Pastor Moore of Clarendon Texas. A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

 If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, I would like to apologize for how badly I suck. I know how to share my columns and David Badash’s news articles from The New Civil Rights Movement, and I do send out ten kick-ass photos every day if you’re into photography, but all those invitations you so generously send me to play games and join groups? They scare me. I check them out, but they all seem to come with aps that require me to allow someone else to post as me, and I already have someone seeding shoe ads on my timeline, whom I don’t know how to get rid of.  Posting as me doesn’t seem like a control I wish to relinquish. So as much as I want to be friendly, Facebook invitations to Zoosk or Klout are still not in my comfort zone.

But this week, an interesting invitation came across my Facebook page. Jarrod Scarbrough and Tom Morgan wanted me to “email Clarendon Church of Christ in Clarendon, TX to let them know that using lies and misinformation to promote hatred is NOT OK.” As it happens, I too think promoting hatred is “NOT OK,” and I know a little something about writing, so I took a peek at their Facebook event page and wonder of wonders, no ap permission was required. This is an event meant for me!

Jarrod, an organizer of  Get Equal in Florida, and Tom, an organizer for GetEqual in Ohio, are asking people to call or email the Clarendon Church of Christ in northern Texas, to register their objections to a slime based letter entitled The Homosexual Movement. The church’s pastor, the most irreverent Chris Moore, published the homophobic screed in the Clarendon Enterprise, disguised as a newspaper ad.

Pastor Chris Moore

Moore’s letter is quite entertaining. You’ll laugh til you cry. I am not sure if he is venting genuine paranoia or is arranging his “facts” to shore up his hatred of gays. Maybe both. I encourage you to read it for yourself. But for those of you who want the condensed version, Moore claims the gay community’s demand for equal rights is but a canard to hide their true agenda. He thinks what gays really want is to lower the age of consent to below the age of 12, legalize prostitution, and allow group marriages, And here’s my favorite part. Moore accuses Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who was married to the same man for 56 years, of being a leader in the “legalize child-sex for gay people” movement. I Googled the story from three different sources. Moore’s letter is so bizarre I didn’t want to write about it and find out I was being punked.

Two weeks after Moore published his diatribe, a local gay couple, Joshua Harrison, and Jeremy Jeffers, who have been living in Clarendon together happily and uneventfully for a year and a half, woke up to find someone had painted “Leave or Die Fags” on their front porch. The couple told the Dallas Voice that since Moore’s letter, they have felt a definite shift in the level of acceptance in their small town in the Texas panhandle. Thanks to Pastor Moore, the men now fear for their safety. The men told Tom Morgan they live in fear your intemperate accusations have ignited a wave of intolerance in the area. They feel marked. You made them the “queer” couple in a small Texas town. They say they now fear for their lives. Is that what Jesus would have done? Think HARD on that one, sir.

Exercising due diligence, before I composed my email requested by Tom and Jarrod’s Facebook invitation, I visited the website of the Clarendon Church of Christ, to see if Pastor Moore had anything to say for himself. I wouldn’t want to excoriate someone who had apologized, or claimed he was innocent of the hate speech of which he is being accused. Instead, I found Moore has burrowed himself even deeper in the mud, offering an article in his church bulletin responding to the public criticism entitled “What is an Enemy“. Pastor Moore wants all of you to know, he is not an enemy to the gay community, he is just “telling the truth.”

Being neither gay nor Christian, but a devotee to truth just like Pastor Moore, I am very happy to know he believes friends should tell each other the truth. As he has so kindly deigned to tell the gays what is wrong with them, I would like to return the favor and tell the truth about what is wrong with Pastor Moore’s version of the Christian Church. My critique is no way to be confused with a criticism of the true devotees of Jesus Christ, the gentle leader who told his followers in no uncertain terms:  “Judge not.”

Let’s start with this truth: Pastor Moore, you went out of your way to cause harm to two children of God who did nothing to harm anyone. Because of you, your words, your paranoia, your need to incite others to your bigoted viewpoint, Joshua Harrison and Jeremy Jeffers are afraid for their safety and feel they have to move.

Here’s truth #2. Jesus, the man you claim spoke with the authority of the son of God, never once exhorted you or any of his followers to shine a public spotlight on people you judge to be sinners. Jesus never taught his followers to shame “sinners”, or turn the community against them, or to encourage others to look down on, harm or harass them. Instead, Jesus told you NOT to write your hate letter. It’s as if Jesus looked into the future and tried to head off your prideful posturing when he said “Whoever among you who is without sin should cast the first stone.” All true Christians accept that charge Pastor Moore. But by writing that letter, you have professed to know better than Jesus.

Joshua Harrison and Jeremy Jeffers

Here’s some more truths, Pastor Moore. Jesus, who hung out with twelve other men, never once said anything negative about homosexuals. Before you go crazy with indignation. I am not claiming Jesus was gay. I have no idea what kind of sex Jesus liked and neither do you. That information did not survive. What I am claiming, is that Jesus was not a homophobe like you. Jesus did not instruct his followers to root out gay people. Jesus did not say Christians were to shun gay people, to try to change their orientation, or to keep gay people who fall in love from living a happy life together. In fact, I believe Jesus’ advice was to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If he had meant to exclude gay “others” he would have said so. Jesus was not prone to “oversights”. Here is a “truth” Pastor Moore” you don’t speak for Jesus. He spoke for himself.

Pastor Moore, all of your anti-gay quotes are from the Old Testament, before the time, true Christians believe, God sent his son Jesus to forgive Original Sin and give mankind a new beginning. Society has outgrown much of the Old Testament advice. We eat pork. We don’t stone adulterers. We don’t make men marry their brother’s widow. We don’t allow our soldiers two women and an embroidered shirt as the spoils of war, yet I don’t see you arguing that victorious American soldiers should be allowed two free rapes because the Bible says so. The truth is, you do not support all the messages in the Old Testament. Your one fixation is the gay community – the gay community that Jesus of the new beginning, never mentioned.

I suspect, Pastor Moore, that someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ, yet goes back to a time before Jesus’ birth to find religious authority, is looking for a reason to justify his own prejudice, and is not in any way attempting to follow the true will of God. Why else do you quote obscure third hand bible verses when you have available the words all Christians and Jews believe were told to Mosses by God himself – the Ten Commandments? When God handed down his top ten playlist on the stone tablets, don’t say “Jesus Fucking Christ” when you hit your thumb with a hammer made the top three, yet homosexuality did not even make the list. Another Godly oversight, Pastor Moore? Because it seems like God could have combined the two “covets” and stuck gay sex in the lineup as #9 easily enough. Here’s a truth Pastor Moore: God found homosexuality such a terrible sin that he didn’t even mention it.

Jesus warned of “false prophets”, and Pastor Moore you surely are one. You present yourself as a lamb of God, yet we can plainly see the wolf fangs you hide. You do not follow the tenets of Christianity. You do not emulate or evidence the teachings of Christ – not love, not compassion, not generosity of spirit, nor acceptance without judgment. You dare to rewrite the warning Jesus made to mankind, that judgment belonged only to God, as if you knew better than the Lord. You truly shame those who follow the tenets of Christianity and who love Jesus Christ, the same Jesus who warned you Pastor Moore, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.

I should thank Pastor Moore for initiating this conversation, because now we all know these truths. Gay sex was not an “abomination” to The God of The Ten Commandments. Gay sex was not an “abomination” to Jesus.  Gay sex is not an “abomination” to true Christians who seek to emulate Jesus, who taught love and acceptance. Gay sex is an “abomination” only to false prophets like Mr. Moore, who pervert the words of the Bible to manipulate people toward hatred, as surely as Al Queda has perverted the peaceful message of the Koran.

Some lasts truths between friends: Intolerant Christian clergy like Pastor Moore have substituted their personal agenda for that of the God they claim to speak for. Their twisted words have led astray many who wish to be followers of the true Christ. For Christians, the truth of that statement is easy to determine. Jesus said “Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF.” It was Pastor Moore who told you to “love” your neighbor, but if you think they are a sinner, then point at them and call them names. I shall leave you to decide for yourself, is it Jesus or Pastor Moore who is speaking truth?

Author’s note: As many of you know, I am not a believer in god’s and devils, and you might be surprised to find me argue today from a construct which assumed a Christian reality. In this case, I didn’t think science and reason was the way to go, but fear not. I have not changed my outlook, so please don’t leave me comments ridiculing my religion-based argument. (PS – I have 11 years of Catholic school, so I speak the language, and only Nixon could go to China.)

Clergy Image from Freedigitalphotos.net

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