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Bob Kunst Protests Jerry Falwell & Mel White Meeting

Labels Falwell a 'War Criminal' Calls White 'His Tool'

Opposes 'Reconciliation' with 'Genocidal Baptist Bigot'

By Jack Nichols

kunst.jpg - 16.58 K Activist Bob Kunst Miami Beach, Florida—Veteran activist Bob Kunst, who led the 1977 struggle against Anita Bryant's anti-gay campaign in Miami and who has since repeatedly denounced the Reverend Jerry Falwell as a liar and a fraud, says he and his organization—the Oral Majority—will, at noon, protest with a Lynchburg police permit, an October 23 meeting scheduled between Falwell's former ghostwriter, the Reverend Mel White, and Falwell himself.

The upcoming meeting between Falwell and White was publicized in the September 5 issue of The New York Times.

Kunst fears that the Rev. Falwell will attempt to use this meeting between himself and the now openly gay Rev. White to enhance his own soiled reputation in the wake of his Tinky Winky public relations disaster. The meeting was requested by White in a July 16 letter to Falwell which, in part, asked:

"Will you and your people consider our case, review our evidence, negotiate a solution that will allow you the freedom to continue preaching that homosexuality is a sin without making these untrue claims against homosexuals?"

Kunst accuses Falwell of being a "war criminal" and White of being Falwell's "tool" and predicts that "nothing will come of the meeting except a media or photo opportunity for both preachers."

White, he charges, has no "media contact credentials" other than his prior association with Falwell and he is now "desperately using these credentials," he says, in order to promote his own contribution to religious thought, a group he calls Soulforce.

Kunst calls White's proposed meeting a case of "pure opportunism."

White, who was once married, ghostwrote Falwell's autobiography and then came out publicly by writing his own autobiography, Stranger at the Gate.

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For a time, he presided as dean of the UFMCC cathedral in Texas, the largest gay church in the world. Recently White resigned His position as UFMCC Justice Minister and, with his partner, Gary Nixon, is now promoting his own organization, Soulforce, based on the non-violent principles, he says, of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and of Mahatma Gandhi.

Kunst said: "We will not allow revisionism to take place so that White can 'Whitewash' his earlier role exploiting and attacking gays with Falwell, and we will not allow Falwell off the hook for being the worst of the preacher prostitutes, now fortunately considered, because of his own stupidity, a pariah in America."

White, who in his autobiography admitted taking part in Falwell's bogus religious crusades, claims to see his function today as that of a peacemaker between opposing, if not warring sides: those gay men and lesbians who have come, by reason of Falwell's incessant attacks on them, into open conflict with religious fundamentalists.

Kunst, who is openly gay and openly Jewish, unashamedly blames Falwell's "evil" influence for shaping the tardy Reagan-Bush administrations AIDS genocide approach. "He was given reign to be Reagan's archbishop and Reagan's do-nothing AIDS policies were the result of his thinking and that of Gary Bauer's, now running for President as a Republican." Kunst brandishes his fast-selling "Impeach the GOP" button with a smile.

But he fumes as he recalls 'exploiter' Falwell raking in millions of dollars through his own spooky brand of gay-bashing fund raisers—which the long-time gay and AIDS activist says is "a murderous political and religious cult strategy, one that has claimed, for example, that AIDS is 'retribution' on homosexuals from God."

"Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been struck dead by this dread plague prolonged by those Reaganesque politics that were based on Falwell's hate-rhetoric tactics," complains Kunst bitterly, "and we must never forget the 100 millions of infections worldwide, either".

Kunst demands of White, he says, "that he stop trying to make Falwell's redemption his own little sideshow crusade," because, he insists, "there ain't a-gonna be no change of heart in the Falwellians. And you know that, Mel, so just jump off this stupid gig of yours--this self-promoting Soulforce number you're doing, OK? OK?"
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