Petition urges Wichita Falls to declare June Pride Month

Wichita Falls

The (man-made) Wichita Falls

A petition urges the Wichita Falls City Council to declare June Pride Diversity month.

And diversity means everyone. Here are the points the petition makes:

  • Wichita Falls is home to people of all faiths who offered prayers for rain in the midst of drought.
  • Wichita Falls is home to people of all political persuasions who seek to better our city, county, state, and country.
  • Wichita Falls is home to families of all kinds – two-parent households, single-parent households, gay and straight and transgender, extended family supporting, young and not-so-young – bringing a strong and educated generation of leaders to the forefront of world leadership.
  • Wichita Falls is home to people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds who support the success of our economy and who work hard to better our community.

The next city council meeting is June 14. At the time of this writing, there were less than 100 signatures. If the number of signatures grows, we’ll see if the council responds to the petitioners.


—  David Taffet

Hood County residents want LGBT children’s books removed from library


Peter Coyl

Some Hood County residents want LGBT children’s books removed from the library and some Plano parents want those books reshelved in a different section that would make them less accessible to children, according to a report on 90.1 KERA-fm.

Hood County is the same county where County Clerk Katie Lang put up such a valiant effort last week to defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

What KERA didn’t point out is that a few citizens can’t censor a library. That’s been ruled unconsitutional.

KERA spoke to Peter Coyl, the Dallas Public Library district manager. Coyl served for two years on the Stonewall Book Awards committee. Last year he chaired the committee.

Coyl explained to KERA why the library carries books about LGBT families in ever-so-tactful terms. What he didn’t say was that if parents are concerned with what their children are reading and taking out of the library, they should accompany their damn children to the library themselves. He also didn’t mention that the Oak Lawn and North Oak Cliff branches of the Dallas Public Library house one of the largest LGBT collections in the country.

And something KERA left out of its report is a court case that originated in Wichita Falls. Members of that North Texas community wanted to hold a book burning because their library carried Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy’s Roommate.

The Wichita Falls City Council voted four to three to remove the books from the children’s section and place them in the adult section.

Judge Jerry Buchmeyer found this unconstitutional in Sund v. City of Wichita Falls. He said the resolution gave 300 people with library cards the right to censor the library.

“This opinion holds that this unique Resolution is unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 8 of the Texas Constitution,” Buchmeyer wrote.

Buchmeyer is the same judge who ruled the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional in 1982 in Baker v. Wade. That ruling was overturned in 1985, but Buchmeyer was vindicated in 2003 with Lawrence v. Texas.

—  David Taffet

SPIRITUALITY: From loving ‘the sinner’ to loving your sister

Evangelist Jay Lowder of Wichita Falls makes waves by preaching acceptance of gays


ACCEPTING NOT JUDGING | Jay Lowder has gotten a lot of heat for his position that people should worry about their own sins rather than the sins of others. (Photo courtesy Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

WICHITA FALLS — Jay Lowder believes that no matter what, you should love and accept people. He calls the idea of loving the sinner and hating the sin hypocritical.

Lowder is an unlikely person to have those views. He is president and founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries

Evangelistic Association based in Wichita Falls and is married with three children.

Lowder knows his views — recently featured on ABC News — are out of the mainstream of evangelicals.

“I take some heat for it, and I really don’t care,” he said.

When he was 18, he said he got a call from a friend.

“Hey, Jay, there’s something you need to know,” Lowder said the caller told him. “You’re sister’s gay.”

He said that news was devastating for someone raised as he was.

Soon after receiving the news, he was driving. He said he saw his sister headed in the other direction. He made a U-turn and caught up with her.

“Harsh words were spoken,” he said. “I told her she was selfish and I hated her.”

She told him it was her life, and their relationship was severed.

“I became a Christian at 21,” Lowder said. “The moment I became a Christian, I no longer hated her.”
But his acceptance of his sister wasn’t qualified by the “love the sinner” philosophy common among fellow evangelicals.

He told her he was a Christian, that he had never accepted Christ before and was sorry about the way he acted toward her. He admitted he had been judgmental and rude.

“I wanted to be close,” he said. “I loved her.”

Lowder said Jesus didn’t denigrate people. He said Jesus didn’t say to Mary Magdalene, “You’re a whore.”

“He made her heart the issue,” Lowder said.

In describing himself as an evangelist, he called it “the height of insanity” to be driving people away from Christ.

“The purpose of what I do is not to alienate people,” he said. “It’s to know and have a relationship with Christ.”

He still holds his convictions, he said, but there’s a way to approach people. People who cling to the “love the sinner, hate the sin” line use colloquialisms that sound spiritual, he said — but they use them to hate people.

But he said that Jesus taught, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” So rather than focus on other people’s sins, he said, religious people should focus on their own sins.

“Pull the speck out of your own eye before you pull it out of anyone else’s,” he said. “If I tell a lie to my wife, that’s a sin. Breaking a commandment is breaking a

Jay Lowder


He believes the commandments regarding homosexuality are no more or less important than any others. And he believes there’s a line between trying to rectify a situation and pointing fingers.

“I could go to a heroine addiction clinic and tell them not to do it,” he said. “But I’ve never struggled with it.”

He used the blunt analogy but then makes it clear he doesn’t think his sister has some sort of addiction. He just wants to make it clear that he’s not going to be judgmental.

He said that a Christian’s primary responsibility is to love other people.

“Don’t go around bragging about loving God if you don’t love other people,” he said.

Which brings him back to talking about his sister who lives in Dallas.

Last Thanksgiving, he said that she came to Wichita Falls for Thanksgiving, for the first time in at least 15 years. He said the family reunion was such a happy event that they begged her to come back to spend Christmas with them.

“My sister was back,” he said. “My dad was at the kitchen table, and that was the first time I saw him cry.”

Today, he only describes his sister in glowing terms.

“You won’t find a better person in the city of Dallas than my sister,” he said.

And he said their relationship remains close.

“If something happened to her, I’d be the first one she’d call,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 20, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas