Bashing Gays for Votes

How quickly they turn on you. Tom Leppert won his 2007 race for Dallas mayor after supporters attacked his main opponent for being gay. Now Leppert is under attack by his opponents in the race for a U.S. Senate seat for “celebrating gay pride” while he served as mayor.

On Wednesday Leppert and other Republican candidates for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison participated in a debate sponsored by the right-wing Eagle Forum at the Dallas Country Club. Among the candidates at the debate were Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, ESPN sports analyst Craig James and Driftwood mediator Lela Pittenger. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is also seeking the Senate seat, didn’t attend.

Leppert’s opponents criticized him for (gasp!) attending two gay pride parades when he was Dallas mayor. According to the Dallas Morning News, Cruz argued that Leppert’s participation in the events sent a wrong message to the public:

“When the mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride, that’s a statement. It’s not a statement I believe in.”

James moved beyond just criticizing Leppert and insisted that sexual orientation is a “choice.” From the Dallas Morning News story:

James, a rancher and former NFL player, said Leppert could have made a stronger stand for Christians by skipping the events. James said he would never take part in a gay rights parade.

“Our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that’s going to be hard to stop if we don’t stand up with leaders who don’t ride in gay parades,” he said. “I hear what you’re saying, Tom, but our kids out there need to see examples. … I know you’re a Christian. I’m not doubting you, Tom, but, man, you have to stand up.”

James went on to say that being gay was not innate.

“It’s a choice,” just as people choose to be in same-sex relationships, he said. “You have to make that choice.”

“God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions,” he said. “But in that case right there, they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”

Leppert argued that he was just as opposed to gay marriage as the other candidates, but he defended his actions as mayor:

Leppert, who appeared visibly angry, said he marched in the parades because he was the mayor of all the city’s citizens. “My job as mayor was to represent everybody in this city. I visited groups that didn’t agree with what I said. I talked to groups that I didn’t agree with what they said, but it was my obligation to represent everybody,” he said.

“My role as a Christian is to reach out and touch everybody,” Leppert said. “I wish I could have made stands only when I was in a courtroom, but I didn’t. I was criticized time and time again for showing my faith and being open with it” while mayor.

Leppert won his mayoral run-off election in 2007 against openly gay Councilmember Ed Oakley. Cathie Adams, then and now the rabidly anti-gay president of Texas Eagle Forum, was particularly outspoken in her opposition to Oakley. She sent out an email to right-wing activists begging them to “PLEASE vote FOR Tom Leppert for Mayor!” Just days before the run-off election, Adams told the Houston Chronicle:

“Does Dallas want to be famous for having a lesbian sheriff and a homosexual mayor to compete with San Francisco? I don’t think that is where Dallas is going,” said Cathie Adams, leader of the conservative Texas Eagle Forum.

She said Oakley, who sits on the board of a company that operates four gay bars, has been low-key about it but “will push a gay agenda in every arena he can push it.”

Now, less than five years later, Leppert finds himself criticized for walking alongside gay folks after his election.

17 thoughts on “Bashing Gays for Votes

  1. As I face having to put my same-sex partner of 48 years in a nursing home because his Alzheimer’s symptoms have become so advanced that it is dangerous to keep him at home, I realize how much less of a “moral pervert” I am than someone like a certain Presidential candidate who has twice shown that he is capable of discarding his marriage partner when disease makes her less than perfect. I wonder how the “RtRev” would chose between my commitment and the lack thereof by that certain famous person. Actually I don’t wonder at all. I know how bigots think having dealt with them for over 60 years. My name is Alan Baker, and I am a proud gay man. I’m proud of my life-long commitment and happy to use my real name. I don’t have to hide behind a pseudonym.

  2. I always like to offer scriptural interpretations to Christian fundamentalists. Their answer is always the same: “You obviously know nothing about the Bible.” One of my other favorites is: “I just love it when people who know nothing about the Bible quote scripture to me.”

    The real issue is how we treat homosexuals, regardless of whether they are sexually sinful or are moral perverts. I once read a very nice exegesis of the Bible verse, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” The writer said that “judgement” in the Greco-Roman-Aramaic worldview of ancient Judea in the time of Jesus was not the same as we conceptualize it in our modern times in the English language.

    Today we English speakers think “judge” means to evaluate something and form an opinion about it based on that evaluation. In other words, a judgement is an “opinion.” In ancient Judea, the concept to “judge” or “judgement” had two inseparable components that always went hand-in-hand. Component No. 1 was to evaluate and come to an opinion much as we do today. Component No. 2 was to take puntive action on the basis of that judgement. For example, if RtRev or Alan Baker went out to the ancient Hebrew Wal-Mart on Saturday in 39 A.D. and bought a flatscreen TV, we could form the opinion (Component 1) that they had broken the Sabbath. It would only become judgment if we ran after them in outrage that they had broken the Sabbath, tackled them, beat them up, kicked in their LED screen as a show of disgust, bound their hands in ropes, delivered them to the temple authorities, acted as a witness in the trial against them, and made sure they got the death sentence for Sabbath breaking. In other words, taking puntive action against someone based on your opinion that they have done something wrong completes the two-part requirement for Biblical judgement.

    RtRev is entitled to his opinion that homosexuals are moral perverts. It is just his opinion. We might or might not agree with it. It only becomes sin when he, as a private citizen outside the legal system, decides to take action against a homosexual to punish him for being a moral pervert. For example, some of the RWNJs out there would like to fix it so homosexuals would no longer be able to work at a job that would allow them to buy the basic necessities of life. Many are working hard at making it come true. That is deciding to punish someone based only on your personal opinion about their spiritual condition. This is where “Judge not that ye be not judged comes in.” Apparently, if we are to believe Jesus, this sort of two-component behavior gets the good Lord a bit riled.

    The bottom line is this. We are all moral perverts in one way or another. You too RtRev. You too Alan Baker. Me too. We all stand within that circle of sin in many more ways that just one. Alan Baker has been defined as an abomination before the Lord. I had shrimp for lunch yesterday, so I join Alan in the circle of abomination. If the Rt Rev has ever eaten certain wrong things or done certain other wrong things, he too is techically an abomination. I would not feel right in taking a razor-sharp hatchet to the RtRev or Alan Baker because they would technically have every right to take that same hatchet to me—which is the Lord’s point.

    The other fact I would add here is that people make lousy Gods and are notorius for judging things wrongly because of it. The RtRev and Alan Baker might have extenuating circumstances that only a real God would know and take into proper account in rendering a judgment. Now, I have heard Christian fundamentalists spout the Bible verse where Jesus tells people to “judge righteous judgements.” Then they turn to me and say that they have been given special authority to judge just so long as they know that the judgment they make is right. How is a fallible human going to know that they are judging as God does—because they are not God? Heck, I would not trust most of them to tie their own shoes, much less execute two-component judgement on someone.

    The problem we have today is that millions of Christian fundamentalists have not only decided that homosexuals are sinners, but they are more than willing to execute a wide range of two-component judgments on these people they hate so much.

    Alan. I am so sorry that your long-time compadre has Alzheimer’s disease. One of the toughest things in life is to have someone you have loved so long to die while they are still here and physically alive. It is to simultaneously have them and have them not. It may be right up there with losing a child. My mother went that road on both counts. The thing I learned is that you (Alan) will go through all the psychologically defined stages of grief while he is still here physically. If you find yourself doing this, do not despair. It is natural and is actually part of the healing process for you. You are just doing it sooner rather than later. When your loved one does die physically, you will find that there is little grief and that it actually involves a certain level of peace and having come to terms that passes understanding. Peace and love to you in the name of Jesus.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Alan. Best to you and your partner. Take heart—every day, hateful bigots like RtRev are decreasing in number. Same with the otherwise logical and rational people who can’t get past their religion-based biases—they are decreasing in number, too.

  4. Guys, I just said they were moral perverts. I never suggested they shouldn’t be allowed to work and provide for themselves or to be picked on. I sure don’t like bullying tactics nor would I go out of my way to harm them. That alone is for God. That man that video taped his roommate and caused suicide is awful.

  5. RtRev, by classifying any group of people as “moral perverts,” you and other people like you set the stage for that group of people to face all sorts of abuse and injustice. You don’t like bullying tactics? Are you kidding me? You have no self-awareness at all, do you? You ARE a bully.

  6. Ben facts are facts but the people who dragged that Sheppard boy to death deserved the death penalty. And I would certainly defend you if I knew you were being bullied.

    It is not a bullying tactic. We have to call spades spades. Pediaphiles are also moral perverts. The problem is that too much of society is desensitized to sin. The homosexual lifestyle is not to be applauded. As a Christian I can only point to scripture which in 8 places puts homosexuals in a very bad light, Calling them unnatural and strange flesh and equating in with beastiality. In addition it guarantees eternal damnation. Practicing homosexuals will not see the Kingdom of Heaven. They aren’t the only ones however as many will find themselves in the hand of a living God.

    Like any other sinner homosexuals can be freed from bondage by the shed work of Christ. My prayer is that everyone would be saved but men make choices and God will hold us all accountable for them.

  7. RtRev, considering that I’m a straight white male, I’m about as unlikely a target for bullying as there is. It’s mostly straight white males who do the bullying—the hateful ones, like you.

    Your bible contains a lot of ridiculous material, especially the Old Testament, where bigots like you dig deep to find support for your hate. You have a lot in common with zealots in places like the Middle East, Africa, and the pews of Westboro Baptist Church. Nice company.

  8. The Bible does contain ridiculous territory and the arguments about homosexuality should be directed at God, not me. In the New Testament 4 places mention homosexuality and they are in some very grim company.

    That is not bullying.

  9. So you agree that the bible contains some ridiculous material, yet you’re willing to use it to make judgments about people. Wow.

    I asked Yahweh about homosexuality. He said it was fine and that you are a bigot. He said you need to quit judging people or you will burn forever in a lake of fire. I think that’s sort of extreme, but I’m just the messenger.

  10. I would suggest that you stop making light of things. God is sovereign and states very clearly homosexuality is not only a sin but also a judicial act by which a person is given over to that disgusting lifestyle. When I say ridiculous I mean hard to understand. That is the mystery of the faith. What is not a mystery is that homosexuality is a sin period.

    As far as judging people, the Bible does require people to make individual and moral judgements about people and stay away from certain kinds. Christians don’t have the right to execute judgement. But we do have responsibility to warn of judgement.

    1. RtRev,
      You are free to express your point of view on this and other issues here. But we are from this point forward exercising our right not to approve comments that disparage gay people (or anyone else, for that matter) and their lives as “disgusting,” “perverted” and the like. We tend to give folks a lot of leeway on here and rarely disapprove comments. In fact, we almost always approve comments from people who disagree with us. But there are limits, and this is one.

      – TFN

  11. I’m not going to get in a battle of semantics with a bigot. I’m sure you don’t consider yourself an extremist. You think you’re just a regular ol’ God-fearing Christian, trying to do right by Jesus by calling people perverts. Fortunately, you are a vanishing breed.