There has to be a distinction between “religious conservatives,” and “religious fascists.” Those who seek to deny others basic civil rights, and cast aspersions on assorted minority groups such as gays and illegal immigrants are religious or secular fascists. People like Franklin Graham, Ken Hutcherson, Ralph Reed, and their ilk are not “religious conservatives” but “religious fascists,” as I see it. I am a religious conservative, as I believe in the contextual rendering of Scripture, the virgin birth, the Resurrection, etc. I think that it’s crucial that we make that distinction. True Christian Conservatives do not seek to in any way judge or defame others! Even non-Christians know that Christians are to address the injustices of society, and care for the poor and unfortunate who are down on their luck; Christians should be able to be counted on to help others, and not to seek to judge or exclude others from good will and good works. Indeed, they well know that Christians are called upon by Jesus to love other people and not to judge them! Yet, they and we are constantly bombarded in the media and in all too many churches with the propounders of a false gospel of legalism that is no Gospel; with those who show no love, but seem to delight in engaging in faulty biblical exegeses to justify condemning their fellow human beings; with those who would much rather erroneously select some obscure verse out of Leviticus to condemn others and seek to deny LGBT people civil and sacramental rights than do the work of a ministry that seeks social justice for all of God’s children; by a gospel that has as its litmus test genital placement rather than the exercise of love toward all of God’s creatures; with those who embrace the most reactionary elements in society and do so in the name of God, rather than heed the words of Jesus that we are to care for the least of His children; with those who are haughty, smug, and arrogant, rather than witness the expressions of the meekness and humility Jesus admonishes us to have in dealing with other fellow human beings and with the things of God. There is a judgment! And the professing Christians who, by their ignorance and/or avarice and/or twisted psyches cast aspersions on the Gospel of grace, the unconditional love of Jesus toward all of God’s children, thereby turning away countless intelligent, decent, sensitive people from God, will drink the dregs of that judgment to the very last drop, for, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:2)
Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society,” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. Maneker also published a blog called “A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights” and the website Radical Christianity.