One of the side effects of running a popular LGBT blog is that not only does every queer org send you their press releases and promos, but you get all the far right screeds from anti-gay religious groups too.
Two interesting e-blasts came into the ole inbox this morning that I had to share with Projectors. With all of the pro-gay news from the past month, the fundies are frothing at the mouth lately and these two missives highlight the batshittery they've been reduced to spewing. First up we have the American Family Association's CEO Don Wildmon claiming the the Senate is going to protect pedophiles by passing hate crimes legislature.
The U.S. Senate is set to give legally protected status to pedophiles and 30 other sexual orientations. The Senate refused to define what is meant by sexual orientation in S. 909, the "Hate Crimes" bill. This means that the 30 different sexual orientations will be federally protected classes.
While this blatant lie is bad enough, we've come to expect it from Wildmon & Bunch. But the real fearmongering comes from a group calling itself the "Pastors' Rapid Response Team" that warns church leaders to expect violence from the LGBT community after the California Supreme Court rules on Prop 8. E-blast and commentary after the jump.
May 6, 2009
Greetings, Pastors and Leaders.
As you know, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March regarding the legal challenges to Article 1, Section 7.5 of the California Constitution (formerly known as Proposition 8). Their decision will be coming down any day and while we don't know the exact date, it could be made public as early as tomorrow, Friday, or one day next week.
Based on the observations of legal experts, it is expected that the court will uphold Article 1, Section 7.5, keeping it in the Constitution. However, the court will probably also uphold the several thousand "marriages" that occurred between June and Election Day in 2008.
Because of the imminent arrival of the court's decision, it is important to be aware of the public reaction to this decision.
If the decision is in our favor, it is not unreasonable to expect an angry response, perhaps even violence, from those who are opposed. On their websites, some opposed to Prop 8 have said things like, "Take your anger to the streets," so it's possible that the reaction could be significantly more severe than the violence that took place in the days immediately following the passage of Prop 8.
Therefore, as pastors and leaders, we must be prepared for such reactions occurring near us, perhaps even in our own churches.
We are blessed to have received a very comprehensive list of church security ideas courtesy of Erik Stanley with the Alliance Defense Fund. These are outstanding ideas that will go a long way in order to make certain your church remains secure, and that everything will be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). Please take time to review this information, included below, and forward it to those in your church who need to see it and make the necessary preparations.
To quickly summarize what needs to be done, it can be boiled down to these primary steps:
- Make sure every worship service is videotaped.
- Make sure someone in the church (an usher or someone with similar responsibilities) has instructions to call 911 immediately.
- Plan with the church staff and church leadership the steps that will be taken in the event of any attempt to disrupt one of your worship services.
Remember that we are all in this together! The Lord has raised up all of us and brought us together to change the history of our country. We were all a part of a massive work that our God has done in our midst. We need to-we must-stand together!
With that in mind, would you please send an email to let us know of any attempts to disrupt one of your worship services, any acts of vandalism, any "hate" mail or email, any acts of violence? We will compile a master list of as many acts of hatred as is possible - violence, disruptions, vandalism, mail, email, phone calls.
The reason for this request? For one, to heighten the fervency and intensity of our prayer for one another. For another, to alert the casual observers in our state to what has been occurring. It is important for us to realize that our brothers and sisters are suffering persecution for simply participating in our nation's democratic process and voting their values, and we must stand more closely together.
Please don't hesitate to contact us with any of your questions on this, or to request further help.
We will let you know about the court announcement as soon as we know, and we will also notify you of the time and date of a webinar/conference call where we will provide you with additional information based on that decision. Please be looking for that email.
This battle is not over, not by a long shot! We will have to stand, and stand again, on this principle of marriage. We have seen the Lord bring us together, stand us together side by side, and pass Prop 8; let us remain side by side so together we can see Him protect what He has done!
Be blessed today,
Pastors' Rapid Response Team
Mr. Clark blatantly attempts to ratchet up the rhetoric by predicting reactions "significantly more severe than the violence that took place in the days immediately following the passage of Prop 8" as if the LGBT community firebombed churches and attacked random Christians on the streets. That said, in today's climate of church shootings there's something to be said for instituting some security precautions. After all, I expect schools, shopping malls and office buildings to have emergency preparations in place so why complain that churches are also finding needed ways to protect their parishioners?
Where it goes completely around the bend though is in a later list of 15 steps each church should take to ensure member safety. (I'll include them at the end of the post.) Tip #5 encourages churches to print a notice in their bulletin and make an announcement at the beginning of services detailing their willingness to have protesters arrested. It offers an example from a San Diego church that claims there were hate crimes against Christians after Prop 8 (I thought churches opposed hate crimes? Wait. What?) that has one of the most laughable and yet chilling segments I've ever seen. (emphasis mine)
We Welcome You to Calvary Chapel
We thank Jesus that you're here today and we thank you for visiting Calvary Chapel Chino Hills today. Unfortunately due to recent hate crimes that have been perpetrated against churches in light of the passage of Proposition 8, I must now warn anyone who has come here with the intent to interrupt these services, both inside our facilities as well as on our property.
First, Let me say that we love you in the Name of Jesus Christ and that He died for your sins as He did for all of ours. Second, should there be any disruptions to our services we will not hesitate to have you arrested. Third, We will prosecute to the full extent of the law, as a disruption of a religious service is a felony. Fourth, once you have been convicted, our prison ministry will visit you and continue to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with you.
Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, in conjunction with the local and state law enforcement agencies that are present at all of our service, will exercise a zero-tolerance policy regarding disruptions. CCCH must assure an orderly environment for the teaching of God's Word and maintain a loving opportunity to provide Christian fellowship.
I wonder if these poor deluded fools realize their Biblical history. In the book they claim to follow:
- It was the righteous civil rights community organizer that was arrested for speaking the truth to entrenched and indignant corrupt religious leaders.
- He was brought before a secular official cowed by a public opinion poll and threats from the religious right into upholding injustice even when it was glaringly obvious what the moral choice was.
- The religious right then persecuted the community organizer's co-workers by having them thrown in prison as well - where they visited the equality advocates to demand they conform to the right's worldview.
- If necessary, the religious zealots would provide false testimony or whip public opinion through lies and manipulation so they could maintain the status quo that only benefited them.
- In the end, time has judged the religious hypocrites harshly and they're regularly held up as object lessons in religious corruption and power abuse; the very word Pharisee has become synonymous with self-righteous hypocrisy.
I guess this pre-service announcement is honest when you think about it.
Here's the 15 step security guidelines the group sent members. Most are simply common sense suggestions that all businesses and churches would do well to duplicate. Of course, since this is the Pastors' Rapid Response Team - and being thoughtful and being rapid can't happen simultaneously or your brains will explode! - they don't "suggest," they give "instructions."
So step to it, sheeple. Get some off-duty cops and some video cameras - stat! - or Jesus will allow teh gays to storm your church. Don't fret, you can repent of the sins of justice and compassion by arresting civil rights advocates and bribing/cajoling/demanding the government have them tortured and executed in a grisly manner.
In the name of Christ, of course. In the name of Christ.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHURCHES FACED WITH POTENTIAL HARASSMENT OR DISRUPTION OF SERVICES
As with businesses today, many churches have been implementing levels of security planning, policies and procedures. This type of planning comprises the following steps: 1) risk assessment, 2) threat assessment, 3) inventory of current policies, resources, procedures and their effectiveness, 4) implementation or adjustment, 5) execution of plan, and 6) compliance.
This type of planning includes harassment along with theft, fire, earthquake, childcare, workplace violence and reputational security and other areas of concern.
The Internet, along with a professional team can provide basic information to guide church leadership. A helpful website for these issues is churchsecurityservices.com.
Below is a list of some suggestions and ideas for churches that face potential disruption of services from harassment, picketing, or vandalism due to their stance on same-sex "marriage."
- Church leadership should have a basic plan for harassment in place ahead of time. Staff and key members will need to be trained to activate and work the plan. Many churches rely upon members who are sworn peace officers to assist with planning, training and activation of the plan.
- For churches involved in emotionally charged issues, surveillance and observation are critical to avoiding and minimizing harassment issues. Ideally these issues would be stopped in the parking lot rather than in the Sunday service.
- Good security relies upon multiple layers. Members watching the street and parking area. Members watching entrances. Ushers knowing and greeting members.
- Many churches are asking their members who are sworn peace officers to hold informal meetings, get to know each other and assign responsibility to various sections of the auditorium to each other.
- Consider announcing or placing in the church's bulletin, the church's intention to prosecute disruptors or vandals at the beginning of services, if appropriate. [Below is a sample announcement used by Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.]
- Upon disruption of services, trespassing, picketing or blockading of entrances, or harassment of church-goers, contact the police immediately while your security team confronts the protesters. One individual needs to be responsible for calling 911. This person should not engage with the protesters, but staying on the phone to coordinate police response. Ensure the church property is property posted with signs that prohibit trespassing or other unlawful activity.
- Consider the use of two-way radios to help the security team communicate effectively with each other.
- Consider installing video security systems to protect and assist in identifying perpetrators of vandalism. Encourage the security team (off-duty officers) to make use of their cell phone cameras.
- Video tape all church services. Instruct video personnel to be aware and prepared for potential disruptions. Video personnel should man their cameras during a disruption and attempt to capture as much on video as possible.
- Prepare security personnel to address potential disruptions of service or harassment of church-goers. Your church has the right to ask anyone to leave the property if they are being disruptive or harassing church-goers.
- If your church does not have anyone qualified to act in a volunteer security position, consider asking responsible members to act in this capacity. Ensure members are adequately trained for their roles.
- Understand the use of force statutes in your state. Also remember that your actions will possibly be viewed by thousands of others and the media. Protect your reputation by being controlled and measured in your responses.
- In case of damage, vandalism, to property, or disruption of services that results in flyers being thrown or damage to the facilities, preserve the scene as best as you can and let the police advice when it is appropriate to start the clean-up process.
- If possible, gather as much information as you can about the protestors or perpetrators, including which group they are with, what their names are, and license plate numbers of the vehicles driven by the individuals responsible. Obtain copies of police reports. Begin to maintain and share your database of information with other like-minded churches and organization (like ADF).
- After contacting the police, contact the Alliance Defense Fund at (800) TELL-ADF and ask to speak to legal intake. ADF attorneys will review the situation to determine whether any civil action is appropriate.