Category Archives: Hate Crimes

Nazis In America: NC Pastor’s Congregation Stands Behind His Gay Concentration Camps

Yes, it's provocative. It's also appropriate.
Yes, it's provocative. It's also appropriate.

Monday morning, a video from Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina shocked the nation. In it, pastor Charles Worley said that he wanted lesbians and gays to be forced into concentration camps until we all die. Most people were taken aback, if not by the general principle (shared, unfortunately, by many), then by his brazen adherence to Nazi rhetoric and Nazi solutions.

A couple things have happened since then. The first is from Jeremy Hooper at Good As You, who found a sermon of Worley’s from 1978.

It saddens my heart to think that homosexuals can go around, bless God, and get the applause of a lot of people. Lesbians and all the rest of it? Bless God, forty years ago they’d have hung ‘em, bless God, from a white oak tree, wouldn’t they? Amen.

I would usually say that we really shouldn’t judge someone by what he said nearly 34 years ago, but as Jeremy points out, it’s one of the very few sermons of Worley’s from that era that Providence Road Baptist Church has made available online. They are representing to the world that this sermon matches his and their current teaching, and I am obliged to take their word on it.

Then there’s this video from local NBC affiliate WCNC’s Tuesday night newscast. Their reporter had the chance to talk to two of Worley’s followers, who stand by Worley’s message. (Both wearing gaudy jewelry and the younger wearing her hair up quite immodestly and provocatively in direct violation of 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Just sayin’.)

Geneva Sims said she’s been listening to Worley preach the Gospel since the 1970s. She wasn’t surprised by the 71-year-old pastor’s now infamous sermon. In fact, she supports him and his message.

“He had every right to say what he said about putting them in a pen and giving them food,” said Sims. “The Bible says they are worthy of death. He is preaching God’s word.”

Providence Road Baptist Church member Stacey Pritchard agreed.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be scared straight,” she explained. “He is trying to save those people from Hell.”

Newschannel 36 tried to reach Charles Worley by phone and email. Reporter Dianne Gallagher stopped by his home Tuesday to speak with him, but no one answered the door.

“He has nothing to hide,” said Pritchard. “He’s not afraid of anything he said. He’s a good man. It’s a good church and he speaks the truth. He doesn’t tiptoe around it.”

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, Geneva Sims and Stacey Pritchard of Newton, North Carolina and Charles Worley of Maiden, North Carolina think that carrying out a Nazi plan to force a group of people into concentration camps for their eventual extermination is “tough love.”

(P.S. Of course he has a right to say it, Ms. Sims. No one said he doesn’t. That doesn’t improve the deadly quality of his rhetoric.)

I hasten to add that no one should believe for a second that this is just a North Carolina problem. People who think like Charles Worley, Geneva Sims, and Stacey Pritchard exist in every community and every state in the union.

NC Pastor Proposes Gay Concentration Camps; Obama A ‘Homosexual Lover’

Last week I used the term “f*ggot lover” to describe what three Missouri Baptist churches think about a UCC congregation that has a bisexual pastor. Maybe I should have held off for a few days, because today we have video of Providence Road Baptist Church (Maiden, North Carolina) pastor Charles L. Worley using that very term (cleaned up for the pulpit) to describe President Obama. The video of Mr. Worley’s May 13, 2012 screed comes from the group Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate.

I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn’t get it past the congress. Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified til they can’t get out, feed ’em, and you know what? In a few years, they’ll die out.

I tell you right now, somebody said, “Who you gonna vote for?” I ain’t gonna vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover! [Amens from congregation] You said “Did you mean to say that?” You better believe I did! [More Amens]

(h/t Towle Road. Full video provided by the church here.)

For a very long time, LGBT folks have known what people like Mr. Worley would like to do to us. He’s not the first self-identifying Christian to come up with concentration camps for queer people — Hitler was a good 70 years ahead of him on that one — and, mark my words, he won’t be the last. But lately I’ve gotten the sense that straight allies are beginning to get an uncomfortable taste of what the Charles Worleys, Johnny Dovers, Ben Kingston, and Wyatt Ottens of the world think of them for daring to support their LGBT sisters and brothers.

As the sides on this “culture war” (that is, the acknowledgement that LGBT people exist and have civil rights) become more stark, it’s good for Christian straight allies to know where they stand with those who gleefully demonize and would love to murder LGBT people in the name of God.

And in case it wasn’t clear, if you’re a f*ggot lover, they’d do the same to you. You’re not just fighting for our lives, you’re fighting for your own as well.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Proves The Need For GLAAD’s New Commentator Accountability Project

Last Thursday morning, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien had Family Research Council (FRC) leader Tony Perkins on her show. Here’s a link to the entire segment, via FRC. Perkins’ appearance, with no mention of his dangerous extremist views, is bothersome enough, but O’Brien’s Twitter banter with one of the anti-gay industry’s most prominent leaders is really out of line for a mainstream news anchor, considering what is on the public record.

Saturday evening, I noticed O’Brien’s Twitter exchanges with Perkins and tossed off a quick question, which resulted in the following exchange. (By the way, I don’t bring up the Klan lightly. Tony Perkins has known connections to the conservative group, to use Ms. O’Brien’s term, that interviewers seem loathe to acknowledge on-air.)

Click for the live version.
Click for the live version.
Click for the live version.
Click for the live version.

I’m honestly flabbergasted by Soledad O’Brien’s shoulder-shrugging dismissal. Obviously, Twitter isn’t the best place to have a long-form conversation about the discriminatory views of Tony Perkins and FRC. (Ideally, that should be done on CNN before she jokes around with him about James Taylor music.)

Even accepting the inadequacies of the forum, though, Tony Perkins’ extremist anti-gay hate group isn’t something one can just disagree on. He is on the record comparing people like her colleague Don Lemon to pedophiles and terrorists, and says that people like Lemon are “pawns of the enemy.”

These are Tony Perkins’ undisputed official positions voiced in his professional capacity as FRC president. It’s not just a difference of opinion whether that’s worth talking about when she brings him on her program. Indeed, it must be mentioned, and her dismissal of the issue calls into question O’Brien’s professionalism, her journalistic ethics, and most importantly, her personal biases. What else has she decided her viewers don’t need to know? What other important information has she withheld? What other despicable hatemongers have she introduced as just conservative (or liberal) leaders?

In a well-timed coincidence, just 24 hours before Soledad O’Brien joked around with a hate group leader without mentioning to the millions in her audience that she was, in fact, joking around with a hate group leader, GLAAD introduced their new Commentator Accountability Program, or CAP. From GLAAD’s official project announcement:

“Hate is not an expert opinion,” said GLAAD’s Herndon Graddick. “In most cases, news outlets invite reputable experts to speak on the subject at hand, but when talking about LGBT issues, open hostility and anti-LGBT bias seems to be all the credibility required. This project holds these so-called ‘pundits’ accountable for the extreme anti-LGBT rhetoric they continue to spread.”

The Commentator Accountability Project launches with a comprehensive set of online resources detailing the anti-LGBT, racist, and anti-woman sentiments of nearly three dozen anti-LGBT commentators who have appeared in local and national news. As more commentators engage in anti-LGBT rhetoric, new profiles will be added.

Soledad O’Brien should spend some time learning the FRC president’s extremist, vitriolic, and yes, racist views before the next time she laughs with him about funny music selections on his iPod. (Seriously. They did that.) I feel silly for pointing out something so obvious, but news anchors have a responsibility to their audience to acknowledge their guests’ professional credentials. Even if Perkins isn’t there to talk specifically about the eyebrow-raising parts of his organization’s platform, ignoring his extremism is a disservice to her viewers.

GLAAD has made it easy for journalists like O’Brien; they’ve even given Perkins his own page with links to video and transcripts of offensive professional stances. They’ve taken the work out of the journalistic vetting process. The question is whether she and her colleagues value their audience’s right to know over access to a smooth-talking pundit.

You’re Not Furious, And It’s Killing Us

I haven’t watched Glee in over a year, but like most people with an ear to the ground, I’d been expecting (SPOILER ALERT) one of the show’s gay characters to attempt or complete suicide this season. That finally happened this week when gay football player Dave Karofsky made a failed attempt. Fashion/Pop Culture bloggers Tom & Lorenzo (hereafter T Lo), who had praised the introduction of the gay romance last year, had some harsh words for the episode, and even harsher – and truer – words for the It Gets Better Project.

[K]ids only get so much out of “It Gets Better.” You know why? Kids, by their very natures, are not forward-looking; everything is RIGHT NOW and of the HIGHEST IMPORTANCE. We can’t think of any message from an adult more condescending to a teenager than “Shh. It’s okay. Just dream of ten years from now.” Especially since the message of “It Gets Better” pretty much accepts anti-gay bullying as an inevitability; something for the kid to just hunker down and get through. In other words: the message of “It Gets Better” whether it intends it or not (and obviously, it didn’t) is that the victims of anti-gay bullying have to do the work of dealing with it, but no one else does. “You’re on your own, kid. Chin up. The good news is, you might be happy in a decade.”

In the interest of full disclosure and bragging a little bit, I’ve internet-known Tom of T Lo for over a decade. Well before their website so deservedly took off, his and Lorenzo’s example was one of the reasons I finally came out in 2007, so I’m probably biased in favor of their opinion.

On the other hand, it could just be that they’re right.

The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. It’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior – and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it – then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, it’s not he who’s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE. You should be furious about it, not gently weeping over music videos.

You know how I know T Lo are right? Because of this video.

February 21, 2012: Tanya Ditty from the anti-gay Concerned Women for America (Georgia chapter) compares gays to pedophiles, necrophiliacs

Anti-gay forces have been using this “23 sexual orientations” lie for years now, most memorably in 2009 by Rep. Steve King during debate on the Matthew Shepard Act (following then-Focus On The Family head James Dobson’s lead), when it was thoroughly debunked on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Following Ms. Ditty’s lying testimony Tuesday, the LGBT workplace protections bill was killed by Georgia House subcommittee. She was the only witness who spoke against it.

So here’s my question: How many newscasts have featured this prime example of what T Lo are talking about? How many national news sources have shown Ms. Ditty’s lies? What the hell, let’s open it up to Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, and all the rest. Tanya Ditty’s blatant, pre-debunked, harmful, hateful lies most certainly contribute to the atmosphere of scape-goating and hatred and death of gays; how many times have they been shown for what we know they are?

The answer is none, and I’ll bet you a nickel it will remain none. Unless you’re pretty doggone plugged into LGBT political blogs, you haven’t seen this video because quite frankly, it’s still okay to tell these kind of lies about lesbians, gays, bi, and trans people. Worse, telling the truth about us is still a liability. The network heads know what we all know. There is no “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” movement in America, nor will there be. Americans just don’t have any righteous anger about the mistreatment and dehumanization of LGBT people, and with It Gets Better‘s transformation from first aid to supposed cure, the gay community has let them know that being a little sad when our kids kill themselves is close enough for us.

Death Threat To Columbus, Ohio Gay Couple: ‘MOVE OR DIE, FAG’

Columbus, Ohio couple David Koch (no relation) and Chris [surname withheld] awoke Friday morning to find a death threat spray painted on the front of their home of fifteen years. They suspect that a heated debate at a Thursday night condo association meeting may be related.

Local CBS affiliate 10TV reported on the story Friday evening.

NBC4i has more details.

The couple called police who also called the FBI to investigate.

The couple did have a security camera installed at their front door which was activated by a motion detector. However the culprits managed to spray paint over it.

The incident comes just three weeks after Koch had heart surgery. Koch says he has received overwhelming support from his neighbors and friends all day Friday.

Police are checking security cameras in the area for clues of the vandal’s identity. Hopefully they catch the culprit soon so David and Chris can rest easy.

move-or-die-fag

Following Killer’s Conviction, Larry King’s Mother Blames Her Son For His Own Murder

Larry King in happier timesBrandon McInerney’s trial for the murder of Larry (also called Latisha, hereafter just Larry) King is over. In a surprise plea deal this week, the now-17-year-old killer pleaded guilty to second degree and involuntary manslaughter in exchange for the prosecution not retrying the case before a new jury. He will serve 21 years in prison for shooting his gay (possibly trans) classmate in February 2008.

It’s not the outcome I would have liked, but I suppose it’ll have to do. At least this way we won’t have to watch the judge wink at another jury and tell them to go easy on the boy. At least we won’t have to watch another jury decide that shooting a gay (possibly trans) kid twice in the back of the head at point blank range because he’s gay not only isn’t a hate crime, but also isn’t murder. At least it’s over.

Except, not quite.

Those of us who care about LGBT kids are left to clean up the mess, as Republican and religious right figures (as if there’s a difference) blame Larry’s school and the LGBT civil rights movement for his murder.

But the worst, most galling accusation comes from Larry’s own mother. She blames not the school (look deeper than her words), and not the murderer, at least not completely. Here’s a snippet from the LA Times article about McInerney’s plea deal.

The victim’s mother, Dawn King, revealed for the first time Monday that she had contacted school officials four days before the shooting in an effort to solicit their cooperation in toning down her son’s behavior. The boy had been taken from the Kings’ home two months earlier by authorities because of problems at home.

She said she was told that her son had a civil right to explore his sexual identity.

“I knew, gut instinct, that something serious was going to happen,” she said. “They should have contained him, contained his behavior.”

Larry KingOver and over we hear about kids going to their teachers and principals and getting no help. Over and over we hear about their principals telling them that it would stop if they would just stop being so damn faggy or girly or butch or different.

That is, in essence, what Larry’s mother is saying. She couldn’t stop him. The school wouldn’t stop him. So instead of blaming the person who pulled the trigger and put two bullets through the back of her son’s head, she blames her dead son because his identity didn’t match what she wanted.

Over and over our kids tell us that they just want to be themselves and be safe, and we tell them, well, you should be able to have that. Over and over they test the waters and go into hiding, or worse, kill themselves because the adults they look to for guidance say just what Larry’s mother is saying here: If somebody makes fun of you or beats you up or scares you or murders you, it’s your own fault because you won’t stop being queer. It’s a shocking abdication of a parent’s job, but I’d wager it’s something we’ve all heard before, even if it’s only been implied.

What happens next? We keep on telling our stories, letting those around us know that we are their family members, their coworkers, their classmates, and their friends. We keep on telling straight people until everybody knows, until it becomes impossible for straight people to accept the silly notion that we’re monsters to be feared and mistreated. We keep on telling the next generation of trans, bi, lesbian, and gay kids that things will get better because we’re making things get better.

As this year comes to a close, my hope is that someday very soon, Larry’s death and his mother’s accusation will be relics of a past as unimaginable to our descendants as that future is to me today.

[CORRECTED] Ohio High School Had Anti-Bullying Assembly Just Days After Anti-Gay Attack

[box type=”note”]Josh Gunderson sent me a note correcting the date of the attack. His program at the school was two days after the attack, not before. I have corrected the headline accordingly. Thanks, Josh, for the correction.[/box]

By now, you’ve probably seen the news report from Chillicothe, Ohio (about 75 miles from me) that rocketed across the internet yesterday (hat tip to Equality Ohio) about a 15-year-old student who was brutally attacked in school this week because he’s gay. (Trigger warning, just to be safe.)

See Dan Savage’s column for my reaction to this story. Cosigned, 100%.

Coincidentally, the school had a big assembly (screencap) about online and offline peer abuse just last Wednesday. Speaker Josh Gunderson addressed the students, ending his presentation by directly addressing suicides caused by peer abuse. Here is Gunderson’s It Gets Better video:

See Gunderson’s Youtube channel to get an idea what he does. It looks like a good program, and we need more of that kind of thing to reach students, but the abuse won’t stop until the adults in charge recognize that this is a real and urgent problem, not one you can just talk about for an hour and then forget for another year.

It’s important that adults treat peer abuse and the accompanying physical attacks without kid gloves. These are serious life-and-death issues. Zach has a concussion and is in a danger zone for self-harm and suicidal ideation right now because of this attack by a peer.

In fact, his attacker is probably back in school today, potentially sitting in the same classroom as his victim. Obviously, this will only exacerbate the attack’s long-term effects.

Union-Scioto School officials must act swiftly, both to make Zach whole and to make it known throughout the community that peer abuse, specifically peer abuse against LGBT people, are not accepted in their schools. Local officials in the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s office must treat this attack seriously and seek real penalties in order to rehabilitate the attacker.

Failing to do that will send the opposite message that attacking and abusing LGBTs is okay, and that’s a message we can’t afford for them to send.

Why Values Voter Summit 2011 Should End Presidential Campaign 2012

Last weekend, every Republican Presidential candidate with a chance of winning (plus Rick Santorum) appeared on stage at the Values Voter Summit, a meeting sponsored by two certified hate groups on par with (and one with ties to) the Ku Klux Klan and the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Family Research Council and American Family Association have both been considered hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center for some time now, and with good reason; both groups push their shared agenda with dangerous propaganda and outright lies about LGBT people.

To repeat: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all accepted the invitation of these hate groups (as they have for years), hoping to get their endorsements and the votes of like-minded individuals.

Do you really need more information before you cast your vote in the 2012 presidential election? What stance on which issue could possibly make it okay to vote for a candidate who has actively courted bigotry?

choice-highway-sign

Jamey Rodemeyer’s Second And Final ‘It Gets Better’ Video

It’s been a week since Jamey Rodemeyer completed suicide, and like many of you, I can’t get him off my mind. I’ve been looking through Jamey’s tumbler blog, and after sifting through hundreds of Lady Gaga gifs, I found this video. He uploaded it on September 13th, just five days before his light went dark.

I see in this video the same cognitive dissonance as in his earlier It Gets Better video. In both, he said the words he was supposed to say, but he didn’t even convince himself. “It gets better, hold your head up high, you were born this way” was his mantra; the lines he repeated to get through the long days and the longer nights until the reality of his life became too strong.

As Harvey Milk famously said, “I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it life is not worth living.”

Jamey had run out of hope. I could fill the page with words (about 1,000 before I started over) trying to explain what happened, but it all comes down to that.

This is what the It Gets Better Project is all about. That’s why I’m From Driftwood, GLSEN, and all the LGBT rights groups exist. Ultimately, they’re here to nudge the rest of us into the hope and reality of a better tomorrow, so that one day there won’t be a 14-year-old kid who cuts and cries and finally completes suicide.

Jamey Rodemeyer March 21, 1997 - Sepember 18, 2011
Jamey Rodemeyer
March 21, 1997 - Sepember 18, 2011

I hope to see that day soon. Until then, as Jamey said, paws up.

Forever.