You may recall that at the funeral for my Aunt Dorothy, a preacher used his eulogy to thunder about sin and lumped my tribe — the “homosexuals” — into the stew of sinners who can’t inherit the kingdom of God unless they’re washed in the blood of Christ. I was having none of that religion-based anti-gay bigotry and let him know it.
While I have since learned I wasn’t the only one offended by his thunderous sermon, I was the only one to tell him he was offensive. If nutty notions about what it means to be gay are to change, more people have to speak up in the face of bigotry and blatant misinformation.
I bring this up because of televangelist Pat Robertson and his latest slander against the gay community. To her credit, host Terry Meeuwsen tried to dispel fear of people with AIDS in her response to the advice-seeking letter writer to “The 700 Club.” Still, that didn’t stop Robertson from delivering his outrageous riff.
Robertson: You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there? They want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring. You shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger.
Robertson: Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.
Killer San Francisco homosexuals armed with rings that transfer “the stuff” from the infected to the uninfected? Now I’ve heard it all. Apparently, it was too much for the Christian Broadcasting Network. It scrubbed the killer comments from the video (fast forward to 39:30) on its website. But what I haven’t heard is anyone with any juice in the religious community condemning Robertson for his ceaseless outrages.
Sure, Robertson might be a filterless, cooky old coot clinging to homophobic, sexist and misogynistic views like a life preserver in the 19th century. No doubt most think he’s not worth the air needed to deliver a full-throated condemnation. But he’s still a coot with inexplicable clout in some quarters.
Will Kohl at Back2Stonewall.com told the Huffington Post, “It’s well past time that members of not only the LGBT community but real Christians everywhere stand up to the anti-gay religious extremist like Robertson and say enough.”
It’s not enough for me to condemn Robertson, or for Anderson Cooper to eviscerate him with well-played sarcastic contempt. What’s needed is for religious leaders emboldened by the Good Book’s teachings of love thy neighbor to tell Robertson, in no uncertain terms, to stuff it. Maybe such public shaming by their betters will make folks such as Robertson stop saying the horrible things they do.
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