At the forefront are large evangelical West Omaha churches like Christ Community Church (weekly attendance 3500), whose pastor, Mark Ashton (above), refused to speak to the World-Herald, but hammered his congregation for 39 minutes in an Aaron-Shock-lavender shirt about how repealing recourse for artbitrary discrimination against gay Omahans would somehow honor the biblical Esther and demonstrate their faith and told them that other churches, including Westside (4,000 members), King of Kings, Lifegate and Salem Baptist were also promoting the signing of petitions to set aside gay legal protections in Omaha or put them to a popular vote.
King of Kings' senior pastor Rev. Mark Zehnder wouldn't talk to the World-Herald either; neither would representatives from Lifegate nor Salem Baptist churches. Also cheerleading the effort is Omaha Trinity Hope Foursquare Church, 42nd & Redman, whose pastor, James Patterson testified against the law before the city council last spring.
Said Ashton (in sermons reviewed by Perez and Golden since he wouldn't be interviewed by them):
"People of God are called to resist their government at key crossroads...Every signature makes a difference in the future of our city."
“This ordinance makes it a crime to publicly hold a Christian viewpoint on sexual morality in the marketplace environment,”
|TalkingPointsMemo graphic of quote from p. 24 of Heritage|
Proclamation signer Phillip G. Kayser's paper
Is the death penalty just?
In an otherwise even-handed article, the World-Herald once again quoted Heritage Proclamation verbiage claiming that signatories "condemn violence" against gays, which isn't true.
Nebraska's only statewide newspaper still has not told its readers about signatory 183 of the Heritage Coalition Proclamation (#172 back in March) — Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, Omaha's death-to-gays preacher, who is so notorious that MSNBC did a segment on him embarrassing the Ron Paul campaign, and so offensive that his venue, the University of Nebraska at Omaha Alumni Center, has been the site of repeated protests. YouTube video of one of those protests has been seen almost 1,000 times, but apparently not by anybody who works for the World-Herald (or any of Omaha's TV stations or by the UNO campus newspaper, The Gateway, which, as far as we can tell, has been willfully or negligently deaf, mute and blind to the controversy in its own backyard for almost a year.)
Ken of ProgressiveOasis.com Riter says UNO Chancellor Christensen told him in an email that the Thompson Alumni Center isn't part of UNO's campus. This seems rather disingenuous in light of the fact that the video shows the university's proprietary logo on the sign identifying the center and a manned UNO security truck parked steps from its door.
Aside from apparently enjoying free security from UNO to shield its most virulently homophobic customers from the inconvenience of confronting the people they villify, the posh, tax-exempt Thompson Alumni Center also enjoys an advantage for its "country club" banquet facilities that most of its public venue competition doesn't: an exemption from Omaha's 2.5% dining tax. In fact, the center is quite aggressive about promoting itself as a means of escaping that tax, levied to pay for fire and police funding shortfalls. Sweet deal! http://unoalumni.org/thethompsoncenter/catering