Church Condemns Homophobia on National Coming Out Day

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Here's the bit of satire I promised yesterday. This piece was originally published in The Sugar Beet, a website of Mormon satire, in 2002. I got in a spot of trouble for it--plenty of people couldn't understand why anyone would attack a document claiming that "that the disintegration of the family [caused by things like uppity women and gay people wanting to get married] will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets." But I still feel the attitudes I mock here deserve to be mocked.

You can still find the original version on the web if you want to go looking for it. The version below differs slightly from the earlier one: I've changed a sentence in the third paragraph because I am a compulsive fact-checker (that's one reason I had to leave the Mormon church: its facts don't check) and discovered that my original summary of McKinney's defense was incomplete, so I had to fix it.

(Salt Lake City, UT) October 11 was National Coming Out Day, a day on which gays and lesbians admit their sexual identity to themselves and others. In a show of support for the day, the Church issued a statement condemning homophobia. "Homophobia is un-Christlike," a spokesperson for the Church said. "We can't tolerate or condone violence against so-called gays and lesbians, even when they do something so heinous and disgusting as to insist that their perverse desires are actual parts of their eternal, god-given identities."

The spokesperson went on to say, "Remember, these people are sons and daughters of God, and are welcome as members of the church, as long as they do not imagine that they have any right to find happiness and companionship in a relationship with someone of their same sex, as God finds that utterly repugnant. We must do all we can to help these unfortunate people see that they are violating their divine natures, as well as the divine decrees of God, by ever imagining that there is nothing grotesque, obscene and evil about same-sex relationships. And pistol-whipping them and leaving them to die by the side of the road doesn't really help in that mission."

The mention of pistol-whipping was a reference to Matthew Wayne Shepard, a 21-year-old openly gay student at the University of Wyoming. On the night of October 6,1998, Shepard was beaten, tied to a fence on a remote highway in Wyoming, and left to die by several young people, one of whom, Aaron McKinney, was LDS. Shepard died of his injuries on October 12, 1998. McKinney did not deny that he kidnapped, robbed and beat Shepard, or that he pretended to be gay in order to lure Shepard into leaving with him; his defense was that he intended only to kidnap and rob Shepard, not to kill him, but flew into a rage when Shepard "fell" for the gay act and grabbed McKinney's genitals. McKinney was eventually convicted of felony murder. He received visits from home teachers up until the conviction.

Many members of the Church responded with support for the statement. "We shouldn't kill those 'so-called gays and lesbians,' to use a phrase you hear at Church, even though it would do the world a lot of good to get rid of them once and for all," said Marjorie Kimball, 34, of Walnut Creek, California. "Have you ever walked down Castro Street in San Francisco? It's disgusting. But taking a gun and cleaning out the whole area really isn't what God intends, since he can just wait until they all die of AIDS and then send them straight to hell."

Mark Jefferson, 42, of Madison, Wisconsin, stated, "In a really liberal place like Madison, where you can end up being friends with people who are gay or lesbian and kind of grow to care about them before you even know certain things about them, it can be hard to keep in mind how wrong homosexuality really is. It's a good thing we have the Proclamation on the Family up in our house, to remind me 'that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.' It's kind of weird to realize that all the terrorist attacks and the impending war in Iraq are a result of efforts in Hawaii and California and Vermont to legalize gay marriage. But even though these people are bringing about Armageddon, we have to try to forgive them anyway and hope they go straight before it's too late."

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on January 26, 2006 9:35 AM.

Non-Homophobe Fears Homosexuality Will Hasten Decay of Civilization was the previous entry in this blog.

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