Bigotry and Politics in Houston

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With Houston’s Dec. 12 mayoral runoff election just a little over a week away, the far-right Houston Area Pastor Council is intensifying its vicious anti-gay campaign against one of the candidates. The group’s leader, Dave Welch, has joined with other religious-righters in a coordinated attack on mayoral candidate Annise Parker — currently the city’s controller — because she is a lesbian. On Wednesday Welch continued his attacks in an e-mail to HAPC activists. His e-mail includes an essay he wrote for the far-right World Net Daily Web site.

In his essay, Welch questions Parker’s morals and character, charges that she is promoting a “radical sexual diversity agenda” and even suggests she essentially invited his attacks:

“Stating that activist lesbian Annise Parker — running for mayor of Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation in the heart of the Bible Belt — has made her lifestyle a core part of her public policy is asserting fact, not opinion. . . .”

As we explained last month, the Houston Chronicle has denounced this repeated claim from Welch as a lie. In fact, Parker hasn’t made her sexual orientation an issue. Welch and his fellow extremists have, even charging that gay men and lesbians are trying to take over the city’s government:

“(T)he gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender lobby fielded candidates in multiple races for Houston City Council to increase their numbers on that governing body. Are we supposed to be lemmings and assume there is no agenda at play here? Please.”

Yet it’s Welch’s agenda that should be alarming to Houston voters. He insists that divisive “culture war” battles on issues like same-sex marriage are far more important than issues that really matter to most working families:

“Hundreds of pastors and thousands of citizens refuse to be silenced and keep the debate at the level of road repair, transportation infrastructure, city spending and other such fiscal issues, important as they are. Nothing, I repeat, nothing is as important to the future of this city, state and nation as the protection and restoration of the nuclear family grounded in marriage, having both a mother and a father raising their children and committed to a healthy, nurturing home.”

So a sex-obsessed Welch wants voters to focus on the private lives of candidates, not on their experience, abilities and policy positions. Welch thinks voters need not know anything else about the candidates other than who they love. In short, he wants voters to judge gay men and lesbians as threats to families and “healthy, nurturing homes” simply because of who they are. There’s a word for that, but Welch denies it applies to him and what he’s saying:

“This is an act of love, not of bigotry.”

He’s wrong. We see little love but lots of bigotry in Welch’s disgraceful actions.

9 Responses to “Bigotry and Politics in Houston”

  1. James Allen Says:

    When are we going to identify Welch and those of his ilk as the same racists and bigots we fought in the Civil Rights era. Then, they selectively applied scripture to justify their Jim Crow and miscegenation laws just as they had done to justify slavery. Welch and his ilk must be called out for their blatant bigotry.

  2. John Preston Says:

    How do religous leaders of any stipe, convert the word love to hate? As the brother of a United Methodist minister and gay man who died of AIDS, I am very proud of the church leaders who have taken a stand against bigotry and hate. Especially pleased to see the 3 signatures from Covenant Church, an ecumenical. liberal Baptist Church who have signed. Thank you Jeremy, Laura and Millard.

  3. Charles Says:

    Well, he is basically saying that a gay person should not have a job because gay people are sinners. Pastor Welch’s big error is his failure to recognize that he is a sinner as well. Therefore, applying the same principle, Pastor Welch needs to resign from his job.

    This is where these idiots (just speaking the truth in love to Pastor Welch) usually chime in and say, “Yes, but we are different. The gay people flaunt their sin publicly, but we who are righteous do not.” From a Biblical perspective, he fails to recognize that pretty much the totality of the human condition is sin, which means that everyone is within the circle of sin and everyone flaunts their sin in one way or another, usually without really knowing that they are doing it—but sometimes also by calling public attention to the notion that they have no sin when, in fact, the fabric of their whole being in this mortal realm is threaded with it. If this were not our condition and we had the power to do something about it on our own, then Jesus’s mission would not have been needed.

    Personally, if Pastor Welch really wants to save the American family, he needs to start at home in his own church. The first big step would be to begin a series of sermons targeted at the several hundred business owners and corporate executives in his church to get their Monday-Friday behavior at work aligned with the gospel. In my opinion, the degeneration of the American family is a direct result of butchering it to meet the needs of American business. Once upon a time in our country, we had strong families. They were called “extended families.” They were strong. Very strong. I believe the so-called “nuclear family” of today, which is the “little precious” of the Religious Right, is the unique social engineering invention of corporate America. In the early 20th century, big business determined that it needed a very light, highly mobile American family that was small enough and helpless enough to be easily intimidated by business interests.

    The American nuclear family is not a gospel-honoring family and never has been because it does not have the power to look after the full interests of its members. I’ll give you just one example.

    If you are a husband and father of two children in a nuclear family, your boss at work can send you to a 5-year assignment overseas in Abu Dhabi. They don’t have to ask if you would like to go. All they have to do is say, “You go or we will fire you, thus taking away your income and health insurance.” Therefore, you go and American business turns a wife into an instant single mother with two children. No dad to attend graduations. No dad to play baseball. No dad at all—except maybe for a hollow sometimes voice on a telephone.

    Now. Let’s look at this same situation with a traditional, God-honoring, American extended family (like those throughout the Bible and throughout the Unites States until the early 20th century). The boss says to dad, “You have to go to Abu Dhabi for 5-years or I’ll make mincemeat out of you.” Dad says, “Screw you!!! I am not about to go to Abu Dhabi for 5-years. I have an extended family household with 5 different wage earners other than me.” Collectively, they earn far more than enough income to support our entire family. I will go to my daughter’s high school graduation ceremony and use my spare time to find a new job that is not in Abu Dhabi.

    You see. It was imperative for American business to destroy the extended family and replace it with a weak nuclear family that is little more than a condition of serfdom.

    Pastor Welch. If you want to stop the destruction of the American family, you start with the wicked businessmen in your own congregation who created and perpetuated the weak American nuclear family for their own evil ends. As the Bible says, “…the love of money is the root of all evil.” Be a real man of God Pastor Welch and call them out on it!!!

    Oh, I forgot, and this is the real trick for you isn’t it? Those wicked businessmen pay you that nice salary and let you live in that big house. If you were to point out their evil, they might take it all away in 5 minutes. Find a spine somewhere Pastor Welch!!! Jesus went to a cross standing up for what was right. Don’t you have enough guts to do it too.

  4. trog69 Says:

    It’s good to see other church leaders taking a stand against this evil bigot and his flying monkeys flinging their “facts-not opinions” at everyone, not just the candidate and all who believe she should be judged by how she represents her potential constituents, rather than who she sleeps with, but, as Dan points out, using the only lever, besides abortion, that they have to use.

    If Ms. Parker were to win, and I don’t know how the polls are running, she’ll be in for a loooong running battle with these turds regardless of how she governs. Anything she does which might possibly, in some stretch of the imagination, maybe help a gay person would be grounds for immediate recall, and all salary paid to be forfeited.

  5. Manny Aguilar Says:

    James Allen, that was an excellent response and yes, I know you are 100% correct about this…it’ is the same thing. The worst characters in history have always been the most religious. The crazt stuff these religious zealots make up is insane and that makes them a scary thing. I don’t trust any of them. Hope Ms. Parker wins and that he moves to Oklahomo or some place.

  6. Charles Says:

    I still don’t know why they call them “bigots.” It has always seemed to me that “littlot” is more appropriate.

  7. trog69 Says:

    They tried “littlelot” for a while, until Biglots Threatened to sue, though they said they were in support of using “got-nothin’s” instead.

    Hey, whattaya mean, that sounds like me?

  8. Steven Schafersman Says:

    Yes, David Welch is a hate-mongering bigot, but that’s easy to see. And he uses religion to mask his hate and bigotry, and that’s easy to see, too, and very common in our American culture as some here pointed out. What I am most interested in is his attack on human families. Families are vital to the upbringing of children and the continuance of society. Why does Welch hate families so much? Welch’s definition of a family is very narrow and frankly unrealistic in modern culture. Gay families, single-parent families, and extended families are all just as practical, nurturing, and useful as the traditional nuclear husband-wife family. All types of families should be cherished and supported.

    I really liked Charles’s little essay on why American capitalism supports only the traditional nuclear family. This is a very intriguing thesis, and its one I never heard about before, so I’m impressed. Also, there may be some truth to it. Some readers may think, “Why would American capitalism care one way or another about preferring only the nuclear family?” But companies do think about social policies and Charles may be right. I need to investigate and think about this idea some more.

    For years I used to write articles and essays about American capitalism’s pro-natality agenda. As some may know, in our capitalist economy companies must grow and expand or they will be out-competed, lose customers, and die. To keep growth and expansion going, capitalism constantly needs more consumers to keep demand high and more workers to keep wages low. So companies do work to support pro-natality social and economic policies and lobby for these to become national public policies. The best example is the income tax deduction for each dependent. This tax law is absolutely crazy and self-destructive, since all of our environmental problems are the ultimate result of too many people trying to survive on limited, finite resources. Another example is our incredibly bad health care system in which health care is tied to employment, not to citizenship as is the case in all other advanced industrialized countries. There are other examples. I’ve never thought of this, but perhaps the support of the traditional nuclear family is one of these examples.

    I suppose it goes without saying that conservative religions always support conservative capitalism in the United States and preach and advocate to maintain the status quo favorable to corporations. Social reformers invariably reject conservative religion and most follow progressive, liberal, or non-traditional religions or are non-religious or antagonistic to religion.

  9. The Other Sarah Says:

    It is much simpler. Take the Bible from which he preaches and open it to the New Testament.

    If he cannot show you in Christ’s own words — not in the letters of Paul — where Jesus says to hate, then he is himself a liar and if he does not repent of his dishonesty the Holy Ghost will condemn him before the Father.

    I have never met a one of these hatemongers who could find in the words of Christ a justification for their point of view, btw.

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