Every time someone in America so much as farts in the direction of a liberal cause, I get a mass e-mail with a petition from a human rights organization faster than you can say “social media”. The outraged letter is already written for me. It even says “Sincerely, Alaina Mabaso” at the bottom. All I have to do is click once to open the e-mail, click on the link to the letter, and click again to add my name to the petition.
Saving the world has never been easier.
So it was that when Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina preached in a recent sermon (filmed and put on YouTube) that he’d figured out a way to get rid of the queers and gays and lesbians forever, my e-mail inbox and Facebook feed began to hum with rage.
As the Huffington Post puts it in its headline, Pastor Worley wants to “Put Gays and Lesbians In [An] Electrified Pen To Kill Them Off.”
“NC Pastor calls for concentration camps for gays” announced the e-mail I got today from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
“I was simply sickened to hear you advocate for LGBT people to be rounded up and killed off behind electrified fences,” the HRC says in the letter it so kindly wrote for me. “Your despicable remarks did not channel a message of faith, but instead a message of hate…I hope you will learn from this egregious error in judgment.”
Facebook comments were no less disturbed.
“He isn’t fit to pastor any church,” said one. “I say let’s hog tie his ass and kick the S@#T OUT OF HIM,” added another.
My cousin Jim is gay, and he lives in North Carolina (FYI, international readers: NC recently passed an amendment to its state constitution banning gay marriage and denying legal recognition of any civil unions and domestic partnerships, whether the partners are gay or straight – henceforth, the only partnerships recognized by the NC government will be heterosexual marriages). Jim penned an open letter to Pastor Worley, struggling to reconcile Worley’s hate with Christianity’s true call for mercy and not casting stones.
My cousin writes that he was “humbled” after working through his anger at Pastor Worley and realizing that no-one is perfect, including himself. “The judgment of Mr. Worley is not mine,” Jim says. “I am trying my best to love Mr. Worley in spite of his stones. I am going to drop my stones and let the Lord judge Mr. Worley.”
Poor Pastor Worley. If you guys would all just listen carefully to the recording itself, you’d see that we’ve misinterpreted the guy.
Yes, Pastor Worley opposes equal rights for gay people. “The Bahble’s agin’ it,” he says, “God’s agin’ it, Ah’m agin’ it, if you’ve got any sense, you’re agin’ it!”
This is greeted by hoots and amens from his congregation.
But why is everyone saying that Pastor Worley wants to round gays up in a concentration camp and murder them behind an electric fence?
Clearly, that’s not the point of what he’s actually saying.
Yes, it’s true he doesn’t want to share the world with gays. “Ah figured out a way to git rid of all the lesbians n’ queers but Ah couldn’t git it past Congress,” he says mournfully.
But how does he want to get rid of them? With an electric fence? No! He would simply use the gays’ own true nature against them.
Here’s what he says.
“Build a great big large fence, fifty or a hunnerd miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homo-sexuals. And have the fence electrified so they can’t git out. In a few years they’ll die out. D’ya know why? They cain’t reproduce.”
What are we all getting so upset about? Clearly Pastor Worley is not looking at the gays’ isolation behind the fence, or even the electricity of said fence, as a fatal force. After all, he advocates feeding the gays by aerial deliveries. Fifty or a hundred miles is a lot of space – that’s hardly a “pen”, Huffington Post! Presumably the gays could forage, build shelters or even start a farm. They wouldn’t die at Pastor Worley’s hand.
Instead of calling for death camps, what he’s trying to call to our attention is a simple biological reality. Surely what he wants to point out is that there’s absolutely no merit in gays helping parent relatives’ children, adopting children, or even conceiving their own children through advances in reproductive science. Gays cannot reproduce, and their confinement behind the electric fence would simply serve to demonstrate this unavoidable fact to the public.
The gays would live out the rest of the current generation behind the fences, noshing on the food so generously air-dropped by Pastor Worley, and failing to replenish their ranks.
Of course, like any plan that seems flawless at face value, there could be glitches here and there. Yes, through the work of nature, we could rid ourselves of the current generation of American gays – but since it sometimes happens that gay children are born to heterosexual parents, even good, Godly ones, what then? Would these children be removed to join their compatriots behind the fence? That would bring up the problem of prolonging the gay population after all, especially if it turned out the gays were capable, in their way, of parenting these abandoned children.
We also would have to face the fact that some gays might not regard the air-drop of food supplies as sufficient incentive to relocate behind the fence. This might even make them want to conceal their homosexuality.
There’s also the chance, however small, that some of the gays, after being fenced, could escape. But if we can do such a good job of keeping the Mexicans out, surely a 100-mile electrified fence for the gays could be effectively guarded (current government funds for enforcement of anti-discrimination laws could be redirected to pay the guards).
These are all small problems that can surely be overcome for a greater cause.
So it isn’t clear to me why the media has denounced Pastor Worley as a bigot and a would-be mass murderer. We haven’t listened properly to the man. He doesn’t want to kill the gays any more than we want to kill endangered mollusks when we dam rivers for our own necessary uses. The gays would simply die out as a natural side-effect of a bigger agenda: to protect us all from the gays’ nefarious plan to love somebody.
The electric-fence proposal isn’t the only part of the sermon the media has insisted on denigrating, but again, they’ve completely missed the point.
“God have mercy, it makes me pukin’ sick to think about,” Pastor Worley says, wondering out loud if he can even say it at the pulpit. “If you imagine kissin’ some man…” his voice trails off in disgust.
While the media has assumed that Pastor Worley means to paint gays as people who collectively make the nation puke, I think this is secondary to his true meaning. The crux of his argument here is that we can sometimes get caught up in debating the social and civil aspects of gays’ quality of life – the right to visit partners in the hospital, take custody of partners’ children, obtain domestic partners’ health insurance, or work without fear of being fired for their gayness – when the important thing is to fixate on gay sex acts, just as it’s our God-given responsibility to dwell on the nighttime activities of every heterosexual couple we pass in the street.
And on a related note, I’m not ashamed to say that, as a married heterosexual woman, I completely agree with Pastor Worley on this. I wouldn’t want to kiss “some man” either – I want to kiss my spouse! Imagine kissing just anyone when you love someone else – yuck. Surely Pastor Worley, too, would like to point out the damage of kissing strangers all willy-nilly.
So that’s why I think we all owe Pastor Worley an apology. As so often happens in the hurricane of fury that passes for American news, we’ve misjudged the true facts of the situation. Even the Human Rights Campaign has gotten it dead wrong, calling for Pastor Worley to regret his “error in judgment.”
I find that Pastor Worley’s sermon is more of an exercise in gut feeling, rather than reason. Just another way the media misrepresents him.
So I hope you can all join me in spreading Pastor Worley’s word. I could’ve just signed that letter from my in-box, but there was so much more I wanted to say.
In case anyone is in any doubt, and it seems from the comments that they are, the reason I signed up with the Human Rights Campaign in the first place is that I strongly oppose statements like those from Pastor Worley. It’s a pretty sad reflection of the world that religiously-justified bigotry like Worley’s is so prevalent that some people didn’t know I was joking. However this piece strikes you, you’re welcome to leave a comment.