In the seemingly never ending battle over homosexuality in the church, a common chorus I often here repeated from those opposed to marriage equality is that their opposition, no matter how intense, is in fact an act of love.
Unfortunately, that “love” often looks a whole lot like hate.
For example, I’m not sure how telling gay folks that they are demon possessed and so foul smelling that even pigs don’t want to be around them is in any way loving.
I mean, if someone at church said something like that to a person struggling with obesity would you really consider that an act of love?
Now, lest you think this a crazy extreme example of hate disguised as love, let me introduce you to Bert Farias, evangelist and writer of the curiously titled Charisma column, The Flaming Herald.
In a post that gives new meaning to the word “bizarre,” Farias takes the typical “please do not get upset with me. I am for you and not against you” approach before doing literally everything he can to make his prospective audience not only upset with him, but left with the distinct impression that he is, in fact, very much against them.
In typical fundamentalist fashion he combines a handful of proof texts from the Bible with utterly unsubstantiated theological claims to present what he calls the “raw, naked truth.”
So, what is this raw, naked truth?
Here’s the raw, naked truth: Homosexuality is actually a demon spirit. It is such a putrid-smelling demon that other demons don’t even like to hang around it….Yes, you heard me right: Being gay is demonic.
Here’s some more raw, naked truth for Mr. Farias – no where in the Bible is homosexuality described as demonic or a form of demon possession.
So, if the Bible never actually supports his claim anywhere in any one of its 66 books, how can Farias know that homosexuality is a putrid-smelling demon?
Theological sleight of hand.
It’s a wonderful magic trick “lovingly” employed by fundamentalists that uses convicting sounding clichés to get readers to focus on the “truth” of their claim in hopes that they won’t investigate further and realize those claims don’t actually hold much water. (To say nothing of their typical utter lack of biblical grounding.) But they sound vaguely biblical and often very convicting to the right audience, so receptive audiences will gladly drink the kool-aid without asking questions.
For example, Farias says “All human beings know deep in their hearts that God exists.” Sounds super biblical, but while we as Christians might want to believe that is the case, in fact, the opposite may be true.
But Farias is only beginning with his rhetorical magic tricks.
He continues, “But people’s unrighteousness leads them to suppress the truth and believe false views of God and the Bible, and they twist the scriptures to their own destruction, because they know that the truth would require them to repent.” Sounds scary, but the simple translation is: if you disagree with my interpretation, you’re a heretic who hates God.
Oh, and I almost forgot this gem: “Homosexuality is not new. It’s been around for thousands of years. It’s as old as the devil himself.”
Assuming he believes the devil is only a few thousand years old, you know cause creationism and what not, if the homosexuality is as old as the devil and the devil presumedly fell from heaven before the fall of man, then does that mean some of the angels were/are gay? And if they are gay and they preceded the existence of the natural world being heavenly creatures, wouldn’t that make homosexuality a deeper reality (or truth) than the natural world since it comes from heaven in Farias’ accounting of its origins?
Alas, Farias leaves us to speculate on our own at this point.
Farias also makes the typical claim that “any gay person who claims to be a professing Christian can stop being gay” which, again leaves me the reader wondering if Farias thinks I as a heterosexual should stop being heterosexual and embrace celibacy since Paul was pretty clear that that’s the way to go.
But the worn out “being gay is a choice” argument and a few sleight of hand tricks not withstanding, we still haven’t fully answered the question of how Farias knows that homosexuals are putrid-smelling demons.
In other words, we haven’t seen the magician really work his best magic, magic so good if you don’t know where to look, you’ll probably miss the trick.
Now, he’s got the seemingly connected but not really Bible verse.
And the convicting sounding, but ultimately hollow claims about the “raw, naked truth about homosexuality.”
But to really pull off the grand theological magic trick of “raw, naked truth,” he’s gotta pull out the big guns.
So, where do you turn when you don’t actually have biblical support for what you’re claiming is biblical true?
Anonymous modern-day prophets.
As Farias himself claims in that “….” space in the earlier “raw, naked” quote that I left out for dramatic emphasis, “A genuine prophet of God told me that the Lord allowed him to smell this demon spirit, and he got sick to his stomach.”
That’s right folks.
Farias felt the need to take to the internet to denounce gay folks as putrid-smelling demoniacs in the name of God because some random dude told they smell bad.
But don’t worry.
Because telling people they’re putrid-smelling demoniacs who make you want to vomit is totally loving.