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07/30/2013

Pastor who vowed to punch out pro-gay clergy: I am 'truly sorry'

by Jeremy Hooper

You remember Matt Brown, the Riverside, California pastor who vowed to "punch out" and "go Old Testament" on people of faith who perform same-sex weddings? Over night, he apologized to me for his "stupid attempt at humor":

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[@PastorMattBrown]

Many will surely say, "Oh, he's just apologizing because he got caught." And considering the way his church, Sandals Church, first tried to scrub the video and pretend it never happened, there surely is an element of that.

Also, many of us will take exception with the attempt to hide behind a "humor" label. His comments, amid an overarching message about how bad marriage equality supposedly is, was not said in a very jokey way. He just flat-out stated that the people who perform same-sex weddings make him angry enough to get violent. His words were clear, straightforward—and dangerous.

But that all said, I am actually going to applaud Pastor Brown. He is stepping up and doing what few on the "traditional values" side ever do: he is taking responsibility for his words and the fallout from them, and he is proferring what he says is a sincere apology. He is admitting that he was wrong. He is committing to deeds that controvert his stated intentions. That's refreshing.

It also highlights why we must continue to speak out, push back, and stand firm. There are teachable moments every where. I sincerely hope Pastor Matt Brown learned from this, that he shared his lessons with his congregants, and that they will all start to see that we LGBT folk (and our supportive faith voices) are really not the problem here. Our society is rife with problems, but we aren't them. Pastor Matt Brown has a chance to help drive home that message.

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