13 JUN 2015 AT 09:47 ET
Stories of patriarchal Christian leaders groping, fondling or otherwise harassing or assaulting women and having clandestine sex with men seem to be a media staple of late. At the same time, conservative Christian leaders are fixated on lording it over women, queers and kids. Consider the following sample from spring 2015:
- The Vatican’s second-in-command pronounces that Ireland’s 62% endorsement of marriage equality via national referendum was a “defeat for humanity.”
- The Seattle Archdiocese agrees to pay $1.2 million to a woman abused for five years by a priest who was a known pedophile shuffled between parishes by the Church hierarchy.
- Catholic priest and blogger Father Dwight Longenecker godman-splains that transgender former Olympian, Caitlin Jenner, is a “man dressed up as a whore” who is “caught up in a huge publicity machine to sell himself and now to sell his sexual confusion.”
- Devout U.S. presidential wannabes Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee warn the public that gay marriage proponents are a danger to Christianity, which is likely to be criminalized if the Supreme Court backs equality.
- Former U.S. Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert (also a celebrated alumnus of my alma mater, the Evangelical Wheaton College), is indicted for stealing $1.7 million from his securities firm to pay hush money to a former male high school student he coached in wrestling and sexually molested.
- The producers of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting stop counting dollars and start counting how many sisters Josh Duggar molested before becoming an anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-kids-rights advocate. (Duggar’s celebrity father had previously advocated the death penalty for incest.)
- Conservative Christian politicians, bloggers, and religious leaders rush to defend Duggar who, as shown in a photo album at Wonkette.com has touched nearly every conservative presidential contender with “the same hands that touched his sister.”
- Paraguay’s Catholic-dominated court denies a 10-year-old rape victim the right to terminate her forced pregnancy.
- Wisconsin governor Scott Walker calls forced vaginal ultrasound before abortion “a cool thing.”
- Conservative Republicans kill funding for America’s most effective teen pregnancy prevention program, which provided IUDs to young mothers in Colorado.
- A sexual abuse investigation at Bob Jones University is back underway after public outcry when university officials suspended the inquiry. A Protestant sex abuse scandal, focused on universities, orphanages, missionary schools and more is heating up globally.
- Under the influence of Bible-quoting conservatives, the U.S. continues to stand with Somalia against the rest of the world, by refusing to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Idaho implements a bill, signed in April by Gov. Butch Otter, protecting parents from persecution in cases of religiously motivated child abuse and medical neglect.
- A Christian Gender Roles article titled “8 Steps to Confront Your Wife’s Sexual Refusal,” goes viral as the sequel to, “Christian Husbands: You Don’t Pay for the Milk when You Own the Cow,” a biblical manifesto that stops just short of endorsing marital rape—or maybe doesn’t.
- Christianity’s Anti-Marketing Team?
If you’re feeling disgusted, you’re not alone. From the standpoint of wooing converts or even inspiring the faithful to stay faithful, the sex-obsessed behavior of high-profile patriarchal Christians is about as effective as the U.S. Army’s attempt to win hearts and minds with drone strikes. I’m not trying to be poetic here—in the last decade or so, the percent of Americans who self-identify as Christians has dropped from 85 percent to 70 percent, and young people point to the culture wars as a key reason Christianity turns them off.
Guess who’s leaving the fastest? Women. Moderate Christians find themselves apologizing for their co-religionists, trying desperately to overcome the perception (fostered largely by biblical literalists and conservative Catholics) that Christians are judgmental, control-freakish, sex-obsessed hypocrites.