Here’s the story in a nutshell: Steve Stanton had been city manager of Largo, Florida for 14 years, and his performance reviews were good. However, after he announced his intention to have a sex-change operation, all hell broke loose. A few hundred of the local yahoos descended on the next city commission meeting to express their outrage, and as a result, the commission voted 5-2 to terminate Stanton’s contract.
The loudmouths who felt compelled to protest did so on the usual grounds: Bible Bible Jesus Bible blabbidy blabbidy blah. Peggy Schaefer of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks said “I don’t want that man in office…We don’t believe in sex changes or lesbianism. They have their rights, but we do, too.”
How was he doing as city manager, Peggy? Or were you even aware there was such a position before you decided to haul your self-righteous ass down to the city commission meeting?
And by the way, Pegster, I’m trying to figure out how the rights you allude to supersede the right of another human being to be employed.
Rather than devote this entry to every hateful example of bigotry that came out of that February meeting, I’m going to focus on one quote, this from Pastor Ron Sanders of the Lighthouse Baptist Church of Largo. Pastor Ron said “If Jesus was here tonight, I can guarantee you he’d want [Stanton] terminated. Make no mistake about it.”
Wow. Guess we don’t need to discuss it any further, now that we have a personal guarantee from—well, not exactly from Jesus, but from a guy who certainly considers himself authorized to speak for him. If it didn’t require getting inside the festering ooze of Pastor Ron’s mind, I’d be curious to know the thought-process a guy goes through before making a guarantee in the name of Jesus.
Think about what that means. Sanders wants us to believe that Jesus would agree with terminating Steve Stanton’s contract.
That’s Jesus “Love Your Neighbor” Christ.
The guy who kicked out the moneylenders.
The guy who stopped the crowd from stoning the prostitute.
Above all, the guy who said “Whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, this you do unto me.”
Pastor Ron might have balls the size of Pharisees, but unless the New Testament has changed from the time I was a churchgoin’ fellow, he’s wrong, wrong, wrong. I can’t guarantee it, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling—and I think people who aren’t blinded by irrational hate would agree with me, believers or not.
Imagine what a small sad life Pastor Ron must lead. Imagine getting all worked up about something that doesn’t affect you in the least, to the point where you believe it’s your place to send someone to the unemployment line. And imagine being deluded enough to think Jesus would back you up on it.
Whatsoever you do, Pastor Ron. Whatsoever you do.
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By the way, kudos to Largo mayor Pat Gerard and commissioner Rodney Woods for casting the votes to keep Stanton on board. Rock on. Also kudos to the bloggers at Pandagon and Alas, A Blog, where I first heard about this story. Their accounts are well worth reading and someday I'll figure out how to link there.