Group Explains why it Disrupted Mount Hope Church

A gay anarchist group called Bash Back! has issued a statement explaining why it chose to disrupt a church service at Mount Hope Church in Lansing two weeks ago. The protests continue to get considerable media coverage, although most of it has avoided investigating the church and has instead focused on the protest’s tactics.

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Across the country, a protest by a queer and transgendered group in Lansing two weeks ago continues to get news coverage from mainstream outlets such as the Associated Press and Fox News.

In response to this attention and requests from reporters, Bash Back! has released a statement providing more background information on why they chose to disrupt a church service at Mount Hope Church. Aside from an interview in the Michigan newspaper Between the Lines, Bash Back! has been relatively silent in the media and much of the coverage has focused on tactics rather than Mount Hope Church.

In light of this, we are reprinting the Bash Back! statement here:

Bash Back! responds to the backlash

In the past weeks there has been an unprecedented amount of controversy and reaction to the Bash Back! action at Mount Hope Church, in Lansing Michigan. Thanks to the media (who have failed to cover this with any amount of effort or concern for the truth), as well as incessant bloging. Many important pieces of information have been lost, and at times, changed completely. We would like to set some things…”straight”! In order to provide a full explanation, we will break this into parts.

* Why Mount Hope Church?

* Why these tactics and what did we hope to

accomplish?

* Dispelling myths.

Why Mount Hope Church?

The first issue we would like to address is the nationally wide-spread question of, “Why Mount Hope Church?” (MHC) Good question. The first thing to realize is we did not just randomly pick a place, nor did we pick the biggest place. A lot of issues went into our decision; I will discuss the major ones: First, MHC’s stance on queer identities. In their recent press release, Dave Williams (or D-Willy as we affectionately refer to him) states that they simply see being gay as a sin equal to any other, such as, lying or stealing. This is a sneaky way of getting off the hook. You can see for yourself that they take it much more seriously.

According to one of MHC nearly all forms of sexual expression (and specifically homosexuality) are considered “sexual addiction”. Openly lumping homo’s in with such sinners as peeping-Toms, flashers and even rapists!!! These “addictions” they work to “cure” through strict “support groups” such as Dunamai (see web link at bottom).And at times even send men to live in brainwashing camps such as Pure Life Ministries (see bottom). They also organize with other ex-gay organizations such as Love in Action, Homosexuals Anonymous, and L.I.F.E. Ministries. It is clear that MHC takes an active approach to repress queer identity and all forms of sexual expression outsideof the Christian, straight, married and husband controlled structure. This ruins people’s whole lives and families by making them repress their desires so completely that they grow to hate themselves and/or act out against or ignore their spouses and families. This church is nothing short of a disease in the community, and in the minds of those who attend.

“D-willy”, Pastor of Mount Hope, (and personal enemy of Bash Back!) stated that he did not “choose to identify MHC as anti-choice”. However, every Halloween the Church puts on the heavily protested “Hell House”, an extremely offensive and yes RADICAL approach to shock people into their right wing belief structure. One of the rooms within this Hell House completely inaccurately depicts a womyn receiving an abortion. In the act, the doctor uses dirty tools, and horrible machine sounds play over loud speakers. With the presence of demons, and her screams of pain, one leaves feeling like they just witnessed a most violent atrocity. How is this not actively anti-choice?

Another important reason that MHC was chosen, was the deep personal tie many organizers have to the church. Some members of Bash Back! have been members of MHC. Others were raised in evangelical churches very similar in message and method. For them, this was a liberating step. A personal confrontation with those who had made the journey to adulthood and personal identity a struggle wrought with self-hate, repression, guilt and loneliness. All of which eventually evolved into healthy anger, strength, free sexual expression, and activism. This has helped to build a strong community within Bash Back! And we support their choice to confront those that would choose to put them back in that dark place of self-hate!

From here I could go into all the other reasons MHC should be confronted. For example, the undeniable fact that mega-churches are really just big business. Seen by the way they pressure their “congregation” (or audience) to buy their books and DVD’s and other products. Or the incredible amount of money grossed by that church in a year. Another reason is the international church plantings. MHC has No regard for indigenous culture. There are dozens of reasons we chose Mount Hope Church.

Related links:

L.I.F.E. Ministries:

http://www.freedomeveryday.org/men/index.php

Pure Life ministries:

http://www.purelifeministries.org/

Dunamai:

http://www.dunamai.org/

related article that mentions MHC’s involvement in ex-gay work:

http://www.ecinc.org/RealChanges.htm

“Our culture is permeated with sexual imagery. Magazine racks offer pictures of girls in teensy bikinis. Primetime situation comedies almost continually revolve around sexual storylines involving teenage promiscuity, extra-marital affairs, homosexuality and worse.”

“At times, a pastor or counselor may very well find himself helping men who frequent adult bookstores, strip clubs, massage parlors and prostitutes. On occasion, he may also be compelled to minister to men involved with peeking in windows, exposing themselves to women, making obscene telephone calls, sexually assaulting others, or even having sex with animals. He will most certainly deal with promiscuity–among teenagers and adults. More than likely he will minister to homosexuals–both male and female.”

What did Bash Back! hope to accomplish? Why these shocking tactics?

There were a few main points and goals of this action:

* To confront the oppressors that run the church and show them some of us are unafraid and will resist them. Calling them out IN FRONT of their congregation was an important part of that. Showing that we are angry with their destructive behavior was also an important part of the message.

* To provide a space for those who had been mentally tortured by MHC and other places similar to confront their “demons” and fight back! Their emotional health was a very real concern of this action.

* To show the youth we are not alone! With an action of great energy and helpful fliers we wanted to send a message of acceptance and understanding. We realize that thinking you might be queer in a church like that is terrifying. And unbearably lonely. By tossing out a thousand flyers we provided a way “out”. Or at least planted the seed.

* And to generate visibility to Bash Back!! To build momentum and give us energy to our movement. I think we nailed that one.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org

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