FBI’s unresponsiveness to Gravois Mills is chilling
Don HinklePathway Editor
December 2, 2003
Al Mohler warned the 1,500 attendees at this year’s Missouri Baptist Pastors’ Conference Nov. 3 in St. Louis that if pastors preach the entire Bible, they can expect trouble. Just ask Ted Haynes, pastor, First Baptist Church , Gravois Mills.
It has been more than a month since homosexual activists twice attacked the church Haynes pastors, spray painting the church’s outdoor sign and then later returning to try to remove it from its moorings. They also threatened a church library worker and left menacing, profane-laced messages on the church office’s answering machine.
Because Haynes dared to preach that homosexuality is a sin and advertised such on the church sign.
Haynes, acting on advice from county law enforcement authorities who felt a federal hate crime may have been committed, contacted the FBI. The response by the FBI should send cold chills down the backs of every freedom-loving Missourian.
When Haynes initially contacted the FBI, he was ridiculed for his faith and was told nothing could be done to prevent the homosexual activists from continuing their illegal behavior.
“From what I understand, it looked that possibly a crime had occurred, but not one that would fall under federal jurisdiction,” Jeff Lanza, an FBI spokesman in Kansas City told The Pathway’s Bob Baysinger. Lanza said it was the decision of a subordinate FBI agent, who had been so rude to Haynes, to classify the crime as nothing more than “vandalism.”
But this does not seem to square with the federal hate crime law as described under the FBI’s Civil Rights Program. The FBI’s jurisdiction pertaining to hate crimes is primarily predicated on four federal statutes. Number three is Title 18, U.S.C., Section 247 (Damage to Religious Property, Obstruction in Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs.)
A federal hate crime, as defined on the FBI web site, http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/hate.htm, is a crime “against a person or property motivated by bias toward race, religion, ethnicity/national origin” and in some cases, disability.
For my life I cannot understand the FBI’s crass reaction and unresponsiveness to the Gravois Mills incident. Does Christianity not fall under Title 18, U.S.C. Section 247? Do intimidating visits and phone calls not fall under Title 18, U.S.C., Section 247? Am I missing something here? Is there a double-standard at work? Indeed, is the FBI becoming anti-Christian? What other explanation can there be?
While it does not appear that attacks by homosexual activists against church properties are a nation-wide trend, they are part of a broader effort to silence Bible-believing Christians. For example:
In April 1996 more than 400 homosexual activists besieged a Madison , Wis. , church because it had a guest speaker who affirmed that homosexuality is a sin.
In 1998 hundreds of angry homosexuals attacked a church in San Francisco because it featured a speaker willing to speak out against homosexuality.
Four homosexual men attacked a lay volunteer outside the Church on the Rise in Westlake , Ohio , in September of this year, mistaking him for the pastor who had been preaching against homosexuality. The four attackers apparently came looking for the pastor, but instead met the volunteer as he was taking out the garbage in the back of the church. He received 17 body blows, including one to the face with the frame of a tennis racket. As the four ran away, one screamed, “That is for the pastor.”
Ron Greer, a pastor and professional firefighter in Madison , Wis. , came under attack by homosexual activists after he passed out Bible tracts at work condemning homosexuality as sinful. Greer’s church, Trinity Evangelical Fellowship, became the target of a protest attended by 300 angry homosexual activists in March 1997, screaming chants like, “hey, hey, ho, ho, Christian hate has got to go!” The Greers also awoke one Sunday morning to find the front yard to their home littered with pink triangles and signs with slogans like, “Wisconsin Lesbians against Greer,” and “We want you, Ronnie.”
Other attacks by homosexual activists, of the verbal nature, while not specifically targeting churches or pastors, have increased against Christians in general in recent years.
When former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in 2002 called homosexuality “evil” and that the government should use the “power of the sword” to incarcerate or even execute pedophiles, homosexual activists went berzerk, calling for Moore’s ouster.
U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and House Speaker Dick Army, R-Texas, were publicly ridiculed by the homosexual media machine after they declared homosexuality a sin and compared homosexuals to alcoholics, sex addicts and kleptomaniacs.
When 14 Christian organizations launched an ad campaign in 1998 highlighting groups that minister to homosexuals who want to change, homosexuals and critics immediately charged the groups with “hate speech.” Under pressure from homosexual activists, some newspapers refused to run the ads that featured a photo of hundreds of homosexuals who now say they are straight. The ad stressed, “We believe every human being is precious to God, and is entitled to respect.”
When the Boy Scouts of America decided to enforce its policy prohibiting homosexuals from being Scout leaders, they were taken to court by homosexual activists (the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed their right to do so by a 5-4 decision). Homosexuals were able to pressure organizations and businesses like The United Way and Textron from withholding millions of dollars from the Boy Scouts.
Homosexual activists will only get more aggressive if they remained unpunished.
Expect incidents like those I have described to increase as the homosexual movement presses for sexual orientation to be included in the federal hate crime statutes (they narrowly failed in 1999). Missouri has no such law protecting sexual orientation, but Missouri Baptists can expect a legislative fight on that issue – as well as the legalization of homosexual “marriage” in coming months.
Meanwhile, in Canada , that nation continues to move toward a more pro-homosexual position and is considering a hate-crime law that could prevent pastors from preaching against homosexuality from the pulpit. Such sermons would be deemed “hate speech” under the new law. Can such diabolical changes be in the not-to-distant future for America ?
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said the attack against the Boy Scouts is just the beginning of what Christians can expect to see in the future.
“This attack on the Boy Scouts clearly demonstrates how important the upcoming elections are especially with the presidential election. The 5-4 decision in the Boy Scouts case could easily be overturned within the next three years if only one more liberal justice is appoint to the high court. That means not only would the Scouts be in serious trouble but also private organizations, including churches and other Christian groups. They would not be free to define their own agenda or to determine the standard for leadership which is a vital exercise of the First Amendment freedom, association and speech,” Sekulow said.
If the FBI is going to do nothing in the Gravois Mills case, wonder how long it will be before homosexuals barge into our churches and drag the pastor – or any one else who dares to speak against them – out into the street?
I want to encourage all Missouri Southern Baptists to contact members of the Missouri congressional delegation and urge them to pressure the FBI to act on the Gravois Mills case. To paraphrase Martin Luther, it is here we must stand, we can do no other.
Mohler is absolutely right. If we preach the Bible, expect trouble, and sadly, in the case of Gravois Mills — no help from the FBI.