Check this out: Typical. Whenever an extremist is called out for making violent and hateful remarks, the response is always the same: “Just kidding. Hah hah. I was only using hyperbole to make a point.” OK, well, I guess sauce for the goose… I think a 320 pound, heavily tattooed, leather-clad gay biker should collar Rev. Harris, beat his bigoted butt with a baseball bat, and then bend him over and teach him a new lesson about how to love one’s neighbor. Just kidding. Hah hah. I was only using hyperbole to make a point. Actually, I WAS just using hyperbole to make a point, so, for the sake of fairness, let’s assume that Rev. Harris was too. The problem is that in any communication there are two parts: (1) what was meant, and (2) what was actually heard. Even if the Rev. Harris was intentionally indulging in rhetorical excess to achieve an oratorical effect, I sincerely doubt that every bubba in his congregation was properly parsing each nuance of homiletical phrasing. Fundamentalist folk tend to be, oh, a tad literal-minded, and so when the pastor says to beat the gay out of your kids, should anyone be surprised if someone actually thinks he means it?

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About Keith Parsons