WHEN THE WORD “HATE” IS NEWLY INTRODUCED to the fingerprint-wiped, anonymous, verbally obscene, multiple letters with photos of young, black men engaged in sex acts with each other (racism always adds spice to homophobia)… letters with sentences carefully phrased to avoid criminality are sent to my church, the Chamber of Commerce, select leaders of the Alive After Five Committee and others here in Patchogue, Long Island, New York ~ I decided to not “just ignore it” as advised by some today as I once did when my community had the same response to hate directed at Latinos. The result was my presiding at the funeral of a Latino hate crime murder victim; and the taunts, bad press and hate mail I received for two years after that.
And so I will not ignore it, and will let you in on the sickening and hateful backlash against the LGBTQ+ communities, their allies & advocates. I remain proud of the United Church of Christ that ordained its first openly gay pastor 47 years ago and are still, apparently, hated for it. May God bless the LGBTQ+ communities and what we have in the past & sometimes still put them through. Thanks to the writer of this letter who informed me that I am gay. I didn’t know that until I read the letter this morning. I guess the writer cannot imagine a heterosexual pastor being disgusted at homophobia. Well, my sweet, live and learn! And now, an excerpt of just one of the letters I am talking about:
“To open the paper, and immediately get an in-your-face about “Open and Affirming”, featuring two gay “pastors”, is an outrage…not only in the positioning, but the content being about two homosexual men, who are no more “pastors” than the man in the moon. Homosexuality is unnatural, an affront to nature and history, and is clearly forbidden and/or frowned upon by most cultures, and church teachings…and is stated as such in the bible. These two gay men are shams… hypocrites… phony believers in God and his word. They should be run out of town. Yet, the Advance puts them front and center as though they are credible exhibits of “open and affirming”…translation: push the gay agenda as much as possible. “We’re a faith-based community who believe that God is love and love is God.” They interpret God’s love to support their own needs and to rationalize their sickness and perversion. We wonder if they think about God while having oral and anal sex with other men. And to have an expose about Jacqueline Routh, Alive After Five etc., and her sexual “struggles”, is pathetic. Like all homosexuals, she should seek emotional and psychological help… The constant in-your-face theatrics cause much disgust and hate in the straight community… Most normal, heterosexual people find homosexuality disgusting and offensive…an affront to nature…and blasphemous to God if one believes.”
Reading the above letter once again, I am mindful that many people are somewhat conflicted about LGBTQ+ matters. I do not believe prejudice is the exclusive domain of any one political party, religious affiliation, philosophical beliefs, economic statue, ethnic identity, or geographical region. The Congregational Church of Patchogue includes many people with a rich variety of thoughts and beliefs. But we manage to remain civil in our discourse, and as open minded and open hearted as we are able. I do not believe that trying to silence people who try to silence you is a good tactic to promote communication.
I want to thank the Long Island Advance newspaper for their willingness to discuss this in their paper. I wish to thank the 5th Precinct of the Suffolk County, NY, Police Department who are investigating this matter.
I wish I could speak, individually or in a small group, with the person who wrote these letters. I really do. In the meantime, I pray for the restoration of our individual spirits and the soul of our community. And I pray that a safe and joyous time is had by all at the Pride Theme Alive After Five summer event to be held tomorrow, June 27, 2019.
Dwight Lee Wolter