When I first moved to Anchorage, it wasn't very long before I heard the name "prevo" thrown around as one of the cultural and political bigwigs of Anchorage as the head pastor of Anchorage Baptist Temple. I've (regrettably) listened to him preach on the radio a few times and overall I found him to be just another milquetoast cookie cutter baptist minister, saying the same tired shit as the rest of them, nothing worthy of particular recognition or disdain. Recently, however, he's been in the news here in Anchorage concerning the upcoming vote on Proposition 5. Prop 5 is a proposed ballot measure that would prevent employers and landlords from discriminating against employees or renters based on their sexual orientation or transgender status. Prevo is vehemently anti- gay rights, and has made many statements to that effect in the past. Here is a small sampling of some of the incredibly stupid shit he has said in the past:
“Once you give special rights to homosexuals, then the next step is you legalize homosexual marriage and so forth.” NYT, 8/17/2009
"If I have to make the decision whether I'm going to show love and compassion to the extent that young people think homosexuality is okay, I'm not going to do it. I'm tired of the devil getting our young people mixed-up in homosexuality."
"Maybe, worst of all, this ordinance would allow a man who teaches a second grade class or any grade to show up as a woman in the classroom and the School District could do nothing because of this ordinance."
"If passed, these 'special rights' for homosexuals will take away the rights of religious groups, churches, organizations, businesses, religious people, and individuals."
"[Anti-discrimination laws] would allow any man to dress like a woman and use any public women's restroom. Ladies, do you want that to happen? If not then you should contact the Anchorage Assembly and show up at the June 9 public hearing." -Anchorage Daily News, 1/17/2012
"If God doesn't judge America for its sin, he'll have to apologize to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, because we're guilty today of the same sin they were guilty of."And so forth. You get the point, this guy's got no love for gays. He even goes so far as to say that he's not going to show love and compassion to the extent that young people think homosexuality is ok (I'm sure Jesus would be on the side of showing less love and compassion to someone). But then again what do you expect from a guy who's been asshole buddies with hatemongers like Jerry Falwell for decades (Prevo is on the board of Liberty University, where he received his 2nd doctorate in ministry)?
Prevo believes that homosexuality is a choice made by the individual, and that this choice is immoral. He also believes that employers and landlords should be allowed to discriminate against employees or renters who they believe have made this choice. He believes that prohibiting them from being able to fire or refuse to rent to homosexuals so is equivalent to "special rights" for homosexuals, as evidenced in the NYT quote above.
So here's a question for Dr. Prevo: since being a Christian is ALSO a choice, should employers and landlords be able to discriminate against Christians? Should I be able to fire my employees because they believe in God, or refuse to rent to someone who chooses to identify as Christian? Now I know what you're thinking, "but Justin, religion is a protected class in America and sexual orientation isn't, so your point is moot!" That's not the issue I'm addressing. I know religion is a protected class. The question is, why is choice of religion protected but not choice of who to love? If it shouldn't be protected because it's a choice, why should Prevo's choice to be a hatemongering asshole who hides behind the Bible be protected?
Dr. Prevo, what exactly are these special rights you claim homosexuals will get? Is it the right not to be discriminated against for your choices? You have that right now. Or how about the right to practice what they believe without having to pay taxes for the privilege to do so? You also have that right. What about having your choice protected by the force of law? That's a right that you have as well. Jerry Prevo's choice to be a Christian is protected by all these rights, and furthermore, by promoting religious liberty over equality, the government will have in effect said that Prevo's choice to hate homosexuals is more worthy of protection than a gay person's choice to be gay (again, I'm using Prevo's logic here- everyone knows being gay is not something most gay people choose). I guess "special rights" are only special when they're given to gays-- when Jerry Prevo exercises them, they're not special. Maybe we should stop using the term gay rights and start calling them Prevo's Rights.
So what about transgendered people, who will also be protected under the law? Surely Jerry Prevo is an expert on transgendered and intersexed individuals, since he did his doctoral dissertation on 5-alpha-reductase deficiency resulting in decreased production of dihydrotestosterone. Just kidding, he got a degree in magic from the unaccredited Hyles Anderson College and then another degree from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and School of Hatemongering and Science Denial. But even I will admit that one doesn't have to be an expert on the causes of transgenderism in order to speak on it. So what has Prevo been saying about the plight of transgendered individuals?
"Transgender is anything that's not gay, that's not lesbian, that's not bisexual, I mean it's any form of any perverted sexual behavior that you feel like you wanna do." - ABT sermon, 6/28/2009
BZZZZZZ! Wrong again, asshole. A person is transgendered if they identify with a gender that's different than their biological one. That's it. "Transgender" does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation; transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. It has nothing to do with any sexual perversion, it has nothing to do with promiscuity, it has nothing to do with anything other than gender identification. Believe it or not Dr. Prevo, not everyone is born completely male or completely female. The fact is that some people, a very small percentage of the population, feel that they are a different gender than the one they were born as. Some men identify as women, and feel that they are women in every way except physically, and vice versa. And far from being sexual deviants or perverts, many transgendered individuals make important contributions to our society. Transgendered individuals include neurobiologists, politicians, educators, entertainers, physicians and professional athletes, lawyers, pilots, engineers, corporate executives, and countless other jobs. And besides being transgendered, what's the one thing all these people have in common? They've faced discrimination during their lives because they're transgendered.
It's not a black and white issue, as much as Dr. Prevo would like it to be dumbed down for his level of intelligence. Prop. 5 will extend protection for individuals who are transgendered, preventing them from having to worry about whether or not their physical and psychological condition will get them fired or evicted. But apparently not wanting to be kicked out of your house or fired from your job for being who you are is a special right, and Prevo is having none of that.
The fact is that if passed on April 3, Proposition 5 will amend Title 5, Anchorage’s equal rights code, to provide the same legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity that are already provided based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, veteran status, and physical or mental disability. Ultimately Prevo is right about one thing: this issue comes down to choice. You can choose to support extending equal protection to all the members of our society, or you can choose to allow discrimination and hatred to be protected by law.
"When you realize how perverted, how diseased, how depraved it really is, well maybe then you'll say they don't deserve special rights." -ABT Sermon, 6/28/2009You know you're on the right track when your views are shared by people like Fred Phelps and the Nazi Party of WWII.
Dr. Prevo has been etching his name on the wrong side of history for years now. If you see this horse's ass, tell him I said to shut the fuck up already. In fact, if you see Prevo and you support Prop. 5, you should do your best to show him what discrimination feels like. If he comes into your business, refuse to serve him. Tell him his ignorant hatemongering is not welcome in your establishment and you don't want his money. And tell him why. Bigotry doesn't stop being bigotry just because there's a Bible verse attached to it.