I often wonder what extreme Christians are thinking when they say we should do things like, "Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there... Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out… And you know what, in a few years, they'll die."
In a sermon blasting President Obama for his same-sex marriage support, Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, offered a novel — and horrific — solution to the so-called gay scourge: build an electric fence and let "lesbians, queers and homosexuals" starve to death.
"I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers," he says in his sermon, delivered on May 13. "Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there... Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out… And you know what, in a few years, they'll die."
Has Mr. Worley read a Bible? I have. A few times. I'm struggling to recall a place where Jesus talked about treating people like this. Maybe it's in some apocryphal book I'm not aware of. In my Bible, Jesus talks about loving people. He hangs out with outcasts - lepers, whores, tax collectors. I'm pretty sure he didn't advocate locking sinners up somewhere and letting them die. In fact, I'm pretty sure an idea like that runs counter to everything Jesus talked about. Again, maybe this is in a text that was accidentally and erroneously left out of the New Testament. It would be nice of Pastor Worley to share this text with the rest of us, though.
In addition to wondering where these people come up with these ideas, I wonder about their perception of the efficacy of these statements. Do they think that someone hears a message like this and thinks, "What? That's how bad homosexuality is? I had no clue. I guess I better get my act together." Do they imagine that someone hears this and thinks, "That's a church I'd feel comfortable going to. Those people aren't judgmental at all."
Look, I get that some people have honest religious convictions about issues like homosexuality and abortion. What I don't get is how people like Pastor Worley think that this is a good way to get that message across. This isn't the 18th-century anymore where nearly everyone is going to church and local pastors have a lot of control over what happens in their communities. People have enormous freedom and are bombarded with numerous messages, spiritual and secular. The bottom line is that people are going to go where they feel comfortable, where they feel welcome. Preaching that we should lock homosexuals up and let them die is unlikely to offer many outside a very small community a welcoming message whether they are LGBT or not.