"I may not have gone to school, but I met the scholars coming out!"
- William Edward Moran (1884-1949)
This is a news update. A more typical newsletter is planned for a later date.
In September, 2004, several sources of gay news are reporting that pastor and evangelist Jimmy Swaggart made the following comments in a sermon:
"I'm trying to find the correct name for it ... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. ... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."
The news story can be found on the 365Gay.com web site by clicking here. People wanting to see a clip of Jimmy Swaggart’s comments may do so by going to OliverWillis.com and performing a search for Swaggart or by going directly to the MVP file.
We encourage people to check to make sure Jimmy Swaggart made the comments attributed to him before criticizing Jimmy Swaggart, before expressing concerns to Jimmy Swaggart. Any letters written to Jimmy Swaggart should be polite and civil. Name calling and insults should be avoided. You may write Jimmy Swaggart at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, PO BOX 262550, BATON ROUGE, LA 70826-2550.
Churches have gay members. Jimmy Swaggart’s church, like other churches, has gay members. Those gay members might not open about their sexual orientation. They may even be married and have children or grandchildren. Pastors are supposed to be shepherds. As shepherds, they are to lovingly care for the people in their congregations, including gay congregants.
When pastors publicly damn people to hell, threaten people or talk about killing people they violate the pulpit of God. Such comments result in a role reversal. Instead of being seen as a caring, loving teacher, counsellor and role-model, members of the congregation may fear the pastor and may not feel safe enough to allow the pastor to serve as their teacher, counsellor and mentor. This can impact on more than just gay church members. Straight people might not feel the pastor is a safe person either.
Emotionally unstable people can be found in all environments, home, school, work and church. A very few emotionally unstable may have problems so severe that they may act in an irresponsible manner when they hear a pastor expressing extreme comments of hatred and condemnation about gay people. Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder were killed for being gay. One of the men charged with the murder stated he killed the gay couple, because he felt homosexuality was a sin. Pastors need to be careful to ensure they are not saying things that could be viewed by a very unstable person as licence to kill gay people.
People in positions of public trust have a moral obligation to protect weak members of society. Pastors have a moral obligation to protect gay church members, by providing a safe environment in which gay and straight people can worship God.
Pastors who have expressed public hatred and condemnation toward gay people are encouraged to apologize to their congregations for conduct unbecoming a shepherd, to apologize to the gay community and to stop attacking gay people from their pulpits.
Given the serious nature of what Jimmy Swaggart is reported as having said and the video clip shows, we recommend that Jimmy Swaggart apologize to his congregation and personally to leaders of the gay community for his remarks. The apology should be shown on his television program and should be placed on his ministry's internet web site.