John M. Becker

Group of Michigan Clergy: Equality Supporters 'Are My Enemy'

Filed By John M. Becker | May 19, 2014 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: Baptist Church, Catholic Church, Christianists, civil rights, gay marriage, marriage equality, Michigan, Roland Caldwell, same-sex marriage, theocracy, wingnuts

roland-caldwell-michigan-wingnut.pngLast week, a group of anti-LGBT Christian churches and denominations in Michigan filed legal briefs urging a federal appeals court to uphold Michigan's marriage discrimination amendment, which was struck down in March by U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman.

USA Today reports:

Declaring "the fight is on," a formidable coalition of conservative Christian groups filed legal briefs in federal appellate court Wednesday supporting Michigan's ban on gay marriage.

Representing potentially millions of worshippers in the state, the Michigan Catholic Conference, the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a national coalition of Baptists, Lutherans, Mormons and evangelicals led by Catholic bishops filed three separate briefs Wednesday in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The briefs back Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in his efforts to defend the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, which was overturned earlier this year by a federal judge in Detroit.

Gay marriage would "destroy the backbone of our society," said the Rev. Stacey Swimp of Flint, Mich., at a Wednesday morning rally held by African-American ministers at First Baptist World Changers International Church in Detroit.

Joining him were leaders with various Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, and non-denominational churches in Michigan, including the head of the influential Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity. The pastors represent hundreds of churches across metropolitan Detroit and included leaders with denominations such as Church of God in Christ (COGIC) that are popular in Detroit and strongly opposed to same-sex marriage.

The event was marked by strikingly aggressive and hostile rhetoric from many of the pastors in attendance, who disingenuously claimed that the LGBT rights movement is not a civil rights movement and slammed those -- including many prominent leaders and organizations in the African-American civil rights movement -- who disagree. Detroit Catholic Archbishop Allen Vigneron repeated his declaration that pro-equality Catholics must not receive Holy Communion. Rev. Rex Evans of Free Will Baptist Church in Ypsilanti said that there's a "small group of people trying to destroy the foundation" of America. "It's time to take our nation back," he added, throwing in for good measure: "We love everybody, but we don't love the (gay) lifestyle [sic]."

Pastor Roland Caldwell of Detroit's Burnette Inspiration Baptist Church went even further. "You are my enemy!" he shouted. "Anybody that's an enemy of God is an enemy of mine... and now the fight is on! You let them know that we are mobilizing. You let them know that we're not sitting our hands... you let them know that the fight is on!"

Watch USA Today's video of Caldwell's inflammatory remarks, after the jump.

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