Dear So-Called “Men of God”:
Wow. You guys have really, truly outdone yourselves this time.
I mean, it’s only been a few weeks since the viral videos of Sean “beat the gay out of your children” Harris, Ron “let’s prosecute gays like we used to” Baity, and Tim “homosexuality leads to bestiality” Rabon went shooting across the internets. All of these came courtesy of pastors in North Carolina, and all were meant to highlight your positions on Amendment 1 before that measure came up for public voting. Now that Amendment 1 is a done deal, I’d have thought things might simmer down just a bit in your fair state. I’d have figured that all you So-Called “Men of God” had made your points and were ready to call it a day.
But apparently, y’all were just getting warmed up.
This week, we have been treated to yet another anti-gay tirade from a North Carolina pastor, and this one was so out there, it put all the guys who came before it to shame.
Charles L. Worley (firstname.lastname@example.org, BTW, and the phone number over there at the Providence Road Baptist Church is 828-428-2518) decided to offer up his own “solution” to the issue of homosexuality in his church this past Sunday. And here’s what he suggested:
I had a way, I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but couldn’t get it past the Congress. Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 miles long — put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food.
Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed ‘em. And, you know what, in a few years, they’ll die. You know why? They can’t reproduce.
As I said earlier …wow. A concentration camp for gay people – now that’s what I call thinking outside the box! That “box” being sanity, of course, and that idea being way, waaaay, WAY outside it.
Now, the sermons that have made national headlines recently have all been from North Carolina. But I’d like to direct this letter to all the pastors out there, in every state in our union. And all the ministers and priests and spiritual leaders of any stripe – basically, anyone with a pulpit from which they preach intolerance against the LGBT community, and a congregation to whom they preach it.
I have to start by asking one question: just who the hell do you think you are?
Let me enlighten you, OK? I don’t give a damn about your religion. I don’t give a damn about your Bible. And I sure as hell don’t give a damn about your personal interpretation of the Bible. And the reason I don’t give a damn is because people like you have been pulling this sort of crap ever since I was young. At this point in time, after many years of hearing such garbage, I am well and truly over it.
Back in the late 1970s, I remember seeing a story on the news where Anita Bryant – former pageant contestant, Christian activist, Florida orange juice spokesperson and Miami Beach resident – got a pie in her face while at a press conference, speaking out against gay rights. It happened only moments after she had recounted a stop she’d made during her trek across America to “do away with the homosexuals”. I remember how she reacted after she got pied, choosing to immediately offer a prayer for the soul of the “deviant” gay man who had smashed the pie right in her kisser. And I remember being floored at the fact that she could sit there asking God to “forgive” the pie guy, and saying that she loved him, even though she herself had just been sitting there talking about “trying to do away with” him and anyone like him. It was when the meaning of hypocrisy made itself clear to me for the first time.
That was the first memory I have of seeing anti-gay hatred in action. As the years passed, I saw many others speaking out against the LGBT community, and they were always religious figures. And here we are today, with the Westboro Baptist Church and Billy Graham and all the rest of you – claiming to speak out on behalf of God, but sounding uglier than Satan himself.
Whatever reasons you have for your faith and for your intolerance, you’re entitled to ‘em. Really. This is the United States of America, and if you will not accept homosexuality as “normal” or moral, then that’s entirely up to you.
But to rant and rave the way you all have been is another thing entirely. To call for violence, or to call for prosecution, or to actually call for the internment and forced extinction of a group of American citizens is beyond the boundaries of acceptability in a free republic. Just how far do you intend to take this trend? In your quest to outdo one another in the anti-gay races, what’s left to say? Since the idea of gay concentration camps has been discussed already, you’re going to need to up the shock factor of your next sermon. Maybe you can call on popular culture for new ideas. Hmmm…oh, I’ve got it! There’s that series of horror movies the kids like so much, the Saw films. You can preach about how you think the gays should all be locked in a room and subjected to long-term physical and mental torture, then murdered. Would that suffice? Or is that not even a satisfying enough concept for your twisted, sadistic fricking minds?
You must realize that this sort of noise is counter-productive, don’t you? What do you think you’re accomplishing? Do you think people who hear your sermons will actually follow your suggestions and start rounding gay people up for imprisonment and punishment?
More importantly, do you think that the majority of Americans feel even remotely close to the way you do? Do you think that this sort of threatening hate speech appeals to us?
I have news for y’all. The country is moving toward equality for gay citizens. And here’s another factual tidbit for you to mull over in your tiny little minds: While many Americans are moving closer to the ideas of equality and tolerance for the LGBT community, a significant number for Americans are also moving away from religion. The number of people identifying themselves as “non-believers” has now equaled the number that identify as Christian, Jewish or Mormon…combined. And in a study of young Americans (aged 18-24), data showed that “…college-age Millennials are more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated”, with a full quarter of those identifying as “non-religious”.
There’s a reason for this trend, and if you want to know what that reason is, go look in the mirror. According to a recent report by Trinity College about religion in America, “…many of the 750,000 additional American adults who each year identify as having ‘no religion’ are reacting to…the ‘triumphalism and judgementalism of the Christian right.'”
So there you have it, So-Called “Men of God”. Your attempts to marginalize the LGBT community aren’t working. The only ones being marginalized are yourselves and your remaining, dwindling followers. You can appoint yourself judge and jury all you like, and you can keep on spewing out ever-more exaggerated scenarios for how you’d “fix” the gay issue – by rounding ‘em all up and shooting ‘em in the streets, or burning ‘em all at the stake, or whatever other method you’d consider appropriate. The thing I want you to remember is this. When you do that stuff, you’re turning off a huge segment of the adult population, you’re encouraging members of the younger generation to dismiss you outright, and you’re doing a really crappy job of spreading God’s word. Every extreme rant captured and posted on YouTube is another nail in the coffin of your church. You are not going to achieve the extinction of the LGBT population with this rhetoric. You may, however, cause the extinction of participatory Christianity as we know it in this country, so keep up the good work! I, for one, can’t wait to see what wackadoo sermons y’all come up with next.