Lay Off Pastor Worley! You’ve Misunderstood This Man of God.

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. 

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19 Comments

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  1. So what happened to love thy neighbor? To Christ loving all his children? To judge not? No, whatever spin anyone wants to put on this, Worley was wrong in his message.

    • Alaina Mabaso May 25, 2012 — 9:05 am

      And here I was, thinking religion was just a tool to twist into reasons to hate the people we’re bigoted against. The true practice of loving thy neighbor is so inconvenient, when we happen to hate some of our neighbors because of who they are.

      If there is a God, he’s looking down at dark-minded preachers like Worley with tears of grief.

  2. You are working so hard to avoid the simple fact that Pastor Worley is not a Christian. Anyone with a passing knowledge of Jesus’ words would recognize him as a scribe and pharisee, using the laws of God as an excuse to ignore the will of God. You also willfully ignore the disgusting and dehumanizing image of decent Americans being put behind an electrified fence, because of who they love. Shame on you.

    • Alaina Mabaso May 25, 2012 — 9:02 am

      You’re preaching to the choir, sir. I would hope that nobody as hateful as Pastor Worley would try to call themselves a member of any faith. If I had truly written this in support of shutting anyone behind an electric fence, you’d be right to shame me. I was hoping that some sarcasm would help people look again at just how horrible Worley’s “sermon” was.

  3. this is humor correct?

  4. Poe’s law has me in a stranglehold!

    • Alaina Mabaso May 25, 2012 — 9:19 am

      Don’t worry, I release you from the jaws of Poe’s law. This blog post is not, in fact, the work of an extremist, unless my desire to shine a light on Worley’s despicable-ness through sarcasm counts as extremism.

  5. Haha! Good points you make. But how gay would the fenced-in gays need to be? There’s the sticky problem of those bisexuals and “hetero-flexibles” who might stray and reproduce with each other to continue the population, thereby destroying the plan for peaceful eradication. Maybe there needs to be some sort of “gayness test” to make sure you’re not likely to fall for some one of the opposite gender and mess everything up.

    Also, if they dropped in turkey basters from the supply planes as humanitarian aid, then you’ve got another potential problem. I know two gay men who used turkey basters (new ones hopefully) to impregnate their lesbian friends who were desperate for children. So just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they won’t figure out ingenious ways to keep having children and ruin everything.

    Also, I’m wondering about those people who really must be gay but have never acted on it (such as my 83-yr-old, very religious male friend). He has no boyfriend and never has because his religion trumps it… but he does love parades and bubble baths. So maybe he should go in there just in case. I’m sure gonna miss you, Pat!

    The only problem with moving all the gays to the Reservation is that we Normals aren’t going to be left with any good theater. So maybe they can open up theaters to the public (like casinos for the Native Americans). That way, the gays can still pay back regular society.

    I think Pastor Worley’s plan has great potential, but we really should think about these things first. There’s probably something else we missed.

    • Alaina Mabaso May 25, 2012 — 9:16 am

      It’s so embarrassing to write a post, and then come back to the comments in the morning and realize how much you’ve missed. You’re totally right about the problem of determining who’s gay enough to be fenced – what about the people who have been “cured” by re-education programs? Can we trust them outside the fence? And it’s true that humanitarian aid could, conceivably, help the gays reproduce.

      But I think you’ve missed a key piece of Worley’s plan: the lesbians are going behind one fence, and the homosexuals are going behind another. He’s thought of everything by separating the men and women.

      I think we should leave the cases of people like your bath-taking friend up to self-appointed committees like you. Friends and neighbors decide how gay you are, based on things like parade-watching, and there is no redress.

      I have to say, you’re probably wrong about the theater thing. After all, I am a heterosexual woman and I hold a degree in theater arts. I’m sure American theater would not be the poorer for the removal of my homosexual brethren. Besides, the theater is such a tough industry, and surely the rest of us “Normals” would have a better shot at succeeding once the fence is up.

      But overall, I’m humbled by your suggestions. I had thought that Pastor Worley and I had a foolproof plan. Thank goodness for my readers.

  6. what's the rush? May 25, 2012 — 10:38 am

    So if the whole point is that gays and lesbians will die out because they cannot reproduce, what’s the need for cruel and inhumane treatment? Let nature take it’s course, and someday survival of the fittest will eliminate the gays. Only that’s an evolutionary concept, so maybe christian’s can’t believe it will happen. And his entire point would make complete sense, except my parents and the parents of every gay person i know is heterosexual. So should those parents, even if they don’t agree with homosexuality, also be starved to death to ensure they cannot and will not produce any more homosexual children? In fact, maybe entire blood lines should be eliminated so they do not poison the well. And 50 years from now, christians can claim that the extermination of homosexuals never happened, just like the holocaust.

    • Thank you for bringing these excellent points to light. Ridding ourselves of the homosexuals opens up so many messy ramifications in society – as you say, how do we deal with the heterosexual parents of homosexuals? – but ultimately I’m sure all the grief will be worth it. And you’re right about the dangerous mixture of selective Biblical fundamentalism and the dabbling in evolution/scientific laws: I’m sure Pastor Worley would be concerned by your implications.

  7. Will these awful people never go away? The only people against whom I hold a prejudice are people who hold prejudices.

    • So if we were to round up and fence everyone with a prejudice, would that include you and me, for being prejudiced against the prejudiced?

      I want to liken people like Pastor Worley to the worms and bugs you see when you pick up a rock, but then I remember that those insects are serving a vital niche in the ecosystem. Worley’s of no use to anyone, as far as I can tell.

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