Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Hate and the Silence

A few weeks ago, the United Church of Christ (UCC) endorsed same sex marriage at their national synod in Atlanta. A short time later, someone broke into St. John's United Church of Christ in Virginia, stacked up hymnals and burned them. Graffiti such as "Gays lover," "Lesb hell," "UCC siners" and "sinners," were spraypainted on the walls.

Even as the FBI is now investigating the incident as a hate crime -- three active hate groups have announced that the crime is understandable and that gay-friendly churches need to be targeted.

St. John's is the third UCC church in the Shenandoah Valley that has vandalized in recent months. "Two other attacks came after we launched the 'God is Still Speaking' campaign," blogger Chuck Currie a UCC seminarian told The Washington Blade.

"The 'Still Speaking' campaign included a commercial depicting a church welcoming gay congregants. NBC and CBS rejected the ad last year, Currie said, after the networks decided it had a political, rather than religious, message."

"'I think there is a direct correlation between the rhetoric that has been unleashed by the political and religious right comparing [gay and lesbian] sexuality to murder or other violent crimes,' Currie said. 'This gives people the political and theological cover to attack gay people and the churches that welcome them.'"

Last week, American neo-nazi groups threatened churches that support gay rights. This came in the wake of the vandalism and arson at parish of the United Church of Christ in Virginia where some had stacked up hymnals and burned them. The FBI is treating the case as a hate crime. The silence from the Christian Right, usually quick to decry persecution of Christians, is deafening.

But Chuck Currie posted a detailed report, based in part on news accounts. Nazis quoted in the story then besieged his blog site with anti-Jewish other hateful comments such that he had to turn off the comments on that post.

"The writing on the wall, literally, tells the story," (Michael) Foster said, "This was a politically motivated attack because of the gay issue, and the FBI is going to investigate it."

Meanwhile, a neo-Nazi group is urging their followers to target gay friendly churches."

"After the Middlebrook attack, the News Virginian, a newspaper in Waynesboro, Va., published a story about the responses of three white supremacist groups to the arson."

"In that story, Bill White, a Virginia-based spokesperson for the National Socialist Movement, also known as the American Nazi Party, condemned the arson but said that he understood how the actions of the United Church of Christ could provoke such a reaction."

"White told the Blade that he believes homosexuality is a mental illness, and that the UCC is a 'heretic' church. 'Their encouragement of homosexuality is simply a modern extension of their 200-plus-year history of anti-social, anti-white and anti-Southern activities,' White said...."

"White told the Blade that his group is discussing 'targeting pro-homosexual events being organized by local "gay" churches.' He went on to name the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge in Roanoke as a specific target of his group's efforts, which he said included distributing messages on leaflets and through direct mail."

Two seeks ago, Pastordan, writing at Talk to Action and elsewhere, wondered "Where's the Outrage?" on the part of the Christian Right and their media outlets.

"I've checked," he wrote. "So far, there's been no report on the assault from the Christian Bible Network, none from the Christian Post, nor from Persecution.org or Voices of the Martyrs. The websites of Albert Mohler, Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson are all silent. Christianity Today's Weblog, which carries news of just about everything happening in the Christian world, has yet to carry the news. Nor has Agape Press, which picks up within days stories of persecution--no matter how minor--against Christians around the world."

The UCC says God is Still Speaking, but even as neo-Nazis threaten Christian churches, the Christian Right apparently is still not listening.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home