Sunday, October 15, 2017

#1910: Erwin Lutzer

Erwin W. Lutzer is the senior pastor of The Moody Church, in Chicago, Illinois (retiring in 2016), an influential figure on the religious right, and prolific author of fundamentalist, hateful, angry, flaky self-help books and political commentaries (One Minute After You Die: A Preview of Your Final Destination being perhaps the most famous one) and utterly insane contributions to the culture wars, including The Truth About Same-sex Marriage: 6 Things You Need To Know About What’s Really At Stake and The Da Vinci Deception, targeted at people who take the novel The Da Vinci Code a bit too seriously, which is presumably a tendency among people who are already willing to take Lutzer seriously.

But yes, there is, as you’d expect, lots of anti-gay stuff here. According to Lutzer, same-sex marriage cannot “coexist” with opposite-sex marriage because “same-sex marriage legalized breaks down the family in some very, very important ways,” will lead to a “tsunami” of anti-Christian persecution and to societal collapse just like drilling a hole will sink a boat: “I can imagine someone riding in a boat saying, ‘I have a constitution right to drill a hole through my side of the boat.’ The problem is we are all on the same boat.” Lutzer was one of the anti-gay celebrities featured in the radical anti-gay documentary The Truth That Transforms.

He has also said that a reason he opposes marriage equality is because of Chicago’s crime rate: “in the midst of a society that is so desperate and so high-crime ridden, do we really now need laid upon this the destruction of the family and the destruction of marriage?” Of course, legalizing gay marriage would, other things being equal, lead to more marriages and families, but presumably not the kind that Lutzer fancies. And to emphasize, that gay people claim to love each other is irrelevant: It isn’t real love, and Lutzer points out that even pedophiles believe that they “love” the children they abuse. Also, legalizing gay marriage may lead to homeschooling parents having their children being taken from them. (Lutzer didn’t even attempt to explicate the connection; his purpose, of course, is just scaremongering, and those receptive to Lutzer’s scaremongering won’t really notice that such details are missing.)

Lutzer does have a knack for seeing connections the rest of us miss because they aren’t there, however. Lutzer thinks “the far-left and jihadists are in cahoots” because both groups are bent on “destroying capitalism” and seeking the “destruction of Christianity.” To help us understand, he then explains that Obamacare is helping too many people gain health coverage, and as a result the “administration is encouraging Islamic doctors from all over the world to come to the United States.” And since Obamacare is pushing doctors out of the practice and abortion rights are slowing population growth, Lutzer said, the U.S. now has “huge immigrant populations from the Muslim countries.” Some of the steps in Lutzer’s reasoning may be challenged.

In light of all this, it is important to remember that Lutzer thinks it is the Da Vinci Code that is “the most serious assault against Christianity” of our time. Another important threat to the world is Oprah.

Diagnosis: Unhinged, deranged conspiracy theorist, Lutzer has nevertheless (or “accordingly”) managed to become one of the leading figures of the religious right. And yes, his books really read like some kind of fire-and-brimstone version of the stuff posted on

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