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FIRST-PERSON: Explaining the unspeakable


EVANSTON, Ill. (BP)–What could possess young men and women to commit acts of unspeakable evil, destroying not only themselves, but others around them, including innocents? How could clerics justify this wanton behavior? How could a nation honor them? And what of the proliferation of morally bankrupt groups recruiting and pushing them forward into infamy?

Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade? No. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Lambda Legal and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Gay approval grows in America while suicide bomber approval grows in Palestine. No, I’m not equating furtive bathhouse encounters with the murder of restaurant patrons. But I am saying that both are instances of moral squalor and that we do well to note ways which these two causes similarly communicate their corruption:

1. Flood the media with propaganda. We see that the people of the Arab League nations and the Palestinian Authority are bombarded with the message that the bombers are admirable, particularly in contrast with the vile Israelis. American entertainment television is not to be outdone. From “Queer as Folk” to “Will and Grace” to “NYPD Blue,” it offers up approving images of homosexuals and demonizes those who grieve at the spectacle. (Check out glaad.org for the list of this year’s honorees from the nation’s editorial pages, sets, stages, and websites.)

2. Parade the martyrs. In America, milk the Matthew Shepard story for all it’s worth. In Palestine, they’ve written more than 400 songs for 12-year-old Muhammed al-Dura. He’s the boy seen crouching and then dying beside his father in a series of photos known round the world. (Never mind that there are serious doubts that the bullets were Israeli.)

3. Suppress alternative news and views. Gay and lesbian student groups flourish on our university campuses. If a student newspaper offers moral criticism, the editors will be charged with hate speech, and ideological vandals are prone to trash the copies they find on campus. (John Leo’s weekly column in USN&WR is a fine chronicle of such PC tyranny.)

It’s not just a college phenomenon. Ever hear of Jesse Dirkhising [2]? Probably not. He was the 13-year-old who was gagged, blindfolded, trussed up, repeatedly raped and inadvertently suffocated by two homosexual men in Rogers, Ark., in the fall of 1999. NBC gave us the star-studded “Matthew Shepard Story.” It’s doubtful that “The Jesse Dirkhising Story” is in production. It’s also doubtful that sensitive documentaries on the suffering of Holocaust Jews or the bombers’ victims’ families will air on Arab television.


4. Mangle language. In the U.S., call those appalled at homosexuality “homophobes.” In Palestine, call murderers “martyrs” and label every inconvenience, embarrassment and just reprisal at the hands of the Israelis “terrorism.”

5. Enthrone passion. A little bit of thought will lead you to conclude that sodomy and murder are morally repugnant. So a little bit of thought must be avoided. Keep things at the level of passion. Shut down the brain. Fire up the glands and vocal chords.

6. Gather disgruntled allies. Everyone guilty of unrepentant sexual immorality, whether adultery, premarital fornication, bestiality, sadomasochism or pedophilia, is a prime candidate for the gay cause. For these are natural allies in the fight against biblical/traditional morality, the morality that condemns their behavior.

In the Arab world, play the victim card and every woebegone and frustrated Muslim will get on board with his or her fulminations.

7. Get into the schools. In America, start them early with “Heather Has Two Mommies.” In the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education’s line of textbooks is dismissively biased; for instance, you’d be hard pressed to find any trace of Israel between the Jordan and the Mediterranean on their maps.

8. Offer “paradise.” In America, they offer us the Valhalla of unrestrained sexuality. In Palestine, they offer the Shangra-La of no more Israel. To that end, what could be nicer than a suicide-bomber’s afterlife with a harem Hugh Hefner would envy?

9. Search out the rich fools. There is no cause so leprous or mendacious that you’ll suffer the absence of funding. Whether Hollywood elites in the gay cause or Saudi’s in the bombers’ cause, the checkbook is open.

10. Play the journalists. Journalists pride themselves on “afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.” When the dominant group or tradition is wholesome, they come to the aid of outcasts, whether homosexual or Palestinian. They love to “split the difference,” posing as ethicists as they shape their stories to the template of moral equivalence.

So what shall be done both here and there? For openers, we recall the apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Who then are the fighters on point? Preachers, writers, commentators, talk show hosts — communicators in every medium, saturated with prayer and the Word.

Go ahead, say your worst. But then let us say our best.
Coppenger is pastor of Evanston (Ill.) Baptist Church. Other reflections by Coppenger can be viewed at www.listten.com [4].