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JIMMY SWAGGART TELLS HE'D KILL GAYS--by David Batstone

JIMMY SWAGGART TELLS HE'D KILL GAYS--by David Batstone

Jimmy Swaggart tells congregation he'd kill gays by David Batstone Last Sunday Christian evangelist Jimmy Swaggart shared a shocking confession to his congregation during a worship service that is broadcast to a global audience. In the middle of his sermon, Swaggart proclaimed that he would "kill" a man that looked at him with romantic intent. Swaggart's sermon is so outrageous that I want to give you his exact words: "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry." (shouts, applause) "And I'm gonna be blunt and plain, if one ever looks at me like that I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." (laughter, applause) "In case anybody doesn't know God calls it an abomination. It's an abomination! It's an abomination!" (applause) ..."I'm not knocking the poor homosexual. I'm not. They need salvation just like anybody else.... I'm knocking our pitiful, pathetic lawmakers. And I thank God that President Bush has stated we need a constitutional amendment that states that marriage is between a man and a woman." (applause) No matter how reassuring it is that Swaggart subsequently admits that gays - "like anyone else" - are worthy of divine redemption, the overall tenor of his sermon drives home the message that violence against gays is justified. It's a very simple, but thoroughly un-Christian logic: Your life is not worth much if God deems you an abomination. In the same sermon, Swaggart praises Bush for his support for an amendment banning gay marriage - further cementing the perception that Christians can only vote Republican come November. (For some reason, Swaggart doesn't mention that John Kerry also opposes gay marriage, but Kerry simply doesn't think a constitutional amendment is wise or necessary). How has it become so possible today for Christian leaders to twist Jesus' teaching about loving all of God's children? The pattern is transparent in many sectors of the church. Too many Christians have turned Jesus into a warmaker, not a peacemaker, and justify their position by the same logic. Our enemies in the Middle East are an "abomination." On a more personal note, I recently received a note from a SojoMail reader full of profanity and insults. My attacker closed his note wondering how I could call myself a Christian, taking the position I do of waging peace in the Middle East at the expense of partisan support for "freedom fighters" in Iraq and uncritical support for the state of Israel. I usually do not take the time to respond to such letters (believe it or not, I get a few hate letters...:-), but this time I did write back a short note asking how he, in turn, could call himself a Christian and use such profane, violent words toward another human being. His e-mail back to me was revealing, albeit shocking: "I can write to you as I like, for you are not a human being. You have forfeited that right; you are nothing but pond scum." That's the theological loophole for what passes as Christian morality these days. Simply demonstrate why the other person, or race of people, has forfeited their status as a human being, and you can do with them what you will. By the way, that is the same theological loophole used by the church in Latin America to justify the massacre of millions of native Americans during the Conquest; they were not deemed human beings. Back to Jimmy Swaggart, it brings me to tears that a preacher can evoke a Christian congregation to applause and laughter with such a message. I am even more appalled that millions of people around the globe over television hear this "word of the Christian gospel." Swaggart has since offered the kind of remorseless non-apology common to public figures these days: "I was unwise in making the statement. All of us have made statements we wish we hadn't made. That was one for me." What's missing is any indication that he believes that there was anything actually wrong with his original remark, which he claims was "a tongue-in-cheek statement best left unsaid." Well, I for one am not going to let this pass unnoticed. I invite you to join me in holding this Christian leader accountable. Let's flood his e-mail with letters that witness to the truth - not hate letters - that God does not forfeit any individual from the human flock. All individuals are God's children and should be treated with the same dignity and love that God shows to each of us. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sojourners will be running our "God is Not a Republican...or a Democrat" ad in this Sunday's Baton-Rouge Advocate, Swaggart's hometown paper. Send a message to Rev. Swaggart reminding him that, "What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart" (Matthew 15:18), and encourage him to read his Sunday paper! + Click here to send a letter to Jimmy Swaggart : http://go.sojo.net/campaign/swaggart + Download the video and see for yourself. [Requires Windows Media Player]: http://www.oliverwillis.com/stuff/swaggart.wmv