Anti-Gay Pastor May Get Seat in Chicago City Council

Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus is a pastor of a church in a neighborhood in Chicago. He may end up getting a seat in the Chicago City Council via appointment, as opposed to winning it in an election.

It’s not all that surprising to see a religious leader make the leap into local or state politics, at least not in Illinois, so why is this newsworthy?

De Jesus has a history of being anti-gay. His sermons have equated “homosexuality with drug addiction and other social ills.”

There’s plenty of evidence of his homophobia:

In an interview last year, De Jesus told Christianity Today that his paramount priorities were opposing abortion and homosexuality. In a neighborhood newspaper story about a proposed new high school geared toward gay students, De Jesus raised the specter of a virgin being harassed by gays or lesbians to have sex.

It’s possible that if he gets the council seat, he’d have control over funds for agencies with gay clients. That’s really the crux of the issue. It’s not just a personal belief — it’s a view that could have impact beyond his church.

De Jesus says this isn’t really a problem.

De Jesus says that he has never preached hatred of gay people and that his church’s opposition to homosexuality is rooted in a literal interpretation of the Bible.

… Asked repeatedly whether he viewed homosexuality as a sin, De Jesus replied: “I didn’t say that. The Bible says that. I don’t sit in a seat of judgment.”

I hate that argument.

He’s basically saying, “I don’t hate gay people. The Bible hates gay people. And I support what the Bible says. So I’m off the hook.”

It’s not a perfect analogy, but by that logic, I should be able to oppose Christian Bible Camps and make public statements that they should be condemned. And if you accuse me of being hateful or intolerant, I can just say I am neither of those things. But I’ve read The God Delusion and Richard Dawkins opposes indoctrination of children. So don’t blame me.

His argument and mine are both ludicrous. If you want to make such claims, I don’t care where that belief stems from. You better be able to defend it. And if you’re in politics, you better be able to defend it without resorting to your “faith,” as if that’s a legitimate excuse for your bigotry.

De Jesus has said that he won’t let his beliefs influence his politics, but I have a hard time believing that. How many politicians can you think of who are anti-gay in private but in support of equal rights for gay people in public?

In my heart, I can’t believe that all 4,000 worshipers agree with his anti-gay rhetoric. I wonder how many of them dare voice their opinion.

  • David D.G.

    He’s basically saying, “I don’t hate gay people. The Bible hates gay people. And I support what the Bible says. So I’m off the hook.”

    It’s not a perfect analogy, but by that logic, I should be able to oppose Christian Bible Camps and make public statements that they should be condemned. And if you accuse me of being hateful or intolerant, I can just say I am neither of those things. But I’ve read The God Delusion and Richard Dawkins opposes indoctrination of children. So don’t blame me.

    His argument and mine are both ludicrous. If you want to make such claims, I don’t care where that belief stems from. You better be able to defend it. And if you’re in politics, you better be able to defend it without resorting to your “faith,” as if that’s a legitimate excuse for your bigotry.

    Awesome words, Hemant. Well done!

    ~David D.G.

  • Brad

    Being anti-gay does not make you homophobic! As a bible-believing Christian we do acknowledge that homosexuality is a sin, that is what the Bible says quite clearly. It doesn’t mean we hate homosexuals. We just see what they do for the sin it is.

    Based on our freedom of religion it is perfectly valid for us to argue our points in democracy; just as valid as it is for you to hold your point of view… we both hold different points of view.

    That is partly what democracy is about… it is ok for me to have a different opinion to you and I should be able to put that forward in the way I vote and the way I work within the democracy… otherwise it is no longer a democracy…

    It seems to me you are very much pushing that you can be part of the democratic process as long as you aren’t Christian and don’t hold Biblical Christian views.

  • http://StephenJGallagher.blogspot.com Stephen J.Gallagher

    He’s basically saying, “I don’t hate gay people. The Bible hates gay people. And I support what the Bible says. So I’m off the hook.”

    the Bible is the perfect alibi for those who don’t have the courage to acknowledge their own bigotries and prejudices. Scratch anyone who uses the Bible to buttress their arguments, and you’ll find a moral coward.

  • Gabriel

    Brad you are homophobic. You are using the bible to justify a biogtry that you already hold. Do you hold that eating shrimp is a sin and that people who eat shrimp are sinful? Are you anti-shellfish? What about wearing clothes that are made of a cotton-polyester blend? What about cheeseburgers or milk with any kind of meat? Is eating bacon a sin? Are you pro-slavery? These are biblically based position. You choose which ones you want to believe in and follow and you choose the ones that match the life you already want to live.

  • http://10plusyears.blogspot.com/ 10plus

    “I didn’t say that. The Bible says that.”

    I hate that argument too. Back when I was part of the church, I remember a lot of the men had a love/hate relationship with summer- they loved summertime for the same reasons any of us do- nice weather, bbq, beach, fishing, etc., but they hated it too because of all the scantily-clad women— they’d have to struggle with ‘lust’ and all that. And they’d get lots of sympathy, pats on the back and prayers from the other guys because, well, those other guys could relate; they could sympathize and feel bad for their fellow ‘strugglers.’ They might call them on it once in awhile if they saw a buddy turn their head at a pretty girl on the beach or whatever, but it seems to me that the ‘anti’ factor tends to be far, far lower for issues that are near and dear to their heart (yeah, God hates all sin, but seems he hates some less than others). I very, very rarely hear anyone who calls themselves born-again even try and relate or sympathize with homosexuals. I’ve never heard any of them say something to the effect of, ‘I really wish the bible didn’t say that.’ It’s always the palms-up shrug and a ‘Hey, don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger.’ because they (generally) can’t relate to being gay.

  • Justin jm

    It seems to me you are very much pushing that you can be part of the democratic process as long as you aren’t Christian and don’t hold Biblical Christian views.

    No. You can be a part of the democratic process provided you don’t use the law to force others to follow rules in your religion. Fighting against gay rights leads to exactly this situation.

    America isn’t exactly a democracy: its a constitutional republic, where laws must conform to our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Some of the amendments in the BoR, such as the 1st, are directly antithetical to how the Bible tells people to run things.

    It doesn’t mean we hate homosexuals. We just see what they do for the sin it is.

    First, homosexuality isn’t something people “do.” It is an orientation, not necessarily entirely genetic, but absolutely outside of a person’s choice.

    Second, I have difficulty believing that lots of conservative Christians don’t hate gays when many conservative Christians seem to view homosexuality as a contagious disease, and seem to think of gays as willingly spreading it.

  • Aj

    The article made it pretty clear this guy is irrationally fearful of homosexuals, a.k.a homophobic.

    …De Jesus raised the specter of a virgin being harassed by gays or lesbians to have sex.

    Hemant didn’t suggest that religious people should be silenced, disenfranchised, or limited in any way. Shake that paranoia.

    In an interview last year, De Jesus told Christianity Today that his paramount priorities were opposing abortion and homosexuality.

    And yet it won’t affect how he operates in a council?

    “I would tell [critics]: Isn’t it ironic that you’re asking me to be tolerant and you’re intolerant to my beliefs. How is that?

    Those beliefs are the intolerant ones they’re asking him to change the ignorant deluded shit, they’re not asking for “tolerance” devoid of any context. The stupid, it burns.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Always these people are stuck on abortion and gays, and they turn to the Bible to support their personal bigotries . If the Bible is their excuse why aren’t they demanding (among other things) constitutional bans on adultery and divorce and screaming bloody murder for more aid to the poor? Their hypocrisy is astounding.

  • http://www.CoreyMondello.com Corey Mondello

    David has is correct:

    “He’s basically saying, “I don’t hate gay people. The Bible hates gay people. And I support what the Bible says. So I’m off the hook.”

    I recently saw this quote, which this story reminded me of:

    Hitler: “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany we have performed the greatest deed in the world.”

    I’ve discovered that a similar logic is the source of most forms of collective violence.

    “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue (name any nation, ideology or religion), we have performed the greatest deed in the world.”

    Hitler’s thinking and actions reveal the TEMPLATE for political violence.

    Source: Richard A. Koenigsberg – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752727057&ref=nf

  • TXatheist

    Hemant, I’m going to be a little pompous and say we Texans got you beat. Did you see the new American’s United cover? Yes, we are putting a christian revisionist who has been caught and corrected dozens of times on the school board education panel. http://www.au.org/media/church-and-state/archives/2009/07/texas-tall-tale.html

  • David D.G.

    Thanks, Corey, but all I was doing was quoting Hemant, repeating the part of his post that I thought was most poignant.

    ~David D.G.

  • cicely

    De Jesus raised the specter of a virgin being harassed by gays or lesbians to have sex.

    Because, as we all know, heterosexuals never pressure virgins (or anyone else) to have sex….

  • Spurs Fan

    Always these people are stuck on abortion and gays, and they turn to the Bible to support their personal bigotries . If the Bible is their excuse why aren’t they demanding (among other things) constitutional bans on adultery and divorce and screaming bloody murder for more aid to the poor? Their hypocrisy is astounding.

    Good points Buffy — you can also add “opposing war” if Christians truly followed the “turn the other cheek” model. But since nonviolence doesn’t appeal to their already-held biases, then they don’t subscribe much to it.

  • http://paradoxologies.org Sarah

    … if you’re in politics, you better be able to defend [your anti-gay argument] without resorting to your “faith,” as if that’s a legitimate excuse for your bigotry.

    Amen to this! I couldn’t agree more. Great blog post. As a Chicagoan, as a lesbian, and as a Christian it is troubling to me that De Jesus may be appointed to the City Council. I hope Daley is smarter than that.

  • Ruth E.M.

    “Always these people are stuck on abortion and gays, and they turn to the Bible to support their personal bigotries . If the Bible is their excuse why aren’t they demanding (among other things) constitutional bans on adultery and divorce and screaming bloody murder for more aid to the poor? Their hypocrisy is astounding.”

    As a Christian who does believe that homosexuality is against God’s good plan for us, among other things, which many human beings indulge in yet can be forgiven for, I have to agree that the above statement is shamefully, if only partially, true.

    I don’t believe Christians do use the the Bible to support their own personal bigotries, though some may. God is larger than life and beyond understanding. We can only know what he chooses to reveal to us, and in his wisdom he sometimes chooses not to. I don’t always know why God does or says what he does, but I trust him as a good God whose purposes are higher than mine.

    But yes, we can tend to push one barrow more than another, and that is wrong, I guess it’s just that with this issue we are pushing the barrow against a brick wall.


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