It probably needs not be stated to this audience, but it’s a well accepted observation that Ray Comfort has attained a certain level of notoriety and infamy among skeptic circles (as opposed to his minor level of fame among believers). Chief among his exploits is his amazingly wrong analysis of the dessert banana, debating atheists (either solo or with Kirk Cameron), and his amazing ability to produce “documentary” (in other words, “unscripted”) movies consisting of almost entirely of man-on-the-street interviews.
So, when I was browsing his official Facebook page the other day, I wasn’t much surprised at the multiple posts of mindless religious indulgence. What jumped out at me, however, was just what we would expect from a Christian apologist of Comfort’s caliber. What he blatantly post on his page was nothing short of atrocious, at least as far as common courtesy is concerned.
The post was a picture (horribly shot), which has since been removed from his page after an outcry of both his detractors and his supporters. Let that sink in a moment – this post was offensive enough against common ethical standards that his own supporters turned on him, albeit it temporarily at best.
Ray explained in his post how he was jet-lagged after an eighteen hour trip before launching into a description of a conversation in which Comfort was forced to endure the terrible torture of having to find out somebody else’s life was not ruled by the laws put forth by his personal Jesus. Comfort asked his followers to “please pray for Glen” before plugging his first “scripted” movie, Audacity.
Of course, the fact that Comfort asked people to pray to Christ Jesus to fix a clearly unbroken individual. This is a request frequently made in the fundamentalist Christian community. That is, of course, judgmentally offensive to most ethical people, but not enough to cause his own supporters to turn on him. It is certainly a somewhat hidden attempt at flat out homophobia, once again not unheard of (or, unfortunately, surprising) in the fundamentalist community, often masquerading badly as ill-feigned love and concerned for the unfortunately doomed sinner.
The point of no return, it seems, for some fundamentalist Christians is the invasion of privacy. Accompanying the post was an over the shoulder “selfie” shot of poor Glen, for all of Comfort’s followers to pray for. Ray is barely in his own selfie, and this is what turned some of his own followers against him, if only for a moment.
Of course, it should be obvious that posting a picture of a random person and revealing their personal information, such as their orientation or relationships, to the global internet without their consent is perhaps the most disrespectful thing you can do on social media. The tragedy is that only some of his followers were upset; the rest were perfectly happy to go along with Ray Comfort’s horrible post and happily prayed away for him to wake up, realize how absolutely horrible and disgusting his love it, then proceed to do the “moral” thing and petition for divorce while he begs God almighty for forgiveness before chasing girls like every normal, ethical, respectable Christian should.
The fact that this would show up on his page at all is not only a huge mistake on Comfort’s part (or maybe not a mistake, since he’s known to ask people questions, and then change the question in the editing room to make the atheists look all the more unethical), it’s an excellent example at how unethical fundamentalists can be. There’s no greater irony than the fact that fundamentalists will, while shouting about how unmoral nonbelievers are, do things no nonbeliever will do themselves.
Perhaps more disgusting than that, were the fact that some people were defending Comfort’s actions simply because of the verse in the bible says you shall not lie with a man as you shall lie with a woman. Their desire to live a wholesome and ethical life based on biblical superstitions be all well and good, but if you’re going to stick to the fundamentals of a holy book, fundamentalist Christians could learn a lot from the violence of ISIS. After all, for as rabid as they are about basing a society upon their “biblical principles”, they sure do eat a lot of shrimp, do a lot of things on Saturday watch a lot of Sunday football (depending on when you say the Sabbath is), and leave a lot of unruly children alive.
Which is precisely why we need to stand up to such nonsensical and outright unethical beliefs. If anybody is ready to base their life and moral code on a book in which one of the greatest heroes was a man who said “yes, I’ll gut my kid to show my love of god,” those people should not be given a free pass because of their wonderful faith. They should be held up to the highest scrutiny, treated with unbridled skepticism about anything they say. For the safety of not only society but for their own children, is it wrong to assume that, if they will violate poor Glen’s right to privacy, there might be some circumstance in which they would go so far as to stone their child for god?