NewsOK.com/AP: Woman says she was victim of hate attack

NewsOK.com: Two attacks raise alarm within Ada’s gay community — Police seek the FBI’s help in the face of accusations they have been indifferent.

KTEN.com: Alleged Gay Hate Crime Sparks Rally in Ada (this story includes a video clip)

Ada Evening News: Local woman attacked

Ada Evening News: GSA member- ‘We’re queer and we’re not going anywhere’

This story is one that has disturbed me to the core. I just can’t fathom the level of hate that is out there, and the level of persecution that LGBT folks face. Not every small town is like Ada, but plenty are, and I can’t help but be moved by knowing how much folks are suffering in towns like that.

I am proud though to see the Gay-Straight Alliance at East Central University (and their allies) take a stand against Hate Crimes, and I hope to goodness that preasure is put on local law enforcement (particularly the Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Department, which thus far has done very, very little to investigate the attack that happened out in the country) to truly investigate these crimes.

I also think it is time for Christians to not only speak against extreme hate crimes like the attacks in Ada, but also to question the beliefs that lead extremists to take more extreme actions. A case in point is this letter to the editor published in the local Ada newspaper a few weeks ago…

Ada Evening News: Letter to the Editor by Dennis Heath, November 21, 2006

. . . The reason why a local discount store should not support the Gay and Lesbian lifestyle is because it is WRONG, in the same way that illegal drug use, murder, and bank robbery are all wrong. What makes it wrong? For the 82 percent of this country who claim to be Christians, it’s because GOD says it’s wrong. For those in that 82 percent who are spiritually blinded and the 18 percent remaining, it’s wrong because of the anatomical mismatch that occurs when men get with men, and women get with women. Have you ever thought about why many gay men try to act and look feminine and why many lesbian women try to act and look masculine? It’s because they understand that the natural connection is man with woman and woman with man.

. . . In the same way that society continues to keep murder, illegal drug use, and bank robbery in a class of unacceptable behavior, we need to keep the unnatural sexual orientation in the unacceptable class where it belongs.

It is no wonder that violent bigots act out against gay and lesbian citizens, when other (presumably less violent) bigots equate homosexuality with murder, drug abuse and robbery, and do so publicly in print. (and one must wonder why the Ada Evening News would run a letter like this? Would they also run an LTE that preached virulent racism?