By Sonja Dalton
Lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding published a post on Mar 3, 2007, entitled Intimidation Tactics In the Name of Religion Will Not Stop Change. In it, she accuses Christians of inciting violence against homosexuals — for example,
- Bil Browning, head of Indiana Action Network and Bilerico blogger, claims that, following his coverage of a protest in Indiana over SJR-7, he received threatening phone calls and that the window of his car was smashed.
- 72-year-old Andrew Anthos of Detroit was taunted and viciously beated with a metal pipe, leaving him paralyzed and in a coma for ten days until he finally died. A sketch of the suspect has been released, but no arrests have been made at this point.
- A 19-year-old Hoboken High School student, Andy Rivera, has been charged (and a second person is sought) in the brutal beating of a 21-year-old man, allegedly for wearing pink pants.
Ms. Spaulding, a Duke employee whose blog has been lauded by the university (which has historic ties to the United Methodist church), says:
“This behavior occurs because many fundies actually
justifyexplain violence against gays and lesbians as God’s wrath being visited upon them. It’s about controlling the behavior of people who are different, who may or may not share their worldview, or else, dag nab it, ‘God’ is going to work in his mysterious ways by inspiring someone to take a pipe to beat a 72-year-old gay man to death or beat up a gay man for wearing pink pants, for instance.”
Though none of the perpetrators have claimed to be Christians nor to have acted on God’s behalf (some are not yet identified), Ms. Spaulding blames these heinous crimes on “fundie” (fundamentalist) Christians — and she is not the only activist to make such claims.
“The hatred and loathing that led to the vicious murder of Andrew Anthos only because he was gay is not innate. Instead it is being taught every day by leaders of the so-called Christian right and their political allies. They disguise their bigotry as ‘deeply-held religious beliefs.’ They cloak themselves in ‘family values.’
“For years, Michigan has been subjected to the homophobic rants of Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, while so many otherwise good and decent people have been silent. Just two years ago, the state endured an ugly campaign, led by Cardinal Adam Maida, to ‘protect marriage’ by writing anti-gay discrimination into its constitution. Based on that amendment, a three-judge panel of Michigan’s court of appeals voted last month to terminate medical insurance coverage for families of LGBT government workers throughout the state.
“It is appalling hypocrisy for these forces to pretend that their venomous words and organizing have no connection to the plague of hate violence against gay people, including the murder of Mr. Anthos…”