Ask anyone what they think happened in Salem Mass. In 1692 and they are likely to say something to the effect that some unsophisticated settlers, given to religious fervor and superstition during a harsh winter and desolate conditions, became obsessed with evil and targeted those who they saw as a threat. Ask those same people if such a thing could happen today, and they are likely to say “of course not!”Note: This is not intended to disparage Christian’s or all religious people who hold different values that myself. It is, however, intended to shine a light on those who would use their religion as a weapon to marginalize and disenfranchise others.
However, I submit to you that it is in fact happening again, only this time gays-not witches are the target. Consider:
In Salem witches were viewed as being possessed by evil that must be exorcised. The religious right of today see gays has being sick and in need of a cure.
The members of the Bay Colony saw witches as a threat to their Christian beliefs and even a threat to the continued existence of Christianity. Today, the religious right speaks passionately about their religious freedom being violated by gay rights and the criminalization of Christianity.
The settlers were driven by ignorance and fear of the unknown, and the need for a scapegoat to blame their problems on witches-which included a small pox outbreak and the perception of religious persecution. Today, we can see these same forces at work among the virulently religious right who have blamed gays for everything from natural disasters, and disease to the risen of liberal secularism.
Yes, the colonists were beset by real and present dangers- Native American’s , pirates, economic difficulties and political tensions with England which added to the stress which in turn contributed to the hysteria and the need to blame someone. We see the same dynamic playing out today with the fear of Islam and ISIS, uncertainty about the economy and the fact that there are people in power who do not reflect their values.
The settlers were so threatened by those who they deemed witches that they imprisoned and murdered them. Today, most on the right do not advocate imprisonment, burning at the stake, or drowning. However, there are those who do lament the decriminalization of homosexuality and some who have in fact advocated the imprisonment and execution of gays.
As in 1692, there is an identifiable triggering condition now. Then, it was a difficult winter living in isolation. Now, it is the rapid rise of the acceptance of gay people, and the speed at which they have gained legal rights culminating in marriage equality
If anyone wishes to question the voracity of this analogy, I invite you to first review a brief history of the Salem witch trials:
The Salem Witch Trials: Facts & History The Salem Witch Trials: Facts & History | History of Massachusetts
The Salem Witch Trials was a classic example of scapegoating. Fear combined with a “trigger,” a traumatic or stressful event, is what often leads to scapegoating. Fear of the Devil, and witches who did his bidding, was very real in Salem at the time.
During this time period, people feared that the Devil was constantly trying to find ways to infiltrate and destroy Christians and their communities.
The puritans, who had left England due to religious persecution, feared they were under attack again and were losing control of their colony. A feeling of uneasiness and discontent surrounded them.
Other factors included a recent small pox epidemic in the colony, growing rivalries between families within the colony, a constant threat of attack from nearby Native-American tribes, and a recent influx of refugees trying to escape King William’s war with France in Canada and upstate New York.
“It was the darkest and most desponding period in the civil history of New England. The people, whose ruling passion then was, as it has ever since been, a love for constitutional rights, had, a few years before, been thrown into dismay by the loss of their charter, and, from that time, kept in a feverish state of anxiety respecting their political destinies. In addition to all this, the whole sea-coast was exposed to danger: ruthless pirates were continually prowling the shores. Commerce was nearly extinguished, and great losses had been experienced by men in business. A recent expedition against Canada had exposed the colonies to the vengeance of France.”
Now, let’s have a closer look at what is happening today. Enter Mike Huckabee:
Clearly, he is demonizing and scapegoating gays. Here is more from a supporter of another presidential contender who apparently has no problem with her extreme and bizarre viewsBoycott Rainbow Doritos! But Chick-Fil-A Boycott Was 'Economic Terrorism' –
Huckabee, however, seems to have changed his tune on culture-war boycotts. Time reports that Huckabee has “called on Christians to boycott all snacks made by” Frito Lay after it released limited edition Rainbow Doritos to benefit the anti-bullying It Gets Better Project. –
The GOP presidential candidate’s anti-Frito Lay campaign reportedly came at the behest of David Lane, a Republican organizer who has linked gays to everything from car bombs to America’s looming destruction and who bizarrely suggests that the creation of Rainbow Doritos could destroy America and curtail religious freedom. - See more at: Mike Huckabee: Boycott Rainbow Doritos! But Chick-Fil-A Boycott Was 'Economic Terrorism' | Right Wing Watch
•Ted Cruz Welcomes The Endorsement Of Anti-Gay Hate Group Official And Radio Host Sandy Rios –
In her capacity as a radio host for the AFA, Rios has repeatedly attacked gays, Muslims and Jews while promoting conspiracy theories and issuing repeated warnings that God's judgment will soon fall upon this nation: - Here are just some of her rantings
•Sandy Rios: Gay Rainbows Increase Terrorism Threat for America.
•Sandy Rios Predicts Major Worldwide Disaster In Divine Punishment For Gay Marriage.
•Religious Right Activists: God Will Punish America For Gay Marriage.
•Anti-Gay Pundit: Homosexuality 'A Factor' In Amtrak Crash.
Sandy Rios: 'You Must Prepare For Martyrdom' If Gay Marriage Becomes Legal.
•Sandy Rios: Children are 'Sexually Abused' by 'Homosexual Advocacy' in Schools. - See more at: Ted Cruz Welcomes The Endorsement Of Anti-Gay Hate Group Official And Radio Host Sandy Rios | Right Wing Watch
Now let’s talk about the World Congress of Families which met recently in Salt Lake City….
More Salem style vilification and scapegoating. And the myths born of ignorance and fear, and the lies that speak to the deep seated animosity towards gays continues. Numbers 3, 4, 6, and 9 are especially egregious and represent the type of rhetoric that can lead to physical violence:Peter Sprigg delivered the morning keynote; Rev. Bill Owens of the National Organization for Marriage-affiliated Coalition of African American Pastors delivered the afternoon keynote.
Sprigg, who is also scheduled to speak at WCF on Wednesday, set the tone for the day by challenging the “gay identity paradigm” and urging social conservatives to avoid as much as possible using the words “gay” and “lesbian” because he said they refer to someone’s innate identity. Sprigg urged activists to separate sexual attraction, sexual behavior, and a person’s self-identification and instead to focus on gay relationships, which he called “objectively harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large.”
Also arguing for an uncompromising stance and “zero affirmation of the gay rights paradigm” was Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera, who urged anti-gay activists to stop playing defense and go on the offense, reclaiming the moral high ground by always opposing homosexual behavior. One way to go on offense, he said, would be by proposing state bans on hormone therapy and surgery for transgender youth. Other notable anti-gay activists who addressed the gathering included Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver (via video) and Brian Camenker of MassResistance.
And then there is the endless drum beat of fear mongering about how gay rights is antithetical to Christianity and that it will destroy the freedom of religion, and religion itself:Myths and stereotypes that go unchallenged become stronger weapons for those who seek to oppress others in society. As the U.S.A. continues to evolve, and as gay men become increasingly more open about their true identities, we must take advantage of all opportunities to educate others about what is correct, and what isn't, in relation to male homosexuality.
Here are 10 of the most problematic myths and stereotypes which play a role in the mischaracterization and dehumanization of gay men in the U.S.
10 Biggest Lies You Were Told About Gay Men - Mic
The American Family Association is one of the most divisive and virulent organizations that is exploiting Christianity in there anti-gay crusade:Ted Cruz and the politics of faith and fear: How the GOP mastered the art of exploiting scared Christians Ted Cruz and the politics of faith and fear: How the GOP mastered the art of exploiting scared Christians
Cruz quoted from the oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges to warn people of faith what will follow an adverse ruling on marriage:
“Justice [Samuel] Alito asked U.S. Solicitor-General Donald Verrilli: ‘If the Obama administration prevails and you convince this court to strike down the marriage laws of every state, would the next step be that the IRS would start going after Christian schools, Christian charities, and next after that Christian churches? Any institutions that follow a biblical teaching of marriage? Or for that matter, Jewish schools? Mormon schools? Any institution that follows religious teaching?’
This is an extremely disconcerting development and represents a new low for those working against equality. As a last resort, the anti-equality forces have claimed victimhood and are, in fact blaming the victims. It is born of fear, prejudice and an increasing sense of desperation, and is attempting to hijack Christianity to stem the tide of progress in the area of human rights and evolving standards of decency. They purport to speak for the entire Christian faith, but in reality, represent a small, paranoid and reactionary fringe.The American Family Association Publishes Interactive 'Bigotry Map' Featuring LGBT Organizations
A prominent fundamentalist organization is making headlines after creating an "anti-Christian bigotry map" which includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy groups.
The American Family Association's interactive map, which can be found here, breaks down groups into four categories: anti-Christian, humanist, atheist and those with a "homosexual agenda." The American Family Association Publishes Interactive 'Bigotry Map' Featuring LGBT Organizations
It is also disturbing to realize the depth of the divisiveness that has developed between these progressive rights organizations and a certain segment of the Christian community, a divisiveness that really does not need to be. The claims that the advance of gay rights and secularism an affront to Christians and impinges on religious freedom is without merit. While there are those that actually believe that is the case, others are knowingly promoting a false idea of religious liberty for their own purposes.
And let’s not forget the American evangelical, including some politicians who have traveled to Africa and Russia to promote those countries antigay agendas, which have included proposals to jail and even execute gays. Even right here in the U. S., in California to be exact, a ballot initiative to allow for the summary execution of gays was proposed.
It all comes down to this…..there are some of us who are not better, not smarter, and no more rational than the inhabitants of the Bay Colony, and if they were to achieve the control of government , Salem could indeed happen again.