, and after leaving that belief system behind, I am now an out gay man. As such, I made the list of persons who Falwell believes has awakened God’s wrath.
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize American — I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen,’" Falwell said on the 700 Club.
Jerry Falwell released a statement today regarding the comments he made on that broadcast.
"My statements on the "700 Club" on Thursday, September 14th, were called divisive by some whom I mentioned by name. I had no intention of being divisive. I was sharing my burden for revival in America on a Christian TV program, intending to speak to a Christian audience from a theological perspective about the need for national repentance. In retrospect, I should have mentioned the national sins without mentioning the organizations and persons by name."
It seems that Mr. Falwell thinks that he should have hidden his true feelings and not mentioned the people he was trying to implicate "by name." But I am very glad Mr. Falwell let the nation see and hear exactly what he believes. And it is not just Jerry Falwell. On a September 13th radio broadcast, Focus on the Family’s founder, Dr. James Dobson, concurred with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.
"Yes I believe that the attacks are God's punishment because we are in a moral decay in this country, with abortion, forcing children to be taught about homosexuality, removing God from the schools, sexual immorality on television, and in our government. And this is God's way of punishing the wicked".
These words need to be the same kind of wake up call that the terrorist bombings in New York have been. We all must remember that these men have huge followings that believe what these religious leaders say. I heard Vice President Cheney tell the American public on "Meet the Press" this Sunday, that the Taliban leaders are not "religious" leaders. My question is , "by whose definition?" Not understanding or agreeing with an extreme religious position, does not negate the fact that many people would give their lives for their extreme religious convictions. I would have given my life for Fundamentalism thirteen years ago.
And to say that Jerry Falwell’s and James Dobson’s words are not "Christian," I would again ask, "by whose definition?" We must begin to understand that there are two competing world views at war here. Simply labeling a philosophy as not "Christian" or leaders as not "religious" serves absolutely no purpose in understanding and combating spiritual terrorism. After all, when these leaders claim to speak for "God" and proclaim judgment and retribution upon those who differ theologically, then we are dealing with spiritual terrorism.
Dealing with spiritual terrorism in our country is a very important matter. There are reports of religious schools in Afghanistan turning out zealous young men trained in Jihad. There are many churches and religious schools in our own country that train young people to fight with their very lives a "spiritual" war with darkness. Darkness was personified this week by religious leaders Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson. They made it clear that those who differ theologically with them are their enemy as well as an enemy of their God. But, we must also remember that there are many religious leaders in our country that believe and teach the exact same things. We must as a nation, denounce this segregating philosophy, just as we denounce radical religious Fundamentalism that we find in other parts of the world. And we must recognize that this philosophy is not only an enemy of a pluralistic nation, but of individuality and the basic tenants of freedom itself.
Todd Tuttle can be reached at ToddTuttle@aol.com. Tuttle is the author of "Fundamentally Speaking: Fundamentalist Christianity’s Segregation of America," and a new children’s book, "Spot," published by www.windowbooks.com.