Profiles in Pathological Piety: The Case of Rev. Ken Hutcherson
by Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
s a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, Hutcherson wanted to â€œhurt whitesâ€: his race-based payback for growing up in the segregated South.
Then he became a â€œChristianâ€ and took pleasure in killing defenseless animals and mounting their heads on the wall in his office: â€œwhen I run into animals, I kill them.â€
The pastor of the evangelical Antioch Bible mega-church in Redmond, Washington is again targeting his neighbor and aiming to hurt more people. Why? Because it's a corporate beast that refuses to discriminate against its gay and lesbian employees:
ay rights foe Rev. Ken Hutcherson is calling on religious
conservatives to buy stock in Microsoft so they can force a
shareholders vote on the companyâ€™s policy that provides equality for
For his report in the British paper The Daily
Telegraph, Toby Harnden spoke with the rabid reverend in Redmond
article is a most telling intra-view of Hutcherson, who
Microsoft executives at a shareholdersâ€™ meeting last week that he would
be their â€œworst nightmareâ€ if they continued to defy him. â€¦
advocate of a â€œbiblical stanceâ€ against divorce and homosexuality, Mr.
Hutcherson, 55, is asking millions of evangelical activists, as well as
Orthodox Jewish and other allies, to buy up Microsoft shares and demand
a return to traditional values.
Microsoft, he declares, will be just
the first company targeted in an escalation of the culture wars between
evangelicals and corporate America. â€œThere are 256 Fortune 500
companies alone pouring millions upon millions of dollars into pushing
the homosexual agenda,â€ he told The Daily Telegraph.
â€œI consider myself a warrior for Christ. Microsoft donâ€™t scare me. I got God with me.
told them that you need to work with me or we will put a firestorm on
you like you have never seen in you life because I am your worst
nightmare. I am a black man with a righteous cause with a whole host of
powerful white people behind meâ€¦
â€œI donâ€™t care how big Microsoft
is,â€ he said. â€œThey are nothing but a feather in the wind of God.
America basically got started with a tea party and Goliath, if Iâ€™m not
mistaken, got taken down by David, who believed in the same cause I
A closer look at Hutchersonâ€™s
statements not only confirms but extends the pathologies so clear in
his motivation on the gridiron and current murderous hobby, but also
helps define his â€œministryâ€™sâ€ latest pro-discrimination campaign
designed to hurt people as much as possible:
â€œwhen I run into animals,
I kill them.â€ Gay and lesbian Americans are those â€œanimals.â€
Mr. Hutcherson wants to â€œkillâ€ them economically and bury their civil
rights in the dung heap of his sanctimonious rhetoric.
continued to defy Him.â€
Has Hutcherson declared himself divine? If
Microsoft defies â€œhimâ€ then heâ€™ll call down â€œa firestorm on you like
you have never seen in you life because I am your worst nightmare.â€ The
only thing for certain is the Hutcherson and his perverted use of the
Bible to foster discrimination and hate are indeed â€œnightmaresâ€ of the
The reverend believes in a â€œbiblical stanceâ€ against
divorce and homosexuality. Is he also threatening to bring down a
firestorm if Microsoft hires and treats divorcees equally? Or are
Hutcherson and his comrades just using gays as convenient scapegoats?
Karslake explores that and related questions in his new documentary
film For the Bible Tells Me So. In an article about the film, Bill
Friskics-Warren poses the fundamental question:
The Bible says
that eating shrimp is an abomination and that working on the Sabbath is
punishable by death. Not even the most devout Christian, though, thinks
twice about ordering the shrimp scampi or checking their office e-mail
from home on a Sunday afternoon.
Biblical literalists know that
the customs and circumstances that gave rise to such injunctions were
rooted in historical and cultural contexts very different from our own.
why do so many Christians cling to the handful of Scriptures that cast
aspersions on sexual relationships between people of the same gender?
Why, when scholars tell us that these passages have nothing to do with
sexual orientation as weâ€™ve come to understand it, do some people
continue to use Scripture as a club to judge and condemn?
Karslakeâ€™s answer is straight to the point:
â€œWe have a long history of looking to the Bible to confirm our prejudices.â€
the documentary Karslake addresses two others tactics Hutcherson and
those like him use: â€œproof-textingâ€ and the â€œloving the sinner and
hating the sinâ€ mantra.
Similar to â€œcherry-picking,â€
proof-texting is the practice of taking Biblical verses out of context
and using them to frame and defend pre-existing prejudices in order to
justify a social, political and/or economic agenda:
biblical exegesis, which involves the careful examination of Scripture
in its historical context to understand what it means and how it might
speak to us today, proof-texting manipulates what Christians believe to
be Godâ€™s word by allowing pre-conceived notions to color it. When done
from the pulpit, it can amount to theological malpractice, depriving
lay people of the chance to engage the Scriptures at a deeper, more
Karslake and Friskics-Warren explain that â€œtheological malpracticeâ€ in relation to an often heard mantra:
peculiar form of theological harm is the distinction that some
heterosexuals make between â€œloving the sinner and hating the sin.â€
canâ€™t hate such a complete part of me and still love me,â€ Karslake
said. â€œStraight people canâ€™t imagine not being straight, but they can't
accept that the same thing could be true of gay people. They think that
itâ€™s different with gay people, like itâ€™s somehow a choice."
Blaze, pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Nashville, tends to
agree. â€œI donâ€™t think you can truly embrace the other and be able to
recognize God in the other without seeking to understand them,â€ he said.
â€“ or at least discouraging â€“ people from getting to know and understand
gays is precisely what the leaders of the Christian Right do through
their predatory campaigns that rely solely on stereotypes and
Rev. Hutcherson wants to use his
proof-texted, misdirected, misconceived, erroneous â€œbiblical stanceâ€ to
force â€œa return to traditional values.â€ Clearly, his conception of
â€œtraditional valuesâ€ is as perverted as his â€œbiblical stance,â€ and his
â€œtraditional valuesâ€ are the same as those who once used the Bible to
advocate slavery and, later, justify segregation and discrimination.
â€œStronger texts [than those used against gays] in Scripture were used
to justify slaveryâ€¦ in the case of same-sex sex, especially among men â€“
and I think itâ€™s worth noting that that seems to be the focal point of
the controversy â€“ weâ€™re talking about just a few small verses.â€
never contemplated the monogamous, long-term sexual relationships that
take place among people today,â€ explained Jack Rogers, former moderator
of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
is no analogue for our contemporary understanding of sexual identity in
the Bible, neither for heterosexuals nor homosexuals,â€ added Armour.
â€œItâ€™s simply not there.â€
Hutcherson is irate that â€œthere are 256
Fortune 500 companies alone pouring millions upon millions of dollars
into pushing the homosexual agenda.â€ It seems the reverendâ€™s numbers
are as misinformed â€“ and out of touch with reality â€“ as his â€œbiblical
Forum, a Philadelphia-based GLBT rights organization, has announced
that more than 92% (463) of the 2007 Fortune 500 companies include
sexual orientation in their employment nondiscrimination policies.
to the press release, when Equality Forum began contacting Fortune 500
companies in the fall of 2003, only 323 companies â€“ or about 65% â€“
provided sexual orientation protections. Equality Forum, along with
professors Louis Thomas of University of Pennsylvania and Ian Ayres of
Yale Law School, contacted 177 CEOs and human resources directors of
companies that didn't offer nondiscrimination policies. By the fall of
2004, 405 (81%) had adopted protections. â€¦
A Gallup poll in May
 found that 89% of U.S. citizens believe that gays and lesbians
should have protection against workplace discrimination.
The â€œhomosexual agendaâ€ is a favorite clichÃ© of the Christian Right. Rep. Barney Frank summarized
what that â€œagendaâ€ really is:
want to apologize to the various self-proclaimed divine messengers who
appear deeply troubled by a dark plot they label the â€œgay agenda.â€
as I am by the prospect of these pious men denied a good nightâ€™s sleep
by their need to be eternally vigilant against us, I have decided to
break the silence, decode the cryptogram, unravel the mystery and tip
We have an agendaâ€¦
Specifically, we want all
people in the United States to enjoy the same legal rights as everyone
else, unless they have forfeited them by violating the rights of
others. We believe this should include some things that are,
apparently, very controversial.
They include the right to serve,
fight and even die on behalf of our country in the military; the right
to earn a living by working hard and being judged wholly on the quality
of our work; the right for teenagers to attend high school without
being shoved, punched or otherwise attacked; and yes, the right to
express not only love for another person, but a willingness to be
legally as well as morally responsible for his or her well-being.
also believe that we â€“ and all Americans â€“ should enjoy full access to
health care; that strong environmental protection is fully compatible
with economic prosperity. We know that the free market is the best way
to generate our national wealth; and that we need cooperation between
the private and public sectors to be sure that we as a society and as
individuals get the maximum benefit from the wealth by the quality of
all our lives..."
Microsoft initiated its diversity and
non-discrimination policies for the same reasons the other Fortune 500
companies and many other did: itâ€™s good for business. As Steve Falk,
chief executive of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said
â€œSupport of [equal] rights for gays and
lesbians is â€˜consistent with our organization's advocacy of policies
that are inclusive and contribute to business' ability to attract and
retain a diverse, talented workforce.â€™â€
But Hutcherson isnâ€™t
concerned with social or economic realities, only his own jaundiced
agenda and vendetta against Microsoft. Some background from 365Gay.com
"Hutcherson has been battling Microsoft and the state of Washington over LGBT rights for two years.
a gay rights bill was before the [Washington state] legislature in 2005
Hutcherson met with [Microsoft] executives and threatened a national
boycott of the computer giant if it did not disavow itself from the gay
Microsoft earlier had announced its support for the legislation saying it would help attract talented workers to the state."
The measure was reintroduced in 2006 and passed.
then began a petition drive to force a statewide vote on repealing the
rights law but failed to get enough signatures to put the issue on the
So now Rev. Hutcherson is trying another tactic and
claiming heâ€™s â€œa warrior for Christ. â€¦ I got God with me.â€ How much
more pathological can one man get?
Hutcherson seems blinded by
his own bigotry and pathological desire to hurt others. Had he bothered
to think, he would have realized Jesus was an advocate for the
disenfranchised. While no one knows what Jesus would do or think now,
given whatâ€™s known of his activities 2000 years ago it seems likely
heâ€™d be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, hand-in-hand with those
Hutcherson and his minions want to further disenfranchise and
As for Hutchersonâ€™s claim that he has â€œa
righteous causeâ€ and has â€œGod with me,â€ thatâ€™s exactly what the 9/11
William James was fond of quoting Professor
James H. Leuba of Bryn Mawr College: â€œGod is not known. He is not
understood. He is used.â€ It seems likely that were Professor Leuba
alive today and heard the anti-Christian message of Hutcherson and
other self-proclaimed â€œwarriors for Christ,â€ heâ€™d add two words to that
last sentence: â€œHe is used and abused.â€
To what extent
self-serving dogmatists such as Hutcherson misuse and abuse Biblical
texts they donâ€™t really understand but have proof-texted to support
their personal agendas is made clear in the reverendâ€™s statement that
â€œI donâ€™t care how big Microsoft is â€¦ They are nothing but a feather in
the wind of God. America basically got started with a tea party and
Goliath, if Iâ€™m not mistaken, got taken down by David, who believed in
the same cause I believe in.â€
reference to the Boston Tea Party is as misinformed as his likening
himself to David: an identification that does more than backfire.
was â€œinvolvedâ€ with Jonathan. There are numerous passages in the Bible
alluding to a passionate, physically intimate relationship between
David and Jonathan
, including Jonathanâ€™s erotic disrobing for David,
his â€œdelighting muchâ€ in David, and their passionate kissing.
Hutcherson read more than his own self-serving words he might have
discovered the fourteenth century Life of Edward II â€“ â€œIndeed I do
remember to have heard that one man so loved another. Jonathan
cherished David, Achilles loved Patroclusâ€ â€“ and that King Edward II
wept for his dead lover Piers Gaveston as â€œDavid had mourned for
Whether the David-Jonathan relationship was
Platonic, intimate but non-sexual, or homoerotic, itâ€™s crystal clear
that David and Hutcherson do not â€œbelieved in the same cause.â€
Hutchersonâ€™s proclaiming himself to be the new â€œDavidâ€ demonstrates the
shallowness of this theology and his hypocrisy as a pastor. It also
strongly suggests heâ€™s doing battle with Microsoft only to enhance his
own socio-political clout. In that he has lots of company.
Collectively, theyâ€™re called the â€œChristian Right,â€ and they are
anything but â€œChristianâ€ or â€œright.â€