I knew the shoe would eventually drop on this, given it is election time for the Durham city council, which voted unanimously for a nonbinding resolution to extend civil-marriage rights to same-sex couples. In the Durham Herald-Sun, columnist John McCann goes on a diatribe in support of a local minister who is, well, using the tired bible beating reasons to bounce council members by questioning their faith for voting for the resolution.

Coming to a pulpit near you — maybe today; the primary election is Tuesday — pandering politicians, according to Donald Q. Fozard, who shepherds the flock over there at Mount Zion Christian Church.

And if you church folks sit back in your pews and let those City Council candidates get up there and flap their gums and smile real big without checking them on their views about same-sex marriage, then you need to question your Christianity, the pastor put forth.

Back in August, the City Council voted in favor of a nonbinding resolution to extend civil-marriage rights to same-sex couples. The passage prompted a standing ovation at City Hall.

“The city councilmen are just playing political correctness to the gay community,” Fozard said.

Well, let’s be accurate. It technically wasn’t just the men on the City Council who voted for the resolution. The women y’all elected were in on it, too. The vote was unanimous. That means all of ‘em approved of the measure.

From Bill Bell all the way down to Howard Clement,” Fozard said. “The people who believe in God should turn them out of office.”

By the way, Rev. Fozard is such a moral community leader; this hateful man has been known to repeatedly shout “faggot” from the pulpit. An example of the intellectual capacity as Durham’s version of Fred Phelps, from The Independent Weekly:

From this past Sunday’s sermon, one would think the Rev. Donald Q. Fozard Sr. likes saying the word faggot. The pastor of Durham’s Mount Zion Christian Church hollers the word’s last syllable as if he were exorcising a demon, or as if he were a movie star who understands that notoriety rises when you do something incendiary.

Faggots across the nation, heading churches. Homos on the pianos. Faggots in the choir. What kind of spirit is leading that church?” he asked his 150 worshippers.

The 26-year veteran of Mount Zion, who is known in Durham for preaching through a loud speaker mounted on a white van, has a boxer’s build, bloodshot eyes and wears a white smock adorned with 13 gold buttons. He speaks in an intimidating tone, which is amplified by a microphone and echo machine.

…Then Fozard continued with his own spectacular show. “And now? Men with men, women with women? Let me remind you of Sodom and Gomorrah. That sin will bring fire from heaven. I tell the homosexual man: repent, turn and get a woman. I tell the woman who wants to get married: get yourself a man.”

(If Fozard stresses the last syllable of “faggot,” he sounds out each vowel and consonant of “homosexual”.) “The Reverend Al Sharpton says it doesn’t matter who you sleep with?” he said. “I’ll tell you one thing: the Reverend ain’t no Reverend. All of them are running around saying it doesn’t matter who you sleep with! They want that little 1 percent of faggots that go to vote.”

Nice to see McCann endorsing the views of someone so, um, well, rational.

Really, I’m glad all of this nonsense surfaced, if only to prove that that the message I delivered in my NC Pride keynote address was sorely needed here — we have to challenge the use of religion to hinder progress on civil equality, particularly when these homobigoted pastors in the community try to lay claim to the believe that there is only one view on LGBT rights in the faith community — their own.

The homophobia in the black church has to be called out, particularly by those in religious communities that are open and affirming. We need more of this. Many, many of areas LGBT-supportive showed up at Pride, marching in the parade and with booths on display. Their interpretation of the bible clearly doesn’t match Fozard’s or McCanns — nor should it have to. It’s precisely why we have separation of church and state. Religious beliefs have no place in civil law.

More below the fold.

McCann actually thinks Fozard, who lives in a house not far from mine that has a life-size white statue of a man and woman in an embrace on his front lawn to signify one-man, one-woman marriage, and has the 10 Commandments erected on the front gate of his driveway, has sound logic going on. That’s mind-blowing:

Now, according to the way the elected folks do math up there on the state level, 1 man + 1 woman = a marriage. The resolution City Council members agreed on amounts to veiled pressure to change state law. Politicians in Chapel Hill and Carrboro have passed same-sex resolutions and are up to the same thing.

At the very least, appreciate Fozard’s logic: Let’s say there are three islands. One has 25 couples of gay men. Another has 25 lesbian couples. And the other one has 25 heterosexual couples. “A hundred years from now, which island will survive? Which island will still produce people?” Fozard asked.

Uh, what does this fantasy hypothetical have anything to do with reality? If he wants to take a look at some actual statistics that are meaningful to family values, he needs only to look to any of the states and countries were marriage equality exists, and divorce rates, for instance. Massachusetts has the lowest, while the states in the South have the highest instance of divorce. What does that say about values?

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Herald-Sun to address this lame, but I’m sure credible-in-some circles attack on members of the City Council who voted to do the right thing. As I said in my speech I want to ask people like McCann and Fozard — and others who feel the same way — a couple of questions.

1) Do they realize that unless a couple has obtained a marriage license issued by the state, a religious marriage means nothing in the eyes of the law; and

2) Do they not believe in the separation of church and state in this matter? If so, they are effectively asking the state not only to ban same-sex marriage based on a specific religious belief, they are also asking that the state discriminate against the churches and denominations that DO want to marry same-sex couples, and as I mentioned, many of them were present at Pride. That’s unconstitutional religious discrimination.

Certainly “I don’t like it” isn’t an argument that legally flies, either. As we know all too well, racism still exists, even though institutionalized discrimination is no longer legal. No one expects homophobia to be swept away, but the law should ban it as a legitimate reason to discriminate.

That column, Mr. McCann, was an embarrassment.

You know, it’s interesting that the Fozard is
throwing any stones at the LGBT community considering the lurid trial that is going on regarding a closeted anti-gay black pastor accused of slaying a young woman because he was jealous of the fact that she was sleeping with his male roommate — that he had sexual designs on and had propositioned with an offer of free rent for oral sex.

Thank you, Durham City Council