Several events last year, like Sarah Palin's nomination and Ted Stevens's prosecution, gave America a crash-course in Alaskan politics. It turns out it's not just another state up there - it's another planet.
Well, Don Sherfick sent me this link to the Frontiersman, the local paper in Sarah Palin's hometown, in which they decided to print an op-ed discussing whether or not the antichrist is gay.
The idea isn't particularly new; branches of Christianity that care more about end-times conjecturing than discussing the life of Jesus have been making this argument for a while. John Hagee, who helped the John McCain campaign, famously said that the antichrist would be gay and "partially Jewish."
The gay argument comes from a passage in the book of Daniel that mainline Protestant sects don't stress all that much, both when condemning homosexuality and discussing end times:
"He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.
While I suppose one could read "gay" into his having "no regard[...] for the desire of women," it does seem like a bit of a stretch. Aren't these the people who think that homosexuality is something you do, not something you are?
Ron Hamman, who wrote the Wasilla Frontiersman, seems to ignore the context of the passage, which is more about showing that the antichrist will be obsessed with himself than it is concerned with his sexuality.
Moreover, having no desire for women, if that's how we interpret that passage, doesn't mean that the antichrist is gay. He could be asexual. (Not to get on asexual people's backs, because arguing the antichrist's sexuality is already silly enough.)
Hamman also makes the Sodom and Gomorrah were gay argument:
While the Genesis account does not graphically describe their sin, leading some to deny it as being the same as homosexuality, their sin is obviously just that by how it is described: lying with mankind as with womankind. What other conclusion can be reached when they want to "know" the men who were in Lot's house, the same word the Bible uses in Genesis 4 in relation to the conception of Cain? And that Lot himself understood their intentions is clear; not only did he call such behavior wicked, but he also offered his virgin daughters as substitutes, which the men of Sodom refused.
Is he really taking to the local paper to condemn some guys from 5000 years ago for not raping women? Apparently so.
And he has to point out that gays are the violent ones, ignoring centuries of history where the vast proponderance of sexual-orientation-based violence was enacted on gay people:
But consider this: The time is ripe for such a leader. Indeed, it should not be surprising that the one who is against everything Biblical and Christian should be a partaker of so great a sin; there is no greater way to reject the Creator than to reject your gender and his design for it. And at what other time have we seen such perversion come out of the closets onto our streets, threatening violence if we do not accept their ways?
I'd also like to know if there's ever been one of these end times pastors who didn't think that the "time is ripe for such a leader." I guess dissecting eschatology is no fun if it doesn't happen in your lifetime, right?
But this remains my favorite paragraph of the column, where Hamman implies that homosexuality is OK in Christianity, but is too stupid to realize he wrote that:
From a lost perspective, the reason sex sells, pornography is profitable, and prostitution is "the world's oldest profession" is mankind's desire of women. From Christianity's position, it is part of the glue for the bond of marriage and the propagation of a godly heritage. But homosexuality does not regard this -- in their unbridled lusts they burn for their own gender.
If the "glue for the bond of marriage" and "godly heritage" are, for unbelievers, pornography and prostitution, then doesn't the fact that gay porn and gay prostitutes exist show that, for Christian gays, that can also be the "glue for the bond of marriage" and "godly heritage"?
What would I know, though. I practice the only sin God came down to earth to destroy every night.
This is what gets me most about this column: not the fact that Hamman is a bit strange and has devoted himself to developing and promoting counterintuitive interpretations of the Bible, but the fact that a local newspaper decided to print it. I'm sure when they go out of business in a few years they'll wonder what it was about their business practices that caused people to think that they were irrelevant.