Last Monday, the St. Joseph City Council voted 8-1 to pass a non-discrimination ordinance that, among other things, will protect those who are LGBTQ when it comes to employment, public accommodation, and housing. It’s a long overdue measure. But like so many of these bills, there was opposition from some Christians, even though religious organizations were exempt from this particular law.
One of the critics, Pastor Jacob McMillian of Journey Baptist Church, showed up to the meeting and pleaded his case before the vote. He didn’t think private property owners should have to abide by this ordinance if they held anti-LGBTQ religious beliefs. (In his world, Christian landlords would be allowed to deny housing to same-sex couples.)
How did he make his case? By equating homosexuality with pedophilia.
McMillian pointed to the wording of the ordinance where the definition of “sexual orientation” included a clause saying it didn’t apply to “sexual preference or practice between an adult and minor.” (Obviously.) He wanted to know why that exemption was needed, because what if a pedophile claimed he was just “born that way”?
… in the ordinance, we have an exemption underneath one of the clauses. It says “an adult cannot be with a minor”… What if that person is born that way and that is their preference? Are we now telling them they can’t have their expression of sexuality?… Within my religious conviction, sexual choice is a choice. That you are not born a certain way. That this is a choice they have made, and that’s why I think it is condemned in the Bible.
The crowd wasn’t having any of it. But if you watch that clip, neither is City Councilman Brian Myers, who responds with a short and brutal retort:
No one’s born a bigot either. I think it’s taught. And I think you’re a glaring example of bigotry that’s been taught.
While the crowd is applauding, and Myers chimes in with a “Nice try, son,” an embarrassed McMillian says into the microphone, “Councilman, name-calling should not be allowed. That is slander.” (You can see the full exchange here beginning at the 1:32:52 mark.)The amazing thing is that the pastor didn’t stop there. He was so infuriated by his humiliation that he wrote a letter to the local paper… and humiliated himself in the process.
The best part is when he claims he can’t be a bigot because “A bigot is one who is intolerant of another’s belief or opinion.” Says the guy fighting for the ability to discriminate against gay people. (By the way, another definition of bigot is “one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.” That applies here.
For the record, I am not a bigot. My life shows that I tolerate and accept those of differing lifestyles. My kid attends public school with LGBTQ families, my wife teaches in a public school that serves LGBTQ families, our church is a food pantry that is willing to serve LGBTQ families, and I have coached for three years with the St. Joe Parks and Rec Department without discriminating against certain families.
Someone give him a medal! His family dares to breathe the same air as bisexuals.
Won’t someone recognize his sacrifice?!
I am not a bigot. Bigots are intolerant of another’s belief or right, like making one use private property to support a lifestyle that violates their religious beliefs. I would like a public apology from Brian Myers, I want to know publicly if he still thinks I am a bigot, and I would like him to present scientific proof that LGBTQ members are born into the community for the sake of the argument.
Needless to say, renting a room to a same-sex couple in exchange for money isn’t an endorsement of their “lifestyle.” It’s just business. And while I don’t know Brian Myers, I’ll speak for him anyway and say, yes, he still thinks McMillian is a bigot (because he is) and no one owes him scientific proof of their gayness.
Why doesn’t McMillian just talk to all those LGBTQ people whose existence he bravely tolerates?
By the way, a number of Christians openly supported the ordinance at the meeting and in comment threads online. They’re as frustrated by this guy as we are. That’s why the council passed the ordinance without much controversy.
Still, I doubt this pastor’s persecution complex will be resolved anytime soon.