Hardly a day goes by when someone doesn’t say something offensive and then turns around the next day and apologizes. The offensive remarks that surfaced yesterday came from North Carolina pastor Sean Harris, who told his congregation to “squash the gay” out of their kids “like a cockroach.” Of course, the blogosphere freaked out at the idea that a minister would advocate child abuse, so he did what he was forced to do; he apologized; sort of. It was all “in jest,” he said.
In North Carolina, the debate over marital rights is reaching a boiling point. Voters are going to have to decide whether same-sex marriage, which is already illegal in North Carolina, should become unconstitutional. A wife of a GOP Senator from the Tar Heel state said that she feels that the constitutional amendment is important to preserve the Caucasian race. Another proponent of the amendment took his feelings out on a neighbor’s sign. He shot it.
I guess it seemed natural that political prosthelytizing on the issue would be a part of Sunday’s sermon in Pastor Harris’ tax exempt church. In the sermon, he tells fathers to “crack that wrist” “and give a good punch” if his son’s wrist looks a little too limp.
In his apology, he told WRAL News that he was using hyperbole, like Jesus. But he goes on in his apology to say that “the Bible makes no compromise for effeminate behavior. God created you a male. God created you a female. If you are created as a male, you are to act as a man.”
Here’s the video:
Here is the more formal written apology as it appears on the church’s website.
Of course, the danger, even in the pastor’s latest words, is that “effeminate” behavior is entirely subjective. As you travel the world or even meet people from other cultures, even Christian cultures, you’ll find that mannerisms have more to do with culture than with sexual identity. There are gay professional athletes. There are straight people that are mistaken for gay. In fact, I recall being told that when men cross their legs, their leg should be parallel to the ground, but when women cross their legs, it should look much like Pastor Harris in the above video.
One thing that Harris seems to be acknowledging though, is that people are born with their sexual identity. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that a pretty ribbon isn’t going to make a girl be attracted to men any more than playing with trucks and guns will make a boy grow up to want to marry a woman. After all, being straight or gay is not about how you act. It’s about what’s inside.