Pastor: “You deserve death for supporting gay relationships.”

Got this in:

Dear John,

I am a supporter of gay rights who is growing weary of the battle. In the last 24-hours, my pastor friend has used scripture in public Facebook posts to let me know that I deserve death for supporting gay relationships, and that I will receive the wrath of God for my love and support of my gay friends and family.

I find myself wanting to play the tit-for-tat Bible verse war game with him. But that seems pointless. I am just so tired of focusing so much attention on what consenting loving adults do with their hoo-ha’s. But I feel so strongly about this issue. My pastor friend is making it very hard for me to love him. And not loving is not what I’m about. Thanks for listening. M.

Dear M.,

A pastor publicly told you that you deserve death for supporting gay relationships? If you’d be so kind as to send me that part of your exchange with Rev. No Life For You!, I’d sure appreciate it. It does my heart good to see people of God doing God’s work. And if that doesn’t include wishing death upon anyone who supports LGBTQ folk in their quest to receive every last right accorded to straight people, then my name isn’t Fortineus J. Hockenschnooken.


I know what you mean about being exhausted with this particular fight. I suffer some of that myself. Sometimes it just feels like you’re wearing roller skates while trying to climb Mt. Stupid.

Which, of course, we’re not. We’ve got on exactly the right gear for this trip—and we’re already so far up the mountain we’re starting to jog to the top. And the opposition, meanwhile, is way behind us, down toward the bottom somewhere–old, tired, unprepared for the hike, their compasses broken, their supporting ropes frayed, forever taking the wrong paths that lead them either lower still, or into the shadows of dark ravines in which they stumble blindly about, tripping over roots, jagged rocks, and each other.

Ugh. What plodding, resource-wasting clods they are.

This won’t at all help, of course, but do pass along to Pastor Deathwish this letter from me:

Dear Pastor:

Hi! You don’t know me. My name’s John Shore.

My friend tells me that you wrote on Facebook that she deserves death for her support of gay relationships. I am hopeful that she misunderstood you. 

But if she didn’t, and you really did say that to her, then what in God’s name is the matter with you? How did you ever get a job as a pastor? Were you drunk when you wrote on Facebook that M. deserved to die for her views on the morality of LGBTQ love?

If you were drunk when you wrote that, then … that’s what happened. It’s understandable. People drink and Facebook all the time. You should never do it, for sure. But I’ll bet that M. will understand and forgive you, if you tell her that you were drunk when you Facebooked that she deserved to die.

If you weren’t drunk at the time, and actually mean what you wrote to her, then you are a disgrace to everything Jesus Christ stood for. Then you are a moral abomination, a huge, stinking, festering pocket of rot on the very face of God. To Jesus you are a dank pit of bottomless shame; you are the reason Jesus weeps, because in place of the divine and affirming love that he literally slaughtered himself to prove—the same love you swore an oath to represent and embody—you insert your own base and toxic hatred.

You dare to eclipse the son of God with the full moon of your own fetid ass. You use your moral authority to insist your sputtering farts are the words and thoughts of God.

And you’re so lazy. If you’re passionate enough about LGBTQ people to wish death upon anyone whose opinions of them differs from your own, then be passionate enough to actually learn something about what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality. There’s now a ton of solid, scholastic, Bible-based information out there making the case for why the Bible does not, in fact, condemn homosexuality. Read any of it. Read some of it, at least. At least try to be a little knowledgeable on the matter. It’s embarrassing when pastors make clear they haven’t learned anything new about God or Christianity since Thumper Seminary or Lickahick School of Divinity, or whatever, gave them a piece of paper declaring them qualified to speak for God.

The reason I know you’ve never done any real studying on the relationship between the Bible and LGBTQ people is because if you had it would be virtually impossible for you to hold the kind of crazily militant position you so ignorantly broadcasted that you do. The singular miracle of education is that it opens people’s minds. Clearly, you have a mind a mule kick couldn’t open.

Dude! You’re better than that! Get some education on this matter. You can do it! You can … read a little bit, reflect, contemplate, listen to God instead of speaking for him.

At the very least you should apologize to M. for what you said to her. That you can certainly do, right? Of course you can. And I’m sure you want to. You can’t be that cretinous. I’m sure you would like to take back the violent words you said to M. I’m sure you’ve already deleted them off Facebook, in fact. If you have, that’s like an apology—but it’s not. If that’s what’s happened, then be sure to do the honorable thing, pastor. Step up and close that gap.

Act like the man of God you’re supposed to be—the man we all want you to be.

And if it ever happens that you’d also like to apologize to all of the gay people whom in the name of God you publicly reviled, I and my blog are at your service. For that purpose this space is yours, whenever you want it.

God’s love to you—of all people.

Your fellow Christian,


P.S. Lemme say this in response to the criticism I know is coming my way for not showing to this pastor proper “Christian love.” Over the years I have written a great deal on this issue, both publicly and privately, wherein I led with love, patience, kindness, and forbearance worthy of Glinda the Good Witch on Prozac. About this matter I’ve earned the right, basically, to occasionally vent. If you are of the opinion that what I’ve written here is too harsh, then all I can say is that I wish you could see half the emails I get from young gay people who have been bullied and harassed for being gay that they’re thinking of committing suicide.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Stephen McBride via Facebook

    I occasionally disagree with you, John, but not on this. Keep it up as you’re bang on the nail here!!

    If only I’d come across this approach of yours, instead of evangelicalism, maybe I’d still want to believe. It uis very hard to unlearn all of the nonsense shoved down your throat>

    Keep up the good work.

  • Lowell LaMont via Facebook

    Very good, John.

  • Remind me to never piss you off. Yikes!

  • Lizz Codner via Facebook

    I’d be interested to see his reply. ^_^

  • Great job and thank you!

  • As usual, you are right on without pulling any punches. Well said, John.

  • PoppynJohn Kelly via Facebook

    Dear John Shore ~ I LOVE YOU!! Thank YOU for your fabulous words! Thank YOU for giving me hope & spreading LOVE!! Thank YOU for being YOU!!! God Bless You and the work that you do & praying that You have a Wonderful Week!! XOXO~P

  • Connie

    “Sometimes it just feels like you’re wearing roller skates while trying to climb Mt. Stupid.”

    Best. Line. Ever.

    It’s this kind of frustration that keeps me from entering into conversations with people like him. Even when you back them into a logical corner, they just don’t get it. I don’t understand preaching hate when Jesus so clearly preached love. Unconditional, boundless love. *smh*

  • shelley

    Well said John!

  • Valerie

    I love you John Shore. However it is never easy to get through to people when you insult them. No one has ever changed my mind or convinced me to side with them by starting out by calling me stupid or a bitch. As funny as the name calling is it is not loving in the least. We have to be careful of falling into the same trap as those that are hateful to us. All that being said insults can be fun. <3 🙂

  • Dave Bowling


  • As one of the NC Faith Leaders voting AGAINST and trying to educate the public on the varied reasons why the proposed amendment is just plain wrong, I understand that you’re feeling like flaming arrows have been directed against you.

    You are unlikely to change your pastor’s mind. I am shocked that he has judged you and condemned you. Perhaps he needs to review the “Love one another” and “Judge ye, let ye not be judged” portions of the Bible.

    Suffice it to say that you are much farther along a Christian path than he is. I’ll pray for his eyes and heart to become opened, and for yours to be protected and blessed.

  • You simply have to stop bottling yourself up like this, John. 🙂

  • outstanding! you sound a lot like Martin Luther!

  • Lynne Jacobson via Facebook

    Thanks, John. I’ve been patient with gay haters for a long time and simply have no patience for the topic any more. I am grateful to you for your even handedness and insight. I just want tell this person that this “pastor” is neither a friend or a pastor.

  • Thank you, John, for your letter to M.’s pastor. As I’ve been hearing the story of what she’s been going through (we’re friends, and she told me she had written to you about this), I couldn’t help but think that she’s living in a time warp and her town is really in the early 20th century instead of the 21st. I mean, I KNOW there are haters in the world, but the whole “town turning against you/church turning against you/pastor condemning you” thing just doesn’t seem like it would HAPPEN anymore in this day and age, but apparently I was wrong. It’s much like the Vatican condemning the LCWR for not hating on gays enough or condemning abortion enough and instead focusing too much on alleviating poverty (gasp!); M. isn’t gay herself but she loves those of us who are (you know, that thing Jesus said was so important… love!) and SHE’S being condemned for loving her fellow humans? I just don’t understand some people… at all…

  • Drew

    I’m with Valerie on this. You write many fine things, John, that even an atheist like myself can approve of. But I think you would have been better to appeal to the message of love in the Bible than resort to insults.

  • Thank you, John, for calling that man on the carpet on behalf of us LGBTQ persons, because— as you point out—if people like him bothered to get to know us, it would be virtually impossible for him to hold his crazily militant position so rabidly.

  • I wish I could say I was surprised. I recently engaged some people on a discussion board and was called everything from homo-enabler to f*g or worse. The behavior of people who call themselves Christian is reprehensible sometimes. The people in NC who are FOR this amendment use fear and hate like this lady experienced to keep the sheeple in line.

  • See the P.S. I’ve added to the post.

  • Mike Little via Facebook

    Amazing. I wish I could say I was surprised.

  • Mindy

    Valerie, I thought the same thing, for a split second. Then I realized that anyone who is so obtuse about the meaning of Christianity probably wouldn’t get the message from anything less pointed. This pastor embodies the word “villain.” And sometimes, you have to speak to a villain in the only language s/he understands. And that language can be pretty ugly. Funny as hell, too, but ugly.

    Go, John. I hope she shares this letter with said pastor. Who should not be allowed to call himself such.

  • William George Cook via Facebook

    Hey John, I love what you’re saying here – I typically do. However, while the sarcasm is quite witty, I’m not so sure that mocking this pastor’s intelligence (no matter how little he seems to have) is the way to go about writing him. While yes, it *is* funny, and yes it *is* somewhat appropriate given your apparent relationship already established with M., it isn’t conveying any sense of love towards the pastor anderson certainly won’t help him understand what true love is (something that he could definitely use a lesson in). Since you do have time to better elloquate (is that a word? My phone says it not) yourself before publishing anything, wouldn’t it be wise to do so? Make your point politely; use big words that he has to look up in the dictionary to help. If he has to look up the words used to describe your big word, bonus points for you! But at any rate, we can’t fight hate with despite. We have to show love even to those that don’t understand what love looks like.

    –To M., how horrible! I assure you that your pastor should not and does not deserve such a title. I hope that you can rest a least a little in knowing that not only are you the more mature Christian than he, but also that you are doing the kingdom’s work in sharing your view with him. No matter what he chooses to do with it, you are doing all you can for God and his people; bless you for that.

  • Diana Ruby Sanderson via Facebook

    Amendment One doesn’t just affect gay couples, but any family unit that doesn’t fall within the very narrow definition of what is a “legal union.” It affects single-parent families, a single parent’s access to their children, domestic violence victims & their children, any couple who share a life without ‘marriage’. This amendment is a slippery slope to disaster for NC families.

  • John Shore, you said it best. There’s no reason why anybody needs to die for loving their neighbor. That pastor was an ass.

  • Rachel G.

    Scarlet Letter much? This poor Pastor has gotten in the ‘way-back machine’ and traveled a century or two back. He needs to come to the Light, today.

  • I’m with Valerie and Drew on this one. I think you’d have better luck with anyone if you actually read the Bible for once without applying your humanistic philosophy to it. Maybe then you’d see that the Bible actually does condemn homosexuality and puts into the same category of sins as murder, lying, stealing, adultery, etc. Sure, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, but he also told sinners to stop their sinning. Hm…imagine that. Well, what is sin? It’s anything that’s an affront to God’s holiness. It’s not about disobeying his law, because we are all guilty of that and yet, you wish to think that all mankind is inherently good, when the Bible clearly states that no one is good and that all have sinned.

    Granted, the approach this pastor has taken is quite wrong. If he has a problem with this woman’s views, he clearly should have talked to her privately. You, however, are no better than this pastor, with all your name calling, bullying, and browbeating with your so-called “right” view of homosexuality in the Bible.

  • Hallie

    I can’t help but agree, Valerie.

  • Dan C

    My response to these types of veiled death threats: Eventually, pastor, eventually.

  • Richard Williams via Facebook

    I’m with John Shore – I do not know about the man’s intelligence but his attitude re right and wrong is twisted.

  • See the P.S. I’ve added to the post.

  • Jan Darlene Hastings via Facebook

    John Shore – you’ve changed my feelings about religion. In a very good way.

  • Pleas see the P.S. I’ve added to the post.

  • Remind me to never get on the wrong side of you. Wow! You blasted him good! LOL Well said!

  • Thom Watson

    Well, Amendment One isn’t really “a slippery slope to disaster for NC families” just because it might impact straight people, too. Amendment One is in and of itself a disaster for NC families, not a slippery slope to one — however more broadly it might be applied — because gay couples /are/ NC families. I doubt — or at least, I hope not — that you actually mean to imply that it wouldn’t be a disaster if it affected only gay families, but it’s not an altogether unfair reading of your words.

  • Bob

    Yes, I’m afraid the “pastor” who told her she deserved death will just see the profanity and insults and toss it aside as just another liberal commie rant without even reading it. On the other hand, if you had just written professionally, as one Christian minister to another, he may have paid more attention.

  • erika

    “You are a moral abomination, a huge, stinking, festering pocket of rot on the very face of God.”

    better than Shakespeare!

  • Bmac

    Wow, John. You never cease to amaze me and brighten my day. I’m sure there are many others who wish they had this kind of clarity and humor when dealing with such hateful people. No matter what your views are about LGBT issues I’m sure we can all agree that Pastor McDeathpenalty was WAY outta line!

  • The pastor was not acting like M’s friend by saying such a thing. What was he thinking?

  • Read it! And I (well, I think I can, but I don’t get any of those emails, which I’m sure are entirely horrific) understand where that comes from – people can be monsters, this pastor is a case in point.

    Might I suggest posting something of this caliber on here, but for your actual reply to the pastor be more subtle?

    If M. shares this with him, I would look forward to seeing anything he responds back

  • “If you weren’t drunk at the time, and actually mean what you wrote to her, then you are a disgrace to everything Jesus Christ stood for. You are a moral abomination, a huge, stinking, festering pocket of rot on the very face of God. To Jesus you are a dank pit of bottomless shame; you are the reason Jesus weeps, because in place of the divine and affirming love that he literally slaughtered himself to prove—the same love you swore an oath to represent and embody—you insert your own base and condemning hatred.

    You dare to eclipse the son of God with the full moon of your own fetid ass. You use your moral authority to insist your sputtering farts are the words and thoughts of God.”

    I think this is my favorite part….poetic righteous indignation. <3 I am a fan!

  • Only thing missing here, John, was some mention of how it might’ve been “peer pressure” from his flock that made this man condemn someone to death. The only yard sign against the anti-marriage prop. in town is a very easy mark. A minor sidebar to your response, which was as usual spot-on. (btw, as to tone: spend a minute reading most any of the prophets, you’ll feel like a lightweight.)

  • George Joseph Hill via Facebook

    That certainly was a can of whoop ass and I agree completely, condemning one to death does deserves a clear and powerful response. I’m not convinced it’s ever productive, but it sure is a great way to let off steam and frustration, I get it!

  • I’m not a Christian minister. And please see my P.S. at the end of the post.

  • carl

    This pastor needs to be reported to his superior. This is not good pastoring. If nothing is done then I would hope she would leave that church!

  • Tom

    So what more would it take besides something like this to get a person to leave a church? I would be curious to know if it is Catholic or a right wing fundy church, because I’ve heard of both make these kinds of vitriolic remarks to their congregants. Leave the damn church already!

  • John G Slawson via Facebook

    John, you are terrific!! God bless you!!

  • Tom Maxwell via Facebook

    My advice to this woman: leave the church!

  • William: I barely have time to write one response, let alone two.

  • Gary

    Indeed. I left one that was a right wing fundy version and feel closer to God than ever in my life.

  • Gayle Martin Legner via Facebook

    Keep up the good work John!! Mt. Stupid is right….we all seem to be climbing Mt. Stupid these days.

  • There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned and directionally purposeful rant to clear the arteries and light our fires. It also makes for a very entertaining read!

  • I am growing so weary with all this hatred of other human beings.

  • ST

    Catholics are in support of gay marriage at a higher percentage than non-Catholics. I have never, ever heard a Catholic pastor at my parish say something so cruel, or even half that cruel. Or heck, cruel at all!

  • Christine McQueen

    I’ve shared this on my Facebook wall, with a request that all of my friends share and re-share until all of Facebook has a chance to read it. I did this because as a Christian, I agree with every word you wrote!

  • Sonya Trejo via Facebook

    Agreed, there are so many Churches who don’t have that sort of hatred in them.

  • Tim

    Nothing like a good rant by a clever writer to make one laugh, as well. As with so many other transparently stupid ideas people (including myself sometimes) cling to, the very expression in any actual form of the ideas exposes them for the laughable nothings they are.

  • I would really like to see a link to this pastor’s words. A lot of interesting writing here, but I haven’t seen any facts yet, just anger, however righteous it may be.

  • Kate

    John, I love this and wholeheartedly support the tone and attitude of what you wrote to this very small man. He wished death on her, people. Death! I’m sick and tired of idiots like him too. Kids are killing themselves at a disturbing rate– occasionally, the gloves must come off.

  • Alan, is it the chicken or the egg? Is it peer pressure or pulpit pressure?

    Although I agree with leaving the church, but only for the sake of the woman’s own well-being. Sometimes we need to climb mountains because they are there, stupid or not. We may not change everyone nor conquer every mountain, but the seeds we sow just by being there makes a difference. The only sign in town may seem silly to some, but may mean a world of difference to the teenage gay son of her fellow congregation.

    John, you are not a prophet. You are a voice of spring water in the moral desert of our time. Light and refreshing.

  • Gary

    Yeah I too would be surprised if it came from a Catholic Priest. This sounds much more like what I would expect to hear from the very fundamental baptist preachers I have sat under. Praise God I finally kicked my full brain into gear and got the hell out of there.

  • Excellent! Your writing is great!:)

  • Melody

    This lowlife deserves to be insulted. He deserves no respect or defense. John’s letter was kind compared to what I would have said.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Yet you are a Christian, and one who I’m sure does a better job than this other guy of ministering to the spiritual needs of your fellow man/woman. If that doesn’t make you a Christian minister, then I’m the King of the America (which is totally cool with me of course, and in which case, as our first official act, we hereby appoint you His Majesty’s Minister in Christ for Social Justice upon the Realms of California and the Internet—so there!)

  • Allen

    I stand in solidarity with your p.s., John.

    Polite discourse is not an appropriate response to condemning someone to hell because of a sign in their yard. This pastor’s behavior exhibits many of the qualities which you ascribe to him. Sometimes the shock of being so addressed can be a wake-up call. Clearly his experiences and learning to date as a Christian (and pastor!) have not.

  • Ahh, fair enough

  • Elsa

    John, this was beautiful. At first I thought, “the pastor will never listen to this” but you are right. Being loving, kind, polite does not work on people like this. At all.

    He will probably not even read this, and it may not affect him at all if he did, but what it does do, is encourage us to keep climbing the mountain with the damned roller skates on.

  • (King Matthew)

    (The Act, the First, of His Majesty, Matthew of the House of Tweed-Dale, by the Grace of God King of the Several States, united upon North America and Hawaii, and Lord Protector over Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Lesser Territories, is hereby amended as follows: His Majesty hereby appoints John Shore of County of San Diego in California State, Minister upon the Internet in the Defense of the sound, Christian Faith and unto the Furtherance of Christ-worthy Love in all the World.)

  • This song expresses my views. It’s called “I Learned Hate from the Church and State” by a political activist rock band from Detroit called The Insurgency. Please share:

  • Shannon

    To those wondering why the writer is still at that church–nowhere does it say that she’s a member. He is a “pastor friend” of hers. I have lots of pastor-friends who aren’t my pastor.

    Love the rant, although I’d bet the pastor-friend sleeps soundly at night. Some people wouldn’t recognize the Holy Spirit if She materialized on the altar during church.

  • Ciao Bello!

    Hey “Giovanni Uomo Bello Coraggioso Feroce e Forte! I just had to express in Italian John what your beautiful response, a stunning”Polemic” of sorts to the “Sanctimonious Right Hon. Rev/Pastor truly means to me! I’m not sure if I’m able to adequately express how “Gratified and Proud” this “Christ Lovin’ Queer (LGBTQ) Man”, who so very long ago was the young lover of Bobby Griffith, of Lifetime TV’s “Prayers for Bobby” fame, has been made by the so richly deserved onslaught that you hurled in his direction! You are indeed “Amico Mio” as I addressed you in “Italiano”, one ” Beautiful Brave, Strong n’ Fierce Man! Someone for whom I’d be wildly proud to call “Mio Amico e Fratello”, or “My Friend and Brother! And “Ti Amo Molto Per Questo”, or “I Luvs Ya Lots For This!!!


    Blaine William Andrews

  • “You dare to eclipse the son of God with the full moon of your own fetid ass.”

    I’m glad I was alone when I read that, because I laughed aloud and giggle-snorted at the screen. I’m also glad I wasn’t drinking anything, because I’d have to wipe my screen and dry out my keyboard. Thank you for reminding me (among other reminders) that I truly am a twelve-year-old trapped in a thirty-two year old body. I love such reminders.

    Your words are harsh, but not unwarranted. I firmly believe that sometimes Good is Not Nice. When people are wishing death on people with whom they dissagree, that’s about the time when Good Doesn’t Need to be Nice.

    To your suicidal folks… having struggled with that issue myself (though I’m not gay so I probably do not fully understand… but I have felt disinfranchised, unwanted, “born wrong”…) – One of the things that keeps me going sometimes *is* the thought that my mere existance is ruining someone’s day. Petty people *deserve* to have thorns in thier sides. I’ll keep breathing just to piss the right people off.

  • Amen (if I’m allowed to say that) John.

    That man needs to learn about “one love”

    Don’t ever change, please.


  • Diana A.

    Amen, sister!

  • Gordon

    Are we just going to let this ass-hat spew this crap? Man…I do hate trolls.

  • I’m still waiting for a rightie to explain to me why shellfish/pork eaters, mixed fabrics get a free ride. Why aren’t they atttacking Red Lobster and Wal-Mart?

  • Diana A.

    I actually thought John’s response was mild, all things considered. Maybe I’ve been hanging out on this blog for too long. (Ponders a moment.) Nah!

  • Diana A.


  • Gordon

    Well said and with just the right tone, John. That guy is no pastor and he certainly does not deserve any respect. He deserves the contempt that you expressed. I’ll bet he reads what you wrote. I’ll bet we haven’t heard the last from him.

  • Because they LOVE Red Lobster and Wal-Mart.

  • LSS

    DUDE. applause from the asperger corner of born-wrong and disturbing-the-complacent.

  • I know this is serious. I know we should stand up against evil, as your response does so well. But this ignorant, hateful individual just reminds me of the old saying: You should not try to teach a pig to sing. It will just frustrate you and it angers the pig.

  • I have nothing to add but applause.

  • LSS

    i’m kind of curious…

    from what M said, it sounds like passive-aggressive verse-throwing.

    “my pastor friend has used scripture in public Facebook posts to let me know that I deserve death for supporting gay relationships, and that I will receive the wrath of God for my love and support of my gay friends and family.”

    but i may be reading it wrong. did he at least have the guts to say “this is my opinion about M and here are verses to back it up”? or did he just throw the verses out there knowing she would see them?

    not that either would be friendly or loving, but it would kind of tell us if he’s being slimy-wrong or just wrong.

  • Mike

    nice ‘friend’

  • Doug Nelson via Facebook

    love the response. thats good stuff right there.

  • Cathy Cory via Facebook

    I stopped, stuck at the word “friend”…. a “pastor friend of mine”…. that is NOT a friend of hers, whether she thinks it is or not.

  • Marie FishSquirrel Muchnik via Facebook

    Bravo, once again. BRAVO!
    “You dare to eclipse the son of God with the full moon of your own fetid ass. ”
    Dear Facebook: NOWWW can you add a “LOVE” button??!!!!

  • Leslie Marbach

    John, I absolutely don’t think you were too harsh. People like this pastor, people like we all know, have been heaping “love” on all people LGBT or allies for way too long. (Oh, gosh, we’re truly saying you’re an abomination and doomed to hell because we love you!) Maybe it’s time some of them got the “love” heaped back on them.

    I say good for you! (And remind me to never piss you off!!)

  • Kimberly Moser Musci Phillips via Facebook

    People only use that “Christian love” thing to deflect attention from the bald truth of what’s been said. Anyway, Jesus called the Pharisees vipers, hypocrites, and sons of hell, whenever He determined it was the appropriate (CHRIST-ian) response to their church-sanctioned practices of ungodliness and ignorance.

  • Curt Naeve

    Well said John!

    Thank you for speaking so eloquently for so many of us.

  • Eva

    I believe that the phrase (according to the young folks these days) is Boom, Roasted!!

  • Pam Oldenburger Larson via Facebook

    Thanks, John! Love you!

  • Kimberly Moser Musci Phillips via Facebook

    @AllenF: James3 talks to the responsibility of teachers and pastors. While “peer pressure” is a reasonable thought, and it might’ve played a part, this pastor is rightly held to a higher standard than whatever his flocking parishoners maybe enticed him to do. As a pastor, he has a responsibility to not abuse his authority, esp by publicly humiliating someone he’s shepherding. 2Cor 6:3…”We give offence to no man, lest the ministry be blamed.”

  • Daniel

    Very well said, John! As to the question of whether or not you were overly harsh I *emphatically* say no. Bullies like this pastor will never stop until they get a taste of their own medicine.

  • C’mon John, tell us how you really feel!

  • There are only six verses in the Bible that talk about homosexuality. That’s six verses out of 32,000 verses or so. I think you can take them on verse by verse.

  • Dianne

    That was my favorite.

  • Dianne

    Breathe deeply, fully. Never apologize for existing. We are glad you are here.

  • I’m reading the comments, with essentially a debate about whether this direct and, yes, harsh approach is the right way to communicated with this guy. And I can only think of one thing:

    Who cares?

    I mean, if John’s response, harsh or timid gets through to him great. But he isn’t like to change his mind and, far more importantly, this guy apparently has all of N.C. backing him. He doesn’t need John’s coddling.

    It is much more important here to stick up for M. and those like M. and those that M. is standing up on behalf of. A nice timid reply does not do nearly as much for THEM as tearing this guy a new one. Telling someone they deserve death for supporting rights for people that you don’t think should have rights requires more than a “dear pastor, you could have been more loving”. We should be outraged. And expressing that outrage doesn’t just serve to show the person the magnitude of their transgression, it also shows the people who are wrong that someone else thinks that a shockingly horrible and asinine thinng to do. When surrounded by people thoeing this verbal garbage at you, sometimes you need a clear reminder just how stupid and horrendous it really is.

  • Chera

    I am a North Carolina resident, a Christian, and against Amendment One. This was my recent Facebook post.

    Ready, set, and go…..So up until now I have tried to be very nice and considerate…not harsh in regards to what I say and do about the Amendment One Vote here in NC.

    This morning the gloves are coming off. I am angry….very angry. To those of you FOR this amendment. You have your reasons (mostly faith based) and I support your right to have those reasons, and beliefs. I support that because I believe in Freedom of Religion. I support your right to voice those beliefs, through spoken words, signs, posts, etc. I support this because I believe in Freedom of Relig ion and Freedom of Speech.

    But…and this is a big BUT…how much thought have you put into it before you speak, put up signs, or post things on FB? DO you realize that by doing this you are turning LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people away from the very GOD you claim you want them to know? They see these things and they want nothing to do with your GOD. Nothing. DO you realize that you are shutting down communication with these individuals? Do they want to get to know you, develop a relationship with you, turn to you in times of need?????? The answer is “no”.

    By advertising these things you are just letting them know the people, places, churches, etc. that they should avoid. Have you ever been with an LGBT person when they see one of your signs? Have you seen the change in their countenance? Have you seen the hurt in their eyes? You say that you do not do this out of “hate,” but I can assure you that they are not feeling “love”…at all.

    Now, imagine that you are 12 years old, you know you are gay, but you come from a home and a church where this has always been spoken against. To an extreme. Now imagine that every day on your way to school, you pass signs and BILLBOARDS about Voting FOR the Amendment. How do you feel? That there must be something so bad about you, about the way you feel, that people are even willing to put up BILLBOARDS about how bad you are. I will tell you this….Young people can only take so much of this. Then they become a statistic. A suicide or attempted suicide statistic. You can not tell me I am not accurate. Pick up the paper, watch the news, go online…..their stories are everywhere. And those are just the ones the public found out about.

    Now, I may have offended some of you with this. But to be perfectly clear…I DON’T CARE. I am not saying that to come across as mean, just honest. If posting this helps to save one precious life then I will gladly offend you every single day of the rest of my life.

  • Diana A.

    Thank you!

  • Elizabeth

    Dear John

    Thank you for saying to this pastor on the behalf people like me, what may needs to be said to all Pastor.

    I may quote you, send links to this blog, cut an paste and/or status you. Just saying 🙂

    I am once again grateful to you

  • Diana A.

    Good for you!

  • thank you, Christine.

  • Suzy

    Best thing ever written. EVER.

  • Tammy Lubbers

    John, you you have the chutzpah to say the things we are all thinking. More power to you, my friend!

  • Still waiting to get a link to the pastor’s actual words, or even a screenshot of them. I’ve also gone back to the original message that John received and re-read it several times. I am left wondering if the pastor literally made specific, personal, direct comments TO her ABOUT her…. OR did he make general blanket statements about a broad swath of people that happen to include her. Not that it justifies his comments, but it changes the nature of the conversation in a small but meaningful way. Anyway, still waiting to see the spark that started this fire.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    John I am still in shock that a pastor would say such hateful things to anyone, let alone another christian. Good for you for telling this “pastor” what so many of us would also like to say.

  • Lynne Jacobson via Facebook

    This “pastor” should be on the hate crimes list as someone to be aware as a potential threat to gay people and to those who are gay friendly. He’s way too close to making actual threats when he says that someone deserves to die for their opinion.

  • Mindy

    You rock – thank you for speaking your mind!

  • Mindy


  • Hannah MiamiSun Johnson Baker via Facebook

    Well said, John!! Thanks again for speaking!! <3 God bless you, John, God bless you!!

  • Lymis

    Well done!

  • Bob

    I read the P.S., and I am well aware of all the bullying and suicides. I’m just saying he’s probably already heard plenty of insults.

  • louise

    Yes!!!! well said

  • Ron Viramontes via Facebook

    John I found your response to the pastor on behalf of M both well tempered and to the point. You say you debated a more “Christian” response? I say this– we are here to serve as stewards for one another. This is what God intended and what Jesus exemplified. Threats made to those who truly serve “the least of our brothers and sisters” by those who profess to speak for God but propagate hate and discrimination must be met with equal and opposite resolve so that there is no question in any one’s mind that should one draw the battle line before us, we will toe that mark.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    Lynne I agree. That man is scary and needs to be closely monitored.

  • What happened to compassion? This pastor appears devoid of compassion.

  • He complete had me with this one as well Dianne! I normally do not go in for “Invective” but that “Bigoted Christianist Clown” so richly deserved every word!

  • Amanda

    John, that is one of the best things I have read. I have caught a lot of crap recently since I have been more open to my support of the LGBT community. People spew their hatred in the name of Jesus and my arguement is plainly that I cannot support or believe in a God or religion that teaches hatred or any form close to it because of who someone LOVES. It makes no sense. To suggest that homosexual people will go to the same hell as murders and child molesters is just beyond me. Because of LOVE. Because they are different. Ugh. Thanks again and also thank you for burning my resentments on Easter Sunday. It truly meant a lot to me. You are a good man.

  • Dana

    Not all pastors are bigots or threaten death. I’m married to one of them of them, and good friends with numerous others-two of them being ga themselves.

  • Rock on! And, for the record, I thought you were quite restrained. As a straight person married for 25 years, it chaps my hide when someone/anyone has the cajones to try and label my marriage as being only about genitalia. If that is how their marriages work, they’re doing it wrong. My marriage is about love and commitment and a whole helluva lot of laughter. And if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t. So long as marriage is defined by penis and vagina, it’s not an institution I want to be involved in. And I will work hard to get rid of such a ludicrous notion — on behalf of gays, definitely, but also on behalf of every loving couple who sees their marriage as a little bit more than putting tab A into slot B.

  • Jo Hargis via Facebook

    Oh I don’t think you were too harsh at all. Sometimes people need to hear the stark truth. I think the chances of you changing his warped, bigoted mind are pretty low, but not for lack of trying. This poor woman, who I admire greatly by the way, needs to find a church that promotes the values she cherishes.

  • This is one of the most relevant blogs I have every read, and I know it comes from the heart. I’ve been reading your blogs for some time and you make sense of the mess that fundamentalist religions have put on the LGBT community as a whole! I feel you are a comforting source of calm with the ability to lift up anyone who has dealt with the insanity of anti-Gay forces that hide in the cloak of religion. Thank You John!

  • Lynne Jacobson via Facebook

    You are so correct, Virendra, American cultural christian-ist behaviour is about clout and power over another and thinking that one’s opinion is more important than learning about who Jesus the man was and who the Christ is now. Just try telling some people that Jesus was a Palestinian Jew and watch them seethe with bigotry. Christianity, following the teachings of the Rabbi Jesus is nothing like this hateful stuff. It is about acceptance, compassion, rebellion against injustice and love.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    I’m curious if this was a Calvary Chapel pastor. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it was.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    I’m curious if this was a Calvary Chapel pastor. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it was.

  • Lora

    Chera…I would add one point to your post. Yes, people… all people, have the right to think and believe anything…any religion they want. What they DON’T have the right to do is to interject THEIR religion into the laws of the country and into MY life.

  • God love you, John!

  • Lesley

    Very well said, by you Chera and you John. Even Jesus got upset with the religious leaders and took them to task and rightfully so. That’s how I see people who are in power pushing these beliefs – they are the religious leaders of His day. Unfortunately, too many just blindly follow them without doing any work on their own. Sometimes, they only understand the direct approach and good on you John.

    I was a believer long before I knew I was bi-sexual and believe me, when I fell in love with my wife, I had to work at reconciling what I’d been taught and what I was feeling. So did Shannon, she grew up Pentecostal while I came to faith in college. I do not worship an unopened book, I try my best to worship the true One written about in the book clearly understanding that a lot of people have had a political-aka-their-own-agenda influence on what went into and what didn’t go into the Bible of today. Only a fool would not realise this fact, no matter where said fool stands on LGBTQ issues.

    I was taught to study and research the Word on my own and to not just take anyone’s word for what it did or didn’t say. I had to employ that research again when I fell in love with a woman, whom I truly believe He intended for me. It was a journey but every time some hater lifted voice, He was always there to say gently to me, ‘Lesley, you know the Truth, I’ve shown it to you’.

    All of this culminated a year ago, Feb 27th, standing in MCC Portland listening to the praise band play a worship song. I love music and have the gift, if not the talent, of music and have always found some of my most intimate worship of Him via music. I was standing hand-in-hand with my wife just soaking in the music and the worship going on around and in me, when all of a sudden, I felt the most overwhelming Love I’ve ever felt. I *knew* it was Jesus and He was there to just love and support us.

    I turned to Shannon and said, do you feel that? She said yes and she had the vision on Jesus walking up the aisle reaching out and hugging everyone. There was no combination, hatred or dislike, only the most amazing Love I’ve ever felt. You know when you’ve experienced a movement of God, you just do and have no words for it but you *know*. I say here for all eternity on this internet, that a gun could be held to my head and on threat of my life will never, *ever*, denounce the one or the One I love. I would accept death before I say I do not believe He made me, and others, this way and He is well-pleased even in my human foibles.

    He made each one of us in His image and He’s totally fine with LGBTQ people, TOTALLY!!!!! So, wishing death on another is beyond the pale and must grieve Him. Know you are loved now and forever more! Blessings.

  • I totally agree with this. We should be more concerned with the feelings of the people who have been harmed than the feelings of the bullies who have harmed them. And like you said, the bullies have plenty of support.

  • Amen, John Shore. Fundamentalists tend to be literalists and it’s their interpretation or the highway. Their message to the Christian community as a whole becomes exclusive rather than inclusive as taught by Jesus.

  • Amen, John Shore. Fundamentalists tend to be literalists and it’s their interpretation or the highway. Their message to the Christian community as a whole becomes exclusive rather than inclusive as taught by Jesus.

  • Ben

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Forgive me John, for feeling the need to step in here again, but after responding to your great “Missive” here to that “Bigoted Pastor”, I’ve been observing other responses fly in all throughout the day! I’m so struck by the complete turn around of “Public Sentiment! When I was an “Out” young man, a boy really many years ago, the views of this “Pastor” reigned supreme on many fronts! It brings tears of joy to my eyes, to read the almost unanimous support, for your response, and by folks of faith as well! Again please pardon me, but it was indeed the kind of ill informed , if not completely ignorant attitudes like this man’s that sent a boy like Bobby Griffith, and countless others after him to their deaths! My faith is beautifully justified by not only your great “Polemic”, but by the overwhelming support it’s receiving! May the Lord Always Be With You My Friend! Blaine

  • NobleExperiments

    He had me at “Sometimes it just feels like you’re wearing roller skates while trying to climb Mt. Stupid.”

  • MaryJo

    John, you ROCK!

  • Richard Lubbers

    John, so many people share your sentiments in this. I was appalled at the man too! It staggers the imagination that some “Christians” actually look forward to watching the damned burn (according to their theology, not mine).

    It also seems incongruous that we will see those same pyromaniacs at the marriage supper of the Lamb, perhaps sitting next to you or me! But if Jesus is truly in the process of drawing all things into god, then we have to believe that Pastor Death2you will come strolling right through the pearly gates with Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin Dada and Slobodan Milosevic. Charming, isn’t it?

    But we shall be in the presence of Love himself, and something tells me there won’t be a hate hangover. But I still wonder if it will be okay to slap them on the back and say, “Jeez, they let anybody in here, don’t they?”

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Go Chera!

    And Lesley, thank you for your testimony!

  • Richard Lubbers

    Blaine, the wave is building! And we know it gives Him joy! Surfin’ into paradise! But there is still much to do. Bless you!

  • Diana A.

    Oh, that last sentence of yours was wicked. Funny! But wicked.

  • Lorelei

    In my imagination, at that great celebration in the eternal realm, every single one of us will 1) realize all the crazy, stupid, hateful, misguided, ignorant, mean, fearful things we pulled, then 2) really GET how awful it was for others, and 3) really, really, truly apologize and be reconciled to each other (this includes things we did that we’re unaware of). So, so, so much better if we take care of these things now. Better for us, better for them. Pastor Kill-‘Em-All, please consider how much more difficult this breaking open of your heart is going to be when you are standing in the presence of Jesus – who already faced the nightmare of human evil, and will be able to see every iota of it in you (and me). For your own sake, repent! Dear M., your sisters and brothers are praying strength and joy to you – thank you for your witness to the God whose love is perfect in every way!

  • “You dare to eclipse the son of God with the full moon of your own fetid ass. ”

    OMG. That phrase just completely made my night. No, my week. Maybe even my month. Brilliant.

  • I am from Raleigh NC and it doesn’t surprise me about this pastor. The ads in tv and in the paper have been horrible with the vote next week, May 8th. Pastor Patrick Wooden has got to be the worse one here in NC with his vicious lies and hateful and mostly HARMFUL preaching (if you can call that preaching). Some folks are confused about the is not a yes or not vote. You have to vote “for” or “against” Admendment 1. We have so many good people and religious leaders here in NC trying to counter what lies have been put out there. Anyone from NC-vote AGAINST Admendment 1 May 8th!!!!

  • kya

    Please keep God out of our fighting.

  • tempus_aeterna

    Oh my goodness. I tend to be a live and let live person, so while I strongly disagree, I respect the rights of churches to say homosexuality is a sin. Them doing it is harmful and distasteful, but they have the right to do it, just like everyone here has the right to speak out for the LGBTA community and tell those churches that they are wrong. I firmly believe that freedom of speech is what ultimately allows progress, but sometimes means you have to respect the right of others to say something that you hate. (BTW, this same tolerance does not apply to when people want to legislate said beliefs through law.)

    What crosses the line for me is that this “pastor” didn’t say, “I disagree with you” or “Christianity disagrees with you” or “the Bible disagrees with you” or even “you are walking a dangerous path in your faith” or something that makes it clear that the pastor is talking about their issue with M’s beliefs. This “pastor” has implied that M deserved DEATH for her beliefs. Being a bigoted bully and using your right to free speech to destroy people with your words is one thing. Wishing death on someone is quite another. . . . wow.

    To M, I send my virtual support to a long and difficult struggle helping the LGBTA community. I know that even though you feel you aren’t doing any good, there are people who walk by your yard, talk to you, or read your Facebook/blog/whatever posts and feel a little opening in their hearts. I know that there are LGBTA people who see or hear your words and feel like they aren’t alone. You may not know it, but living your life in loving support may stop someone from committing suicide or make the difference in someone struggling with their sexuality. The world needs people like you, who stand on the street corner shouting your message.

  • otter

    I’ve written a parody of “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess for my LGBT chorus to perform in a couple of weeks. I offer some of the lyrics here in the spirit of using humor to make a point, which is John’s specialty.

    It ain’t necessarily so

    It ain’t necessarily so

    The things that you’re liable to read in the bible

    They ain’t necessarily so.

    In Genesis there’s a mistake!!!!

    NO woman would talk to a snake!

    Adam wanted a pie……. There was nowhere to buy,

    So Eve cut up the apple to bake!

    Did Jonah encounter a whale?

    That story sounds typically male!

    Did a wee little flopper, grow into a whopper?

    It made for a marvelous tale!

    The point we are makin’, you’d be quite mistaken

    To use Bible verses you’ve heard

    As justification for discrimination

    Now Honestly!! That’s just absurd!

    Religion’s a terrible tool

    When self-righteous people turn cruel!

    We lesbians and gays, We’re the targets these days

    Of sanctified, bigoted fools!

  • otter

    Spectacular use of imagery!!

  • Bravo “Amico Mio”, slay ’em with style! And “Gershwin” is among the best, though far too good for most of these “Ass Clowns!

  • I recently saw a photo of a church sign in Iowa where it said ‘Gay is not okay’. It was the title of that weeks sermon. I wrote to the pastor of the church and basically said what Chera wrote, only in my own words and more personal (this is my first time here on this page so it wasn’t anything to do with what I see here – just my own discouragement as a Christian at how signs like that make every step I take forward with my gay friends feel like I take 5 back). The answer I got in response to my email to the pastor was not great. Basically his life and the lives of his family was threatened over the sign… that’s not a great way to deal with it. And his reasoning was the usual ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ line. I wrote back and tried to reason with him over some of what he said but I could tell by his next reply that I was talking to a brick wall. Very, very discouraging indeed.

  • Andy

    With guys like him claiming to be Christians, it’s no wonder that so many normies hold grudges against us.

  • Matt

    Not too harsh in the least, John.

    When it’s my job, partner, well-being, bodily safety, and life on the line, it makes me angry and exhausted too.

    You just do it with so much more panache :).

  • Normies!

  • Thanks, Matt.

  • applauding

  • otter

    Do churches have a right to practice polygamy? Or female genital mutilation? Or animal sacrifice? How about to deny their children medical care?

    No….churches DO NOT get to do as they please. They SHOULD NOT be allowed to poison the culture against ANYONE.

    Count the DEAD teenagers, and tell me this is not poison.

    Consider my examples and tell me WHY do we defend this hate speech???

  • DR

    I’m so tired of catering to Christians who insist that our tone in communicating how damaging and evil their behavior is must be “kind” or “subtle” or they won’t listen. It is such a dismissive, shallow perspective. When will those of us who profess we have the courage and conviction of Christ start being able to handle conflict better? It’s like the church has removed the ability of us actually *facing* the consequences of our behavior.

    We have DESTROYED gay kids. Gay adults have barely survived us. They want absolutely nothing to do with us, they don’t want our evangelism, our love, our “let me tell you about Jesus because I’m one of the ‘good’ Christians”. They’re done with our nonsense and the best thing we can do is to leave them alone and start dealing harshly and candidly with the men and women in power who continue to promote the abusive ways we’ve twisted Scripture to justify our own homophobia and ignorance of sexuality.

  • DR

    Anger is an activating agent. For those of us totally blinded by our theology (and I was one), it takes someone being angry with us to wake us up.

  • DR

    Chris, how about you toughen up a little bit. We’ve destroyed the gay community, it’s amazing they have survived us. Christians demanding that we be spoken to in loving, gentle tones or we won’t listen is the most emotionally infantile, narcissistic thing I’ve seen on this forum. It’s like asking a mom who’s had her child die to be kind to her child’s murderer. Do you *get* that? Gay kids kill themselves as a result of our theology and men like this pastor who is so steeped in his homophobia that he could literally, say something like this in public. Gay men and women are so scarred by this kind of behavior that they run from any sign of Christ.

    In short, grow the fuck up. Seriously, It’s time for you and others like you who continue to promote this kind of belief system out loud so privately to face the people you’ve damaged. To face their anger. If you don’t, you’re a coward.

  • DR

    This is such BS. Does being a pastor somehow exempt you from those you hurt expressing their outrage candidly? What a bunch of white-washed cowards we’ve become. If a “pastor” really requires someone to speak to him or her politely or they won’t listen, they don’t know the strength of Jesus who got screamed at on a daily basis and TOOK IT.

    Take it. Face it. And don’t spiritualize it, no one is attacking you, we’re holding you accountable for the low character and low thinking it takes to maintain this belief system and not be accountable for the impact. I think those of you who demand gentleness and mindless demonstrate a lack of emotional maturity to face the results of what you’ve done and the impact you’ve had, even though of course you didn’t intend to hurt anyone. But you have. So demonstrate you are willing to really engage on peoples’ terms other than your own.

  • DR


  • Michelle Webber Mollett via Facebook

    John, your response had me laughing out loud and I hope that pastor gets to read it. I grew up a Pentecostal Christian but the hypocrisy, intolerance, bigotry, judgement and apathy of Christians in general caused me to turn my back on faith altogether eventually. I wish there were more like you in the world. Churches often stand up publicly against racism, abuse and many other human horrors but very few stand in support of the LGBT community and sit silent while thousands of people live with self hate and rejection. What would Jesus do? Sure as hell not what most of His followers do!

  • “You can’t be that cretinous.”

    Want to make a bet on that? I’ll give 10:1 odds.

  • vj

    Yeah – what happened to ‘love your enemies, pray for them, bless and DO NOT curse them’? You’d *think* a pastor should have some sort of passing familiarity with those parts of the Bible… How on earth did he arrive at wishing death on *anyone*?!?

  • vj


  • vj

    So beautifully stated!

  • Richard Lubbers

    Fear is a terrible thing, and people do hurtful things when under its influence. It is discouraging. Like John says, its like wearing roller skate to climb Mt. Stupid.

    Keep the faith. Every day there are more and more believers who open their hearts to the love of god for all men and women. Love is a tsunami, and we’re all meant to float.

  • Davi J Martin

    We all tired of confronting the same mindless & heartless words of hate spoken in the name of god…parroting the WORD without one iota of understanding. This may be less of an affront against the whole message of the Bible revealed and clear in Jesus Christ Himself: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Having said that, I have concluded that the wisdom of St. Francis of Assisi to his band of brothers are wise and on target: “Preach the Word of God…using words only when necessary”. The best “weapon” of non-violence against homophobes is a life lived openly, lovingly, proudly as a blessed, loved child of God. Fortunately we live in a nation with freedom of expression. In addition, the dwindling numbers of homophobic fundamentalists who abuse the Word of God in spewing their putrid words eventually find it very, very difficult to hate those they love who reveal their gay orientation: husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, etc. They become like the soldiers of the dying/regime of the former USSR…asked to turn their guns against their families to support an evil, corrupt regime. It never happened and history records the freedom of Russia and her satellite nations. These fundamental groups will all eventually fade away…but the message of Christ…His words of Truth shall endure forever…they are written on our hearts. Namaste.

  • Allie

    Hon, I don’t think you need to apologize for venting. Sometimes letting someone have it with both barrels IS Christian love. Christ is the paradigm of Christian loving, right? And he wasn’t shy about calling a Pharisee a rotting sepulcher.

  • Diana A.


  • Cameron

    “You dare to eclipse the son of God with the full moon of your own fetid ass. You use your moral authority to insist your sputtering farts are the words and thoughts of God.”

    THIS is the sort of turn of phrase that keeps me coming back!

  • Gordon

    Bravo, DR. My sentiments exactly.

  • Lymis

    Dana, at the same time, I think Elizabeth is right that it’s something all pastors need to hear, because honestly, one of the most important issues good pastors need to be dealing with is all the damage being done by the bad ones.

    And they need to be visibly and loudly standing up and speaking up. Perhaps not quite as colorfully as John did (bravo, John!), but equally forcefully.

    I’d point out that every time Jesus is recorded as getting really pissed off, it is always about exactly this sort of thing – bad pastoring, commercializing religion, loveless posturing, and turning the young away from God by bad example.

    If a good pastor can’t get mad at the same things that made Jesus angry, what can he get mad about?

  • Lymis

    Because shrimp and bacon are yummy and Wal-Mart is handy and cheap. But hating the gays is painless and convenient.

    Surely you aren’t claiming that righteousness should be inconvenient?

  • Lymis

    I’m not sure I’d say I have a lot of pastor-friends, but I can say with confidence that I don’t consider anyone who wants me dead to be a friend of any sort whatsoever.

    I kinda think of that as a dealbreaker.

  • DR

    Dana, it’s time for those of us who do not belong in this category to stop reminding everyone that we’re one of the good guys. That makes it about us and not the people being hurt. Our energy should be 100% focused on apology – repair – and cleaning up this mess in our own ranks so gay men and women don’t have to do it anymore. We need to encourage one another toward action, not defense. Bless your husband and you for being one of the good guys but until we’re able to activate our “good” into “repair and prevention”, focusing people on us being supportive can be detrimental.

  • Nessie

    Dear John, and other friends on this page,

    I am from NC (sadly), and the previous posters who are likewise from my state are correct. There are very few signs asking us to vote against.

    However, I have every intention to vote “NO”, as I feel such an amendment harms the families of my friends who are LGBTQ.

    The facts as I understand them are that gay marriage is in fact already prohibited in this state, so whoever thought this up and pushed this through, is doing no less than adding insult to grievous injury. And behaving nothing like the Jesus most of them claim… certainly not the Jesus with which I am familiar

    I’m voting Against… I cannot in good conscience do otherwise.


  • Carol Freeland via Facebook

    I don’t EVEN want to read this…..not today anyway..

  • tempus_aeterna


    First of all, I specifically said that they have the right to free speech, which does not extend to when they try to *do* or *legislate* something. All your examples (aside from the implied suicide victims) are when churches *do* something so they don’t apply to free speech. However, I will respond individually because you asked me to consider your specific examples.

    Polygamy – It is illegal to marry multiple women (in the US) and therefore churches today in the US do not have the right to practice polygamy. Polygamy is however a bad example because there are many cultures where different forms of poly are practiced which are not from the influence of the Christian church and are not forcing men or women into horrible situations. . . are we to say that they are wrong and persecute them for something, just because we don’t agree. Isn’t this the same thing as saying that gays and lesbians should be persecuted because the church don’t agree with their sexual choices (assuming in all situations we are talking about consenting, informed adults – no child brides, no forced marriages, no abuse, etc.).

    Genital mutilation – Female genital mutilation is abuse, again they don’t have the right to *do* this. However, again it’s not so simple. Many of the cultures who practice female genital mutilation are not driven to do so by the Christian church. There are other social and cultural issues at play here. There are people from other cultures who believe that circumcision is genital mutilation and we should not be doing it at all. I believe that female genital mutilation is horrible and people who practice it here in the US should be tried and convicted for child abuse. In other countries it is not so simple, but there are many people working to educate those who see genital manipulation as appropriate including large numbers of religious missionaries. In many places they don’t have the right to free speech which inhibits efforts to decrease genital manipulation.

    Medical care – Denying medical care something that parents have the right to do under the law and is not just reserved for churches, parents all over are refusing vaccinations which is putting *all* children at risk for some terrible diseases. So this problem is not limited to the religious. In the US if the denying medical care goes too far, then it is the place of the government to step in and evaluate if the child is being neglected and abused or not.

    Free speech is different from action. Without free speech we could be put in jail for preaching the gospel (happens in other places). Without free speech we could be tried and convicted for speaking against the government (happens in other places). Without free speech people who stand up for LGBTA rights could be silenced (happens in other places). Free speech allows people, including John Shore and M the freedom to speak their minds, support LGBTA rights, and challenge traditional church theology without living in fear of reprisal. But free speech is a double edged sword. . . we have the right to say things that other people vehemently oppose, but so do they. . . and working to silence the other side is ultimately working to silence ourselves.

    When you oppose free speech the question because “who decides what is the poison?” In society today, if you simply went on majority rules, I would imagine that speaking out for LGBTA rights would be considered poisonous. Not too long ago, supporting birth control, abortion, gender equality, race equality, religious freedom would have been considered by the simple majority of Americans poisonous. Freedom of speech protects the minority from mob mentality, but it protects all minorities. Personally, I defend the right of individuals to speak out against homosexuality, because I want the right to tell them they are being hateful, because I want the right to openly support my LGBTA friends, because I want people like John Shore and organizations like the “it gets better” project and campus LGBTA groups to have the right to speak out. If I try to limit the rights of the other side to speak, ultimately I risk limiting my right, and that’s something I won’t do.

  • tempus_aeterna

    BTW. I love John’s response to this supposed “pastor”. I support free speech for John’s right to openly tear into this person for his hateful words.

  • I agree with Jason Engle. In the idea, that to see the context of the actual conversation, would allow a more clear understanding of the circumstances, of which a Pastor of a church would actually stoop to such a level of personal attack upon a single person. If there is even an inkling of truth to this post, which i will assume there is, i wonder if Mr. Shore has considered the fall out or repercusions his open letter might have in the personal and social life of Ms. “M”. Once words are spoken there is no taking back the effects they might have on someone’s life especially if this person could be persecuted with a letter such as this, by not only the Pastor, but by those this woman has come to relationships with, within this church and community. imho. Mr. Shore, you seem to be a contradiction when you use ” judge not lest you be judged”, and then the second greatest commandment Jesus commissioned upon us, to “love one another”. If we are to use these words, no matter what the context, then we must live by them no matter what the circumstances are. I am curious in the idea…did this woman specifically ask you to address this Pastor, in such a way as to make yours and his behavior seem equal, in your ways of personally attacking something neither of you seem to have an understanding of?

    It seems to me, the more Godly path, would have been to arm this woman with the truth that you mention as far as Biblical and spiritual enlightenment in order to present her with the self confidence to express with truth why she stands where she does with this very important movement. Instead you provided her with the very same if not worse example of behavior as the so called Pastor. I pray you have not left her high and dry in her beliefs and the possible outcome of your very harsh words and behavior.

    Just so you know, as a non gay Christian, who openly embraces this movement, we indeed put ourselves in the position of being persecuted by those with a lesser understanding of God’s actual love. Yes sometimes the whole house of God that we worship in falls victim to the false witness a Pastor provides because of lack of compassion and understanding. It should come as no surprise when these confrontations come to light. We have heard these words since the day we chose to rise above the close minded drones of religion. Some of us have had many years in preparation to stand on the truth and to speak it with confidence and compassion versus someone who has just recently taken the true love of God and put it into practice. As it seems “M” might be in this position.

    I have embraced this movement as a born again Christian who was preached to that homosexuality was a sin. The gay community did not enlighten me with the truth by beating me up with their words. It was their love and compassion, their respectable behavior in the face of diversity and the dedication to their cause that stirred my spirit in understanding and love for them as Jesus has commanded that we love one another as we love ourselves. Jesus never said to attack those who don’t agree with us, or act like us. Nor did he ever specify to not love anyone in particular. He couldn’t have been more clear when he said ” love one another”. What part of that don’t we get?. Love, begets love, hate begets hate…..again in my humble opinion, with the truth as i see it through the spirit of the God of my faith…..I see no love here, nor does my spirit. If you are of God and he dwells in you then there would be love here. Maybe it’s just me, but i struggle with compassion for the intolerent, and i simply refuse to pat a bully on the back.

    We should all pray for “M”, that God blesses her with the strengh and courage to endure through this and that her love for the God of her faith prevails, and outshines, with the truth, anything that comes against her. I also pray that she does not take your example to heart and use this sort of tactic the next time a situation like this arises in her life.

    I am just a simple man evolving in a loving relationship with the God of my faith. He encourages me to seek the truth, but more important he instructs me to speak the truth as he speaks it to me. It is not my purpose, nor am i qualified to judge anyone, but to question their behavior will enlighten me, and gain me wisdom through their experience.

    Of all the attributes we associate with ourselves, may they all begin with God’s…….

  • tempus_aeterna

    I bet that the “pastor” wouldn’t know what cretinous is. . .

  • Diana A.

    Good for you, Nessie!

  • Diana A.

    Wonderful! Thank you, tempus.

  • Agreed. That was the best thing I’ve read in months!

  • Wow. Welcome to the Crazy Train. Wonder what Jesus would think of that statement?

  • chera


  • DR

    Free speech that creates a permissive environment where Christian parents feel endorsed to kick their gay children out on the street where they are raped, exploited and abused is not to be tolerated in any way, shape or form. This happens everyday, all over the world. I don’t think you’re aware of the damage done by this theology. Spend some time with a Trevor Project volunteer. They will enlighten you.

  • chera

    Thank you! From another NC resident!

  • DR

    When God is the reason *for* the fighting – when He is the justification for a position that is harming people and as a result, that must be addressed – references to God must be a part of the battle.

  • Miriam Byroade via Facebook

    you are the awesome

  • chera

    I am voting against!

  • chera

    Me too!

  • Brian W

    My feelings exactly brother

  • Valerie

    Don’t say you agree with me. Obviously we do not have the same opinions. Go away.

  • Valerie

    As I said I love you and I love reading your posts. And I get that you get a lot of hate mail from the religious nuts out there. Venting is indeed needed and appreciated. Obviously they are trying to get you to change your mind. It hasn’t worked. Neither would this type of letter. I am afraid that nothing but meeting God in Heaven will change these people’s minds and that will be a brief encounter when he turns his back on them for their hate and lies. Don’t fall into their trap.

  • Valerie

    Thank you DR obviously he does not agree with us at all.

  • At this moment, I’m not up to saying much.

    I’m sorry.

    But I do want to say a few things.

    To *M*: You don’t deserve death for being loving toward your neighbor.

    To the pastor: Seriously, you should consider a different line of work. Bigoted talk-show host, perhaps, would be more your speed. Or maybe toll booth attendant. (No offense to toll booth attendants.)

    To John: No, you weren’t too harsh. When someone uses the “deathwish on Facebook” method of rebuke, all bets are more or less off.

    To the people who write John expressing thoughts of suicide: I’m praying for you, and hope that you see that you are loved. The world is getting better. I realize that there is still a lot of bad in it, but you can see even in the last few years that we’re moving in the right direction. Please, get help, and hang in here.

    To Jesus: I’m sorry that Your name is misused this way. Thank you for being so patient and forgiving with us.

  • Elsa

    Richard, a short time ago, I would have agreed with you. And, in most circumstances, I still would. But there are a few points I’d like to make here:

    Firstly, from what I gather, M will have the decision of whether or not she posts this ‘rant’ – I don’t think John has access to the pastor’s fb directly. So it is up to her.

    Secondly, as John states in his PS, being kind and ‘loving’ doesn’t work with people like this. Sure, those things work with you, they work with those of us reading and commenting here. Because we are normal, kind, loving people, attracted to kindness and love, and hungry for the truth. And they may work with sincere believers, who are anti-gay because they think the bible tells them so. But people like this pastor are not like this. Their hearts are hard, and they only want power and control. And they are not Christians. They are using religion to gain power over others. They are not interested in facts. It wouldn’t matter how many scriptural references M presented to this pastor, he wouldn’t believe it, because he’s not interested in the truth. He’s only interested in power, and will do whatever it takes to gain and keep it. This person started a battle, and he chose the weapons. And, no doubt he will whine when those weapons are used against him.

    Third, I am beginning to understand, finally, that ‘love’ does not always equal ‘being nice’. Jesus was certainly not always nice. He showed great compassion for the regular people who were trying to live their lives in peace. But he did not mince words with the religious leaders. I find it very interesting that Jesus said to ‘turn the other cheek’, and ‘love your enemies’ but he was very vocal against hypocrites, and called them a number of choice names. And physically overturned tables and drove money-lenders out of the temple. This was not ‘nice’. Perhaps this is what love actually MEANS sometimes.

  • Jess

    Yes, Yes and YES!!!!!! Me too!!

  • Jess Abel Wright via Facebook

    it really sounds a lot like bullying to me – for a pastor to abuse his position in this way.

  • Richard lubbers


    I agree with the need to return love for hate. It is not always easy, and indignation at the wickedness of of a statement such that made by the pastor to M online usually brings up the same feelings in me. I was glad to see John, after finishing his rant, go into constructive, loving counsel toward the pastor, who in my humble opinion, is more lost than those he judges. The reason he’s dangerous is because he has taken the position of leadership, and others are being wounded by his teaching.

    John did the right thing. The pastor needed a wake-up call, which John gave him. If he will look to his own planks and remove them, he may find the redeeming love of God in the anger that. Ame as a result of his hatred.

  • DR

    Richard is wrong. Those of you who believe his theology and don’t have the emotional and spiritual maturity to face the anger and pain of your detractors – including the people you hurt as a result of expressing it – lack courage. Jesus faced his enemies head on. Face yours, face the people who are being honest wrh you. Stop insisting that they -we – only speak to you with kindness and respect or you will dismiss it by pulling the “reverse judgment” card.

  • Valerie

    You have made a wonderful point.

  • Valerie

    very cool!

  • I currently have a signture that applies to this on my account at Deviant Art (it’s an online free post your art and comment to other artists site, if you don’t know with a range from kids doing doodles to professional known comic aritsts). My current signiture reads “Good isn’t always nice. Sometimes good has to kick some ass.”

    It’s appropriate to some of the fanart I do – artwork of ass-kicking heroes of animation and videogames. However, strangely enough, it was inspired by Jesus. Specifically, it was inspired by a conversation I had on this very blog.

    We were talking about “nice” and about how “Christians are supposed to be nice” and all the nice things we do and the paitience we’re supposed to have and the incident with Jesus at the temple came up – the story about him throwing out the moneychangers. Ooooh, boy! Grabbing a whip, hootinng and hollering, turning over animal cages… maybe I’m imagining much of this, but… yeah… Christ himself basically pulled a public incident worthy of *me* on a bipolar-berzerker bender that would, today, probably get him jailed on an assualt charge.

    Oh, noes, someone get Jesus some medication! Tranquilizers! (At least that’s the reaction I see from some non-Christrians looking-for-ANYTHING-about-Christianity-to-judge from some non-Christians). The problem with said non-believers, though, is that they’d get just as angry if not more so Jesus just let the status-quo injustice happen.

    You know what? Had to be done. Sometimes the roaring of a lion in response to injustice is preferable than the bleating of a lamb. Sometimes, you gotta say to some folks “Enough! You’re a wanker! This is what you are doing! Look at it!” It may be angry, but on occasion, anger is what gets through.

    I can relate to being formerly homophobic and being confronted with the fangs – and it making me just back into my corner and hiss, or even aggravating my own suicidal feelings (I’ve been all kinds of messed up all my life for lots of reasons). It doesn’t mean that I had the right to take the teachings I was being fed and to become a holy-bully. The old addage about bullies often being insecure and unhappy with themselves is sometimes true, but doesn’t give them the right to not be stood up to. I think the stuff that really got me into questioning things and *wanting* to seek out alternate views of scripture and the Christian experience that jived with my own sense of justice (that was desperately trying to claw its way out of the shell I’d built around it for “concern for the right” and maybe a bit of “fear of Hell”) … were the people who were gentle with me, but I really don’t begrude being told off when I needed to be… much.

    Okay, so one of the people who sparked my curiosity was a self-proclaimed Christian (Epsicoalian) who was a right bitch to me about this and many other things, made VICIOUS personal attacks on me and generally behaved in an un-Christlike manner to the point that I hope to NEVER see the likes of her name online (and have a permanent aversion to Triumph the Insult Comedy Dog because it was her avatar on the board we were at), but the fact that she claimed to go to a church that made her gay-friendly got me curious. I guess.

    I don’t know. I think the true winning me over came from the kind, the gentle and the people who posted flat-out facts and just my own sitting and thinking hard about life and society… but I survived the insults, the lion-roars and the telling off and have come out of it thinking “Yeah, I deserved that.”

    And I was never in a position of authority, like a pastor, nor do I remember giving death threats to ANYONE or saying that ANYONE deserved to die.

  • Sometimes this battle truly feels like a brick wall, but as Richard says, every day more people change their minds and open their hearts. Bless you for speaking up!

  • Love it!!

  • It is a continuous challenge to my Universalist faith that whatever ultimately happens to me will also happen to the likes of folks you named, and Fred Phelps, and Rush Limbaugh, and, well others too numerous to mention. Many days I have to keep reminding myself, “God is Love, nothing but Love.”

  • John, you are a brilliant writer.

    Yes, I do believe that as Christians we should treat our enemies with love and compassion if at all possible. They need our prayers.

    But man, a pastor spewing hate-filled speech like this? He deserves every letter of this powerful message and more. We should pray for his heart to be changed, but we should also fight for justice.

  • Soulmentor

    Dear M.

    Don’t let discouragement stop you. Understand that there are some mindsets you will not change but keep trying. Don’t stop countering irrationality with rational thought. Remember, there are others reading what you write, others who need the clarity and love and understanding and information you provide. YOU WRITE FOR THEM even if you don’t change that Pastor’s mind. Even Jesus knew that there would be those he could never reach. Here’s an example from my own activist writing.

    During the 90’s I was a very active writer in our regional/local newspaper on gay issues (that newspaper was and remains gay friendly). I got the typical dire responses from the area religious conservatives including chapter and verse but, ironically, they always leaf themselves open to scriptural contradiction. They make such easy targets of themselves because they are so incredibly ignorant. In one such event, a pastor of a nearby town criticized me as someone who “smorgasborded” the Bible to suit my own gay agenda….whatever that is (they never do define it. Ever notice that?) So I wrote a rebuking response suggesting that he should stop eating shellfish, do his preaching naked rather than wear vestments of mixed fabric, admonish his wife to serve no more pork dinners and pronounce death upon the next parishioner who confesses to adultery. I then conceded that he knew all about smorgabording the Bible as he was indeed the expert. My letter appeared in the Sunday edition of the newspaper where no doubt many of his parishioners saw it before attending his church service. I never heard a peep from him or anyone about “smorgasbording” the Bible again. And you can bet, I reached MANY readers. Eventually, the area religious criticizers stopped responding to me. It became apparent that I made a difference in the area.

    The trick is to respond to them politely but firmly, intelligently and knowledgeably (and an occasional dash of snark can be fun). You CAN throw the Bible right back at them and win the argument. It pretty well shuts them down.

  • Soulmentor

    Yeah, that made my whole body grin. I wish I could think of such profundities.

  • Soulmentor

    It was “whited sepulcher”, meaning all clean and “righteous” on the outside and rotting on the inside. But no need to quibble.

  • Soulmentor

    10:1 he looks it up…….privately.

  • vj

    I LOVE this comment!

  • Soulmentor

    But they BELIEVE in exclusiveness apparently embracing Paul’s admonishments to essentially shun and shut out from the church unrepentant sinners rather that Jesus’ example of inclusiveness. They decide what the sin is and then follow Paul instead of Jesus…….and call it Love.

    How the rationalize that is beyond me.

  • Michelle M

    Beautifully said, DR. I couldn’t agree more.

  • tempus_aeterna

    Again, I’ll go with free speech is not the same thing as action. Free speech is not the same thing as kicking your children out the door. Free speech is not the same thing as abusing, exploiting, and raping people. Free speech is having the right to say you disagree with something without fear. Believing that someone has the right to say something, does not mean you have to agree with or even tolerate the message. Free speech allows disagreement, it allows non-violent change in the system, it allows minorities to have a voice, but it also allows people to spew hate. . . .

    I know exactly how much damage that free speech can do. I’ve spent years of my life in therapy, I’ve had a nervous breakdown, I’ve known people who committed suicide. I *know* how much damage words can cause. But I believe the people should be able to say them because I want the right to refute them.

    Just because I say that people should be allowed free speech, does not mean I agree with what they say. It does not mean that I think people should meekly tolerate what they say. I think people should be screaming from the hills about how wrong these so called Christian parents and pastors are who allow these things to happen to children. But forcibly limiting free speech of those who spew this hate only means limiting the free speech of everyone, including ourselves.

  • Daniel

    Have you never heard of “tough love”?

  • Daniel

    To clarify, my comment was directed towards Richard Rogers. I see what you are trying to do, and I can appreciate it on a certain level. But even Jesus had harsh words for those who were deserving of them. Do you believe that Jesus did not love those for whom he had harsh words? Of course he did. But because he *did* love them, he had to address them in a manner that would not be ignored.

    Do you honestly believe that Jesus would have only kind words for those oppressing other people, simply because his love extended to the oppressors?

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Being loving is not the same as being nice. There’s so much more to it than that. We obviously don’t have in the Bible anything like the whole of the entirety of the lessons Jesus taught while he we was with us. We have what amount to bullet points of his more notable sermons. So we don’t have him addressing any particular individuals’ threats against him or anyone else, but even so we have his saying things like, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (St. Mt. 23:14-15) To me, this seems somewhat harsher than anything John has directed at this pastor.

    Any equivocation of the tone of John’s response with the attitude evinced by the Pastor is quite unwarranted, as John nowhere suggested or anyhow implied that the pastor deserved any sort of punishment whatsoever, not to mention the ultimate penalty.

    Whatever persecution a straight Christian might endure for taking a stand against certain churches’ teachings on LGBTQ issues, such is their (our) cross to bear, and they should consider it an honor to do so; it is surely nothing next to the persecution a gay nonbeliever faces, so what right have we to complain?

  • Brian W

    But remember, we’re not Jesus, he rightfully can “judge” as God incarnate, we can’t, we’re to love even our enemies (generally they’re our enemies because they hurt us / others), unless of course those enemies are homophobic, then “love thy enemy” doesn’t apply. I suppose a “righteous indignation” against homophobes is acceptible – but only homophobes. I have learned a lot coming here, but I can say, I have seen the fangs come out on both sides.

  • DR

    !! Love it.

  • DR

    Brian, you’re such a sweetheart. I bet you are such a good dad. 🙂

    Here’s my take – loving someone and calling them a jerk – an abusive, dangerous jerk – are not mutually exclusive, nor is that “judging”. Judging is when we decide someone is fit for heaven and hell. Calling someone what they choose to become as a result of attitudes and behavior they *choose* to hold and express is just truth and accountability.

  • DR

    Free speech causes, promotes and drives behavior. The two cannot be separated. Christians believe that homosexuality is “against God” because some pastor somewhere learned that was true and preaches it, based on his/her “free expression” in the pulpit. Words ignite. You’re trying to separate the two and I understand why but you’re distracting people from the MAIN issue which is protecting gay kids from killing themselves.

    This endless debate of “people should be able to look a gay kid dead in the eye and say, ‘God will never love you if you don’t stop being gay. You are an abomination. You are not fit to be in this family. You are a disgrace and the BIBLE says so’ ” needs to end. I have no idea what you people are actually fighting for. This is not free speech – this is abuse.

  • Shaun Conde

    “Listen to God instead of speaking for Him”

    I immediately wrote down those words and pinned it on my wall. Such a simple thing that we as Christians need to be doing A LOT more.

    Thank you for your continued writing. It’s relevant, it’s comical, it’s well thought out. As a gay guy and a Christian, I thank you on both accounts.

  • otter

    The performance will be on You Tube by mid May. I hope to see a lot of folks cheering and enjoying… just like I cheer for and enjoy the posts on this blog…

  • otter

    My point was that in the US there are examples of things that certain religious sects would happily condone or promote but which our US legal codes prohibit. Tempus, you are logical to point out the difference in doing versus speaking and I agree that limits on free speech are nothing which can be legislated without doing more harm than good.

    So faithful bloggers……..please comment on what would happen today if a church used ” free speech ‘ to:

    Preach and promote legislation to forbid women being educated or owning property?

    Teach it’s followers that certain races are inferior, evil, sinful or damned?

    Preach and promote legislation prohibiting interracial marriage?

    Preach and promote discrimination against ANY class of people, other than gays?

    I honestly wonder what it will take to break the vicious cycle of religious intolerance driving public opinion, and public opinion in turn condoning religious intolerance. What it is going to take to drive the homophobes “out of the garden” of public acceptance?

    Obviously children dying is not enough.

  • DR

    Perhaps it will take straight kids dying (and I’m serious).

  • Daniel

    You’ve never spoken an angry word to someone that you loved?

  • Please pardon me my friend, but if I may offer up that as a boy in my late teens many years ago, I was in fact the young lover of Bobby Griffith of Lifetime TV’s “Prayers for Bobby” fame, who ended up taking his own life as a result of what in those days almost “Universal Religious Intolerance” and Bigotry! But as “Whacked Out” as views sometimes still appear, they are from what I’ve observed over the course of the last 30 years, part of an increasingly small “Fringe! I those days a man like the late Rev. Jerry Falwell could take to the airwaves, spout all sorts of slander about “Gay” people, and go widely unchallenged! Not so today my friend! It’s if in those decades, since Bobby’s death a great “Paradigm Shift” has occurred in over attitudes towards LGBTQ folks! And truly fewer than ever, are buying into the “Demagoguery” and slander, than once did so!


    Blaine W. Andrews

  • I think that’s true. It’s not hateful to call something what it is, and saying someone should die–or passive aggressively implying it, when everyone reading on Facebook knows exactly who and what you’re talking about–is disgraceful and hateful and vile. It merits more than a “Pretty please, could you maybe consider being a little bit nicer?”

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to hold people who are being bullied and who are standing up for those who are bullied to a higher standard than the bullies themselves. If one kid beats the tar out of another, unprovoked, and the bullied kid hits back, are you going to leave the victim bruised and bloody on the ground while you put ice on the bully’s fat lip and console him and make sure he’s okay?

  • I believe in free speech, but I also think people have to accept the consequences of their words. Saying vile and hateful things that harm people should have consequences for the speaker. It should be unpleasant to spew hatred. That doesn’t necessarily mean censorship, but it does mean that we should challenge hatred where we see it. If everybody with a “Marriage = One Man + One Woman” bumper sticker had to explain to multiple people, on a daily basis, why they favor laws that break up or impoverish families, or keep people from their dying loved one’s bedside, they might think twice about that speech. If you spew hatred, and you get mocked mercilessly on some dude’s blog, maybe you’ll think about that next time. (Or maybe not; probably that pastor will cry that he’s persecuted and that that proves his righteousness.)

    Legally, I think that speech that incites action, either deliberately and knowingly or in a way that a reasonable person *should* realize would prompt that action, should carry the same consequences as that action. When Spike Lee tweets some random couple’s address and they are terrorized, he should be held legally responsible. When Operation Rescue screams about baby killers and runs a terrorism and harassment campaign against abortion providers, and then acts surprised when a doctor gets murdered in his own church, they should all be facing charges as accessories to murder. If a pastor gives sermon after sermon about how God hates gay people, and a gay teenager in his congregation commits suicide, he should face charges of abuse at the very least.

  • “Third, I am beginning to understand, finally, that ‘love’ does not always equal ‘being nice’.

    That’s what this pastor believes too. He thinks that saying someone is worthy of death is just “tough love”.

    I’ve come across far more people who behaved with depraved cruelty who convinced themselves they were doing it out of selfless love, than those who admitted to doing it because they liked the power it gave them. And many more who thought their cruelty, even if they got a real kick out of it, was not just justified but mandated In Jesus Name.

    It is an inherent property of all religion that it gives encouragement to such behaviour. It’s only the proportion that differs, from negligible (example: Quakers) to almost universal (example: Westboro Baptists).

  • Matthew Tweedell

    That should read: any *equating* of John’s response…

  • Dana

    I think it’s important to not group an entire group of people into a broad category. It doesn’t allow for dialogue whatsoever. If we have a perception of a person within a certain stereotype we see them as carciatures (sp), ie “all Christians” “all African-Americans.” When I see something like “all pastors” I wonder what assumptions are being made here.

  • Donald Rappe

    John may have forgotten to say that this minister is part of a brood of vipers, but, I’m sure he meant to.

  • DR

    It allows for dialogue if you choose to have it on someone else’s terms because if you actually looked past being lumped in as a huge group, you’d see the larger point. That the *majority* of Christians vote against gay marriage historically – this is proven in the USA. And those of us who support gay marriage have done virtually nothing to stop them. We’ve not organized, we’ve not spoken out – we’ve done nothing, we’ve remained unable or unwilling to activate ourselves and protect the GLBTA community from these individuals. So of course someone is going to paint a broad picture of Christianity – that’s reasonable.

    It is part of our privilege as Christians to expect people to differentiate – to treat us according to the merits of who we are as individuals. But the *system* of Christianity is an incredibly damaging thing for a lot of people, gay and straight. So for them to see you (and me) as part of the system and not as an individual is fair. And it becomes our choice to enter in to the conversation they want to have with us, or change is based on how it makes us feel.

  • DR

    I just read Chris’s blog (as much as I could). He appears to have a rather dedicated fixation on John (I’m trying to be kind).

    John, have you ever noticed how the people who hate you call you “Mr. Shore” or “Shore”? It’s so odd how they try to distance themselves from your pretty familiar way of being and speaking.

  • otter

    DR….what a refreshingly honest post. To quote you:

    “And those of us who support gay marriage have done virtually nothing to stop them. We’ve not organized, we’ve not spoken out – we’ve done nothing, we’ve remained unable or unwilling to activate ourselves and protect the GLBTA community from these individuals.”

    Thanks for calling it out. Until I found this blog, I didn’t even know any real Christians cared! I would JUST LOVE to see you supporters en masse, like at the next public forum, pride parade and writing letters to the editor in your hometown.

  • Donald Rappe

    Speaking of Mt. Stupid and here you appear, Mr. Coppenbarger. Now, where are my roller skates!

  • I guess I’m prejudiced against pastors like this.

    Let me explain.

    I’m not Gay, or Lesbian, or Bisexual. I am, however, Intersex. Born with a body neither wholly male nor wholly female.

    The fact that such people can exist is “against their religion”. Now unlike other such questions, be it on the shape of the Earth, whether the Sun orbits the Earth or vice-versa, whether the Earth was created 6000 years ago, whether lightning is a natural meteorological phenomenon or God’s “Terrible Swift Sword”, this is not just an academic question that doesn’t affect anyone’s day-to-day life, this has resulted in persecution, legislation and regulations that are designed to make life intolerable for such as I.

    What’s worse, although most religions have managed to come up with weasel-words about how those born ambiguous are “really” one sex or the other (and should be compulsorily surgically altered accordingly), none that I know of deal with Intersex variations that cause an apparent natural sex change from one sex to the other.

    Such variations exist; the best-known ones are 5-alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5ARD) and 17-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase deficiency (17BHSD). Both cause a change from female to male.


    There are others. 3BHSD can cause a change in either direction – though usually doesn’t. X0/XY can cause a change from male to female.

    The fact – and it is a fact – that some people change sex, “God made them that way” if you like, threatens the whole structure of religious belief that many depend on. Evidence that that structure is false must therefore be suppressed. Erased. Eradicated. Exterminated.

    “To put it in the starkest terms, you thought that your choice was to die prematurely or to break God’s law. Now I happen to think that you, being as intelligent as you are, quite likely knew that the Church said this was a violation of God’s law. You felt impelled to do it anyway.

    Now I am going to say something that may seem harsh but remember I am talking to you about objective reality – where the rubber meets the road. It is better to die than to offend God. It would have been better for you to have given your life to stay in obedience to God, than to break His law and to drag along into sin your poor spouse. At some point — along with those who denied Christ under persecution and later felt remorse, you will have to say, “It would have been better for me to have died instead.” That is hard, but really everyone of us should feel that way about every serious sin we have committed. We should prefer the death of our bodies to the death of our souls, shouldn’t we?’

    — Catholic Exchange, August 20, 2010

    This is not a “one off exception”. We get this *all the time*. Every day there is something – a constitutional amendment in NC to prevent us marrying anyone at all, another one of us tortured to death or shot execution style, a Tennessee state law where part 1 makes discrimination against us legal at state level, and part 2 forbids cities from passing laws that would prohibit discrimination against us, a Philadelphia court decision that as we are not considered “Men, Women or Children”, we are not “Natural Persons” so killing us may be vandalism or cruelty to animals, but is not Homicide…

    Every single day of our lives. And always, always “in God’s Holy Name”, either in discussions about legislation, or actually stated specifically in the text.

    There are plenty of Christian and other denominations not hung up about sex. There are rather more that are, are uncomfortable even thinking about it, and just wish the evidence that they’re wrong would go away. Many take concrete steps to make sure the world is rid of these perverts, these abominations, these spawn of Satan. After all, they’re a threat to Humanity’s existence.

    “(The Church) must also protect man from self-destruction. What is needed is something like a human ecology, correctly understood.

    If the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected, this is not some antiquated metaphysics. What is involved here is faith in the Creator and a readiness to listen to the “language” of creation. To disregard this would be the self-destruction of man himself, and hence the destruction of God’s own work.”

    “To carry our reflection further, we must remember that the problem of the environment is complex; one might compare it to a multifaceted prism. Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes.”


    Things – such as Intersex people – that “strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes” are a threat to Humanity. In the Human Ecology, we’re vermin.

  • vj


  • Matthew Tweedell

    What we are is not necessarily inherent.

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. […] And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27,31)

    Ergo man is, by his God-given nature, good! When s/he acts anyhow else, it is an unnatural act—a perversion of who and what and where s/he truly is in the perfect image of the Creator, which is to say in Christ. But believe you this: The Lord is not fallible; God makes no mistakes.

    Now, I believe the verse you’re referring to says *no one living* is good. Yet once there *was* One who was good, and surely He comes again. How do you not know He is not one of us who walks the earth this very moment, or has engaged with you in this very conversation? I, for one, cannot claim any such certain knowledge!

    And if we do not conclude, for instance, that Paul is still in prison, where he has written that it is so, then we shouldn’t necessarily conclude that there is yet no one living who’s good, even if at some time there was not (or at some other time, not but one exception: the family of a man named Noah; or in some certain city also not but a single household—for instance, that of Lot [not that they’d all remain righteous forevermore, but clearly sinfulness is no congenital condition (and how is any god who would make it to be so worth glorifying?)]).

    In light of all this, it just seems pretty silly to project our own personal human failings onto humanity as a whole. So now perhaps it is you who are ready to read the Bible from the perspective that it itself lays out from the beginning. What do you say, Chris?

  • I’ve REALLY noticed the “Mr. Shore” thing. That’s way common. I wonder what that is? Well, I suppose it’s as you say. good job.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    You are certainly not vermin! You are a precious child of God Almighty!

    Sadly, it is only too true that many would rather alter reality to fit their beliefs than vice-versa. Perhaps we all would on some level. But when that involves ignoring, or worse, exterminating, fellow human beings, how do our hearts not scream to our minds that our beliefs are clearly WRONG!?

    Believe whatever seems most likely true

    and do whatever appears most loving to do,

    and how could any good God there might be

    not be most well-pleased with you?

    That anyone in the modern world is so unenlightened as to argue that there is anything wicked in just being just as you are abundantly obviously born to be.

    If anything you considered not inferior but superior to most: apart from that fact that, largely due to the prejudices which dominate our culture, you probably don’t know what it’s like to be either a normal man or a normal woman, you should be able to offer insights into gender relations that most of us can only dream of having: I have to accept that I’ll never truly understand what exactly makes the average women tick, and women will usually never quite get why gender-typical men are as the way we are. But I’m guessing you’d be able, especially if you could just go through life exactly as you biologically are made to be, you’d better understand how to relate to each perhaps even than each often knows him- or her-self, because you can see things from a bit more neutral vantage point, as well as relating somewhat perhaps to each.

    And if anything you should be thought closer to God: For in the beginning, when God made Man on the Sixth Day, Woman was not yet separated out from his side. And in the end, God will be all in all. And the Beginning and the End are One, Lord Jesus Christ.

    People need to read their Bibles:

    “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'” (Mat. 19:4-6)

    “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28)

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Zoe, about the problems faced by people like yourself. I for one was not aware of the scope of the issue and severity of the prejudice, probably because, as you’ve said, it’s simply largely ignored because it doesn’t fit anywhere into people’s standard paradigms.

  • Thank you so much for this, Matthew.

  • Gordon

    We need “troller” skates!

  • Gordon

    John, I have a question. Why is it that fundies like Mr. Coppenbarger here use the word “humanistic” as though it is a curse word? Here’s the dictionary definition of humanist:

    1. a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.

    2. a person devoted to or versed in the humanities.

    3. a student of human nature or affairs.

    4. a classical scholar.

    5. ( sometimes initial capital letter ) any one of the scholars of the Renaissance who pursued and disseminated the study and understanding of the cultures of ancient Rome and Greece, and emphasized secular, individualistic, and critical thought.

    Based on this definition, I would be very proud to be labeled a humanist and I don’t see that it would trump any spiritual beliefs I have. Fundies tend to hurl this word at people who challenge their rigid views just like they do the word “liberal”.

  • vj

    You have expressed what I was thinking, but much more articulately than I would have…

  • “M”, this is for you. My spirit is concerned for you and wants you to know, as simple as it is, there is not one man or woman qualified on this planet, to stand between you and the God of your faith. The Son of God does not teach anyone or embody with any power the ability or forsight to condemn one of his creations. If love is present, there you will find God. Love the God of your faith with love that is true and he will show you how to love with his love and bless you with his truth that will move your spirit into comfort and confidence in your beliefs. We love you and bless you for your courage.

  • vj

    They see ‘humanism’ as an ideology that denies the existence of God and tries to explain everything using ‘the basic principles of this world’. They feel that this is the sort of thing the Bible warns believers against, so they get all worked up about it, even though, as you point out, there is a lot more to it than that…

    [Col 2:8 – “See to it that no-one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Of course, what they don’t see is that many churches are equally ‘guilty’ of imposing philosophies and traditions that have nothing to do with depending on Christ!]

  • Gordon: Right? Good job. I think of myself as a Christian humanist.

  • Russell Mark

    Kudos, my brother. Beautifully stated and righteous too. Please allow me to repeat “the full moon of your fetid ass” line…that’s billiant, like you.



  • Waymond

    As Valerie’s husband I “have” to agree with her (I’m sure you married people understand) but the truth is I really do agree on this point. I too have a blog that deals with these kinds of issues and believe me even though mine is not nearly as popular as yours I receive a ton of very angry comments and e-mails. I tend to be more critical of the fundies than you as a group and attack them pretty aggressively, but when they comment I always treat them with love (kill em with kindness kind of thing) on a one-on one basis. I think this is a better way to deal with it. I keep all those mean things to myself and believe me I think them a lot, but in the end I think we do our cause no good when we act towards them the way they act toward us. When it comes to dealing with an individual I prefer to be the bigger man. I do love reading your blog and always get a laugh out of it, Valerie says mine is too long-winded and not funny. (Probably why she reads yours without you having to remind her constantly that there is a new post and I do.)

    Thanks for all that you do

  • Diana A.

    “Courage doesn’t always roar.

    Sometimes courage is the little voice

    at the end of the day that says,

    ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.'”

    – Mary Anne Radmacher

    I got this quote off of Facebook from The God Article and I thought M might appreciate it.

  • Dana

    again, there are broad generalizations here . . . what proof do you have that “most Christians” have voted against gay marriage? Most fundamentalist Christians, most likely, some Evangelicals, though that movement is starting to become more progressive. Mainline denominations are moving or have moved to create gay marriage ceremonies, including my own. We fought within our denomination to have this be so, and paid the price for it. I just read an article that a majority of Catholics have no issues with gay marriage. In my denomination there is a GLBT organization-which I belong to- that fights for gay rights. Certainly, our voices are not as loud as those on the crazy right . .. but the media loves crazy, extreme, divisive. But the voices, the organization, the fight is there. I see it everyday, and I see things slowly changing, even in my little conservative community.

  • DR

    Generalizations exist because they are generally true.

    And it’s not “some” Evangelicals. It is “most” Evangelicals. The proof I have is the polling data around the Prop * campaign that makes that correlation very specifically. People who identify as being Christian most frequently voted against gay marriage. The move on campaign also has a lot of data that proves that though it seems rather obvious (with all due respect).

    Who besides Christians have a voting majority in this country who have issues with gay marriage? The atheists? The orthodox Jews? Perhaps you could shed light on who would want to prevent gays from being married who are also non-Christian and have that kind of influence.

    Thankfully that trend

  • DR

    …is changing. 🙂 But it’s still an uphill battle and the change will come when those of us who are educated start increasing our capacity and our ability to influence those on the fence or still ingrained in homophobia. But it IS changing, you’re right about that and that’s something we should be happy for. Though it’s a sobering joy, the millions of men and women who’ve lived under this kind of oppression make it pretty tough to celebrate (at least for me).

  • Diana A.

    Loving this. In fact, I’m going to quote bits and pieces of it on my Facebook, if that’s okay, because you’re absolutely right.

  • Dana

    “some” “most” these are such subjective terms– and I use them because I don’t have the numbers. But do we need to bicker about such semantics? The evangelical culture has been geared toward the anti- gay, but I see change in the evangelical population- especially the millenals. (sp). I see it on the internet, in leaders such as Rachel Held Evans and Rob Bell, in my evangelical friends. I guess I choose to celebrate how far we’ve come. I’m excited that two gay friends could get married in Iowa. I’m excited that they could be pastors in a variety of churches. It sucks that their marriage isn’t recognized in their home state, and it needs to change. Change will come, it is inevitable, as long as we keep up the fight. 20 years from now the anti-gay idiots will be on Jerry Springer along-side the KKK idiots- trying to hang onto a bigoted lifestyle that long left them on the side of the road. I choose to celebrate what we have now, and be hopeful for what is to come.

  • otter

    I say signing John’s new petition is a small but solid step in the direction of putting our principles into action.

  • Hi Matthew – and thanks for the kind words.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t understand men either. I may have looked male, but I knew I was female at age 10, if not before.

    When faced with persecution, there are two things one can do. Get all bitter and twisted at the injustice of it all, or look at humanity and say “What fools these mortals be!” and love them anyway. Because of their imperfections, not despite them. So many end up screwing up so badly, yet they try to do the right thing. Ignorance is really the enemy.

    It also makes it easier to forgive yourself for being merely human. No-one else knows the scope of my many faults and failings. I do – yet I can live with myself anyway. If I can forgive myself, forgiving others is trivially easy.

  • Allie

    Zoe, you’ve sent my husband off into a rant about that Philadelphia ruling and how insane it is. Can you provide more info about that court case?

  • Zoe, I found that horrifying to read (how much worse it has to be to live), and I am sorry that so many Christians put rules ahead of people. One thing that struck me from the Catholic Exchange quote was how very easy it is for people to make grand pronouncements about “better to die than sin” when talking about other people’s lives. I don’t hear anyone so glib when it’s their own life.

  • Diana A.

    Exactly! It’s always so much easier to judge someone else’s life than to live our own lives with integrity. That’s why the judging thing is so popular.

  • DR

    Not bickering “semantics”, Dana. You are the one who brought it up. Get the numbers for yourself, then let’s talk. Until then it does no one any good to remind them that a few of us aren’t abusive and oppressive when the institutions to which we belong and give money to and work for have not done enough to shut this down. In short, this is not a out you. Or me. If you choose to get offended that you are being lumped in with the bad you can do that but perhaps the greater need is to take responsibility for our church as a whole.

  • DR

    It’s distancing language. I find it fascinating.

  • Dana

    OK, I’m done here.

  • Gordon

    What proof do you have that Evangelicals are becoming more progressive? First I’ve heard of it. That sounds like a generalization to me.

    And while I’m at it, what is this fixation you seem to have about being too general? Anybody who is reasonably informed about current events and politics in America KNOWS that there is anti-gay sentiment among Christians in this country. And I don’t need a Pew Poll to tell me it’s the majority. Neither do you. Nothing I have read here seems unfair in the least. The bottom line for me, and I am gay, is that there has been incalculable harm done to GLBT people by Christians in the name of Jesus. Millions of us were literally driven from the church and many of us have abandoned our Christian faith as a result. And, even more tragic, many people have taken their own lives. There is nothing more infuriating to me than waste, and the waste of lives, energy and resources as a result of the unforgiveable treatment of GLBT people by pastors and their followers is something the church MUST answer for. And it must go through the process of repair and reconciliation.

    I have a friend who, as young man, was lost for many years in a white supremacy group. He was absolutely convinced that his beliefs were right and he was actually able to reconcile those beliefs with his Christian faith. I don’t remember now what the circumstances were, but he ended up coming to what he described as a very simple realization: What he believed was based on lies and was therefore wrong. It was wrenching and traumatic, but the realization itself was truly very simple. He then went about the difficult business of repairing the damage he had done in his family and other relationships. It was hard work and it took some time to get people to trust him again, but he got ‘er done!

    What DR wrote above is so true. Of course there are millions of Christians who don’t believe that being gay is a sin and separates us from God. But, where have they been? They may be internally outraged, but unless we can see and feel it, that outrage is wasted. Where were they when the Senate Majority Leader stood on the floor of the United States Senate and declared that homosexuals were no different than rapists, child abusers and drug addicts? Where were they when the Mormon Church inserted itself into a California election and eliminated marriage rights for millions of Californians? Where were they when the President of the United States said in a State of the Union address to Congress and all of America that the most fundamental, enduring institution under federal law is a marriage union between a man and a woman? Where were they when a United States Senator, who eventually became a viable contender for his party’s Presidential nomination, equated same-sex marriage to “man on dog” sex? Let me tell you something: It’s no fun being used as a wedge. It’s no fun being lied about and used to scare people into supporting hateful politicians. And worst of all, it’s no fun to sit in a church and hear a pastor say that gay people are filled with the spirit of Satan and DESERVE TO DIE. People are saying it’s getting better. Maybe so, but it isn’t fast enough – especially for those of us “of a certain age.”

    Sign and share John’s petition. If you know people in leadership positions in organizations who have progressive views about GLBT & Christian issues, talk to them about it. Get up and start expressing your outrage. Getting a vocal majority of Christians to “publicly affirm that being gay is no more immoral than is being straight” is only the first step. Then, just like my formerly white supremacist friend, the hard work of reconciliation begins.

  • Allie

    I actually don’t support the right of someone to believe someone else should be oppressed, whether the justification is religious or otherwise. The moment you say someone else should be harmed (and we are talking about real harm to real people) you lose whatever right to your religious belief you might have had.

  • DR

    Dana, no one is attacking you here. We’re being honest based on our experiences. If you want to be positive, that’s fine – sure, there’s lots to be positive about! But your defensiveness is actually, quite detrimental to what many of us are trying to get done here and that’s been validated by the GLBT community. The energy Christians spend in assuring everyone – including gay men and women – that we’re “all not that bad” is something that many of them don’t care about in the face of still being threatened, harassed and oppressed and having much of that sanctioned legally.

    You have to understand that this is not personal while we all accept more of the collective responsibility for the “bad Christians” a lot more aggressively than we do now.

  • Dana

    You assume a lot here about me. Like I said, I’m done. I feel as if I’m talking to a brick wall.

  • Dana

    Progressive evangelicals: Rachel Held Evans. Rob Bell. Don Miller. Those that follow them. Friends that I have who are evangelical. I didn’t say it was something sudden– it’s a small movement, but I didn’t see it ten years ago.

  • Dana

    I have signed and shared John’s petition. I’m very vocal about LGBT rights in our church.

  • DR

    Good Lord, Dana. Honestly. I *disagreed* with you and I challenged you on being “lumped in” with “the bad Christians”. This group you’re talking about is not the majority and until we are, we’re all part of the “bad” until we meet the GLBT community’s needs and expectations. There are no wins here until the GLBT community is safe, kids don’t kill themselves as a result of our theology. Consider I’m not the brick wall – consider looking in the mirror.

  • Dana

    We are on the SaME GOD-DaMN SIDE FOR CHRIST’s SaKE!!!

  • DR

    Love that last paragraph. That’s some serious courage!

  • DR

    This is so wise.

  • The reported ruling isn’t so bad – the court transcripts though make it plain that the plaintiff has no standing as they are not considered “natural persons”. The case was dismissed on other grounds though – that being fired for being Intersex (and having been surgically altered shortly after birth) was not sex discrimination, as that only applied to men and women. The court ruled that discrimination for having surgery was legal, leaving the other questions aside in the reported ruling, but very much alive in the transcript.

    The summary is available at the Intersex Society of North America site,

    It’s had some good effects – South African law was changed as a matter of urgency when they realised their wording was similar.

    A good summary is at

    “In 1997, as a direct result of medical evidence that I am intersexed, I ceased to be a human being in South African law despite the Bill of Rights. It took 15 months to achieve recognition of my humanity in law. So the effect of being intersexed on one’s civil and human rights is of deep interest and concern to me.

    Before 2006, when an obscure judicial amendment — comprising two simple definitions — was signed into law, being found to be intersexed opened up all one’s rights to challenge. But the promulgation of the Judicial Matters Amendment Act of 2005 changed this technically.

    Theoretically, this Act guaranteed protection to the intersexed. Two statutory definitions turned the technical trick. The trouble was that the amendment entered the statute book by stealth: its existence and far-reaching implications have evaded attention until now in a context in which the invisibility of the intersexed, bar a handful of notable exceptions, testifies to an entrenched culture of shame, secrecy and stigmatisation.

    The amendment was drafted because an American case made it clear to me that the Equality Clause did not protect the intersexed. An American federal court found that the firing of a woman because she was born intersexed did not breach a Pennsylvania equality statute similar to our Equality Clause.

    The statute forbade discrimination on grounds of sex. The court argued that “sex”, undefined in the statute, was to be understood in its ordinary dictionary sense. So it referred to the state of being “male and not female” or “female and not male”. The upshot: it didn’t protect the intersexed.

    Our Equality Clause rules discrimination on certain listed grounds, including sex, unfair unless and until proved fair, but “sex” was not defined in statute. The dictionary definition of “sex” — male, female and nothing else — therefore governed its interpretation. “Human being” and “[natural] person” are also defined as having a sex in exclusively binary terms. The intersexed, somewhere in between, could thus be argued to be neither human beings nor natural persons.

    The potential consequences were terrifying. Intersex was an “analogical ground” of discrimination rather than a listed ground in the Equality Clause. Unlike discrimination on a listed ground, discrimination on an analogical ground is deemed fair until proven unfair. The burden of proof rests on the victims.

    In South African law, one needs locus standi, the right to address the court, to mount a legal challenge. Since the intersexed did not fit workaday definitions of “human beings” and “[natural] persons”, arguably they lacked the locus standi to challenge this or any other type of discrimination. It followed that the intersexed, because they were intersexed, had no secure rights — not even to dignity or to life itself.”

  • Vickie Dillon

    I have just read two articles that have made me very sad. Here we are in the 21st century and we are still dealing the with issues such as skin color and sexual orientation.

    I am a white hetrosexual female. I don’t care what the Bible or a society has to say about color or sexual orientation, as long as you are not trying to kill someone, steal from someone or assualt someone, you have the right to live as you choose. I will pray as we advance further into the 21st century that this will become the norm. Letting people live as the choose

  • Josh B

    This is so disheartening…..I’d give my few words to this pastor, but I prefer not to use a colorful vocabulary.

  • sillybeebo

    I like John’s response to that hateful “pastor”. One can only use tact and “love” for so long before that ends up doing absolutely nothing. Telling someone they deserve death for being kind to the LGBT community is absolutely wrong. It makes it worse if that person is a Pastor/Reverend.

    I had someone unfriend me because of my views and the fact that my pro LGBT stuff showed up in her newsfeed. I called her out on being judgmental. We debated and then she blocked me because I was “pushing my views on her.” This person caused me to really evaluate my faith and my views. I now really despise the religious right.

  • Brian

    Too bad Pastors, let alone other “christians” act as if Jesus had never walked the earth. The only thing that makes any sense to me what so ever, is that these Religious Folk have a statue in their Prayer Rooms that is supposed to be of Jesus, but just so happens to have their face. On this one issue alone, they have spewed out more poison and vitriol that has set Christianity back to nearly the time of Christ.

    Guys like this seem to think that because they got their “tickets” to heaven punched, they can say and do anything they want.

    This will be a fight we will have to keep fighting for a very long time. Because at exactly the time you think it is won, they will step it up a notch because they are growing more and more bitter and furious. They are fast becoming the christian version of the Taliban and they believe themselves to be so “with0ut sin,” that they will do whatever it takes to win (Religious Correctness + American Exceptionalism). They are the new crop of Jim Jones and David Koresh.

    So very, very sad that every day their hearts grow harder as they contract around the conditions they place on those around them.

  • Elizabeth

    One fundamentalist, unwittingly I’m sure, posted the full names and travel plans of a trans friend and two women less than fully straight on the Chik-fil-A website at the height of the scandal. I kept the resulting exchanges and published her friends’ outrage and my rebuttal (without names, of course.) It was hugely popular.

  • Elizabeth

    Fan page, I mean. I spend a lot of time on Facebook.

  • charles

    John- your response to “the Pastor” was 100% pure awesomeness.

  • Karen


    Sometimes a good Christian kick in the butt is more valuable than a million honeyed words. Loved it!

  • DR

    I missed this comment. Wow, reading this brings back the insanity of this dialogue, that total and complete insistence of privilege demanding to be dealt with exclusively on its own terms. It’s so creepy.

  • DR

    These comments are a year ago and they still infuriate me. The tone police is out in full force on this post and they could not be more derailing. It’s the creepiest, most passive aggressive thing I’ve ever seen.

  • If this helps, Matthew 19:12 reads, “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others–and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    While the meaning of “born eunuch” isn’t defined, the scholarship that I have read on this verse understands that that could be a person who was born Intersex.

    The people who say that you are against their religion should possibly consider this verse.

  • A bit off the subject but I love that photo you’ve got of the upside down church art. Where is that?

  • robert


    I am a gay person… living in the world, even in Los Angeles… I have interacted with many people that (1) believe I am evil, (2) believe I am sick, (3) believe I am less than them and (4) believe I am going to hell. Here is how I deal with it…

    A. If I have to interact with them… because we work at the same job, which is really the only reason I “have” to deal with anyone… then I put on my professional game face and deal with their bigotry in a professional manner… which is usually non-engagement and re-focusing them back to the task at hand namely ‘work’. Because I am an out, open, loving, funny, smart and decent person… a few christians have come to me in private and told me, that by knowing me, they have changed their minds on gay people. I did this by being an out, open, funny, smart and decent person… I live my life honestly, but I rarely have ever attempted to “change someone’s mind”.

    B. If I know them socially… then I simply stop engaging with them. I don’t return emails, phone calls, etc. These individuals seem to need a “one up” relationship with those around them… and they will always put in the “one down” position to protect their egos.

    C. When they were family… I stood my ground and challenged their beliefs. Sometimes, I have done this loudly, other times quietly… Lucky for me, my family is from New England and were open to change and to widening their system of belief. Over the years, everyone in my family now sees me as being fully human and loved by god.

    Mainly, I no longer engage bigots. Bigotry is based on irrational fears… and I have found that logic rarely succeeds. Most of the people entrenched in it either (1) have a profit motive (if they are a minister), (2) are fear/shame/original sin based, (3) maybe a little mentally unstable, or (4) have vested so much of their sense of self in their version of christianity that they fear removing even one hateful piece… could bring their whole little world crashing down…

    I added the part of about original sin… because it occurred to me that while I believe that people are generally good and that life is a precious gift… I now understand that many christians… don’t. They believe that people are generally bad and sinful, that birth is a curse and that human nature is evil and sinful. They have been saved from being “human”…

    I don’t believe that I need to be saved… because I don’t believe being “human” is sinful; I see it as a blessing.

  • Candi

    Not harsh enough.

  • Gordon

    Thanks for sharing this, Robert. You are lucky to have family members who are open-minded enough to listen, think and, hopefully, change their minds.

    I have a question for you. I have two married older brothers who are fundamentalist Christians. (I never know whether to capitalize the “c” when I’m referring to people like that.) In spite of knowing me my entire life and knowing I am honest, kind, fair and loving, they also believe two things that inform and override all their other knowledge of me. One, they believe I chose to be gay. And two, they believe being gay is a sin. An obscene, disgusting sin. They won’t listen to me, no matter if I speak softly or loudly and they won’t accept any information contrary to what their churches teach them about me. And you. And every other gay person they have never met.

    Through a series of weird coincidences, I discovered that in spite of their claims to love me and my husband of almost 22 years now, they also actively support groups and organizations who not only oppose my legal marriage, but also literally oppose my civil rights. And when I processed that for a while something occurred to me. I don’t want people in my life who say they love me while supporting people who hate me. And so, I severed contact. It was logistically pretty easy because I live in Atlanta and they live in Oregon. At first, I was relieved and comfortable with my decision, which was about 18 months ago. At first, they didn’t even seem to notice!

    Anyway, here’s my question. Do you think I did the right thing? Is family a “red line” thing where, no matter what, we grit our teeth and stay involved with them?


  • lee

    Read this on twitter last week and I think it may be apropos: “Don’t try and win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.”

  • Liadan

    I would have appreciated if you had discussed more what the bible *does* say about homosexuality. I am a Christian for marriage equality on Constitutionality grounds of seperation of church and state, but I’d really love to attack this issue Biblically too. To my friendly reading, the Bible does attack homosexuality, tho not as strongly as all other sins. I know Jesus says nothing about it, and the Old Testament Laws have some condemnation but can be dismissed as obsolete to Christians. But the New Testament does include some condemnation. So how can this issue be approached better by me?

  • Liadan

    If family is toxic, you have no choice. I had to do that to my brother who is a Tea Party fanatic, but otherwise wonderful. When he couldn’t leave off my request to stop with politics around me, I had to unfriend him from my Facebook, and hang up the phone when he called. I’m perfectly willing to be friendly and welcoming with him, but when he doesn’t respect me, I shut down.

    Its his choice how to interact with me.

  • Elizabeth

    Yikes. I probably shouldn’t have Google-searched the passages before I was fully awake. Even on a relatively egalitarian site, there are a ton where you have to be really paranoid to think allude to homosexuality. Having a close friend in the Bible doesn’t make one gay.

    That said, the most-cited ones are in Leviticus and in Paul’s letters. Leviticus addresses defilement law and ritual sacrifice. It’s also a how-to book for a primitive people. Mock the shellfish ban, but the fact is that if you’re living in a nomadic tribe in +/- 400 BC, avoiding bottom feeders was probably a good idea. Similarly, the homosexual temple prostitutes were slaves. And Sodom and Gomorrah doesn’t mention homosexuality (as I recall) despite Sodomites becoming synonymous with homosexuality.

    You can kind of extend this out to Paul 500 years later. He’s a PR man. He’s writing letters and traveling all over trying to get this little concept of Christianity to stick. He’s famously intolerant before his conversion, and he never quite loses all of it. He’s writing to protect the community and rally the troops (so to speak.) He himself had persecuted Christians; he knew how easy it was if they showed any weakness. He was the right man for the job *because* he was a calculating and difficult man. You need to keep him in that context, not as the same level as the words in the Gospel.

  • Lymis

    John’s got an entire book on that topic, as well as dozens of discussion posts here on this site. That’s kind of the point of why this particular one didn’t go into all that depth again.

  • Lymis

    One thing I’ve noticed is that very often, it isn’t the gay family member that causes the breakthrough. It’s a coworker, a friend, someone they have an ongoing but slightly removed professional relationship with – someone that they don’t feel they have an obligation to save, and therefore become open to listening to their story.

    And you can be that person to someone else’s bigoted family member, partly because if you don’t convince them of anything, you always have the option of ending things and going on about your life. The very fact that you ARE going on about your life is what’s usually the most compelling.

  • mike moore

    hey Liadan, spend a few hours reading old posts and all will be revealed.

  • Lymis

    Do a Google Image search for Upside Down Church and you get a bunch of hits.

    It’s a photo of American artist Dennis Oppenheim’s 1997 work called Device to Root Out Evil. The photo appears to be when it was displayed in Vancouver.

    For more current info:

  • n.

    i had to go non-contact on toxic family for other reasons. one of them died before changing and the other became non-toxic and we now have communication. sometimes you have to do something for your own sanity and for your new life, that would otherwise seem awful. but sometimes staying in contact is more awful.

  • Elizabeth

    Hey, Lymis. because

  • mike moore

    Dear M,

    Speaking as (one of?) the resident sociopath(s?) here on John’s blog, I’d suggest you not worry too much about anything your evil, hate-mongering, judgmental, ready-to-send-to-hell-anyone-who-does-agree-with-him, anti-Jesus, pastor might say.

    Dump the dickhead, move on, and don’t look back.

    The mere fact that you’re trying to love him is proof that you are a better man, in ALL ways, than your pastor, who in no way deserves your allegiance, friendship, and respect.

    If that’s not enough for you, then I’d suggest you you live by the words which have so shaped my life: “Friends are those upon whom you can always depend. Best friends will help you bury the body.”

    Not exactly Jesus or Ghandi, but hey, guys like your pastor are kinda asking for it.

    Move on, and take your wonderful love elsewhere. Or, give me a quick text … I’d be happy be one of your “best friends” ………… (insert evil laugh)

  • Elizabeth

    I’m down with burying the body. I’m a little offended the plural in sociopaths is in parens.

  • mike moore

    you know how I hate to presume … but welcome to the club!!!

  • Matt

    I’ll agree with the above. I have had to distance myself from my father and brother for various reasons, chief among them my mental and physical well-being. It’s no fun, but it’s necessary. They don’t deserve to drain my time and energy just because we have a lot of DNA base pairs in common.

  • Jill

    That was beautiful, Robert. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Well said. I hate it when a pastor/minister/priest will not tackle an obvious injustice because maybe somebody would be offended.

  • Jill

    Gordon, I had to dig a little, but I’m linking to what I think is possibly *the best* family disconnect story I’ve ever read, written last year by our favorite resident sociopath, Mike Moore. — from Oct 15, 2012.

    If your question is open to everybody, I sincerely think you’ve done the right thing too, and once we really know enough people who treat us with respect and dignity, we won’t easily go back to people that will not. All the best, Jill

  • Gordon

    I can’t believe I missed this. Must have one of those times I was avoiding my computer during the campaign. Thanks for sharing it, Jill.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    It is interesting Jesus had nothing to say on the matter. He also never said anything abut abortion or birth control. Last I heard, he was still considered to be the authority on all things Christian.

  • mike moore

    I believe yours are wise words, xo

  • Cindy

    Jackass Whisperer – – That is my vote on the funniest post of the day! I’m going to steal that phrase and use it again! Very funny!

  • Cindy

    That is good advice. I am going to tape it to my wall right now and perhaps use it to respond to people who continually try to speak for God.

  • Cindy

    Thank you for sharing that information. I am encouraged by hearing this news. I have googled them, and will follow them, and will pray that the movement grows, as I am certain that it will.

    Because it has to. Love will win!

  • Cindy

    I think it should be clarified that Jesus used those words only for CHURCH LEADERS and not for sinners, making John Shore’s response completely legitimate.


    It is deplorable the way conservative christ-less-ians use these types of words to call out other christians – especially when they are strangers. I have been called so many dirty names, by these people on the internet. When I point them to the verses which strictly forbid it they come back with even more vile responses.

  • Marty

    Not only am I in total agreement, I think I’m going to pepper my conversations with the sentence, “Sometimes it just feels like you’re wearing roller skates while trying to climb Mt. Stupid.” It’s perfect.

  • There are no verses in the Bible that talk about homosexuality. It is not mentioned by word or by concept. What is talked about in those 6 verses is sex for the purpose of idol worship or abusive or violent or coercive sex, which are equally forbidden to straight people as they are to gay folk. In fact, there are more prohibitions against straight people than gay and yet they believe that they stand in God’s favour and the GLBTQ children of God don’t.

  • For those who have said they would like some resources on how to handle the verses people use to condemn homosexuals and homosexual marriage, may I humbly suggest a series of blog posts I wrote when my husband suggested I do some research on those passages. Feel free to share them as you see fit.

  • Michelle: I’m wondering if you’ve seen my The Best Case for the Bible NOT Condemning Homosexuality? No particular reason you might have, of course. But you might find it a worthy complement to your own work.

  • Can’t wait to check it out!