Anti-Gay Myths Promoted by Pastors of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Part 6: Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality

Copied from:  Southern Poverty Law Center

By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback

Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement some 40 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize gay people — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gay men and lesbians to “recruit” in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that sexual orientation is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gay men molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at the LGBT community, which is more targeted for such attacks than any other minority group in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.

MYTH # 6

Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia.


Anti-gay activists, who have long opposed adding LGBT people to those protected by hate crime legislation, have repeatedly claimed that such laws would lead to the jailing of religious figures who preach against homosexuality — part of a bid to gain the backing of the broader religious community for their position. Janet Porter of Faith2Action, for example, was one of many who asserted that the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — signed into law by President Obama in October 2009 — would “jail pastors” because it “criminalizes speech against the homosexual agenda.”

In a related assertion, anti-gay activists claimed the law would lead to the legalization of psychosexual disorders (paraphilias) like bestiality and pedophilia. Bob Unruh, a conservative Christian journalist who left The Associated Press in 2006 for the right-wing, conspiracist news site WorldNetDaily, said shortly before the federal law was passed that it would legalize “all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or ‘paraphilias’ listed by the American Psychiatric Association.” This claim was repeated by many anti-gay organizations, including the Illinois Family Institute.


The claim that hate crime laws could result in the imprisonment of those who “oppose the homosexual lifestyle” is false. The First Amendment provides robust protections of free speech, and case law makes it clear that even a preacher who publicly suggested that gays and lesbians should be killed would be protected.

Neither do hate crime laws — which provide for enhanced penalties when persons are victimized because of their “sexual orientation” (among other factors) — “protect pedophiles,” as Janet Porter and many others have claimed. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation refers to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality — not paraphilias such as pedophilia. Paraphilias, as defined (pdf; may require a different browser) by the American Psychiatric Association, are characterized by sexual urges or behaviors directed at non-consenting persons or those unable to consent like children, or that involve another person’s psychological distress, injury, or death.

Moreover, even if pedophiles, for example, were protected under a hate crime law — and such a law has not been suggested or contemplated anywhere — that would not legalize or “protect” pedophilia. Pedophilia is illegal sexual activity, and a law that more severely punished people who attacked pedophiles would not change that.

Examples of LCMS anti-Gay Hate Speech using the above myth:

“I am no doomsday prophet but it would be foolish not to consider how these things will impact the status of the church before the world and the work of the church on behalf of Christ.  We have lived under the illusion of being not only a protected estate before the Law but also a preferred perspective by the nation and its people.  That illusion has surely been shattered by events such as those reported above.  Maybe it is true that what we thought was only an illusion of reality, a false perception of friendliness between culture and Christianity, but how many people my age would have thought that at this time in history Christianity would be seen by many as an enemy of culture, education, science, and justice?  At this point in our history, it is even more important that we not soften or adjust the message of the cross but speak even more clearly and boldly the truth of the Scriptures in love.  As much as these indicate that we may find ourselves an unpopular minority, it also indicates that the message we preach and teach is needed now more than ever.”
                                                     —Rev. Larry Peters, Pastoral Meanderings Blog

“In the past weeks, I’ve been paying very close attention to the Supreme Court cases on gay marriage. What is billed as simply allowing people to love whom they please, in reality threatens to rule unconstitutional the divinely created mandate that marriage is between one man and one woman And we who hold to natural law and the Scriptures are increasingly labeled “bigots.” The assault on our religious freedoms will increase exponentially—and soon, as we refuse to capitulate to the world. Our world is slipping so rapidly away from sanity that I shudder to think what is just ahead. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”   
                  —Rev. Matthew Harrison, President (Head Bishop), Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

“Here’s the backstory: The Lesbian Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, and City Council passed an anti-discrimination LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) Ordinance that by law now says: women who feel more comfortable as men may use the men’s restroom and men, who feel more comfortable as women may use the ladies rest room.  Houston, we have a problem. The good people of the city were dismayed and upset. A City Ordinance states public redress is allowed when more than 18,000 signatures are collected. With over 55,000 signed signatures the Mayor and City Hall threw out the petition for whatever reason. This is when the firestorm erupted.  And now the Mayor and City Hall have subpoenaed sermons and all forms of communication from five Houston pastors. From First Things magazine we read:

 A big-time law firm took on the case to defend the city of Houston. It then used the usual shock-and-awe tactics of Big Law, which in this case meant subpoenas designed to beat the adversary into submission. Thus the insanely broad demand for all sermons, memos and so forth that mention homosexuality. In short, this is not a city-initiated fishing expedition. Instead, it’s a “how-dare-you-challenge-the-Establishment” punch in the gut.[1]

This discrimination is being promoted by those who are anti-discrimination—imagine that—and it is a political tactic meant to silence opposition and free speech. This subpoena has a chilling effect upon those who disagree with the State. The citizenry will now be concerned whether they too will investigated with threats of court if they advance a referendum, permitted by city charter, of which the government does not approve.  The Mayor’s latest ruling is totalitarian and coercive for it tramples the Frist Amendment right to free political and religious speech. In the Apocalypse the thirteenth chapter St. Paul speaks of apostate government as that beast which rises from the sea (Rev 13:1-10) making league with the apostate church—that beast rising from the earth (Rev 13:11-18)—to promote things which are not holy or right.  As always when advancing sin, anti-discrimination laws are a one way street. To be sure pastors hold a public office and everything done by pastors short of Private Confession and Absolution is public. So, pastors should be eager to speak of Christ’s testimonies before Mayor’s, City Council, and kings. To that effect there is a call in social media for pastors around the country to send to the Mayor’s office their sermons and communication on homosexuality. And so on Monday (Oct., 20th) of this past week I sent to the Houston’s Mayor’s Office two articles I wrote on homosexuality which appeared in the Henning and Perham, MN newspapers two years ago this October. This is done not to be a show-off, or be funny.  I sent my articles to advocate for my weaker brothers and sisters, and the next generation. For I want them and all to have the freedom to practice their faith without looking over their shoulder in fear. I, and many other pastors and lay people are doing so to fight against the totalitarian tactics of Houston’s Mayor and City Hall.

Martin Niemoeller was a Lutheran pastor in Berlin who stood up to the totalitarian regime of Adolf Hitler. Like the Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, Hitler became angered by Niemoeller’s non-conformist sermons which brought religion into public life. Hitler had Niemoeller arrested in 1937 in attempt to silence him. Niemoeller was brought to court and sentenced seven months in prison. Then Hitler ordered him arrested again, and Niemoeller spent the next seven years in concentration camps. Before he died in 1984 he frequently traveled the United States and ended his speeches with these words.”   ——The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

(Gary:  Was the “unisex toilet” issue in Houston a mandate on churches, or was it only a mandate for public restrooms?  If the mandate was to include churches, the Christian pastors had a right to protest as such a mandate would be an infringement on the practice of their religion on their church property.  If the mandate was for public restrooms only, the pastors violated the Separation of Church and State by using their pulpit to advocate for a political issue solely involving the public sector.)

“A city in Idaho is trying to force an ordained minister there to perform so-called same-sex marriages. (Source???) Of course, there is no such thing as a same-sex marriage. That’s an impossibility. But some people want to pretend otherwise. And our culture is so screwed up right now that lots of people have been deceived into thinking there can be such a thing as same-sex marriage. And the government is coming down heavy-handed trying to enforce it. So they are threatening this minister that he must perform homosexual marriages, or else. I hope he defies the government. I know I would, if the government ever tries to enforce that here. Render, but do not surrender, unto Caesar. And these two examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The Obama administration has tried to force Christian employers to provide abortion-causing drugs to their employees. This is wrong. Caesar is overstepping his bounds, trying to force people to act against conscience. Where will this stop? Who knows? It very well could get worse. It’s heading that way. But these are instances where Christians can and should defy the government and not obey.”  
                                           —The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

I have to wonder out loud what the immediate future for the freedom of expression looks like for those Christians who boldly talk about their beliefs? Already our children can’t openly talk about Christ in public schools unless they are willing to suffer the consequences for such ‘intolerance’ towards non-Christians. Those of us in the work force are similarly rebuked by the proponents of tolerance should we dare speak up about our Christian beliefs. What is the next step? Are we to be jailed for hate speech, if we refuse to cater to the politically correct? Will the next Christian refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual couple’s wedding land in prison for a hate crime? Will faithful pastors who teach the truth about the sin of homosexuality, or about the sin of murdering babies through abortion, find themselves locked up behind bars? What the Phil Robertson’s in this country are showing me is that some Americans believe the first amendment doesn’t apply to the private or public speech of Christians expressing their faith. What this means to those of us wanting to remain steadfast in the pew, or from behind the pulpit, is that the likelihood of suffering the consequences for our speech is increasingly great as secular religion continues to gain strength in America. Lord have mercy!    —-The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

“In the last few weeks I have posted links to many fine articles that accurately describe why homosexual marriage is detrimental to society.  However, the fact of the matter is that when homosexual marriage becomes a full and complete legal reality very little will change.  The redefinition of marriage and its ongoing death in American culture was already happening. Homosexual marriage really does nothing more than provide the unavoidable conclusion that marriage in our culture in now in hospice.  It doesn’t fundamentally change things.  Instead it forces us to acknowledge that things have fundamentally changed for marriage. Yet at the same time, homosexual marriage as a legal reality changes everything.  It does so because it provides the legal basis for the homosexual movement to attack everything and everyone in society that does not fully accept it.  It provides the legal basis for insinuating homosexuality into many different aspects of society such as education.  It is an even more powerful tool than “hate speech legislation” since it takes the form of a “civil rights issue” that can be aimed at many different targets.  As Robert Knight has written:

Which brings us to the bigger picture. The Left’s drive for “gay rights” poses the greatest domestic threat to the freedoms of religion, speech and assembly. When traditional morality is equated with racist bigotry, civil rights enforcement becomes a gun aimed at the head of citizens, forcing them to choose between God and Caesar. That should never happen in America, where our founders said rights come from our Creator, not capricious man, who can mistake fashion for morality (

The Church and the homosexual movement have very different approaches to one another.  The Church condemns homosexuality as sin.  Yet like many other sins that continue on in a fallen world, the Church realizes that she cannot stamp it out. She can only speak Law and Gospel as she seeks to lead sinners to repentance.  She understands she will have to live in a world where sin like homosexuality continues until Christ returns. The homosexual movement on the other hand is not willing to tolerate the existence of a position that labels homosexuality as sinful and contrary to God’s ordering of creation.  It will use every means necessary to destroy the opposition. The legal status of homosexual marriage will provide the hammer of civil rights enforcement they need to do just that.”

   —Rev. Mark Surburg, Surburg’s Blog, copied onto The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

“Finally, the Church must be ready to suffer with Christ.  Homosexual marriage will bring hardships upon the Church.  If we continue to confess what God’s Word says about homosexuality, the time will come when we will have to pay the price for this confession.  Naturally we need to look to the promises of God’s Word as we prepare for this challenge. We also need to become friends again with the saints who have gone before us – the martyrs and confessors.  We need to learn their stories so that we can see how God’s grace was at work in their lives, and so that we can learn from their examples of faith and confession.”
                      —-Rev. Mark Surburg, Surburg’s Blog

“I’d like, however, to read a posting from Norm or one of the other writers on what may be the true upcoming problem: our total loss of religious freedom. See, for instance,
which compares where the U.S. is going to where Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden are now.
What will the LCMS do when the governments demands that our churches perform marriages of gays, polygamists, and every other kind of deviant – or else (to start) lose their tax-exempt status and (at the end) go to jail? The contraception mandate in Obamacare was just the start.”
                                       —The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

“If worse comes to worse, the Church may have to go underground as it was in pagan Rome, and as it is in modern China. But we will press on! But we should do everything possible to try to slow down (and even reverse, if that were possible) the West’s slide into antichrist totalitarianism. But ultimately it is in God’s hands, as are our very lives. Do not lose faith as Satan and his servants would have us do. You are correct about future attempts to force churches to perform sodomite “marriages”:
                                                           —-The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

I have to wonder, also, where are the Muslim voices? It seems they have been silent on this issue (homosexuality). As I recall, Allah also thinks homosexual marriage is yucky (with a vengeance, I might add). The Muslims have no need to attract unfavorable attention to themselves by defending conservative Christian beliefs. Where there are enough of them, they demand Sharia… and get it, from the same people who tell Christians to “go along and get along” with HHS mandates, same sex marriage and abortion. [However, if we obeyed our own teaching about marriage, divorce and such, as we did 50+ years ago, we could make a better case for letting us live under our own law, too.]”
                           —The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

with a bit of sarcasm) When the government is allowed to define marriage … (not sure who gave them that authority) Once “gay marriage” is allowed will not the next step be polygamy? Why not have multiple “spouses”? How can the government step on my rights to “love” as many people as I want? We’ve already legalized murder. Here in Arizona a man shot his wife (married almost 70 years) The court decided he did what was best for her.) Once we let the government determine morality there is no right or wrong. The will rule. Christians have had so many poor public examples what Christianity is about is difficult to hear over all the noise. (Moral morjoity and others)”
                                               —The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

The government wants to do away with “traditional marriage” because of the children. As president Obama administration has publicly stated it is cheaper for the government with fewer children in society. It is cheaper for the government when children are aborted. We should support homosexuality because there will be fewer children and less of a financial support needed for children from birth to the grave. Just look at the birth rate in the US now and the number of schools that are saving money by closing and reducing the size of their class rooms. When we take out the caring and loving element that only Christians know, (not who am I hurting false love of some) the main idea is financial. How great to know that in the end Christ wins! We are told that at the end the angels need to come and explain to people the end is happening because by nature without faith, people will still not believe. Even so come Lord Jesus.”
                                      —The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog

“What’s more, God will give you the strength and the courage you need to speak out and to act, in the cause of standing up for the truth, over against the wrong turns our nation has taken. Make no mistake, to do that will take courage. If you speak out against same-sex marriage, for instance, you will be branded a bigot and a homophobe. People will say you are guilty of “hate speech.” If you act against abortion, if you refuse to vote for pro-abortion candidates, you will be called “anti-choice” and “anti-woman.” So be it. Wear the badge with honor. Persecution comes with the territory. It always has, and it always will. Jesus told us, “The world will hate you because of me.”
                                       —Rev. Charles Henrickson, The Brothers of John the Steadfast



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