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12/11/2009

Okay Mr. Emrich, if you wanna go there

by Jeremy Hooper

Bob-emrichBob Emrich is a real piece of work. The "ex-gay"-supporting pastor was instrumental in stripping our rights away in Maine, and has involved himself in a whole host of gay rights matters over the years. Yet whenever he is questioned, he does that uber-annoying anti-gay thing of turning himself into the victim, and accusing the messenger on the other side as a liar, a militant, a defamer, or whatever baseless label he thinks will most ably pull the focus from his own ignoble work.

You might remember the lengthy exchange we had with Mr. Emrich back in September, when he was personally hand-picking who could and could not come to a pep rally that he was throwing for the "Yes on 1" campaign. Not only were we denied entrance at that time, but Mr. Emrich also turned to his reliable script of calling us liars because of the way that we presented his ticket denial to our readers (even though our fully-posted e-exchange couldn't have been more transparent). And his same old, tired, "you're untruthful!" script continued over the months that followed, like when we wrote him a simple note requesting the rally DVD that he had willingly offered up as a consolation prize during our first exchange...

Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.21.19 Am

...and received this back as a response:

Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.21.25 Am-1

Not one who enjoys being turned into a mean-spirited liar by someone who was heading up a thoroughly mean-spirited, throughly fallacious campaign, this writer personally replied back:

(pardon the typo @ "other accessed")
Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.21.39 Am

And of course I never heard back.

Well fast forward to this week. You may remember that yesterday, we posted an email that Bob was sending around to his followers, wherein he (a) told of his own journeys to Uganda; and (b) attached a local news article in which the reporter both called the MP behind the country's now infamous "kill gays" bill a "brilliant" man, and smeared the human rights activists who were speaking out against the bill as being out to "baptize [the MP as] an enemy of the people." We, not being fans of genocide or life imprisonment, simply posted Emrich's email in full, and said that by attaching the aforementioned article, Mr. Emrich is "now lending credence to (/physically supporting?) the Uganda "kill gays" bill." Because let's be honest: His attachment of the article did, without a doubt, lend credence to the unbelievably anti-gay bill. And since he has admittedly been all up in Uganda (an odd coincidence) and seemed so enamored with this article in support of it, we raised the question of whether he might be personally supporting the measure.

Now, literally seconds after posting, we sent Mr. Emrich an email asking for a comment:

Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.19.54 Am

But he said he didn't want to offer one:

Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.20.09 Am

So we replied:

Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.20.18 Am

And this was the odd reply back:

Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.20.25 Am

Okay, so now you're all caught up.

Well, as to be expected, Mr. Emrich has sent around a followup email in which he is again casting himself in the victim role, and again casting us (and other gay bloggers) as the big, bad meanies. He's taking no responsibility for the fact that he actively promoted an article that supports the "kill gays" bill whole hog. In fact, he won't even say that he opposes the bill until he first makes clear his belief that there are "serious and grievous offenses" attached to homosexuality. And when he does stand against the extremism, he simply offers up a "...but I do not believe they should be punishable by death or life imprisonment" addendum, as if the potential punishment is just another "ho hum" political matter towards which some can disagree without looking disagreeable.

He also blames gays for being the ones to attack in Maine, with him nothing more than the good, Christian innocent who was being so bombarded by the civil equality in his midst, that he really had no choice but to act. He even suggests that gay activists have failed to give energy and resources to HIV/AIDS!

But here -- don't take our "mean-spirited distortions" as the Gospel. Go read Mr. Emrich's words for yourself:

Maine Jeremiah Project Newsletter

I recently sent you a copy of an article from a Ugandan newspaper. The point of the article was a warning to fellow Africans about the "moral confusion" being imported from western civilization. The article also pointed out how this moral confusion is often disguised as "human rights" with this statement: "The so-called human rights activists have hijacked the driver's seat and are sending nations into the sea of permissiveness in which the Western world has already drowned."

Someone forwarded my email to a gay blogger who, of course, was offended and twisted my email into an endorsement of the death penalty for homosexuals. With no concern for accuracy or originality, the ranting of the one blogger has been copied by others and widely distributed. These are people who have a twofold purpose. They will say and repeat anything in order to promote homosexual behavior while denigrating anyone who dares disagree with them.

While I thank the bloggers who have given my emails much wider distribution that I could have done, I want to clarify a couple of points.

1. I have made two mission trips to Uganda. Both of them were for the purpose of training Pastors/Church leaders. I have no interest or influence in the political affairs of Uganda.

2. The Uganda Parliament is considering legislation to prevent homosexual behavior in their country. The legislation calls for extreme measures, including the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality". The stated purpose of the bill before their parliament is "strengthening the nation's capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family. This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic. The Bill further aims at providing a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda, legal, religious, and traditional family values of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda. There is also need to protect the children and youths of Uganda who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care, or otherwise."
In an attempt to achieve these goals, the bill includes a new crime, "aggravated homosexuality", which would be punishable by death or life imprisonment. A person would be guilty of "aggravated homosexuality" if: "the person whom the offense is committed is below the age of 18 years" ; "the "offender is a person living with HIV"; "the offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offense is committed;""the victim is a person with disability"; "the offender is a serial offender."
Personally, I agree that these are serious and grievous offenses but I do not believe they should be punishable by death or life imprisonment. The homosexual activists and bloggers are claiming that Ugandan officials, with the endorsement of American Christian leaders, are calling for the execution of all homosexuals. They are not to be believed. But deception and confusion serves their purpose.

3. I urge the homosexual activists/bloggers to recommend alternative measures to prevent the sexual abuse of minors and disabled persons. It would be helpful if they spent some of their energy and resources to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

4. Lastly, while they insist on making everything about homosexuality, I do not share their obsession. They seem determined to portray me as some kind of extremist, but the reality is that they came to Maine to redefine marriage and I responded to that challenge. If that means I am going to remain a target for their wrath, so be it. And if they attack Maine again, I will gladly join those who desire to protect our important values, undeterred by their slander.

By "slander," he of course means "laying bear things he has actually said and done and letting the work speak for itself." And by "I do not share their obsession" about homosexuality? Well, Google begs to differ:

Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.48.18 Am
Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.48.33 Am
Screen Shot 2009-12-11 At 9.48.45 Am

But hey, why should he care about taking responsibility for his own work, or about accurately representing our meticulously transparent coverage of his actions? It's only human life we're talking about here.

**SEE ALSO: About Mr. Emrich's "ex-gay" support (which he also confirmed in our first email exchange):

**SEE ALSO: Maddow on how Rick Warren has handled the Uganda matter. Like us, Rachel is having defend her own thoroughly factual, thoroughly transparent reporting against general claims of deceptions:

**UPDATE, 12/14: The latest rumor is that Emrich is planning to run for a Maine state House seat!

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

In your last post on Mr. Emrich, I guessed the one-letter replay was "k."

What is J supposed to mean?

Jesus?
Judaism?
Judo?
Juice?

Wait, I think I know - he's got a decent enough body for a 54 year-old, and maybe his retirement investments have gone sour lately, so he's trying to use his physique and age to sell... his own brand of *J*ack Lalane *J*uicers!

I give you full points (more than, actually) for being fair, honest, and patient with this man, but really, you need to work on your crazy conspiracy intuition :)

Seriously though, great work letting these people's own words speak for themselves - especially when you expose doing so (ie giving them FREE publicity) makes them think they're being victimized.

Posted by: DN | Dec 11, 2009 10:09:52 AM

Honestly, I think I could get a whole slew of "pro-family" folks to defend me against deception claims, if I tried. Anyone who tries to make such claims against me is only going to make themselves look ridiculous. I run a completely open forum, in which I not only allow everyone to speak -- I invite them to! And I never post anything without a preponderance of links to back up evidence.

Because frankly, I'm tried of the f***ing games. If you have the spine to enter into this public conversation, you have to have the fortitude to WON YOUR SH*T! All to often, our opposition thinks that holding a differing point of view equals "lying." It's disgusting.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Dec 11, 2009 10:16:41 AM

Another thing I didn't have space to mention, but want to address: The idea that I am "obsessed with homosexuality. This is something that others have said about me in the past. For those who know me in IRL, this is quite laughable.

I am someone who never thinks about being gay, outside of my work. I'm as out as one can be: Out as a non-controversy! Other than for appearances/panels/whatever, I haven't even been in a gay bar in years. I never identify my marriage as anything other than a marriage. I don't typically embrace any part of culture simply because I'm told it's queer, and gay ghetto areas of town are not the best places for my personality. I thrive on diversity, and like to be around as many diff. types of people as possible.

Fortunately, I live in a city where, for the most part, one's sexual orientation is not seen as anything outside of the norm, or even interesting, for that matter. I couldn't be more self-accepting or comfortable or out. Out in the same easy, non-issue way that my hetero friends are.

The only reason why any of us are forced to focus on being gay is because the Bob Emrichs of the world make us do so! So these "obsession" claims are easy to lob. But just like the "lie" claims, they are assertions that will only make the asserter look foolish.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Dec 11, 2009 10:41:32 AM

Here is DKOS piece today on our esteemed Pastor of True Amurikan Values.

How Long 'til These Guys Bring Back the Stake?
by Meteor Blades
http://tinyurl.com/yc9xt96

The guy in the photo below is the pastor of Emmanuel Bible Baptist Church in Plymouth, Maine, Bob Emrich. Pastor Bob is also the director of the Maine Jeremiah Project, a backer of traditional values™. Those values, of course, include support for Stand for Maine Marriage, the anti-gay marriage organization in the state.
For people on his email list, Pastor Bob recently touted an Ugandan newspaper editorial endorsing a proposed law that would require the government to imprison for life someone who engages in a gay sex, execute "serial offenders," and imprison straight citizens for up to three years if they do not report gay sex acts they are aware of within 24 hours.
Gay sex is already a criminal offense in Uganda, but without such draconian punishments.
David Bahati, a member of The Family, is the Ugandan lawmaker who has proposed this law. Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, has said that The Family, which has close ties to several U.S. Senators, also has close ties Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni. The Family is rabidly anti-gay and has long promoted its agenda assiduously in the east African nation.  

Posted by: LOrion | Dec 11, 2009 10:48:59 AM

He's a hostile bastard!

Posted by: tom2600 | Dec 11, 2009 11:22:29 AM

"With no concern for accuracy" ... except the emails to ask Mr. Emrich to comment specifically about the law.. the emails that he refused to comment on ...

"I urge the homosexual activists/bloggers to recommend alternative measures to prevent the sexual abuse of minors and disabled persons" ... um, I dunno... how about laws criminalizing all sexual assault and statutory rape if they are not already on the books. Or is the Mr. Emrich suggesting that these laws should only apply to gays? Why does Mr. Emrich support the statutory rape of girls by men in Uganda?

"I have no interest or influence in the political affairs of Uganda" ... funny, considering Mr. Emrich mass e-mails an editorial talking specifically about Uganda's political affairs ... i think most fair-minded people might consider that "interest"

Posted by: Michael | Dec 11, 2009 12:04:19 PM

Sometimes, emails I receive through a particular server show me a random J. If, however, I open that same email through my blackberry, it shows up as a smiley face (or it's vice versa...I can't really remember right now). Don't know if that's what he intended, but it's a possibility.

Posted by: Jennifer | Dec 11, 2009 12:21:27 PM

The single-letter response is shaped a little oddly for a "J"; I think it might actually be the lower half of an integral sign, which has a Unicode character value. There was probably some sort of technical glitch, possibly wiping out some longer response he was actually trying to make.

Posted by: Dan T. | Dec 11, 2009 12:37:44 PM

On some people's email program, when you type in an emoticon, it turns it into a unicode smiley face, but when that's displayed on email programs that don't accept the same unicode character, it turns it into an uppercase J.

That'd be my guess as to what happened here. I'm not sure what's weirder though, a J or a smiley as a response to that.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 11, 2009 1:18:43 PM

Bob seems a tad upset with me... ;)

Wouldn't it just bust his buttons to know I'm a straight married ally- not exactly a well-kept secret!

As well as a native Mainer, something he is not- hell, my family's roots in Plymouth (the town where he lives) go back to the 1820s or so...

Posted by: louise | Dec 11, 2009 2:47:51 PM

Jeremy! Why are you being such a meanie to such a cowardly bastard? Don't you know he's more than likely not going to be above ground much longer and it deserves every chance to spew forth lies and hatred in it's god's name while it still breathes? For shame Jeremy! Keep up the good work! FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!

Posted by: John Ozed | Dec 11, 2009 11:00:38 PM

Any real Christian would recognize immediately that the Holy Spirit is trying to convict militant anti-gay activist Emrich's heart of something. You see, those promoting the anti-gay agenda know in their hearts that what they are doing is wrong and evil. This leads to guilt which leads to anger which is manifested by attacking the cause of this anger. In this case, law-abiding, taxpaying, gay Americans. Radical anti-gay activist Emrich needs Jesus in his life. Those of us who believe in prayer should pray for him and ask God to remove the scales from Emrich's eyes.

Posted by: Michael | Dec 12, 2009 5:27:38 AM

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