Hey Pastor Scates, who you callin' libertine?

Posted on 29 Apr 2009 at 10:04am

Senior Pastor Ronald Scates of Highland Park Presbyterian Church just sent me an e-mail concerning the post below. Scates said he used the word “libertine,” not “libertarian,” during an interview with The Dallas Morning News. But Scates said The DMN “got it wrong.” In case you’re not familiar with “libertine,” here’s the definition from Merriam Webster:

1: usually disparaging: a freethinker especially in religious matters
2: a person who is unrestrained by convention or morality; specifically: one leading a dissolute life

In addition to the correction, Scates chided me for calling him “homophobic”:

“How does calling me a perjorative (sic) name in public — someone you don’t know in the least — further your cause?” he said in the e-mail.

Well, for one thing, it’s not true that I don’t know Scates “in the least.” In addition to his public comments in places like The DMN, I interviewed him at some length a few weeks ago for this story. During our interview, it became pretty apparent to me that Scates considers homosexuality to be both immoral and a matter of choice. Now, does this alone make him homophobic? I suppose it depends on your definition. But ultimately here’s what I think is an appropriate analogy: If Scates were actively opposed to African-American clergy, I wouldn’t hesitate to label him a racist. Sorry, Ron, I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.

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