July 16, 1999
Thank you for responding to my first open letter. In your response you say,
"A gay minister named Mel White is circulating an 'open letter to Jerry Falwell' demanding that I stop preaching that homosexuality is sin ... If I do not comply with his wishes, he then threatens to lead a 'Gandhi' type movement against me nationally."
I'm sorry that I wasn't clear. Let me try again.
I am not demanding that you stop preaching "homosexuality is sin."
I hope that one day soon you, too, will understand that homosexual orientation is just another human characteristic like the shape of your eyes or the color of your skin. In the meantime, if you must continue preaching that homosexuality is a sin, that is your right. We live in the oldest democracy on earth. Our Constitution guarantees us the right to disagree about the nature of homosexuality. I am not demanding that you stop sharing your biblical or psychological views on homosexuality. (In fact, I'm going to respond to your views with the latest in biblical and psychological research in the next few open letters.) However, I am demanding that you stop the preposterous things you are saying about homosexuals.
I am NOT threatening to lead a "Gandhi type movement against you ... "
Quite frankly, our "Gandhi type movement" has begun, but it is not against you. It is for you. Gandhi and King never marched "against" anyone. Guided by the "soul force" principles of nonviolence, both marched to win the minds and hearts of their adversaries.
On October 22-24, 1999, Gary and I are coming to Lynchburg (with some of our friends and allies). We aren't coming to stage a noisy protest or to disturb your congregation. We are coming to present to you and to your people an exhibit of the preposterous charges you have made against homosexuals over the past decade.
If you can prove your claims, we will admit our error and go our ways. If you cannot prove your charges against us, we are hoping to negotiate an end to the false and inflammatory antigay rhetoric that flows out of Lynchburg and a beginning of a new kind of dialogue between us.
In your recent letter you also say, "Mel, as you already know, my rhetoric is not anti-homosexual. My rhetoric is anti-homosexuality and anti-heterosexual promiscuity. There is a huge difference ... It is the ancient issue of hating sin and loving the sinner ... ."
Jerry, you may believe that you are against homosexuality (not homosexuals) and that you love us (but hate our sin). Our evidence proves it isn't true. The words that follow are your words, taken from just one of your regular antigay fundraising letters. Read slowly. Ask yourself, are these words against homosexuality or against homosexuals? Are they loving words or words that lead to anger, fear, and hate?
" ... these perverted homosexuals who absolutely hate everything that you and I and most decent, God-fearing citizens stand for ... Make no mistake. These deviants seek no less than total control and influence in society, politics, our schools and in our exercise of free speech and religious freedom ... " Jerry Falwell
" ... Someone must 'stand in the gap' for America's children. Someone must not be afraid to say, 'Moral perversion is wrong!' ... If we do not act now, homosexuals will own America! They want total political approval and taxpayer money for their perverted political and social programs ... " Jerry Falwell
" ... Make no mistakes my friend, this is a battle between good and evil. And the consequences for America are clear: the judgment of Almighty God on our nation ... If you and I do not speak up now, this homosexual steamroller will literally crush all decent men, women, and children who get in its way ... " Jerry Falwell
" ... For those of us who believe in traditional moral values and refuse to openly embrace homosexuality, it may mean penalties or fines ... Preachers of the Gospel, like Jerry Falwell, who do not hesitate to call homosexuality a sin, may be imprisoned in the not-to-distant future ... " Jerry Falwell
" ... I must have your help if we are to be successful. The small, but outspoken and financially well-heeled, homosexual political lobby is a dangerous foe ... They will stop at nothing, including violence, to secure their goals. I have been a target of their hatred many times." Jerry Falwell
" ... Homosexuals want to use the power of the federal government to force this nation to adopt homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle and homosexuals as a bonafide minority - which would mean hiring quotas, affirmative action and ultimately forcing churches to hire homosexuals on their staff!" Jerry Falwell
" ... It doesn't matter that the America they demand ... is a sewer of moral filth ... a place of spiritual anarchy ... an environment that's incredibly dangerous to our children ... a culture that despises Christian faith and morality ... .As long as I am able, I will speak out against this wicked, perverse lifestyle." Jerry Falwell
Jerry, your preposterous charges in this letter aren't even true, let alone loving. And these untrue and unloving words pour out of your offices in Lynchburg on an almost daily basis. This week, on "Listen, America" you slandered James Hormel, our distinguished Ambassador to Luxembourg, and his partner [as you regularly slander us all], with comparisons of our loving relationships to pedophilia and bestiality. And always your false witness concludes with a request to send money.
Your fundraising letter that I quote above includes the photo* of twenty-six "openly gay" Clinton appointees. Although the President had to fill more than five thousand positions, you claim, quite falsely, that these twenty-six gay and lesbian Americans "...have an inside track to the massive federal bureaucracy." You claim, again quite falsely, that they " ... seek no less than total control and influence in society ... "
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You show their faces and list their names. Have you met even one of these loyal, hardworking, public servants whom you call "radicals," "perverts," and "deviants?" Without even knowing these dedicated young men and women, you bear false witness against them. You accuse them of preposterous crimes against God and against the nation that they did not (and would not) commit. And your letter implies clearly that most homosexuals share the same preposterous goals.
The Ten Commandments say nothing of homosexuality or homosexuals. But Moses is clear about God's judgment on those who bear false witness against their neighbor. (Exodus 20:16.)
Jesus says nothing of homosexuality or homosexuals, but he reminds a religious leader who came to him by night that God still condemns those who bear false against their neighbor. (Matthew 19:18-19.)
For ten years, we have monitored your anti-homosexual rhetoric. We have all the evidence needed to prove that you are breaking the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus in your endless false witness against God's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered children.
How can we remain silent when your false and inflammatory rhetoric leads those who hear you to fear and hate us? How can we not protest when your untrue and unloving words lead to broken families and wasted lives? How can we stand by while your anti-homosexual campaign leads directly and indirectly to discrimination, intolerance, and even death?
Jerry, you must believe these preposterous untruths or you wouldn't repeat them year-in-and-year-out. That's why we're coming to Lynchburg, to help you understand who we really are. Meet with us, Jerry. Hear our stories. Review our evidence.
We do not " ... hate what decent, God-fearing citizens stand for ... " We do not " ... seek total control of society ... nor spiritual anarchy ... " We do not " ... advocate a culture that despises Christian faith and morality ... " We do not " ... demand homosexual quotas or that churches hire homosexuals ... " We do not " ... seek a society that is a sewer of moral filth ... " We do not " ... promote an environment dangerous to children...." We do not " ... stoop to violence nor do we crush all people who get in our way ... "
We are people of faith. We love God, too. We cherish our families. We honor our nation. We seek a loving society that protects its children, that is inclusive and tolerant, that seeks liberty and justice for all.
You can't know the truth about homosexuality, Jerry, until you know us homosexuals. That's why gay folk and our allies from across the country are sacrificing time and money to make this journey to Lynchburg, October 22-24, 1999. We're inviting those twenty-six public servants you condemned in the letter (above) to join us and to share their true stories as well.
We are hoping that you and your congregation will provide hospitality for the weekend. Would you ask families in your church to house my sisters and brothers for that October 22-24 weekend? We'll cover all our travel and incidental expenses. All we ask are rooms for the night and a chance to spend some time with you and your church families.
On Saturday afternoon, October 23, will you and your people consider our case, review our evidence, negotiate a solution that will allow you the freedom to continue preaching that homosexuality is a sin without making these untrue claims against homosexuals?
On Saturday evening, October 23, will you worship with us in a candle light service on your church steps or in another location you prefer?
On Sunday morning, October 24, will you invite us to worship with you?
After the service, we want to treat our hosts to a Sunday meal in restaurants and cafes all over Lynchburg. Gary and I invite you and Macel to share your Sunday meal with us.
This simple request for hospitality is the first step in our "Gandhi type movement." We are confident that God will use this weekend together to teach us all new truths.
If you have any questions or suggestions about our plan, email, fax, or phone me. I'm sure we can work out any details.
Let's make history together. Let's cross the ever-widening gap between us. Let's show the churches of this country that we can end the war of words over homosexuality and lovingly seek truth together. In the meantime, let's get on with the job for which we were created: "to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God, (Micah 6:8)."