The biggest mistake that right-wing churchgoers make is believing that their church speaks for God, and Satan or Bill Maher or Madonna or whoever else speaks for the secular world. They’re forgetting two of their own rules: 1) God is everywhere, and 2) anywhere you find human beings, you have a potential for those seven deadly sins to throw a big, expensive bash. This means The Church can be (and frequently is) very sinful, and God acts forcefully and effectively through the secular world. This isn’t rocket science, people.

So when I read that the Southern Baptist Convention just ousted Fort Worth’s Broadway Baptist Church for merely thinking of putting photos of gay couples in their church directories, I thought of Sean Penn and his Oscar acceptance speech for “Milk.” Whatever complaints people may have about Penn’s wackier political misadventures, he is definitely a Force of Secular Darkness to the religious right crowd. So it’s not surprising that there’s more Christian love in his little awards-show speech than in anything the Southern Baptist Convention has to say on gay issues. Penn’s Oscar-night words were prophetic: God really is a homo-lovin,’ commie son of a gun.