This is a man from metro Atlanta’s own backyard who led a march of thousands through the city’s streets to protest gay marriage (even though Georgia voters already passed a constitutional amendment banning it), whose megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has a congregation of more than 20,000 and who enjoys private jets and Bentleys. He’s also accused of coercing at least four young men into sexual relationships according to lawsuits filed in DeKalb Court — all while preaching against the sin of homosexuality and offering a ministry for those looking to become “ex-gay.”
Rev. Fred Phelps
“God Hates Fags.” Is there anything else that needs to be said about this man and his Westboro Baptist Church made up mostly of family members? From protesting at the funeral of slain gay student Matthew Shepard to the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to even the funeral of Coretta Scott King, Phelps and his followers know no shame.
Pope Benedict XVI
The head of the Catholic Church has said same-sex marriage is among the “most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good.” Before he became Pope and was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he helped cover up scandals of priests molesting boys, according to a report by the New York Times. Apparently pedophilia is not as bad as two consenting adults of the same gender wanting to marry each other. He further added to confusion about his policies with recent statements that condoms might be OK for prostitutes to use, but not OK for general use in the prevention of HIV and AIDS.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
When California voters passed Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage — after it already had been legalized — the nation’s LGBT activists were shocked. How could discrimination be written into the state constitution of one of the most progressive states in the country? The answer: Money, and lots of it, coming from the Mormon Church. “8: The Mormon Proposition,” a documentary of how the Mormons worked hard to pass Prop 8, shows that after their prophet made a plea to Mormons from all over the world to ensure the passage of Prop 8, some $30 million in donations from Mormons flowed into California in a matter of days.
He’s the founder of the large estate known as Focus on the Family that has its own zip code in Colorado Springs. He is considered one of the most powerful and influential right-wing leaders in the country and can hold court with top political leaders — and he absolutely abhors gay people. His Love Won Out conferences held around the nation are like mega conferences for so-called ex-gays to share their stories — and buy Dobson’s books.
Southern Baptist Convention
While other mainstream Christian denominations struggle thoughtfully with questions about ordaining gays and blessing same-sex unions, the Southern Baptist Convention kicks out congregations deemed too gay-friendly. When you want to back up the Bible’s anti-gay teachings, it’s always good to go to science. For the SBC, that means quackery. Joseph Nicolosi, who the SBC considers an expert “on the causes of homosexuality as a sexual disorder,” is the founder of the National Association of Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. Says Nicolosi, who has been discredited by mainstream experts: “There is no such thing as a homosexual person. … It is not a description of the intrinsic nature of the person.” In other words, you are not born that way.
In 2009, Massachusetts minister Scott Lively and other Christian preachers went to Uganda, where they railed against homosexuality to thousands. Gay rights groups in Uganda say Lively’s trip set off an even stronger sentiment of anti-gay hate as the nation works to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a bill Lively supports. After Lively’s visit, the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone put the faces of many openly gay people on the cover, making them targets. And one of the faces on the cover — well-known gay rights activist David Kato — was killed recently.
The niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda King formed her own fundamental Christian ministry, King for America. She’s also noted for speaking at National Organization for Marriage events, including a summer stop in Atlanta, where she preached that gay marriage will lead to genocide. In 1998 at a speech at UNC Chapel Hill, King is quoted as saying, “Homosexuality cannot be elevated to the civil rights issue. The civil rights movement was born from the Bible. God hates homosexuality.”
This guy really, really hates us and thinks we have all kinds of power to piss off God — enough that the Big Guy wants to wreak all kinds of natural disasters on us (and innocent non-gay people too). In 1998, he told the people of Orlando to watch out for “earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor” because LGBT Disney World fans gathered for the annual Gay Days. He loves the sinner, not the sin, and followed up this infamous quote with, “This is not a message of hate, this is a message of redemption.’’
This former anti-gay evangelical leader who got caught up in a gay sex scandal fell hard, being booted from the church and as head of the National Association of Evangelicals. After therapy, he was “cured” of homosexuality, only to admit in a recent interview with GQ that he is “bisexual.” Last month, he was featured in a TLC special titled, “Ted Haggard: Scandalous,” focusing on the opening of his new church. Haggard graces the cover of the current Advocate, a national LGBT magazine, with the headline, “Can You Forgive Ted Haggard?” Can we?
Honorable mention: Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, whose Tweets against LGBT activists are so entertaining. Check out his rants at twitter.com/PeterLabarbera.
Top photo: Bishop Eddie Long poses for a self-portrait.