Steve ‘Santa Claus’ Sprinkle’s message to gay youth goes national: No, God doesn’t hate you

Dr. Stephen Sprinkle’s “It Gets Better” video has been viewed almost 12,000 times.

The other day we shared with you the Rev. Stephen Sprinkle’s “It Gets Better” YouTube message to LGBT youth. Sprinkle, a gay 58-year-old assistant professor at TCU’s Brite Divinity School, may lack the celebrity appeal of some others who’ve recorded these messages in recent days, such as Chris Colfer, Tim Gunn or Ke$ha (also, $prinkle doesn’t usually spell his name with a dollar sign). But out of more than 1,000 videos submitted to the “It Gets Better” YouTube channel, Sprinkle’s is among a handful featured in a national story about the campaign from the Associated Press. That’s because, according to AP, Sprinkle is like the gay Santa Claus. And after all, for the average LGBT youth who’s not going to become a celebrity, a grandfather figure who’s a man of the cloth probably has a lot more cred than Perez Hilton. At least we’d like to think so. Here’s the excerpt about Sprinkle from the AP story:

It’s been 40 years since Stephen Sprinkle was in high school. At 58, he rocks gently in an office chair, his trim gray beard and gentle smile offering a touch of Santa Claus in his video. He describes his Christian upbringing in rural North Carolina and his decision to deny himself an “affectional life” as a gay man when he received his call to the ministry in his 20s.

“It made me lonely for a lot of years,” he tells his viewers, as he constantly looked over his shoulder and lived in fear he would slip up and reveal his secret.

It wasn’t until he was hired as an assistant professor at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, that he decided to come out “utterly, fully and completely,” surviving attempts to have him fired and earning tenure, Sprinkle said in an interview.

Since posting the video, he’s heard from several young people, including one so upset that Sprinkle tracked down professional help.

“He’s 18. He’s a closeted religious person and he told me he was afraid he was going to explode,” Sprinkle said. “He kept asking over and over, `Does God hate me?’ I said ‘Heavens, no. God created you beautiful and complete. God makes no mistakes like that.’”

—  John Wright

Fort Gay, rugby slurs and Tea Party hatefulness: Learning the lesson that words matter

Former Tea Party official Tim Ravndal, left, and Olympic champion swimmer Stephanie Rice, right, both learned lessons this week about the power of words.

I have two sons in middle school, so I know for a fact that children call each other names all the time. Some are silly. Like the time the younger son called his older brother a butthead, and the older brother responded with, “Well, you’re a butt-er head.” I don’t think that one came out the way he intended.

But one day, when the younger brother was calling the older one names, the older one responded, “Sticks and stones may break my bones. But words will never hurt me.” Then he hesitated, turned to me and said, “But that’s not really true, is it? Words can hurt a lot.”

Yep, I told him. Words matter very, very much. Below are three examples how they matter:

—  admin

Target refuses to make nice with the gays

Expect to see more protests like the one above in West Hollywood.

Just hours after we posted this story from the Associated Press about conservatives pressuring Target not to make a donation in support of LGBT equality, the Human Rights Campaign announced Monday afternoon that the company has decided it will take “no corrective actions to repair the harm that it caused by contributing $150,000 to an organization supporting a vehemently anti-gay candidate closely associated with a Christian rock band that advocates death and violence to gay people.”

In a press release, HRC said the company’s decision came after two weeks of discussions and two tentative agreements.

“All fair-minded Americans will now rightly question Target’s commitment to equality. If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut and that’s not something that we will soon forget,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “However, with full marriage equality hanging in the balance in Minnesota, regardless of Target, it’s important that we as a community send a message that we will work tirelessly to elect pro-equality candidates.”

HRC goes on to say that it will devote $150,000 of its own resources to help elect pro-equality candidates in Minnesota. HRC is still awaiting a response from Best Buy, which also contributed money to MN Forward, the group supporting anti-gay Republican Tim Emmer in the governor’s race.

“Target and Best Buy have — and no doubt will continue to have — model employment policies for LGBT people. We will continue to support those efforts. But before they can regain that exalted status among their consumers, they need to make things right in Minnesota,” said Solmonese. “The nation’s LGBT community has shown these two companies enormous customer loyalty. Now it’s time for that faithfulness to be returned.”

Going back to the AP story, it sounds like Target was ultimately more faithful to the almighty dollar:

Conservatives are watching to see whether Target bends to the pressure, said Kelly O’Keefe, a brand expert at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

“They’re likely to raise the ire of a different constituency of customers and get themselves in a never-ending cycle of alienating people,” he said. “A better thing is for them to swear off any future investment in elections.”

The full HRC press release is after the jump.

UPDATE: For your further viewing pleasure, check out this inspiring in-store flash mob protest:

—  John Wright