August 8, 2007
"Please do us all a favor … get raped and then killed. You rancid, filthy
___." That's a direct quote from an e-mail I received after appearing on
"The O'Reilly Factor." I was on the show objecting to the San Diego Padres
celebration of "Gay Pride" on the same day they invited hundreds of children
for a floppy hat giveaway.
"You are a shameful disgrace and hate monger," penned another in response to
my statement that homosexuality is an unhealthy, life-shortening lifestyle
that should not be promoted by the Padres to children.
For such "hate" I was named runner up for the "Worst Person in the World" by
MSNBC's Keith Olberman. This kind of vulgarity, exaggeration and the
not-so-veiled threats are nothing new to those of us who dare speak the
truth to a world turned upside down. Homosexual activists have propagated
their deceptive message so effectively that their own community tragically
believes they cannot change, they have no choice-and that people who oppose
their "choice" hate them.
And because they have managed to so effectively intimidate anyone who would
question their claims, thousands of homosexuals have never heard there is a
better way … a God who forgives and a life to live that's more abundant and
While I will never enjoy death threats and vulgar accusations, I know they
can, at times, be the natural response of evil to truth. Committed
Christ-followers for centuries gave their lives rather than be silenced. Can
we not bear these comparatively little consequences in our own lost
generation? Yes, we can.
But the responses that bother me most are ones that out of confusion or,
worse, intentionally try to equate a Biblical perspective on homosexuality
with godless criminal acts. A recent report from ABC News, "Hate Takes a
Life in Houston," tells the story of Kenneth Cummings, Jr., 46, a gay male
flight attendant murdered by Terry Magnum, 26, who claimed, "I believe with
all my heart that I was doing the right thing. I planned on sending him to
hell." Terry said he'd been called by God to "carry out a code of
retribution" because "sexual perversion" is the "worst sin."
That story was forwarded to me with the following e-mail: "I just wanted to
write and say that I lay the blame for this incident and hundreds of others
like it on you … as far as I'm concerned, you have blood on your hands."
Let me be clear: The murder of Kenneth Cummings and the loss to his loving
family is tragic, but to think that the circumstances of his death should
force others to be silent on the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle would
be wrong-headed and irresponsible. I would have far more to answer for if I
kept silent while he and other homosexual brothers and sisters remained
tormented in this life and facing condemnation in the next.
That kind of silence is embraced by too many Christians who are unwilling to
speak truth lovingly for fear of their own reputations … willing to let
confused and lost friends and family members who are "gay" flounder in
deceit and condemnation rather than risk their own "likeability." That's the
blood I would fear having on my hands.
My consternation from the Magnum story and e-mail is that the e-mailer
deeply believes what he's saying. Reading further in the text, I can
"This is outrageous," said Mel White, a gay former evangelical Protestant
minister, who ghost wrote books for televangelist Jerry Falwell, Pat
Robertson, and Billy Graham. You've got to indict everybody from (Pope)
Benedict XVI on down. The church and the Christian right have set up an
environment that gays are a threat to the community, and they say this over
and over. And because some people take this seriously, you have murders like
this. This guy is quoting from the rhetoric of the pope and Pat Robertson
and the Southern Baptists.
Now that makes me angry. A man claiming to know Christ, with credentials
that should demonstrate he does, using those credentials to speak lies to
the homosexual community and the world … to willingly distort the message of
God to excuse his own perversion and take as many people as possible down
that path with him-the quintessential example of misery loving company.
Meanwhile apostates like the "reverend" Fred Phelps represent the other side
of this dangerous, deadly deception … purporting to be followers of Christ,
while revealing their own side of evil by declaring "God hates fags." I've
got news … God loves sinners, including fags and the rest of us so much that
He sent His only son to die a brutal death to pay the penalty for their sin
What does God hate? Religious phonies … liars … deceivers. Jesus drove them
from the temple with a whip. He reserved his harshest comments for false
teachers … calling them "blind guides … hypocrites … open-throated graves."
Terry Mangum had no power to send Kenneth Cummings to hell. No trustworthy
preacher would say so. Homosexuality is a serious sin, but so are adultery,
lying and stealing. If Christian doctrine prescribed retribution and murder
for sin, we'd all be dead.
God sent His son, that famous "Jesus," to forgive, restore and renew … not
to condemn. But redemption can't take place without the proclamation of
God's standard on morality, sexual and otherwise. How will people know what
sin is if we are no longer able to speak about it, confess it to each other
and present the world with a better way … God's way?
If that is hate, then I guess I am a "monger." If love is letting friends
and family lead destructive lives while standing by, nodding in approval,
then I choose not to "love." But I do choose to be a friend … a faithful
friend … the one who speaks truth even at the risk of friendship and maybe,
in this case, my reputation.
Sandy Rios is the host of the "The Sandy Rios Show," heard daily on WYLL in
Chicago. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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