by Dan Savage
on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 2:28 PM
The crew running Obama's inauguration invited an evangelical preacher to give the benediction at his second inauguration and... it turns out that the guy gave a blistering anti-gay sermon that popped right up when you Googled him. Which no one on the Obama's crew thought to do. So the gays, still annoyed about the anti-gay preacher who gave the benediction at Obama's first inauguration, blew up. (Except Pam, who shrugged it off.) This time the anti-gay preacher was disinvited. Andrew Sullivan has a great rundown of what was troubling about the anti-gay preacher's anti-gay preaching:
The sermon in question, which I listened to, is not full of hatred. It has all the caveats about not hating gay people, not promoting intolerance. But it is quite clear that Giglio has never stopped believing that what he calls "the gay lifestyle" is a terrible crime against God. He also calls it one of the most important issues of the time. He proposes the horrifying abuse of "ex-gay therapy." He cites Leviticus, which mandates the death penalty for gays, and says it is the lynchpin of the teaching against homosexuality. In fact, he doesn't just cite Leviticus; he goes on for ever about it.... Now, people evolve. And we should be happy to welcome those who have evolved and no longer find homosexual relationships sinful or poisonous. But Giglio shows no sign of having changed. His defense is that "clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years." But in that sermon, he described it as possibly the most important moral battle of the time. And get a load of this: "Those who practice such things are worthy of death."
When I cite preachers who cite Leviticus when condemning gay people—and argue that their doing so opens the whole Old Testament up to examination—rightwing religious nutjobs crawl out of the twitterwork to insist that I just don't understand the Bible. (I understand the Bible fine. What I don't understand is why it's kosher for Team Hate to toss Leviticus in our faces but it's somehow not kosher for our side to bring up shellfish, slavery, polygamy, stoning girls to death for not being virgins, selling your daughters into slavery, murdering your disobedient children and other highlights from the Old Testament.) But here's a guy who says that "those who practice such things"—gay people who have gay sex—are worthy of death. I'm pretty sure that a preacher who said something similar about, say, interracial marriages and meant it and refused to apologize for it and hadn't evolved or recanted or grown up wouldn't be invited to give the benediction at a ribbon cutting for a new port-a-potty, much the benediction a presidential inauguration.
Giglio is upset that we’re intolerant of his intolerance:
The issue of homosexuality (which a particular message of mine some 20 years ago addressed) is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate. However, individuals’ rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve.
Louie Giglio is free think gays have a malfunction that he can cure. And we’re free to tell him to take a hike. Religious bigots have an awfully hard time dealing with the concept of mutual free speech. They love the idea that they can say whatever hateful thing they want. But they get very upset and confused when someone gives them a piece of their mind in return.
That's exactly it. Religious conservatives like Louis Giglio and Tony Perkins and Brian Brown believe they should be free to run around—and free to make the rounds at the cable news networks—calling gay people sick and sinful and perverse and claiming that we're a threat to the family and the country and the survival of the human race and blah blah blah. Just like it's okay for them to point to Leviticus but it's not okay for us to point to Deuteronomy. But we're somehow being intolerant when we say, "Okay, that's bullshit." Or, worse yet, it's hugely unfair and monstrously intolerant when people who 1. like us, 2. want our votes, 3. want our campaign contributions, or 4. all of the above decide they don't want to share a stage with a ranting, raving, anti-queer bigot.
The world has changed, guys, like Wayne Besen attempted to explain to FRC's Peter Sprigg on CNN today. This is what a tipping point looks and feels like. For LGBT it feels pretty delightful. We fought long and hard to bring this tipping point about it feels pretty good. But this moment is extremely disorienting for the haters.
The world is changing, they aren't. Talk about being "left behind."