Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#1911: Harry Lyon

A.k.a. “Low Carb” Lyon

Harry Lyon is a perennial candidate for various political positions in Alabama, representing various parties. He is perhaps most famous for being the Democratic candidate for the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012 (running a hopeless campaign against Roy Moore) on a platform of random drug testing of school children and executing illegal Mexican immigrants on Alabama soil: “It would only take five or 10 getting killed and broadcast on CNN for it to send a clear message not to fool, or not to step foot rather, in Alabama,” said Lyon.

Lyon is a lawyer whose credentials include having served in the marines and being shot twice, neither time while in the military: One in what Lyon describes as an intentional hunting “accident”, the second by one Robert Black after Lyon poured Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup on Black’s car; Black was charged with attempted murder but acquitted after the defense subpoenaed Lyon’s neighbors to testify about his character. Lyon claims that Black was framing him by pouring chocolate over his own car. In 2001 Lyon was convicted of menacing after pulling a gun on a neighbor and holding police at bay for two hours. When running for the Supreme Court, though, Lyon claimed that “[o]ther than a traffic ticket, I have never broken a law,” since the gun one doesn’t count in his book. He has also “never been disbarred,” which should be encouraging but probably tells you more about the Alabama bar association’s, uh, bar for disbarment. He also swore that he is not crazy.

At one point he planned to run for mayor of Pelham as “Low Carb” Lyons, with a platform of driving the fat folks out: “Let’s face it. The fact is that fat people are ugly and disgusting to look at as much as is traffic congestion and wasteful spending by our city government,” said Lyon. He is also on the record callingfaggotry” an abomination and saying that “only sick and perverted persons believe in homosexuality or lesbianism, though there are a lot of them.” He is also apparently opposed to the separation of church and state. In short, he’s not really all that different from Roy Moore.

Apparently his statements are not supposed to be taken seriously, however; Lyon ran on a platform of my-statements-should-not-be-taken-seriously before it got popular.

Diagnosis: Since he has not a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected to anything, we should probably count him as colorful and (generally) harmless. Though Lyon is no more crazy than the people the good folks of Alabama tend to actually elect to political office.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

#1910: Erwin Lutzer

Erwin W. Lutzer is the senior pastor of The Moody Church, in Chicago, Illinois (retiring in 2016), an influential figure on the religious right, and prolific author of fundamentalist, hateful, angry, flaky self-help books and political commentaries (One Minute After You Die: A Preview of Your Final Destination being perhaps the most famous one) and utterly insane contributions to the culture wars, including The Truth About Same-sex Marriage: 6 Things You Need To Know About What’s Really At Stake and The Da Vinci Deception, targeted at people who take the novel The Da Vinci Code a bit too seriously, which is presumably a tendency among people who are already willing to take Lutzer seriously.

But yes, there is, as you’d expect, lots of anti-gay stuff here. According to Lutzer, same-sex marriage cannot “coexist” with opposite-sex marriage because “same-sex marriage legalized breaks down the family in some very, very important ways,” will lead to a “tsunami” of anti-Christian persecution and to societal collapse just like drilling a hole will sink a boat: “I can imagine someone riding in a boat saying, ‘I have a constitution right to drill a hole through my side of the boat.’ The problem is we are all on the same boat.” Lutzer was one of the anti-gay celebrities featured in the radical anti-gay documentary The Truth That Transforms.

He has also said that a reason he opposes marriage equality is because of Chicago’s crime rate: “in the midst of a society that is so desperate and so high-crime ridden, do we really now need laid upon this the destruction of the family and the destruction of marriage?” Of course, legalizing gay marriage would, other things being equal, lead to more marriages and families, but presumably not the kind that Lutzer fancies. And to emphasize, that gay people claim to love each other is irrelevant: It isn’t real love, and Lutzer points out that even pedophiles believe that they “love” the children they abuse. Also, legalizing gay marriage may lead to homeschooling parents having their children being taken from them. (Lutzer didn’t even attempt to explicate the connection; his purpose, of course, is just scaremongering, and those receptive to Lutzer’s scaremongering won’t really notice that such details are missing.)

Lutzer does have a knack for seeing connections the rest of us miss because they aren’t there, however. Lutzer thinks “the far-left and jihadists are in cahoots” because both groups are bent on “destroying capitalism” and seeking the “destruction of Christianity.” To help us understand, he then explains that Obamacare is helping too many people gain health coverage, and as a result the “administration is encouraging Islamic doctors from all over the world to come to the United States.” And since Obamacare is pushing doctors out of the practice and abortion rights are slowing population growth, Lutzer said, the U.S. now has “huge immigrant populations from the Muslim countries.” Some of the steps in Lutzer’s reasoning may be challenged.

In light of all this, it is important to remember that Lutzer thinks it is the Da Vinci Code that is “the most serious assault against Christianity” of our time. Another important threat to the world is Oprah.

Diagnosis: Unhinged, deranged conspiracy theorist, Lutzer has nevertheless (or “accordingly”) managed to become one of the leading figures of the religious right. And yes, his books really read like some kind of fire-and-brimstone version of the stuff posted on whale.to.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

#1909: Fred Luter

As former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and senior minister of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, Fred Luter is not primarily renowned for his tolerance, humanity and critical thinking skills. The SBC, of course, is massively homophobic and sexist (it subscribes to complementarianism), and Luter is certainly no exception. For instance, Luter agreed in 2013 with Rick Wiles that gay rights activists are partially to blame for North Korea’s threats to launch a nuclear strike against the US: “I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage, at a time when we are debating whether or not we should have gays leading the Boy Scout movement, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that we have a mad man in Asia who is saying some of the things that he’s saying,” said Luter. Elaborating further, Luter critized American Christians for their apathy while “their nation is transformed into a socialist, homosexual, anti-God, anti-biblical morality cesspool,” fearing that “the moral decay has accelerated and worsened to such a degree that it is now impossible to halt the decline without a major catastrophe crippling the nation.” You see, when you disagree with Luter, God will come and beat you up: “The Bible is full of examples to what happens to a nation that goes into idolatry and witchcraft and sexual sin, it always ends in disaster, always. So why aren’t we telling the American people that if you allow the Supreme Court to rule that homosexuals can marry, you have just committed national suicide. Why isn’t anybody standing up?” Of course, slobbering lunatics like Luter and Wiles are standing up all the time, but when you’re insane and stupid it is apparently hard to comprehend that others are not and are therefore not backing your lunatic bigotry. He later backpedalled on the North Korea connection – not by apologizing, of course, but by claiming, despite recordings, that he never said it – though we don’t think that gets him off the loon charge. (Wiles, meanwhile, called Luter a coward for backpedaling).

Diagnosis: Hateful, evil bigot. Yes, he too.