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Humanist Leader Criticizes
Gay Christian's Views on
Year 2000 March

'No Need for Gay Politics
to Take the Form of a Religious Crusade!'

Says Rev. Troy Perry
Has His Own Special Brand
of Spirituality

Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday
From Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Secular Humanists Reports

Last week The Reverend Troy Perry, Founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), deplored grass roots organizing by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Millennium as well as the Ad Hoc Committee's placement of a critical ad in the Washington Blade objecting to current plans for the Millennium March on Washington in 2000. (See Perry's statement in GayToday Archives: ) The Rev. Perry advised mainstream gay media turn a deaf ear on the Ad Hoc Committee's complaints.

Ken Derstine, Vice-President of the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Secular Humanists, issued a statement Monday disagreeing with some specific points in the Rev. Perry's text.

" I am not a member of the (planning) Committee," said Derstine, "nor do I agree that the proposed March does not recognize the diversity of the gay community. My problem with the March is the sectarian agenda upon which the March is apparently being based."

To protect Rev. Perry's remarks from context-tampering, Derstine quoted at length from the gay-inclusive church-founder's statement.

perry.jpg - 6.09 K The Rev. Troy Perry "The reality is that there is significant hostility within our community toward spirituality. I have dealt with this for 30 years. I have a great sensitivity to the harm which has been done to gays and lesbians in the name of God. I also know that a majority of our community profess deep spirituality.

"In a community that professes commitment to diversity, that commitment must also extend to gay and lesbian people of faith. I realize that some have attacked the Millennium March because of the participation of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Let me make myself clear: I paid the price to come out as a gay man and I'll be damned if I'm going back into the closet because I am religious."

"Rev. Perry," states Derstine, "has the right to believe whatever he wants, and he can voice his beliefs where ever he wants, including at the March.

The gay Humanist activist objects, however, "that part of the agenda of the proposed March for civil rights be to promote his particular brand of 'spirituality'. Even if it's true that the 'majority of our community profess deep spirituality', this is no reason for a political march to take a religious form. This is the argument of the Religious Right for establishing a theocracy in this country."

Gay and Lesbian Secular Humanists, says Derstine, point out that "it is the Religious Right and the Nation of Islam which have turned the tradition of political marches on Washington into religious revival meetings."

He insists: " It would be a grave step backward for the gay community to follow the lead of our enemies. If there is to be a March, it must be a political march for civil rights. This can only be done by upholding our over 200 year old democratic tradition of separation of church and state."

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