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The “Christian” response in Fulton

Timothy Kincaid

April 7th, 2010

Why do so many gay people believe that Christians hate them? Perhaps this letter to the editor in Fulton, MS, about segregating and excluding a lesbian student will give us a clue:

Dear editor,

As pastor, board of deacons and members of Fairview Baptist Church, we wish to say we fully support our county superintendent of education Teresa McNeece, Itawamba County School Board members and school administrators in their stand on dress codes and immoral conduct.

Bro. Gene O’Brian
Pastor
Fairview Baptist Church

Or perhaps this one:

Dear editor,

The purpose of this letter is to commend the Itawamba County School Board and Superintendent of Education Teresa McNeece for the stand they have taken in the midst of the controversy surrounding this year’s IAHS prom. The policy of the school district was in place long before Constance McMillen decided to “assert her rights.” The majority of the headlines and news casts regarding this subject have blamed the school board and superintendent for trying to deny this girl her rights. However, that simply is not true. She has the same rights as every other student in our school district. They also blame the school board and superintendent for canceling the prom, but that blame lies completely with the homosexual activists and the ACLU.

Since this controversy began, there has been an outcry of support for the homosexual cause. Let us say that there are those of us who support the cause of Christ. Since Ms. McMillen chose to reference the Bible in support of her lifestyle choice, we felt compelled to set the record straight. Please be clear. This lifestyle is a choice. No one is “born that way.” As Ms. McMillen sat and held her Bible in one of her televised interviews, we wonder if she has read Leviticus 18:22 which reads, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination” and Romans 1:26-27 which reads, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” Other scriptures for reference include: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Genesis 19, Judges 19 & 20. We encourage Ms. McMillen and others to read the Bible for themselves. We believe that homosexuality is wrong, a perversion, and detrimental to society in general. Several years ago, this behavior was virtually unheard of and not all accepted by the vast majority. Now it is heralded as an alternate lifestyle. Sexual immorality of any kind should not be on public display in any arena and especially not in the school system.

We are all sinners, Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” but God’s abundant grace is free to all, Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” When we come to Christ in repentance and faith, we come as we are, but we do not leave unchanged. God calls us to a higher standard of living. The “my way” and “I’ll live any way I choose” attitudes are replaced by “not my will but thine be done.” Clearly from the scriptures listed above, homosexuality is NOT God’s will.

It is not our intention to give the impression that we hate the homosexual community. We do not. We have a Christian love and concern for their souls. However, we could not sit in silence as if we agree with this behavior. Saying you are a homosexual and proud of it is one thing, but to imply that the Bible endorses it is foolish. We felt we had a responsibility to this and future generations to take a stand for the right. Ephesians 6:13 “… and having done all, to stand.”

If there are others in this county and elsewhere who are in agreement with our position on the matter, we invite you to stand with us. Write letters of your own, call senators and representatives and most of all, pray.

Concerned about our children,

Membership of Bethany Baptist Church
Oakland Community
Fulton

I will be overjoyed to quote any Fulton church that wants to refute these statements.

Comments

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homer
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

The grandparents of these Christians likely used Bible quotes to demonstrate why racial segregation was necessary.

It would be curious to see them defend the treatment of the two disabled kids who were also excluded from the popular kids’ prom.

Kelly
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Are there any UCC (United Church of Christ) churches in Fulton?

Candace
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

May I offer you one of my Snickers bars?

eli
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I agree Homer.Same ole ignorance, same tiresome ole message.

MikeTheInfidel
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Kelly: Having grown up in the UCC myself, I know that the only reply they could offer is that these people are fundamentalists who are taking the Bible literally and that makes God upset. Of course, the UCC position has absolutely no merit from a Christian perspective… since they’re essentially just making up an argument that sounds nice while throwing away most of the Bible.

Andrew
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Homer – I’ve been wondering the same question about the disabled kids. Granted, doing it anyone is rude, but it certainly makes look…worse. For lack of a better word.

Mike Camardelle
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I’m gay and what I hope to be, a good Christian. When I hear of these quotes and people standing behind the Bible, I reflect on my morning mantra, a quote from Mohandas Gandhi: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Christ had nothing to do with these teachings and verses, he preached and spoke of love. So when I fall short, and get angry at some of the statements from these pastors from high above their congregations, I remind myself that I want to be a Christian who is like my Christ.

John
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Glad you posted about this, Timothy. The cruelty of these supposedly good Christians was staggering to behold. A community conspiring against a girl which resulted in others being publically shamed as well makes their claims to believe in the Gospel a flat-out lie. To love even those one considers to be in sin does not in any way mean you pervert the Golden Rule to justify your own bigotry. They got what they wanted at a very high price. Fulton, Mississipi and IAHS are now synonymous with hate.

David
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

“Of course, the UCC position has absolutely no merit from a Christian perspective… since they’re essentially just making up an argument that sounds nice while throwing away most of the Bible.”

I disagree. The tradition within the UCC is far, far older than modern American fundamentalism. The UCC has taken a progressive position on the reading of scripture from the very beginning – some 400 years ago. In contrast, American Christian Fundamentalism is a very recent phenomenon and has nothing close to the theological sophistication found in the UCC.

DN
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

It’s as though the second letter was written from a template, using your piece from a few days ago about the cold comfort Christians offer gays.

By the time I got to, “we are all sinners,” I actually laughed out loud.

And I was amazed how they read from the script in the second-last paragraph:

“It is not our intention to give the impression that we hate the homosexual community. We do not. We have a Christian love and concern for their souls. However, we could not sit in silence as if we agree with this behavior.”

They have a “Christian love” for me, eh? I guess that means I am to ignore my true self and prostrate myself before their god? Tim, I’ll let your piece from the other day speak for me because it’s *way* more polite than what I’d like to say in response to their Christian love.

Transplanted Lawyer
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Yesterday, I said here that it wasn’t fair to paint Christians with a brush of endorsement of the way McMillan affair was handled.

Today, you’ve got good evidence contradicting that claim. Unfortunately. The Christian thing to do, it seems to me, would be to encourage people on both sides of the dispute to forgive one another for any wrongs, slights, or misdeeds, and to come together as a community of people who sincerely care about one another and accept each other. It isn’t to cite, chapter and verse, reasons why someone is a “bad Christian” or a sinner.

TampaZeke
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

There are no UCC churches in the ENTIRE state of Mississippi. There is a UCC supported mission in Back Bay Mississippi on the coast. They are primarily working on rebuilding the gulf coast region after hurricane Katrina.

TheInfidel, what, are you a fundamentalist now? Regardless of your supposed upbringing in the UCC, your claim is baseless. Just because most people in the UCC don’t believe that the King James version of the Bible went from the mouth of god to the page doesn’t mean that they throw the Bible away. We just don’t take it literally and we look to more accurate, scholarly interpretations than the one’s presented by a closeted homophobe from the 16th century who was trying to convince his subjects that his whoring around with men didn’t mean he was gay. You know, the Roy Ashburn type but with a scepter, crown and codpiece.

David
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy

When homophobes quote from the ‘gay manifesto’ or some extreme erotic fiction to create a definition of all GLBTQ people, you complain, and rightly so.

When “Porno” Pete goes to Dore Alley or Folsom Street Fair, picks out the 1% minority engaged in non-vanilla sex in public, and declares that this defines homosexuality, you complain and rightly so.

But now you’ve done the same to Christians, as if the written statements of two, or hundred, represent the lives of millions.

You’ve sunk to Porno Pete’s level. Maybe he’ll give you a big hug.

Burr
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

No.. this is clearly limited to the Christians or their churches in Fulton, MS.

You’re overreaching with your criticism.

Eddie89
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Perhaps the title for this article is sort of painting with a broad brush, “The “Christian” response in Fulton”.

Perhaps these would be better?

“A “Christian” response in Fulton” or
“Two “Christians” responses in Fulton”

But in Kincaid’s defense, I don’t think he’s actually sinking to the level of “porno” Pete. He only wrote these lines:

Why do so many gay people believe that Christians hate them? Perhaps this letter to the editor in Fulton, MS, about segregating and excluding a lesbian student will give us a clue:

and this line:

Or perhaps this one:

And this one:

I will be overjoyed to quote any Fulton church that wants to refute these statements.

He’s just throwing out the speculation that when LGBT people read these letters to the editor, they are the ones that will think that ALL Christians think like this about them.

Especially if there are no “counter” letters from other Christians that do not hold these beliefs.

Lindoro Almaviva
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I only have to say exactly what i told the Superintendedn in my (unanswered email):

I hope a lawyer gets a hold of the fact that it was one of your lawyers the one who issued the invitation for a fake prom and sue you, not only for violations to Contance’s rights but for possible violations of the People with Disabilities Act given the fact that this act forbids segregating the disable population from the general population.

And as i always say: Nothing like the “Holy Spirit” to bring the worst in people.

Candace
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

But Rosa, not ALLLLLLLLLL white people are prejudiced and want you to sit in the back of the bus, so why do you have to make an ISSUE out of it? Can’t you just QUIETLY love all the white people and understand that criticism of white people just isn’t FAIR because there COULD be a white person here or there who isn’t prejudiced. We just have to give them time to speak up, and if they don’t, we can’t ASSUME they’re prejudiced because that’s just not CHRISTIAN. Now you go sit down in the back and behave yourself like a good little Negro.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

David Farrell
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Apparently the good Baptists of MS have all but backslid. Ask any good Baptist in WV and they’ll tell you that dancing is a sin and there’s no way a good Baptist would ever defend anyone dancing!

PW
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I find it curious that David is implying that the ‘appeal to Biblical authority’ in the second letter is somehow nonrepresentational of Christians. When did pointing out something that is actually common become a form of misrepresentation?

As for the second letter, I think this church’s approach to this situation is truly pathetic. Their letter is a scree of blame, deflection, rhetoric along with some downright illogical comments. On top of it all, this letter does nothing to address the real events that have transpired nor does it acknowledge the intentional hurt inflicted by some in Fulton. One would expect better from a group of churchgoers. Apparently being decent and ‘treating other people as you would like to be treated’ are not principles held in high regard at this church.

Burr
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Note how neither of them had no problem at all with the discrimination against the disabled.

The silence speaks volumes about how they REALLY feel about the meek.

Richard Rush
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

PW said, “One would expect better from a group of churchgoers.”

I wouldn’t. On those occasions when I do see something better, it’s an exception to the norm.

Out of the 68 churches in Itawamba County, none of them (that we know of) have published a statement counter to the two cited in this post.
That’s 68 churches! 68 of them!!

WMDKitty
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

And they wonder why we think they hate us… *rolleyes*

(I fall under the “B” part of LGBT.)

Edwin
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Did you notice that the preachers always read the same bible passages all the time. That are the only ones they seem to know by heart. It also says to love one and other. But they only use what they want to use to spout off their hate of anyone that is different and doesn’t follow their religon. I wonder if they think their LIFESTYLE is any better than the way we live. That nonsense about homosexuals just now starting to be around is a crock of
bell crap. We have always been here even 2000 years ago when jesus was around supposedly.(not a firm believer of that). Figure it is someone that was made up by some holy roller thinking he was doing good.
We are born homosexual the same as they are hetrosexual. Wgy would someone want to live a life being beat up or killed for being gay or lesbian?
Enough ranting for tonight.

JM
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

On a more positive note, I can finally enjoy the Leviticus 18:22 reference. As a lesbian reading the verse literally, I’m not sure that this verse quite conveys the point the Bethany Baptist Church membership was trying to get across.

Jason D
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

JM, I’ve wondered that myself… :)

Note to all you ladies out there, don’t lie with a man as you would with a woman.

It is detestable!

It’s such a bizarrely put phrasing.

If you’re talking to a mixed gender crowd, then you’re telling the men to stay off each other, but the women to stay ON each other.

If you’re talking only to men, why would you need the qualifier “as thou wouldst with a woman” ? If “to lie” is the euphemism for sex, shouldn’t “thou shall not lie with a man” be sufficient? Unless you’re only talking to the hetero men in the crowd. Which then makes it a condemnation of gay-for-pay.

But even then, it’s almost a statement of fact. It is physically impossible for me to have sex with a man the same way I would have sex with a woman….men don’t have vaginas.

Ben in Oakland
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

Jason: I think that actual Hebrew translates directly as “sleep the sleep of a woman”, but I would like to see some OT scholars comment on that.

We really don’t know what the phrase means, and like “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi”, we have no contemporary references to it. With the latter terms, when one bible translates those wrods as “homosexual perverts”, we indeed have an agenda going on, and it very much shows that the translations very much depend on the people who translate.

Jason D
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

oh Ben, don’t go using facts and scholarly information. All that verifiable information and careful study really gets in the way of making sure God has the same prejudices as people.

Priya Lynn
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

David, you know you’re an extremist when Timothy Kincaid is too hard on christians for your tastes.

Candace
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

The translation is actually “lie the lyings of a woman with a man.” It probably refers to a gay bottom, but even then is only considered a cultural taboo for JEWS. But remember that this is a collection of writings from nomadic, stone-age savages that had every kind of superstition and weird law possible– for instance: the OT says that if someone has a “white spot of leprosy,” they are to be kicked out of the camp. BUT if they become COMPLETELY COVERED with white lesions of leprosy, they are considered healed, and must be allowed back in to live with everyone else. They even had a law that Hebrews weren’t allowed to take a poop inside the camp, because the Lord liked to walk around in there at night and might step in it.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am a wee bit reluctant to take instruction from a source like that. It would be like trying to live your whole life based on a book written by a science-fiction author, who— oh, wait. I forgot how dumb people get when they don’t think for themselves. Nevermind.

NARNC60AC
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

i’d like for some of these “christians” that love to quote the OT “clobber verses” to be reminded of the following verses:
romans 7:4-6
galations 2:16, 2:19, & 2:21

John
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

And today we one Amanda Grace, 1997 IAHS graduate now living in Los Angeles, who writes in this letter to the Itawamba editors:

…This battle is not about the rights of gays and lesbians. It is about the right to provide a safe and secure learning environment. I am sure there will be those who will disagree. It is their First Amendment right. But I am becoming more and more determined to ensure that their First Amendment right does not trample all over mine. The difference is that I will have to pay for my own lawyer. Maybe we should form an AAFLU (Americans Against Frivolous Lawsuits Union). Thank you again Itawamba County.
http://itawamba360.com/view/full_story/6982820/article-Letters-to-the-Editor?instance=lead_story_left_column

Um…safe from what, dear? A same-sex couple dancing in a crowd of heteros instead of being publically shunned and discriminated against? The sight of a *gasp!* female wearing a tux? You’re right, how insidious. It’s enough to make the Baby Jesus weep. Grace is free to believe how she wishes about God, relationships, sexuality, etc. Where that ends is in imposing it upon others through force of law, her pleas to First Amendment rights to do otherwise notwithstanding. Remember: equal rights, not special rights, dear.

Freddy
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

Isn’t there enough misery in the world without all the hateful rhetoric poured out from religion in regards to homosexuality? People just want to be happy and do the best they can. How hurtful is must be to endure the rantings of the religious when they call people “an abomination” or “sinners”. How about they turn that 2,000 book they put so much stock in back on themselves? Love your neighbor. Pull the plank out of your own eye before taking the splinter out of your brothers.
Let people live their lives! FREDDY

Richard W. Fitch
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibh.htm
This link provides one of the best analyses I know regarding Lev. 18:22. It is in three parts. 1)Context 2)Translation 3) Mosaic Code – “abomination”. As with all the ‘clobber passages’, this can not be understood apart from its cultural/historical context and textual context. The overridding reality is that what we refer to as “homosexuality” was not even a clearly delineated concept until 1868.

1constitution
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

Rev.O’Brian,
Why would you “commend” Teresa McNeece and the school board for alledgedly violating the “First Amendment”? The United States Constitution was around long before Teresa McNeece became supt. of Ed. These Constitutional Amendments were established long before her “former Captain” of the Highway Patrol, husband Jeff McNeece violated a hard working honorable resident of Itawamba counties “First Amendment Rights” and he too is now in Southern District Federal Court along with the local Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson as well as the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors and other leaders of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. With this case there are also issues of Conspiracy which can also carry a sentence. I fully agree with the Bible just as you spoke scripture, (that’s the Word). However, we still have laws of the land to follow whether we like it or not and people can excercise their “First Amendment Rights” and yet they cannot be violated by the politics or leaders in “Itawamba” just because they have an “opinion”. Still not to take away from Biblical laws, we must still follow the laws of the land as a leader. Miss.Constance McMillian has “rights” according to the Constitution, even tho’ Biblically or by personal opinion we may disagree with Constance. The only point here and the same point the Judge will rule on is that “simply” if her “First Amendment Rights” were in fact violated. Again, I too agree completely with the Bible. In fact I’d say you may have missed a portion or did you overlook a portion(?), the “Same” Bible says in Exodus that it is an ABOMINATION for a woman to wear mens apparel!!! Do you teach that in your church? It has the same meaning in strength as the other scripture for gays that you quoted. May I say it again, I fully agree with the Bible as you quoted it, but I just wanted to see if you were familiar with that scripture as well, because it too is an ABOMINATION to CHRIST. That means he HATES it, and I don’t want to be guilty of doing anything that is HATED by GOD. I am sure they had a dress code in place for the school long before Constance got to this point so I am sure you are right on that point in “that” regard, but a while back , I did wonder “why” would they have a “dress” wearing code one day out of 365 days. They can be approved to wear pants 364 days a year but not for just one day. Where’s the logic? It reminded me of “some” christians that wear a dress on Sunday morning but wear pants back to church on Wednesday night if they even show back up mid week. Where’s that logic? I just believe that if you feel convicted on Sunday am, you should through the week. I just never understood that. With all that said I agree with what you’ve said, I just did not understand “how” you could support anyone violating the United States Constitution. What if one day they do away with the U.S. Constitution, “would you commend them on that”? You know that might not really be too far from “REALITY”, reckon, with all the “Changes”, that just might be on the “AGENDA”. It’s just a thought. God Bless you for a Biblical stand, but living in this present world, our leaders must not violate people’s rights given to them by the U.S.Constitution. Again, even tho’ we may not agree, the law mandates us. That is the “real issue” that will play a role for Mrs. McNeece. The rest is all matters of opinion and will be judged by the Great Judge JESUS CHRIST! The judge of this land tho’ will judge according to the Constitution, because violating one’s First Amendment Rights are “not just a matter of a difference of opinion” as one local leader tried to label it. It is a matter of LAW! It was broken!No hard feelings here sir, I share your feelings, but I did want to ask why you would commend Teresa on violating the Constitution of the United States of America. I know she did and most likely does still attend your church and perhaps if I understand it right, her husband Jeff McNeece is a Deacon for you, but right is right and wrong is wrong. According to the BIBLE and the laws of our land that we are to be judged by, we have to call it what it is.And in her husbands and the Sheriff’s case, you can’t do people wrong and get by with it. I know the family that has been intionally harmed by Jeff McNeece, Sheriff Chris Dickinson,the Itawamba Board of Supervisors and the other leaders in the Mississippi Highway Patrol have been forgiven by this family, but it is now up to Federal Judge Wingate to decide their punishment for violating the laws of the land in their intentional and malicious actions agains this innocent hard working honorable family of Itawamba County. This family is praying for all of these individuals that have harmed them that they would rededicate their lives to Jesus so that thier souls will not be lost. Perhaps you as a pastor can help them through counseling and prayer. May God bless you and your church as you spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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