FRC, AFA Say Gay Sex Should Be a Crime
Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the last week.
Outlawing Gays in the USA?
Yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast received scrutiny as critics attempted to link its sponsors to Uganda's anti-homosexuality legislation. While the sponsoring group and other American Christians have condemned the Uganda bill, some conservatives voiced support for the criminalization of homosexuality in the United States.
At the prayer breakfast, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted Uganda as she emphasized U.S. support for human rights. President Obama was more specific, citing opposition to Uganda's proposed law as an example of possible common ground in our current contentious politics.
"We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are—whether it's here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda," said Obama.
His statement at the breakfast comes on the heels of his call during the State of the Union address to repeal the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military, a call that reignited rhetorical fireworks over sexuality in American society. If the President hoped that everyone would oppose bills that criminalize homosexuality, he was to be disappointed.
On Tuesday, MSNBC's Chris Matthews interviewed Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council about the U.S. military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy (DADT). Sprigg, FRC's senior fellow for policy studies, said he would support banning all gays or lesbians from serving in the military. At the end of the discussion, Matthews asked Sprigg his view of homosexuality in civilian life:
MATTHEWS: Do you think we should outlaw gay behavior?
SPRIGG: Well, I think it's certainly defensible.
MATTHEWS: I'm just asking you, should we outlaw gay behavior?
SPRIGG: I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned the sodomy laws in this country, was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.
MATTHEWS: So we should outlaw gay behavior.
(In its 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas's anti-sodomy law was unconstitutional and that "the state cannot demean [homosexuals'] existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.")
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association agreed with Sprigg. Citing policies and findings of the Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, Fischer concluded that homosexual behavior should be criminalized because it "represents an enormous threat to public health."
"It's a simple matter of common sense, sound public policy, and a concern for public health. … Whatever we think we should do to curtail injection drug use are the same sorts of things we should pursue to curtail homosexual conduct," said Fischer, AFA's director of issue analysis.
Fischer further justified his view by claiming that 1 Timothy 1:8-11 says "those 'who practice homosexuality' should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery."
On Sojourners's God's Politics blog, Brian McLaren responded directly to Sprigg's comments. "Even if you agree with the Family Research Council on the issue of homosexuality, and even if you're worried about slippery slopes when it comes to human sexuality, I think you'll agree: there's another slippery slope that's equally easy to slide down, and that's the slide into the kind of Pharisaical religiosity that attempts to make people behave 'morally' through the threat of exclusion, intimidation, and legislation," he said.