On August 13, the Rev. Dr. Phil Snyder gave a rather fiery and pronounced address to the Springfield, Missouri, city council, ostensibly opposed to an amendment which would add homosexuals to the list of classes protected from discrimination in the city. He speaks of the obvious case against the moral and social propriety of sodomy according to the “plain truth of the Word of God,” and denounces homosexual behavior as “overstepping the boundary lines God has drawn,” for catering to sodomites would be “inviting the judgment of God upon our land.” Snyder objects to the amendment on the grounds that “unchristian views will be forced on us and our children,” since the legislation would “disturb God’s established order.” Because the biblical case against gay rights is scripturally evident to “every good, substantial, Bible-believing, intelligent, orthodox Christian,” he calls on the council to obey “the Bible of our forefathers” and not forbid employers or business owners from discriminating against homosexuals on the basis of sexual perversion.
But after making this apparently excellent case, Snyder casually includes the word “segregation,” pauses, and after claiming that he had the “wrong notes,” reveals that these words were all from the mouths of segregationist white ministers. His speech was therefore meant to mock all the arguments used in the past, asserting them to be from the “wrong century.” He concludes by exhorting the council to “stand on the right side of history” by opening the floodgates to the most absurd of “non-discrimination” amendments. His mockery of Scripture and its plain teachings nonetheless draws a mild applause.
Of course, Snyder would claim not that he is mocking the Word of God – how could he, being a pastor? – but that he is mocking those who arrogantly and proudly proclaim their narrow and blind interpretation of certain passages to be divinely authoritative. But that’s exactly the point: he believes their interpretations to be false and foreign to the text, and he believes this against all reason. The “Bible of our forefathers” does indeed teach a primeval and normative ethnonationalist separation as “God’s established order.” That is the “plain truth of the Word of God.” Similarly, “every good, substantial, Bible-believing, intelligent, orthodox Christian” can lucidly see the condemnation of sodomitic perversion within the pages of Scripture, absurd and empty cavils notwithstanding.
In practice, by citing these arguments with full derision and scorn, Phil Snyder does not simply disdain our more godly ancestors - who saw wisdom in a social arrangement that would have prevented the rape of thousands of white girls, among other horrors - but heaps contempt upon God’s Word itself. He derogates biblically-based arguments he had heard in Springfield as belonging to the “wrong century,” thereby giving all occasion of the enemies of God to blaspheme. He repeats the words of a godly speech, simply states the source of such words as if waving a magic wand, and dismisses anyone who would likewise cite God’s Word. That is how he treats our most precious and perfect words of God.
And he’s a pastor.
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For our God is a consuming fire. (James 3:1; Hebrews 12:29)