Letter (CC:) to Rev. Jerry Falwell from his Gay Ghostwriter
I'm especially moved by those twenty short pages in Chapter Eleven that describe your transformation from 1964, when you were a staunch segregationist, to 1968, when you baptized the first black member of Thomas Road Baptist Church.
When I asked you what happened in four short years to change your mind about segregation, you told me stories about the African-Americans you had known and loved from childhood.
Then, one day, you and Gene found David Brown lying unconscious and unattended in the lobby of Lynchburg's General Hospital. One portion of his head and face had been crushed from a severe blow with a dull pipe or the barrel of a pistol.
He suffered cuts and bruises over his entire body; yet because he was black, he lay dying in that waiting room for forty-eight hours without medical help. You and your brother intervened but your friend was permanently damaged by the racist thugs who left him for dead and by the racist hospital policies that denied him treatment in time.
Do you remember how your eyes filled with tears when you told me, "I am sorry that I did not take a stand on behalf of the civil rights of David Brown and my other black friends and acquaintances during those early years."
I knew from the sound of your voice, Jerry, that you are still sorry that you did not take a stand for equality in those early years of ministry. Nevertheless, after condemning President Johnson's Civil Rights legislation as an act of "Civil wrong" and after preaching fervently against integration, you had the courage to acknowledge your sinfulness and to end your racist ways.
"In all those years," you told me, "it didn't cross my mind that segregation and its consequences for the human family were evil. I was blind to that reality. I didn't realize it then, but if the church had done its job from the beginning of this nation's history, there would have been no need for the civil rights movement."
Well said, friend. But now I have to ask you one more time. Has it ever crossed your mind that you might be just as wrong about homosexuality as you were about segregation?
Could it be that you are blind to a tragic new reality, that the consequences of your anti-homosexual rhetoric are as evil for the human family as were your sermons against integration? Have you even thought about the possibility that you are ruining lives, destroying families, and causing endless suffering with your false claims that we are "sick and sinful," that we "abuse and recruit children," that we "undermine family values."
In the 1950s and 60s, you misused the Bible to support segregation. In the 1990s you are misusing it again, this time to caricature and condemn God's gay and lesbian children. Once you denied black Christians the rights (and the rites) of church membership. Now it's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians you reject.
For ten years we've been collecting samples of your dangerous and misleading rhetoric against homosexuals. We have file drawers filled with your antigay mass-mailings to raise funds and mobilize volunteers. We have audio and video collections of your antigay sermons and your antigay radio and television broadcasts.
Coupled with your regular appearances on Nightline, Geraldo, and Larry King Live, and your ability to attract media attention (as you did with Tinky Winky) you have become one of the nation's primary sources of misinformation about homosexuality and homosexuals. You are saying things about us that are NOT true, terrible things with tragic consequences in our lives and in the lives of those we love.
Please, Jerry, hear your own words about segregation and apply them to my homosexual sisters and brothers. "I can see from the earliest days of my new faith in Christ," you told me, "that God had tried to get me to understand and to acknowledge my own racial sinfulness.
In Bible College, the Scriptures had been perfectly clear about the equality of all men and women, about loving all people equally, about fighting injustice, and about obeying God and standing against the immoral and dehumanizing traditions of man."
The Scriptures are still clear about the equality of all men and women. The Scriptures are still clear about loving all people equally. The Scriptures are still clear about fighting injustice and standing against the immoral and dehumanizing traditions of man. Why can't you apply THOSE Scriptures to us instead of the six verses you misuse over and over again to clobber and condemn GLBT people?
For years you supported the "immoral and dehumanizing traditions" used to persecute people of color. Then, finally, the Spirit of Truth set you free. Now, you are a supporter of "immoral and dehumanizing traditions" used to persecute homosexuals. Please, Jerry, let the Spirit of Truth set you free again.
Thank you for meeting with me last year to hear the evidence that we are God's children, too, but it was obvious during our meeting (and in your avalanche of antigay rhetoric that followed) that you were not taking that evidence seriously.
Today, I begin a series of open letters to you reviewing the evidence one more time. Where I am wrong, correct me and I will confess my error. I hope you will do the same.
Let this be a genuine public dialogue. I'm hoping that TOGETHER we can negotiate an end to your tragic misinformation campaign against us.
If you refuse to hear the evidence again, if you insist on continuing your false and inflammatory rhetoric, then we will have no other option but to mobilize people of faith across this nation to conduct a serious nonviolent direct action against your Untruths in the spirit of Gandhi and King.
In this series of open letters, I'm going to do my best to summarize the psychological, psychiatric, scientific, medical, historical, personal and biblical evidence that demonstrates clearly that homosexuality is neither a sickness nor a sin.
I'm putting all this material together one more time in the hopes that God will change your mind and heart about us. In the meantime, you learned that it wasn't data that changed your mind about segregation. It was knowing its victims and sharing their suffering.
How many lesbian or gay people do you know, Jerry? Have you invited closeted gay or lesbian members of your staff and congregation to tell you what it feels like to be ridiculed and condemned endlessly by their pastor?
Have you invited closeted gay or lesbian students at Liberty or Liberty graduates to share the pain your endless attacks have caused them? We know at least one gay student who killed himself after being expelled from your university because of his sexual orientation.
Your eyes filled with tears when you thought of a black man lying unattended in a Lynchburg hospital. How will you feel when you finally realize that you have been the source of even worse suffering in the lives of those you love and serve.
Please, Jerry, read Chapter Eleven of your autobiography once again. After years of blindly and enthusiastically supporting segregation, you heard God's voice, admitted your error, and changed your ways. Now, after years of blindly and enthusiastically supporting anti-homosexual ignorance and bigotry, will you stop long enough to hear God's voice again?
Robertson Off Camera
The more Pat Robertson puts his hoof in his mouth, the more credibility he looses. I find myself hoping that someday a tape of him will surface wherein he's not speaking FOR the camera, but ranting and raving about "fucking faggots" or something like that. Even better would be a candid shot of him ranting about how all Jews are gonna burn in hell. I think we all can pretty much assume he talks like that in private. I just hope that someone catches it on tape to expose this lunatic.
Pseudo-Christians Meet the Ambassador
As much as I'm glad that Hormel finally got his appointment, I love how apoplectic it's making the pseudo-Christian groups and the handful of homophobic Republicans who had been blocking this from a full Senate vote.
Kosovo: Not to Object is to Condone
Clinton, being the politician that he is, is trying to read the pollster's tea leaves. So, on the one hand being the weak-sister humanitarian Democrat that he is, he's watched while the Serbs under the gangster Milosevic regime have trampled all over the principles the West has been defending, however shakily, for the last hundred years, most especially for the last sixty. Knowing that not to object is to condone, he has decided that something had to be done about Serb crimes against humanity.
However, having seen the lengths that Republicans will go to, to try to bring him down, in addition to being an old pacifist himself, he didn't want to get out too far ahead of the pack. After all, there's no oil in Kosovo, so our national interests can't be at stake. So he tried to square the circle, and tried to achieve his goal without putting a single US soldier at risk.
Let us remember, let us never forget, that American soldiers, most particularly modern-day volunteer, "professional" ones must never be expected to sacrifice themselves when Americans' addiction to fast cars and wide-open roads is not under threat. After all, American soldiers don't go into the service to run into danger, oh no! And we the people certainly don't want them to worry about having queers sleeping in the same foxhole with them. Horrors.
In this whole situation, it's no great wonder to me that the "Old Left" is against this situation; but I find it really comical that the quote-conservatives-unquote are again it. Generally, they love an opportunity to beat up on people. But, of course, George Bush sat on his hands when the Serbs were dropping bombs on Sarajevo….And compared to what the Serbs did to Bosnia, what NATO is doing now to Serbia is love pats. So, at this point I do feel sorry for Serbs, but not enough to stop until they do.