On April 1-2, hate will come to Harvard wrapped in the mantle of righteousness. The Harvard Extension Service and Learning Society will host “The Social Transformation Conference” featuring clerics with radical, totalitarian ideas who are falsely billed as “leading voices for the faith-based social transformation culture.”
Unfortunately, the goal of the controversial event is to “transform” Harvard University from a leading light of tolerance and education, into a backwater of intolerance and indoctrination. While here, those pushing notions of religious supremacy may attempt to tone down their views in a deceptive effort to appear mainstream. However, a glance at their rhetoric makes it clear that those at this conference offer an extremist and exclusionary vision of America:
“You’ve got Islam invading the United States. So you’ve got your homosexual activity, your abortion activity here, Islam coming in, you’ve got a financial collapse — all of this, to those of us who are Christians, is an apocalyptic confirmation that when you remove God from public discourse, when you don’t line up your thinking with kingdom principles, you inevitably hit an iceberg like the Titanic and you go down” – Lance Wallnau, webcast from Generals International, October 2010
“Chapter 20 of Leviticus covers all the different forms of immorality that requires the penalty of death, bareness or excommunication from God’s people. -adultery, fornication, homosexuality, incest, sex among relatives, sex with animals, any sexual activity other than between husband and wife.” – Dr. Bill Hamon, from his ministry website
“The gay rights movement is exploiting media to convince the mainstream that an abomination to the Lord should be acceptable to all people.” – Os Hillman, 7 Mountains Website
My response is to have my organization, Truth Wins Out, take out a full-page ad in the Harvard Crimson highlighting the insanity of the speakers. We will also take part in a street demonstration with the organization, Join the Impact Massachusetts.
A reporter asked me what my strategy and goals were surrounding our protest efforts and I said: “Our hope is to give people enough information to entice them to push the play button and watch videos of these activists. The moment the play button is pushed and these extremists open their mouths, people will hear their insane rhetoric and we have then achieved our goal.”
This is because the activists speaking at this conference are part of a delusional religious sect with predatory teachings. They narcissistically fancy themselves to be modern “prophets” who communicate directly with God. One such visionary in this movement is Cindy Jacobs, who recently concluded that recent bird deaths might be due to the fact that America is upsetting God by its increased acceptance of homosexuality.
Another one of this crowd’s luminaries is Lou Engle who preached: “If we’re struggling with a homosexual, same-sex desire, let the bible kill you, rather than make it easier for you, and say well, there must be a better scriptural answer to this…Brothers and sisters, let the Bible kill you rather than you twist the scriptures!”
The intolerant mission of this movement is to “reclaim” and “hold dominion” over what they call “The Seven Mountains” of society: Education, Arts, Family, Media, Business, Government, and Religion.
This is a divisive conference that demonizes and dehumanizes entire groups of people. It promotes religion-based bigotry in the guise of improving society. While these zealots have a right to speak, Harvard University has a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure it provides an appropriate forum where these dangerous views are vigorously challenged.
To this end, Harvard failed. As a result, the university may be aiding and abetting the dissemination of hateful, exclusionary, totalitarian views that are anathema to Harvard’s values of inclusion, pluralism, fairness, robust intellectual debate, and diversity. While these demagogues have a right to speak – the First Amendment also protects the right for students and faculty to ask tough questions. Will they be given a chance to do so?
Given the closed nature of fundamentalist gatherings, I doubt opposing points of view will be tolerated. Such movements can only thrive by preaching to the choir, while they wilt under a chorus of inquiry.
The ideas that are espoused by these people are “Seven Mountains of Madness”. One wonders if they are losing oxygen to their brains as they scale the great heights of their imaginations. Indeed, no one would care what these lunatics thought if it were not for their close ties to political figures. It is important to shine a spotlight on their dark vision of America, so they can’t be presented as “good folks” trying to better America.
I hope Harvard students and Boston-area activists stand up against such bigotry and discrimination and vigorously protest the message presented by this radical sect.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”