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Dictatorial ideologies

Hyper-sexualism and hyper-Islamism impact cultures and courtrooms an ocean apart 

Dictatorial ideologies

Brunson arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey. (Emre Tazegul/AP)

Two court dramas in the last half of July and 6,000 miles apart showed the need for two new hyphenated words: hyper-sexualist and hyper-Islamist.

Definitions of the words’ cores run like this: Stressing sex as a central concern of life. Believing that Islam should be a central concern of not only individual living but political and societal structuring.

Adding hyper as a prefix turns them from beliefs into dictatorial demands. Hyper-sexualism: the belief that sexual freedom trumps freedom of religion, speech, and assembly. Hyper-Islamism: the belief that keeping Muslims from learning about any other belief system is more important than freedom of religion, speech, and assembly.

Hyper-sexualism was on display in a suit filed in Missouri federal district court on July 25. The plaintiffs are Mary Walsh, 72, and Beverly Nance, 68, lesbians who are now a married couple under current court rulings. They wanted to rent an apartment in Friendship Village (FV), a “continuing care retirement community” in St. Louis County that includes assisted living and a nursing facility.

FV, established in 1975, has no formal church affiliation but calls itself “guided by Biblical values.” It has a long-standing pro-marriage, anti-cohabitation policy, with marriage defined as “the union of one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible.” While FV did not express doubt that Walsh and Nance are nice people, it turned down their application for residence.

The lawsuit brought by Walsh and Nance argues that FV’s discriminatory conduct has caused them to suffer “irreparable loss and injury, including but not limited to economic loss, emotional distress, and the deprivation of their housing and civil rights.” It states that Walsh and Nance “could not believe that in 2016, as a married couple, they would experience such open discrimination.”

The lawsuit further states that the plaintiffs faced such discrimination because “they do not conform to traditional sex stereotypes, including that a married woman should be in a different-sex relationship.” Walsh and Nance “felt humiliated, stigmatized, and demeaned. … Their security and dignity have been stripped away.”

Also on July 25, but 6,000 miles away in Aliaga, Turkey, on the outskirts of Izmir, Norine Brunson was making one more visit to Kiriklar Prison, where her husband Andrew’s security and dignity had been stripped away. They are a Biblically married couple unable to live together since Turkey jailed the pastor from North Carolina in October 2016.

Brunson, 50, has worked in Turkey for more than two decades, most recently as pastor of Resurrection Church in Izmir. No one knows for sure why Turkish authorities arrested him, but the common presumption is he had worked with refugees in largely Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey, and that became a pretext for charging him with “Christianization” and ties to terrorists.

The indictment against Brunson reads that he worked “to divide and separate [Turkey], by means of the Christianization of those from among the people of our Country who possess a certain ethnic origin.” Those last words appear to be a reference to Kurds. Specific charges against Brunson include these: One secret witness says Brunson met with a lawyer to discuss how to establish churches in Turkey. Another secret witness said Brunson met with a gang of Mormon teachers of English, all of whom have the same identifying feature: a missing finger (it’s a different finger on each one).

And that’s not all: Brunson’s daughter sent him a video of maqluba, a traditional Middle Eastern dish of rice, meat, and vegetables: Accusers said that’s the signature dish of a Turkish terrorist organization, so Brunson must be linked to it, they argued. Even more evidence: One of Brunson’s church members sent him a text message informing the pastor that he could not make it to worship due to diarrhea. (The prosecutor did not explain how this implicates Brunson.)

The charges were so ridiculous that Brunson’s real crime in the eyes of Muslim accusers was evident: He has helped some Turks learn of an alternative to Islam. In the United States, hyper-sexualism means that bakers, photographers, bed-and-breakfast owners, adoption workers, public officials, and many more can lose their livelihoods for refusing to cheer on homosexuality, since sexual freedom now trumps all other liberties. In Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan uses Islam to consolidate his power, a hyper-Islam steamroller increasingly flattens anyone standing in its way.

But not always. Eyewitnesses say Brunson in July “defended himself with boldness” during a two-hour court proceeding. That didn’t get him out of jail, but the U.S. State Department and President Donald Trump pressed the matter—and the Brunsons’ daughter, Jacqueline Furnari, told representatives of 80 nations at a religious freedom gathering “how proud I am of my father and what an example of Christ’s love he continues to be to the world.”

Congress on July 23 cited Brunson’s imprisonment when voting to bar temporarily delivery of about 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Turkey.

On July 25 the Turkish government allowed Brunson to move from prison to house arrest. He arrived with his wife Norine at their home, where friends greeted him with singing and dancing.

Brunson’s trial, which could end with him receiving a 35-year prison sentence, is scheduled to continue on Oct. 12. Turkey continues to detain NASA research scientist Serkan Golge and at least three employees of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. Nevertheless, Aykan Erdemir, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former member of the Turkish Parliament, said Brunson’s release from prison “is yet another evidence showing how principled pushback can elicit a more favorable response than appeasement.”

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

Comments

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Fri, 08/03/2018 04:18 pm

    Then there is hyper-denialism, in which Israel does not formally admit it has nuclear weaponry. In 1986 Mordecai Vanunu exposed Israel's secret, leading to his house arrest for 18 years (including 11 in solitary confinement), being forbidden to talk to the press, and forbidden to leave the country. Vanunu was raised Orthodox Jew but converted to Christianity shortly before he exposed Israel's nuclear weaponry program (but not technical secrets).
    Andrew Brunson is unjustly imprisoned and should be set free. So should Vanunu. The difference is that Vanunu is held by Israel that the U.S. and evangelical churches will not challenge on human rights.

     

  • Xion's picture
    Xion
    Posted: Fri, 08/03/2018 07:03 pm

    Allen, people who work in secure jobs are under contract to not divulge sensitive material.  Israel maintained ambiguity about its nuclear program, but it was no secret.  Vanunu used his secure position to sell state secrets to a newspaper in exchange for money.  Disclosure of national secrets is called treason, Bradley Manning's sentance was about twice that of Vanunu for leaking U.S. secrets.  People who sign contracts to willingly give up their freedom of speech in order to work in secure jobs can't turn around and complain that they aren't free to say whatever they want.

  • Xion's picture
    Xion
    Posted: Fri, 08/03/2018 06:40 pm

    What is hyper-fascinating about this subject is that the common motive against freedom of speech is always suppression of the truth.  People who point out alternatives to false religion or a false view of sexuality are punished.  Calls for a rewrite of the First Amendment are mainly to squelch political speech.  The outrage over leaked DNC emails was that too much truth got out before an election.  Heaven forbid!

    Eph 2:1 Speaks of the "course of this world" which follows the "prince of the power of the air".  There is an orchestrated ubiquitous stream of deception from the powers that be, which interestingly comes to us over the air waves.  It is vehemently opposed to the truth.  For those who know the truth, this is a bit like living in the Matrix.  Anyone who speaks the truth is deemed crazy or an intolerant bigot, an enemy of the state that must be punished.

  • Driversseat
    Posted: Fri, 08/10/2018 02:26 pm

    Dispatches/News Analysis, Dictatorial ideologies, (Marvin Olasky, WORLD Magazine, August 18, 2018) begs a significant question. Why would these two women even want to join Friendship Village when their values are so contrary to FVs previously stated biblical standing? It’s hard to believe this question would not have surfaced in their research long before their deposit was submitted. It sounds too much like a typically contrived encounter. In light of the current culture, this was an inevitable event.

    Jim Maust