Oklahoma City received national attention via huffpost recently because of the City Council's vote to include sexual orientation as a category in the city's nondiscrimination policy. Clifton Adcock penned a local version for the Gazette, which, happily, contains photos of this post's cast of characters. This fight has been going on for quite some time, with Ed Shadid, one of the new councilmen, finally authoring a proposal that passed 7-2. The chambers filled up that night, mainly with area churchpeople, members of the LGBT community, and the usual suspects: ACLU, Cimarron Alliance, etc.
Representing the Lord Jesus Christ (much to His embarrassment) were two of the city's most outspoken pastors: Paul Blair and Tom Vineyard. First Blair (photos by Mark Hancock for the Oklahoma Gazette):
Blair is on the far left of the photo. Please note the well-coiffed young men arrayed to his left. That they are standing and applauding means Pastor Vineyard or Councilman Kelly (one of the nay votes) had just said something spiritual or inspiring or ridiculous. I'll let you judge very soon. Blair played football at Oklahoma State and then for the Chicago Bears. As near as I can tell, it's his single qualification for being in ministry, except the ability to read (if not interpret accurately) the Bible. Too harsh? Listen to Blair's rationale for being opposed to granting LGBT persons employment protections:
"What are you going to do when you pass these kind of policies, and all of a sudden, you’ve got Jim in accounting that decides he wishes to wear a miniskirt to work one day? Well, are you going to discriminate against him and send him home?” he said. “What are you going to do when Officer Jones decides he wishes to take a shower in the women’s locker room because he’s feeling like a woman that day?"
Poor Clifton. The problem with being a journalist is you're not allowed to use "What the fuck are you talking about?" as a follow-up question. Would that it were allowed; the world would be a better place and politicians and pastors might actually think about the bullshit that comes from their mouths. Blair pastors Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, a suburb to the north of Oklahoma City, and he is the national director for Reclaiming America for Christ, the grassroots theocrats inspired by the late, fake Presbyterian D. James Kennedy.
The man above is not Karl Rove's nephew, but he could totally rock the costume for Halloween. Except Windsor Hills Baptist Church does not observe Halloween. Nope, like a Jack Chick tract come to life, Windsor Hills Baptist Church eschews the devil's holiday, spins conspiracy theories, supports Israel without qualification, and gives away guns at their summer youth camp. It is one of two large Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches in the Oklahoma City metro area. (The other is Southwest Baptist, and you can find them in Bricktown on a regular basis, black pinafores, white shirts, black slacks, posters about abortion and judgment, shitty music and sidewalk prayer abounding.) Tom Vineyard, Rove's nephew, is the son of founder Jim Vineyard, who is now listed as pastor emeritus. The son took over from his father in 2007, and very little (nothing) has changed.
Not to be outdone in histrionics or ridiculous assertions, Vineyard exceeded Blair in amazing absurdities:
from huffpost: As NewsOK is reporting, Pastor Tom Vineyard of Windsor Hills Baptist Church cited "a New York judge" in saying more than half of murders in large cities are committed by gay people. He went on to note, "Many homosexuals openly admit that they are pedophiles because they cannot actually reproduce. They resort to recruiting children. ... Folks, you're making a decision that will bring down God's judgment on your city if you vote in favor of this." Vineyard is also reported to have received the longest standing ovation of the day after his remarks.
Clifton also reported: "He read a list of statistics about rates of sexually transmitted diseases, intestinal parasites, murder and pedophilia among homosexuals." Intestinal parasites? Oh dear. All gay people are less attractive Dexters with the shits and an unhealthy attraction to children? Shouldn't a fundamental commitment to truth-telling be a qualification for ministry? Silly question, I know, but this is amazing stuff. To lie, obfuscate, bully, and grandstand to get your dubious agenda passed is shameful. Pretty sure demagoguery is too tame a word to describe men who sell out the truth as they pretend to labor for the truth.
The more likely possibility is that these two actually believe much of what they're saying because, well, not to be uncharitable, but because they're not smart enough to know bullshit when they hear it. It's possible that they are so invested in a particular set of "facts" being the case, they are closed to the possibility that the things can't be true. They practice a willful ignorance that allows Jesus to be Lord of a tiny kingdom of douchebags and bigots. Probably not what the revolutionary rabbi had in mind when he went to the cross. One nail for white folks, one nail for the KJV, and one nail for the status quo. Maranatha, Lord Jesus. What's that? You're busy. Fuck. I understand.