BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for January 14, 2009
MLK Jr. city-county planning committee responds to pastor selection question

Spaulding raises red flag over City-County MLK Jr. celebration pastor selection over gay rights

Today marks the fifth-annual joint City-County employee observation of the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., to be held at First Presbyterian Church downtown at noon today.

Each year, the event provides an opportunity for local government employees, elected officials, and the public to remember Dr. King and his fight for civil rights -- to bring the spirit and meaning of the day to light.

And each year, the employee-sponsored event's organizers select a keynote speaker to speak at the event. Last year, for instance, Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP president Michelle Cotton Laws, a 2009 Indy citizen award winner, was the speaker.

This year's selection is J.D. Greear, the pastor at Durham/RTP's The Summit Church. He's also a prolific blogger, holding court on a wide range of topics at his eponymous web site. Trained in neighboring Wake Forest's Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Greear shares a denomination and profession with King.

But his selection has drawn fire from another Durham blogger, Pam Spaulding of the nationally-renowned Pam's House Blend LGBT-focused blog.

In an email to elected officials on Wednesday, Spaulding -- herself the great-granddaughter of NC Mutual founder C.C. Spaulding and granddaughter of the late NC Mutual president Asa Spaulding, himself active in national politics as a Presidential advisor and advocate for civil rights -- raised concerns over the appropriateness of Greear's selection, given statements he had made in the past on gay marriage.

Spaulding noted the City Council's unanimous vote last year to support the right of gays and lesbians to marry, and expressed concern that Greear's opposition to that right -- and the manner in which he communicated those feelings, via his web site and presumably elsewhere -- was not in keeping with the spirit (if not the documented letter) of King's legacy.

Last year's City-County celebration speaker, Laws, is herself a strong backer of gay rights, something not noted by Spaulding but picked up by the Indy in their citizen award given her last year.

As Spaulding frets in her email:

Dr. Martin Luther King never spoke on the issue of gay rights, but he never declared that any specific group of people should be denied basic civil rights in this country. His wife Coretta Scott King, who carried on his legacy, was a strong and unfailing supporter of LGBT rights, including the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

Pastor J.D. Greear has sadly represented the the opposite view, castigating the LGBT community as sinners and undeserving of civil rights in this arena. Moreover, he conflates the issue of religious and civil marriage.

In the email and her blog, Spaulding goes on to quote from statements made by Greear, including his comments about homosexuals, whom Greear states are welcome at The Summit but notes that is in the context of repentant sinners, like all Christians, seeking a path forward to redemption:

Doesn’t the church welcome sinners? The church is indeed a hospital for all types of sinners, but the first stage of healing is calling the disease a disease....

There are homosexuals who frequent our church. They are welcome. Their sins are no different than mine. But to join our church you have to agree to live under Christ’s authority. If you are willing to submit to Him, and to cry out to Him for help from your sin, you will join a group of us experiencing healing from our sin.

Spaulding also calls out for criticism Greear's position on gay marriage, calling out for special criticism a reductio ad absurdum argument Greear makes on the subject, asking whether if one could extend the short-lived approval in California of gay marriage through what he would call a 're-definition' of the institution, what would prevent such actions redefinition around polygamy or between those of majority age and a "consenting adolescent?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I haven't had a chance to reach out to Greear, but it is worth noting that -- aside from his blog -- he himself takes a position on the separation of religion and politics in re his church's operation that's more explicitly stated than one might expect from the increasingly-politicized discussions on religion and gay rights... small comfort that that may be to Spaulding and to activists for gay marriage everywhere.

Actually, Greear's post on the subject of gay marriage makes for an interesting read -- in large part for his caveats, given several times, that it's his goal to stay away from political topics in his preaching at The Summit, even if he raises the questions on the blog:

My decision to stay out of politics, personally, has to do with my own personal calling as a pastor. My primary calling is to the Gospel, and I refuse to entangle myself in anything that keeps me from that one thing. The Gospel, and not a particular political persuasion, is the "main thing" at our church. We have both Republicans and Democrats on our staff and in our congregation. We have both McCainiacs and Obama-mamas in our congregation and on our stage each Sunday.

I will do my best to teach biblical principles about all areas of life, but applying them to various political situations I'll usually leave to you. You may disagree with me on how I apply a biblical worldview to situations--say, the war in Iraq, taxation, theories about climate change, etc. That is OK. I don't want to let that divide us. Plus, I know I might be wrong in my opinion on the war in Iraq or the proper role of the government in education. 

That position actually drew heated opposition in the comments from a self-proclaimed graduate of the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University, who castigated Greear for not preaching the politics from a bully pulpit and for not excluding those who didn't fit the commenter's idea of religion:

It's easier to preach to the choir than take the ball to the hoop. It's easier to NOT get involved, and it's easier to hide behind a mantle of religiosity. If the Gospel is ALL that you are dedicated too, then you have already failed in your stated objective. Separate the men in the Bible who were not involved in government and see how many books of the Bible you have left. [...] When an abortion supporter, and an abortion opponent, can feel at home in the same church - something other than the Biblical Gospel is being preached.

As Greear responded to that commenter:

You also seemed to overlook the fact that I said that some Christians should be involved in politics full time, bringing the worldview into it. I just don't see it as the job of the local church, which is to be a Gospel community centered on the Gospel. I have plenty of experience with churches that were known for a political platform more than the Gospel. In, my experience, THEY are the ones who end up preaching only to the choir. I might be wrong in my opinion about global warming. I'm not wrong about the Gospel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For her part, Spaulding asked city and county officials to ask Greear to step aside from speaking -- something that might be difficult for what's an employee-organized event -- or for them to make an affirmation of their support of "civil equality" for LGBTs at the event.

To my guess, I'd assume Greear would steer widely clear of the whole matter in today's discussion, focusing instead on King's legacy in civil rights and his accomplishments around race.

To Spaulding, the discussion of civil rights can't happen in a vacuum that excludes discussion of gay rights.

It's a matter on which there's been some support from the voting body politic -- but also one which, as Spaulding noted in her remarks on the racially-split reaction from the audience that night at City Council, not everyone in the local black community supported.

At the end of the day, to some extent, the whole matter speaks as much about the divisions we still face in this country, not just over what we've accomplished for equality in realms like race where there's broad agreement, but in how we define what the boundaries of civil rights should be in the first place.

If there's a lesson I take away from the whole matter, it's that we sure could use a Dr. King more than ever these days.



what pisses off us gay people is that supposed straight allies like the author of this column continue to cling to the idea that support or rejection of our civil rights can be nuanced and is a viable topic for any sort of debate. I don't give a rat's ass if the pastor tries to separate politics from religion, he's still a bigot. And if this were a question of race there would be absolutely no attempt to defend his position. Until people like the author get it that ANY type of discrimination of gays and lesbians is unacceptable (regardless of who it comes from) we will continue to languish in second class citizenship. Anyone who supports civil rights should speak out loudly against this man speaking in remembrance of Dr. King. It is a disgrace to his legacy.


Sorry Kevin, but I FULLY agree with "gaylib".

next time

dig around on the greear blog, there's much much more to loathe. and its important to keep track of what such a mega-church is up to...


Gotta also love Pastor Greear lumping homosexuality with wife abuse:

"Why single out this sin [homosexuality]?" The answer is: we don't. Or at least we try not to. If someone is in clear rebellion against God, refusing to surrender to Scripture, it does not matter what is their rebellion of choice-be it wife abuse, gossip, homosexuality, cheating on their taxes-they could not be a part of our church." (src: http://tinyurl.com/ybcpnrj)

Here's him calling being gay a disease (this excerpt is taken from right before one of the paragraphs you quote in your piece):

"Doesn’t the church welcome sinners? The church is indeed a hospital for all types of sinners, but the first stage of healing is calling the disease a disease. When we blur the lines between God’s truth and the world’s moral fads, we are obstructing the light!" (src: http://tinyurl.com/ygdq3rw)

This man is clearly a bigot.


OH dear God, I went to Campbell University with this guy. We were in the Baptist Student Union together. Our paths have clearly veered since then. I had no idea what he was doing these days and I'm very disappointed to see this level of bigotry and hate from someone with whom I once worshiped.

To J.D.: Do us a favor and do not invite us into your church or your "hospital". We're just fine worshiping (or not) God with Christians, even dare say it Baptists, who truly reflect the love of Christ who never looked on anyone as "diseased". The disease here, dear friend, is not homosexuality but ignorance and hatred and lies within your soul not ours.


Sorry Kevin, but have to throw my lot in with gaylib et al above. It’s the folks like Greear who in some ways are the most insidious.
He’s in the same league as that goateed preacher from the megachurch who Obama so unfortunately asked to invoke something at the inauguration. Soft bigotry that can lead to such hard discrimination because it’s painted in such palatable terms. Don’t fall for it. Just remember a good test for this sort of language. For each mention of gay/homosexual, substitute left-handed, Albanian or some other innate quality or condition. Then see how it reads.


I hate the use of religion as a way to control how people feel and think about a topic. Those same people that say that are the same people that feel like government should not be telling them how to think or do either. It just does not make sense to me.

If you ask me, the guy is clearly an ignorant piece of s**t. Civil rights my a**...

Kevin Davis

To all: Thanks for the feedback on the post.

Just to be clear, my point in posting this article was not to take sides in an argumentative fashion about my own feelings on the subject. (Which, for whatever its worth, are not aligned with those of Greear.) Instead, it was to raise the point that Pam has raised a question about whether Greears participation in the MLK Jr. event is appropriate or inappropriate.

I used Greears back-and-forth with the Liberty U. guy as a proxy for what I expect Greears response would be to Pams concerns. Im not arguing that hes correct in his positioning, but I wanted to provide more context on how Greear has responded in other circumstances to arguments that he should be more politically engaged and less tolerant of (for example) abortion supporters being members of his church.

By proxy, I mean that, based on the comments I read on Greears blog, I would expect Greear to argue that the question of his speaking at the event is itself a politicization of the matter, and that he is not one to link politics to the Gospel, ergo, he sees no conflict. (Ultimately, that is an assumption on my part, and its up to the pastor to speak up in response to Pams argument if he wishes.)

I think Pams argument speaks for itself -- that such a separation is artificial and contrived, that civil rights are immutable and indivisible, and that there should not be a separation between civil rights measured by race versus those measured by sexual orientation.

I do not agree, personally, with Greears position. But I did want to provide enough context that readers might understand what his response might be in this context, based on other statements on the site.


If Coretta Scott King was a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, as the wife of MLK, who's mission was to support his legacy and that of his message, then it follows that whoever is chosen to speak at this occaision also be of similar philosophy. We have to believe that Dr. King's message included ALL people, even if during his day there was no widespread gay rights movement comparable to that of re-enfranchising blacks to vote, or that it didn't receive the same amount of publicity until after his assassination.

The controversy is justified, no matter how soft and gentle you package your bigotry in the name of your religion. America is a secular country no matter how many people personally ascribe to religious belief. That means people have a right to practice their religion or lack thereof, or to believe in equality as a foundation of a particular sect as much as inequality as part of another. What makes a difference is that those who don't believe in equality have no right to deny it to those that do. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to have this speaker at a public ceremony that celebrate equality and tolerance. I use the term "tolerance" lightly, as is the right of anyone to be a bigot and still tolerate if that's what their religion tells them. One should strive for acceptance, so that regardless of what one believes personally, it is not allowed to take away someone else's right to believe something or to live in peace. For public officials and speakers at public ceremonies, the bar is set much higher than those who speak at the pulpit.


I don't care what the "context" is. referring to being gay as a disease and a sin is bigoted. "Context" in this situation to me is a substitute for "rationalization". We can not afford to tolerate people using this kind of pulpit to discuss civil rights who do not believe in those rights for ALL people. If Greear has a response to Pam (and most gays) I would love to hear it from his own lips, not someone else's. If you consider that "politicization" of this event, so be it. I think that clearly shows how people who are not gay can afford to look at events like this as a political debate rather than a matter of life or death.

next time

and this is the man and the church that say they have "hope for durham" via all of those bumper stickers.....


I find it interesting that JD's disapproval of homosexuality is referred to as his opinion or bigotry. It's his civil right to plant himself on the Bible as his reference guide of absolute truth. Is not freedom of religion under civil rights as well? It is the Bible and the Gospel in fact that describes what sin is and isn't, and unfortunately for politics, homosexuality is included in that description. Before you condemn the man that holds differing beliefs from you, remember that you claim to believe in his personal rights as well. So, the real issue is whether or not he should be speaking at an event where its proponents may or may not have supported gay marriage (because anyone that is married would understand husbands and wives do not always maintain the same opinions and beliefs). My question for naysayers is this: is he going to speak against marriage rights? Or does he see this as an opportunity to get more Christians involved in the subject of civil rights? Civil rights is spoken of loudly in the Bible, so JD's involvement/speech would in fact coincide with the Gospel, as the author suggests. I find it interesting/shocking that civil rights is such a large subject and covers so many people, yet those of you angry at this article would rather have it done your way or not at all. If you believe that JD is discriminating against homosexuals in this world (whether they attend his church or not) then you haven't met the man or his God.

Phillip Brande

Why does everyone that speaks at an event like this have to share your view point? Why does your view point have to be stated every time someone that doesn't have your view point speaks?

Daniel Cummins

I am not an experienced debater of public policy, but I do feel that there should be something pointed out with regards to Greear's use of the word 'disease'. In my opinion, if you read his comment about the church being a hospital for sinners, the metaphor clearly indicates that sin in general is the disease, not homosexuality alone. I feel this is worth pointing out because usually when some person refers to being gay as a disease, the implication is that he himself is free from disease and thus his air of superiority is offensive.

Based on Greear's comment, I would say that is NOT his position. Indeed, he may refer to homosexuality as a disease in the same way that someone who is a habitual liar or who consistently cheats on his wife, or is prone to violence also has a disease. It is a metaphor. His point was that ALL sinners (and by extension, all humans) are guilty of the same disease - sin. Whether sin manifests itself as any of those ways is almost inconsequential. For Greear, the solution is the same - salvation through Jesus Christ. The air of superiorty associated with people who love to spread anti-homosexual rhetoric is not there, and I feel that this should be noted by people who are quick to label Greear as a bigot and reduce him to such a soundbyte as 'He think gays are diseased'.

A person may disagree with Greear that homosexuality should be labelled as a sin at all, and that is a seperate topic for discussion. But given that 'agreement to disagree', I believe that any rational criticism of his position should at the very LEAST acknowledge that context DOES matter. In this case, calling homosexuality a disease was in the context of a larger metaphor in which ALL sin is the disease, one with which all humans are infected. That is a fundamentally different position than saying 'Gays are diseased and Im not' which is what it sounds like people here think he said.

You are certainly free to disagree with his position and choose to label him a bigot if you choose, but logic and prudence both demand that you at least understand his statement before doing so.



I just don't understand why we are afraid of someone with another view? So what if you don't agree with JD? He was the first to admit that he isn't perfect and doesn't claim to be right on every issue. I DO know that his church has done more for the Durham/RDU area than probably any church on the entire east coast has done for their community. They pour volunteers by the hundreds and dollars by the thousands into serving the poor, cleaning up schools and even offering medical care and support to those in need. I personally think MLK would thank JD.


It seems that there is an unfair bias being applied to JD. As a pastor of the Gospel, he is defining his beliefs based upon that Gospel as stated earlier. I would also agree that if you would be daring enough to call JD a bigot indeed you have not met the man.


Let me get this straight...JD isn't allowed to have a viewpoint unless it agrees with the viewpoint of the leftest liberal? What kind of "equal rights" is that? Instead of pointing out how much you disagree with him, why don't you respect his right to hold to an opinion that differs from yours?

For all the gay rights people: Yes, you have a "right" to have gay rights...just like you have the "right" to lie under oath, drink and drive, etc... Read Romans 1:18-32

Seth Vidal

I don't think the concern is with JD having a viewpoint which disagrees with others. I think the concern is with our city/county endorsing him.

Which is what they did when they selected him to speak.

It is an endorsement, by the city, of a perspective that the citizens who have spoken out here, do not believe should be a endorsed.


JD's my pastor. One thing I can say is that the Gospel is the foundation and motivation of everything we do. If you believe him to be a bigot, let me be the first to invite you to The Summit.
Say or assume what you'd like, hatred and bigotry you won't find there. The Gospel you will. JD has a huge love for our community. It's our goal to bring that love of God to you.

Steve Bocckino

Seems like civil rights are only for SOME people . . .


I'm not sure who the "Will" is that posted at 3:44 p.m. but he's not me, the Will who comments here on BCR semi-regularly, as I did earlier today at 12:07 p.m.

I just wanted to clarify this.

Oh and to poser Will - I did call him a bigot and I have met the man - please see my original comment.


@Seth Vidal But if the city had a gay rights supporter to speak then the city/county is endorsing that person right? And that gay rights activist would have an opinion different than mine....but I'd just have to accept it, right?

Differing opinions are going to always be there. However, JD and the Summit Church have been actively involved in the city...I don't think anyone would argue that. They also are a very diverse congregation that have broken down racial lines in a very multi-cultural southern town. That's equal rights...not the forced acceptation of sin (Romans 1:18-32)


The city and county of Durham have very clearly stated their support for full civil rights for the LGBT community. Over and over again.

The fact that they would then choose, as their representative, someone who does not express the same public view of civil rights to discuss civil rights boggles my mind.

If he were discussing the role of the church to provide pastoral care it would be different. What is insulting is that he is speaking on the topic of the rights each person can confer from the state while specifically holding out a group for different and unequal treatment.


For those interested in seeing a transcript of JD Greear's speech today...


I am a member of the Summit and I can personally attest to the fact that this man holds no ill toward any person! To call him a bigot is not only insane, but it shows just how ignorant some people are. Yes I used the word ignorant...not out of hatered or malice, but out of personal understanding. I have known this man for 8 years and have never heard him speak of anything but a respect of all opinions. Funny... the very thing you wish to remove from him, Dr. King would want for us all! The right to speak freely in a free nation! I too invite anyone who would like to see true love in action to visit the Summit. We are not perfect by no means...I am cheif amoung sinners! That is NOT a glib statement! I truely am a wretched person. Praise God that Jesus Christ covers my sin! I know that if it were up to me to do that, I would fail before ever getting started.


My family has moved out of Durham but I would like to add that it is possible to separate the religious and the political in this matter as well. Both sides might condemn me but my honest opinion is that marriage as a legal contract should be granted to any two persons (male, female, same). At the same time as I read the bible, I see that God created man for woman and vice versa. I will argue for anyone's right to marriage while disagreeing with the lifestyle of same sex couples (married or not).

That said, I'm glad we can have this conversation at all. It shows how far along we have rights. JD seemed to be a good man when I meet him. I check up on his blog every now and then as well. Glad to hear about all the things their church is doing for the city.

Let's all have open minds to listen to one another instead of immediately discounting statements/actions because we don't agree with one piece.

Pam Spaulding

Just to inform the people defending the pastor who did not read my post on the matter, Rev. Greear has not shied away from coarse, anti-gay language on his blog, such as:


"Furthermore, there has to be SOME definition of marriage we are operating on. If we begin to say that same-sex marriage is ok, what stops us from polygamy? What about an older man and a consenting adolescent? How about a man and a horse? I'm not trying to be silly, I'm just saying that at some point somebody has to define marriage. The whole "lowest common denominator" thing won't work very long.

Government has not seen it to be their role to define marriage. "


"Now, some ask, "Why single out this sin [homosexuality]?" The answer is: we don't. Or at least we try not to. If someone is in clear rebellion against God, refusing to surrender to Scripture, it does not matter what is their rebellion of choice-be it wife abuse, gossip, homosexuality, cheating on their taxes-they could not be a part of our church. The church is a group of repentant sinners, changed by Christ, struggling against the flesh to live the resurrection. But Christ can't resurrect what you won't call dead. Why not make a statement about gluttony or pride? Because there is no controversy about those in the church. If there began to be a large movement to sanction gluttony as an alternate lifestyle, I hope we'd make a statement about it, too."


He's not even telling the truth of the history of civil marriage here. Of course the government has, as recently and significantly as 1967, done so with the landmark Loving v. Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage. He is entitled to his views on religious marriage, but to say that his particular view should govern civil marriage is not misguided, to be kind.

As I said, there are many blog postings of this nature by J.D. Greear on his site, and it reflects badly on the Bull City to commemorate the memory and work of Dr. Martin Luther King with J.D. Greear as its keynote speaker. Dr. King worked side by side with the openly gay organizer of the March On Washington, Bayard Rustin.

I would hope that the pastor and those in his flock reconsider these discriminatory views -- in terms of civil rights and civil law, not religious doctrine. You are free to discriminate within the four walls of your house of worship.


When you encounter someone who cites their religious beliefs to justify opposing the civil right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, ask them a couple of questions.
1) Do you realize that unless the couple has obtained a marriage license issued by the state, a religious marriage means nothing in the eyes of the law?

2) Do they truly believe that there isn't separation of church and state in this matter? If so, they are effectively asking the state not just to prevent us from marrying on that basis, they are also affirming state discrimination against the churches and denominations that DO want to marry those same couples. That's discrimination based on religion and I hate to break it to them -- that is unconstitutional.


I am a member of the Summit Church and have been for over 16 years, but that does not mean I am no less a sinner than my friends that are indeed homosexual as is JD's stance. God sees no difference in a big or little sin. Dr. Greear has spent a lifetime reading, preaching, and teaching the Gospel so I am very sure he is clear on what he speaks. It is not for us to wonder why they chose him as the speaker today, but maybe they did because he is not just a leader in our community but a participator. He does not ask any more of us than he delivers himself. He does not feel the need to "honk his horn" over the accomplishments Summit has seen because all the glory goes to God. He did not address heterosexuality today in his speech so should I be offended then since I feel like I am in the minority in this blog? That would be silly, just as its silly that leftist are so upset that he was chosen to speak on civil action.


There appear to be two questions in this discussion:

1) Can Christians, constitutionally, see homosexuality as immoral, and, if so, can they teach against it?

2) does it violate the constitution for the government to define marriage as between a man and a woman?

Let's assume that the answer to #1 is yes, and deal with #2.

Do advocates of homosexual marriage believe the government can define marriage at all? If you answer "no," then there is no logically consistent way for you to say that marriage must be between two people and not include polygamists. Hundreds of people should be able to "wed" if they so choose, because you've said the government can't define marriage, and "definition" must, by definition, include number.

If you say "yes," then you have to demonstrate a logical reason why you think it is ok to define certain aspects of marriage but not others.

Candidly, every argument I've heard from homosexual marriage advocates on this is purely arbitrary. Absolutely no historical, legal, or logical reason is given why, in their opinion, the government can define the number of partners in marriage but not the gender. It simply boils down to a "preference," a preference they prefer to thrust on the rest of us.

If, on the other hand, government can define marriage, the Judeo-Christian ethic and natural law on which US laws are historically based would lead us to the number of marriage to being (2) people and the genders of marriage to be "opposite." Even if we didn't consult those historic bases of American law, and we just listened to the voice of the American people, we would end up with the same definition. An overwhelming majority believe that is how marriage should be defined.

This is a logically consistent opinion, while the homosexual marriage argument is fundamentally flawed... conclusions are arrived at more by preference than logic.


Fellow homosexuals! Don't forget most organized Christianity operates according to a vicious them-vs.-us logic. Ideas like equality and justice for all have no place in a belief system built on a firm belief in condemning others so that you can be saved.

Durham ain't perfect. A city that rhetorically embraces gay marriage and invites someone to speak publicly about civil rights who tows the (Christian) majority party line on scripture-sanctioned LGBT discrimination seems in my mind to fit right in these days: when Obama asked Rick Warren to preside over his inauguration it was clear that change for LGBT people was nowhere on the horizon.

Defeatism is certainly not a useful political strategy and I applaud Pam for making a stink. But the bottom line is that straight Christians drinking the kool-aid and bureaucrats out to ensure that everyone is happy together are never going to be the ones to make a difference for those who are second-class citizens.

Alas, a MLK Jr. for LGBT civil rights--an issue that is neither left nor right--is a dream that's hard to imagine these days.


James- your opinion isn't logical. It is based on false assumptions and fearmongering. I suggest you read this piece by conservative lawyer Ted Olson:


"Marriage is a civil bond in this country as well as, in some (but hardly all) cases, a religious sacrament. It is a relationship recognized by governments as providing a privileged and respected status, entitled to the state's support and benefits. The California Supreme Court described marriage as a "union unreservedly approved and favored by the community." Where the state has accorded official sanction to a relationship and provided special benefits to those who enter into that relationship, our courts have insisted that withholding that status requires powerful justifications and may not be arbitrarily denied."

You suggest, as many other right wing conservatives have, that allowing gay people to marry would lead to such things as widespread polygamy. Yet recently we have seen Christian fear mongering in Uganda by American evangelists lead to that country imposing the death penalty on gay people. All the while, polygamy is legal and widespread in mainly Christian Uganda. Opposition to gay marriage is not based on any argument about the stability or definition of marriage. It is based on homophobia and bigotry.

Everyone in this country deserves to be treated equally. The deterioration of this comment thread into bigoted anti-gay diatribes is exactly the reason why the choice of Greear to speak on civil rights was a huge mistake and a slap in the face who still live in this country as less than full citizens. We will not be silent and we will not go away until we are given our rights.


Jesus was a radical in His day. He spoke for one woman, one man in a marriage when, at the time, it was acceptable for men to have many wives and have them killed at will if they so chose. Jesus was radical and many didn't like Him. In fact, they killed Him.

It's ironic that these days in America, unlike the days of my youth, Christians are once again considered radicals, even misfits. (Personally, I believe this to be more of a media driven image, not a true majority one.)

If we are indeed radical, let us be radical in our love, even in the face of ridicule and false accusation. This does not mean that we abandon what we believe is the Truth. That's not love, that is hypocrisy. We believe what we believe and hopefully those of you who do not believe as we do will find tolerance to be an option.

It seems to me that the Summit is quite a radical church. I'm a member and I've watched J.D. press and press on every member to become involved in reaching out to those who are in need in Durham, regardless of their faith or circumstance. We have devoted countless amounts of time, energy, resources, money- to Durham's improvement, without first requiring a Christian label on the object of our attention, without asking anything in return. We love because He first loved us, not because someone, anyone believes as we do. We love because Jesus loves. We are not asking for anything in return. Our reward is in knowing that we are doing what Jesus has called us to do.

My guess is that the city of Durham invited J.D. Greear to speak solely because, under his leadership, our church has made a true and real and substantial impact on the less fortunate of Durham- the schools, neighborhoods, individuals who have needed support the most- for years! If I were the decision maker in Durham, I would also want to acknowledge such radical behavior.

This isn't an issue about homosexuality. The fact that it's been convoluted in such a manner seems unfair. This is an issue of simple gratitude for selfless giving. I think Martin Luther King would be pleased with the City's choice to acknowledge the Summit in this way. It just seems the decent and respectful thing.


Dr. King was first and foremost a Christian and secondly a civil rights leader, he allegiance was ultimately to Christ. I believe that as a follower of Christ, Dr. King would have agreed with Greear that homosexuality is a sin, as stated in the Bible, and should be viewed similarly to adultery and pre-marital sex. Greear has maintained a loving approach to the subject of homosexuality and invited those individuals into the church to seek forgiveness, salvation through Christ, and repentance of their sin. It is clear that Greear was indeed representing the legacy of Dr. King in a manner that was honorable.

JD Greear was selected as the key note speak because of the tremendous work that his church has done in the community. The church has donated time, talent, and money to help the needed in Durham, regardless of their sexual orientation. Over the Christmas holiday the Summit Church donated thousands of pounds of food to children who otherwise wouldn't have received a good meal during their Christmas break. The church send money out around the world to help people in need and does charity work locally that has a significant impact on the community. The Summit Church and Pastor Greear are a great reflection of Dr. King's dream and an even better reflection of Christ and showing His love to people all around the World.

Thank God for Pastor Greear and the Summit Church.

Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."


I see that JD got all his followers over from his blog to come defend his ass here!!! LOL!

Look, I respect the fact that JD has been involved in the community and love that he encourages others to do so. I've never heard of anything the church has done but then again, I am not involved in any churches so would not know what goes on in the community when they are helping out...If he is helping out the community like his followers say he is, then awesome, I love him for it. We in Durham need all the help we can get...It does not change the fact that he still sees homosexuality as a disease...

I am a heterosexual but do believe all should have equal rights because as a human being with a soul, it feels EXTREMELY GOOD to treat and respect ALL equally...Meaning I would also vote for equal rights and not just say hi to a gay but vote no for gay marriage.

I follow a god but do not belong to any "organization" because it is my right. I feel I am a law abiding citizen whom always lends a hand when in need...I respect all religions because I feel you as a human being with equal rights has a right to follow whatever religion you choose...I don't give a s**t what religion you're in, I just don't think it's right for your soul to discard a certain type of person, in this case a homosexual.


Freddie....please don't misunderstand, homosexuality is not a disease. That's not what JD said. Sin is the disease...homosexuality is merely a symptom like my desire to treat my body as less than the temple of God. Or my father’s desire to physically abuse my mother. Or even my brother who is also a homosexual. We are called to love all sinners...not the sin. I love my brother dearly....but I do not love his lifestyle. This is what I feel is the crux of this whole thing...that some, who have chosen a lifestyle that God has said is sin, feel that Christians can't love them because of it. This is not what God, or Dr Greear, wants Christians to convey. As a follower of Christ I can say that I love all mankind (truly I do) but I do not love their sin (just as I don't love my own). I have made some incredibly bad choices in my life yet I have never felt that God didn't love me in spite of them. This is what true Christianity is! This is also what Dr Greear lives out on a daily basis. Just for the record, this entry was not solicited by JD or any other member of the Summit. I speak solely on my own initiative ...folks at the Summit can think for themselves, and we do a lot more than "say hi to a gay". Maybe you would like to join us the next time we help Eastway Elementary by delivering school supplies for their students or painting classrooms...or maybe help us show our appreciation to Durham's law enforcement by holding a carnival for them and their families...how about helping us staff a free clinic for aids testing (the first in Durham by the way)? We could use all the help we can get! It's a lot of fun and you get to meet so many different people!


No one hates being politically correct as much I do. I would never persecute people for their religious beliefs, except when those beliefs actively interfere in the rights of individuals to express themselves or live their lives in peace, free from discrimination and persecution. I'm no activist either, so on the face of it, I would not object to Dr Greear or any other religious figure speaking at a MLK event, obviously since MLK was a pastor. However, giving a platform for anyone at a public event the opportunity to spread their misconceptions for which I vehemently disagree with, no matter what other good deeds they may have done, is something I would object to but not necessarily prevent.

Preaching actively against homosexual rights in your own church under the guise of defining sin, as though it were a behavior of choice rather than a fluke of biology, is a form of passive aggressive behavior towards another group of individuals who should enjoy the same rights as everyone else. If that's what he interprets from the Bible, then I can't change his beliefs. Concern from the community may be enough to modify or temper them somewhat in a public forum. If Dr Greear so chooses, can take the opportunity to unite us by publicly acknowledging that there are other segments of society that haven't fully realized Dr. King's dream, and despite his personal religious or political beliefs, deserve to fight for and receive the same rights as those born different, and who can't so easily make the same choices as those in his church.


so we're not a disease, we're a symptom of a disease? That makes all the difference then! I guess you love coughing and vomiting too, but hate the flu. What a load of crap. Would you be so friendly to the wife beater that you compare us gay people to? Why not embrace your bigotry? you know, really let out the hate. Oh I know, because biogts like you and Greear are also cowards who have to bury their hate in supposed good intentions and religious dogma. No amount of good deeds you or the pastor do will make up for your biogtry and fear. If you don't believe me, ask the gay people of Uganda who await imprisonment and death due to the rhetoric of pastors like Geear and Rick Warren, among others. Nothing they do can wash that blood from their hands.


I would like to respond to GreenLantern by simply asking him (or her)and anyone else wishing to know the truth about what was spoken at the event to go to Dr. Greear's (that sounds sooooo impersonal)...JD's blog site and read what he said. Judge for yourself what he used that "platform to spread"! It is posted in its entirety for all to read...nothing more needs to be said!!! PERIOD!



I vote to let this go. No side is going to convince another in this forum of anything. We will go around and around forever. Gay people just go on being yourselves and being OUT. That alone will change more minds than any amount of arguing or debate.

If the Summit is doing good works in Durham then buy golly good for them and good for all of us.

This thread is bringing me down and I'm ready to move on but like a wreck I can't stop looking at it. Both sides have made their points - let's just keep doing what we do to make our lives and Durham a better place for everyone.

Peace, Will


I agree with Will. Yet if I were honest with myself, a big part of me wishes to lash out because after all no one likes being called a bigot! But then again I've been called a lot worse! Peace and love to ALL of Durham!

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