Normally when I write about preachers it’s because they’re said something to terrible and so public that they ended up on Right Wing Watch calling for genocide. I mean, seriously, the amount of genocidal maniacs in this country is a little scary.
But today, the sermon I’m talking about is a bit more mainstream… and I say that with reservations. A friend of mine occasionally goes to this church to support her sister who sings there sometimes. The problem with that? My friend doesn’t believe.
She posted a video on Youtube taking the churches audio and putting a Christopher Hitchens quote up over it. The audio is not edited, and the quote is, “Well, I say that homosexuality is not just a form of sex, it is a form of love, and it deserves our respect for that reason.”
What has gotten her some solid harassment by her family members was what she wrote in the description. Starting off with a quote from the text, “Anybody with common sense knows that don’t work’ …. Except, you know… pretty much the entire scientific community. This is Pastor Jeff Appling from Grove Level Baptist Church talking about how he knows absolutely nothing about gay people, and that he thinks we need to be “cured”. Apologies in advance if the guy makes you want to projectile vomit onto your computer. I feel terrible for Steve… nobody deserves a guy like Jeff in their life.”
Yeah, that’s the video description that has gotten my friend put at odds with her bible-believing family. And, hell, if you think that’s offensive, you should hear what I’ve said about the bastard over the past few days since she sent me a link to a sermon of his asking me to deconstruct it. The original date she gave me was not the one this came out of, although it was forty minutes of this douche begging for money from his Georgia congregation.
So, after listening to two of this guy’s sermons and complaining to all of my friends (occasionally playing short clips of him barking, yes, literally barking) and saying inspirational things like, “We’re not going to look like we’ve been baptized in dill pickle juice!”, I finally have something to say to him: 25 years is enough preaching for you.
He starts out the October 11 sermon by explaining that he’s using a different version of the bible than he normally does. The fact that his congregation apparently sees no problem with having multiple versions of “the word of god” confuses the hell out of me, but that’s nothing common among most churches.
No, I don’t give a shit about his coon hunting stories about unity or his reminiscing about his first time preaching in that church. I don’t take issue with people believing what they want. I do, however, take issue with the way he talks about gay people.
At one point in the sermon he talks about how “accepting” his church is, going into a long list of all the people they love, and then he finishes up the list with, “If they’re straight or if they’re” *insert long pause* “crooked”.
What happened, bud? Did you forget the word for other people? Like, “not straight”?
Then he goes into a story about his “friend” Steve, a gay man who he says was helped by their congregation. He bragged that the church paid for counseling for the poor man. What he means by counseling is apparently “gay conversion therapy” which is illegal now for a damn good reason, you know, because instead of working it put people in danger. Can you feel the “love” yet? (That link is to a Neil Carter piece called Your Love is Toxic, which I highly recommend taking the time to read)
Applling’s another one of those guys who thinks gay people need to be cured. He talks about how hurt people need Jesus, and the mingles that with talking about homosexuality. Sorry, homosexuality isn’t harmful, it’s fabulous (so that might be a stereotype and I might be a dick but at least I know love doesn’t need cured).
The best part? He talks about how his congregation accepted biracial couples the same way they accept gay people. And, judging from the way he talks about Steve, that would fall under a category called Not At All.
If you go to a church like this, please speak up, please speak out, please shut whoever your congregation’s lead dildo is straight (or crooked) down. There are people who can write about pieces of bigotry and bullshit wherever they see it, but comic relief in the form of argumentative bloggers is a limited resource and if I hadn’t been told about this bastard I wouldn’t be writing about him.
He doesn’t deserve to have a job. He doesn’t deserve to beg these folks for money and scam them out of it. He can bark in public all he wants but when he crosses the line into bigotry then it’s our job to hold him up and laugh at him.
And in case you weren’t sure by this point, anyone can do this. I’m not saying that if you don’t go to church you should force yourself to seek them out, but if you’re forced to be in an environment like this, then make it into something positive because we all know that the guy in the pulpit never will.