Category Archives: Why We Die

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.

Focus On The Family’s Slightly More Polite Game Of ‘Smear The Queer’

The 16th annual Day of Silence is upon us. On April 20, 2012, students across the world will take a one-day vow of silence to remember LGBT kids who died by suicide this year and more broadly draw attention to the effects of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism.

Day of Silence 2012

As you might guess, anti-gay groups are none too happy about people being reminded that their anti-gay rhetoric has a real human cost, and they’re sending in their kids to give the homos a smackdown.

Anti-gay group Alliance Defense Fund initiated Day of Truth back in 2005, built on the knowledge that the gay kids wouldn’t be able to respond verbally during the Day of Silence. It was horribly unpopular, and in 2009 ADF passed it to “ex-gay” group Exodus International. It became even less popular after the wave of LGBT suicides in late 2010, so EI passed it on to hate-group-affiliated Focus On The Family. Focus then rebranded the event as the Day of Dialogue.

Whatever they want to call their official anti-gay response, it’s remarkably similar to Smear The Queer. For those who missed that bit of playground violence in their youth, here’s a pretty good explanation from The Crow’s Eye.

The objet de jeu was simple, compared to baseball or lacrosse: do violence to the “Queer” with the ball. If you are wondering if the Queer was just an odd fellow, within game play, ponder no further. The Queer was certainly the Fag. And he had a handicap, which was the ball. The Queer had to have two hands on the ball, unless he was throwing it away. The point of the game, from the vantage point of the ball clasping Queer, was to get rid of the ball and become not-Queer. Because the only person who could be struck, tackled, knocked down or done violence to was the Queer with the ball.

In this slightly more polite version of the game, anti-gay groups arm the children of anti-gay churches to spread their anti-gay message to gay kids (and some straight allies). Then they present the anti-gay “Hey, we’re just having a conversation, man” model of sermonizing, full of coded words like “struggle” and “God’s best plan.” The goal is to get a gay kid alone and give him a good old-fashioned spiritual attack until he relents and goes back in the closet, or at least doubts himself enough to stop talking about it.

Last month, Friendly Atheist posted this spot-on response to the weird Day of Dialogue cards Focus are asking their kids to pass out to Day of Silence participants. Original is on top, response on bottom.

Click for Friendly Atheist's post
Click for Friendly Atheist's post

Last Saturday, Kenneth Weishuhn completed suicide after he came out a month ago and endured death threats by exactly the type of kids Focus On The Family has recruited to hand out these cards. He was 14. Austin Rodriguez attempted suicide in March at the age of 15, after coming out late last year. Thank God, Austin was not successful, and Asterisk exclusively reported earlier this week that he is slowly regaining his strength.

Jamey Rodemeyer. Rafael Morelos. Matthew Chance. Jacob Rogers. And the list goes on. Below is the map I’ve been keeping up of LGBT suicides in the United States.

(View LGBT Suicides in the United States in a larger map)

This year, we will remember that the anti-gay groups don’t want truth, and they don’t want dialogue. They want us to cease to be, to disappear. Above all else, they want to end us. The children and adults — their campaign’s damage lasts a lifetime — on this map are their success stories. (And yes, I’m saying what you think I’m saying. It’s long past time to stop sugar-coating it.)

This Day of Silence, we will remember.

Two Weeks After Attempted Suicide, Gay Ohio Teen Remains Unconscious

Austin Rodriguez - image via WYTV
Austin Rodriguez - image via WYTV

It’s been two weeks since he attempted suicide, and Austin Rodriguez’s mother is asking for prayers in preparation for surgery next week. The Wellsville, Ohio teen remains sedated and on a ventilator at Akron Children’s Hospital after taking over a hundred prescription pills and collapsing in his family’s home on March 16.

This Thursday, Austin’s mother shared the following update with a Facebook group formed to relay information on his condition.

Austin has been fighting with Neuroleptic Malignate Syndrome. A lot of people were asking the name of it. Look it up, it’s really serious. He is looking at surgery mid-week next week to remove the tubes and put in a trach so after a week or so they could try to take him off the muscle relaxers and medications that have him paralyzed, which will be great. No real improvement with his lungs yet. His temp went up overnight to 104 again, but they put him on a cooling blanket again and his temp has come down and stayed down through the morning. His blood pressure is good for now. So please keep him in your prayers and if you have an extra minute please pray for our family. Thank you for all the support.

The Advocate first reported Austin’s attempted suicide last Friday. Local NBC station WFMJ followed up earlier this week.

Bonnie Rodriguez says her 15-year-old son declared his homosexuality just six to eight months ago. First telling family, then friends, and then no longer hiding it from classmates at school.

The teenager’s mother says it was shortly after coming out that her son, who is a straight-A student, began getting bullied at school.

She says at first her son appeared happy and relieved, and then she thought he may have been going through a depression and asked him about it several times, but he never really explained the extent of what he was going through.

From what his mother has learned, the bullying was not only cruel, but enough to make a teenager who was already introverted, feel like an outcast. “It was electronic, it was face to face bullying, they were hiding his gym clothes because they didn’t want him changing in the locker room with them. They didn’t want him to eat by them, or in the school lunchroom,” Rodriguez said.

As he enters week three in critical condition, here’s hoping we’ll soon have some good news on Austin’s recovery. If you have a kind thought or prayer for him, I know he and his family would appreciate it right about now.

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.

WATCH: Extreme Makeover Features Family Of 11-Year-Old Suicide Victim Carl Walker-Hoover

On April 6, 2009, eleven-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover completed suicide as a direct result of peer abuse (stop calling it bullying). Since then, Carl’s Mom has been on a mission, joining with GLSEN to bring about change in laws regarding peer abuse. Just three months after her son’s death, Ms. Walker went to Congress and challenged our elected officials to protect children.

So far, they haven’t listened.

Carl, Sirdeaner, and Gloria in happier times
Carl, Sirdeaner, and Gloria in happier times

More than most people could possibly imagine, the last two and a half years have been difficult for the Walker family, so I was glad that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featured Sirdeaner and Carl’s siblings on the show last Friday, sharing his story and perhaps giving them a tiny bit of karmic (or is it mokshic?) payback for the nightmare they’ve been through.

You’ll be surprised by the lasting effect of Carl’s death. The family has abandoned the third floor of the home where they found Carl, choosing instead to sleep on cots in the living room. Carl’s room is exactly as he left it, his backpack still tossed half-open on the steps the way 11-year-old boys do.

I was so glad to see GLSEN, The Trevor Project, the It Gets Better Project, and of course the Carl Walker-Hoover Foundation spotlighted. These important organizations are vital resources for kids like Carl.

(Sorry for the ads; they aren’t mine. Also sorry for the Kardashians.)

Another Tragic Loss: Gay Purdue Student Commits Suicide

I’m sad to report that we have lost another young gay man to depression. Matthew Chance was 19 years old and lived in Hudson Lake, Indiana, not far from South Bend. He died on October 31, 2011 in what friends reported to be a suicide.

Matthew Chance May 30, 1992 - October 31, 2011
Matthew Chance
May 30, 1992 - October 31, 2011

I learned about Matt’s death on November 1, when someone found this blog by searching for his name and hometown of New Carlisle, Indiana. (I’ve written about my hometown of New Carlisle, Ohio, and obviously we share a first name, so that article popped up on their search.) A little detective work led me to his obituary.

Following is what little I know about Matt Chance. I had hoped to share more information, but messages to several friends have gone (understandably) unanswered in the immediate wake of his sudden death.

Matt was raised in New Carlisle, Indiana by his maternal grandparents. More from his obituary:

Matthew was a student at Purdue University North Central as a sophomore. He was employed with McDonald’s in Rolling Prairie on the Indiana Toll Road. Matthew graduated from New Prairie High School in 2010 and was a member of the National Honor Society; he achieved the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award; he was active in the New Prairie Theater; and he served as an Altar Server at St. John Kanty Catholic Church for many years.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Matt was an Education Management major. He self-identified as gay on his myspace page and his now-deleted Facebook profile, as well as on several dating sites.

That’s really all I know about Matt. He was one of ours, though, and this sketch of his story seems all too familiar.

[typography size=”10″ size_format=”px”]View LGBT Suicides in the United States in a larger map[/typography]

If someone who knew him finds this page and would like to contribute with a story, special insight, or a photo, please contact me at matt@mattalgren.com. I would love to know more about this man who died far too soon.

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.

Zuccotti Park Security Guard Caught On Tape: ‘Your fly’s open, faggot.’

I’m sitting here with fire in my eyes. You know the feeling? Like you could just explode at any second? Like your heart’s about to leap out of your chest and tap dance across the floor?

Very few things make me feel this way. Oh, I have a temper, and I can be a bit of a dick, but it’s rare for me to feel like this.

Earlier tonight, hours after New York City Mayor and multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg ordered Zuccotti Park raided, journalists arrested, and the Constitution pissed all over, a security guard for Brookfield Properties, which owns the park, …wow this is the longest run on sentence ever. This is what happens when I’m mad.

Anyway, the security guard called comedian (?) Joey Boots a “faggot.” On camera. While trying to look tough before running away when Joey didn’t just stand there and take it.

Here are a couple shots of the bigot rent-a-cop who couldn’t control his bigotry with a camera in his face. (Uppity faggot doesn’t know his place, so he’s going to tell him.) He wouldn’t give his name, you know, because bigot tough guys hate it when people know their names.

Anybody know who he is? Send me an email or comment on the post. I want his name plastered all over the internet so future prospective employers know who they’re getting.

zuccotti-park-security-bigot-front

zuccotti-park-security-bigot-profile

P.S. Who wears sunglasses like that? Bigots, apparently.

(h/t Scott Wooledge, via towleroad)