, Gloucester, MA

July 4, 2013

Letter: Rainbow flag rant tied to biogotry, not 'sin'

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

OK, let me get this straight — no pun intended.

In his “Midweek Musings” column (the Times, Wednesday, July 3), Rev. Patrick Slyman claimed Mayor Carolyn Kirk not only “... shook her fist in the face of God “and presumed “... God’s grace will always be upon this town ...,” she also probably doomed Fishtown to God’s fiery wrath because she dared to fly the rainbow flag at Grant Circle.

Now, I mean no disrespect or to be flippant, but I am betting Gloucester stands a better chance of being incinerated by some old lady named O’Leary’s cow kicking over a lantern in a barn out in Lanesville, ala Chicago, than it does because the Almighty is mad at Mayor Kirk.

Interestingly, the minute I saw the name of the congregation Rev. Slyman leads, along with the title of his tirade, I knew exactly what the essay’s content was going to be. That’s because 20 years ago, at the height of the city’s AIDS prevention efforts, a congregant of Pigeon Cove Chapel wrote many letters to the Daily Times about the godly wrath the city would face because of those efforts and its advancing of the so-called “gay agenda.”

According to that writer, the AIDS epidemic was the Almighty’s retribution against gays for their sinful and abominable behavior. The letter writer obviously never did any research about the epidemic because, if he had, he would have realized that, by the 1990s, it was already clear the global AIDS pandemic was being driven primarily by heterosexual intercourse. There never was anything exclusively homosexual about it.

As I read and reread Rev. Slyman’s essay, I couldn’t help but think if the good Lord was really going to unleash his fiery wrath on Gloucester, he probably would have done so long before Mayor Kirk raised the rainbow flag at Grant Circle.

After all, much of Gloucester’s history and economy are all about getting people to sin by engaging in behavior that the same book of the Bible that condemns homosexuality as an “abomination” claims is another “abomination” as well — namely the eating of those delicious delicacies we call steamers, fried clams, lobster, and shrimp cocktail.

Not for nothin’ but, by the Rev. Slyman’s reasoning, places like Woodman’s, Farnham’s, and most every other restaurant on Cape Ann, have been shaking theirs fists “in the face of God” for generations, but Gloucester and Cape Ann have yet to be consumed by the Almighty’s fiery wrath.

I’m betting the Almighty thinks the whole brouhaha over the flying of the rainbow flag is more indicative of bigotry than it is about sin and wickedness.

But hey, what do I know? I’m just an “abomination” myself.