When Michael C told me about Molotov Mitchell and his video defending the Ugandan law to execute homosexuals, I kind of shrugged. I told him he was probably exaggerating. (A note on verbiage: Eric C and I stopped using the term “capital punishment” because we hate politically correct euphemisms.)
Then I watched the video.
The next morning I called Michael and told him that we had to write about this guy and this video. Instead of writing a dozen posts on this subject, we agreed to limit it to one post each, highlighting a handful of points. Here are my thoughts:
1. We refuse to debate the “Kill the Gays” bill.
As Raymond Gaita makes clear in this “Philosophy Bites” episode, you can judge a society by what it chooses to debate. Gaita made the point about torture, child abuse and slavery; we would extend it to killing homosexuals for their religious beliefs.
For us, a law that doesn’t just make it illegal to commit a homosexual act but makes it punishable by death is beyond the pale. We won’t discuss or debate it. Period. We will be a better society for it.
2. Christianity is, at its core, non-violent. Molotov Mitchell is not.
We grew up in Orange County. During our sophomore year of high school, the WWJD bands--acronymically asking, “What would Jesus do?”--became really popular. While a bit overly simplistic, the question can provide moral guidance.
Take, for instance, violence. Jesus constantly, consistently and thoroughly promoted non-violence, in both word and deed. (Though we’ve assiduously avoided discussing the issues of Christianity and violence so far on the blog, we’ll briefly touch on it here today.) Jesus lowered Peter’s sword and went willingly to his own torture and death. Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, that those who lived by the sword die by the sword, and to love our enemies. Jesus declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Most appropriately, Jesus stopped a crowd from stoning an adulteress to death, famously counseling, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Molotov Mitchell promotes violence, supports the Uganda “Kill the gays” bill, and teaches Krav Maga. His production company released a movie about killing abortionists in February. He savagely mocks and despises his enemies.
What would Jesus do? Nothing Molotov Mitchell does.
3. The scariest part? This guy is crazy charismatic.
Not to take this post off the rails, but watching one of Mitchell’s video, you understand how autocrats seize power. The style of the video, the soundtrack and video effects, and just sheer vocal charisma, Mitchell charms the viewer. You almost agree with him because of his rhetorical abilities. He should have a radio or TV show. It wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes very popular and influential--in an Ann Coulter sort of way--in the future.
None of this changes the fact that his ideas scares the crap out of me.
4. Finally, can we stop citing Leviticus?
Twenty-nine seconds into this video, Mitchell says that the bible is anti-homosexual, and cites Genesis 9.6, Leviticus 20.13 and Exodus 22.19.
Yes, people still cite the Old Testament to condemn homosexuality, and to be fair, the Old Testament is anti-homosexual. But it’s anti- a lot of things. Leviticus and Deuteronomy forbid the Israelites from...
...eating shellfish. (Actually, Michael C is allergic to shellfish so he’s cool with this rule, but I love shrimp, crab, lobster, prawns and oysters. Hell, I eat snails.)
...eating pork. (Hmm, bacon.)
...mixing meat with diary products. (And we love Beef Stroganoff! And cheeseburgers.)
...letting a man with a broken penis or testicles into church. (How do you find out?)
...wearing clothes made of wool and linen. (I’m doing it right now.)
...allowing Ammonites into church. (To be fair, no one does this anymore.)
And it allows slavery of non-Israelites, and the stoning to death disobedient sons, non-virgin brides and adulterers. Women are unclean after giving birth or having a period, and to atone for sins, you must sacrifice animals. Finally, you can’t shave. Leviticus 19:27, “Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead.” And yet, pictured right here, Molotov Mitchell does not have a full beard. Uh oh!
Mitchell asks the viewer, in his video, to find the passage where Jesus abolished the law. And frankly, I don’t want to wade into thick, murky theological issues--we’ve mostly avoided this issue on the blog so far--but I will point out that if we have to execute everyone in America who doesn’t follow the laws of Moses, whose going to do it? (Makes you wonder, which executioner in Rwanda will “cast the first stone”?)
If only someone came to forgive us of our sins. And forgive those of others.