Mayor-President Kip Holden broke his silence Wednesday night about his feelings on the proposed “Fairness Ordinance” that bans discrimination against LGBT people in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
Asked in previous weeks, Holden said he was keeping his comments to himself until the meeting.
On Wednesday, Holden opened the public hearing with a 10 minute speech that took the religious arguments against homosexuality head on. Generally speaking, his — frequently rambling — speech expressed that all people are sinners, not just LGBT people, and it’s only God’s place to judge.
He often started telling stories in the Bible without finishing them. And he reminds people that one day their health could be in the hands of a person whose lifestyle they disagree with.
He ends with a quote by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty.
It’s worth a read.
“Mr. Pro Tem and members of the council and also audience — we go back to this ordinance when I was elected around October. Let’s go to 05-06 and a few other years in between. And I have to speak from just logic.
I stand here in no way as someone who knows every aspect of the Bible. My daddy was a preacher, and believe me my dad taught me some new words as a preacher when I brought the car home one hour late. But what I’m saying here and I left my Bible there.
But if you look at the Bible, virtually the Bible is normally referred to as broken down into two parts: the new chapter and the old chapter. And sometimes people want to take arguments of this kind of nature and simplify them and then throw out sin. And that’s all you see: that person is sinful, that person sinful, that person in sinful.
Yet, when you go back and look at the Old Testament, like I said, it talks about sin and the New Testament talks about sin. Then you look at the fact there were laws governing what happened in the Old Testament and the New Testament. And there are lot of complicated things said in both of those books.
But here, what’s disheartening, is we find ourselves trying to interpret the Old Testament and the New Testament and telling people exactly how they should live.
But let’s go and look at some things that happened in those books. For example, the woman at the well - and what happened there.
For example when you heard the words, “He who is without the first stone,” and then you go on and on and on.
There were rules that said if an animal was in a ball on the weekend, let that animal stay there until it was the regular week.
And there were a lot of different things that came up in this whole force called the Bible, and the Bible is not a clearly written piece of paper right now. Because you even hear ministers ponder over some of the words that were used in the Bible.
But let me make this very clear: regardless of what category you want to put on somebody, lay on somebody, what name you want to give somebody, I am still very much assured of this fact – that we all have sinned and come short of God.
But now we find out that people want to judge sin, where there’s a judgment book called the Ten Commandments.
So then let’s take that for example.
If I stole a banana, is that a two or is that a six? If I broke into a house, is that a seven or is that a three?
So all of a sudden, other than the Ten Commandments and blaspheming God, we’ve turned into a group of people who choose by our own rules to label people sinful and where they are.
And I suggest to you — the further and further you go into labeling somebody, in some cases you are shying away from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
And you just go and look at how much sin was committed in the Bible.
David had a concubine and he had so many concubines he couldn’t get around to all of his concubines in one year. But David was yet a beloved member of the Christian family.
And there many many more cases that can come about.
But I want to talk about just a couple more things and I don’t want to buy the time.
If you by chance, in this room right now, and there’s no EMS here, but you pass out and you need to be resuscitated, if that person who comes to your knee to necessitate you and bring you back to life – would you refuse to be brought back to life or just lay down and die?
And that’s a question, fundamentally, that we all have to answer.
We are quick to call people sinners, but there are a lot of sins being committed by people in this room. I raise my hand. I have sinned. I have fallen short of God.
But I don’t go around trying to present or acting as if I’m higher than somebody else because they committed a sin that may not be the one that I committed.
And when you look at it — last statement I’ll make, we all have fallen short and some people want to base this argument just on Jesus Christ.
But go back again, on Christmas, I’m sorry, on Easter, Good Friday, and on Easter Sunday — one of the most joyous days celebrated in the religious circles is dealing with the fact that on that Friday there was a sinner. And Jesus was on this cross and two sinners. There was one guy who was unrepentant of his sins. There was another guy wondering why should this man be tried here, because he didn’t see anything wrong that man had done.
But God had mercy on that person, who asked him this simple question: remember me when you come into your kingdom.
The debate from this point on should be how we can mend the differences between each other, not whether a person is gay lesbian or whatever title you choose to put on that person.
Because you do not know what will happen in the future. But know you may be at the hands of same person you choose to criticize now and that could be there person who could save your life.
I’ll go one more, let’s say a doctor has assembled his whole team to provide open heart surgery. Tell me what person is going to turn around and order the doctor or ask the doctor before he or she is about to go under –hey doctor, is that person gay is she lesbian or what?
No, nobody. You know what you want to do? You want to live. You want the best person who can apply the surgical techniques for you to live.
So I ask you and I will stay in favor of this because I think sometimes we overstep our bounds. I will stay in favor of this and ask us to pray for one another, to begin to look and see exactly who we really are and what our roles.
There are some ministers here he would tell you that they have sinned.
But always be that Statute of Liberty of life and regardless of the condition that you think that person is, let God continue to be the final arbiter.
And you reach your arms out and say give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
God Bless you.”