I stay up late, as most of you know, and after "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," I switch it over to CNN. I usually catch the repeat of "The Larry King Show." I'm not really a fan of Larry (his sycophantic interviews are usually the opposite of "hardball," and Larry, please stop trying to sing...please), but have it on for the background noise. The other night, though, I was very interested when I tuned in.
Larry was interviewing a Christian singer by the name of Jennifer Knapp. This may come as a surprise to you all, but I'm not a fan of Christian rock. If you're wondering why, watch this.
[Sidebar: "Christian Rock" is an oxymoron to me. Part of what is fun about rock and roll is that it's all about sex, rebellion, and sometimes some booze and drugs thrown in the mix. Hell, even the phrase "rock and roll" is a euphemism for sex. Take that out of the music, along with the bad boy and bad girl imagery, and you've lost the edge and are left with just ho-hum noise. Just my opinion, of course.]
What was interesting about this show was that Knapp recently came out as a lesbian, angering many of her Christian fans and prompting them to condemn her "choice." One of those people, Pastor Bob Botsford of San Diego, was also on the show, and I found it...enlightening, although it was nothing new to me. (This entry is a little heavy on the videos, and I’ll apologize now.)
I'll hand it to Larry on this one. He quizzed the guy pretty good, pressed him on condemning Ms. Knapp, tried to get him to admit to the inconsistency of him saying that he chose heterosexuality while she chose a "sinful lifestyle."
I don't think that it's wise for any of us to base our decisions on feelings. I wanna base decisions on facts. And for me, the fact has become the truth of God's word. God creates this wonderful gift of marriage...he didn't make Adam and Steve, and he didn't make Eve and Ellen.
Whew, that's rich. Love IS a feeling, you numbnuts...it's an emotion. Decisions concerning finances, science, history, et al, are based on facts; emotions are a result of feelings, not facts. The truth of God's word? That is your truth, not all people's truth. Many other faiths recognize marriage, you can get married without having any sort of religion involved, and God didn't "create" marriage, no matter what you want to believe. Pastor Bob speaks of making a conscious choice to choose heterosexuality rather than a "sinful lifestyle," but somehow cannot grasp the concept that there are people who make a conscious choice (based on fact rather than feelings, by the way) to not believe that the Bible is God's word, who do not accept Pastor Bob’s or others’ notions of divine condemnation.
And yes, he trotted out that hoary old nugget about Adam and Steve.
[Sidebar #2: Does anyone know a gay couple named Adam and Steve? There have to be several out there. That would be awesome, and if I were them, I would totally use that in a debate. "Yeah, we're Adam and Steve. Are you saying that God didn't make us? Are you saying that you don't believe God is omnipotent, that he didn't make everything? If he made us and we're gay, doesn't that mean that he screwed something up, at least according to your thinking?"]
When Larry asks him about the verse in the Old Testament that says that eating shellfish is an abomination, ol' Pastor Bob says, "God changed his mind on shellfish." Really, Bob? You want us to believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, except for those parts where God "changed his mind?" Ohhhh, I get it...God is a woman, since it's our prerogative to change our minds!
In an odd segue, Pastor Bob says that one Bible verse mandates "a curse on anyone who would take away from what the Bible has to say." First of all...a curse? It's the 21st century, and you still want us to believe in curses? And if God changed his mind about shellfish, that would mean he took away from what he originally said, which would mean he...cursed himself...? I'm just sayin'. Then there is the matter of how things were added centuries after the alleged occurrences…but that’s a topic for another day.
Through all of it, Pastor Bob keeps up a litany of scripture-quoting and Bible-thumping. This was like a bad flashback for me, because I recall many a time that I got into discussions with someone in my life who could not speak without quoting scripture. It didn't matter if the subject was religion or not, it all came back to scripture, scripture, and for a little variety, scripture. I recall asking him once, "Can you please talk about something and not quote scripture at me?" I don't recall the exact response, but I'm pretty sure he quoted scripture at me.
In contrast to Pastor Bob's passive-aggressive behavior and words (he won't look at Ms. Knapp directly, he tells her he's there because he loves her, but then tells her she cannot call herself a Christian while "choosing" to be a lesbian), listen to what she has to say in response.
Her words are measured, rational, and non-confrontational, other than saying that he has no right to speak to her like that on national TV, and that she has a spiritual guide in her life and it is not him.
I thought it was quite a fascinating hour of television, and I found it rather amusing to hear the same old arguments from Pastor Bob that I've been hearing for years. It's the same tired non-logic. "The Bible is the inerrant word of God." "Why do you believe that?" "I just do. It just is."
Not good enough, at least not for me. What people like Pastor Bob don't seem to understand is that such arguments hold no water with someone like me. They can quote scripture to me until they're blue in the face, but it means nothing to me as far as laws or morals go. There is some nice prose in there, and there are some universal truths, but nothing they can say will convince me that it is the word of God, and no amount of scripture tossed my way will ever convince me that homosexuality is a sin or a "choice." Another of my favorites is "love the sinner, hate the sin." Bullshit. If you hate what you call a sin (Feel free to tell me that no, the Bible says it's a sin, and the Bible is the word of God...see my remarks at the beginning of this paragraph.), you are being judge and jury in condemning that person to the Fiery Pits of Hell™. YOU are making that judgment, not God. I'm not sure how you think that is in any way "loving the sinner."
"I love you. Burn in hell." Whatever.
[Sidebar #3: Another guest on the program was none other than Ted Haggard. Remember him? The pastor who had gay sex with a male prostitute and smoked some meth while he was at it? In for a penny, in for a pound, right? I'm not going to condemn the guy for what he did, especially since he didn't kill the ho and bury him in his garden, because that's above my pay grade...however, I do condemn him for his self-righteous preaching in which he condemned others to the aforementioned Fiery Pits of Hell™, all the while pretending to be on on a fast track to the pearly gates. Anyway, he was a surprising voice of reason here. I don't recall all of what he said, but he was far from judgmental like Pastor Bob, and I got the impression that he sympathized—if not empathized—with her quite a bit. It was surprisingly refreshing.]
I applaud Larry King for playing a little bit of hardball for once and behaving as a journalist rather than doing another lame "Entertainment Tonight" sort of interview. But mostly I applaud Jennifer Knapp for having the courage to come out and be who she is and completely unapologetic for who she loves, and for handling her attacker with grace, wit, and intelligence.
For some thumping of a different (and more fun) kind, how about some Chumbawamba?