Freedom Writer - November 1995
BEST OF THE FREEDOM WRITER
Radical Religious Right responds!
PAUL Just when you think you've heard it all, you tune
into the Paul Gonzales show and you find out there's
a group of Christian people — people that call themselves
Christians — who advocate the execution of homosexuals,
adulterers, fornicators, and I guess, women who have
SKIPP Jay Grimstead, the head of COR, says, "The Bible
has something like eleven reasons for capital punishment.
Murder was one. Homosexuality, rape, kidnapping, were
some of the others." And he said, "The actual punishments
we don't have agreement on, but we think that homosexuality,
and abortion, and pornography should be outlawed."
PAUL Gary, we very much appreciate you joining us tonight.
GARY Well, thanks for the opportunity. I appreciate
PAUL How long have you been listening tonight, Gary?
GARY Since the beginning.
PAUL OK, what do you have to say to Skipp?
GARY Well, I waited this long to see how many, I want
to call them lies, but this is misinformation that
Mr. Porteous has been sending out. He started off by
saying the Coalition on Revival is a Reconstructionist
organization. At first he said it was a front for Reconstructionism.
I've been involved with the Coalition on Revival since
its inception. It is not, and I'm going to repeat,
is not a Reconstructionist organization. It does not
advocate the things that Mr. Porteous is saying.
SKIPP OK, you know who Dr. Jay Grimstead is?
GARY Oh, sure. I spoke to him today.
SKIPP Alright. Is he a Reconstructionist?
GARY No, he isn't.
SKIPP Alright. Well, listen, this is what he told me,
and I quote him.
GARY Let me get something straight. First of all, you
have not defined Christian Reconstructionism. You have
defined certain distinctives that you say are Reconstructionist
thinking. I have written a number of books setting
forth detailed definitions of what Christian Reconstructionism
is. Even my Reconstructionist friends, and others who
disagree with me, point to my books, _The_Reduction_
of_Christianity_ and another book I wrote called _The_
Debate_Over_Christian_Reconstruction_, as primers as
to what Christian Reconstruction is. I have not heard
you give an accurate definition of Christian Reconstruction.
And yet you've been on the air for an hour and thirty-five
PAUL Why don't you give us a definition?
GARY The definition of Christian Reconstruction is
simply this: that the Bible applies to every facet
of life. That means, not just the judicial aspects
of life, civil government as one example, but self-government,
family government, church government, business, economics,
every facet of society. The Bible has something to
say about each of those things. Now, most Christian
Reconstructionists, especially those of us who write,
are into the scholarly avenue of research. That is,
we look at the Bible and we say, what does it say about
this particular issue? And then we set forth what we
feel the Bible says about that issue. For example,
the execution of homosexuals. We do not believe that
homosexuals ought to be executed. Mr. Porteous claims
to have been in the Pentecostal church and knows the
Bible from cover to cover. The Bible doesn't say that.
PAUL Alright, let me get a comment from Skipp.
SKIPP I'm wondering how many pages he's torn out of
the Bible. Listen, this is what Dr. Jay Grimstead told
me, and I quote him accurately and exactly. He said,
"We believe that God has given the Bible as a rule
book for all society, Christian and non-Christian alike."
And, he added, "I concur with most of the Reconstructionist
matters. I am trying to help rebuild the society on
the word of God, and loosely, that would be Reconstructionist
orientation in anybody's book." Then, he also added,
"The Bible had something like eleven reasons for capital
punishment, and murder was one, and homosexuality,
and rape, and kidnapping were some others." This is
what the leader of your group said, Gary.
GARY Well first, he's not the leader of my group, and
SKIPP What do you mean he's not the leader of your
group! You say you're a member of COR. You're on the
steering committee of the Coalition on Revival.
GARY We're talking about Christian Reconstructionism.
I'm a member of a number of different groups.
SKIPP Well, you're on the steering committee of the
Coalition on Revival. Jay Grimstead is the head of
GARY Let me explain. The Bible doesn't say that homosexuals
should be executed. What it says is this: if two men
lie together like a man and a woman lie together, they
are to be put to death.
SKIPP What the hell do you think that is?
GARY Well, wait a minute. If a guy comes up to me and
he says, "I'm a homosexual," that doesn't mean that
he's to be executed. If you understand the Scriptures,
it says very clearly, if a man comes up to you and
says, "I've murdered somebody," that doesn't mean that
person ought to be put to death.
PAUL Oh, so what you're saying, Gary, is if you catch
homosexuals in the act, then the Bible says to execute
GARY The Bible lays forth the severest penalty. The
severest penalty would be capital punishment for two
men who publicly engaged in sodomy. Which would mean,
that if that law were on the books — which it has been
on the books in many states, and probably still is
in many states in the nation today.
PAUL Does it say publicly in the Bible?
GARY Oh, you've got to have two witnesses. So, you're
going to have at least two witnesses who would come
forth and testify against two people who engaged in
sodomy. Now, Atlanta is a pretty populous city for
homosexuality. I would imagine that most people in
this city, probably 99 percent of them, have never
seen two people engaged in sodomy. But, if it did happen,
the severest punishment that could come upon somebody
would be capital punishment. It doesn't mean that has
to be the punishment.
SKIPP By capital punishment, you mean death.
GARY Well, yes.
SKIPP Now, there was a case a couple of years ago,
and I believe it was Georgia, maybe it was another
GARY It was Georgia.
SKIPP Two men were seen by the police, because the
police came in the house for a different reason, and
saw them having sex, engaging in homosexual activity
SKIPP They were arrested. So, you're saying that these
two men, according to the Bible, could receive the
SKIPP Is that what you're saying?
GARY First of all, remember, the Supreme Court upheld
Georgia's law. Secondly, yes.
SKIPP Secondly, yes! The Bible advocates the death
penalty for homosexuals.
GARY No, it doesn't.
SKIPP Homosexual activity, excuse me.
GARY For example, if a guy raped a seven-year-old.
He sodomized a seven-year-old boy _ the seven-year-old
boy is innocent.
SKIPP No, no. You said "two men, two men lying together."
SKIPP The Bible says they should be executed.
SKIPP Alright, so....
PAUL Wait a minute, wait a minute. Would you condone
GARY Condone what?
PAUL If indeed this movement were to go right by the
Bible as you just said a few moments ago, would you
advocate two men being caught in a homosexual act being
GARY No. That's now what I'm saying. What I'm saying
is that the severest penalty....
PAUL Wait a minute, now! You said the Reconstructionist
movement advocates the Bible being very much a part
of every aspect of society and you mentioned government.
PAUL So then, if you indeed believe that, then you
would have to believe that people caught in homosexuality
should be executed.
SKIPP That's Biblical law.
GARY They could be executed.
SKIPP They could be.
PAUL They could be.
PAUL So, what are you saying here?
GARY I just told you want I'm saying. That could be
the severest penalty. Let me give you an example.
PAUL Wait, before you get to that, now, you said, again,
these are your very own words. You said, that this
movement that you're involved with, advocates the Bible
being used as a basis for everything in society, including....
GARY Wait a minute....
PAUL No, you wait a minute, please. If indeed that's
the case, if you believe that, then you would be contradicting
yourself if you wouldn't advocate homosexuals being
executed for homosexual activity.
GARY I want to make sure the listeners understand that
when we talk about movement, are we talking about the
Coalition on Revival, which is not a Reconstructionist
movement, or are we talking about Christian Reconstruction
itself? Which movement are you talking about?
PAUL Yeah, but Gary, I'm understanding how you just
very cleverly steered away from my point — that you
would have to agree with the death penalty for people
caught in homosexuality.
GARY I already agreed with you that that could be the
severest penalty. I mean, I don't know how many times
I have to tell you. Yes, I agree that the Bible lays
the death penalty for two men who are engaged in sodomy
in public. Yes. I don't know how many times I have
to tell you before it gets through your head!
SKIPP Does the Bible allow the same punishment for
GARY If abortion were illegal, the question comes down
to what punishment would there be for someone who performed
an illegal abortion? Now, if the pro-life community
is correct, which I believe it is, that a pre-born
individual is in fact a human being, then the same
rights are accorded to the pre-born child as a born
child. Then the same punishment would occur for the
doctor performing the abortion. So, the pre-born child
is in fact a human being, and a born child is in fact
a human being, therefore, the same punishment prevails.
That is, if capital punishment could be brought on
someone who killed a one-day-old child, then the same
punishment would occur with someone who killed a child
in the womb.
PAUL So Gary, you would agree that a doctor performing
an abortion should receive capital punishment?
GARY Obviously, if abortion were illegal, and he performed
an illegal abortion and killed a preborn baby the same
punishment would apply. And of course we've got our
own system today that very people who commit murder
actually suffer the death penalty. That could be the
severest penalty, yes.
PAUL So, now what our guest was saying at the top of
the show, that people who are Reconstructionist believe
in this, you have told us that the death penalty could
be given to people who perform abortions, and the death
penalty — your word is could be applied under a Christian
nation for people who are caught in homosexual acts.
OK, how about adulterers?
GARY You can take two cases out of the New Testament.
It's interesting, though, when people don't believe
the Bible, like Mr. Porteous, go to the Bible and takes
cases out of it to support his position when it's convenient.
And when it's not convenient he lays the Bible aside.
But let's take two cases. The first case is Mary and
Joseph. As we know, Mary was with child, but Joseph
hadn't known a woman, hadn't known Mary. That is, he
hadn't had sexual intercourse with her. Now, what was
he to suspect? He was to suspect that she had committed
adultery. Now, it says in Scriptures that he decided
to put her away, quietly or secretly. That is, he was
to proceed with a divorce without making it a part
of the civil court. That is, not making a charge against
her of adultery. Of course, an angel comes and explains
to her that that which is conceived in her is not by
man, but by the Holy Spirit. Now, the law in Scriptures
concerning adultery means that the innocent party has
as [recourse] the toughest penalty that could be brought
on the guilty party, the death penalty. So, for example,
if a woman had a husband who was a constant womanizer,and
he just would not stop, she could bring charges against
her husband for adultery, and the severest penalty
could be, according to Scripture, the death penalty.
It wouldn't have to be, but it could be. Now, this
would do a number of things. And again, I want to go
back and underscore something. Most of the laws in
the Bible were designed not so much to be implemented,
but to keep people from practicing that particular
PAUL Well, all laws are basically that way.
GARY Right. Well, it was the same thing with homosexuality.
When there were laws on the books that could punish
homosexuality, it didn't do away with homosexuality
per se, but it kept it hidden. Kept it in the closet.
PAUL And again, back with the same question again.
You're using the word could be, and if indeed the Recon-structionist
movement ever made it in America, would you advocate
these Biblical principles being carried out, just like
the execution of the adulterer? Just like the execution
of the abortionist, and just like the execution of
GARY Well, I believe, like Mr. Porteous does, in the
democratic process. Of course, these laws couldn't
be brought into the legal system unless people actually
wanted these laws.
PAUL But if indeed enough people who have your belief
system get into that, and people vote for all of this,
then you would go along with these strict penalties?
GARY I'm saying that they could be implemented, yes.
SKIPP You are working toward that goal, though, aren't
GARY Not necessarily, no. This is what usually happens
when you're researching in an area. Mr. Porteous has
taken probably one tenth of what we actually do, and
he has blown it up like an inflated balloon and he
says, "This is what Christian Reconstructionism is."
PAUL What I'm going to do is give our two guests the
final six minutes to debate a little bit. Skipp, anything
you want to say to Gary?
SKIPP Yeah, Gary, could you give us your viewpoint
on the separation of church and state?
GARY Well, first of all, the Constitution, including
the Bill of Rights, says nothing about a separation
of church and state. The First Amendment says, "Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercising thereof." Which
simply means that our national government cannot establish
a national church. Typically, what's happened in our
day, the courts, and other things, they have interpreted
that to mean that nothing religious can be involved
in any sort of civil decision. And I just think that
that's just erroneous. Any fourth grader who knows
anything about history knows as a fact that religion
was always incorporated into decision-making policies.
Prayer, Bible-reading, laws based upon Scripture principles
have no violation under the First Amendment. At the
time of the drafting of the First Amendment there were
nine states that had established state religions. I'm
not advocating that, but obviously the First Amendment
does not mean what Mr. Porteous and other advocates
of church/state separation....
SKIPP Gary, Jay Grimstead told me that "the goal of
a number of us is to try to Christianize the state
of California." Then he said, "the church is not supposed
to try to take over the government of San Jose. The
people who take over the government of San Jose are
American citizens who happen to be informed by the
Bible on what is justice and what is injustice. The
Bible controls both church and state." Would you agree
with Dr. Grimstead on that statement?
GARY That the Bible is a law book for both church and
state? Yes, but that's different than saying that church
and state are merged by the Bible. The Bible is very
specific about a separation between church and state.
And I recommend that you read my Ruler of Nations to
see how I've laid out, very specifically, in great
detail, what the Bible and what the Constitution says
about the principles. I'm getting the impression listening
to you and debating this topic, and writing on this
topic for over ten years now, that most of the critics
of Christian Reconstruction haven't read what Recon-structionists
have written. And Paul, to give you some idea, we have
nearly one hundred books on the market right now, very
easily available to anyone who wants them, to go in
and look and see what we have to say. I'm amazed that
Mr. Porteous misunderstands very clear statements in
our books what we mean by separation of church and
SKIPP Well, Gary, earlier you accused me of lying about
many things I said tonight, but in the last twenty
minutes or so, you've confirmed everything I've said.
GARY No, because at the beginning of the show you claimed
— and it was very clear what you were doing — the Coalition
on Revival is a Reconstructionist movement, and then
you said that these people, the LaHayes, Wildmon, and
so forth, should leave this organization because this
is a Reconstructionist organization, and it isn't.
I've been on some of even the drafting documents and
anything that even hinted at Reconstructionist distinctives
were left out because the people didn't agree with
them. Now, how can you say it's a Reconstructionist
movement when I was there? I was in the drafting document
on government. And there isn't anything about what
you're saying about Christian Reconstructionist distinctives
in that drafting document. So, to say then that the
Coalition on Revival is a Reconstructionist organization,
when its documents have none of the particulars of
Christian Reconstruction in them, specifically the
one on civil government, is a bald-faced lie.
SKIPP Well, I happen to have some of those documents
myself, and I'm also going by what your leader Jay
Grimstead said, that he is a Reconstructionist and
he agrees with most of the Reconstructionist doctrines.
PAUL And wait, I've got to say something here so that
we don't run out of time. You did say that our first
guest, Skipp, mentioned that the Bible principles should
be applied to society, in your viewpoint. And you did
GARY All Christians agree with that!
PAUL Yeah, but most Christians don't think that capital
punishment could be applied to people caught in homosexual
acts, or could be for adulterers, or whatever.
GARY Paul, this is one thing that I want to say....
PAUL And that's what he said at the top of the show,
for all intents and purposes. You agreed with that!
GARY But see, Christian Reconstruct.... What he's saying
about Christian Reconstruction is one tenth of one
percent of Christian Reconstruction.
SKIPP The one tenth I'm speaking about is the worst
part of it.
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