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Matt Hill Comer: an 'awkward homecoming' to his childhood church

Tar Heel blogger and editor of QNotes, Matt Hill Comer, recently wrote about his experience returning, after seven years, to his childhood house of worship in Lewiston, NC. He had to listen to sermon after sermon that demonized gays and lesbians, and he wondered what it would be like to visit the church again.

I finally went back to my childhood Baptist church – the place where the stench of hatred, bigotry and oppression was, and still is, thick in the air. Grapevine Baptist Church in Lewisville, N.C., is a place where violence against gays and lesbians is honored, adored and glorified from the pulpit – a place where I heard many times, “Put the queers on a ship, pluck a hole into the side of it and send it out to sea,” or “Put all the gays in their own two states and shut the borders” (with the logical conclusion therefore being that all the gays would die out).

He and his brother, who urged him to revisit, experienced quite a homecoming at the youth rally on Saturday.

At the youth rally on Saturday night, visiting minister Steve Cox, told the more than 250 children and teenagers, “Put all the gays on an island and they’ll die of AIDS and they’ll all be gone” and “If you’re gay and you want to come up and shake hands with me, then you can just stay away.”

Using words like “queer” to describe gays and lesbians, Cox said that homosexuality “makes him puke.”

Surf over and read his thoughtful essay. He has also written a follow up piece, where he received a sad response from one of the parishioners at Grapevine who simply doesn’t get how the homophobia spewed by pastors can be viewed as hateful — it’s to help save homos, in their mind.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding