This recently released video of the Rev. Dr. Phil Snyder, pastor at the Brentwood Christian Church, in Springfield, Mo., is, at first glance, not much different from the recent anti-gay rants of pastors Sean Harris, Charles L. Worley, Curtis Knapp or Dennis Leatherman, who have each called for violence or death to gays.
“Any accurate reading of the Bible should make it clear that gay rights goes against the plain truth of the word of God,” begins Snyder, as he testified in August at a Springfield City Council hearing on the city’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance.
“This step of gay rights is but another stepping stone toward the immorality and lawlessness that will be characteristic of the last days,” he said.
But, Pastor Snyder’s speech is not necessarily what it appears — watch, the last seconds will take you by surprise:
After video of Snyder’s testimony went viral, he took to his blog on Saturday to add some context to his speech:
The last few hours have been a bit of a whirlwind for me, to say the least. I’m really heartened by all of the emails, Facebook messages, and kind words that I’ve received over the last 24 hours.
As I read each one, I don’t see them simply as messages that seek to affirm a particular talk I gave on a particular night in Springfield, MO (as grateful as I am for such affirmations), but rather, I view them as a reflection of the thousands — indeed, the millions — of people who, on a daily basis, are journeying together because we believe that our world can be a better place, a fairer place, a more beautiful place — for all people and not just for some — and we won’t stop calling for a more beautiful world to be born.
I’m also grateful for all of the people who have come before us — many whose names history won’t recall — who have allowed us to be where we are now, on whose shoulders we stand. These folks may not be famous — more times than not they are friends or family members who have bravely told their story, often in the face of major consequences. They are the ones who have brought us to this place, and we carry their stories with us as we try to build a a more just world.
A lot of people ask, “How can a pastor who values the Bible take this kind of stance?” Truth be told, there are a bunch of pastors and people of faith across the country who are open and affirming — not in spite of their faith, but precisely because of it. And the number of open and affirming people of faith is rapidly increasing.
Secondly, to the many of you who said, “I wish I lived in Springfield, because yours is a church I could actually attend!” Well, this kind of statement makes my day. We have tried to build a community of faith based on the intentional welcome of all people, especially those who have felt hurt and/or alienated by the church and/or Christianity.