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Falwell Spews Pure Hate on National Coming Out Day

Flaunts Bigotry on Eve of Mel White's 'Peace Summit'

Activists React Variously to Reconciliation Overtures

Compiled By GayToday

falnatcomeout.jpg - 12.09 K Lynchburg, Virginia—On the eve of a "Peace Summit" with his former ghostwriter who is now an openly gay minister, the Rev. Jerry Falwell announced in a press release late last week that he would first appear today—National Coming Out Day-- with members of the Ex-Gay movement in San Francisco. He has dubbed October 11 "National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day"

The Baptist minister's release used a discredited poll to paint a picture of gay men and lesbians that steps well beyond "unflattering" while he unhesitatingly hoisted hate-rhetoric to new levels.

The Falwell announcement says:

"...the following physical disorders would be present among ten randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties: 3 (30%) are alcoholics; 5 (50%) have a history of alcohol abuse; 3 (30%) smoke cigarettes; 4 (40%) have a history of drug abuse; 5 (50%) regularly use at least one illegal drug; 3 (30%) are multiple drug users; 4 (40%) have a history of acute depression; 8 (80%) have a history of sexually transmitted diseases; 8 (80%) currently carry infectious pathogens; 3 (30%) are HIV-infected and 1 (10%) has AIDS."

The Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Rev. Falwell's autobiography and, in the mid-1990s, outed himself and wrote Stranger at the Gate, an account of his emergence as a Christian from fundamentalist and evangelical environs, noted:

"though Jerry Falwell has agreed to join us in condemning 'hate speech' that leads to fear, anger, and violent acts, he continues his anti-homosexual campaign, a primary source of the very 'hate speech' we are meeting to condemn."

The Rev. White had earlier initiated plans to meet with Falwell on October 23, a meeting that has provoked varying reactions from gay activists nationwide.

In Manhattan, activist William Dobbs said: "White and Falwell feed off each other… While the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is complaining about the Mormon church involving itself in the (anti-marriage) Knight initiative, what are the gays doing? Rounding up flat-earthers to sign the gay 'marriage pledge' !"

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
Bob Kunst Protests Jerry Falwell & Mel White Meeting

Jerry Falwell Meeting with Mel White Causing an Uproar

Jerry Falwell Flies into a Tizzy Over Bud Light's Ad

Related Sites:
Mel White's Soulforce

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Oral Majority activist Bob Kunst, who is scheduled to protest the White-Falwell confab in Lynchburg, addressed Falwell in an e-mail missive which the anti-gay minister's underlings deemed too awful to share with Falwell. Kunst proudly shared the Falwell team's response to him, however, as evidence that he knows how to get under their skins. The Falwellian response to the gay activist read:

"Mr. (Mrs.?) Kunst, the correspondence department handles responses to the several thousand daily e-mails which Dr. Falwell receives. It is our policy not to forward to Dr. Falwell letters from perverts, idiots or scoundrels. Therefore, I am personally answering your letter by saying that, of all the multi-thousands of letters I have read which were addressed to Dr. Falwell, yours is the most convoluted, ridiculous, idiotic and illogical by far. I can only assume you are either retarded or very stupid. Therefore, you have my prayers that God will deliver you from your idiocy.

Correspondence Department"

kunst.jpg - 16.58 K Bob Kunst Kunst, who had earlier expressed heated opposition to Rev. White's scheduled meeting with Falwell, chastised the gay minister saying "I told you so," following release of Falwell's latest 'hate' screed:

"You 'crawled', and Falwell attacked, again! Don't you get it?" Kunst scolded White.

He continued:

"Falwell, I repeat, is to be treated like a Nazi war criminal, whose gang not only attacked me by letter, but in this ecumenical meeting you've proposed, has now gone and viciously attacked the Gay community once again in his 'definitives on homosexuality' fundraising newsletter, you felt the need to answer, point by meaningless point."

Referring to White's detailed rebuttal to Falwell, issued immediately following receipt of the anti-gay cleric's latest outburst, Kunst continued his criticisms of the proposed October 23 "Peace Summit":

"I am as solid as ever in opposing this pathological Falwell and your own 'guilt', that is fostering this madness meeting and treating Falwell's phoneyness as 'sincere', when everything he accuses Gays of, Falwell is guilty as sin of himself, in pushing the violence he will never take responsibility for and we will never forgive him for, towards us and the whole nation." Promising be a spoiler at the White-Falwell meeting, Kunst told the Rev. White:

"Falwell's already been beaten and by resurrecting his reputation, you've compromised yourself and are trying to take the rest of us down with you, which will not work, and which I will oppose on October 23, 1999 at 2P.M. in front of Thomas Road Baptist Church."

White's reaction to Falwell's 'hate speech' reflects the gay minister's seeming puzzlement over Falwell's "Definitive Stance" prior to their highly publicized meeting. Addressing Falwell, White says:

"In spite of our different beliefs about homosexuality, I'm delighted that we are meeting in Lynchburg on October 23 to take a united stand against 'hate speech' that leads to violent acts. Unfortunately, after reading your recent press release, "Jerry Falwell Ministry's Definitive Stance on Homosexuality," I realized that I haven't made clear to you what I mean by 'hate speech.' Nor do I understand what 'hate speech' means to you.

"By my definition, your press release is a clear example of 'hate speech.' By your definition it is not. So, rather than condemn your "Definitive Stance..." and leave you confused as to why it made me sad and angry, I'm going to use it to explain why I believe it goes beyond the acceptable limits of 'preaching your conscience' and becomes the very 'hate speech' we are meeting to condemn."

"Referring to the above-quoted statistics and percentages used by Falwell in his release, White says:

"Jerry, I am convinced that these statistics are not true.

"Here's why:

"Your press release claims that this description of "a random selection of ten gay men in their mid-thirties" is based on a study by the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. It is not. I called NARTH offices in Encino. They said they had reprinted the study, but they had not conducted it nor verified its accuracy. This tragically misleading summary of the psychological and physical condition of my life and the lives of my gay brothers originates in "Chapter Six" of Thomas E. Schmidt's 'Straight and Narrow', published in 1995 by InterVarsity Press.

"Apparently, Dr. Thomas Schmidt is (or was) a professor of New Testament Greek at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. Dr. Schmidt admits that his research for this particular chapter "lies outside my field of professional expertise." He then assures the reader that his data can be trusted because it was reviewed "by four physicians with relevant specialties" and that he documents every point of fact "only from scholarly, secular medical and social scientific publications.

"One of the "scholarly" publications he quotes is Paul Cameron's discredited little pamphlet "Homosexual Molestation of Children." In 1984, Mr. Cameron was expelled from the Nebraska Psychological Association (NPA) and from the American Psychological Association (APA) for "violating the Ethical Principles of Psychologists." In 1985, the American Sociological Association (ASA) adopted a resolution condemning Dr. Cameron, publicly stating that he is "not a sociologist" and that he has "consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism."

"And yet Dr. Cameron continues to be quoted by pastors and televangelists like yourself who use Cameron's false data to support Schmidt's premise (and your own) that "for the vast majority of homosexual men...sexual behavior is obsessive, psychopathological, and destructive."

"There are 131 footnotes on almost 15 pages of small type at the end of Chapter 6 alone. When gay men, their friends or families read Dr. Schmidt's book, they have no way of knowing which authority quoted is trustworthy, which data are accurate or which data were interpreted accurately?

"Thankfully, Dr. Schmidt's false and dangerous conclusions (however he reached them) are almost universally condemned by more than one million members of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association of Social Workers.

"Responsible research into the lives of lesbians and gays over the past twenty-five years has proven that homosexuals are as healthy in mind and body as their heterosexual counterparts. In 1994, for example, The American Psychological Association (with a membership of more than 150,000 professional psychologists) released a "Statement on Homosexuality" that summarizes in its opening paragraph a quarter of a century research on homosexuality and homosexuals.

" 'The research on homosexuality is very clear. Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor moral depravity. It is simply the way a minority of our population expresses human love and sexuality. Study after study documents the mental health of gay men and lesbians. Studies of judgment, stability, reliability, and social and vocational adaptiveness all show that gay men and lesbians function every bit as well as heterosexuals.
' "

White continues:

"I believe that you love us, Jerry. But you make it hard for me to convince others who have heard your sermons, watched you on TV, or read your web page or fundraising letters. They know that you are always careful to say 'We love the sinner, but hate the sin.' Instead of love, however, they hear anger, disgust, and judgment in your words. Maybe it's because you spend so much time and energy telling why you 'hate the sin' and so little time showing exactly how you "love the sinner." melwhite.jpg - 6.24 K The Rev. Mel White

"For example, in your press release you begin your attack in the opening paragraph by saying that you love us. Then you spend the next twelve paragraphs making these false and ugly accusations against us (from Dr. Schmidt's "research.") You describe our particular 'sin' in lurid detail, demanding that we repent of our homosexuality, promising that we'll go to hell if we don't. Re-read your press release. Tell me if you feel love in your words?

"Here are a few things you say about homosexual orientation in that press release. It is 'an addictive sin...' that is 'highly debilitating - emotionally, physically and spiritually...' that 'breeds spiritual discontent...' that 'destroys the sanctity and sacredness of family life... that leads to violence and treachery... that leads to suicide...'

"Your press release also claims that homosexuals are people 'trapped in bondage...' who have 'let sin and the devil take control of their lives...' who became homosexuals 'according to their sinful wills... who are enslaved by their sin...' who are 'unsaved people...' who 'cannot and will not go to heaven...' who instead are 'sure to go to hell...' because they are 'guilty of a horrible and enslaving sin...'

"Is it any wonder that your listeners often fear us, hate us, and don't want us near them or their children? Can't you see why so many people in your audience think that the nation, the church, even the family would be better off without us? Isn't it clear why an emotionally unstable person who has heard you say over and over again that we are sick and sinful might think he's doing good by killing us? Your words make our 'sin' greater than all other sins and our 'sinfulness' greater than any other sinners. Your rhetoric has turned us into lepers who might infect the entire community just by our presence.

"You may believe sincerely that your anti-homosexual rhetoric is 'tough love.' I believe just as sincerely that it is 'hate speech' that leads to tragic consequences for us all. One way to settle the argument is by testing the effects of your words in the lives of the people who hear them. It's 'tough love' if your words lead to hope, healing, and reconciliation. It's "hate speech" if it leads to ruined lives, broken relationships, and divided families.

"Let's consider the effects of your words on my homosexual sisters and brothers. In your press release you quote the following statistics to prove that homosexuality causes homosexuals to be miserable. You say:

" 'More than 44 percent of homosexuals suffer from feelings of poor self-esteem and extreme loneliness.' You also say: 'Nearly 50 percent of homosexuals experience distress from homosexual thoughts and feelings.'

"You assume that homosexuality is to blame. In fact, it isn't homosexuality that causes these young gay Christians being counseled in ex-gay ministries to suffer from 'poor self-esteem.' It's the anti-homosexual rhetoric (like your own) that they've heard since childhood that makes their sexual orientation a sickness (to be healed) and a sin (to be forgiven and held in check.) It isn't homosexuality that makes them experience 'extreme loneliness.' It's the rejection they feel from Christian friends and family, pastors and priests. It isn't their homosexual thoughts and feelings that cause them to 'experience distress.' It's their confusion about those feelings that flows directly out of anti-homosexual rhetoric like your own.

"I've spoken at more than a hundred university campuses in the past two years. I've met countless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students who have very little problem with self-esteem, loneliness or distress. Invariably, they are young people who did NOT grow up in a Christian home. What fact could be more tragic? These gay people of faith have been condemned so long and so often that they believe God hates them. No wonder they hate themselves. That is my definition of "hate speech" unloving words that lead some to hate 'the others' and 'the others' to hate themselves.

"Jerry, even if you are convinced that what you say about us is true and loving, haven't you said it enough? On a recent Sunday, for example, you began and ended the 'Old Time Gospel Hour' with comments about homosexuals. And in the middle of your sermon on Proverbs you found some reason to exclaim that the FBI would never have attacked David Koresh or his followers if "...they had been homosexuals." What is that about? It's beginning to sound like you're obsessed with us.

"Count the number of words you use to condemn homosexuality in your average sermon, TV broadcast or fundraising letter; or the number of times you use homosexuals to illustrate sickness and sin; or the number of times you have warned the nation about our "sinful lifestyle" or our "dangerous gay agenda" on 'Geraldo' or' Larry King Live', in your 'National Liberty Journal' and on your web page. Our archives are full to overflowing with examples of your words against us. The whole nation knows how you feel about homosexuals. Why do you need to say it again?

"Your critics believe that you talk about homosexuals so often because your followers find the subject so alarming. Is it possible that you are appealing to their fears as a fundraising device? I know you believe what you say. I know you are sincere when you say it, but why do you need to condemn us so often and with such growing fervor?

"Our Soulforce archives are stuffed with your anti-homosexual pamphlets, posters, handbills, questionnaires, inserts, surveys, and petitions. Most anti-homosexual attacks contain a return envelope and a request to send in money. Unfortunately for us, to keep the money coming, your warnings about homosexuals must get more extreme with every mailing. So when we ask, "Does it need to be said?" how would you answer? Is it your concern for us and for our salvation that causes you to condemn homosexuals with such frequency or is effective fundraising the primary reason "it needs to be said?"

"You remember how Jesus responded to the woman caught in an act of adultery? Whom did He condemn, the sinner or the religious leaders who hated her sin? When she was dragged before him, why didn't Jesus quote the Scriptures that condemned her? Why didn't he acknowledge that the Bible commanded that she be stoned? Why did he say to those who condemned her, 'You who are without sin, throw the first stone?' Why did they stop demanding her death, drop their stones, and walk away? Jesus hated the sin of those self-righteous, religious leaders who made their living laying heavy burdens of judgement and guilt on the backs of sinners. And he loved the sinners they condemned.

"Jerry, you have spent far too much time condemning us. Have you ever thought about the consequences of your words? The anti-homosexual rhetoric in your recent press release, rhetoric you have repeated with growing frequency over the past twenty-five years, cripples the spirits of my sisters and brothers, destroys their lives, divides their families, and gives the mob license to bash and murder us. That is my definition of "hate speech", Jerry, words that don't need to be said but that for some reason or other you go on saying them even if they lead to tragic consequences in the lives of those who hear them.

"On September 22, in the Shasta County jail, Matthew Williams told his mother why he and his brother, Tyler, murdered Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, a gay couple in Happy Valley, California. 'I had to obey God's law rather than man's law,' Williams said. "I didn't want to do this. I felt I was supposed to...I have followed a higher law...I see a lot of parallels between this and a lot of other incidents in the Old Testament...They threw our Savior in Jail...Our forefathers have been in prison a lot. Prophets...Christ...My brother and I are incarcerated for our work in cleansing a sick society...I just plan to defend myself, from the Scriptures.'

"The Williams brothers believed the 'hate speech' about homosexuals and did something about it. In the jailhouse interview they expressed surprise that religious leaders weren't supporting their bloody act.

"We must never forget Abraham Heschel's words: 'Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.' I know that our community is guilty of 'hate speech' against you. I am doing everything I can to end it. I am grateful that you have invited us to meet with you on October 23 to take our stand against language from all sides that leads to hatred and violent acts.

"But you are confusing us. Even while we plan our historic weekend together, you continue your efforts to caricature and condemn us in this 'definitive' press release, in the 'National Liberty Journal', in your sermons and on 'Listen America'. Does it need to be said again? Isn't it time to stop preaching against us and time to confront the mob on our behalf in the name of Jesus who called you to preach truth, and love, and mercy?

"Help us believe that you are sincere in calling for an end to irresponsible language from all sides. Help us understand why you believe that your recent attacks are not 'hate speech.'

" I'm standing firmly against 'hate speech' aimed at you and your colleagues. Will you stand against the untrue and unloving anti-homosexual rhetoric that flows primarily from the mouths of preachers and priests, bishops and cardinals across the nation? Jerry, you have been a primary source of that rhetoric. Convince us that you are serious about our joint pledge against 'hate speech' that we are about to make together.

"Lead the way. Let's sit down together and review the biblical and psychological data about sexual orientation. Let's open ourselves to truth from both sides. Show the others that it is time to stop the anti-homosexual rhetoric, time to stop all 'hate speech' against anyone, time to begin the work of healing this divided nation, time to build bridges of understanding between us, even when we disagree."

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