Anti-gay Grapevine pastor Ed Young compares homosexuality to tall people playing basketball

Ed Young

Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine is apparently trying to give First Baptist Church of Dallas’ Robert Jeffress a run for his money as the area’s leading religious homophobe.

Young may be best known for challenging the members of his congregation — or at least the heterosexual, married ones — to have sex every day for a week in 2008. Young staged another publicity stunt earlier this year when he used live animals — a lion and a lamb — in his Easter sermon.

Why does Young need so much attention? Well, apparently he’s trying to support a pretty lavish lifestyle — taking in more than $1 million a year from the church and traveling in a private jet.

Which may also help explain why Young has suddenly become so outspoken in his opposition to same-sex marriage.

After President Barack Obama endorsed marriage equality last month, Young warned that society was treading “on thin ice.” Now Young is planning a series of so-called “Cool-Aid” sermons about same-sex marriage and homosexuality beginning this Sunday.

The idea is that those who support marriage equality — or even just affirm LGBT people — are “drinking culture’s Cool-Aid,” according to the Christian Post:

Young admitted that homosexuality is a controversial topic and that people will have different viewpoints, but insisted that the church should not be silent, and instead it should speak up loudly. He shared that his main hope for the “Cool-Aid” sermon series is to “show the genius of God in his alignment of marriage.”

On the topic of how much choice homosexuals have in regards to their lifestyle, the megachurch pastor said that everyone always has a choice.

“I don’t believe there is a gay gene, just like I don’t believe there is a basketball gene,” he began. “I think all of us are predisposed to things. But we can’t just throw our hands up and say ‘well, I was born tall, and I just can’t help myself, I have to play basketball.’ No, we all have a choice. I believe that maybe some people are born with a leaning toward same-sex attraction. But that does not mean they cannot help themselves.”

—  John Wright

Tom Leppert convinces evangelical leaders he’s sufficiently ex-gay-friendly to represent Texas

I was baffled when I saw this headline in the DMN last week, because the story was over a year late. I now suspect the newspaper was just doing its part to help Leppert distance himself from his past.

In November 2009, after then-Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert enthusiastically joined the virulently anti-gay First Baptist Church of Dallas, I opined here on Instant Tea that the move was purely politically motivated because Leppert was planning to run for U.S. Senate. After calling Leppert’s decision to join First Baptist “a slap in the face to not only the LGBT community, but also to Hindus, Muslims and Mormons,” I wrote that it would be “good riddance for Dallas if he steps down to run” for Senate.

Not surprisingly, Leppert’s office, including openly gay chief of staff Chris Heinbaugh, didn’t take kindly to my comments, and let’s just say I ended up being called on the carpet. But to this day, I stand by those statements, and in retrospect, it would certainly appear as though they were dead on.

When he did finally step down as mayor to run for Senate, Leppert promptly sent out his infamous anti-gay tweet, before coming out against both same-sex marriage and civil unions on his campaign website. During his Senate run, Leppert has been attacked by the other GOP candidates for appearing at gay Pride twice while mayor, but now it looks like he’s managed to win over some of the folks you’d expect to be most critical of his decision to participate in such an “orgy” of “drunken revelries,” in the words of Lela Pittinger.

The Dallas Morning News reports today that a group of evangelical pastors, led by none other than First Baptist’s Robert Jeffress, has formally endorsed the former mayor. The group includes others such as David Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Randel Everett of First Baptist Church of Midland, etc. (On a side note, we’re sure the DMN’s main headline on its Metro page last Friday quoting Ed Oakley as saying Leppert had “abandoned gays” didn’t hurt his cause among the pastors. At first I was baffled by this headline because it was over a full year late, but now I consider it to be nothing more than a ceremonial political ex-gay cleansing by the city fathers, if you will.)

As I wrote last month, it’s sad to think that on paper at least, Leppert may be the least anti-gay of the four major GOP candidates for Senate. But I don’t care, I’ll still be glad when he comes in third May 29 behind Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former solicitor general Ted Cruz. And in the highly unlikely event that Leppert were to decide to never again run for public office, it would indeed be good riddance.

—  John Wright

First Baptist Church of Dallas’ Robert Jeffress joins long list of gay-hating Rick Perry supporters

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas

The Rev. Robert Jeffress, the virulently anti-gay senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas, has announced he’ll endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president today during the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C.

As Right Wing Watch notes, it isn’t terribly surprising that Jeffress would endorse Perry over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Not because Jeffress is from Perry’s home state, but because Romney is Mormon. In 2007, Jeffress declared that Romney is “not a Christian” and that, “Mormonism is a cult.”

Jeffress’ statement today may be slightly more subtle, but it isn’t hard to read between the lines:

“Some would argue that there are a number of other candidates who possess those attributes as well. However, once the smoke clears in several months, conservative Christians will have a choice to make. Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric, or one who is skilled in leadership? Do we want someone who is a conservative out of convenience, or one who is a conservative out of conviction? Do we want a candidate who is a good moral person, or one who is born-again follower of Jesus Christ? I believe that in Rick Perry we have a candidate who is a proven leader, a true conservative and a committed follower of Christ.”

Jeffress, of course, has a long history of anti-gay activism. When he was pastor at First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls in 1998, he tried to eliminate gay-themed books from the city’s public library. And after joining First Baptist in Dallas in 2008, he sparked protests with a controversial sermon advertised on the church’s marquee, “Why Gay is Not O.K.”

UPDATE: Jeffress today repeated his claim that Mormonism is a cult. He also said he thinks gays should be barred from serving openly in the military because “70 percent of the gay population has AIDS.”

“It’s a fact that it’s a gay disease so there’s a reasonable reason to exclude gays from the military,” he said.

Watch video of Jeffress’ comments from ThinkProgress below.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Robert Jeffress to blatantly exploit 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

Are We Witnessing America’s Last Days? from First Dallas on Vimeo.

—  John Wright

A week after publishing 1st same-sex wedding ads, DMN profiles anti-gay bigot Robert Jeffress

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas

Perhaps this represents the real price the LGBT community must pay in exchange for same-sex wedding announcements in our daily newspaper. One week after publishing its first gay wedding ads, The Dallas Morning News (subscription only) on Sunday came out with a glowing front-page profile of anti-gay bigot Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas.

The story, under the headline “Pastor hopes to restore glory to First Baptist Church,” reveals that Jeffress has increased resident membership by a whopping 5 percent during his first four years at First Baptist. But overall membership is still down by about 35 percent since the church was led by W.A. Criswell.

The story claims that when Jeffress was a 15-year-old member at First Baptist, Criswell told him, “Robert, I want you to learn every square inch of this place [First Baptist] because one day it’s all gonna be yours.”

OK, that’s just plain creepy. Did they go over every square inch of anything else?

And speaking of creepy, the story concludes with a passage about how Jeffress once dressed up as a bright-yellow, six-foot banana to go on Let’s Make A Deal. Gee, sexually repressed much?

Overall, the DMN story is way too positive given the extent of Jeffress’ incessant hate-mongering — and it really doesn’t belong on the front page to begin with (perhaps an inside religion page?). But there is some token balance, most notably this passage:

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Texas A&M Senate backs anti-gay measure; pastors come out for Leppert

How do the “Pastors for Leppert” feel about his appearances at gay Pride?

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1.  The Texas A&M Student Senate wants to cut funding in half for the school’s gay resource center, and divert the money to a “center for traditional and family values.” According to GLBT Aggies President Camden Breeding, the Student Senate voted Wednesday night to support a state budget amendment by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, that would require schools with LGBT resource centers to spend an equal amount on centers for traditional and family values. The measure approved by the Student Senate, which you can read here, opposes any increase in student fees to pay for the new “traditional and family values” center, but says existing revenue should be evenly divided between the two centers. The Student Senate also agreed to advocate on behalf of Christian’s amendment as it moves through the Legislature. Well, it’s no wonder that Texas A&M is consistently ranked among the nation’s most homophobic schools. And it seems as though the notion that young people are less bigoted than their parents doesn’t necessarily hold true in Texas.

2. A bill to prohibit transgender people from marrying people of the opposite sex is yet to come up for a vote in the Texas Senate, but it could come up today, according to Daniel Williams at Legislative Queery. Williams also reports that State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, has agreed to remove enumerated categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, from Asher’s Law, a bill that would prohibit discrimination in Texas public schools.

3. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert continues to veer sharply to the right as he seeks the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. A new website called Pastors for Leppert features endorsements from conservative religious leaders, including the virulently anti-gay Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas.

—  John Wright

Gov. Perry wages war on Christmas. Shouldn’t he be on First Baptist Church’s ‘Naughty List’?

Pastor Robert Jeffress needs to give Gov. Rick Perry a big spanking, or maybe a lump of something that’s rock hard. That’s because Perry has been a naughty, naughty boy and once again left out any mention of Christmas in his family’s holiday card. Needless to say, Instant Tea didn’t actually receive one of these, but according to the Texas Freedom Network, the card is shown above. And as you can see, it says, “We wish you Joy from our hearts.” Joy my ass. There appears to be a Psalm at the bottom, but if you think that counts, you’ve obviously made some sort of deal with the Devil. Perry himself has accused the American Civil Liberties Union of waging “war on Christmas.” And, of course, he’s closely tied to a lot of the nutjobs like Jeffress who have weird sexual fantasies involving the Grinch. So why hasn’t anyone said anything about this card, the TFN wonders:

So where are the howls of protest from the religious right about Gov. Perry’s personal “war on Christmas”? We hear nothing but crickets chirping. Why? Because groups like AFA and Liberty Institute aren’t serious. Their “war on Christmas” nonsense is just a gimmick — one that uses faith as a political weapon to divide Americans and to raise more money. ‘Tis the season to be a hypocrite, apparently.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Jewish boy saves Christmas for kids impacted by HIV/AIDS in Fort Worth

This story must be the antithesis to First Baptist Church of Dallas’ “Grinch alert” website .

Carter Haber, a 12-year-old Jewish boy from Aledo, saved Christmas for more than 50 children whose families are clients of Samaritan House, which provides housing for low-income people with HIV/AIDS in Tarrant County.

Carter raised $5,000 for the gifts as a service project for his bar mitzvah after the Samaritan House lost a corporate sponsor, according to CBS 11:

And the fact a Jewish rite of passage provides Christmas to children?  “I don’t think it matters,” Haber said. “A good deed is a good deed any day, any time, anywhere.”

Now Carter wants to continue raising money to help Samaritan House clients pay their rent. To contribute, e-mail carter@fdtrainingssystems.com.

—  John Wright

Super Bowl XLV now officially gayest ever

First there was the Super Street Party on Cedar Springs, billed as the first-ever gay Super Bowl block party.

Then there was the Black-Eyed Peas and bisexual Fergie as halftime entertainment.

And now, to top it all off, the Village People — yes, those Village People — are slated to appear at Fair Park for an “XLV Party” a few nights before the big game, the Dallas Observer reports.

There’s no word on whether the Cedar Springs folks will try to get the Village People for the block party as well, since they’ll already be here and all. But either way, Super Bowl XLV is shaping up to be pretty darn queer. What’s next, Ellen DeGeneres as Fox’s sideline reporter? A special pregame screening of Glee on the big screen at Cowboys Stadium? Chely Wright singing the national anthem? Pastor Robert Jeffress performing the opening coin toss?

—  John Wright

First Baptist Dallas launches ‘Grinch Alert’

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas

You all remember Pastor Robert Jeffress over at First Baptist Church in Dallas, right? He’s the one who riled up the LGBT community a couple of years ago with his “Gay is Not OK” sermon.

Well, now Pastor Jeffress is at it again. He and his church have created a new website, GrinchAlert.com, to warn us all about those horrible business people who have the nerve to say something like “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or who, even worse, don’t recognize the Christian holiday at all.

So if someone or some business pisses you off while you are out commercializing Christmas this year, you can go to this website and post a comment designating them as “naughty.” And if they spell out “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” on their chain link fence using colored plastic cups and Christmas lights, you can go to the site and reward them with a “nice” post.

Jeffress told Dallas Morning News: “Too many businesses have bowed down to political correctness. I thought this would be a fun way to call out businesses that are refusing to celebrate Christmas.”

He also told the Morning News that First Baptist isn’t creating any standards on what determines “naughty” or “nice,” and that the church won’t be monitoring the site to protect businesses owned by non-Christians. I wonder if that means if I go to the site and add a post declaring Pastor Jeffress and his church are “naughty” because he is a completely hateful, bigoted jackass, that they will leave it up there? Or would they remove it and add me to the “naughty” list instead?

It’s tempting, but I will refrain. Instead, I will just offer this reminder to Pastor Jeffress and others like him: In the New Testament, in one of the Gospels, there is a story about how the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus into saying something that would get him in trouble, so they asked him, “What is the most important commandment?” (The trick, of course, is that no one commandment should be considered more important than any other.)

Jesus replied, “Love your neighbor as yourself, and love God above all else. Do that, and you will be following all the commandments.”

So here’s my message to Pastor Jeffress: Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself, and guess what — not all your neighbors are Christians. Don’t you think is is a little less than loving to expect them to kowtow to your religious beliefs by saying Merry Christmas, and by chiding them on your ridiculous website because they prefer to say “Happy Holidays” instead?

—  admin