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H/T to BoiseBlue for the video. The full story of this remarkable polemic by a Christian preacher in Southwest Missouri needs telling. For hose who need to immediately see the video that preserved the courageous preacher's public censure of the LGBT bigots in his own community, here it is. Everything else, including a full transcript by yours truly and a few more thoughts about this are out in the tall grass.
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I grew up in Missouri. Through four years of university I regularly drove through Southwestern Missouri between school and home. I know it as the home of un-reconstructed Confederates like the James and Younger brothers with roots in Missouri's border state history dating back to when Lincoln broke up a secession minded legislature before it could vote. As Springsteen so poetically sang in the Ballad of Jesse James, "he came from a solitary race". This part of America has never been over-populated by inclusiveness minded people.

The ordinance in question was a proposed amendment to the Springfield, Missouri city code giving the municipal Human Rights Commission jurisdiction over discrimination on the basis of sexual preference and gender identity. Bible based outrage apparently broke out that the city would presume to grant special privileges to such people. After briefly stating his support for the amendment, the preacher, the Rev. Dr. Phil Snider, unexpectedly set out on a Bible based fundamentalist sounding rant against LGBT rights that lasted almost two minutes. Then suddenly, he wheeled around and confronted his community's LGBT bigots directly, saying:

I'm sorry. I've brought the wrong notes with me this evening. I've borrowed my argument from the wrong century. It turns out what I've been reading to you this whole time are direct quotes from White preachers from the 1950's and the 1960's all in support of racial segregation. All I have done is simply take out the words “racial integration” and substituted it with the phrase “gay rights”.

I guess the arguments I've been hearing around Springfield lately sound so similar to these that I got them confused.

That is why I view this preacher's presentation to the Springfield City Council as courageous. He acknowledges that his community has again given itself to ill conceived bigotry and that the Bible is again being misused to perpetuate injustice. He boldly, directly and most confrontationally called out this LGBT bigotry in his own community.

I call what he did brilliant because it's a kind of metaphorical jujitsu. He clearly frames LGBT rights as civil rights by his direct links to last century's struggles against racial segregation. At the same time, his simple substitution of objects, race for gay, at the end, slams the bigots to the mat by suddenly flipping to the present the ancient, discredited and moth eaten arguments that actually sounded all along like contemporary fundamentalist clergy railing against recognition of LGBT rights by cities, states and the federal government.

I am an atheist. It's pretty rare for a Christian preacher to do something that I find brilliant, courageous and altogether commendable,  but my hat is off to the Rev. Dr. Phil Snider of Springfield, Missouri, of the Disciples of Christ, a mainline, North American Christian denomination.

I've got two last things for you tonight. First, the promised transcript of the Rev. Dr. Snider's brilliant rant against LGBT bigotry. After the transcript, if you want to go all the way, I've placed kind of salute to Southwest Missouri, where I spent the first night of my 42, so far, year marriage, I give you The Boss, Jesse James.

Good Evening.

My name is the Rev. Dr. Phil Snider. I was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri and I stand before you this evening in support of this ordinance. I worry about the future of our city. Any accurate reading of the Bible should make it clear that gay rights goes against the plain truth of the Word of God. As one preacher warns, Man, in overstepping the boundary lines that God has drawn by making special rights for gays and lesbians, has taken another step in the direction of inviting the Judgment of God upon our land.

This step of gay rights is but another stepping stone toward the immorality and lawlessness that will be characteristic of the Last Days. This ordinance represents a denial of all that we believe in and no one should force it on us. It's not that we don't care about homosexuals. But it's that our rights would be taken away and  unchristian views will be forced upon us and our children, for we would be forced to go against our personal morals. Outside government agents are endeavoring to disturb God's Established Order. It is not in line with the Bible. Do not let people lead you astray.

The liberals leading this movement do not believe the Bible any longer but every good, substantial, Bible believing, intelligent orthodox Christian can read the Word of God and know what is happening is not of God, When you run into conflict with God's Established Order you have trouble. You do not produce harmony. You produce destruction and trouble and our city is in the greatest danger it has ever been in its history. The reason is we have gotten away from the Bible of our forefathers.

You see, the right of segregation . . .  I'm sorry. Hold on. The Right of Segregation is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures both by precept and example.

Voice: One minute.

Rev. Dr., Snider continues:

I'm sorry. I've brought the wrong notes with me this evening. I've borrowed my argument from the wrong century. It turns out what I've been reading to you this whole time are direct quotes from White preachers from the 1950's and the 1960's all in support of racial segregation. All I have done is simply take out the words “racial integration” and substituted it with the phrase “gay rights”.

I guess the arguments I've been hearing around Springfield lately sound so similar to these that I got them confused.

I hope you will not make the same mistake.

I hope you will stand on the right side of history.

Thank you.    

11:25 AM PT: Real people, it turns out can still be better resources for good information than the Google.  It happens that Dr. Snider is not associated with the fundamentalist Assemblies of God, as I first published, but with the more open and less dogmatic Disciples of Christ. Several commentators have noted his affiliation with Springfields' Brentwood Church of Christ and susanala gives a nice description of the distinctions in her comment.

Thanks for the input.  I have made minor corrections to the text to reflect the information but the  fundamental thrust of my diary remains, I think, unchanged.


Originally posted to LeftOfYou on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 09:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, Invisible People, and Anglican Kossacks.

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