Earlier this month, I kicked off this series of articles with a piece about a North Carolina "pastor" who, in the midst of that state's debate over an anti-gay ballot initiative, urged his followers to violently abuse their young children if said children show what his fevered brain regarded as early signs of homosexuality. His antics--and, more importantly, the uniform approval they received from his congregation--are a disturbing example of the ugly fascism that has, for years, gestated, across the U.S. in, among other places, reactionary fundamentalist churches.
few weeks later, the same state birthed another example of it. "Pastor"
Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church of Maiden, North
Carlolina used his Mother's Day "sermon" as an opportunity to go on a rampage against homosexuals.
In rhetoric that rather inescapably invokes an obvious historical
precedent, he suggests "lesbians and queers" be rounded up, dropped into
concentration camps behind electrified wire and left to die:
"I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers... Build a great, big, large fence--50 or 100 mile long--put all the
lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the
same thing with the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence
electrified 'til they can't get out... And you know what? In a few
years, they'll die out... They can't reproduce."
was particularly upset about President Obama's recent endorsement of
same-sex marriage and left no doubt about his own political
affiliation, blatantly violating the tax-exempt status granted his
church in railing against
"our president gettin' up and
sayin' it was all right for two women to marry or two men to marry. I
tell ya' right now, I was disappointed bad, and I tell ya' that right
there is as sorry as you can get. The Bible's agin' it, God's agin' it,
I'm agin' it and if you've got any sense, you're agin' it... Hey, I'll
tell ya' right now, somebody said 'who you gonna' vote for?' I ain't
gonna' vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover!"
the immediate aftermath of this, Worley essentially went into hiding
and his church's website was taken down. CNN, in a sudden,
uncharacteristic decision to practice journalism, uncovered an audio recording of an old Worley sermon from 30 April, 1978, one that suggests his poisonous preaching on this subject is far from a recent innovation:
livin' in a day when, you know what, it saddens my heart to think that
homosexuals can go around, bless God, and get the applause of a lot of
people. Lesbians and all the rest of it. Bless God, 40 years ago, they'd
a' hung 'em, bless God, from a white oak tree. Wouldn't they? Amen."
"strange fruits" left hanging from white oaks--and other trees--in the
South 40 years before this remark were, of course, those unfortunate
enough to be black and in the South at a time when Jim Crow was law and
backed up by racist terrorism. In 1938--exactly 40 years before Worley's
remarks--Southern Senators filibustered to death a major effort at an
anti-lynching law to put a stop to this. Worley's nostalgia is telling.
fantasies about the murder of homosexuals are hardly unique though.
They've been a perpetual fixture on the reactionary fringe for decades.
Like so many fringe views, these have been creeping into the
"mainstream" for years. North Carolina's anti-gay ballot
initiative, like similar initiatives passed in about 30 states, are a
reflection of the same impulses.
 Only a few days ago, Mississippi state Rep. Andy Gipson called for putting homosexuals to death.
Responding to an effort to get him to apologize for this, he replied
"To be clear, I want the world to know that I do not, cannot, and will
not apologize for the inspired truth of God’s Word."