A man who calls himself a “Christian pastor” told his congregation that they should “crack the wrist” of a boy acting too feminine, or “give him a punch.” He continues by stating that girls can “play sports” but must also sometimes “act like a girl,” which he describes as looking, smelling and walking “beautiful.” What can a thinking parent learn from a bigot like this?

If you want to spend a few minutes seriously depressed and questioning the value of human existence, watch this video. Sean Harris, a horrible specimen of humanity calling himself a "Christian" and a "pastor," (though he is, technically (and shockingly) a pastor in North Carolina), "preached" the following to his congregation:

"So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is 4 years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed."

Let's paraphrase this genius: Knock the gay out of your child through physical aggression and shame.

Did the Bible dictate how men should act? Cause that would be really weird, particularly since men have acted differently throughout history (in America and throughout the world).

"Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. OK? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male."

Hey genius, I hate to break it to you, but those "limp-wristed" effeminate men are still, um, men. Still male. Still "made by God" as far as I can tell. Did the Bible dictate how men should act? Cause that would be really weird, particularly since men have acted differently throughout history (in America and throughout the world). I wonder what Mr. Pastor would think if he knew that 100 years ago all little boys in American wore dresses!

The horrors! Perhaps that whole generation was not made by God! Did they all turn gay?

Sorry. I can't help but make fun of him.

Attack on females

Then our pastor friend turns his genius to females: "And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign [sic] her in. And you say, 'Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'"

Right. Because obviously the purpose of the female gender is to dress up and "be beautiful." That's why we exist. We must be beautiful for those manly men, digging ditches and stuff. We can get crazy and play sports, but it must be in the "glory of God!" (What does that even mean?)

Harris goes on to say (in a sickening display of power-abuse and pretentiousness) that he is giving permission to parents in his congregation to do these things to their children. He says he gives them a "special dispensation." If you listen to the video, you'll hear the congregation laughing as he suggests corporal punishment against kids who violate traditional gender roles. It's really bad. Really bad.

It's amazing this man is real. Disheartening, but amazing nonetheless. He has since retracted the violence of his words, stating that they were taken out of context but he would choose different words next time. He said he was using hyperbole to make a point. He made clear, however, that he does not "make an apology for those gender distinctions that are the word of God" (source).

Basically, he recoiled because he was caught on video and it went viral. Well, that's my guess.

So why do we care?

Is there anything thinking humans can learn from a person who displays such archaic, bigoted (if not downright idiotic) behaviors?

Well, not really, except that this guy lends interesting insight into the nature of homophobia and bigotry, and gives us, as parents, particularly useful information to share with our kids (to combat societal homophobia). You notice he believes it is his duty to police heterosexuality, to protect gender boundaries, as if they are under assault by the existence of those who violate them (in his opinion). We can watch this mentality play out in society through anti-marriage-equality rhetoric ("protect the sanctity of marriage") and straight-up fear of gay people.

I don't know about you, but I don't think I was made straight by the straight people in my life, and even when I spend whole evenings with gay people, by golly I'm just as straight as when the evening began!

I don't know about you, but I don't think I was made straight by the straight people in my life, and even when I spend whole evenings with gay people, by golly I'm just as straight as when the evening began! OK. Again with the sarcasm. My bad. But seriously, the idea that sexual orientation can "rub off" on people, or that the existence of gay people somehow poses a threat to the straight population is crazy, but I think it's relatively prominent. If people believe homosexuality is a sin (a choice), then, like other moral evils (like drug use or promiscuity), it can be learned or propagated by other "sinners." Gay peer pressure, anyone?

I can't stop. It's a disease.

I would like to ask this pastor guy: "Tell me, when exactly did you choose to be straight?" (But really, who cares if somebody "chooses" homosexuality? Who's it hurting? But I digress.)

And really, people like Sean Harris are important for one reason: They let us know what we're up against. They scream at the top of their lungs (well, if you're listening for it): Here are the myths you must dispel as parents!

These extreme forms of hatred, ignorance and misunderstanding fuel hate crimes

Even the violence of Harris's words serve as critical reminders of the way homophobia and bigotry can lead to actual physical attacks — including rape and homicide. These extreme forms of hatred, ignorance and misunderstanding fuel hate crimes.

So as much as we want to pretend people like Sean Harris don't exist, I think we should look him squarely in the eyes, as painful as it is, to know exactly how twisted humans can become if not given the tools to grow differently.

He is a picture of everything that's wrong with the world.

As such, he helps us see how to raise kids that embody that which is right.

More on gender and sexuality

Boy Scouts and bigotry
Coy Mathis: Redefining acceptance by the second grade
Teach your children to be flexible about gender

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