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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.