A gay Gibson County couple said they were assaulted when they tried to attend church services at the Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland last Wednesday.
“I went over to take the keys out of the ignition and all the sudden I hear someone say ‘sick’em,’” said Gibson County resident, Jerry Pittman Jr. (LINK)
ABC News reports that a Tennessee man was assaulted by a church congregation for trying to attend a service. The kicker to the story? The pastor was the man’s father.
Luckily, this is the United States of America, where we just don’t put up with that sort of thing. Concerned bystanders jumped in to stop the assault. The police were called and all of the perpetrators were arrested and lectured sternly about their social obligation to tolerate those who are different than them. Right?
Well… no. That’s not what happened at all. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite.
“My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smash me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back,” said Pittman. He said bystanders did not offer assistance. He said the deacon yelled derogatory homosexual slurs, even after officers arrived. He said the officers never intervened to stop the deacons from yelling the slurs.
This episode and the dozens — perhaps hundreds — like it over the past couple of years illustrate the bigotry and hatred that is American Christianity today. Gibson County is a small rural county in western Tennessee. Like many such counties, it’s mostly populated by White Protestant Christians. Like any other place in Small Town Bible Belt, USA, it’s not the best place to be… different. Pastor Jerry Pittman Sr. has managed to foment the mob hatred for queers so common in rural America, and his congregation thought nothing of beating the hell out of his own son. (Does anyone else catch the parallel? I wonder if Pastor Jerry sees himself as a personification of God, whose own son was tortured.)
One is forced to wonder what sort of choices Jerry Jr. faced. Although he’s obviously “come out,” it’s also obvious that his lifestyle is not condoned. Unfortunately, not going to churchis also not the best choice in such communities. Presumably, he was trying to attend his father’s church to gain some measure of acceptance. Clearly, he will find none. His father hates his son and is confident that God loves him for his hatred. He’s obeying the Bible, which clearly states: ”For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” (Romans 1:26-27).
It’s difficult to imagine a force that could create such vitriol over something as banal as two men doing things in private that feel good. It’s even more difficult to imagine that a “good” deity would approve of beating people for it. The reality, however, is that Pastor Jerry was soft on his son. According to the book allegedly written by the most loving creature in the entire universe, Jerry the Younger ought to be dead right now. Perhaps Pastor Jerry wishes that he could murder his son. Who’s to know?
As with any such story, there is likely to be a minor flood of protests from the “True Good Christians.” (You know, the good Christians who DON’T do what the Bible says.) They will say that the Bible is mistranslated, or that it was just back in the Bronze Age that God approved of stoning homosexuals. Or that Paul didn’t really mean that homosexuals deserve death.
As with all such protests, I am not impressed. I have little respect for a god who took two thousand years to inform a tiny fraction of his followers of a major flaw in the doctrine he passed to man through his perfect divine will. I similarly have little respect for believers who insist that their “enlightened” view of homosexuality absolves them of responsibility for the book they claim to revere above all others on earth — the book which must be cherry picked and reinterpreted to within an inch of its life to illicit even a slight encouragement towards annoyed tolerance of gays.