Tar from a broad brush
Blame a whole class of people for deeds of sexual predators?
Darryl Foster believes he speaks from expertise, or at least from experience. He says the Tribune-Herald shares the blame for what local officials assert is a group of pedophiles who formed a child-pornography clique.
Quoting a Tribune-Herald editorial saying that "community outrage should reverberate," Foster writes, "I couldn't agree with you more. And community outrage should begin at the Tribune-Herald for its untiring efforts to promote homosexuality in our city.
Foster says he's a reformed homosexual. As such he is director of [Witness] Freedom Ministries, which he counsels homosexuals who want to change.
He was among a group of Waco residents who appeared before the city council last spring to protest the Waco-McClennan County Library policy of allowing nonprofit groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Central Texas, to have book-related information in a display case. The policy has since been revoked.
Foster cited a column in which I reacted to such protests as the sqauwkings of a "one-size-fits-all chorus." It was one of several examples in the Trib, he said, in which we as an institution "mirror a commitment to homosexuality."
I'm not sure how that works, exactly---promoting homosexuality. The phrase commonly used as one would say, about promoting the spread of influenza. But no one answers the question I ask regularly: Is homosexuality spread through the air? Contracted by hand? Preventable with soap and hot water?
Taking up Foster's claim of expertise, I picked up the phone and called him.
The resulting conversation was considerably more civil that what might have been expected, on either end of the line.
Foster said his ministry is a "holistic ministry seeking to touch the lives of people who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle."
I asked him how one can be cured of homosexuality. Foster said that's not what his work is about.
"Its not being cured," he said. Homosexuality "is not a sickness," he said. But, "it is a choice."
What made him so certain it wasn't inborn? No mortal can be certain, he said. He did express certainty, however, of its sinfulness.
Still, Foster repudiated those who cite Old Testament decree of death as a punishment.
"They are missing the message of God's grace and mercy," he said. "If that's all they can pull out of the scriptures, they are dead wrong."
He also said he is dissapointed with churches for rejecting homosexuals, when redemption should be the objective. I was encouraged by what I heard. Then, rereading the letter, I returned to being confounded.
Slur most foul
Such conciliatory words seemed at direct odds with Foster's letter. In particular were these words over the phone: "The one thing I hate is for people to make blanket statements."
I couldn't agree with more. The most vicious slur of all is to tar many good people based on the actions of a few.
The men most recently in the news are charged with heinous acts with children. To say that to support gay rights is to support this wretched criminality is as unfair as it is lunkheaded.
Speaking only for myself, I'm guilty as charged: commited to human rights for human beings who happen to be homosexual. That advocacy is the essential reason why people formed the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Central Texas. So you can count me with 'em.
As for the men charged with heinous criminal acts with boys, be reminded that they were church-going individuals. The videos tell us so. Shall we paint all church-goers with the tar that clings to these sorry souls? Unthinkable. And totally unfair.
Postscript by DL Foster:
John Young refused to print my entire letter although I challenged him to do so and let his readers decide whether or not my claims were valid. Instead, he recast the discussion from his perspective. My point in the letter is that the men had been engaged in this activity openly for almost 3 years in a public park in Northeast Waco, where they took many of their victims for sex. The park --which has since been relegated to resticted use-- was not far from the municipal airport. The park was a known homosexual cruising ground and police had received many complaints about it. But the Tribune-Herald said nothing and did nothing.
Young conveniently raises the "gays are not peodphiles" defense, even though homosexuality is defined as sexual activity between persons of the same gender irregardless of age. Underage activity simply makes it illegal sex. Secondly, Young failed to mention that these same men were frequent visitors to Waco's gay club. The same club where people from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance hung out. Finally, only one of the molestors admitted to going to church. And he had long since quit going before commiting these acts.