Glen Beck on the Plains of Jericho

Sodom-GomorrahSo, apparently Glen Beck is still on the air somewhere. He is still trying to pretend that “Christians” who vehemently oppose extending the right to marry to non-heterosexual couples are simply holding the moral high ground against the tide of Gay Activists. Don’t get him wrong, he loves him some Gay people, but you know, those activists “only want it(marriage) so that they can use it to force Christians to violate their faith, just like during the time of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Well sure. What dedicated, card-carrying homosexual can think of anything more worthwhile than forcing Christians to violate their faith, whatever that means on planet Earth. What I have difficulty with, however, is Beck’s utterly sophomoric, completely reprehensible, understanding of the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative. He is, as that old philosopher Buggs Bunny was want to say, a Maroon.

Let’s leave aside his poor grasp of religious history and the very palpable lack of Christians in either Sodom or Gomorrah. Let’s gloss over what the prophet Ezekiel had to say on the matter [Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.] Let’s be big about this and even ignore the glaring critique of Beck’s interpretation specifically anticipated in the words of Yeshua [Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.  “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.] The whole narrative is simply not about homosexual behavior, but about a community that went out of its way to be inhospitable to the foreign sojourners in their midst.

Yes, that’s right, it is a story about immigration, not about homosexuality. It is a story about devout Jews who settled in the midst of a frightened, paranoid, town where all strangers were viewed with the deepest of suspicions. It was a community that was so devoted to keeping its wealth and privilege intact that it was willing to debase itself, and others, as a means of preserving the status quo. Far from being a community filled with flaming left-wing Gay Pride party hounds, Sodom and Gomorrah were filled with gun-toting, anti-immigrant, xenophobic Tea Party racists.

When you see people waving flags and signs and frothing at the mouth over busloads of Hispanic children on their way to detention, you are seeing Sodom in action. When White Supremacists gather in resplendent ignorance to rail against the presence of a local Masjid, you have stepped blithely into Gomorrah. When you find yourself in the midst of politicians who want to close borders, imprison families, deny healthcare, or food, or education to the poor and foreign born, while grabbing for themselves every ounce of available swag, you, my friend, are wandering dangerously on the Plains of Jericho.

The Sodom and Gomorrah narrative is both apt and very descriptive, it’s just that it is infinitely more descriptive of Mr. Beck and his followers than it is of his targets.

 

 

About revjtomgough

In the more than 30 years I have spent in parish ministry, I have held a wide range of related interests and theological foci. From Process Theology, Creation Theology, and Liberation Theology, to spiritual practices, Celtic Christianity, and World Religious Traditions. I have learned a great deal about a very few things. Otherwise, I'm not especially interesting.
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