The Nashville Manifesto

by Charles S. Garabedian

The Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals have shot themselves in the foot yet again and driven one more nail into the coffin of their two “isms.” Today the Scribes and Pharisees at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a fundie organization, issued an official written statement on human sexuality, homosexuality, and gender identity at a meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. The official title of this document is the Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality. Some people in the American news media are calling it The Nashville Manifesto. According to the newspaper USA Today, Reverend John Piper, the co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called it, and we quote, “a Christian Manifesto on human sexuality.”  You may read this so-called manifesto by clicking on the following safe PDF file:

The Nashville Statement or The Nashville Manifesto

Here at the Flee from Christian Fundamentalism blog, we shout back loud and clear to John Piper and his supporters that this pitiful new rag of theirs is not a “Christian Manifesto” at all. Piper’s quoted words above are a bold-faced lie for one very good reason—and he knows it. This is not a “Christian” statement on human sexuality because John Piper and his organization do not speak for or represent the whole of Christendom here in the United States or the whole of Christendom here on planet Earth. Numerous sincere and devout Christian churches, Christian denominations, and Christian individuals here in the United States and around the world would object to many of the Articles 1 through 14 in this manifesto for various very good reasons. The baseline truth of the matter is simple. This is primarily a Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical manifesto on human sexuality and gender identity—and the fundies who support it are a minority in the overall American Christian community and a minority in the world Christian community.

We prefer to call their new rag The Fundie Manifesto on Human Sexuality and Gender Identity—leaving the city of Nashville out of the title. The Mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry, has already strenuously and publicly slammed this organization and its supporters for including the name of her city in the title of this two-bit fundie rag. Moreover, I was born in Nashville, a vibrant city that votes majority Democrat and Progressive in most elections, and I object to it too. In my opinion, this manifesto does not reflect the opinions or beliefs of most Nashville citizens, and I do not want the name of my wonderful hometown on this fundie rag.

What kind of manifesto is this—really?  In my honest opinion, whether its writers and signers intended it or not, this fundie manifesto will be used, ultimately one day, as the cornerstone for a nationwide program of hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and persecution against LGBTQ Americans. This storm is already gathering across our nation, and it is being led by Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical extremists who, in the midst of their hatred for LGBTQ people, are really no better than the bigoted thugs who recently invaded Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in the death of American heroin Heather Heyer.

In writing this brief article for you, my fellow Americans and fellow nonfundie Christians, I would be remiss if I did not remind you who the targets of this fundie hatred and bigotry will be when the overt program of discrimination and persecution one day begins in earnest.  The targets will be your LGBTQ sons and daughters you love so much. The targets will be your LGBTQ moms and dads. The targets will be your LGBTQ uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and cousins. The targets will be your LGBTQ friends at school. The targets will be your LGBTQ neighbors who help you with the neighborhood vegetable garden. The targets will be your LGBTQ colleagues you discuss football with at the water cooler.  The targets will be your fellow LGBTQ Tennessee Volunteer alumni or Ohio State Buckeye alumni. The targets will be your favorite LGBTQ football, basketball, baseball, and tennis players. Yes, American businessmen, the targets will be your LGBTQ employees and customers. The targets will be your LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Christ.

And yes, even if you are Christian and heterosexual, they may come after you too for just being a family member or friend of an LGBTQ person. The history on this last one is clear. When the fundies target an LGBTQ person for harassment inside one of their own churches—it is often the whole nuclear family of that person that is driven from the church for allowing an LGBTQ person to live lovingly, safely, and supportedly within the family home.

Be watchful dear brothers and sisters in Christ and prepare to resist the fat-bellied, iced-tea-guzzling, fried-chicken-gulping forces of darkness clothed as Angels of Light. Once it gets started, bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and persecution are relentless—and if followed far—they ultimately lead to torture, concentration camps, human extermination, and other crimes against humanity. Human history is our reliable witness to this time-after-time, and the Spanish Inquisition proved that Christians can be the creators of such atrocities. Put political power, hatred, and bigotry into the hands of self-righteous celebrity pastors and the religious fanatics who follow them, and it will be even worse. When I see people who claim to be Christians writing a manifesto aimed at the denigration of LGBTQ Americans, I have to wonder if the off-the-cuff 20th century prophecy, often attributed (rightly or wrongly) to American writer Sinclair Lewis, might be true:

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag and carrying the cross of Jesus.

Make no mistake. Manifestos often become the centerpieces of dictatorial political and social movements. Go ask the followers of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao-Tse-Tung, and Kim Il-Sung. They built their movements around a manifesto, and guess how many people died as a direct result of their manifesto?  The going estimate is 100,000,000 people.

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