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Fundie activists target bookstores, gay culture with protests and intimidation

“We’re out here preaching the gospel and warning the sodomites that are part of this gathering that if they don’t repent they are going to hell. We have an objection to [homosexuality] because God has an exception to it. It’s an abomination in the sight of God. It’s the most accepted tolerated sin in America right now, I think, besides abortion, and the church is way too quiet about it.”

— Pastor Billy Ball of the Faith Baptist Church of Primrose, Georgia, who has picketed Atlanta’s Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, often intimidating patrons

AfterElton has an article by David Leone up on the efforts of the bible beater set to have gay-related books banned from libraries, to demonstrate in front of gay-owned stores to drive away business, and encourage boycotts of sponsors of gay events.

By and large, most of these efforts fail, but there is a chipping away with small victories here and there that have a chilling effect in areas where there isn’t enough critical gay mass to counter the well-funded fundamentalist machines.

Philip Rafshoon is a success story. As owner of the Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse in the heart of midtown Atlanta for 12 years running, Rafshoon has created not only a comfortable place to read, relax and shop, but has also become something of a focal point for Atlanta ‘s gay and lesbian community.

Perhaps this visibility–and Outwrite’s proximity to the Atlanta Pride parade–is what brought a group of anti-gay Christian activists to picket in front of his store.

According to Rafshoon, on three successive Saturdays before, during, and after the June 24 Pride celebration, 15 to 20 people congregated in front of the Piedmont Avenue establishment, holding up signs citing Old Testament Bible passages and shouting hateful messages through a bullhorn.

…Writer Brent Hartinger is concerned that people not look at this three-weekend protest as a single incident, but as part of a burgeoning effort by Christian activists to undermine gay rights and other progressive issues nationwide.

The 41-year-old author has personal experience with such protests. His books, Geography Club and Order of the Poison Oak, have been openly challenged or secretly banned in communities across the U.S. In these cases, Christian activists put enormous pressure on school boards, principals and libraries to weed out material they find objectionable.

This is a great article with a lot of choice quotes from the unhinged Pastor Ball (what about that name, folks…). Read the rest.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding