An article on First Baptist Dallas and the anti-gay animus (among other things) of their pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, who claims to speak for Jesus and, as a result, foments the most unlike-Jesus stuff in the culture. Emily makes a provocative claim.
God, Gays, and the Gilded Age: First Baptist Church of Dallas and the New Satanism | translinguistic other
"No one’s point of view is objective, but over the years of pursuing an avid, albeit amateur interest in spirituality, I have arrived at a simple set of criteria I tend to rely upon when assessing the relative “goodness” of an organized religion. For these purposes, I define “goodness” as the degree to which a religious body fosters those near-universal moral imperatives collectively described by a good many saints and scholars as the Perennial Philosophy, and my criteria are as follows:
1. Does this religion foster a sense of awe, wonder, and appreciation of the sheer amazingness of existence?
2. Does this religion foster a sense of interconnectedness and interdependence between all beings, both living and non-living?
3. Does this religion place a premium on love or compassion as its highest virtue?
For what it’s worth, the megachurch movement—as does the majority of evangelical American Christianity—fails the Perennial Philosophy test miserably. Although the rhetoric of these denominations is cloaked in the idea of “community,” in practice they define their identity from an us-vs-them exclusion of outsiders (gays! liberals! non-Christians!) Add to this the fact that the political ends they support often have the effect of encouraging environmental destruction and enforcing an economic system that helps the wealthiest among us accumulate more wealth at the expense of the poorest, both violations of criteria (2) and (3)."