how could it possibly be more clear?

Articles Of Faith: Ridiculing gay men is hateful way to preach – ken hutcherson, pastor of the antioch baptist church in kirkland, raises ire… much like bob “More Head” moorehead, pastor of the overlake christian church in bellevue did… will anybody else notice?

Gay Florida Teen Gunned Down in Fort Lauderdale – yep, somebody noticed… but in the wrong way… 8/

as i have said previously, this country, and this society has been getting more and more dysfunctional, and this is a prime example: people espousing hatred of gays results in their dehumanisation to the point where killing them is almost expected behaviour, and nobody says anything when it happens in their neighbourhood. things have got to change, and very, very soon, otherwise we’ll be right back in the middle of a world war over temporary and changing things like oil and beliefs. history has taught us nothing. 8/

Articles Of Faith: Ridiculing gay men is hateful way to preach
February 22, 2008

In recent years, some conservative Christian churches have been having a “men’s movement” — putting new emphasis on men and faith. The guy emphasis has been prompted in part by the perception that too often churches work better for women than for men. As evidence they note that women often outnumber men in church, sometimes by as much as 2 to 1. (Note to single men: Check out church!)

Another factor in the recent focus on men has been the perception that some men today, especially younger men, are lost in a confusing world. They’re struggling to figure out what it means to be a man, a husband or father, and to be responsible. Some evangelicals have understood that guys smoking dope, hanging out and cruising around on skateboards into their 30s need a challenge to get on with their lives and be responsible members of church and community, society and family.

Personally, I have no problem with the effort to make church work better for men or challenging men to step up and do something with their lives. I do have a problem with it when it means, as it sometimes does, putting down women or insisting women play only secondary roles in church or family. And I have a big problem with the guy emphasis when it relies on making gay men objects of derision and ridicule.

Such appears to be the case in remarks made by Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland. Hutcherson has gotten headlines for his efforts to pressure Microsoft on gay issues. He has a right to his views — views he supports with texts from Scripture. Reasonable people can disagree over whether gay marriage is a good idea.

But Hutcherson goes beyond reasonable, at least to judge by the report of Seattle psychologist Valerie Tarico. Tarico, a former staffer at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, was raised in a fundamentalist church. In recent months, she has made it her business to attend services at many of the large, conservative churches in the Seattle area, including Hutcherson’s, to see what’s going on.

On a Sunday when Tarico was present, Hutcherson was preaching on gender roles. During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, “God hates soft men” and “God hates effeminate men.” Hutcherson went on to say, “If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I’d rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end.”

“That was a joke,” Hutcherson said Friday, when I asked him about the comment. But it’s not really funny, is it?

What it sounds like are the kinds of words that have paved the way for atrocities in such places as Serbia, Kosovo and Rwanda. You have to dehumanize somebody before you beat them up. Labeling some men as “soft” and “effeminate” and saying “God hates them” does that.

Hutcherson, it should be noted, is not alone in such statements. In some churches a video called “The Gay Agenda” is popular. The tape shows gay people doing perverse things and then alleges this is what gay people are like, which is pretty much on par with showing Internet porn and saying this is what heterosexual people are like.

An evangelical Christian who sees the danger here is Tony Campolo, who recently spoke in Seattle. In the course of his talk Campolo told a story about “Roger,” a gay teen from Campolo’s high school years. In gym class and the showers boys would taunt Roger day after day, stinging him with their towels. One day in the shower, five guys backed Roger into a corner. After taunting him, all five urinated on Roger. That night, Roger went home and hanged himself. While Campolo was not among the abusers, he knew it was going on. Today, he holds himself responsible for standing silently by.

“I wonder,” writes Campolo, “how many of us by words and deeds, even without being aware of it, have said things that created pain and suffering for others?”

Most of us would have to plead guilty to Campolo’s question. I hope that clergy interested in supporting men will think twice about building up some by deriding others.

Gay Florida Teen Gunned Down in Fort Lauderdale

Simmie Williams, Jr., a 17-year-old gay man, was shot and killed on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale over the weekend and officials are trying to determine whether or not the attack was based on Williams’ sexual orientation:

“Simmie Williams Jr., 17, was attacked on the 1000 block of Sistrunk Boulevard by two young men who wore dark clothing and might live in the neighborhood, police said. Williams, who was wearing a dress and was known in the area by his first name or as ‘Chris’ or ‘Beyonce,’ was shot about 12:45 a.m. Friday and soon afterward died at Broward General Medical Center, police said.It’s unclear what Williams was doing in the area, about four miles from his house, but police are investigating whether he was working as a prostitute, officials said. Williams’ mother said her son was openly gay, but she didn’t know what he did when he went out at night, and she didn’t know he wore women’s clothes. ‘I gave him $2 for the bus and he never came back,’ said Denise King, who lived with her son west of Fort Lauderdale. ‘He was a quiet person, kept to himself. He had a lot of friends. He wasn’t a troubled child. He was a happy person.’ At the same time, being black, gay and dressing in women’s clothing made Williams ‘a minority within a minority within a minority,’ said Grant Lynn Ford, dean of Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, a church that ministers to gays, lesbians and their families.”

There were apparently words exchanged before the shooting, and any hate crime charge will likely be based on that.