Ken Hutcherson is dead
December 19th, 2013
By his own accounts, Hutcherson’s youth was consumed with rage and hatred towards white people. He believed what his uncle told him: that the only good white person was a dead one. He claimed that it was this hatred that inspired him to play football.
“The only reason I played football was so I could hurt white people legally.”
Then he found Jesus and his hatred turned into love, to hear him tell it. He played pro-ball, founded the Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington, and married the “whitest of white women in the world.”
In reality, his hatred simply found a new target: gay people. Opposing equality, decency, and tolerance of gay people – and doing so as offensively and hatefully as possible – became the obsession in Hutcherson’s life.
I first became aware of Hutcherson back in 2004, when he was one of the speakers at the anti-gay MayDay for Marriage, a sort of anti-equality rally in Washington, DC. That was followed by years of anti-gay activism, local and global.
In 2005, he persuaded Microsoft to declare that it did not support a Washington State bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. He demanded that the software company fire two employees who had spoke in favor of the legislation.
The following year, when Microsoft committed to supporting the bill, he tried to lead a “nation-wide boycott” against Microsoft and other Washington State companies for their support. He claimed that the Southern Baptist Convention leadership, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council supported his boycott; none did and, in fact, the boycott proved to be non-existant. The bill passed.
Hutcherson tried twice to put an initiative on the ballot to reverse the law but was unable to collect sufficient signatures.
In April 2007, Hutcherson joined with a group of anti-gay African American preachers to oppose including sexual orientation in the hate crimes act.
In June 2007, “Hutch” joined Scott Lively in Riga to stir up anti-gay sentiment in the Baltic state of Latvia (falsely claiming to be a “special envoy” of the White House). The two joined with Latvian pastor Aleksey Ledyaev, to create an organization called Watchmen on the Walls. The SPLC came to descibe Watchmen on the Walls as “one of the most virulent anti-gay organizations we have seen in this country.”
Later that month, he was a featured speaker at Exodus International’s Freedom Conference.
In October 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed an anti-bullying bill in California. Watchmen on the Walls had this response:
“Now it’s time to rescue our children from the public schools as from a hellish furnace. Just like one who would prescribe the burning of kids in the Nazi’s concentration camps furnaces, now 65 years later Arnold Schwarzenegger opened furnaces which are even worse for our children by his signature. Pray and fast for the kids and families of California and take your kids out of public schools.”
The following month, Hutcherson showed up at the annual board meeting of Microsoft to continue his battle against the company for its support of gay employees.
“…we are putting together one of the largest, one of the most powerful groups to come to deal with Microsoft on issues that we believe is hurting our society. And the reason why we are excited about this is because we know that we have the power behind us.
And as I close, I would like to let you know that sometimes our love to work with you as a partner to improve our community, that fails; thus, we have to come another way, and I am probably one of the worst nightmares that this corporation can have. I’m a black man with a righteous cause, with a great deal and a whole host of powerful white people behind me. I hope to hear from you so we can work together. If not, you will be hearing from me again. Thank you.”
Microsoft politely ignored him. So Hutcherson decided to try for a hostile takeover of the company. He started AGN Financial Network with the plan that anti-gay Christians buy three shares of Microsoft and give one to the network. There is no indication whether a share was ever purchased.
In February 2008, the principle of Mt. Si High School in the Snoqualmie Valley (where Hutcherson’s daughter attended) invited the preacher to speak to the students about civil rights on Martin Luther King Day. Although Hutcherson did not take the opportunity to advance his anti-gay agenda, one of the teachers booed him and another asked how he could come and speak about civil rights when he was determined to deny the civil rights of gay people.
In response, Hutcherson demanded that the teachers be fired. Both received reprimands.
But failure to fire the teachers who offended him propelled Hutcherson into a full war against the school.
First he sent his daughter into Mt. Si’s Gay-Straight-Alliance with her camera to monitor and report back to him on anything that could be twisted into something objectionable. He complained to anti-gay press that teachers were telling her that she made other students uncomfortable.
In March of 2008, he took on the GSA’s attempt to have a Day of Silence, a national student-lead effort to bring attention to the bullying of gay teens. First he went after a librarian, a supportive staff member, sending her an email accusing the GSA of being a “sex club” and threatening,
I want the teachers Kit McCormick and George Potratz fired and I will not stop until they are gone. Do you wish to be added to that list? I want the day of silence silenced and it will not happen during school time anymore.
On the Day of Silence, Hutcherson showed up with a bullhorn and about 100 supporters to try and disrupt the event. About a third of students opted to stay away from school on that day. Hutcherson declared victory.
In November 2009, a group of Mt. Si High Schools students were bullying a gay student when another student tried to intervene. A 16 year-old student stepped in and attacked the 14 year-old would-be protector and beat him, knocking out two teeth and fractured his eye socket. Hutcherson had nothing to say about the attack.
In 2012 Governor Christine Gregoire stated her support for marriage equality. Hutcherson had this response:
She might as well change her name to John Wilkes Booth because what she’s doing now is trying to put a bullet in the head of one of the greatest traditions that has ever existed and has built our society, and that is marriage between one man and one woman.
If this law is passed, what is going to happen? Now ask your guests in the studio. Do they believe that if they change the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, what is going to stop two men one woman, two women one man, one man against a horse, one man with a boy, one man with anything?
And now Ken Hutcherson is dead from prostate cancer at the age of 61. He lived long enough to see hate crimes passed, sexual orientation inclusive non-discrimination laws enacted in his home state, marriage equality come to Washington State, and social acceptance of gays and lesbians by students throughout the country.
During his sermon, Hutcherson stated, “God hates soft men” and “God hates effeminate men.” Hutcherson went on to say, “If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I’d rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end.”
If he’s right about all people facing judgment in an afterlife, Hutcherson now has the opportunity to find out if his God is as vengeful and full of hate as he was.