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NOM Scrambles To Distance Itself From “Worthy Of Death” Rhetoric

November 01, 2012 9:39 am ET by Carlos Maza

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM)  is scrambling to distance itself from a Maryland pastor who claimed that gay people are worthy of death, even though the anti-gay group promoted similar rhetoric to college students at its conference this past summer.

Controversy erupted last week when video surfaced of a recent town hall meeting hosted by opponents of marriage equality in Maryland, including Maryland Marriage Alliance head Derek McCoy. The panel discussion included several claims from local pastor Dr. Robert Anderson that gay people and their supporters are “worthy of death.”

The panelists have since claimed that those comments had been taken out of context, although the unedited clip of Dr. Anderson’s comments indicate otherwise. 

NOM, which is heavily involved in Maryland’s anti-equality effort, also tried to distance itself from the pastor’s comments, clarifying in a press release late last week that it had “never tolerated any statement that the bible justifies any act of violence” against gay people:

[J]ust to be clear, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) does not and has never tolerated any statement that the bible justifies any act of violence, intimidation or even incivility toward gay and lesbian individuals. NOM repudiates any statement that gays and lesbians should be subjected to any act or statement that violates their inherent human dignity as people created in the image of God.

Earlier this year, however, an Equality Matters undercover report revealed that NOM was promoting nearly identical rhetoric at its summer conference for college students.

At NOM’s annual “It Takes A Family” (ITAF) conference, regular speaker Robert Gagnon distributed packets of bible verses on homosexuality to attendees, including the Leviticus verse which calls for gay people to “certainly be put to death”:

NOM also sold copies of Gagnon’s book,” The Bible and Homosexual Practice,” at the conference. In the book, Gagnon clearly states that gay people “have no excuse for not knowing” that engaging in homosexual behavior makes them “worthy of death”:

Participation in same-sex intercourse is partly its own payback for turning away from the one true God, since Paul regards such behavior as itself unclean, a dishonoring of one's own body, and a self-shaming act of obscene indecency. At the same time, it is evidence of God's future judgment, since the participants have no excuse for not knowing that those who do such things are worthy of death. [emphasis added]

NOM is quick to publicly express its disapproval for violent anti-gay rhetoric, but the group seems comfortable peddling the same talking points behind closed doors.


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