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Readers Speak Out Against Pastors' Fight

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I just read "Pastors Fight to Not Protect Gays" (Street Talk, Jan. 9). The article begs the question: Why do so-called family-values Christians always begin a new campaign by devaluing the families of others?

The reported comments of the Rev. Joe Ellison, executive director of Pastors for Family Values, on the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), are: "We're not homophobic, but we have the right to hire the people we want in our churches. The government should not be involved." According to the article, the Rev. Ellison worries that similar legislation will be proposed during the General Assembly session. I am pleased to know that the pastor does not believe his group is homophobic, but I fail to understand how bearing false witness about a piece of legislation designed to protect lesbian and gay people from discrimination supports family values.

ENDA specifically excludes religious organizations from the proposed statute. Similar legislation has been passed in 15 states and hundreds of cities and counties across the country, and not one nondiscrimination law requires religious organizations to hire individuals whose manner of life or belief is contrary to the beliefs and teaching of the organization.

So why is it that his group, Pastors for Family Values, is asserting that such legislation would force churches to hire people they do not wish to hire when this is clearly not the case? Why is an organization that purports to support family values working against legislation that would help families headed by lesbian and gay individuals? Apparently, the non-homophobic Pastors for Family Values has a lot in common with the supposedly non-racist White Citizens' Council of the 1960s. They loudly proclaim that they are not bigots while working to destabilize the families of others by speaking falsely about legislation meant to protect their livelihood and homes.

Van Baskins
Richmond



I guess this article really does prove beyond shadow of a doubt that God really does love everyone but gays. The Rev. Joe Ellison and anyone associating themselves with his belief that gays shouldn't be protected from hate crimes should be ashamed of themselves. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Bible says, "Love your fellow man as you love yourself" without qualification. To think an African-American pastor would stand up against any living human being's protection is absurd. Christian, ha! Clearly that's not the case.

Mike Martin
Richmond





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