Southern Baptist Story 2018

A few weeks ago we learned that the Social Justice Warrior element in the Southern Baptist Convention is much more powerful than we had thought. The Southern Baptist Convention is hugely influential on the population of “Evangelical voters,” so all of us have an interest in this unsettling development.

Paige Patterson was dismissed from his job as head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He was caught up in the #MeToo-for-Evangelicals excitement. In part, the fallout from anti-Patterson social media activism resulted in the election of J.D. Greear as the new President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The events of the past two months were the culmination of a campaign that began in 2014. Paige Patterson gave a speech to the Awaken Conference that year. Awaken Conference is a youth conference. There was immediate push-back against Patterson’s sermon. The chattering went around and around in Baptist circles on the internet, and triggered a build-up that prompted a number of women to start dishing about slights from Paige Patterson.

The story had legs. It turned out that Paige Patterson has very old-fashioned ideas about complementarianism, which in part are reactionary to modern feminism. In that 2014 sermon, he brought up the translation of the Hebrew words used in Genesis for God making the man, and making the woman. The verbs are different words. The word used for God making the woman is a word that implies care of construction details and aesthetics.

I didn’t need to learn Hebrew to figure that out, either,” Patterson quipped.

He went on to tell a story about an angry woman who had just heard him speak who was “giving me what for” while her teenage son and a friend stood nearby.

About that time, a very attractive young co-ed walked by,” Patterson said. “She wasn’t more than about 16, but let me just say that she was nice.”

Thinking nobody was paying attention, Patterson said, the son commented to his friend, “Man, is she built.”

In the middle of the sentence she stopped, wheeled around, slapped a hand over his mouth, loosened his teeth and said ‘Young man, don’t you ever say anything like that again,’” Patterson said. “If you do, I’ll mop up the face of the earth with you.”

Patterson took it as an opportunity. “I said, ‘Ma’am, leave him alone,’” he said. “He is just being biblical. That’s exactly what the Bible says.”

It might help to understand that Paige Patterson was one of the leaders of the “conservative purge” that began in 1979 and continued through the 1980s in the Southern Baptist Convention. Since he is known as a conservative leader he makes an attractive target for the liberals.

His remarks were called “unbiblical” and “misogynistic.” They went around the internet, gathering steam, building an anti-Patterson movement. Then women started to tell stories about Patterson slighting women’s complaints about sexual harassment on campus that they alleged had not been treated properly by Patterson. Evidently he was like lots of administrators, a little too concerned about his institution, and perhaps not concerned enough about females, especially if he thought they had sort of invited bad behavior on the part of men.

But more stories came out, and more women got riled. The most damning of all was when a former student from when Patterson was at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary went to the Washington Post with her story from 2003. The Washington Post put two very capable, and hostile, female reporters on the story. They reported from the point of view of the women on full outragey attack mode against Patterson and all theologically conservative Baptists and the Southern Baptist Convention. This was not a media-generated problem for Patterson or for the Southern Baptist Convention, but Big Media attention did add a lot of pressure.

Their reporting is actually very good:

Then this spring came the case of a former Southeastern student named Megan Lively, who was 24 in 2003 when she says she was assaulted by a man she had been dating. She told The Washington Post that Patterson encouraged her not to report the incident to the police and to forgive her alleged assailant. A few days later, Southwestern trustees cited a second incident in 2015. Trustee Board Chairman Kevin Ueckert, in a June 1 statement, alleged that a Southwestern female student reported to Patterson that she had been raped, and police were called. “But in connection with that allegation,” Ueckert wrote, Patterson emailed campus security — Ueckert said trustees saw that email — and “discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could ‘break her down.’ ”

On June 4, Patterson’s attorney, Shelby Sharpe, released what he called a “character defense” that he said he compiled without any input from Patterson, just “as a person, not as his lawyer.” That document cited leaked friendly letters between the 2003 woman and Patterson in the months after the alleged rape, which Sharpe said disproved the idea that there was a rape and that Patterson mishandled it. Sharpe also said Patterson hasn’t been given access to the 2003 documents used to accuse him and hasn’t been able to defend himself. In the 2015 case, Sharpe said Southwestern trustees had seen the “break her down” email before — when rather than fire him they demoted him to president emeritus, with full benefits. He also said that the student had “given several different accounts of her story” and that Patterson “preferred there be no police presence so the young woman would not feel intimidated.”

Of course all this broke just in advance of the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting.

Patterson is out, fired, discredited and became such an embarrassment so quickly that he agreed to withdraw from a scheduled speaking slot at the Annual Meeting.

The Messengers voted 68 percent to give the presidency to a Progressive.

Of course, Baptist media also played a hand. There are several Baptist newspapers and they mostly lean left. The conservatives are making do with blogs and e-newsletters. Many of the Messengers (voting delegates) had never even heard of the conservative candidate, while J.D. Greear has been pumped by Baptist media for over two years (he was second last year to outgoing President Gaines).

In a side note, my favorite media critics noticed that the New York Times ignored the Annual Meeting until after Mike Pence spoke, and they only published then because they could write about the Messengers who voted to disinvite Pence.

The real damage here is limited. The key thing is that the Southern Baptist Convention President appoints members to boards and commissions, so a fresh cohort of liberals will be moving into decisionmaking roles in the Southern Baptist Convention.

I am not a Baptist, and would especially like to hear from any Ratburgher Baptists who would care to comment.


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Doing Rich Lady Things Like Using Uber and Seamless Are the Modern Way of Giving to the Poor

I feel guilty when I order takeout. Why? Because that’s money I could be saving for a rainy day. The frugal American we-don’t-have-servants mindset is that anything you can do for yourself, you should, and paying others to do something because you’re too lazy, is wasteful. 

When my sister’s washing machine broke, she had to send out her laundry for a while as they waited on repairs. She said, “Olive, it’s great. I may never go back. I know it’s such a Rich Lady thing to do, but….” 

I began to think: The services that we consider Rich Lady Things–Uber, Seamless, laundry service, etc.–put money in the hands of the poor. If I tip the delivery guy generously I’m putting money directly in his pocket, much more efficiently than a government entity or charity could do. 

As much as I love the church, she doesn’t take care of the poor like she’s supposed to. Mainly because the government has stepped in to do her job for her, and made her irrelevant when it comes to taking care of the needy. Church budgets primarily go for buildings, and salaries, so there’s not much left over to give to the poor anyway. 

But could paying for services that I could theoretically do, but don’t have the time or inclination, be the modern way of giving to the poor? Those who are perfectly willing to drive me to the train station, or cook my food and bring it to me, are depending on my generosity. Could it be that I actually owe them their commission and tip? I’m stingy if I have the money in my hand, but don’t give them the opportunity.

The Biblical model of giving and helping the poor is outlined in the Old Testament in “not gleaning to the edge of the field.” At harvest time, the righteous were commanded to leave a little bit of crop around the edges so that the poor could come after the reapers and gather what remained.

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:22

This was the wealthy man’s field–his grain, his land, his laborers–but in the Biblical sense, he owed it to the poor to not reap every single inch of produce his land yielded. Leave a little bit. Around the edges. For the poor. After all, that was there only chance at gathering–they didn’t have their own land or crop.

Yes, you could rightfully command your workers to gather every single stalk, every head of grain, but don’t do it. Leave a little bit around the edges. For the poor.

Today, I could insist on doing my own cooking and cleaning, but why? In one sense it’s a way of being rigid and greedy.

When my brother goes to the bank, he gets $100 in singles, in order to tip his baristas every morning. The idea of tipping as a way of giving comes from him, who declares he does not give to charities generally. But if you go out to eat with him, you will see that he gives generously to the poor.

Thoughts? Are there any Rich Lady (or Man) things you do, that may actually benefit someone?


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Reincarnation: the Answer to the Question

Dennis Prager often talks about the most common question that he gets when religion is the topic. He speaks all over the country and the world and often speaks of religion. Here’s the gist of the questions: “How can God allow such suffering for some people and yet let others skate through life.” Prager also states that most religious teachers get this question often.

This post has been gestating for several years but I remember when it first came to me. It was while I was listening to Dennis Prager interviewing Eben Alexander (36 minutes). Alexander and Dennis were having a wonderful discussion until Alexander brought up reincarnation and how that explains so many things. Prager immediately was surprised and thrown off his stride but recovered and the rest of the discussion is great. Take a listen — it’s toward the end at 29:18.

I believe in reincarnation. I remember when I first confronted it as a serious intellectual idea and it bowled me over as to how it answers the above question. Since there are a lot of different understandings of the term I would prefer to stop here and deal with any challenges or questions in the comments (if any).

If you do want to participate, I’d appreciate it if you state first if you understand how reincarnation can solve this seemingly thorny issue. If it’s not clear then we need to deal with that first. In other words, if you believe in it or not you should be able to examine it intellectually as a concept and it is manifestly clear to me how it answers the first question above but it might not be clear to others.

Just for fun, it’s nice to remember Dennis Miller’s show on the radio. I first heard of Eben Alexander from his podcast and he always had a unique way to deal with unusual stories. If you are interested, here’s that podcast. It’s 13 minutes.


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President Trump delivers on pro-life promise, but needs our help

RE: diversion of Title X funding from Planned Parenthood to health clinics that don’t perform abortions. From the National Catholic Register:

“On May 18 the Trump Administration proposed new rules that would direct taxpayer funding away from abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood. In proposing the new rules to the Title X family planning program, President Trump has delivered on a key promise to pro-life voters who worked to elect him.

“President Trump confirmed the new policy on May 22 at the National Building Museum in our nation’s capital, where he was keynote speaker for the Susan B. Anthony List’s 17th annual Campaign for Life Gala.

“Known as the “Protect Life Rule,” the new proposal would redirect tax dollars to community and rural health centers that do not promote or perform abortions. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, thanked President Trump for taking action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business. “Planned Parenthood,” Dannenfelser said, “is responsible for more than 300,000 abortions a year and has been receiving $50-60 million in Title X taxpayer funds annually. The Protect Life Rule doesn’t cut a single dime from taxpayer funding.”

“Dannenfelser anticipates that the Supreme Court will uphold the regulations…

“But even as pro-life groups are celebrating the initiative, Planned Parenthood has posted a “Red Flag,” actively recruiting its adherents to oppose what it calls an “extremely dangerous gag rule.”

“The Department of Health and Human Services is inviting public comment on the bill before it is finally enacted into law.”

Planned Parenthood has a campaign to encourage people to leave comments to express their disapproval of the Title X money being diverted HERE. And yes, PP is referring to the diversion of funds as a gag rule.

As of now, there are almost 4,000 comments on this proposal. I don’t know what the mix is. I left one a little while ago. Here is what I said. I pieced it together from a few different articles that I read:

I am in favor of the proposal known as the Protect Life Rule. This proposal will redirect tax dollars from centers that perform abortions to community and rural health centers that do not promote or perform abortions. This proposal does not reduce Title X funding or money for family planning programs. It will direct funding to more than 9,000 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) around the country, as well as community health centers, non-profit clinics, state and county health departments. These centers already serve women every day under the Title X program. They will be receiving much-needed financial assistance that will enable them to serve those women even better. Please support the Protect Life Rule. It does not reduce Title X funding or money for family planning programs.

If you’d like to add a comment, here is the link. You can do so anonymously. That is what I did. Feel free to use what I said:

https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=HHS-OS-2018-0008-0001

Comments become part of the public record, and close on July 31.


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The Genome Politics – Let the Laymen Talk (Experts are quite welcome, too)

@drlorentz put up a post called Leftism as Religion that I highly endorse. I started a branching thread within that about how I see Darwinism as being driven by similar (and very natural, of course) thinking.

Here’s what I said:

This matches the left’s penchant for Neo-Darwinism, too. At least, the version with all the happy talk about how things always just randomly, accidentally just get better and smarter and more complex and more ordered.

Followed by the doc’s:

I’m not familiar with such a version. I don’t think any biologist would agree with that characterization. Don’t confuse biological fitness with improvement. Cockroaches are  neither especially smart nor complex but very fit biologically . The evidence is that they are c. 100 Myrs old and essentially unchanged in that time. Ferns are even older and simpler. Neither species seemed to require improvement.

You’re Cathy-Newman-ing.

Me again:

You’re the first person I’ve heard who says things aren’t evolving – just staying the same. Odd.

It seems that cockroaches had to come from something, right? Was evolution not involved in the process that got us cockroaches?

And then this completely ridiculous comment in reply to my perfectly reasonable statement. (Hey, it’s my post.)

More Cathy Newman. Never said nothing is evolving. Some things are not evolving. See the difference?  Cockroaches have not changed significantly in a long time. I quote myself:

drlorentz:
The evidence is that they are c. 100 Myrs old and essentially unchanged in that time.

That doesn’t mean evolution was not involved before then. Emphasis on “in that time.” The Earth is about 5E9 years old: 50 times longer.

“So you’re saying…”

Edit: Please note the context of the original comment. It was in response to the assertion that biologists claim that “…things always just randomly, accidentally just get better and smarter and more complex and more ordered.” This assertion is manifestly false. Counterexamples were provided.

So, now we are up to date.

I think where we are presently differing is on the issue of what I meant by “always” (see immediately above). Always, to me, means that there is always pressure on the genome to change. For example, biologists tell us that cosmic radiation can cause changes to the DNA at the base pair level. This just means that it happens on a single rung of the DNA helix.

What drlorentz has noted above is that even if this is going on the species isn’t being changed. True, but that’s because there is a Spell Checker. This is my understanding as to why some parts of the genome are very stable over a long time. Either way (from the above link): “The difference is not in the number of new mutations but in the mechanism that keeps these mutations under control.” Cockroaches and sharks have locked the genome down evidently.

I would like to stop there and let the iterations begin. There’s no reason to go further on this until we are all on the same page.

[Background: drlorentz and I have met — it was at the Reagan Library Meetup with Peter Robinson and Pat Sajak. I consider him a good friend. If it seems that we are angry let me assure you all that this isn’t true. I’m completely comfortable with him and I’m quite sure that he and I will keep the heat to the medium level.

Also, @johnwalker and I have had many run-ins on scientific issues over the years and yet he is always cordial and gentlemanly to me personally.]


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violence! in the church

There was a Youtube video going viral.  It showed a Greek Orthodox baptism in a Greek church.

Journalists decried the violent treatment of the baby.

These people parody themselves.

Bizarre moment priest repeatedly dunks tiny baby in water in ‘most violent baptism ever’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5723147/Orthodox-bishop-violently-dunks-baby-water-baptism.html

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/enthusiastic-archbishop-carries-out-the-12522791


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I Stole This One

The sacrifices that our military men and women make boggle my mind. I am from the generation that ridiculed Vietnam Vets and selfishly thought we were better than them. Yet, in shame and pride, I marvel at, and thank the men and women who have served and protected me and allowed me to live the privileged life that I live. I don’t have words that can thank you enough.

If you have ever read anything I wrote over at that other site, you will know that it involves mostly the Catholic Church. So today, with my first post here, I will shamelessly link to this post from Fr. Z and highlight one of the great men or our country: Fr. Vincent Capodanno.

Memorial Day and Chaplains

Capodanno_prayercardIt is fitting to honor those who served in the armed forces and who gave their lives.

Today I especially have in mind fallen military chaplains.

Here is just one example of service and valor for love of God, neighbor and country.

Father Vince Capodanno was Maryknoll missionary priest.  He was sent first to the missions in Taiwan and later joined the US Navy and served with the 7th Marines in Vietnam and then, after working at the naval hospital, with the 5th Marines.

On 4 September 1967 there was a terrible battle in Que-Son Valley.  As the battle developed Fr. Capodanno heard over the radio that things were getting dicey and so he requested to go out with M company.

As they approached the small village of Chau Lam, they were caught under fire on a knoll.  There was terrible fighting, even hand to hand, and they were almost over run.  Father Capodanno was wounded in the face and his hand was almost severed by a mortar round but he continued to giving last rites and take care of his Marines.  He was killed trying to get to a wounded marine only 15 yards away from an enemy machine gun.

In January 1969, Lieutenant Vincent R. Capodanno, MM, became the second chaplain in United States history to receive our nation’s highest military honor. “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty …”, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor Citation:

Medal-of-honorFor conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Chaplain of the 3d Battalion, in connection with operations against enemy forces.

In response to reports that the 2d Platoon of M Company was in danger of being overrun by a massed enemy assaulting force, Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon.

Disregarding the intense enemy small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded.

When an exploding mortar round inflicted painful multiple wounds to his arms and legs, and severed a portion of his right hand, he steadfastly refused all medical aid. Instead, he directed the corpsmen to help their wounded comrades and, with calm vigor, continued to move about the battlefield as he provided encouragement by voice and example to the valiant Marines.

Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Capodanno rushed a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire.

By his heroic conduct on the battlefield, and his inspiring example, Lt. Capodanno upheld the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.

In addition, he was also awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. The government of Vietnam awarded him the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Silver Star and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with device.

Fr. Capodanno’s cause has been opened:

Prayer to Obtain a Favor Through the Intercession of the Servant of God Father Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M. by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio

Almighty and merciful God, look with Love on those who plead for Your help. Through the intercession of your servant, Father Vincent Capodanno, missionary and Catholic Navy Chaplain, grant the favor I earnestly seek (mention the request). May Vincent, who died bringing consolation to the Marines he was privileged to serve on the field of battle, intercede in my need as I pray in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

I want to add a word of thanks to a priest friend of mine, Fr. Tim Vakoc, with whom I was in seminary.  He suffered serious wounds in Iraq, which, after causing years of suffering, eventually lead to his passing away. May he rest in peace.

These men served in hell armed with love of God and love of country.  We should remember chaplains.

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Media v Evangelicals, 2018 part 5

In my previous post in this series I concluded by noting anti-traditionalist media coverage of a gathering at Wheaton University.  It was a group of “concerned” “Evangelical leaders.”  It included some theological conservatives, though most of the attendees tilted theologically liberal.  Since then, some sound bites by liberal Evangelicals made the rounds, mostly because they were bitterly critical of Christians who support President Trump.  Media continues to love quotes from NeverTrump clerics and pundits who have Christian or conservative credentials.

 

The continuing coverage of last month’s gathering of Evangelicals can be best represented by reading this long feature from the New Yorker, since it summarizes everything that I have seen elsewhere in mass media:

https://www.newyorker.com/news-desk/on-religion/at-a-private-meeting-in-illinois-a-group-of-evangelicals-tried-to-save-their-movement-from-trumpism

But I highlight it here because it talks about the debates, letting us know that President Trump was not the focus of that gathering, though he was obviously on everyone’s mind.  From other media accounts you would have thought that the meeting had been all about Trump.  In fact, as I had suspected all along, they talked about a host of culture war issues, with the primary issue being racism.

 

Racism got a lot of media chatter over the past few weeks (as it has ever since the Democrat Party enacted quotas for minority representation in their Party structure five decades ago).  In the past two years we have grown tired of the tedious way they slander all Christians who support President Trump as racists, which they do with complete disregard for the way Trump got more support from blacks and Hispanics than did Mitt Romney.  In my last report I linked to the Washington Post blathering about “white Evangelicals’” support for President Trump.  This trend continued.

PRRI released new poll results, and The Atlantic mined it for data to spin the racist angle, breathlessly reporting:  “…white evangelical support for Trump remains strikingly high, with 75 percent holding a favorable view of the president….”   Of course they isolated white Evangelicals.  They are still horrified that Trump showed surprising strength among blacks and Hispanics, but they say as little about that as possible.

 

Leftists were horrified at PBS, who went to the National Day of Prayer event in Washington, and got an interview with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.  It is clear from the follow-up questions that the reporter was put on his back foot by some remarks by Rev. Rodriguez (a Pentecostalist pastor):

William Brangham:

There’s many things on that one side of the ledger that would seem to alienate him from the evangelical community, three marriages, accusations of adultery, bragging about sexual assaults.

You’re arguing that the policy side of the ledger is enough to make people think that things don’t matter as much?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

No, I don’t think it’s ever to a point where it doesn’t matter.

I think it comes to the point where we don’t want to write anyone off. You don’t want to write off access to a president who can impact religious liberty, who can impact the sanctity of life. So it’s a matter of balancing these narratives in a way where we never sacrifice truth on the altar of expediency, but we likewise support policies that reflect our Judeo-Christian value system.

William Brangham:

So, it was something much more fundamental to evangelicals? When they looked at this last election, President Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, they just felt much more fundamental was at stake that made them want to support him?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

Some would argue the future of American Christianity. Some argued…

William Brangham:

Is that right?

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez:

Absolutely.

 

Mass media bias was also clear from the lack of coverage of a story that got lots of attention in Christian media, which was the saga of Alfie Evans in England.  It was eerily similar to last year’s enforced death of Charlie Gard.  An English hospital decided that, in the “best interests” of the child, that they would seize him from his parents and sentence him to death, to “put him out of his misery.”  A British court upheld the hospital’s right to keep Alfie’s death on schedule.  American mass media pretended not to notice.  Three-sentence blurbs were all that consumers of mass media news got, except that Fox News provided a little bit of coverage.  This item is not an attack on Evangelicals; it is simply another indicator (as if any were needed) that mass media does not care about matters that concern Christians, except to the extent that matters of concern to Christians can be used to wedge Christians apart from each other.  They seek to divide us in order to conquer us.

 

There were continuing blasts in the ongoing #metoo sexual harassment media excitement.  Whenever a pastor is alleged to have engaged in philandery it gets special notice.  After a decade spent focused on violators in the Catholic ranks, now mass media is actively seeking out bad boy Evangelical pastors to be pilloried in the press.

 

The New York Times got all distressed about Betsy DeVos relaxing some strangling regulations related to religious colleges.  They focused on how theologically conservative Christian colleges would benefit.  They ignored the way the changes can also help theologically liberal colleges.  My favorite media critics noticed:

There are some important voices and points of view missing in the New York Times story that ran with this headline: “DeVos Moves to Loosen Restrictions on Federal Aid to Religious Colleges.” In addition to its focus on evangelical schools, this story really needed input from educational leaders on liberal religious campuses and even secular private campuses.

 

Aside from news coverage, there were the usual editorials.  One in particular may be classified as “friendly fire.”  It was a sermon by David French at National Review.  It was so awful that Bryan G. Stephens posted about it here for us Ratburghers.  D. French has a confused sense of Christian morals.  His sort of moralizing is something that irreligious mass media outlets love to spread around, as a way to drive another wedge to divide Christians.


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What Could Our Benevolent Overlords Mean by This?

Phase One: We don’t push one lifestyle choice over another. All choices are equal.
Phase Two: Some choices as more equal than others. The LBGTQWXYZ youth need our tax-funded support.
Phase Three: You’re a bigot if you don’t endorse this.

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