Javier Soto, who claims to be a pastor in Chile, insulted the entire LGBT community by stepping on a rainbow flag meant to promote LGBT+ equality and calling it “a filthy rag.” (It should be noted the flag actually represented the city of Cusco, Perú… not that Soto noticed.)
Soto, who has a whopping 865 followers on Twitter (in case you’d like to voice criticisms), took the flag from his jacket and placed it on the floor before spending part of an interview with his feet all over it.
According to a translation provided by the Latin Times, Soto wasn’t even subtle about his disdain for LGBTQ people:
“I’m cold on my feet, so we’re going to put a rug in. This is a rug that I use in the shows I’m doing. This is the filthy rag I’m going to put here to do the show. This is a filthy rag that I always use.”
The host of the show, José Miguel Villouta, was very clearly offended. In a surprised tone, he calmly said, “I think that’s disrespectful.”
“I am homosexual, this is my show, and this seems to me a lack of respect and I can’t accept this, so I would ask if you can take that out, to have the conversation we want.”
A number of people and groups have already criticized the self-identified pastor, who mostly yells on the street about homosexuals and then posts it on YouTube, for his actions. The Movimiento de Integracion y Liberacion Homosexual (Movement for Homosexual Integration and Freedom) released a statement calling Soto’s behavior “despicable, very serious and unprecedented.”
Javier Soto is a constant danger for the respect to people’s dignities, besides being deserving of our maximum repudiation for his constant violence, which we do not tolerate… back in November 2015, Javier Soto was convicted of insulting, slandering, offending and assaulting the movement’s leader Rolando Jiménez based on his sexual orientation. In the conviction, Soto was convicted of a ‘hate crime’ and ‘discrimination,’ as well as confirming he had never been a pastor.
Whether Soto is a legitimate pastor or not, he is clearly espousing ideas based on religious texts, namely the Old Testament of the Bible. He claims that pro-LGBT people are promoting unhealthy, anti-family ideas the same way some Christian conservatives do in the United States.
The problem goes deeper than Soto, so the bigger issue is how and why these ideas exist in the first place, but that won’t stop him from saying inflammatory things. The best tactic may just be to show him and his followers (it’s important to note there is no official church backing this man or supporting his anti-LGBT rhetoric) that there is no room for hate speech or violence in the realm of intelligent discourse.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Valentin for the link. We’ve updated the post to say that this was a flag of Cusco, Perú, not the official LGBT flag.)