by Leah Waldron
Dear Pastors Charles Worley, Andy Gipson, and Ron Baity,
You don’t know me, but you might want me dead.
I’m writing to each of you because in 2012, you expressed a firm belief that homosexuals should all be killed. Not only did you say these words, you preached them.
And now, it’s happened.
This past weekend in Portland, Texas, an unknown attacker opened fire on a teenage lesbian couple, killing one and leaving the other seriously injured. Friends, family and co-workers of 19-year-old victim Mollie Olgin describe her as a loving and kind woman who was a bit of a “joker.” Mario Olgin, the victim’s father, said that he knew something was wrong when his daughter, a first-year psychology major at a nearby university, did not come home Saturday morning. Police are now reporting that both women were shot around midnight the night before, and left to die. The other victim, 18-year-old Mary Chapa, is recovering from emergency surgery. Chapa’s brother, Hilario, reports that his sister is a “fighter.”
Like most lesbians around the world, I was hit hard by Mollie Olgin’s death. The way she died—with her girlfriend beside her, both of them wounded—will never leave my heart.
I, too, was a college student at age 19, and I had a girlfriend. Like Mollie, I attended a university in the South, where I witnessed intolerance often. My girlfriend and I were open with who we were, even though it sometimes scared us. I can only imagine that Mollie—who hadn’t even reached her 20th birthday—imagined her relationship with Mary, and the rest of her life, with the same kind of hopefulness and excitement that I felt at that age. But without any explanation or cause, she was killed.
So I have to ask: is this what you meant when you said that homosexuals should die? Or did I misunderstand you? Maybe I should address you all separately.
Pastor Charles Worley, you said that all “queers and lesbians” should be caged in an electric fence and left to die off. Mollie Olgin did not starve to death behind a fence, but she died. When you heard about her murder, did you still want that fence?
Pastor (and Mississippi State Representative) Andy Gipson, you quoted the following Bible verse on your Facebook page: “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Now that a woman has been put to death, Andy, do you feel devastated, or vindicated? Are you ashamed or proud of the blood on your hands?
Pastor Ron Baity, you said that homosexuals should be killed like they were in the Bible. Mollie didn’t die at the hands of a knife or a stone, but a gun. Do you still want homosexuals to be killed like they were in the Bronze Age, or is Mollie’s horrific death what you had in mind?
Each of you said that you would never apologize for what you said. Now that it has happened, do you still stand by your words?
I guess you have figured out by now that I’m a homosexual. I make my living exposing people like you for what you are: delusional, miserable and obsessed with saving the world from sin, even if it gets people wiped off this Earth in the process. Probably gay yourselves, your own self-hatred fuels you like a hate-spreading machine. When I hear the words you preach, the disgust I feel courses through me like a river.
But I would never, even while I mourn Mollie Olgin, wish you dead.
I do not need God in my life to know that killing is wrong.
So I have to ask: do you still want me dead?