A Gay Christian’s Response To Pastor Charles Worley

“The Bible’s again’ it! God’s again’ it! I’m again’ it! And if you got any sense, you’re again’ it!”

On May 13th, 2012, following President Obama’s public endorsement of same-sex marriage, Charles Worley — pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church outside Maiden, NC — preached a controversial, inflammatory sermon about his proposed solution to what he believes is a vicious problem: the existence of gays and lesbians in the United States.

“I had a way, I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn’t get it past the Congress,” the pastor continues. This month has been significantly trying for the LGBTQ community in North Carolina with the passing of Amendment One — the statewide constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions. Supporters of the amendment gathered in a reception hall in Raleigh to celebrate its passing, cutting and serving wedding cakes that had been prepared in the event of victory. Each one boasted a bride and groom topper.

“Build a great, big, large fence — 50 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified ‘til they can’t get out. Feed ‘em.  And you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out. Do you know why? They can’t reproduce.”

As a gay Christian, Worley’s homicidal desire proves particularly poisonous to me. He has hijacked two significant identifiers of my personhood, marring them afresh on the national stage. The affront to my sexuality is easily identifiable: he has attempted to relegate me to less-than second-class citizenship; he has hoped for my death; he has made clear his belief that I — and any other non-heterosexually oriented person — should be grateful if they drop food into our prison post-confinement.

“It makes me pukin’ sick to think about — I don’t even know whether or not to say this in the pulpit — can you imagine kissing some man?”  (Hint: I totally can.)

Equally frustrating and difficult to stomach, however, is the horrendous portrait of the Christian tradition that Worley has painted with his bile and hate-filled rhetoric. He has spoken authoritatively and with dangerous certainty for what is an infinitely diverse community, one in which his hostile, conservative, antiquated voice is becoming a minority. Thankfully, many religious communities — Christian and otherwise — are beginning to realize that a posture of exclusive inhospitality is fundamentally uncompassionate and — given the national trajectory — unsustainable if they hope to remain culturally and socially relevant.

You’d think rage would be the namable emotion I felt after watching his excerpt, after listening to him defile the pulpit and raid my civil rights, but — truth be told — more than anger it was fatigue that clambered into my consciousness and reclined for the afternoon. This conversation is not new, and I’m tired of having it. To roll my eyes at the idiocy, though, to marvel at the ignorance of a minister a country across from me and not raise my hands in protest is to concede defeat. Unless the cries of the oppressed are made known, the destructive script of the powerful reads on.

Even when I’m too tired to speak, even when my fingers resent me for forcing them to type, even when I’m overworked, underpaid, and a glass of wine and an episode of Parks and Recreation cuddled up next to the guy I like sounds exponentially nicer than obnoxiously airing my grievances for what feels like the seven times seventieth time, I’ll do it. Because the Worleys of the world can’t win. The people like me — the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, straight-people-who-aren’t-ideologically-Neanderthalic — who remain unwittingly trapped under unjust leadership have to know that there are richer, truer, more meaningful realities out there where the kind of person they are is unequivocally celebrated and normal.

To Mr. Worley, and anyone else who thinks I belong behind an electrified fence on account of my bedtime behavior: may you know that — so long as I have breath — I will resolutely stand in protest to your claims of truth, and can only hope that someday you’ll stumble upon the kind of compassion that has the power to bend the arc of the world toward justice and love. ‘Til then, I’ll be here to embrace the people who — by your own confession — move you to nausea. TC mark

image – YouTube

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jade.orlich Jade Mitchell

    Well said. I compare the (small and ineffective) anti-gay movement to that of racial segregation in the 60’s. 50 years later, looking back, they all looked kind of silly, eh?

    Solidarity, sister! 

    • Guest

      They are two different things. Don’t disrespect people’s experiences by throwing them all in the same category. Comparisons like this, for example bringing in Hitler into the conversation, diminish and take away from someone’s history. 

    • Renee Campbell

      the guest said it best: other people’s sufferings ARE NOT your metaphors.

  • hagen

    Thank you.

  • Ryan H.

    I don’t understand why this type of obvious extremism needs a reply from an intelligent blog like this. We get it, there are insane people in this country; many of them are even Christian pastors with a large audience. Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like Pitchfork reviewing a Creed album or Josh Hamilton hitting off a tee. People like Worley are easy targets and not worthy of a rational discourse on their barbaric views.

    • Nishant

      Agreed. It did not merit a reply.

      I strongly support the point of this article, but I’m afraid it did not add anything to anything. We hate conservative religious people. Point made. What else?

    • brc

      Agreed. This man is a minority even among anti-LGBT persons and clearly far-gone. Emotional and wannabe-heroic responses like what we read above only aggrandize Worley’s views.

      Also, rhetoric like “unless the cries of the oppressed are made known…” – coming as it does from a white, middle-class, educated, coastal male – strikes me as over-wrought and disingenuous.

    • bryson

      well said. these things write themselves. it’s just vanity to attach one’s name to it and ego-stroking to share it Facebook or the like.

    • JB

      Barbaric Worley may be, but sadly the world is full of stupid, narrow minded people who have nothing better to to than listen to garbage like that. Unless that kind of malice is addressed, it can spread a surprisingly long way. Somebody probably said the same thing about Hitler… not a mistake we want repeated, yes?

  • Tnpb7d

    Well said. I’ll stand with you.

  • Rylee Clark

    Yes, because once the existing gays and lesbians die out, no more will come to be. Queers are born only of other queers, yes?

  • http://twitter.com/catedeleon Cate de Leon

    Some
    people think they’re the being a beacon of light when really they’re
    Hitler the Second –thankfully without the resources to carry out their
    lunacy.
     

  • Euroguy69

    Give up the belief in old superstitions. Gays have no business giving power to Christians, Muslims or anyone who wants to kill ys

  • Euroguy69

    Fuck Christians

    • Emma

      ah yes, sweeping generalizations fix everything. thank you for your valuable insight.

    • Bnthomas45

      you are no better than Mr. Worely for saying such a vile thing. 

  • GUEST

    christians are the BIGGEST trolls both on and off the internet

    • Babu

       I don’t know that cave troll from Lord of the Rings was pretty big. But then again that troll probably wasn’t all that keen on figuring out the internet.

  • Swg1993

    I am a christan, I’m actually working on getting a B.A in theology, and I just want to say that the generation of pastors and ministers coming up now are not nearly this narrow minded. I hate when someone with the nerve to say he represents Christ talks like this. Jesus said to love God and to love others as yourself, that’s what I think Christianity should be about. I hate that Christians do often fall short. All I ask is don’t think everyone sees you this way.

  • Fart

    You say you’re a christian, so do you just not believe that the writings of Paul are inspired? And what about fornication, which Jesus himself puts in the same category as lying, theft, & murder?

    • TOOT

      So, as homosexual marriage is largely inaccessible, people in a loving and committed relationship of several years are expected to remain abstinent so as to not fornicate? Let us marry then, if that’s your only argument. Also, many of the epistles were culturally specific and, though often a good moral guideline, must be taken into the context of the time period and the society they were addressing. Surely you aren’t so legalistic.

      And if you’re unwed, I sincerely hope you’re a virgin. Wouldn’t want to be a fornicator like the rest of us.

  • Miss Riki

    I am moved beyond words by this piece. Well done, Tom Clayton.

  • Kevin

    Regardless of thoughts presented, I thought they taught better grammar in seminaries. Apparently I was mistaken. Thank you Mr. Clayton for your well written and well reasoned thoughts. 

    Let me begin by saying I am not gay, nor do I think broccoli is fit for human consumption. Nevertheless I have never thought to strike someone down for their affection for horrendous vegetables. That is something we have lost in this country, the art of disagreeing. For while I would never eat broccoli myself, I would defend your right to chose to eat broccoli even though I think you are making a terrible mistake! 

    What we need to be able to do is sit down (perhaps with a nice glass of wine while watching Parks and Rec) and have a nice discussion about vegetables. At the end of it smile, shake hands, and go about our lives. We can disagree, and even have passionate debate, but we can still have respect and dignity for one another. I like having friends that think differently than I do, it makes for better dinner conversation. 

    At the end of the day you would probably still enjoy broccoli. I probably wont. But I don’t think that means we can’t still be friends and share a meal together. Maybe we could even invite Mr. Worley. I bet he likes broccoli.  

    -Kevin

    • Eric

      Kevin, surely you did not just try to equate a “nice” discussion of opposing views on broccoli consumption, to a “nice” discussion on whether or not gay and lesbians should be placed behind electric fences to “die out,” right?  My chinchilla could have thought of a better metaphor… 
      I do agree with your point about needing to have rational discussion; however, Mr.Worley would be sorely unfit to participate in this discussion as he has shown his inability to be rational. His rantings are childish and dangerous- not to mention IDIOTIC. How in the hell would killing all the gay and lesbians stop gay and lesbian children from being born? That’s like just chopping off all the broccoli flowers and expecting them not to bloom next year.  

  • RG

    Thank you for your writing Todd. I cannot wait until Christians like Worley finally realize the errors of their ways, in this life or the next.

    • Anna

      A Christian is a person of faith, a person aiming to achieve Christlikeness. As Christians, it is our goal to love as Jesus loved and loves us all – never to condemn. Worley’s practice and preaching? He is not a Christian by his deeds and words, and it’s painful that so many people know what we’re “against”, but not what actual Christians are for. So many people call themselves “Christians” when really, few really are. 

      The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, my friend.

  • http://www.brightpearl.com Andrew Mulvenna

    Pastor Charles Worley, you vex and frustrate me. God judges, not you. Like the rest of us, you need to repent.

  • Anonymous

    It is sad that gay people feel the need to cling to the God myth.  The Christians obviously don’t want you in their club, so isn’t it time to abandon the mystical nonsense and embrace atheism?

    If you want to pattern your behavior after a fictional, albeit admirable, character, then more power to you.  But why get all wrapped up in a culture that doesn’t accept you for who you are?

    • JB

      But isn’t the whole point that you should be able to believe what you want and be accepted for who you are, regardless of your sexual orientation? Abandoning your beliefs, whatever they may be kind of defeats the purpose..

    • Renee Campbell

      please, do not lump this hateful man with the term Christians. People who truly believe in Christ are people who truly believe in love and understand that we all are sinners and will not hate people based on their creed, sexual orientation, skin color, et cetera.

  • ranger

    As another gay Christian, I appreciate pieces like this that continue to provide thoughtful, articulate push back against the vitriol that flows from those who would also claim to be Christian. After reading through the comments here I can understand how a response to this ‘pastor’ might be beneath this writer, or how it might be easier for all of us Christian homos to jump ship, or that there are always problems of privilege when one takes a stand for one’s self. However, every voice against hate is an important voice. The conversation gets bigger and hearts change. So thanks Todd. 

  • NicoleG

    Christianity is about loving God and loving others. 

    And I’ll be yet another person to say this: Please do not judge Christianity as a whole because a few people say vile things.And no matter what any of you say on here, God loves you. You can love him or deny him all you want. His love for you remains. God bless :)

  • tahwtahw

     The church is not to adapt to us when we are totally living contrary to God’s word but it is there to teach us how to conform to what God teaches us. Don’t bash the church because it doesn’t accept you and condone your lifestyle when it is contrary to what God says. One of the lifestyles the bible classifies with homosexuality is drunkards. Yes like drunkards, homosexuals should be reached out to and loved, but they must understand the church will not acknowledge their lifestyle as acceptable. In love, the church must tell the truth of what God says and anything less than that is a shame and doing that person a great injustice.

    • Mrichards49

      The very definition of faith is the belief in that which can not be proven.  You can no more prove the validity of your faith anymore than any other religion in the world. Faith is that thing that you just know in your hear..  But quess what everyone does not feel that way. The separation of church and state is at the heart of the founding of this country.  And if you really study the founding fathers that so many of you conservative christian are always going on about most did not hold your views.  Many of them were deist. You have the right to believe as you wish but you do not have the right to beat other people over the head with your views.  Because in the end quess what?   We may all have it wrong. Live and let live as long as others are not infringing on your rights. I am not gay and I have no desire to experience a same sex relationship but what goes on in someone elses bedroom is no more my business that what goes on in mine.

  • Sarah

    The opinion of this pastor may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. The suggestion of concentration camps as a solution to ANYTHING means you should probably come with a health warning.

    When someone is this full of hatred it’s just looking for an outlet. You’re a fool if you think this guy won’t turn on you the second you do something or someone he doesn’t like.

    Seriously, stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I hope he snaps out of it.

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