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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meanwhile in Belltown: Mars Hill Comes, Seattle Times Swallows

posted by on October 23 at 16:08 PM

Mars Hill—Mark Driscoll’s anti-gay, anti-woman mini-megachurch—is opening a franchise in Belltown. Praise Jeebus. Commercial real estate doesn’t come cheap in Seattle but there’s apparently a lot of money in Driscoll’s Olde Tyme Religion. Driscoll paid $3.95 million for the building, which had been home to a “troubled” Belltown nightclub.

The Seattle Times is predictably rah-rah. O that troublesome club has been turned into a church, ladies and gentleman, and bad things never happen in, near, or around churches, right?

Like all daily papers in the United States the Seattle Times is cringingly deferential whenever a story touches on “people of faith,” even if those people of faith are douchebags like Driscoll. Reporter Sanjay Bhatt meekly hands the future pastor of Mars Hill Belltown the mic and lets Pastor Tim Gaydos—yes, Gaydos—get away with shit like this:

“The fact of the matter is that everyone who did go to that club or those who come to our services are looking for the same thing—happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment,” Gaydos said. “We just think it’s found in Jesus, not in booty calls.”

Gaydos said his church accepts the Bible as perfect and “without error.”

Hey, Seattle Times? Where’s that balance and objectivity crap you’re always fellating yourselves about? (Hi there, David Postman!) Whenever the Seattle Times covers gay issues you go and dig up some Christian bigot for a little “balance.” Take this piece from the Seattle Times after Washington state’s domestic partner law went into effect this summer. We’re treated to a little sweetness and light about the happy couples—and then Andrew Garber drops these graphs into the middle of his story:

No protesters were on hand Monday, but the Rev. Joe Fuiten, pastor of Cedar Park Assembly of God church in Bothell and a prominent opponent of same-sex marriage, sent out a statement opposing the law.

“God’s law is established in the male-female relationship,” he said. “When the state acts to replace the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the Legislature, we are headed for an uncertain future, and that is putting the best face on it.”

Then it’s back to the happy couples.

So where’s the balance when Christian bigots make the news? There were no protesters on hand when Mars Hill bought that building in Belltown—money that could have been spent on the poor, the lame, the hungry—but Mars Hill has some “prominent opponents” around here. Not just bloggers like Godless David Goldstein, but progressive religious types and homos and feminists. Where’s the quote from a progressive religious figure grieving the “uncertain future” Mars Hill represents? Where’s the quote from a gay resident of Belltown griping about the damage Mars-Hill-style bigotry does to gays and lesbians? Where’s the quote from a feminist taking Driscoll on?

And are you really going to let Pastor Gaydos blandly assert that the bible, like Mary Poppins, is perfect in every possible way, completely free of error?


Perhaps you could’ve gone to Sam Harris for a little “balance” about that. In his book Letter to a Christian Nation Harris points to one of the Bible’s bigger—bigger, not only—errors:

In assessing the moral wisdom of the Bible, it is useful to consider moral questions that have been solved to everyone’s satisfaction. Consider the question of slavery. The entire civilized world now agrees that slavery is an abomination. What moral instruction do we get from the God of Abraham on this subject? Consult the Bible, and you will discover that the creator of the universe clearly expects us to keep slaves…

Harris goes on to cite Leviticus 25: 44-46, which lets us know how God wants us to treat our slaves; Exodus 21: 7-11, which instructs fathers on the dos and don’ts of selling their daughters into slavery; Ephesians 6:5, which orders slaves to be obedient to their masters; Timothy 6: 1-4, which does the same. Even Jesus Christ supported slavery. Back to Harris:

Nothing in Christian theology remedies the appalling deficiencies of the Bible on what is perhaps the greatest—and the easiest—moral question our society has ever had to face.

If the Bible got something as simple as slavery wrong, as Harris points out, it’s highly likely that the Bible got other stuff wrong too—complicated stuff like human sexuality, the role of women in the church, the sinfulness of lobster, etc. There are two contradictory creation stories in Genesis and two sets of Ten Commandments. God orders the murders of innocent men, women, and children. The Bible is without error? Please.

The Seattle Times is all about balance and objectivity—and double standards. A story about the gays? Be sure to get a quote for “balance” from a gay-bashing religious wacko. A story about gay-bashing wackos? No need to get a quote from the gays or anyone else. Because Pastor Gaydos is religious—and religious people get a free pass.

UPDATE: But if the Seattle Times actually spoke to a progressive Christian about the impact of Mars Hill and other churches like it they might learn that Mars Hill’s bigotry is bad for Christianity:

“Majorities of young people in America describe modern-day Christianity as judgmental, hypocritical and anti-gay. What’s more, many Christians don’t even want to call themselves “Christian” because of the baggage that accompanies the label.

A new book based on research by the California-based research firm the Barna Group found that church attitudes about people in general and gays in particular are driving a negative image of the Christian faith among people ages 16-29.”

But the Seattle Times isn’t interested in learning that a Mars Hill is bad for Christianity in the long run (however good it might be for Driscoll’s bottom line in the short run) because then they’d have to print it.

UPDATE 2: Says MHCD in comments:

It makes sense when covering a controversial new law to interview someone against it, because otherwise the reporter is not explaining the nature of the controversy to readers. It is not some double standard that the Times did this in their coverage of the passage of the anti-discrimination law. Now if you could find, for example, similar anti-gay quotations in their coverage of this year’s Pride celebrations, then you’d have a good point. I don’t think you will find that, though.

Really? I think I will—and, hey, here it is. From the Seattle Times’ coverage of this year’s Gay Pride Parade:

Not everyone liked what they saw.

A man, who happened to be walking by with his family, stopped and stared. “I am not from a big town,” he said. “This is a little over the edge.”

Protesters, who identified themselves as Christians, shouted about scriptures and God’s will. Among them was a man who stood on an upside-down crate waving a sign that read “The wicked will not inherit the Kingdom,” and yelled out “Shame on You. Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve.”

RSS icon Comments


Jeez, lighten up.

I guess you didn't catch this line:

"'The church used to have the best art in the world back in the day,' Gaydos said, referring to the 12th century."

I thought the story just let Gaydos make a fool of himself in a very subtle and funny way.

Posted by mhcd | October 23, 2007 4:21 PM

Yeah, back when they let 'mos paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Last Supper etc. Good point, mhcd.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 23, 2007 4:25 PM

Well said, Dan. There goes the neighborhood . . .

Posted by Levislade | October 23, 2007 4:27 PM

I hate to put it this way, but.

You're preaching to the choir, Dan.

Posted by Mike L | October 23, 2007 4:27 PM

Perfect and without error?

Cool! Slavery and multiple spouses are back in!

I'm gonna go sacrifice a slug.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 23, 2007 4:34 PM

I'm thinking a few Seattle Times' reporters read Slog, and they're not in our choir exactly. (Hi there, David Postman!)

Posted by Dan Savage | October 23, 2007 4:34 PM


And I'm going to go kill some children who make fun of bald men!

Then I'll deny being a prophet and get swallowed by a whale!

But it's okay. He'll let me out. Eventually.


Posted by Mr. Poe | October 23, 2007 4:42 PM

The P-I story wasn't much better.

Posted by DOUG. | October 23, 2007 4:43 PM

Why are newspapers exempt from the state sales tax? Let's eliminate that exemption for newspapers.

Posted by Luigi Giovanni | October 23, 2007 4:47 PM

what if i swing by the day labor facility near the new mars hill location, meet a man named jesus, and booty call him? sounds more satistying than the shit gaydos is offering up.

Posted by kerri harrop | October 23, 2007 5:00 PM

The editor that let the Times story go to press in effect legitimized the bland, flaccid, conservative, unquestioningly blind and misguided religious leanings of the status quo.

He is a tool and so is the reporter, most likely scared of upsetting what they take to be their reader base. You know, those milksop-eating, once-a-year-dry-missionary-style post-breeders that still get home delivery. Them and their shiny born-again spawns, too.

Posted by Miss Stereo | October 23, 2007 5:12 PM

Yes! When is the Stranger going to hire an ombudsman to cover the Times, PI, Weekly?

Your childish obsession warrants it.

Oh, wait. That would mean doing some work.

And just so we can make it a legit post I'll throw in some PITBULLS! FIXED-GEAR BICYCLES!

Posted by Wow | October 23, 2007 5:23 PM


Posted by Levislade | October 23, 2007 5:35 PM

I think @12 has a good idea.

Hire an MSM Ombudsman or Ombudswoman.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 23, 2007 5:36 PM

It makes sense when covering a controversial new law to interview someone against it, because otherwise the reporter is not explaining the nature of the controversy to readers. It is not some double standard that the Times did this in their coverage of the passage of the anti-discrimination law. Now if you could find, for example, similar anti-gay quotations in their coverage of this year's Pride celebrations, then you'd have a good point. I don't think you will find that, though.

Perhaps that is too fine a distinction for some people to comprehend.

Posted by mhcd | October 23, 2007 5:40 PM

It is a bit of a puff piece, but be careful about citing data from the Barna Research Group, Dan. It's an evangelical polling firm, and so the whole enterprise is ideologically driven.

A larger problem is that religious liberals and moderates are largely absent from the media most of the time. This goes back as far as the twenties, when evangelicals broke away from the mainstream media and started creating their own media and culture industries. They tend to think of themselves as "Christians" and not as "one type of Christian", so other types of christians are systematically excluded from the christian media machine. Now when mainstream media sources want to know what's happening in Christianity, they look to the christian media to learn about it; all they see is evangelicals, and so that's all they know to write about.

Theological liberals and even middle-of-the-road mainliners are rendered invisible.

Posted by Kevin Erickson | October 23, 2007 5:43 PM

i really am terrified of those people. i try the whole "open-minded" thing as best i can, but seriously... terrified (as well as angered and ever-so-slightly aroused).

Posted by kate | October 23, 2007 5:45 PM

MHCD = Mars Hill Church Dude?

Is that you? Right, only eyes enlightened by the evangelical fire from Jesus' soul can detect the subtle intricacies of the fine, fine reportage of the Times. You got me, church man.

Posted by Miss Stereo | October 23, 2007 5:46 PM

The only thing that would make this development right would be the erection of a giant statue of an empowered vagina outside this building to offset all the asinine, misogynistic crap that has been done to women by the building's past and now future tenants.

Posted by HORAT!OSANZSER!F | October 23, 2007 5:48 PM

I've been going to Mars Hill for about 6 months and haven't found the festering cesspool of hate, bigotry, or any other kind of right wing conspiracy brainwashing that everyone seems so worried and hyped up about.

About slavery? Hmmm, after sitting at this desk on my ass for 9 hours... pecking away at a keyboard on shit I find utterly mind numbing, I think I'm the slave in the larger situation. I think we're all sort of slaves in this world that demands participation of some sort.

Posted by Jesse | October 23, 2007 5:49 PM

mhcd = mars hill comes downtown - the title of the posting.

what could i possibly have written that would make you think i'm affiliated with that church? i am just talking about the nature of the media coverage, which is what dan was posting about.

Posted by mhcd | October 23, 2007 5:52 PM

Got your point, Dan.

One quibble though: There's no record to suggest Jesus ever supported slavery. It just doesn't exist. The passages cited in your link associate him with slavery during New Testament times and wonder why he didn't take the opportunity to object, but remember, Jesus didn't write the New Testament. Whoever produced the web page you cited doesn't know their biblical history.

Posted by parsonbrown | October 23, 2007 5:55 PM
Posted by fine point | October 23, 2007 6:04 PM


Hey! Guess what?! The New Testament is part of the Bible!!!

You heard it here first. You're welcome.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 23, 2007 6:06 PM

All I know is that if Christian males do not man up soon, the Episcopalians may vote a fluffy baby bunny rabbit as their next bishop to lead God's men.

And I know it is not uncommon to meet pastors' wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband's sin, but she may not be helping him either.

Posted by finest point | October 23, 2007 6:10 PM

Your point, @24?

Posted by parsonbrown | October 23, 2007 6:12 PM

It seemed to me that you were excusing the uneven reporting of the Times puff piece.

Also, it is not just the nature of the media coverage. It is the nature of the media coverage within the bigger picture of what modern fundamentalist mega churches like Mars Hill represent: institutionalized discrimination, self-legitimized by faulty logic that is at odds with tolerance and freedom; an invasive, money-fueled, blind adherence to an interpretation of ancient text that has become alarmingly mainstream.

That the Seattle Times is too intellectually timid to do anything other than bow to this pervasion is what, I believe the original post is really about.

When the daily newspaper that reaches the most people represents a view like this in a supposedly progressive city, it is well beyond frustrating and definitely alarming. Perhaps that is the subtle difference here.

No hard feelings, Media Has Covered Deservedly.

Posted by Miss Stereo | October 23, 2007 6:13 PM

"Religious people get a free pass..."?

Dan, you can't complain.

The Times has been slobbering over your witty bon mots while ignoring your jackass moments (door knobs, smuggling fake guns into City Hall).

Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

On second thought, be careful about anything you bite.

Posted by Editor's Note! | October 23, 2007 6:20 PM

Kevin at 16:

I think that just makes Dan's point stronger. Even an evangelical Christian polling firm is pointing to the way that Mars Hill and similar churches are driving people away from Christianity.

Now, when you're getting that kind of criticism from **inside** the evangelical movement, you know there's a really big problem.

Posted by JupiterPluvius | October 23, 2007 6:21 PM


The Bible isn't perfect and "without error"? Don't get me wrong, you have yet to say that it is, but your "quibble" wasn't much of a point, either.

Jesus never taking the opportunity to object to slavery is pretty comparable to the gajillions of Christians who never take the opportunity to object to Christianity's majority opinion on homosexuality. Silence is practically the same as agreement.

Oh, but y'all just protectin' marriage, right? Hold on. I need to go dump my ass.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 23, 2007 6:29 PM

Jesse, you ignorant slut:

At least you receive monetary compensation for sitting at that desk for 9 hours a day.

The fact that you can even attempt to compare your situation to that of slavery: forcibly taken from your home, your family, your community, forced into labor not of your choosing, abused, tortured, treated as the property of another, stripped of all sense of dignity and simple humanity - now that's real slavery, and your "Holy Book" the supposed last and ultimate word of the invisible sky daddy you worship makes no bones about condoning such a heinous and indefensible activity.

You, sir, are an asshat - ASS-HAT!

Posted by COMTE | October 23, 2007 6:59 PM

Wow. Ms. Blethen just totally jammed her tung up Pastor Mark's butt with that article.

Posted by TLjr | October 23, 2007 7:12 PM

to my gay and lez brothers and sisters(bi's, t's and others as well):

"We didn't land on the Mars Hill rock, the Mars Hill rock landed on us!!!"

fuck in peace.

Posted by Homosexualist X | October 23, 2007 7:20 PM

Oy. Really, I'd prefer assholes like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens get as little print as possible, but talking to progressive Christians would be nice.

Posted by Gitai | October 23, 2007 7:34 PM


From the Seattle Times' coverage of this year's pride parade:

Not everyone liked what they saw.

A man, who happened to be walking by with his family, stopped and stared. "I am not from a big town," he said. "This is a little over the edge."

Protesters, who identified themselves as Christians, shouted about scriptures and God's will.

Among them was a man who stood on an upside-down crate waving a sign that read "The wicked will not inherit the Kingdom," and yelled out "Shame on You. Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve."

Posted by Dan Savage | October 23, 2007 7:40 PM

Another frustrated cry from someone who wishes he worked for the Big Kid papers instead of a free bar-ad rag.

Posted by What a Drag it is Getting Old | October 23, 2007 7:40 PM

It must suck for Dan. Owning a part of a successful local business, writing books, penning a syndicated column, going on TV, getting to have opinions, getting stoned at work, downloading porn on his computer. I'm sure Dan would rather be slaving away at Frank Blethen's operation, where people get fired for downloading porn and having opinions.

Posted by Du Du Dude | October 23, 2007 7:53 PM


yeah, good one. Because so many other employers tend to look the other way while you visit fleshbot on the company dime.

I bet it makes for a great story at job interviews: "Let's see, you we're on the job there for what? oh ...six weeks? Can you explain your reason for such short employment?

Posted by Real Nice | October 23, 2007 8:04 PM

Stupidity is stupid, but when you dress it up as religion with god and holy books, it becomes beliefs demanding respect. Sorry, but no. It actually just compounds the stupidity. Thankfully young people, as Barna found (though they are hardly progressive), are rejecting Christianity. This may be the last generations of Aemrican's to take religion and faith seriously. Either that, or like the Romans, we fall to faith and a new dark ages rules for a millennium. I give it 50/50 at this point.

Posted by Giffy | October 23, 2007 8:11 PM


Can you explain your reason for such a stupid misreading of the point 37 had?

way to get fixated on the porn at work thing and not the point that Dan is pretty successful, at whatever-the-hell it is that he does...must be rough for him to have to worry so much about those future job interviews.


Posted by Neal Rice | October 23, 2007 8:18 PM

Dan, Dan, Dan! Breathe!

Nobody reads the damned Seattle Times anyway... So, when will we be seeing a daily print edition of the Stranger, anyway?

Posted by oneway | October 23, 2007 8:24 PM

What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, an evangelical church with an assload of money that likes to boast about the creative "indie rock" and "hip hop" and "filmmaker" types that support and frequent its organization. And a mainstream, daily newspaper gives it a pass, because this megarich, aspiring megachurch (or is it in fact a megachurch, like a tax-exempt megacorporation?) gets free press in Blethenland. See, in the world according to the executives at the Seattle times, the city of Seattle should be an SUV driving, upscale retail shopping, God-fearin', night life avoidin', shiny happy Disneyland of the Northwest. It works for Bothell, so fine, stay in Bothell, get the fuck out if you don't like here. We don't need your newspaper and its uncritical reporting of a racist, sexist, homophobic and scientifically and historically ignorant megachurch. Go ahead, Mars Hill Church, let's how "indie rock" you are.

Posted by otla | October 23, 2007 8:54 PM

Hey guys, how about we write to the Seattle Times and tell them how Mars Hill church is bad not only for the homos and the women, but for Christianity as well?

Posted by Greg | October 23, 2007 9:05 PM

Dan is right, Christians are idiots and perverts. Judaism is good for Seattle, and the local Jewish Temples do nothing but bring spirituality and justice to this racist town.

As for the "Christian Bible" it is all lies. Only the Torah is true. It is the name of God.

Posted by Issur | October 23, 2007 9:48 PM

You know its weird, I see all of these things about hatred and bigotry being hurled at Mars Hill and Christianity, but all I see in this piece and in the comments is the same hatred and bigotry. If not worse, actually. I'm 29, work in the secular music industry with mainstream artists on major labels and never once have I heard what you've described in any of the churches I've grown up in.

Is there a chance that your experiences with faith have unfortunately been with flawed, mistaken people?

Is there a chance that, like any social group who feels rejected by a majority, you're lashing back with the same awful hatred you condemn?

Is there a chance that, because of those two things, your view of faith or Christianity might not be true?

I'm sorry you're all so offended and truly sorry that you may have had such negative experiences with people who call themselves Christians, but really, read the responses on this page. Its sad.


Posted by Aequitas | October 23, 2007 10:30 PM

I went to mars hill once. I was 19, and had a total hard on for boys in girl jeans with sideswipe bangs and heard it was a good place to snatch one up. The worship band, fresh from the Ben Gibbard school of christian rock, had a pixie blonde with legwarmers who pretended to play a synth. I almost got into it, but then they went into a song whose chorus sang "It's Yeweh, or the highway" and decided that as much as I wanted to get laid I couldn't put up with another second.

Posted by jewritto | October 23, 2007 10:33 PM


I generally hate Christians. This is not a secret. There is no shame. I am a proud hater of Christianity. And will be until I grow up.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 24, 2007 12:14 AM

Seems the only thing these christians and homos have in common is their belief that each is out to destroy the other. Both suffer from severe persecution complexes. Before you crucify me, I've felt the persecution as both a born-again and a homo; just not at the same time.
Pity the commonality the two groups share can't be put to some constructive use in this whole Xtian V Homo V Xtian war.

Posted by Been2Jesus&Back | October 24, 2007 12:42 AM

Kevin @ 16 makes a really good point, in that there are all kinds of X-tians who are on a whole different page with their faith and how they choose to act on it than the fundamentalist nutjobs who have hijacked Jesus for Bush and Big Oil.

In Seattle, Mars Hill is way outnumbered by churches that host feeding programs, food banks, homeless services, and the like. Heck, there are even churches out in the burbs who have risked big legal bills hosting Tent City in the face of opposition from Bothell, et al.

Mars Hill definitely bears watching considering the pace they are expanding at, but they aren't the whole picture (thank God, who I personally don't actually believe in)

Posted by Agnostic | October 24, 2007 1:37 AM

well i'll be damned -- ok, you've got a valid point then, dan. i'm surprised the times would feel the need to quote some schmuck who's "not from a big town" and thinks it's all too weird. that is really lame that to feel like they need to do that (in 2007!).
on the other hand, in all fairness, i suppose since there was a protest at the parade, it is pretty common in news reports to discuss the protestors, even if it is a small group, and regardless of the event. if there were folks protesting mars hill, i would hope they'd be interviewed by the times too...but sadly nobody is protesting this right now.

Posted by mhcd | October 24, 2007 1:38 AM

Issur, I don't believe you're really Jewish. Or if you are Jewish, you have a third grade education.

Posted by ahava | October 24, 2007 2:17 AM

I always think it's a little hypocritical of The Stranger to criticize other newspapers for presenting things with accidental bias - when The Stranger has run stories that are just openly hateful, openly misunderstanding, openly liberal-intolerant. I remember this summer, you ran a piece investigating neighborhood churches, and only a few reporters (out of 30) tried to respect or understand the churches they were visiting. Some were hungover, unsociable, or sat way in the back so that they could escape.

The Seattle Times is biased, sure - there is no newspaper that isn't. And it does lean too heavily on the, "Liberal people/gay people/hippies doin' this crazy thing! What's that all about? Let's write about it like we're conservative old men who don't understand or like it very much!" cane too much. But at least they try.

You hate with conceit and without apology, and I think that's much worse.

Posted by randy | October 24, 2007 4:23 AM

@45, Speaking for myself, I don't hate Christians, nor do I think most of them are bad people. I just don't really care about them. As long as they don't try to make the preferences of their imaginary friend the law of the land we're fine.

I also don't think religion deserves any more respect then any other belief, and certainly not as much as race or sexual orientation. Christians choose to believe what they do, openly believe those who don't will go to hell, and most reject real knowledge discovered through painstaking scientific research. Sorry but I am not going consider that valid. I have no desire to force Christians to change, or to make their religion illegal, but I guess in someways I consider myself to be an evangelical atheist.

I also think tis odd that Christians immediately assume that those that reject their belief must be doing so becasue they have some negative impressions of Christians, are 'hard hearted; or some other emotional justification. The idea that one might rationally reject their religion escapes them. But then most atheists and agnostics know more about the bible and Christianity then most Christians. Hell the reason I'm an atheist is becasue I read the bible.

@52, but The Stranger doesn't pretend to be serious or objective, no more then KVI. The Seattle Times does, so when they are not it matters.

Posted by Giffy | October 24, 2007 7:10 AM

Rev. Joe Fuiten sure does preach around. He was a speaker at the Watchmen event last weekend.

Posted by duncan | October 24, 2007 8:32 AM

I don't hate all Christians. Be serious. My mom is a Christian, I spent part of my summer staying at the home of a friend who is a practicing Catholic.

It's dirty pool to sit by and say nothing when folks at one specific Church--Mars Hill--say and do bigoted things, maddening things, and tsk-tsk when they people Mars Hill attacks respond with understandable anger. When someone attacks you, verbally or physically, you have a right to defend yourself.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 24, 2007 8:48 AM

It's always laughable when the editor of the Stranger accuses another media outlet of bias.

Posted by BobH | October 24, 2007 9:19 AM

Never having been to Seattle, I'd not heard of Mars Hill Church before. Out of curiousity I looked up their website and found pictures of their "elders." My gaydar is in the red zone. Those guys are gay as a box of birds. And some of them are kinda hot.

Posted by MN Gay Dude | October 24, 2007 9:51 AM

I didn't accuse them of bias, BobH. I accused them of double standards -- and not holding themselves to those high journalistic standards they're always crowing about. They're fair, balanced, objective -- you know, pros. That's why they go get quotes from bigots for gay stories. But no quotes from gays in bigot stories. So... they're not living up to their own standards. And I called them on *that.* I never said The Stranger was objective or balanced. So, like, what's your point?

Posted by Dan Savage | October 24, 2007 10:23 AM

@45: If a pitchfork to the balls seems like an unpleasant image for your clean brain to process, please stay off my porch, and I'll stay away from your place of 'worship'. Thanky!

Posted by wbrproductions | October 24, 2007 1:12 PM

Mars Hill is a classic personality cult. When Driscoll is eventually caught doing something naughty (they all do!), the movement will splinter & die.

As far as hate & bigotry being preached in churches: happens all the time. Condemning homosexuals under the guide of "God says it's evil" is still bigotry, regardless of your supposed reason. Read the books of Joshua & Judges: ancient Israelites were voracious in their genocide, but justified it because their God told them to do it. (It was classic race-based hate & fear.) Mars Hill is supposedly racially diverse, unlike almost every other christian denomination, but that just means they don't spend much time on the Old Testament. I have personally heard the "Hamatic Curse" doctrine preached from pulpits. (This is how white christians justified slavery from a millenium: God decreed that blacks were inferior because one of Noah's sons sodomized him.) It's always funny to hear christians of different striped pick & choose which parts of the Old Testament hatred they want to be still in effect, and those they don't. (Want bacon on that cheeseburger, you racist homophobe?)

ANY religion based on racism, slavery, & genocide is evil and counterproductive to human advancement.

And what is a "christian" church doing with $4mil in the bank? Ever hear of mission work? That's the biggest indictment of all: they are in it for themselves only.

Posted by Sir Vic | October 24, 2007 3:38 PM

I work in Redmond, and I just noticed that Mars Hill has their sign up on a property here, an old church, that they must have recently purchased or leased.

The Martians seem to be everywhere these days.

Posted by duncan | October 25, 2007 3:14 PM

Mars Hill Church reminds me of Scientology.

Posted by Heather | November 1, 2007 7:25 PM

I kind of agree with the first poster. Sometimes the best way to criticize a person is to let their own words stand on their own. If someone says "The earth is flat", it's almost redundant to get a quote from the billion or so scientists who could offer their very complicated proof of the roundness of the earth.

I just can't see Mars Hill Church having any kind of real future- if you go to their "Ask Anything" page, it's full of all kinds of crazy dissent. The church is so young, the elders are so young, and eventually it will do the thing that all imperfect, ill concieved but deeply emotional revolutions do- crack open and consume itself.

And Seattle will just sort of move merrily along, I suspect.

Posted by renee | November 2, 2007 10:34 AM

see also: Mars Hill Church: Ask Anything (top 50 questions people want to ask MHC pastor Mark "women should make babies and leave the thinking to men; homosexuals are no more qualified to lead a church than fluffy bunny rabbits" Driscoll)

Posted by hyperlinker | November 2, 2007 10:59 AM

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