Leaving gay-bashing pastors in the darkness, buried in their dirt

So here we have yet another pastor calling for the death of all gay people. (All credit to friendly and indefatigable Jeremy Hooper over at Good As You for finding and presenting the audio clip, and to the equally tireless folks at Towleroad for the audio transcription.)

Next up for Shoo-in For Hades is Pastor Curtis Knapp, of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, who recently vomited out this:

They [homosexuals] should be put to death. That’s what happened in Israel. That’s why homosexuality wouldn’t have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversions. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet. — ‘Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them, no?’ — I’m saying the government should. They won’t but they should. [You say], ‘Oh, I can’t believe you; you’re horrible. You’re a backwards neanderthal of a person.’ Is that what you’re calling scripture? Is God a neanderthal, backwards [gurble] in his morality. Is it his word or not? If it’s his word, he commanded it. It’s his idea, not mine. And I’m not ashamed of it.

When I first heard of this audio recording, I … well, immediately posted this on the wall of my Facebook page:

In the last two minutes four people have emailed me the link to this [recording]. I seriously appreciate that trust. But I’m gonna let this one go. Come a time, you just have to go, “Oh, look. Another stinking, wriggling, air-sucking bottom-feeder flopping out of control,” unhook it, and toss it back into the mucky gunk it came from. This coffinfish craves fame. And as sure as fart bubbles rise and break in the air, he’ll get it. But wouldn’t it be nice if at least every once in awhile we just ignored buffoons like this?

And then a considerable comment-confab developed about whether or not I should, in fact, ignore this buttcap. Then I started getting a bunch of emails from people very kindly (and persuasively) asking me to write something on my blog about him.

So I did/am. But you knew that.

This will, however, be my last time writing about a gay-bashing pastor who, before the Internet made him famous for saying whatever outrageously hateful thing he did, was known to virtually no one outside of his sad little cadre of dumbass parishioners.

These low-life, no-life pastors live for attention. But they’ve never had any way to get themselves any.

Well, now they do. Now they know that they can say things a hyena would be embarrassed to have flop out of its mouth, and then just sit back and wait for the Internet to make them go Typhoid Mary viral.

And once that happens they can look in the mirror, and instead of an obscure, marginally educated nobody looking back at them, they can see a man that people know. That people are talking about. Someone who’s making a difference in the world.

Someone who is finally someone.

And notice how each podunk pastor says something a little worse, a little more inflammatory, than did the one before him. First we had the guy screeching about punching and breaking the wrists of gay children. Then we had Mr. Aginit braying about puttin’ all the queers and lesbians behind electric fences. And now we have this rump-chapeau bitterly bemoaning the fact that the American government won’t obey God and visit genocide upon its LGBTQ citizens.

Who knows what’ll come tomorrow?

Not me. All I know is that it’ll be something worse. *

And then, as surely as battle follows the blaring of the war horns, there will be blood.

I once stayed at the mountain home of some friends who had a worm farm. They kept the worms in these huge wooden frames on the ground filled with good, dark soil. One night we all went to bed without turning off the bright lights of their back porch. When we awoke early the next morning, we found that all the worms, attracted (or maybe driven crazy by?) the lights, had crawled out of their frames, and were now everywhere. All the ground around my friends’ home had become alive with rapidly advancing, pinkish-brown little snakes—which also covered their kitchen floor like the most disgusting carpet ever. It was an unnerving disaster.

I’m not yet going to stop writing on the gay/Christian issue; I’ve fought in that war too long to leave before victory. But we’ve tipped now into a place where I think everyone in media would do well to consider the wisdom of sometimes just turning off the lights and letting the restless, wiggling worms remain where, God knows, they belong, which is in the darkness and buried in their dirt.

* Not three hours after I wrote that, someone sent me this, coming soon to a trillion other websites near you:

(P.S. Just to be clear, I’m only saying that I personally don’t want to play up every dinkus pastor who makes a point of braying about how sinful “the gays” are. As I just put it to a friend on Facebook with whom I was having a little chat about this post: “Well, I was just saying what I personally want to do. If nobody was covering these dickweeds, then it would be vital that I do. But me ignoring any of them might means zero relative to how much coverage they’ll get anyway. They’re bloody chum to the ravenous shark of media. They’ll be publicized, with or without me.)

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://yhhis.blogspot.com Kevin MacDougall

    I very much agree. These things thrust themselves upon us often enough that we don’t need to go chasing them down. At some point, our desire to point out error crosses the line and somehow validates the erroneous. They should not be allowed to steer the conversation so often. They didn’t earn that power, and they don’t deserve it.

  • Aliyah Aldridge

    “And then a considerable comment-confab developed about whether or not I should, in fact, ignore this buttcap.”

    Dammit John, you owe me a new monitor. XD

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      oh, I just didn’t want to write “asshat” again. (and thanks for all, AA.)

      • Aliyah Aldridge

        Ah, I’ll just dig the pistachio and cola bits out of the corner of this one if I can steal both “buttcap” and “fart bubble” as adjectives for stupid people. Deal?

      • otter

        “rump-chapeau” had me giggling at 6:30 am!

        Thanks, John

        • Allie

          Rump-chapeau made my husband chortle. We kinda needed a chortle this morning, thanks John.

        • Sharla

          That’s worth adding to your vocabulary, I think. Folks could be ten miles out of range before they figured out what you called them…

        • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

          Yeah, ditto. And I definitely think “rump-chapeau” will become part of my vocabulary. Flows better than the “derriere-chapeau” I’ve heard before.

      • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        I’ve heard of the term “arsehelm.” – It works better when you’re talking about gaming/medeivalist stuff, though.

      • n.

        Omgosh all this time i thought you were saying different euphemisms for buttplug. An apparatus which i only know about thanks to antigay preachers…

  • Ray Oflight via Facebook

    Lol…but unfortunately no, for even they (i.e. gay-hating pastors) will never be out of reach of God’s love. And one day, they will see the light.

  • Susie Bennett via Facebook

    Another narcissistic pastor who thinks he’s the voice of God. Why can’t we do a better job of screening our pastors and ministers for serious, treatment-resistant psychological problems such as this? If you don’t think your interviewers will be able to catch it, then just have all applicants for seminaries and pastoral positions take the MMPI.

    • Sharla

      If you go to seminary in a mainline church, at least, there’s at least some examination and oversight involved. (My seminary wasn’t from a mainline tradition but did have very good processes for examining a person’s emotional, spiritual, and mental fitness for ministry.) However, a lot of more conservative, fundamentalist churches don’t send their pastors to seminary (or, in some cases, even to college); and if they’re not part of a denomination there’s nobody really who can provide oversight. If you’re charismatic, preach the Bible, and increase the number of butts in seats on Sunday morning (or whenever the main service is held), that’s sufficient.

  • Kim J. from Pgh

    I like that this issue (the hatred some Christian pastors/congregations have for gays) is getting attention. How else will the backward people of these congregations hear the truth if we don’t confront the horror that is spewing out of the mouths of their pastors?

    Far too often, I hear that Christians don’t hate the sinner…they hate the sin. Finally, the slippery slope between hating the sin and hating the sinner is exposed, and maybe the Christians who say that phrase will realize that their distinction between the “sinner” and the “sin” is nothing more than a platitude that allows them to sleep at night while discriminating (or worse) against others.

    • vj

      I agree. What used to happen in the ‘dark’ of isolated communities who had no access to better resources is now being brought into the ‘light’ of wider attention. The more the extremes are made known, the more people are confronted with what ultimately lies behind the bigotry – and when they see that it’s NOT love, they can choose to turn their backs on it.

      In some ways it’s a bit like those TV shows that confront obese people with a truck-load of pure fat, or a week’s worth of junk food – the sheer excess shocks people into finally recognizing how unhealthy their eating habits are. The only way the average ‘nice’ Christian is going to recognize the evils of bigotry is to be confronted with it in its purest form….

      • vj

        But, also want to add that I think John is right to stop responding to all these sorts of things – I think the trickle is going to become a flood before it stops, and there’s just no way to respond to them all. When there’s only a few, it can be helpful/necessary to point out the problems they reveal – when there’s loads, the problems are (a) already documented from previous examples and (b) more obvious, because the volume will reveal the patterns of horribleness.

        • Kim J. from Pgh

          If there is no backlash of response, don’t the problems remain in the dark? I don’t fault John for not wanting to respond anymore, but I sincerely hope these people keep getting their comments examined in the light of the media. Sometimes, people have no idea how absolutely awful a statement is until the harsh light of publicity shines on what they have said…

          • vj

            Yes, there should still be exposure and there should still be a massive public outcry – but at some point I think it’s not necessary to have John (or any particular person) do a whole blog-post response every time, but rather individuals responding with their own personal comments on FB or news-sites where such videos surface.

            John has so much to say on so many aspects of life and faith, it would be a pity for him to devote too much time to repeatedly addressing similar issues, when he could rather be getting on with new stuff for our edification…. ;-)

        • Lymis

          I fear that John is absolutely right – that not only will the trickle become a flood, but that the flood is going to result in some people feeling that God is being mocked and Christians are being attacked, and that there will be literal blood as a result – the soundbite above, in the right context, in the right ears, would result in a bombing or a mass shooting. June is Pride Month, and communities all over the country will be holding events, parades, and gatherings. This will get violent before it gets over.

          And sadly, it may take violence before people start to understand that this isn’t just some intellectual theological point in a private church protected by the freedoms of speech and religion, but that is is a call to murder fellow citizens in the name of God.

          Sooner or later someone is going to decide that the glory of God is worth being taken down by a S.W.A.T. team if a semi-automatic in a clock tower along the Pride Parade route is what it takes to show your faith.

          And if that person got the idea, not because they attended the church, but because of the media firestorm about a “godly” pastor in a church six states away? I don’t know. When it happens, it will absolutely raise the seriousness of the national debate, but that won’t help the affected grieving families and communities.

          • Gordon

            Chilling.

          • vj

            Very! I so hope it doesn’t come to that….

  • otter

    Good points, and maybe the coverage makes these maggots swell up with pride. But these posts do important things which would be a shame to lose.

    This is a culture war. The casualties are the ones in those pews, and in the the families of the ones in those pews, and the victims beaten and killed by the ones in those pews. They need to know that there is a vocal and persistant opposition to knuckle-dragging hatred. And there are a lot more victims than there are maggots.

    I use these examples and the superb comments from John and other readers in discussing the issues.

    Most important, I hope that someone will be inspired to suggest a way to end the misuse of Christianity as a justification for violence.

    Hey, if some nut-job proposed lynching do you think anyone would walk away and let that evil fester in the dark?

  • Lymis

    I think in a lot of ways there is a similarity to the question of media attention for the suicides of bullied kids – if feels like there needs to be a balance between making sure that the issue doesn’t go away, get whitewashed, and continue to fester on the one hand, and encouraging copycats and doubling down on the other.

    Pretending that this sort of thing is not only going on but is incredibly common would be bad, but John is right that, in the short term, at least, this generates a lot of support (and cash) for the bigots who manage to get on the radar.

    We are fast approaching the tipping point where the consensus will be that this sort of casual hatred and the advocacy of death isn’t acceptable, but we aren’t there yet.

    But I’d hate to see this blog turn into nothing but a constant reporting of these incidents.

    I don’t have any answers. John, I salute you for dealing with the question, and I agree, you have to strike that balance somewhere. Choosing not to focus on every new media outrage (while, I am sure, reserving the right to comment on any that can’t be ignored) is an unsatisfactory but necessary approach. And the only reason it’s unsatisfactory is that the only satisfactory answer is having none of these things happening in the first place, and that’s beyond the control of anyone here.

    • DR

      Yes, this exactly.

      • vj

        Ditto

  • http://thethreews.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

    Actually, I agree. We have a choice between talking about positives — love, acceptance, recognition that diversity exists and is good — or negatives — every goober who thinks that the best way to make a name is to stake out an extreme anti-gay position.

    I am reminded of a pastor/college professor I knew many years ago. He talked about the story of the two trees in Eden — the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. What he liked to glean from that story was that we can choose to eat from the TKGE and spend our time focused on that, or we can choose to live and live well.

    I’ve never mastered it, but I think he’s got a point that we’d be better off focusing on life and goodness than just dealing with what’s wrong, which gives the perpetrators more power.

    The best thing, really, is if we’d ignore them and let them fade away, and talk to the people with a message of love so that everyone knows that the jerks aren’t the loudest message.

  • Linda Bale via Facebook

    why can’t we do a better jpob of raising our children so they don’t become gay-hating pasters in the first place?

  • Lynne Jacobson via Facebook
    • vj

      The extent of the brainwashing is just too awful to contemplate! HOW did it become acceptable to be PROUD of your child for spouting such unloving sentiments? I never allow my kids to use derogatory terms. Every children’s Bible I’ve ever seen has been focused on God’s love for us, on bunnies and butterflies and flowers and sunshine – on being kind to others, on sharing what we have with those less fortunate than ourselves, on being a friend to the lonely. Who even comes up with sort of vileness? This is wrong on so many levels…

  • Natalie Jones

    Yeah, i mean seriously this is getting out of hand and as much as i think this stuff needs to be brought to light I also feel that there needs to be a limit to the exposure these people get.

  • Gordon

    We had a similar discussion among some Facebook friends over the weekend. One of my friends had come across a posting that said “The solution to gay marriage!” right next to a picture of two nooses. It also said “From your friends at: National Organization For Marriage.” My friend was going to paste the picture on his Facebook page, but then decided he would be providing free publicity to a vile and hateful image. Then a bunch of us had a lively conversation about the pros and cons of sharing this outrageous crap. I don’t have the answers either, but I would hate to wake up with worms all around my house and inside my kitchen! Thanks a lot, John. That’s an image I’m not going to be able to get out of my head for a while.

    • Sharla

      I saw that page too, and reported it to facebook. The page wasn’t taken down, but the nooses were gone by the next day. I’d rather the nooses AND the page had gone away, but it’s a start, at least, I guess…

      • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

        You can find more on that at http://www.wakingupnow.com. The image was originally made by someone opposing NOM in order to illustrate the consequences of their message, but was then co-opted by an actual anti-gay group on Facebook.

        • Gordon

          Yeah…I didn’t think NOM was actually behind that picture. It was too vile even for them.

    • Melody

      Wish the SPLC would go ahead and label them a hate group. Guess it’s just a matter of time.

  • T

    I respect your decision not to focus on them anymore. However, I don’t agree that these preachers live on the attention. I think, unless challenged, they don’t even grasp the hatefulness of their words. And when challenged they often still don’t – but at least they can’t ignore it and therefore face some consequences. Growing up in this world, it is the DEFAULT position that they address, discuss and denigrate gay people as ‘non-human’ and theoretical ideas rather than individual people. Each time one of these instances comes to light – and there are, I believe, thousands more out there to discover every single Sunday – a little light is shone and SOME heretofore clueless, genuine Christians take note and start thinking, “hey, I know a gay person – I really don’t want them killed, literally.” It’s amazing and scary how long and how often they’ve heard these things preached (the pens, the cracking of wrists, the camps, etc.) so much so that they have grown numb to it. They think of their preachers as lashing out an issue or a sin, not at actual people. Every single time a story like this gets posted, it helps those people in congregations to be forced to look at what they are supporting. So, while I regret that you won’t use your position to continue to shine a light on this, I certainly hope others will continue to do so.

    • DR

      I agree. I respect John’s decision and he has my unwavering support. And I do think there’s more than one right answer here, while in the short-term they get some attention, the longer-term attack on this kind of thing and the “waking up” quality this steady stream of abuse has on mainstream Christians is critical. A lot of Christians want to believe this just exists as the exception to the rule when in many places in our country and our world, it is the absolute *rule*. So I guess I care less about these pastors getting attention and more about the middle-of-the-road Christians waking up to how bad and big of a problem this is.

  • Felicia Castillo-Powers via Facebook

    I agree with Ray. God loves ALL people, even the assholes. God even loves the people that we don’t understand, He loves everyone including those we find unlovable. And how grateful are we for that unfathomable, unconditional love and grace? None of us deserve it, even us “nice” Christians. All of our earthly goodness still isn’t good enough to earn God’s love, but we all get it regardless.

    • Gordon

      Why don’t we deserve it? If God is my father and I am His creation, then I deserve His love. What am I missing?

      • vj

        I suppose it’s common to think of it as ‘undeserved’ in the sense of ‘unearned’ (and unearnable), and ‘unconditional’ – in that we can’t lose it either. Perhaps the ‘undeserved’ has slipped in from the idea of grace being God’s ‘unmerited’ favor? I’ve never thought of it in quite those words before, but I think you raise an interesting point – if God IS love, and God loves us ‘while we were yet sinners’, then I suppose it naturally follows that we do, in fact, ‘deserve’ His love. Cool!

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/ Ric Booth

    I think you’re right. These guys love the attention. They’re like driscollian wannabees. Too many insecure guys find their niche as smalltown preachers who feed on weekly and daily affirmations of their flocks. Now, thanks to youtube, they can go viral, which seems an appropriate term in this case.

    And yes, we are approaching the tipping point — the violent confrontation. It seems to happen every time the majority senses they might actually become the minority.

  • mike moore

    I saw that yesterday … my heart just wouldn’t allow me to send it to you. There are some things when, once seen, you can’t un-see.

  • http://wilkinsonweb.com Dan Wilkinson

    To echo some of the other comments here, I think it’s a difficult decision as to how much attention and publicity to give to these sorts of things. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the mud and muck and just dwell on the negatives…and frankly, I wouldn’t want to read your blog if that’s all you did. But I do think it’s extraordinarily important to shine a bright, glaring light on these things. I, for one, haven’t really been aware that these sorts of people are actually out there. In a stomach-wrenching sort of way, it’s truly important to know that these people really exist and are really saying these things and really need to vehemently opposed. Too often in the broader public debate on these issues we end up getting a sanitized, watered-down and intentionally distorted perspective: “Sure we oppose gay marriage, but we still love gay people…love the the sinner, hate the sin!” And then, in the video and audio clips you posted, we see the inevitable outworking of that sort of misguided thinking. Too many Christians oppose homosexuality in an abstract, insular way without realizing the very real, very personal and often very devastating consequences of their position.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yeah, that’s all exactly right, Dan.

      Here’s the bottom line for me: if it’s a truly small-time/no-time pastor–no one’s ever heard of him, he has no real power in the world, he’s clearly never had any media attention–I personally will let him go. Because I know zillions of other bloggers and websites will be on him like yellow on mustard: he’ll get more than enough exposure without me contributing to it.

      But if it’s someone who has power, and who is using that power to intimidate or harass any persons or group with less power, then call me Grey Poupon.

      • Barbara Rice

        But nowadays with the internet and YouTube, a nobody easily becomes famous. And fame gives a certain sense of power to the nobody, and there will always be hangers-on – groupies, if you will – who want to get some of the reflection of that power, ersatz though it is.

        • vj

          I think, though, that there is a difference between the ’15 minutes’ kind of fame that follows these types of outbursts from previously largely unknown (outside of their own personal congregations) ‘pastors’, and the fame of the already established leaders of bigger congregations and organizations. The latter are far more dangerous in the long term, because they are less likely to be quite so blatantly obnoxious, and will thus be more likely to attract (and mislead) the kinds of people who will instantly be turned off by the odiousness of the extremists. And the ‘big guns’ are also more likely to be emulated by other church leaders. So, John’s distinction makes sense to me.

    • vj

      Perfect!

      • http://deep.mastersfamily.org BJohnM

        Well, I’m going to chime in here too. Dan’s comment got me to thinking. I agree with him, that no matter how small time the Pastor/Church might be, the words are dangerous. Do they have a national impact, do they get the attention of other religious people, do they spur to action those outside their congregation? Probably not, but what scares me is that it doesn’t matter. They can cause plenty enough hurt right in their own little corner of the world.

        Some child gets bullied to the point of suicide, and it seems this community has already experienced that. Some other young person who is gay (older than 4) has to sit through things like that, and then try to live with themselves. Some other young person sees the standing ovation and the encouragement given that kid, and decides he can one up the 4 year old, and winds up killing a classmate. And of course that’s not genocide, but it is certainly an intolerable outcome. Just one death caused by this kind of rhetoric is way too many.

        So my thought is, there’s only a slight chance of changing the mind of this person, but we have to literally bring down the wrath of God on these people. They have to recognize that while their congregation may cheer them on, society writ large is going to extract a penalty for this over-wrought hate speech. It has to be made so untenable that they may think it, but they’ll think twice before saying it. As an example, don’t think for a minute there aren’t some of these preachers, and a good number of their congregants, who aren’t racists. You’re not hearing those thoughts expressed in a sermon though, are you? (I know, unfortunately some, but not many.) We have to create that same environment for people who say these things about LGBT people.

  • Aggie

    Both clips are sick, but that clip with that kid is simply heart-rending. A child learning bigotry and people laughing about others not going to heaven. That’s a perfect picture of “their glory is in their shame.”

    As much as it pains me to see this stuff, my personal take is that these kinds of things are so embarassing that it will only help draw people away from their “cause.” Let’s hope!

    • Lymis

      And, to make it worse, the church that put that 4-year-old on stage singing about no homos getting into heaven is in the same town that bullied a 15-year-old into committing suicide for being gay two years ago:

      http://www.towleroad.com/2010/09/indiana-teen-commits-suicide-after-anti-gay-bullying-at-school.html

      Tell me there’s no link between the two. And these people sit cheering. In church.

      • vj

        Truly awful :-(

        (And I think you are right on about the connection between two).

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      I’m not even listening to or watching the clips. I just read the text. If I actually watched the clip of the kid, it would hurt too much.

      But… kid is 4? Eh, when I was 4, I sat on my mother’s lap learning to read Dr. Suess books, loved our trips to the local library, loved me my cartoons, and believed whatever Mom and Dad told me about the world because they were Mom and Dad.

      So, we can only hope for kids whose parents tell them to sing about people going to Hell that the teenage *rebellion* is on the horizon. Or at least they’ll get other opinions when they start going to school and interecting with more people than their Mom and Dad and Pastor-who-are-always-right because they’re 4 and don’t know any better yet.

    • Don Rappe

      It reminds me of the old photo of the little girl in a Sunday School dress joining a festive group watching a lynching.

      • Diana A.

        Yeah. Sickening, isn’t it?

  • Rick Reiley via Facebook

    This is such an example of hateful /hurtful religious ignorance. There are many congregations out there being willfully led back into the dark ages. Where is their/our Jesus in the mix? Is he an orphan in his own church?

  • Lee Walker

    Right decision, John. It’s now becoming like listening to some neo-Nazi or KKK garbage. Dangerous in the wrong ears, yes, but no need to keep pointing out the obvious… to most sane people the insanity is clear enough. I’m tired of it all. You have much more creative fish to fry (I know, that’s a TERRIBLE metaphor, but… whatever… you’re the professional writer, not me. LOL).

    • Diana A.

      Yes. I agree with Lee.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ina.plassatravis Ina Plassa-travis via Facebook

    Jesus cried out on the cross understanding how many times he would be betrayed by his own ‘flock’ and how badly his reputation would be smeared by generations of bloodshed and hate-mongering.

  • Adriana Maldonado via Facebook

    It’s sad how Jesus and his sacrifice are being tarnished, pooped and spit on by these so-called-Christian Pastors.
    The ultimate price paid out of love, and the man who paid this price have been reduced to a political tool, and a means to control people out of fear.
    The worst part is that the embodiment of divine love has been used to justify blind hate.
    I pray that people wake up and see that these “pastors” aren’t men of God. They seem to be working for the devil.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

    I read this and think “Though I speak with the tongues of angels and have not love, I become as sounding brass….” Meaning, yep, you got the attention. EVERYONE hears you, but as a gong sounds, it is heard then fades back into obscurity being of little more value then the attention it garnered.

    Maybe that is what I love about your work John, is that it is completely infused with love. That you invite dialog, interaction, a variety of views, and insist on respect, consideration and maturity from those of us who comment is such a beautiful thing. We need to talk about these topics. We need to point out the flies in our ointments. We need to work together to help, to heal, to share and to love.

    Yes we are outraged by those who hate in the name of God. We should be.Sadly its not new and in a few years, there will be a new target to lob condemnation and derision at. People like that come and go. I just believe that we should do what we can to lessen the damage they inflict along the way. And here is one place I believe where it is happening.

  • http://rindle.blogspot.com Lyn

    I think it’s time to start something– a website, a Facebook page, a twitter account, all of the above, something else– called “Godless Sodomites”. It would be based around Ezekiel 16:49 (“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”) and 1 John 4:20 (“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”). People who behave in ways that are prideful, disdainful of the poor and needy, and hateful to others “in the name of God” would be called out as being the true Godless Sodomites of our time on the page, and people directed to donate to relevant charities in the name of these rump-chapeaux.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

      So you are suggesting that what people have long assumed sodomy to be, is something else entirely??

      I LOVE IT!!

      And the term “rump-chateaux” I may have to permanently borrow that one.

      • otter

        rump-chateaux = ass-castle!

        rump-chapeau = ass-hat

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          Ok. So my french is a bit off. I caught the snafu myself…AFTER I posted it.

    • Diana A.

      I like this idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justinroberge1975 Justin Roberge via Facebook

    Support Gay Christians on FaceBook at Gay Christian Resource. A place of refuge and strength for the GLBT community.

  • Dan(Chicago)

    Difficult call but I agree. Just look at how the congregation in NC rallied around their persecuted pastor after the media storm. Kind of looks like he knew what he was doing and he probably took in the biggest offering of his ministry. I do wish there was a way to get the word out without serving the interests of these awful pastors and solidifying their hold on the ignorant. Not sure how.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

      But that’s the whole point Dan. That guy got his fifteen minutes of fame, as they all do. The problem is, is that they can’t sustain it. Being, offensive and flamboyant AND ensuring that there is a video camera, so that you can hope for a good round of hits on U-tube is serving the gospel?

      So that congregation, as well as others who use the same ploy, sees a momentary uptick in donations. So what? Tomorrow they will be forgotten, an entry in Wikipedia.

      There are so many wonderful things being done in the Christian faith. Its just a shame that the ones who seem to get the attention are those who prefer to do not nice things. But maybe its supposed to be that way. The quiet work is the more important so often.

      • http://deep.mastersfamily.org BJohnM

        But that’s the problem isn’t it S.D.? The youth group at my Methodist church here in Tampa feed the homeless a couple of evenings each month. You don’t see that getting a million hits on Youtube. Yeah, they got an article in the Tampa Tribune once (or maybe the St. Pete Times, I can’t remember), but that’s it.

        The problem for real Christians is that this is the face of Christianity that gets presented to the world, and it’s why people are leaving, or never joining a church/religion, despite the majority saying they are “spiritual.” And they’re not interested in the main stream churches because they don’t see those churches actively and loudly denouncing this kind of stuff when it does come up and they’re not seeing the good works that are done, because that’s just the way the world of communications works. I made it a point to go to the website of each U.S. Methodist Annual Conference…not one peep from one single Methodist Bishop about this rash of hate speech coming from churches.

        You know what the Council of Bishops did manage to denounce back around 2009 or ’10? They finally got around to issuing a statement condemning the Japanese use of comfort women during WWII. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that was a horrible thing, and worthy of denunciation, but come on…nearly 70 years after the fact. That reminds me of the playground bully who says, “good thing he’s already gone home or I would have kicked his butt all over the place.” Our glorious Bishops waited until pretty much everyone involved was probably dead, and then condemned it.

        I think any denomination which started actively issuing full-throated condemnations of this kind of behavior…calling it out for what it is, would start to see a few more folks trickle in their doors, and I think that would grow over time. The UCC seems to be making some progress. But I can promise that waiting 70 years, or until some gay people start getting killed in the name of God isn’t going to do them, or anyone else, any good.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          You make an excellent point BJohnM, which once again has me thinking of a certain letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He too bemoaned the lack of vocal support by churches he knew agreed with what he was doing. Their silence was very problematic to him then just as it is now.

          Methodists, apparently take their own sweet time making decisions on major policy. I am a new member of the denomination, and although I love a lot of what they are doing, it is rather ponderous when it comes to such issues. There are however, some in the denomination that are more open to change and being vocal then others. Hopefully they’ll take a positive step sooner then later.

          I do know that a member of my congregation recently attended the annual conference. A group representing friends and family of the LGBT were in attendance with the hopes that something could be done to recognize their plight in the church. It may be said that their attendance was itself a big deal, as well as the chance to have their voices heard. Our delegate expressed sadness that it was pretty much the only thing done for them, and hoped for the day when it would be different. She did mention the molasses state of change in church policy. I became Methodist because I saw that they were at least willing to hear things out, to be considerate of social changes and to not join the fray of bigotry and condemnation.

          You are right. The church needs to condemn hatred and bigotry. We need to say, “that isn’t the expression of the kind of love that Jesus commanded of us” We need to honestly embrace the concept of “come all who are weary and heavy laden…” It’s happening, but it needs to happen on such a grander scale.

          (and yeah my name is different. Silly me took six weeks to figure how to upgrade to my new married name)

          • Diana A.

            Best wishes sd!

      • Dan(Chicago)

        The whole point to making these videos public on blogs like this, or the point in not giving them any attention?

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          The point in making those videos public period. What was the original motivation there? If not to draw attention, to spark something, possibly outrage. In each case, someone has taken the time and effort to not only film these statements, but to also make sure they would be seen by a wider audience.

          So why? What was their point?

          • Dan(Chicago)

            It’s pretty common practice now to tape the service and make the video available on the church’s web site. I’m pretty sure that is where the video of the pastor calling for dads to break their son’s limp wrists came from. And yes, I do think the pastors involved do know that their words will quickly reach a wider audience, and are, in these cases, looking for that backlash to give them a boost. When you hear these kinds of statements, you will almost always find trouble brewing elsewhere in the church that requires a diversion. And frankly, it does often work for while. I know it isn’t a long term thing, but I don’t think any of these pastors in question attended a church growth seminar at Fuller Theological Seminary.

            My conclusion is likely the same as John’s — don’t give them the attention they seek, unless it is necessary.

          • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

            Knowledge is power, so keeping quiet about what’s really going on keeps the power in the hands of the bullies. Somebody recorded and then posted North Carolina pastor Charles “Charlie” Worley advocating that gays and lesbians be herded like cattle and that they be penned (and killed) behind electrified fences. That posting led to Worley’s church’s website being shut down. It also led to 1,000 rational North Carolinians coming out to denounce Worley’s position.

            All in all, that’s a pretty positive result, considering how extreme Worley and his congregants are. When you shine a light on the ugly thoughts of ignorant people it has a way of, not just holding them accountable, but also gives rational people the opportunity to demonstrate their support. I think those are both good things.

          • n.

            That video was from the church website, no?

  • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    I can’t remember where I’ve seen it, but I’m sure I’ve seen it in several places – “Conservatives want a small government until it comes to the government enforcing their values, then they’re all for big goverment.” I.E. people like this don’t believe in the Constitution so much as they believe that everyone has the “Freedom of Religion to be MY religion and flavor thereof.” This guy doesn’t want to kill people! He just wants the government to kill people! Yet, if the government decided that his brand of religion was terrorist and decided to kill him as a suspect, he’d be singing a different tune…

    Government enforcing religion is the *last* thing we need. I was watching something on PBS last night about the rise of Western civilization. The host said something about being a good British athiest/raised athiest, so he had no “stake” when it came to the religious segment of the show… but he talked about Christianity, particularly Protestantism and its role in making the West mighty. He basically married it to Capitalism – the ideas of the “work ethic” and “freedom of concience.” The guy proposed that one of the reasons for the fall of religious sentiment in Europe (“Less than 2% of British attend Church of England”) and the steady-state/rise of Christianity in America is *due to Americans having a seperation of Church and State.* That is… you can drive through a street in America and see several different churches because they’ve taken to the freedom of concience and competition that would not be allowed with a state church or state enforcement.

    If jackholes want the U.S. government to enforce their way, they’re going to be putting the nail in the coffin for all of us, most like.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      I’ve heard over and over for at least a decade or two how the church is in danger, how the government is taking away freedoms from the church, how society’s demand for the base things of life are making it harder to to God’s good work. Yet I can find a dozen active churches within at best two miles from my house, representing at least three denominations.

      To date, they can open their doors when they please, hire whom they like, take in donations as long as they can prove their non-profit status, place their congregations where they want, pending local building/zoning laws, interact in charitable outreaches of their choosing, travel where they desire on church related outings, invite whom they want, use what form of bible they want, choose their own music, worship style and vestments. The church’s limitations are few. Don’t break established civil law, (.ie extortion, fraud, assault, etc.) do not promote or endorse a political candidate from the pulpit (and that one often gets a bye), comply with local ordinances (.ie noise, occupancy, health standards)

      None of that has changed. So where is the so called danger? Maybe in relevance among certain segments of the faith. Religion should have meaning, its purpose should be more then membership growth….

      I better quit now, or else, I’ll get on that damned soapbox and you’ll have to bazooka me off.

    • Allie

      When I was in high school I dated a boy from Norway who had been arrested along with his friends for padlocking the doors of all the churches in Trondheim one Sunday morning. I wasn’t particularly religious at that era of my life but couldn’t understand why anyone would do such a thing, until he explained that it was in protest of the tithes… that everyone had 10% of their paycheck taken for the church regardless of whether or not they wanted to. I believe since then the law has been changed such that people can opt out of tithing. But you can see that being forced to support a state church turned my friend into a determined atheist activist, whereas I grew up a rebellious agnostic, went through a period of seeking, and eventually came back to the moderate Episcopal church in which I was christened as an infant. I can almost guarantee that if I’d been forced to participate in church I would not be a Christian today.

  • Charles Franklin via Facebook

    I believe the SBC should defrock this man at a minimum. Also, SBC should issue a statement denying that he speaks for the convention’s beliefs regarding GLBT people.

  • Mary

    The abuse of this 4-year old has me all worked up.

  • otter

    Iin an earlier post some astute person pointed out that pride month is here……and if you ever marched in a parade , you may have been subjected to the bigots with bullhorns contingent proclaiming that Satan haa the bar-b-que sauce ready for you! They surely are a manifestation of maggots.

    Wouldn’t it be powerful if people from progressive denominations took their OWN message to the street and staged a counter protest? Everywhere ! Now that might be worth doing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.amon Joe Amon via Facebook

    John, you’ve expressed everything I feel about this issue, only more organized and with less cursing. :) Thank you.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Thank you, Joe, very much.

  • Vicky Lindo Kemish via Facebook

    Yes, they will be given media attention with or without you. But YOU have the wisdom to realize that the spotlight needs to be taken off. Why doesn’t the mainstream media? Because they are busy feeding the frenzy that people have for scandalousness. Indignation is quickly becoming this countries forerummer where emotional life is ocncerned. If people spent more time looking at their own hearts, taking care of their own thoughts, keeping their own mental and emotional environment intact, that would be more than good enough. Instead, we are now all way too busy looking at what others are saying and doing.
    I say, take your (everyone) pointing finger and turn it back toward yourself. That’s where the REAL work is.

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      Well, it’s easier to look at the freakshows. It means you don’t have to work as hard to feel good about yourself.

      I once asked my sister why she watched the Jerry Springer Show back in the day – I thought it was crap. She told me “Seeing the people on it makes me feel less bad about myself.” That made me sad because my sister isn’t a bad person at all! She’s kind-hearted, loves animals, her kids…

      Or as a cheeky humor article I’ve read put it (in regards to the religious people/athiest “war” in culture/on the Internet) , to paraphrase “Look, this is lazy – you can sit on the couch watching TV and eating Doritos all day without doing a damn think to help anyone and you’re *still* a better person than the people at Westboro. Using them as a measure is the lowest bar for ‘Good.”

      Easier to be shocked at the kid making spitwads at the teacher than it is to keep your eyes on your own paper.

  • Diana A.

    Yup. Both videos are disgusting. Especially the one with the kids.

  • Allie

    I don’t know what the answer is regarding the best way to respond to this sort of thing. I do think that this particular pastor wants attention. He pretty much says so by predicting what people will say about his remarks. And I want not to give him anything he wants.

    But. It’s important to remember that the sort of person who attends a Conservative church is, by definition, conservative. That is, the majority of the people going to these churches are highly group-oriented and conformist individuals. They will do what they think the group wants them to do. If the only feedback they ever get is from other members of their very small, cloistered in-group, they will live their lives by the values of that in-group. If they get feedback from a larger group, they are perfectly capable of changing their values on a dime to live by what they perceive the values of the larger group to be. They have no true morality, so this isn’t about saving anyone’s soul… but it might save someone’s LIFE, if a group like this decides that the moral majority thing to do is to hate gay-bashing instead of hating gay people.

    These are not brave people. Most of them aren’t really interested in standing up for what they believe in against a larger group, whatever the rhetoric may be. They only think that because they have never seen the larger group or encountered real opposition, because their small-town life insulates them from reality. It’s fun to pretend to be persecuted. Not so fun to be laughed at as a moron. Why do you think the Moral Majority uses that language to describe itself? Bigots are very, very invested in believing their values are mainstream. And so a media pile-on may be exactly what the doctor ordered, not for the pastor, but for the members of the church.

    • Soulmentor

      Good thinking. Not new but insightful all the same. During the 90′s I was a prolific writer of pro-gay guest columns and opinion letters in the regional newspaper. I assumed I wouldn’t make much of a dent in the mind sets of those who tried to counter me with religiously motivated anti-gay responses. I wrote for the many, many more readers who teeter on the edges of how they think and feel about the issue and still THINK.

      The interesting thing that happened was that eventually, the hard core religious responses ceased because I was able to throw the Bible right back in their faces in ways they couldn’t refute.

      Religious conservatives, having enjoyed their kind of social power for centuries, aren’t accustomed to being challenged, AT ALL, but especially in ways they can’t refute. They are utterly unprepared for argument as their safe, sure world collapses……which is making them very fearful……and potentially dangerous.

  • Kristyn

    Verse 2. I know the Bible’s right and somebody’s wrong, Matthew 19:24, ain’t no rich people going to make it to Heaven.

    Verse 3. I know the Bible’s right and somebody’s wrong, Mark 10 :11 and 12, ain’t no divorced people going to make it to Heaven–wait? By homo, did they mean homosapiens, because it sounds like every body’s pretty screwed, here!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      niiiiiiiiiiiice.

    • DR

      Well aren’t you a delight, what a model of Jesus’s love that thousands of people just read. Nice job, dear.

      • Kristyn

        That was a sarcastic response to the first verse the little boy was taught to sing, in the video. My point being, there’s always verse in the Bible that can be used gainst any one of us–not just gay people. :)

        • Kristyn

          Wait? did I just get mistaken for a Fundie Troll? My imitation must have been too spot on?! :P

          • Melody

            Lol, that was pretty good, Kristyn! I mean, I picked up the sarcasm instantly, but then again, I’m practically the queen of sarcasm.

          • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            Poe’s Law!

            Nah, I picked up on you being sarcastic. Then again, my guy and I were joking yesterday about people we “hate” – (A complaint about the money situation we’re in had him joking about being a poor person who hates other poor people because of the crap that clients try to pull on him at work)… I confessed “Well, I’m a human who hates other humans…”

            Homo Eructus, Homo Habilus… they can go, too. Wait! They’re already gone, aren’t they?

          • Kristyn

            Yes. They aren’t around anymore–even though they were a predominantly heterosexual group. ;-P

          • Allie

            Have you noticed that people who use the Bible as an excuse not to believe in evolution are more than happy to trot out evolution as a reason for opposing homosexuality?

          • DR

            Oh phew. :)

    • n.

      hey thanks for the translation of the video, though. i couldn’t make out the first words.

  • Susie

    Rump-chapeau. Brilliant. Soooo going to add that to the repertoire, especially as my son starts speaking soon. Don’t want to terrify the ultra-conservative in-laws just yet.

    • Josie

      The image of a toddler struggling to master “rump-chapeau” just made my day…:-)

  • Soulmentor

    OK, I’ve tried to discover for myself but haven’t a clue. (We all have our weaknesses, eh?) SOMEBODY please tell me how to get my picture in place of my avatar on this blog!!!

  • Blake

    Can you at least help us coin a phrase for these dingbats? We don’t call snake-handlers Christians we call them snake-handlers. So how ’bout we call these guys book-worshipers or Biblocrats or something…

  • Cameron

    John, I am not so sure ignoring them is the best counsel…

    Bottom feeders, yes. However, those who just shake their heads, and go, how horrible, lets just shove them back under the carpet, can do so – on the other hand, people who are susceptible to believing their line of reasoning, will take it and run with it and spread it. The pastor that says put ‘em in a concentration camp, or let the government execute them, etc, those words – sensational though they are – are the fuel for gay bashing, hate and political movements that end in places no sane person wants to contemplate. I don’t think we can ignore them into oblivion. I think that we are looking at some of the same forces that drove political movements like Nazi Germany and they are rising. The headline news can ignore them. The blogs can ignore them. Their congregants will go out and vote. Some of their congregants destroy their own children’s lives. A minority of their congregants will go out and beat or kill a GLBT person, brainwashed by these words.

    Yes, bottom feeders love the dark. They thrive in it.

    Light is what they cannot tolerate – evil flees the light. These men may not be evil, they certainly do not perceive themselves as such. But their words contain evil, for all the “righteous” wrong reasons. And evil hates the light that exposes their deeds.

    All that is necessary – as the oft quoted say goes – for evil to thrive, is for good people to do nothing.

  • Pam Sebastian

    Here’s what I think about those who cite the Bible to denounce/decry/condemn homosexuality. If they are keeping kosher and obeying ALL the proscriptions in the Old Testament, then they’re allowed to denounce homosexuality. The Bible does say that for a man to “lie with a man as with a woman” is an abomination–even though there is plenty of scholarly debate about what lying with a man as a woman even means and whom that proscription is aimed at. But there are other abominations in the Bible, too, and few people today pay any attention to them. Mixing fibers in clothing (cotton/polyester anyone? Silk and nylon, wool and nylon, etc., etc.), dressing like the opposite sex (pant suits? man kilts?), eating shellfish. How come we don’t hear anything about these? If you’re going to point to the Bible, be consisitent about it. If not, admit that you’re using scripture to justify your own personal prejudices. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. He did say things about divorce. Hmmm. We have plenty of that. The hypocrisy is deafening.

  • Kristyn Whitaker Hood via Facebook
  • http://www.aboywithawholeinshishead.info Justa Guy

    Awesome post, thank’s so much. I agree with Joe Amon, its also how I feel about the issue, with much less profanity! LOL :-D

  • http://rottenqueerchristian.blogspot.com/ RQC

    Why make fun of these dark souls who preach this tripe that lead the blind into a pit? My soul shakes for what God has in store for them. Sorrow and pity, not laughter, is appropriate here.

    God forgive them.

    • Melody

      They deserve to be ridiculed, but I can guarantee you, no one here, let alone John, is laughing. We are disgusted, but hardly laughing.


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