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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 1, 1988)
J ust Out received copies o f many letters to the
editor ¿»/The Oregonian last month. Most o f the
letters were in response to a column by Steve
Duin and an editorial by David Reinhard.
Most o f the letters were printed in The
Oregonian in one form or another.
Duin's column and Reinhard's editorial
both used religion as the shibboleth to justify
homophobia and to deny gays and lesbians
basic human rights. The following letter
addresses the problem o f religious oppression
o f lesbians and gays at its source: the neighbor
To the Editor
1320 SW Broadway
Portland. Oregon 97201
“ In My Opinion,“ by the Reverend S.
Bowen Matthews, senior pastor at Hinson
Memorial Baptist Church (July 5, 1988), is to
be commended for setting straight certain facts.
Unfortunately, however. Rev. Matthews uses
the correct term “ orientation” but apparently
fails to understand it. He seems to correlate it
with choice. It is not. A homosexual can no
more change his orientation to heterosexuality
than can a heterosexual change his orientation
to homosexuality. He has no more control over
his orientation than does one have over his race
or the color of his skin. He is bom with these.
Sexual orientation is determined perhaps in
utero or at the latest in the very early stages of
life. If God determines orientation, why should
one “ know shame” ?
Rev. Matthews states that Hinson “ is an
agent of reconciliation.” Perhaps. But what,
pray tell, has Hinson ever attempted toward
reconciliation between the Christian com
munity and the homosexual community?
Back in 1984. the Portland Gay Men’s
Chorus presented a concert at nearby Benson
High School. This was picketed by a loud and
raucous crowd of anti-gay/lesbian people. We
gained the impression — whether rightly or
wrongly, I do not know— that Hinson was well
represented in that crowd and had possibly
instigated the picketing. Thereafter, on
November 29, 1984.1 wrote a letter to Hinson,
and append a copy of that letter— which is a
part of this letter.
What response did we have from Hinson? To
this day, not a single word.
Nevertheless, Portland Parents and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays renews its offer.
November 29, 1984
The Reverend Donald R. Baker, Pastor
Hinson Memorial Baptist Church
1135 SE 20th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
Dear Pastor Baker:
I write as a member of the Parents and
Friends of Lesbians and Gays. We have noted
over a period of time that your church is vigor
ously opposed to lesbians and gay men. These
are our children and our friends, and the exis
tence of such hostility naturally distresses us.
We desire to establish communication with
you. and think it would be beneficial to us to
hear a clear statement of your position and
reasons therefor. Concurrently, we would
appreciate an opportunity to meet with you and
present our position and supportive reasons.
Dialogue could possibly be mutually enlight
To this end, we invite you to send a delega
tion or panel of four, five or six of yourself or
your members, as you may choose, to attend
one of our monthly meetings of Parents and
Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and to explain to
us in some detail the particular reasons for your
thinking. At some convenient time also, in like
manner, we offer to send a delegation from our
group — a panel of four, five or six people — to
present to you the facts behind our position and
the reasons therefor. We think that each panel
should, during the latter part of its presentation,
receive and respond to questions from those in
Certainly, nothing is accomplished by lack of
communication. It may not be reasonable to
expect that either of us would convince the other
of our respective positions, but if we can each
recognize that we are all children of God, it may
be that we can all live with more mutual respect
and tolerance for each other.
To the Editor:
Lenora Fulani. the “ Independent Candidate
for President of the United States,’ ’ failed to get
the I.(XX) necessary people at her nominating
convention. Jay Brown, in his predictable pat
tern, blames it on homophobia. I would like to
offer a more logical reason: Ms. Fulani, in all
the advertising and campaign materials I saw.
continually failed to rise above platitudes,
simple catch-phrases and special-interest-group
pandering What kind of alternative is that?
It is my opinion that the gay people in this
area should be credited for not putting heron the
ballot; maybe she will now take the time to
expand her platform and tell us what she intends
to do about the issues facing this nation
Editor's note: O f course! In racist, sexist
America, it couldn't have had anything to do
with Lenora Fulani being an outspoken black
woman who supports lesbian and gay rights.
A few blacks, a few Native Americans, a few
progressives would have convinced me other
Due to an error by U.S. West
Communications, Just Out telephones were
disconnected in late July. 236-1252 is still a
good number — try again.
William K. Shepherd
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just out •
3 • August 1988