By: David Rice Re: In the news VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (ITN) A gay clergyman arrested a week a
By: David Rice
Re: In the news
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (ITN) * A gay clergyman arrested a week
ago while trying to meet with Pat Robertson said Wednesday he
would end a weeklong jailhouse fast if the religious
broadcaster condemns anti-gay violence.
The Rev. Mel White, a former ghost writer for Robertson, said
in an interview in the Virginia Beach Jail he would refuse
food and stay in the isolated cell where he's been held since
Feb. 15 until Robertson acknowledges him.
"I don't think Pat Robertson wants anybody hurt or beaten or
killed," White said. "But when you get up in a theater and
yell 'fire' and people get trampled, you are responsible for
White maintains that Robertson uses anti-homosexual language
in his "700 Club" show on the Christian Broadcasting Network
and in fundraising appeals.
"You have every right to say what you believe," White wrote
in a letter to Robertson. "But ... so much of what you say is
misleading and dangerously inflammatory."
Gene Kapp, a spokesman for CBN, said Robertson already
"condemns violence of any kind" and accused White of trying
to create "a media event to publicize himself."
Kapp said White showed up on a day when Robertson was out of
town and refused to discuss his concerns with other ministry
executives who were available.
White, a volunteer clergyman in Dallas for the Universal
Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a national gay
denomination, said he has tried for three years to meet with
Robertson. He was arrested on a charge of trespassing at
Robertson's CBN offices.
White was a ghost writer for a Robertson book in 1986. He
said he acknowledged his homosexuality in 1991 and severed
all ties to Robertson.
Robertson told White in a letter made public earlier this
month he would not meet with him. Robertson, who condemns
homosexuality as a "sin," wrote in the letter to White that
the Bible directs him to "have love in my heart toward
homosexual and lesbian people."
Despite the refusal, White showed up at Robertson's
headquarters on Valentine's Day carrying flowers and candy
and was arrested the next day, after spending the night
outside CBN headquarters.
White said he would refuse offers to pay his $2,500 bail on
the misdemeanor charge because he would have to agree to stay
away from CBN headquarters or to pay any fine if he is
convicted when his case is heard March 28.
Instead, he sits in a cell that is isolated from other
inmates, drinking only liquids in a prayer fast that he hopes
will convince Robertson to change his mind and see him.
"If I can't walk across that campus, if he has to call the
civil authorities to arrest me, you can see how frustrated I
am," White said.
... "And the bug-eyed monster?" "Is green, yes."
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank