Stephen Bennett defends his hostility to gay parents, their families, and supportive straight parents during his Aug. 7 protest in Provincetown, Mass.

Other online coverage:

  • A pro-exgay Yahoo group discusses Stephen Bennett’s antigay protest starting here. One of the group moderators is Janet Hensley (saltnlight). In addition to excluding gay-tolerant and gay-affirming individuals from the Yahoo group, Janet’s responsibilities include web research. Congratulations, Janet.
  • Blogger Stacy L. Harp, a Southern California chapter leader for Concerned Women for America, blasts Paul Keith’s report for XGW on Stephen Bennett’s protest.

    All I can say to this “report” is that Paul apparently enjoyed being antagonistic towards the Bennett ministry team. However, what’s even more sad is that anyone who professes to be a Christian and a practicing homosexual and believes that God is okay with that, is as the book of 1 John says, “deceiving themselves.” Another thing that is also interesting is how Paul apparently lusts after Stephen Bennett and says how “cute” Stephen is. I wonder, does Paul understand anything about the war between the flesh and the Spirit or is Christianity for Paul, just a joke and a seemingly easy ticket to heaven? I wonder, since the gay activists always boast about how prideful they are. I recall a little something about pride and how God hates the proud. I also recall that Lucifer in his arrogance got thrown out of the heavens because he was full of pride and wanted to be better than God. Let’s face it, the fact is that anyone who claims the name of Christ and yet walks in a sin that is clearly outlined in Scripture to be wrong, is being disobedient to the Father in Heaven. And I believe that they are breaking the Father’s heart and mocking the price that Christ paid on the cross for our sin.I’m not sure I would want to be that person because falling into the hands of a holy and righteous God who is all consuming fire wouldn’t be a very pleasant experience.

    But what is even more telling and extremely sad is what Paul says at the end. He thinks it would be great if Stephen Bennett returned to the homosexual lifestyle and become a “gay” Christian. Why? Because Paul finds Stephen attractive, and doesn’t really care about anything spiritual. Paul cares about the flesh, and he doesn’t show any love, Christian or otherwise towards Stephen. Because if he truly loved Stephen, then he would want what’s best for him. That’s the difference between Stephen’s love and Paul’s love.

    Stephen wants what is best for those caught in the sin of homosexuality. Paul wants people to remain trapped and to fall back into it, because Paul doesn’t want to leave his sexual choice.

(Harp, a politically conservative Christian family counselor, is completing her master’s degree in clinical psychology. )

Her character attacks against Keith and Hensley’s sales pitches for SBM cleverly avoid mentioning Bennett’s dark side. In an editorial published on the day of the first same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, Bennett said (emphasis added):

Do not despair. God doesn’t recognize these so called “gay” marriages. They are an abomination to Him and a putrid stench in His nostrils.

This is Bennett’s idea of “evangelism” to lesbians and gays and to their children.

— Mike

If XGW had had time and funding, we would have mounted a P-Town NAPS Project, a silent response to Bennett’s evangelism campaign. And we might still do so next year. The campaign would consist of:

  • Stickers for people in P-Town to wear before, on, and after August 7. The top of the stickers would be blank; in bold letters at the bottom would be N A P S, for Not A Putrid Stench.
  • Wearers of the stickers will have the option to fill in the top portion — “Jack”, “Mom”, “Beloved Son”, “Wife”, Child of God — in whatever manner fits them.
  • The leaders of Bennett’s ministry would be informed ahead of time that people wearing N A P S stickers will not speak or respond to participants in the ministry, and ask that ministry participants respect their wishes by not approaching them.
  • Of particular importance, parents who place N A P S stickers on their children would be doing so as a means of indicating that the children do not have permission to speak to strangers, to respond to strangers, or to accept gifts from strangers. Again, Bennett’s group would be asked to respect the parents’ wishes by not approaching any child wearing a N A P S sticker.

Ex-Gay Watch’s position is non-confrontational. A participant in the N A P S campaign is saying:

  • I support Constitutional rights to freedom of religion and free speech for all.
  • I respect that the values others hold dear, and the beliefs (or lack of them) they practice, are the products of examined lives, not flippant or random decisions.
  • I ask the same respect from others: Our choices are grounded in deeply-held values and beliefs, and I reserve the right to choose the settings within which and the persons with whom I will and will not discuss them.
  • In order to earn my attention, you must first earn my respect.
  • My respect cannot be earned by calling me sad or sick, deceived or depraved. My respect cannot be earned by distorting my words or my life, maligning my family or my community.
  • Most of all, my respect cannot be earned by calling my or my loved ones’ relationships a “putrid stench” in the nostrils of God. I have the option not to acknowledge or recognize those who profess such sentiments, I can elect not to devote energy to interacting with folks bearing such messages in my midst. That is the option I have chosen for today, and that speaks to the inner meaning for which this sticker is an outward and visible sign.

What if a couple hundred evangelists spent a day in a small town, prepared to deliver a couple thousand gifts to the people in the town, yet found no takers?

What if a couple hundred folks dropped in uninvited to talk, yet found few who elected to listen?

What if it all played out quietly, yet consciously, because the parties involved on all sides knew what their roles would be before the day arrived?

What if months of strategizing and fundraising by one group was rendered largely moot because, after having their loving relationships labeled a “putrid stench,” members of the second group elected to be essentially silent when approached by the first?

What if the silent response protected the children in the second group most of all?

This is not a matter of demeaning an adversary. It is not a matter of asserting dominance, or of proving one group stronger and one weaker.

It is a matter of simple, thoughtful preparation. The people of and in Provincetown will be afforded a fraction of the foresight and planning of their visitors, and use it to choose their responses individually.

After all, what could be simpler than equipping folks with a little sticker? That’s my thought, anyway.

What do you think?

— Bose

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