A couple of weeks ago, I wondered if the vile behavior of the likes of Westboro Baptist Church may be on the verge of becoming mainstream for the religious right. After all, you had two "mainstream" fundie leaders encourage their followers to engage in tactics straight out of Fred Phelps' playbook. Gordon Klingenschmitt suggested that born-again photographers who work LGBT weddings ought to deface the pictures with Romans 1:32, and Kevin Swanson called for Christian cake decorators to write Leviticus 20:13 on LGBT wedding cakes.
Well, we may be getting yet more proof that Phelps' behavior is gaining more acceptance--or at the very least, more mainstream fundie leaders are willing to condone it. Yesterday, one of the more popular fundie radio hosts and speakers, Dave Daubenmire, noted how often fundies join the chorus of criticism of Phelps' actions, and suggested that they should back off because he may be doing what God tells him to do. For good measure, Daubenmire also said that born-agains have no business speaking out against Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones either--after all, he may be just obeying God. Watch here.
There is so much wrong with this that I don't know where to start. Is Daubenmire saying that we shouldn't speak out against a guy who finds it acceptable to picket the funerals of kids? And is he saying that we shouldn't speak out against a guy who not only thinks it's OK to burn the Quran--especially during Ramadan, which would be like burning a Bible on Easter or Christmas--but to put an effigy of Obama hanging from a noose in front of his church?
This video seems even more dense considering Daubenmire's background. Daubenmire was a longtime high school football coach in Ohio, his last stop being in London, south of Columbus. I would expect such head-in-the-sand commentary to come from someone who spent his career in the fundie bubble, not someone who spent so much time in the secular world.
Then again, considering Daubenmire's past, something this warped isn't as surprising. Starting in the early 1990s, he came under fire for forcing his players to take part in religious activities. The ACLU sued the school district in 1999. Just before the case was to go to trial, the school district and ACLU reached a settlement in which the high school's principal was required to report any complaints about religious indoctrination to both the school board AND the ACLU until 2001. Under the agreement, any violations could have been reported to the federal court in Columbus and resulted in citations for contempt. And yet, Daubenmire claims he won. Talk2Action's Bruce Wilson also reports that Daubenmire filed a libel suit against a group of seven parents and faculty members who spoke out against him, and lost. And it turns out that Daubenmire has taken part in Koran burnings himself.
We already knew the religious right is increasingly becoming a ghost from the past. But if they really are starting to think Phelps and Jones' behavior is even remotely OK, then this movement really has become a cartoon.
(h/t to People for the American Way)