May 22, 2013 4:41 pm ET by Carlos Maza
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has condemned the recent murder of a gay man in New York, but the organization continues to promote a speaker who has written that gay people are “worthy of death.”
On May 21, NOM issued a statement condemning the recent murder of a gay man in New York City, which local police have labeled a hate crime, calling it “senseless” and adding that “no person should be subjected to violence because they are gay or lesbian.”
But NOM’s rhetoric is at odds with remarks made by one of its most notorious allies, Robert Gagnon. Gagnon, who has a history of speaking at NOM events, has publicly stated that people who are gay engage in behavior that makes them “worthy of death.” In his book, “The Bible and Homosexual Practice,” Gagnon writes:
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.
Yet Paul’s rhetorical strategy in Romans was not to absolve gentiles of gross sin, or to declare that all sins are equal, or to deny God or God’s people the right to take action against gross sin. Rather, Paul’s rhetorical aim was to demonstrate that Jew and gentile alike had no option but to believe in Jesus Christ or die.
Unlike issues of diet and calendar, same-sex intercourse still belongs with a range of immoral actions which, if persisted in, invites God’s judgment and the community’s discipline rather than a “welcome” which ignores such behavior. [emphasis added]
Gagnon is also an outspoken critic of hate crime legislation that would protect gays and lesbians from violence like the attack that took place in New York. Gagnon has claimed that hate crime laws promote hate against opponents of homosexuality and peddled the myth that hate crime laws would result in the jailing of “anyone who publicly speaks out against homosexual activity.”
When he isn’t peddling misinformation about hate crime legislation, Gagnon promotes some of the most damaging myths about LGBT issues, including the claims that homosexuality is unhealthy, can be cured through “ex-gay” therapy, and is linked to pedophilia.
Despite his extreme views on homosexuality, Gagnon has been invited to speak at NOM’s summer student conference – the “It Takes A Village” (ITAF) conference – for every year since it began in 2009.
During a similarly titled talk during last year’s ITAF, Gagnon compared homosexuality to incest and polygamy while distributing Bible quotes to students, including the Leviticus passage which states that gay people “shall certainly be put to death.”
NOM also sold copies of Gagnon’s book, “The Bible and Homosexual Practice,” which deems gay people “worthy of death.”
If NOM really condemns anti-gay violence, as it purports to do so in its public statements, it should stop promoting (and selling) the work of a man who has openly stated that gay people are “worthy” of such violence.