Monday, November 10, 2008

Gay Activist Opposes Church Protests

Last month, I posted this letter from fellow retired LAPD officer John Smith. He was one of the first LAPD officers to “come out of the closet” during the early 1990s. In his letter, Smith explained why he voted YES on Proposition 8.

In this follow-up letter, he writes of his contempt for the
gay protests at churches. John and his partner live in Southern California, and I am honored to consider him a friend.

Today, as I listened to the news talking about the Prop 8 protests, I dusted off my retirement shadow box which displays my retired police badge. I reflected back on the oath of office I took as a young man - the day I joined the Los Angeles Police Department. As I took this oath, I gave my word to “always live my life as an example to all.”

Although I am retired, these words hold deep significance to me. Like most cops, I know the how difficult it is to do the right thing – especially when “the masses” disagree with you. Just as the “gay community” expresses their outrage over the passage of Proposition 8, I also want my voice to be heard.

As a retired police officer who is also gay, words cannot describe my anger at the gay community’s violent response to the passage of Proposition 8. I am deeply offended by the hypocritical behavior of the gay community.

I am not an openly religious man. In fact, I have rarely (if ever) discussed my personal religious values. Until now.

I believe in God.

I believe in the American right to worship in peace and free from interference.

If asked if I believe in God I would answer yes with no further comment. My faith is a deeply personal matter. It is not open for discussion or debate. Although our world is full of religious extremism, I have a soft spot in my heart for all biblical literalists. When we read the Bible, I believe that our interpretations are largely influenced by our context, language, culture, and customs.

The Bible and these factors help to shape our views as to what The Bible “really” means to us, and how we apply it to the world around us.

Since the dawn of our country, we are guaranteed to worship (or not worship) as we choose. “The Church” (regardless of denomination) is the cornerstone of our society. Because of the influence of religion, “The Church” has as right to engage in public debate about personal conduct and appropriate behavior within society as they view it, according to their religious teachings. While this does not mean we will always agree, there is no middle ground in my life when it comes to the desecration of ANY CHURCH.

Hours after the passage of Proposition 8, angry mobs assembled in the predominantly gay City of West Hollywood and routed along numerous Southern California streets. One of their targets was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) in West Los Angeles. This mob singled out LDS church for providing major funding for the Yes on 8 campaigns.

These allegedly “peaceful protesters” (mostly GLBT) totally ignored the Catholic Church, black and Latino community and other groups which supported the Yes on 8 campaign – an act that smacks of religious bigotry. (I am not Mormon and the last time I was in a church of any sort was when I spoke at my sister-in-law’s funeral earlier this year.)

The mob continued their tantrum into the early morning hours after Election Day. As they yelled and screamed, I thought about our troops who are fighting in the war zones in the Middle East where they are fighting religious extremism under strict “rules of engagement.” When it comes to places of worship, these rules PROHIBIT our troops from entering into, firing upon, or taking any defensive or offensive military action against Islamic combatants – even if they are in or near an Islamic Mosque. Even if fired upon, our troops cannot return fire in self defense when a Mosque is involved. The reason: Our nation respects places of worship - even in war zones. Even when our enemies use houses of worship as cover and concealment we, as a nation, will not deliberately desecrate any house of worship.

The day after the first protest, a second protest was initiated. This protest was lead by Lori L. Jean, Director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center. Lori Jean was the highly visible spokesperson for the “No on 8” campaign. She personally led a mob of riotous protesters to the front gates of the LDS Church in West LA, where she held her press conference. Lori Jean and her mob were joined by Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgado – an elected official with The City of Los Angeles. Lori Jeans’ words were nothing short of riot provoking.

After Lori spewed her angry words before news cameras, the violence began. In the Friday edition of the Los Angeles Times, we see helmeted Los Angeles Police Officers engaging two idiots with their signs of hate. The TV video footage from this protest is even more appalling than the LA times account.

As I watched the footage, I wondered if any other sensible Americans sensed the irony that our nation prohibits our embattled soldiers from assaulting houses of worship, even at their own peril, while these donkeys think nothing of desecrating a house of worship on Main Street America over a ballot measure!

I saw images of protesters marching to LA’s CNN headquarters, protesters jumping onto marked LAPD patrol cars, crashing through police lines and not being wrestled to the ground by uniformed LAPD officers. These are NOT peaceful protests. These images depict revolutionary tactics by militant members of the gay community.

I thought about the events that took place even before the election:

  • The Modesto man who was beaten for trying to place “Yes on 8” signs on his lawn
  • Five gay men arrested in Fullerton for the destruction of “Yes on 8” signs (they had just left a gay “No on 8” rally.
  • A gay Palmdale man posted a message on MYSPACE which stated, “Burn down the Mormon Church!”
Even where I live in sleepy little Acton (California), I saw several young men destroying “Yes on 8” signs. After committing their crime, they ran to a waiting car with a “rainbow” sticker attached to it.

Earlier this week, a gay man in my circle of friends (a West Hollywood resident) used his Los Angeles City computer workstation to transmit an E-mail in which he suggested his intent to commit “cyber terrorism” against those who provided money and support to the Yes campaign. Many of the addresses he posted also were government addresses, and the City of Los Angeles has strict policies which prohibit the use of City equipment and computers for personal reasons. LA City employees and police officers have been disciplined and fired for the misuse of city computers.

Long Beach protesters were arrested for crashing through police lines. In Palm Springs, angry mobs forcefully ripped a plastic cross out of the hands of an elderly woman in a yellow dress. What COWARDS! What kind of courage does it take to attack an old woman and stomp her cross? As the hateful mobs of intolerant idiots stomped her cross into oblivion they nearly knocked the women down. Given her advanced age, any fall could have caused her serious injury.

The images and actions I have described are extreme and despicable. It is hardly a believable argument to suggest that these are “isolated incidents” and the actions of “a few.”

These are not “peaceful protests.” They cannot be justified. The angry words and tone of Lori Jean make it clear she endorsees the use of violence as a means of intimidation and terror towards anyone who voted yes, or supported the Yes on 8 campaigns. The actions of the mob and the silent acquiescence of LA’s top prosecutor make it clear that Lori Jean and the others will stop at nothing to force their views upon the rest of the people in this State – no matter what the “will of the voters” may be.

The angry mobs want us to believe that the protesters are the majority. But this is no majority by any means: One thousand or 10,000 people do not represent 52% of the voters in this state.

I closely watched the events unfold since the election one week ago. It is mind numbing to see how ignorant my community is. To say, “I told you so” is pointless.

It is clear that the GLBT community assumes that our new democratic President-elect will soon come to their rescue when he takes office. Yet, the gay community has forgotten that, during the presidential debates, Obama declared his intention to leave the issue of Gay marriage to individual states while stating his support of “domestic partnerships and civil unions.”

No matter what you think or how you voted; our new president will have his hands full on January 20, 2009. Our economy, two wars, rising unemployment, and a host of other issues don’t even compare to the frivolous debate over same-sex marriage. Once again, the gay community should prepare themselves for disappointment.

For me, the question is where (as a gay man) do I go from here? I hate conflict, yet I will never shy away from it when it is imposed upon me.

Extreme behavior requires extreme action. Because many gay-owned and operated businesses provide finical support to various gay organizations and specifically the No on 8 movements, I will not patronize ANY business which caters to the gay community. Because West Hollywood is “ground zero” for the militant protests and desecration of the LDS church, I will not spend my money in that city.

In a sense, I have cut off ALL support that I once had for the gay community. I am taking a stand - a stand based upon my values, my beliefs, and all that I hold dear.

I have asked that my name be removed from the Gay Police officer’s E- Mail list. Why? They intend to hold their annual holiday party in West Hollywood.

One of these groups (Protect and Defend) openly supported the No on 8 campaigns. As public safety organization, Protect and Defend has a DUTY to remain impartial and professional. They have a DUTY to speak out against civil unrest. The moderator of the Protect and Defends’ MYSPACE page made it clear that he/they support the “No on 8” movement.

I never want to be associated with any group that tacitly approves of, or has political ties to, groups like the “No on 8” movement. I will never allow myself to be associated with any group or person who recklessly involves themselves with movements like this.

In the past, my partner and I have taken our horses to both West Hollywood and Long Beach for the parades. We wore our traditional western attire on our hoses and proudly carried the flags of our nation and state. Not anymore! Let these jokers get some “stripper” to carry them. After all, that’s the type of “tasteless” behavior they tend to condone and enjoy.

As for my web site, ANYONE who wants to use my web page as a spring board to get any sort of message out about Prop 8 or any pending No on 8 rallies WILL BE DELEATED! I will then block that person or business from future access to my web page. As for those friends who hosted “fund raisers” for the No on 8 movements, you are no longer welcome at my home. You used poor judgment in your choice of associations.

Let’s face it – you lost in more ways than one.

Anyone in my circle of friends who chooses to participate in riot-like behavior does so at his or her own risk. You and your associations with militants will harm our friendship beyond repair. I hold you personally accountable for your actions, the actions of the community you embrace, and the actions of those you associate with.

Gays and lesbians are certainly entitled to their political views, but I hold my community accountable for the violence they perpetrate, approve of, that now takes place; the same violence I predicted in my open letter to the Gay Community Center back on October 10, 2008. I will never associate with anyone who condones or supports the use of violence to achieve any political agenda.
I believe in the right of people to worship as they choose – even if it means they believe I am going to hell on a bobsled simply because I am gay man.

I will never support the desecration or violent assault upon any church. If the angry idiots who have been protesting want to label the “Yes on 8” supporters and the LDS Church as bigots, please add my name JOHN SMITH – A GAY MAN to the top of your list. I voted “Yes on 8” and I wear your label as a badge of honor, without fear.

Those who know me best know that I walk my talk. I am a man of integrity and honesty. People have a right to their political views and to vote as they see fit; but, at the end of the day, we all live in a democracy.

Gay marriage has polarized our communities. No one has the right to use violence, intimidation, harassment, or goading tactics to force their views onto others and yet, this is exactly what is happening.

As a gay man, who spent years protecting my community as a gay police officer, I am deeply ashamed of my community. I am disgusted with what I have seen, read, and heard. I have listened to the pathetic people within my community who try to justify these protests as “free speech.”

I personally extend my deepest and most heartfelt apology to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in not only Los Angeles but elsewhere in the United States. Please understand that the actions of a few mindless idiots do not represent the majority of the gay community.

To all people of faith in California and across the United States who have been targets of hate by the bigots of the gay community, I apologize to you as well. While we may disagree on some aspects of faith, we agree on our right to worship in peace, vote as we believe, and support the political causes of our choice without fear of reprisal.

I am proud as an American to stand next to you. I support you. I lend my voice to your voice. I speak out in support of your rights, regardless of our differences regarding gay relationships. This is my way of living my life as an example to all. I hope that people will understand that not all gay men are mindless or cowardly imbeciles like those marching in the streets all over California.