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Anti-gay Chaplain in Ferndale, MI: Triangle Advocates for Fairness

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    CALLED OUT From the Triangle Foundation, Michigan. ... Anti-gay Chaplain in Ferndale: Advocates for Fairness The following statement was made by Sean Kosofsky,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2002
      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
      residents.

      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
      this community.

      Thank you.

      ----------------------------

      Link:
      October 29, 2002
      Police chaplain critical of gays to keep his post
      By Bill Laitner
      Detroit Free Press
      http://www.freep.com/news/locoak/noak29_20021029.htm



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