The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Oklahoma Pastor: Gay People Behind Half of Urban Murders

By Leah Nelson on November 18, 2011 - 9:07 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Christian Right, Extremist Propaganda

Pastor Tom Vineyard of Windsor Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma must be bummed. Though onlookers reportedly gave him standing ovation for his impassioned speech against adding sexual orientation to the protected classes named in Oklahoma City’s employment nondiscrimination policy, City Council members on Tuesday voted 7-2 in favor of the measure.

Making his case that adding explicit protection against discrimination would “bring down God’s judgment on [the] city,” Vineyard cited a New York City judge named John Martaugh, who allegedly said that over half the murders in large cities are committed by LGBT people.

A New York City judge said what? Hatewatch checked, and the only record we could find of Judge Martaugh and his obviously bogus statistic was in a 1992 column from the Gary, Ind., Post-Tribune, whose author, evangelist Jerry Kaifetz, also wrote, “Homosexuality has always been and remains nothing less than a fist in the face of God.”

Kaifetz told Hatewatch in a phone interview yesterday that he does not recall the source of the alleged Martaugh quote.

With a little digging, Hatewatch did uncover evidence that in 1951, a Judge John Murtagh led a campaign to increase the penalties faced by “perverts.” (Hatewatch found no independent record of the comment attributed to him by Kaifetz.) Murtagh also presided over the 1964 obscenity trial of comedian Lenny Bruce, whom he found guilty for performances that were “obscene, indecent, immoral, and impure,” “contain little or no literary or artistic merit” and were of “little social significance.”

Murtagh died in 1976. As it happens, his son, a Republican politician from Yonkers, N.Y., is a firm supporter of gay marriage.

The deceased judge’s alleged comment was only one part of Vineyard’s crusade against Oklahoma City’s plan to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy. In an open letter dated Nov. 14, he begged Mayor Mick Cornett and the City Council to “please consider some statistics that studies have found regarding the homosexual population.”

One such statistic – attributed to a Frank Joseph, M.D. – says that “the average yearly income of a homosexual is $55,430 while the average income of a heterosexual in the general population is $32,144.”

Frank Joseph, M.D. did indeed write this, citing as his source the 1990 Statistical Abstract of the United States – a project of the U.S. Census Bureau that does not include any information whatsoever on sexual orientation. Hatewatch found Joseph’s article, titled “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals,” on the website of Tradition in Action, a radical traditionalist Catholic hate group which says that Hindus worship devils and approvingly quotes the Spanish monarchy’s infamous 1492 royal edict expelling all Jews who declined to convert.

Tradition in Action also refers to Catholicism as the one true faith – a fact that, though he leads a Baptist church, apparently did not cause Pastor Vineyard pause or cause him to question the credibility of his source.

Vineyard did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The rest of Vineyard’s letter to the City Council is hodge-podge of dubious statistics and anecdotes supposedly proving the moral decrepitude of LGBT people, culled from sources like the viciously anti-gay WorldNetDaily (which, among other things, embraces the totally false theory that gays were responsible for the Holocaust). Also cited is former FBI agent Gary Aldrich’s anti-Clinton hit-piece Unlimited Access, which is packed with allegations of nefarious homosexual goings-on among administration employees. Vineyard followed some of these “facts” with questions directed to Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid, who introduced the anti-discrimination measure. For instance, after referencing the case of former U.S. Rep. Jon Hinson (R-Miss.), who resigned in 1981 after being charged with attempted oral sodomy, he wrote: “[I]s this the kind of behavior Mr. Shadid is wanting to promote in city offices and restrooms?”

A lengthy section of the letter is devoted to supposed historical evidence of homosexuality’s corrosive influence, including a citation to a 1787 book that said Rome fell in part because of “an increasing interest and obsession with sexual perversions.” Vineyard also referenced the alleged 1963 congressional testimony of a Florida woman who said that Communists were promoting homosexuality as part of a plot to take over America.

Closing his case, the pastor wrote: “The fact is that during this last generation, America has been fed a lie about the sin the Bible calls sodomy.”

Pastor Vineyard is half-right – someone has definitely been fed a lie about the aforementioned “sin.” Fortunately, Oklahoma City’s municipal government declined to swallow it.

  • Marisa

    AGAIN, and again and again and again – RELIGION rears its ugly head. This is just deplorable – not surprising, bukt deplorable.

  • Animal Right-Aidd

    To be sure. Don’t blame the Spanish, Asian, Moslem and assorted other gangs for street murders. It’s the gays. Maybe it’s the Pandas or the Otters.

    Or……………maybe it’s the Xtians. (Pol) Pot calling the ketttle………………………..

  • IThink

    ^Amen to that Reynardine and Ryan; the only sad fact of this matter is that one of those people listening to ‘Pastor’ Vineyard’s rant will either likely end up harming an LGBT person themselves or be all the more explicitly discriminatory against the group themselves in the private secotr now that this legislation has passed, if not “Tall Tale Tom” himself (in a child molestation charge or otherwise to manifest his self-deprecating hypocrisy about it all).

    It’s not so scary that people with beliefs like this exist so much as that there are equally ignorant, bigoted, and un-Christian groups who will vehemently listen to and defend it it until the death; this is a scary time for America indeed…

    P.S. to Mr. Vineyard—Even that dick Cheyney believes in LGBT rights and marriage equality, even if if he means it only for his own (questionably) conservative lesbian of a daughter, no less.

  • Ryan

    Keep in mind, the ability to maintain a consistent narrative is an exceptionally rare trait among bigots.

  • Reynardine

    Maybe the footnotes were cut off because there isn’t any survey. It’s also interesting that homicidal violence is being attributed to a group who are otherwise supposed to be unfit for military service because they’re a bunch of pansies who can’t fight.

  • Terry Washington

    How can he TELL? Since murderers are not usually listed by sexual preference!


  • Ian

    Sorry, I couldn’t find the source of the survey, since in the link the footnotes get cut off. I don’t know if any readers or staff at Hatewatch can get it.

  • Ian

    Dear religious right,

    Either we’re effeminate weirdos trying to undermine gender roles or we’re macho killers responsible for horrible violence. Pick one.


    The evil Homosexual Lobby

    PS: I believe the “average yearly income of a homosexual is $55,430″ meme comes from a survey of readers of a gay magazine. Those citing the study fail to note that glossy magazine readers of any orientation are, on average, better off than others within the same group.;f=false

  •, Aron

    Is there any chance we might be able to look at this 1787 book ourselves? While I know Edward Gibbons’ immortal The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was still being published volume by volume, I don’t think he ever wrote that.

    I would be very curious to find the source. Thanks!

  • infmom

    Reverend Ron Adrian of the Baptist Tabernacle in Wichita, KS, did much the same thing in the late 1970s when the city commission included “sexual orientation” in a civil rights ordinance. He whipped up a hate campaign that polluted the local airwaves and got his way.

    It seems that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

  • Sam Molloy

    The average pay of an “out” gay person may be higher, because they are both smart enough to know how the world works and have the chutzpa necessary to be “out”. As such, we are in exactly the same position as German Jews in 1933, by that I mean, very vulnerable to ignorant resentment. There are also a lot of gay people that work on the bottom of the social strata, Some can be out, some cannot right now because they work in truly dangerous places and some are simply too shy to be “out”. They are probably not in any statistic.