Jason Christensen, above, the Independent American Party candidate for Senate District 16 in Provo, Utah, has been forced to apologise for remarks he made about a gay youth’s suicide.
Christensen said on Facebook:
Yes this is sad, hopefully God will have mercy on both sins that this boy committed. The sins of homosexuality and the sins of murder(sic)
Further in the thread Christensen explained he believes suicide amounts to murder.
Read the scriptures, stop denying the scriptures. I do feel bad for him and his sins. But one must recognize what’s (sic) sins and what is not sin. One must live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not the Gospel of the Devil.
The comments went viral after being posted on Reddit and other websites.
Yesterday, Christensen was the essence of contriteness. He told Fox 13 News:
I apologize for that, and I hope with my love and asking for apology, I hope the family can accept my apology.
He added he has received death threats since the comments began attracting attention online.
Senator Curt Bramble said:
The incivility, the vulgarness, the insensitivity of those comments, there’s no place for that in a political campaign, there’s no place for that in Utah Legislature, and, frankly, there’s no place for that in our society.
Said Troy Williams, Executive Director of Equality Utah.
The comments that Jason Christensen made about a young, 19-year old man who had committed suicide are vile and cruel, and unbecoming of anyone who aspires to represent Utahns in state government.
Christensen has long been known for his homophobia.
Back in 2014, Utah CARE, a grassroots organisation established to teach cannabis awareness, reform and education, withdrew its endorsement of Christensen when he stood as candidate for Utah’s House District 64 in Utah County.
Despite his support of cannabis reform, Utah CARE’s Gradi Jordan said:
Regretfully, this morning, after a long weekend of speaking with members of our community, I have determined Utah CARE can not endorse Christensen for ANY type of political office in Utah.
Many Utah cannabis advocates are also proud members of a large LGBTQ community in the state. From kids to parents, friends and loved ones, we support equal rights (not ‘special rights’) for everyone – from cannabis legalization to civil rights. We believe everyone has the right to live peacefully, any way they choose, as long as they do not infringe upon anyone else’s freedom.
Illustrate why, despite Christensen’s views on cannabis, Utah CARE – and I personally – cannot support his candidacy
Kris Cantil, Member of the Board of Directors PFLAG, Salt Lake City, activist, and working mom, was shocked by Christensen’s comments, stating she was “sad and terribly disappointed,” and:
Yes, I would rather risk being a (cannabis) criminal, than have someone (like Christensen) in office.
I’d like to remind him that he is a middle aged, white, Mormon man, living within the confines of the LDS Church, in the middle of the heart of the church, Utah County. He has never had to stand in line at the Utah Food Bank; he has never had to fear losing his job because of his gender or sexual identity; he has never been beaten simply for being who he is.
Sometimes, other issues of freedom and civil rights cannot be overlooked simply because a candidate is pro-cannabis policy reform. In this case, Utah CARE does officially recall our recent endorsement of Christensen’s candidacy based on the fact that we believe in and live with EQUALITY, period.
Utah’s suicide rate, according to this report, is nearly twice the national average and the rate of youth suicide rate has tripled in the last 10 years. And last year, the state’s Department of Health revealed that suicide is now the leading cause of death among 10- to 17-year-olds in Utah.
Overall, the state’s youth suicide rate has increased from 3.0 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 8.5 per 100,000 in 2014. Why? A coalition of Mormon parents of LGBT children is laying the blame at the doors of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which, beginning in 2008, intensified its anti-gay rhetoric, funding California’s Proposition 8 and, in 2015, excommunicating the children of same-sex couples.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn