QUESTION: To what extent do homophobic evangelicals use creationism to justifiy their bigotry against the LGBTQ community?
Consider the following op-ed:
H.L. Mencken minced no words about the judge in the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial and how he played to the local crowd: “almost every word he uttered has been an undisguised appeal to their prejudices and superstitions.” Though written nearly a century ago, the Arkansas Legislature is making the same appeal today, and, in the process, proving that biblical creationism is a blueprint for anti-LGBTQ bigotry that doesn’t belong in our classrooms.
The same day the legislature overrode the veto to insert itself between trans patients and their doctors, a House committee passed a bill to allow public schools to “teach creationism.” The full House passed the creationism bill the next day. Dehumanizing trans-people and indoctrinating schoolchildren, all in 24 hours. Is this just a sign of a retrograde legislature or is something more going on here?
While sporting a massive bedazzled cross necklace, Rep. Mary Bentley invoked creationism in a context where most people wouldn’t recognize it, but the anti-trans creationism Bentley preached on March 10 overlaps perfectly with the creationism she and her ilk want preached in public school classrooms (her remarks start at 2:16:19.)
Bentley began, “I’m going to share with you the Father’s heart because Father God, our Creator, has some very important things he would like to say about this.” After claiming to speak for the creator —an arrogant presumption no doubt claimed under the guise of humility—Bentley regurgitated a fake quote beloved by Christian Nationalists: “George Washington once said, ‘It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.’ And I couldn’t agree with our first president more; we need to hear the heart of God on issues we are facing today to govern correctly.”
Of course, George Washington was famously reticent about religion, refused to take communion the few times he went to church, spurned religious consolation at his deathbed, and absolutely did not say this. Bentley can’t even properly speak for our first president but presumes to speak for a god.
Bentley continued as if in Sunday school and not the state legislature. She declared that the Bible is “the state’s book,” and then quoted it five times and expounded on each passage. Her first Bible quote was Psalm 139:13 “Yahweh formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. . . . You even formed every bone in my body!”
Next, she read the creationist classic Genesis 1:27 and then Deuteronomy 22:5, which says that women wearing men’s clothes or vice versa is “an abomination to the Lord.” Bentley tediously opined, “Father God is proud of who he created each of us to be and to deny who you are is to deny that he created you.” The notes for her speech posted on Facebook ended this line a bit differently, “. . . to deny who you are and were created to be is to deny Him.” Bentley is legislating her holy book and denying citizens their rights because she sees the very existence of LGBTQ people as a denial of her god, a hateful religious belief she wants preached to captive audiences of schoolchildren across the state.
Bentley then stretched to make Jesus relevant, contending that he hugged children “because each one is special, each one is unique, and we need to do everything we can to help these children be just who they were created to be.” At this point and after prompting, the chairman chastised Bentley and asked her to speak on the bill itself. “I believe I’m speaking on the bill exactly,” she responded. This is the undeniable link between her bigotry and creationism.