I’ve written more than once about Pastor David Manning and his frequently homophobic, hateful, lying, and violence-advocating church sign in Harlem. He’s in the news this week for a couple of reasons. There was a Love Not Hate protest outside his church, and he and some of his supporters came out and kept yelling incoherently about faggots. Seriously, it’s like he has a form of Tourette’s Syndrome that forces him to say “faggot” and other anti-gay slurs multiple times in every sentence. He and his church are also in the news because of zoning violations that have now added up to more than $11,000 in fines. And yes, the church sign is part of the issue, but it is only one of five violations.
The pastor’s church building is covered by a Historic Landmark Preservation Ordinance. As such, any renovations, remodels, or alterations have to be approved by the Landmark’s Preservation Commission. The church has never, ever applied for such permission, and in the last several years has erected the sign upon which they keep posting hateful messages, they removed ornamental ironwork from another part of the building, they removed a second floor balcony, they added an exterior door, and they added a marble fence. Not only did they fail to apply to the Landmark Preservation Commission, they didn’t attempt to get ordinary building permits for any of these alterations.
Way back in May of 2013, the Landmark Preservation Commission issues a warning letter about the violations. The church ignored it. Last March, after many attempts for nearly two years to get the church to respond, the city issued a citation. The church ignored that. The church continued to ignored numerous notices until finally last August when the pastor presented his defense to a judge. Said defense consisted of the claim that other churches have broken the same law, but no one cites them because they don’t put homophobic messages on their sign. He’s being persecuted for his beliefs, you see. The judge didn’t care, found them guilty of five violations, ordered the church to pay $1,850 in fines, and ordered them to work with the appropriate agencies to bring the building into compliance.
The church then changed their sign (as pictured above) to read: “We won, we won! Have a nice day you damned homos.” They didn’t win. Not one of their arguments was accepted. The judge ruled against them on every count. I guess that because he didn’t order a wrecking ball to destroy the whole building that very day, they decided that meant they won. I don’t know.
Because they haven’t made any effort to even discuss how the building would be brought into compliance, the city has issued new citations. But since the church wouldn’t pay the $1,850, I don’t think they’re going to cough up the $11,500 any time soon. The pastor claims that the church simply doesn’t have the money for the fines. Now, given how easy it was for a pizza parlor that wasn’t even facing a boycott or fines to get anti-gay people to crowdfun hundreds of thousands of dollars (let alone the money that bakeries, wedding venues, and other businesses run by homophones have been able to raise), I find it very difficult to believe Atlah World Missions couldn’t get donors to kick in for these amounts that are quite small by comparison. I think it’s fair to conclude that they have no intention to pay, and clearly no intention to fix the building.
But they can sure spew the hate, can’t they?
Spewing hatred is what a lot of people who claim to be Christian do: . It should come as no surprise when their followers act on that hatred: Here’s What We Know About The Suspect In The Planned Parenthood Shooting And then they get all defensive when any of us point out that said rhetoric inspires people to violence: Mike Huckabee: The Anti-Abortion Movement Has No Responsibility For “Domestic Terrorism”.
And just to be clear, Planned Parenthood Shooting Wasn’t the First — And It Won’t Be the Last, “Mass shootings at Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health clinics might not be common, but violence and harassment are.”
But that’s not the only acts of terror that so-called Christians have performed in the last few weeks: Armed protesters intimidate mosque in Irving, Texas.
And: Bomb hoax and molotov cocktails thrown at Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Virginia. “It’s enough that it would lead a reasonable person to believe, given the location of where he was, given the time, he was there at three in the morning … what he said … It would lead you to believe that this guy is doing this because we are of this religious denomination or ethnicity or combination of both.”
And also: Five arrested in plot to bomb synagogues and black churches, btw, the headline of that report says three, but this follow-up, Federal, state weapons investigations lead to five local arrests report details the subsequent arrests.
So, pardon me if I have trouble feeling much sympathy for some members of the religious rightwing who claim that we are using violent tragedies to confirm a “narrative.” No, we’re too busy being victims of all this violence you’re encouraging to be worried about a narrative.