Today’s STFU: An open letter to America’s pastors

Yes, people…AN ELECTRIFIED FENCE! It’s what God would want!
(Image via kwikemart.blog.cz)

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 (preacherworley@charter.net, 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.

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14 thoughts on “Today’s STFU: An open letter to America’s pastors

  1. How big an influence are these pastors, really? I honestly don’t know. I mean, are they really big and do they have big congregations that follow their leads? If not, isn’t it a problem that “mainstream” Christians don’t tell these guys off? Isn’t that a bigger problem?

    • For the most part, I wouldn’t say these pastors are “big” in terms of their influence. Some of these guys are pastors at a “megachurch”, which usually has a large congregation and will often have television and/or online followings as well. They are unknown to the rest of the world, though, until they do some stupid-ass shit like this.

      And the point about other Christians not stepping up to oppose this insanity is a valid one. I would love to see just one person stand up at one of these sermons and reject what’s being said. I would love to see some real Christianity in action – as in, people actually acting Christ-like, and not like Hitler. I cannot explain why it isn’t happening, other than to assume that there is a lot of fear among these followers. They are afraid of standing up to speak out their mind if it doesn’t mesh with the accepted doctrine. And they are afraid of homosexuality. They really can be ignorant, and that, I think, is why so many will go along when they hear stuff like this.

      It’s sad, but as I said in my post, religion is seeing a decrease in followers, generally. And even among practicing religious people, many have come around to supporting gay rights. So as awful as these pastors are (and they. Are. AWFUL.) I think what we’re seeing here are just the last gasps of a dying breed.

  2. I’m again it? Again it? Really!! The electric fence! It makes him puke and sick? It makes me puke and sick that this asshole would use the Bible to spew his homophobic views. It makes me sick that these so called people of God are using God as an excuse to talk slick about other people and use the guise of ‘its in the word of God’ to keep people all fucked up and misconstrued in the head. You can’t even say the word against right and you want to put people in a concentration camp with electric fences all in the name of the Holy Spirit! Get the fuck outta hear with your racist, homophobic viewpoint before someone goes all Damien Williams with a brick to the dome instead of a fruit pie to the mug of Anita Bryant. Or worse, someone may go the route of a crazed sniper and start busting caps in that ass!!!

    • Damn, I thought the same thing! The EXACT same thing…”again it”. You actually expect people to take you seriously when you say shit like that? LOL! But the whole sermon is so insane that I can’t believe nobody spoke up to question him. Not one soul had it in them to say, “Hold up, pastor…you want to do WHAT???” They are all spineless sheep. They have to be. Any thinking person would have enough sense to point out how unhinged and dangerous this guy’s mind is.

      All I know is that I have already sent my email to him and to his church, and I’m also planning on writing a letter (you know, on paper) to send over there. My opinion doesn’t matter to someone who has his head as far up his own ass as this guy does, but I’d like him to at least know that the world sees him. We’re watching. And we don’t like what we see, so we’re keeping an eye on him. It’s easier to do this crazy talk when you are only in front of the home crowd. But once you get on YouTube, then you get a whole new audience, and I hope he’s ready for what we have to say.

  3. Sadly, a much-needed post here. I’m very happy to say that I belong to a church that doesn’t fall into this line of thinking. In fact, there was a time within the past year or so where one of our members basically “came out” in Facebook with his domestic partnership with another (male) member of our church. I put a “Like” on it myself, and one of the first people to put a “Like” on it before me was my pastor’s wife. I’m friends with both gentlemen, hasn’t changed my view of them one bit.

    These North Carolina redneck pastors don’t represent what true “Christianity” is all about. Just the opposite, in fact.

    I’m also happy to say that my pastor openly stands up to verbally oppose other redneck yahoos like the folks at the Westboro Baptist Church. He’s not shy about it.

    There are good, decent pastors out there. And there are too many like the North Carolina bozos that we have to sort through to find the good, decent ones.

    • You said: “These North Carolina redneck pastors don’t represent what true “Christianity” is all about. Just the opposite, in fact…There are good, decent pastors out there. And there are too many like the North Carolina bozos that we have to sort through to find the good, decent ones.”

      I know that’s true, John. Believe me, I don’t have any interest in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I respect those who can practice and/or preach their faith in a way that exemplifies truly Christian ideals. I just find that organized religion can also be used to manipulate, to misinform, to stir up hostility, or to influence public policy (as these types of pastors seemed to do with Amendment 1). I don’t like to see that, and I know that you don’t either. And when I look at somebody like Worley, who actually sees nothing wrong with advocating concentration camps for homosexuals, and I hear his congregation laughing about this like it’s funny, or encouraging it with an “Amen”, I just lose my stuff a little bit. Well, maybe not “a little bit”. Maybe “a lot”. 🙂

      • Don’t worry, Chris, I’m still one of your biggest WTF and STFU fans. 😀

        I know exactly what you mean in your reply to me too. Oh, the stories I could tell within our own denomination right here in the Salt Lake valley, where there are a few different churches within our denomination to choose from — one more liberal with some conservatives sprinkled in, one very conservative where there may be a few liberals sprinkled in, a Spanish church, a Central church, a Tongan congregation.

        Our family used to attend the church that leans more conservative, mainly because it’s just closer to our home and not a half-hour drive away to the more liberal one. We went there for 2-3 years. I was baptized there in 1998. I served on the church board there, and it was from that time that I was on the board that I saw things that made my blood boil. I spoke up, too. The pastor there (who baptized me) at the time was a very “black or white, good vs. evil, no in between” kind of guy who thought his way was God’s way.

        I stood up to him, on matters where he would manipulate and belittle people, right there in board meetings. I stayed there, speaking up and signing a petition and trying to reason with the guy, until I was threatened with censure. And so was Amy.

        We and others who spoke up as well were strongly supported and welcomed by the more liberal church (where we started out attending when we first moved here) across the valley, and we ended up going there before the idiot pastor could actually “punish” us and force us to admit our evil ways in front of the entire congregation. We’re still at that more liberal church to this day, under a different pastor than the one the more liberal church started out with when we were there at first, but still a pastor I’d give my life for if I had to. The difference between night and day from the more conservative pastor who seemed to think he was God.

        Absolutely, organized religion can be used to manipulate. I’ve seen that with my own eyes, lived through the brunt of it myself. And that can be true even within denominations. And then there are guys like our Pastor Bernie, who don’t look upon himself as God but as a man with weaknesses himself, who have a true passion for what it’s really all about. Serving and helping others. And I’m happy to say that I served on the church board that hired him. 😀

      • Your story brought to mind a similar situation that my mom went through. She was always disappointed that I hadn’t chosen to continue as a practicing Catholic after I became a teenager and started asking questions. But later on, she began asking some questions herself, and she wasn’t happy with the answers she was given. She always used to have a hard time reconciling what she thought Christianity was with what she actually heard and saw coming from the priests. And once it bothered her enough, she knew she had to leave and go somewhere that better reflected her own personal view of faith and worship. She ended up leaving the Catholic Church and attending an Episcopal parish instead.

        It’s a shame when you feel as if the church you attend doesn’t really accept or represent your perspective, but it’s important to find a place that works for you, just as your story illustrates. I can’t imagine being faced with censure by someone who is supposed to be a spiritual role model. I’m glad you ended up somewhere that is more fulfilling for you. And I’m glad if you got a blog topic out of all this! You know me – I’m here to help! 🙂

  4. Chris, I see no need for additional comment. You and your followers are covereing it quite well.

    As for me — I agree and BRAVA!

    Your admiring follower, Ted

    • Thank you Ted! Honestly, I wish there hadn’t been such an ugly story to write about, but since there is, I hope enough people will see it and have the good sense to be as upset about it as you and I, and everyone else who is commenting here.

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