By Mike Heath
May 28, 2006
F.A.G.S. stands for "Fairies Against Gay Sinners." A aging boomer activist lesbian gathered 10 of her friends and formed part of a standing room only crowd at the University of Maine Machias. She marched pathetically around the room handing out tracts saying that she was the leader of F.A.G.S. and that she was there to "support" my message of "hate" and "bigotry." She and her team were all decked out in rainbow colored robes with pointy hoods. It all brought to mind another group with a memorable acronym that featured only one letter, “K.” Delightful.
It’s all the fault of a campus group. College Republicans invited me to speak on Maine college campuses last fall. I was leading a statewide campaign to repeal a sodomy rights law that our ministry has twice stopped in statewide voting. I spoke at a half dozen campuses over a two month period. The rooms were packed with students, faculty and the press. The audiences, and the public, expected a political speech. I'm ornery so I instead gave them a speech on philosophy, art history and psychology. It was fun providing cause for indigestion to liberal bigots. They were expecting what they think of as radical religious right wing talking points and got Joshua Chamberlain, the hero of the second day of Gettysburg, instead.
I've never been bored thinking about, or sharing, Christian truth. These are great days to be alive in America. Living just before the time for real persecution is much easier than living with the prospect of death or torture. Many Christians in the world face with steely determination that sort of future, if they openly proclaim and live their Christianity. In once Christian America we only face jeering, insults and possible job loss (this last consequence still thankfully rare). My attorney WAS fired from his law firm in 1999, but that is a story for another column.
I faced open ridicule on every campus I visited so I have a tiny little bit of awareness of how Ben Kessler felt during his recent graduation speech. I spoke on secular campuses. Ben spoke this month to the graduating class of St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota. I assume the University is named after Thomas, the disciple of Jesus. Some know him as doubting Thomas. He doubted whether Jesus was who he said he was after the resurrection. Jesus proved himself to Thomas by showing him his wounds.
Then Jesus spoke to Thomas. He scolded him for needing to see the wounds, for requiring proof. He applauded believers who have a kind of faith that empowers them to choose not to require evidence.
Where Thomas required evidence of resurrection from Jesus, Ben's audience demanded the opposite. In the place of sincere Christian candor they needed to hear worldliness in their graduation speaker. Ben's failure to deliver worldly bromides earned him shouts, jeers and insults. The audience at the Catholic University graduation, when offered gospel truths, cried for Barabbas instead. And the administration, like the Romans in the days of Jesus, delivered. They required an apology out of Ben. They made their star pupil grovel before the disrespectful crowd.
Some things never change. I can hear Jesus saying to Ben, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Ben outraged his audience by saying that birth control is selfish. He courageously asked to jeers of sincere horror from his nearly paganized listeners, "What in society is selfish? I would point to birth control,” He said. "Birth control is selfish." Judging from the audience response you'd think he'd torn off his graduation gown to reveal nakedness ... but now that I think about our Sex-in-the-City-morality in this new American millennium I realize that would simply draw a collective yawn.
Ben did bare something. It wasn't his body. That would have been welcomed. It was, instead, his soul. And instead of respectfully listening to his spiritual, moral and theological ideas and sifting through them over time -- the proper Christian response in an academic setting -- Ben's listeners started their pagan war dance. The scantily clad metal-pierced savages threw a collective secular high brow hissy fit. I am so glad.
Decent people everywhere are laughing out loud at St. Thomas University, as they should. What a pathetic demonstration of juvenile silliness. Can you imagine?
This 4.0 student, recently selected by the faculty and his peers to be student of the year, was forced into an apology for stopping way short of calling our religious leadership whitewashed sepulchers full of dead man's bones. And this in a CHRISTIAN University named after one of Christianity's greatest heroes. What hypocrisy! If it weren't so obviously ridiculous and pathetic it would be funny.
The only idiocy missing from Ben's experience was my aging lesbian friend from Machias.
I guess the administration of St. Thomas University hasn't heard of F.A.G.S. yet. Give them time. Give them time. Sigh.
© 2006 Mike Heath - All Rights Reserved
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Michael completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in religion/philosophy at Roberts Wesleyan College in 1985. In 1989 he became Executive Director at The Christian Civic League of Maine.
In 1992 Michael was the Republican nominee for Maine's House of Representatives in District 85. He's participated in dozens of candidate and issue campaigns since 1990.
Mike speaks each week all over Maine in churches, civic groups and on college campuses. Mike is often quoted in Maine's daily newspapers and frequently offers the League's perspective on national, statewide and local radio and television news programs. He produces a daily two minute radio commentary program called "Faith Matters in Maine." It airs statewide and can be heard online at www.celmaine.org
addition to having been published in many of Maine's newspapers, Heath
maintains a popular blog called www.mikeheath.net.
He makes his home in South China with Paulie (www.paulieheath.com),
his wife of 23 years.
I've never been bored thinking about, or sharing, Christian truth. These are great days to be alive in America. Living just before the time for real persecution is much easier than living with the prospect of death or torture.