Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Tough Love" On Trial: Support Of Pastor Worley's Genocidal Homophobia Has Finally Made Gay Rights Into Civil Rights

“Sometimes you’ve got to be scared straight. He is trying to save those people from Hell.” 
“He had every right to say what he said about putting them in a pen and giving them food. The Bible says they are worthy of death. He is preaching God’s word.” 
- genocidal congregants, Providence Road Baptist Church

Pastor Charles Worley's version of "Tough Love" to his congregation has sparked a protest around the country that may become a form of "tough love" in itself - much tougher than Worley and his congregation would expect in any case. 

And not in the form of electrified fences or nooses. 

The Catabwa Valley Citizens Against Hate has begun to organize a peaceful protest outside Worley's "old time religion" church to take place this Sunday. Originally thought to garner several hundred protesters, it is quickly mushrooming into a major event, with whole church congregations being bused in. Current estimates are at 2000, but other groups are planning to attend. Local police will be in force to contain crowds. And since the pastor has indicated that he will not back down on his words, animosities will be hard to retrain. 

The country will be focused on Maiden, North Carolina this Sunday.

Thank you, Pastor Worley! 
Thank you, North Carolina!

The recent machinations of North Carolina pastors have brought to light the abject homophobia still embedded in the Christian Right. It is a phobia that has been recently covered up by calls for "reparative therapy" and "pray away the gay" strategies. It is a phobia that has been given the imprimatur of the Catholic Church via the Vatican's stance that homosexuality is still a sinful lifestyle "choice." It is a phobia that has had the protection of "love the sinner, hate the sin." It is a phobia that has legislated bullying in schools under the guise of freedom of religious expression.

But despite all the cover-ups, it is a phobia that says gays are worthy of discrimination, hatred ...and death. Worley's sermons* have made that very, very clear. Besides God, Pastor Worley himself Worley has also made it clear that he will not back down from his words. 

We hope he doesn't. For in his words are the seeds of hatred quite akin to the hatred for another group of people: the "sons of Ham." One wonders if his congregation has any African Americans in it, for if there are, they fail to see the parallel: the Bible being used to discriminate against and subjugate an entire group of human beings. But modern society has disregarded the Bible and dictated that a once-maligned group, a group thought to be only 3/5ths human,  be given equal status, so who's to take up the slack in regards to Biblically sanctioned contempt? 

The vitriol currently being spewed by demonizers such as Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer, the dire warnings of impending disasters by Pat Robertson and Cindy Jacobs all underscore the hatred formerly reserved for people who dared to considered themselves equal to whites. Worley’s own references to hangings – a clear assent of what should be done today – certainly smack of Ku Klux Klan sentiments.

The NAACP has recently come out with a statement supporting the right of gays to marry. It was also reacting to the current spate of North Carolina sermons against gays - and abuse of gays. This has angered the Christian Right to no end: any connection of gay rights to civil rights destroys any hope of the “wedge” the CR can drive between the black and gay communities. 

So perhaps the gay community should thank pastor Worley for his diatribe. It has brought to the fore the very thing that the Christian Right has denied from the very beginning of its homophobia: gay right are civil rights.

Now if only Tony Perkins would be dumb enough to give Worley a medal...

* As early as 1978, Worley referenced hanging and his congregation has stated that he has always shown an inordinate hatred of homosexuality, couching it in biblical terms.