Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Army of God

The Reverend Donald Spitz (photo: Steven M. Katz, Virginia Pilot)
A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as "a wild-eyed extremist."

I suppose that's as good a reason as any for me to have gotten this "godly admonition" in this morning's email from the Reverend Donald Spitz:
I just saw your church listed as a GAY friendly church on gaychurch.org.
To accept sexual deviancy as normal is a sin.

You put your soul in danger of eternal damnation for welcoming unrepentant homosexuals into God’s house. You blaspheme the Name of God.

Homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuals commit crimes against God, against nature, against the Holy Bible and against the human race.

Because of your church, I now know why God wrote:
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell
because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins
and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and
take away my sins and give me eternal life. http://www.armyofgod.com
Well, there it is, then.

A quote from Holy Writ (in proper King James version) - which, apparently, "my" church has helped him to understand - some unsolicited advice, and a helpful little prayer to say.

Now, I don't know if, by referring to "my" church, he meant The Episcopal Church or the church where I was formerly rector. If you click on Gaychurch.org you have to click on a country and then a state and then scroll down to find my former church.

Which has nothing explicit on its website that would make it a "Gay church" - except that it still has something I wrote when I was there: "Absolutely everyone is welcome here."

It's pretty clear from the website that I'm no longer rector.  Indeed, they have a lovely new rector - who will celebrate the first anniversary of her ordination to the priesthood next month - who, herself, has a husband and three sons.

Things that make you go, "Hmmmmm . . . .".

However, if you check out HIS website - Army of God (which I advise you not to do, unless you are prepared to get quite ill) - it's all about "saving unborn babies". There's nothing there about being gay.

Oh, and there is an "Honor Roll of American Heroes" who have murdered doctors who perform abortions, including Scott Roeder, who killed Kansas Dr. George Tiller, and Paul Jennings Hill, who shot and killed clinic doctor John Britton and his bodyguard, James Barrett, and seriously wounded Barrett's wife, June in Pensacola, Florida.

Yes, way.

Now, I don't know what being an LGBT person has to do with reproductive rights, but if you're a "wild-eyed extremist", I suppose details don't matter much.

Spitz lives in rural, southern Chesapeake, Virginia, where he says he tries to demonstrate at least five times a week outside clinics where abortions are performed - usually by himself and without violence.

You know. It's just part of his spiritual discipline. His own "Rule of Life".

In a 2008 news article, he was described in this way,
"His friends and allies call him a religious man of passion. His detractors insist he remains a dangerous figure in a bloody, underground movement responsible for clinic bombings, killings of abortion doctors, and anthrax threats. Some even call him one of the worst possible names in this day and age: terrorist. He's proud to count as friends people who have been to prison - and one (at that time) who has been executed - for anti-abortion violence.

But, sitting in his home in rural, southern Chesapeake, Spitz seemed unfazed by the taunts.

"I think it's obvious, I'm not a terrorist," the 60-year-old said. "I'm just old Don doing my thing."
Spitz, a first-generation American, says that his strict Roman Catholic upbringing as a child started him on his path. His father was in the military and he moved across the country a great deal. Spitz himself served in the Navy - joining at age 18 - and served in Vietnam for two years.

He moved with his wife to Hampton Roads from Queens, N.Y., more than two decades ago. He has no children and refuses to talk about how he supports himself and his cause.

He says that he is an ordained minister, but he does not have congregation - except those who follow him on his website and his work in "Pro-Life Virginia" (not to be confused, apparently with the Virginia Society for Human Life). In New York, Spitz ran a street evangelism ministry on Times Square - again, without evidence of any support from any denomination or congregation.

He appeared before grand juries in Alexandria and Philadelphia during separate investigations into Hill and Clayton Waagner, the man who sent hundred of anthrax scare letters to abortion providers in 2001.

The letters, containing white powder, stated: "You have been exposed to anthrax. We are going to kill all of you. From the Army of God, Virginia Dare Chapter."

Spitz sees nothing wrong with Waagner's tactics.

"It's fine with me," he said. "My two goals in life is to stop unborn babies from being murdered and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ."

So, perhaps this is the reason for this morning's email to me. Just spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Or, maybe it's "just old Don" doing his thing.

Which, he insists, is not about murdering anyone. And, if his preaching and teaching lead others to murder? Well, he says, they are just being "righteous". They are his "heroes".

Which is why I'm giving this guy "air time" on my blog.

Spitz says he has no illusions that he's going to change abortion laws. He says he's given up long ago the hope of a Supreme Court reversal of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision legalizing abortion.

I suspect, with the defeat of the "Personhood" movement in Mississippi, and the inevitable momentum to defeat DOMA, combined with the growing support of Marriage Equality, he's expanding his ...."ministry".... to save the world from "teh Gay".

Indeed, I think he - or one of his supporters - "found" me on the internet and targeted selected me - and, no doubt, many other LGBT activists - for one of his friendly little emails.

I think it's pretty obvious that "old Don" Spitz is, in fact, a terrorist. Which is why it is a good thing that the FBI and organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Project keep a close eye on him.

I'm not worried, much less terrorized. I suspect his lawyers have advised him that, if he continues to inspire murder and acts of terrorism, there could be serious legal implications for him, as well.

I'm just keeping my eye on him.

He may consider himself part of an "Army of God" but he's really just a pathetic, pathological, narcissistic old man with a computer and access to the Internet.

Which is obviously dangerous enough to inspire some poor, unstable souls to do murder and commit acts of mayhem in the name of the "righteousness" of God.

So, "just old Don," here's my morning prayer for you. It's one of my favorite prayers written by Ted Loder. I remembered it and it reminded me of you.
I Want So To Belong

O God, I want so to belong;
     teach me to accept.
I want to be close;
     teach me to reach out.
I want a place where I am welcome;
     teach me to open my arms.
I want mercy;
     teach me to forgive.
I want beauty;
     teach me honesty.
I want peace;
     show me the eye of the storm.
I want truth;
     show me the way to question
          my unquestionable convictions.
I want joy;
     show me the way of deep commitment.
I want life;
     show me how to die.
And, let all the children in God's Army of Righteousness and Salvation who march on the paths of Mercy, Justice and Humility which lead to Divine Truth and Love, say, "Amen."

19 comments:

Ahab said...

You handled the situation impeccably. Thank you for taking a smart, irreverent stand against hate, and for being a voice of inclusion and love.

RevMama said...

Amen. May God heal the hearts of those trapped in hate and clear the eyes if those b,inded by prejudice. And may God open our hearts to "those who differ most from us."

Scoop said...

It is always -- amazing? appalling? repugnant?-- to me when people who claim to be Christians have no love in their hearts for anyone else. This is contrary to the entire message of Jesus. He's going to be saved, and the rest of us can go to Hell. I think I prefer the company there, if these are the choices.

I was just thinking about this today as I was ruminating on Christ the King Sunday.

But I think that actually, he presents a false dichotomy based upon a false vision of Christ. We must pray for him. It'll drive him crazy, too.

it's margaret said...

He used to send me stuff....

The "Personhood" legislation is being considered here in Virginia...

There are fewer than a dozen clinics that offer abortion now --A law was passed last year that makes abortion near impossible here, because it is now a requirement to have ER facilities available in the same clinics, which puts Planned Parenthood out....

VA is under siege by the likes of him.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ahab - Well, I doubt he'll ever read it and I'm not tipping him off to my blog - although I suspect he may already know about it. To my knowledge, he hasn't visited here and I didn't respond to his email missive.

I suppose it's just a matter of time.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

RevMama - I really think folks like this are loners. Everything in his profile suggests that. He's "ordained" but without a community or denomination. I think he wants desperately to "belong" but can't - maybe because of his childhood experiences.

Mostly, I just feel sad and pity for the man.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Scoop - Yeppa. I think it's a real blessing that he and his wife do not have any children. Can you imagine being his son or daughter? Sends shivers up and down my spine.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Margaret - I read about that in my research about him. The Personhood Amendment failed in MI (and CO) because it over-reaches. Let's hope the same thing happens in VA.

Well, at least I'm in good company with you. I wonder how many other's he's "reached out" to bring them the "gospel truth".

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Well. Now that was just a real special treat with your breakfast, wasn't it?

It will be interesting if he's trolling the gaychurch.org website. Maybe we'll get an e-mail from him too. My church is listed on the same website.

Urggggh. There's that part of my brain that wants to just dismiss that "Reverend" and go, "Loser," but then that other part of my brain kicks in and says "No, you really need to pray for that joker." So I did. Him and his "army."

You were right in outing him. Things that happen in the dark, like sneaky dark little e-mails, oughta be exposed in the light.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Kirke - That's what Jesus says. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

walter said...

The “now” of which it is spoken about your Church, 4, is poisoned by un understanding of the Christian kyros deeply influenced by Greco-Roman mythology and does not bode well for any adventus. The personalized quoting of the Scripture is an example of Christian fundamentalism slave to Greco-Roman culture. I am not interested in any polemics, just in case there may appear that impulse. Also Church and State should always remain separate as they view issues of pro-choice because a good citizen is one who respect the law of the land. We may rest assured that Jesus can be found only in the powerful distinction of freedom of choice and Freedom. The creative act must ever be the personal act(26/11/2011)

Walter Vitale

JCF said...

Elizabeth,

You know better than I how to deal w/ the religiously-based mentally-ill.

That said, if *I* were you (I promise to never use this phrase again here!), I'd contact the FBI.

Don't take chances w/ extremists like this. From what you've said, he's definitely got the formed ideation of violence there. Capacity, at least. Don't wait to find out capability.

[Here endeth JCF's advice. You remain in my prayers]

Healing, Liberating Lord Christ, cure the mentally-ill, and protect your servant Elizabeth! Defend your LGBT children, and your servants engaged in women's healthcare, EVERYWHERE!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, Walter.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF - Thanks for your concern, my dear. I used to get waaaay worse than this when I was Canon Missioner to The Oasis. The Newark Police started a file of them. The first week I was rector in a church where we rented out space to a Jewish congregation, someone scattered nails in the parking lot and sent me a lovely, suitable for framing poster of Hitler. I also got a few phone messages. I turned them all over to the authorities.

I have saved the email and have captured the IPS. If I get another email from any one of the "soldiers" in the Army of God, I'll turn them over to the authorities.

Thanks for your advice - and your prayers.

MarkBrunson said...

The man's a Christian Osama, plainly put, instigating while keeping his hands clean.

Now, we can pepperspray quiet protestors, but, because the money that owns the country is conservative, no one will touch him.

Contact the FBI - they'll treat you as the lunatic.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

MarkB - actually, every time I've contacted the FBI, they have been deeply respectful. Some even apologize to me for "having to go through this". I'm sure there were times, however, when it was not so. I think enough LGBT people have been seriously hurt - and killed - for them to take people like Spitz very seriously.

MarkBrunson said...

I stand corrected . . . and gladly so.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Things change. Thanks be to God.

MaryO said...

A lot of church folk in the NY/NJ area got this email this week. I know our website got hit in the last couple of days, and the staff have passed on the information to the FBI.