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The Stranger Has A Date

By BuckcuB

Yep, folks, Reverend Mel White, the Stranger at the Gate, is a stranger with a date!

BuckcuB learns from the New York Times that Rev. White is off to beautiful downtown Lynchburg, Virginia in October with two hundred of his closest friends, for a "Soulforce" meeting with none other than Reverend Jerry Falwell.

You remember Rev. Falwell -- the high-profile televangelist and notable crank who recently sent out an urgent warning to good Christian parents that the purple "Teletubbies" character, Tinky Winky, was secretly a gay role model, trying to subvert their children? (And do you think Falwell may have chosen Lynchburg just on account of that comforting name?
melwhite.jpg - 6.24 K The Rev. Mel White will once again lead a pilgrimage to Lynchburg, Va. to meet his former boss: the Rev. Jerry Falwell

Well, we haven't had much to say about Rev. White on this page for a while, not since taking him to task for his "Soulforce" response to the right-wing Christians' anti-gay ad campaign. White's half-hearted apologia in response to Falwell's Tinky Winky debacle was tempting, but BuckcuB won't fire on a target that big -- it isn't sportsmanlike.

Besides, the good reverend appears to have been soundly castigated for that boo-boo, if the "...angry emails" he mentions on his web site are any indication.

Now, however, White is pitching his "Soulforce" journey to Lynchburg with the usual grab-bag of feel-goodisms and personally-coined cliches. Onward the reverend and his retinue will march, and -- apparently just by virtue of the fact, as White puts it, that Falwell and his minions will "...see that we don't have horns," -- the scales will be struck from the eyes of Jerry et al, and the born-again set will see the error of their intolerant way.

Surrounded by the golden halo of "truth in love," Reverend White will fling the gate open and lead Falwell's Baptists into the sun-dappled meadow of Enlightenment, where the erstwhile homophobes will joyfully frolic with Tinky Winky, two hundred Mel-ites, and probably RuPaul and a whole crowd of leathermen from the Lone Star if they decided to show up, too! I can hear the Baptists' blissful cries now –

"Ah am heeeeealed, bruthas and sistahs! Hallelujah!"

Uh -- I don't think so.

"But BuckcuB," you say, "You're a gay man, you oughtta be thrilled about this meeting! Gawrsh, even the New York Times says it's gonna be a "first." What's the problem?" Ah, dear reader, that's what I'm here for -- to tell you what the problem is.

White and Falwell (and their respective bands) are to meet on October 23 at Liberty University, where Reverend Falwell is chancellor (can there be a more mis-named institution in the nation?). Assuming, that is, the Mel-ites can all find accomodations -- Reverend Jerry's congregation declined to put them up for the night; Falwell says it's against their beliefs to "show hospitality to sinners."

Gee, isn't that a promising beginning?

Falwell's spokesman says the meeting may be a "forum" or "a meal of some kind." Hoo boy – right there is where BuckcuB's Distant Early Warning Of Disaster siren started going woop!woop!woop!woop!!

A "meal," eh? BuckcuB's mommy used to read him a cute (and morally-instructive) poem when he was a little tiny cub, a poem that began,

"Step into my parlour," said the spider to the fly...

Jerry Falwell is the vile spider who sits at the center of a web of hate, spinning his sticky lies. And Mel White is the gadfly about to step into that ugly little parlour, along with two hundred of your friends and neighbors.

Will it spoil things if I reveal the fly's fate at the end of that cute poem? "...she ne'er came out again!" But one assumes the spider enjoyed his meal, very much indeed.

Not that BuckcuB is suggesting Falwell and his featherbrains would physically harm Reverend White and the Mel-ites, oh no. That is no part of Falwell's plan, I'm sure! But once he has White in his town, at his university, surrounded by the congregants of his church, you may rest assured that Falwell will have a "meal," alright. He's going to eat Mel's lunch!

Related Articles from the GayToday Archive:
Letter (CC:) to Rev. Jerry Falwell from his Gay Ghostwriter

Review: Stranger at the Gate

Thoughts About Religion

Related Sites:

Mel White: News & Letter

Rev.Jerry Falwell
GayToday does not endorse related sites.

If Reverend White is so much as permitted to speak to Jerry and his Baptists, his words will fall upon deaf ears. There aren't going to be any open minds in the Lynchburg contingent; Falwell will make certain of that!

The outcome of this meeting is inevitable: White and the Mel-ites will receive a stinging sermon sandwiched around a brief, hollow assurance that Falwell loves the sinners but hates the sin, with a little "stop the violence" thrown in to give both groups something positive to put in their respective press releases.

Reverend White and his followers will return from whence they came, Lynchburg will have itself fumigated, and absolutely nothing will change.

Falwell has already publicly stated that no matter what happens at the meeting, he is not going to back down from his belief (and preaching) that the Bible outlaws gay sex.

Now that is the part of this whole plan that really, really pisses BuckcuB off big-time! It's nothing but another empty feel-good sideshow. When I first read of this upcoming meeting, I was instantly reminded of a long-ago meeting, "The Field of the Cloth of Gold." (Hey, so I dabble in medieval history.)

'Way back in 1520 (see, empty gestures are nothing new!) Henry VIII of England met with Francis I of France in a field near a little French town called Ardres, the idea being that the two monarchs would iron out their differences over a haunch of boar and a cup of mead. The meeting's fancy name comes from the fact that both kings brought large retinues and did all kinds of stuff designed to impress each other, including pitching some tents made of cloth of gold.

(Okay, Mary, lame', get it now?) However, neither king had any expectation of really making an alliance. The whole thing was just a pointless, pretentious exercise in futility and one-upmanship. And that's all that the "Soulforce" journey to Lynchburg is, too.

tinkyfalwell.gif - 13.97 K Falwell with 'friend'
Tinky Winky
Reverend White and his retinue are off to the Bible Belt, scrubbed and shiny, to show themselves to a congregation he knows will be blind and deaf to them. Jerry Falwell will receive the ho-mo-sekshulls amid the pomp of his own private narrow-mind-factory and preach at them. What's the point?

"So what?" I hear you say, "There's no harm in it, and besides BuckcuB, ya know, ya could be wrong. At least maybe it'll turn down Falwell's volume, huh?"

Ah, dear reader. Optimism is so refreshing! Why, remember how optimistic the little fly was when she climbed that shiny winding stair to the spider's parlour?

Reverend White is an intelligent, well-educated man. He knows perfectly well that Falwell and his ilk will never change their minds on the topic of gays -- he ought to know, having worked with and for the fire-and-brimstone televangelist.

No, White says on his web site, the intent is to change the "tone" of the ongoing "debate." Well folks -- there is no "debate" except in the mind of Reverend White, where hope apparently springs eternal.

A debate, by the very nature of forensics, requires that one side or the other will and must concede the point to the debate's winner. The Christian right-wing is not going to concede that point, not now, not ever, not if the lesbigay community secures every one of the rights to which we're already entitled.

As with abortion rights, Falwell and his ilk would simply segue from their spiritual jihad to a secular scrimmage in the courts --Roe v. Wade is already like thirty years old, and have you folks seen the right- wingers give in and give up? Never gonna happen. So let's just dismiss the whole notion that there's any "debate" going on here.

Let's focus, instead, on White's mission to change the "tone" of what's going on between the Falwellians and gay folks. Changing the tone is changing -- NOTHING.

If a group of devout, cloistered monks labored for twenty years to painstakingly hand-illuminate an elaborate manuscript version of The Story of 'O', it'd still be porn. If you bound the Bible in a lurid cover featuring graphic nude pictures of Samson and Delilah doin' the nasty, it's still the Bible.

If you printed Mein Kampf on the back of a Torah, it's still the ravings of a Jew-exterminating madman.

This is the point Reverend White is missing, as he has missed it in the past: it's not the form of this talk that counts -- it's the content! Message, not medium!

BuckcuB is a bit disappointed that Reverend White is wasting his considerable talent, resources, and celebrity -- not to mention dragging two hundred well-intentioned people with him -- on a mission to get Jerry Falwell to prettify his homophobia. melwhitearrest.jpg - 17.32 K Mel White was arrested on a previous trip to see Falwell

Let's get serious here, folks: you can call a turd a rose, but it still stinks. Would you really be that much happier with "Step into my parlour," instead of "I'm gonna kill ya and eat ya, fly-bitch!"? The end result is the same.

There were other brilliant, well-intentioned men in this century who sought to quiet the rhetoric of hatemongers. Neville Chamberlain springs rather quickly to mind -- the British prime minister of the late 1930's, whose own antiviolence and desperate wish to avoid war drove him to visit German Chancellor Adolf Hitler on several occasions.

Chamberlain was told what he wanted to hear, and went back to England with glowing reports of der Fuhrer's promises and assurances. Of course they were all lies, as Britain soon found when the buzz-bombs and blitzkriegs began!

And the good burghers of Vichy, a little spa city in France, they too sought to protect their nation's people and heritage and culture when the Nazis occupied France. They placated, they cooperated, they tried their hardest to calm their new masters.

Perhaps, they reasoned, if they sought only little concessions from their conquerors, they could save many of their people. The provisional government at Vichy sought to mollify, to appease. If Nazi edicts were delivered to the populace in a temperate manner, there would be less resentment, less action by the Resistance, less Nazi-angering sabotage. We have a different name now, for those who placated, who cooperated: collaborators.

And while White labors to encourage Rev. Falwell to spew his hate with a smile on his face and a lilt in his voice, our community is still denied the rights to which we're entitled as American citizens.

More gay and lesbian kids will commit suicide in despair. Bashers, given tacit permission by the messages of Falwell and those like him no matter how sweetly couched, will go on beating up and occasionally killing gays and lesbians.

Resources and volunteers who could be fighting the good fight in Congress, in the courts, in corporate boardrooms and state legislatures, will be wasted on a hollow public-relations circus asking Jerry Falwell to play nice.

Not to worry, though, folks. As Reverend White blithely assures us, ""If Jerry invites us to dinner just to preach to us, he's invited us to dinner." Well yeee-ha, dinner with Jerry Falwell! Who could ask for more than that?!?!

I've got a little Biblical citation White may have forgotten: "Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."

Reverend White is welcome to go break bread with whomever he pleases.

But not to pretend that he's helping the cause of the gay/lesbian community by doing so, because he is not.
Courtesy of the Author:

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