February 13, 1997
A letter to the Editor of the Chicago Tribune last month sounded all too dishonestly familiar.
It said, in part: "Like millions of others, Mr. [Pat] Robertson believes that homosexual behavior is morally wrong and violates the biblical principles fundamental to Christian belief. At the same time, however, that belief is balanced by the same love and compassion that Mr. Robertson has exhibited daily for 35 years through his international ministry. Mr. Robertson condemns violence aimed at anyone– including homosexuals. He told his national TV audience, ‘We abhor violence against homosexuals. We would counsel strongly in relation to homosexuality that you could hold your religious beliefs without beating people up and being violent.’ "
That letter was written by Gene Kapp, Vice President for Public relations of Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Virginia — in response to someone who had deigned to criticize "religious leaders like Pat Robertson, while at the same time distorting their deeply held religious beliefs about homosexuality."
Mr. Kapp, of course, left out a few very important facts.
Pat Robertson — founder, president and boss of the Christian Coalition, by the way — made that statement nearly two years ago! It was made under duress, as a way of ending a twenty-three day fast by MCC Minister of Justice and Reconciliation Mel White. Kapp was very much involved in that embarrassing incident and, like his boss, very happy when it was over. RING ANY BELLS, GENE?
We remember that two years ago, Dr. Mel White — formerly Robertson’s ghostwriter ("America’s Date with Destiny") — tried repeatedly to meet with Robertson to ask him to tone down the anti-homosexual pronouncements and programming on The 700 Club. To make a long story short, White finally showed up at Pat’s doorstep in Virginia Beach on Valentine’s Day and was arrested for trespassing. The MCC minister subsequently spent twenty-three days in jail, fasting and waiting for his former boss. When Robertson showed up for a brief jailhouse meeting, he agreed to renounce violence against homosexuals on The 700 Club. He did so — per the above infamous statement — on March 10, 1995.
A year later, absolutely nothing had changed. Mel White and others had monitored every single 700 Club broadcast and could prove that Pat Robertson’s campaign against lesbian and gay Americans continued unabated. White wanted everybody to see for themselves. To that end he put together a brilliant 30-minute video* that both illustrates the toxic rhetoric and responds to it with forthright truth, Biblical documentation, and loving grace. He and his life-partner Gary Nixon went back to Virginia Beach last February and — at their own expense — held a forum to show the video to the local community. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Over the past months, White and Nixon have shared that tape with numerous organizations and individuals — also dogging Robertson at the GOP convention in San Diego last summer and demonstrating outside of the Christian Coalition’s annual "Road to Victory" conference at the Washington Hilton in September. The good news is that many more people are now aware of the Pat Robertson agenda. The bad news is that gay-bashing is still a staple on The 700 Club.
On January 7, 1997, for example — the second day of a 2-week telethon called "Crisis of Confusion" — the target of the day was the all-destructive, "anti-orthodox" multiculturalism. Pat told his followers that the two biggest problems in America are homosexuality and abortion. There is a "malevolent force pushing this agenda" that is "perverse and evil." These are recurring themes on The 700 Club, where Robertson & Company spare nothing to create their distorted world of intolerance, fear and hatred.
But Pat Robertson has not heard the last of Mel White. And neither, for that matter, has William Jefferson Clinton.
Mel White and Gary Nixon spent Inauguration Day in Washington. They did not, however, dance at some inaugural ball or other high fallutin extravaganza put on by the proverbial "Gay Community." They spent January 19-20th at Dupont Circle leading a 24-Hour Fast and Prayer Vigil For Justice — and launching a four-year, nationwide Justice Candle Vigil.
"LIGHT YOUR JUSTICE CANDLE," White said, "that the President might see the light!" The event was "not a protest or a confrontation" against Clinton. Candles were lit "to honor your high office and to assure you that we understand the difficulty you have in serving all Americans fairly." Nonetheless, White urged the President "not to sacrifice the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Americans again in his second term for some ‘greater political Good’ — especially in view of the ongoing campaign by Pat Robertson and the other religious and political extremists."
Truth? Justice? Reconciliation? Rights? A four-year, nationwide, non-megafunded Justice Candle Vigil?
This guy Mel White and his partner Gary Nixon have one hell of a lot of nerve!
(And I wonder where they’ll be THIS VALENTINE’S DAY?)
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