“Do I hate anybody? Absolutely not. I just love them too much not to tell them the truth,”
“Nobody got bashed or anything. All I did was simply speak biblical truth,”
“The number one audience that I have to please is God.”
These are the words of Temple Baptist Church’s interim pastor, Scott Carpenter, who spoke at Kings Mountain High School’s annual baccalaureate service in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. During his speech, Pastor Carpenter told the audience that if they were gay, they were going to hell:
A night to honor the accomplishments of local high school seniors is stirring up controversy in Cleveland County.
Parents contacted WBTV, angry over an “anti-gay” message delivered by a pastor during Kings Mountain High School’s annual baccalaureate service.
Despite the controversy, Pastor Scott Carpenter says he has no regrets.
“Do I hate anybody? Absolutely not. I just love them too much not to tell them the truth,” Carpenter said.
But what Carpenter calls truth, is being summed up as something else to Kings Mountain parent, Chuck Wilson.
“This is bullying. Bullying doesn’t have to happen from the back hallway of a school or a back parking lot. It can happen from the pulpit, it can happen from the stage,” Wilson said.
Wilson tells WBTV he was floored when he caught wind of the message delivered during his daughter’s senior baccalaureate service.
A student tells WBTV Carpenter told the audience they would go to Hell if they were homosexual.
What this signals to me is that Pastor Carpenter has a view of the proper way humans should live. He wants people to conform to the teachings of his religion. He doesn’t acknowledge the fact that we are all free to live by the dictates of our own conscience. He thinks we should all be bound by the strictures of his religion, and he fails to acknowledge the fact that doing so would prevent us from having the freedom of association or the freedom of religion. Now, he is free to speak his mind. I don’t deny that. But there is an appropriate time and place, and a baccalaureate service is neither. Such a service is a time of celebration. It’s a time to honor the work of high school seniors, celebrate their accomplishments, and discuss what positive developments the future may hold for them. Such a service is not the time for an individual to use their platform to preach their religious beliefs to a captive audience. It’s a school sponsored event, not a church service. A speaker introducing their religious beliefs is inappropriate. When those beliefs are insulting or demeaning to others, it’s that much worse.
Speaking of those religious beliefs, I find it ridiculous that Pastor Carpenter just had to share this “truth”, as if people in the United States have somehow not heard his message. Look buddy, it’s still being shouted from churches and pulpits across the nation, as well as FOX “News”, Breitbart, the Blaze, Worldnet Daily, and various forms of social media. I daresay that most people in the United States are familiar with the “homosexuals are going to hell” routine. You’re not telling us anything we don’t already know. Pushing it for the one million, three-hundred thousandth time is not only overkill, it’s pointless. We got the fucking memo.
As for that memo, Pastor Carpenter says he’s merely speaking the “truth” when he says that being homosexual will cause an individual go to hell. Presumably, this is a truth because it’s Biblical in nature. Implicit in this idea is that the Bible is infallible. Makes me wonder about other Biblical truths such as:
- the creation account in Genesis that states plants were created before the sun
- all animals were originally herbivorous
- humans were created from the dust of the ground
- all animals are scared of humans
- hares and coneys chew their cud
- bats are birds
- the Earth is stable and unmoving
- the sun moves around the Earth
- the Earth is flat
- the moon generates its own light
As it turns out, these Biblical “truths” are nothing of the sort (and they’re far from the only false claims to be found in the Bible). They’re not kinda, sorta, maybe wrong- they are unequivocally wrong. How do we know that? Well, it just so happens that people have been observing and studying the world around us for a very long time (yeah, understatement), and have been able to draw conclusions based on their studies. We’ve discovered that none of the above claims about the world are, in fact, true. So if these so-called “truths” are false, what then of other “truths” found in the Bible? At the very least, the false nature of the various claims in the Bible ought to give us pause. How do we judge whether other claims in the Bible are true or false? The same way we determined that the aforementioned 10 claims are false-by using a systematic method to study the world around us through observation and experimentation. In other words, science. We can use science to test claims about reality. Claims like one of the foundations of Christianity-that sin came into the world as a result of the actions of the purported progenitors of humanity. What does science say about Adam and Eve? Here’s an expert in evolutionary biology, Jerry Coyne:
Unfortunately, the scientific evidence shows that Adam and Eve could not have existed, at least in the way they’re portrayed in the Bible. Genetic data show no evidence of any human bottleneck as small as two people: there are simply too many different kinds of genes around for that to be true. There may have been a couple of “bottlenecks” (reduced population sizes) in the history of our species, but the smallest one not involving recent colonization is a bottleneck of roughly 10,000-15,000 individuals that occurred between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. That’s as small a population as our ancestors had, and—note—it’s not two individuals.
Further, looking at different genes, we find that they trace back to different times in our past. Mitochondrial DNA points to the genes in that organelle tracing back to a single female ancestor who lived about 140,000 years ago, but that genes on the Y chromosome trace back to one male who lived about 60,000-90,000 years ago. Further, the bulk of genes in the nucleus all trace back to different times—as far back as two million years. This shows not only that any “Adam” and “Eve” (in the sense of mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA alone) must have lived thousands of years apart, but also that there simply could not have been two individuals who provided the entire genetic ancestry of modern humans. Each of our genes “coalesces” back to a different ancestor, showing that, as expected, our genetic legacy comes from many different individuals. It does not go back to just two individuals, regardless of when they lived.
These are the scientific facts. And, unlike the case of Jesus’s virgin birth and resurrection, we can dismiss a physical Adam and Eve with near scientific certainty.
There is no evidence that a Biblical Adam and Eve ever existed. Without them, Christianity’s house of cards comes tumbling down. One of those falling pieces is the concept of sin. With the concept of sin being rooted in myth rather than reality, what then of homosexuality? Once again, we turn to science, and the science is in-homosexuality is nothing more than one of several forms of human sexuality. It’s really that mundane. Damn. And here I thought I was a beautiful sparkle pony.
That leaves the other half of Pastor Carpenter’s call for conformity-“do what God says or else”, i.e. hell. That’s an easy one though. Other than the imaginations of pastors, preachers, and lay people…other than the fictional realm depicted in popular culture…there is no hell. Just as there is no reason to believe in unicorns because there is no evidence they exist, so too is there no reason to believe in Hell. Additionally, there is no evidence that any god exists to send anyone to this fictional place, so there is no reason to be fearful of going there.
That leaves one other concern I have with Pastor Carpenter’s words. This idea that some Christians have that their words are not hateful, but loving. This notion is predicated on the idea that there is something wrong with being homosexual. As I’ve argued in the past, homosexuality has no moral component. Like heterosexuality and bisexuality (condones rape, slaughters the population of entire cities, approves of slavery, and even commits genocide (for more on the cruelty of the tyrant god of the Bible, see here). So yeah, I’m not going to trust that any sort of morality derived from the Bible is automatically just and fair. Looking outside the Bible, there is no argument against homosexuality that holds any weight. Sure, there’s appeals to nature, arguments from ickiness, and other stupid ass rationalizations, but these hold no water. Such rationalizations-whether those found at the previous link or those found in the Bible-are pathetic justifications for arguing that homosexuality is wrong.
Pastor Carpenter’s so-called Christian “love” manifests as concern that if homosexuals continue being who they are-which, I’ll point out once again, brings no harm to others-they will suffer. Moreover, by peddling this bullshit, he gives his endorsement of it. I’ve heard more than a few bigots say “I’m not bigoted, this is just what God says”. That’s a load of codswallop. Upon hearing someone say “I believe that women should be silent and subservient to their husbands. That doesn’t make me sexist, it’s just what God says”, I believe that all but the most fundamentalist Christian would denounce such a comment as sexist and misogynistic. The same applies to homosexuality. By putting forth the view that people who are gay deserve to go to a place of eternal torment, they give their tacit support for the idea. They can try to pawn it off on god all they want, but this idea of expressing their love of gay people is not predicated on treating gay people like equals, calling for an end to discrimination, accepting gay people for who they are or anything else that might accurately be labeled ‘love’. This so-called Christian “love” from Pastor Carpenter is a call for conformity. It’s a call for gay people to stop being gay and start being the kind of human being that he approves of. It is nothing more than an excuse to parrot bigotry, disguised as “sincerely held religious beliefs”. I for one, am goddamn sick and tired of “sincerely held religious beliefs” being a +100 shield of protection for bigots.