North Carolina Home Destroyed In Anti-Gay Arson
November 11th, 2008
A fire destroyed Catawba, North Carolina home Friday night, and authorities are investigating it as a hate crime. The nearby Newton Observer News Enterprise takes it from there:
Melvin Whistlehunt was at work when he got a call from his mother at 2:30 a.m. Friday that his home was engulfed in flames. As firefighters began hosing down the house at 1275 Buffalo Shoals Road, it became clear the home was set on fire intentionally. What they found launched an immediate hate crime investigation.
The fire was intense, but it didn’t keep Jason Drum, chief of the Bandys Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department, from noticing graffiti written across the back of the brick home within five minutes of arrival. Someone used white spray paint to write a derogatory message referring to sexual orientation and race.
Drum asked Whistlehunt’s mother, who lives next door, if the graffiti had been there. She told him it was new.
Whistlehunt said everyone who knows him is aware he’s gay, but few people have outwardly criticized him for it. “I don’t know of anybody who would go this far,” he said.
Raleigh, NC Pair Charged With Sodomy
May 25th, 2008
… even though Lawrence vs. Texas invalidated out all sodomy laws in the U.S. nearly five years ago.
What’s worse, Nelson Keith Sloan, 40, was charged after calling police to his apartment complaining of an assault. Also charged, Ryan Christopher Flynn, 25, who was also charged with assault in addition to sodomy.
Flynn is using the “he asked for it” defense, claiming that they were engaging in rough “consensual” sex, a claim that Sloan denies.
“I didn’t allow anything,” he said Saturday after being reached at home by phone. “They knew it and turned it around and arrested me. I have never been so humiliated in all my life. It’s just awful.”
Police did not charge Flynn with any sort of sexual assault.
Sloan’s outrage is completely justified. When someone is attacked and calls the police, the last thing that person expects is to be charged with a crime — in this case, a nonexistent one — unless the complainant filed a false report. One wonders how Raleigh police and the D.A. would have handled this had this been a woman attacked by a man.
Pam Spaulding has more background on recent attempts to wipe this anachronistic law off the books.
No. Carolina Baptists Expell Gay-Friendly Church
November 13th, 2007
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has does not have many requirements for association. As the Charlotte News-Record rather concisely put it
Churches must provide financial support and not affirm homosexuality.
During their meeting last year, the Convention voted to kick out of fellowship any church that did “affirm, approve, endorse, promote, support or bless homosexual behavior”. This definition includes accepting a single gay person as a member in a church.
As a consequence, several churches dropped their affiliation with the Convention.
Myers Park Baptist Church, a Charlotte church with membership of about 2,000, decided that their 65 year association should not be let go without comment. Their pastor, Rev. Dr. H. Stephen Shoemaker, wrote the following eloquent appeal, which I am including in full:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I appeal to you by the mercies of God to refrain from removing churches like ours from your fellowship. Christian fellowship is too divided as it is and is a scandal to Christ who prayed that we might be one.
I appeal to you as Baptists who treasure soul freedom, soul competency and the autonomy of the local church. These great Baptist principles argue on behalf of including those of minority witness and minority interpretation of scripture in its fellowship.
Our church studied the Bible, sought the Spirit of God and talked earnestly with each other for over 20 years to get to the place where we said we were “open to all and closed to none,” and fully welcomed gay and lesbian persons who wished to follow Jesus with us. We do not claim to have the whole mind of God, and we respect those whose interpretations of scripture differ. It is the spiritual freedom we offer one another.
I appeal to you as Biblical people led by the Living Spirit of God whose life is centered in Christ.
Jesus welcomed those considered outcasts and sinners by His culture and religion into the Kingdom of God drawing near. We seek — we hope — to live in His Spirit.
And we, like Peter in the Book of Acts, have overcome our original resistance to the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons as Peter overcame his resistance to accepting Gentiles into the people of God. He saw the Holy Spirit fall upon the Gentiles, he saw God working in their lives and said:
“If then God gave them the same gift that He gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”
We could base the unity of our fellowship on any number of issues of Biblical interpretation: speaking in tongues, war, abortion, death penalty, divorce, homosexuality, and on and on. Let us base our unity on Jesus Christ as Lord and his call to discipleship and on the competence and freedom of the individual to open scripture and interpret it for his or her life guided by the Spirit of God.
H. Stephen Shoemaker
In response, the Executive Committee found his church is not “in friendly cooperation with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina” and today the membership as a whole gave Myer Park Baptist the boot.