Anti-gay Chaplain in Ferndale, MI: Triangle Advocates for Fairness
- CALLED OUT
From the Triangle Foundation, Michigan.
Anti-gay Chaplain in Ferndale: Advocates for Fairness
The following statement was made by Sean Kosofsky, Director of Policy
for Triangle Foundation to the Ferndale City Council on Monday,
October 28, 2002.
Good evening Mayor and members of City Council.
My name is Sean Kosofsky. I am the Director of Policy for Triangle
Foundation. Although I am not a resident of Ferndale, Triangle
Foundation represents hundreds of households in Ferndale and we
produce Motor City Pride, which brings nearly 20,000 people to
downtown Ferndale in June. I thank you for the opportunity to speak.
The history of civil rights in this country is a story written in
blood. A history where religion was used to justify horrible
state-sanctioned discrimination, vandalism, harassment, violence and
even murder. All too frequently those charged with keeping the peace
have been responsible for some of the worst human rights violations.
In a world where police/community relations are increasingly tenuous,
some in Ferndale are choosing a path of divisiveness. I do diversity
trainings for police all over Michigan and these officers tell me all
the time that they are frustrated with the perception that police are
biased, corrupt or just plain mean. They are frustrated.
Police are frequently working harder than others to live by example
and be responsible peace officers. Chief Kitchen has bent over
backwards to convince the larger community that he harbors no
anti-gay attitudes. Pastor Hanson wants it both ways. He wants to be
the spiritual advisor for the Ferndale Police Department and says he
has nothing against gay people and that he is a fair man.
Yet he is the most visible voice of divisiveness in Ferndale; using
religion and scripture to defend his own personal prejudice. Pastor
Hanson is opposed to GLBT people being protected from discrimination.
He opposes measures to allow gay people to live, visit, work, or
start a family in Ferndale.
Approximately ten years ago, during the civil rights issue in
Ferndale, the sign outside Pastor Hanson's church read "Don't Confuse
Gay Rights with Civil Rights." Now this man wants to remain the
spiritual advisor for the police who are charged with settling
disputes, enforcing laws, and delivering equal services to all
How can gay people ever expect to feel secure within these city
limits while the police receive spiritual guidance from a man who
boldly and unapologetically has stated that gay people are of lesser
human worth than heterosexuals.
The devaluing of and entire class of people should not be tolerated
by this community, this police department, or this city council.
Finally, this is most dangerous because Pastor Hanson has aligned
himself with the AFA [American Family Association], which has
declared that gays should be thrown in prison and in other cases be
put to death. The threats to the safety of GLBT people are
real and many are fearful of their well-being.
Please do all that you can to ensure that a chaplain is chosen that
values everyone, including GLBT people that contribute so much to
October 29, 2002
Police chaplain critical of gays to keep his post
By Bill Laitner
Detroit Free Press
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