Published on October 5th, 2017 | by Josiah Batten
Fairmont City Manager Says Christianity is Hateful
The City of Fairmont is currently embroiled in a controversy regarding a recently passed human rights ordinance. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the ordinance re-establishes an advisory and educational human rights commission, and expands the idea of protected classes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ignore the ordinance for a moment, and ignore how absurd it is to expand the idea of protected classes while actually eliminating all protections for those classes. What I want to focus on is not the ordinance itself, but on comments by the city manager, Robin Gomez.
In a couple of short audio clips that have been released by a Facebook page called “Keep Fairmont Safe,” and in comments by Robin Gomez on those clips, Gomez directly attacks historic orthodox Christianity. Here are a few highlights taken from the videos and comments [Note that some of Gomez’s comments are in response to other comments on Facebook, so I recommend visiting the Keep Fairmont Safe page to see all of the comments and the full context]:
“Those that are advocating and stating publicly, which hundreds have, that it is an abomination for two males to be together, that Christianity is the one true religion, that no other religion should be relevant, that the Bible is the true source, that Jesus is the only Savior, and saying that everything else other than that is evil or an abomination, that is promoting hatred. There is no other way around it.”
“Please remember that Christianity is not the one and true and only religion. There are many others. Anyone telling people that just because two men or two women love one another, want to marry is an abomination, are evil; are in fact promoting hatred. Please stop promoting untruths and misleading statements.”
“Peace, love, tolerance, compassion, understanding of many religions and beliefs, is the one true way and path. Anyone can believe what they want. Telling others their beliefs are wrong is not right, it promotes everything we do not want in any society in 2017. We r not living in 1917 or 1957. Let’s let people believe what they want without saying they are evil or an abomination or other hateful statements and comments.”
“Just remember that there are many other religions. Let’s allow them to believe without stating they are evil, an abomination, wrong, anti-Christian, or anything else wrong.”
“I stated that those publicly stating that other religions and beliefs and marriage between men, marriage between women is/are wrong, evil, an abomination is promoting dislike and hatred. We should all be allowed to believe and do as we like without others telling us it is wrong, or we are evil, or one is superior to the other. Why would anyone want to say that Judaism, Islam or any other religions are wrong or evil or that 2 people who love each other that are the same gender should be made to feel less than human?”
“They believe that two men shouldn’t be in love. They don’t believe that two women should love each other and that is fine if that is what you want to believe, but when you become public about it, that’s where it creates a problem. We have all evolved, but apparently there’s a lot of people who have not.”
“The Bible is a book, and we are going to disagree, but the Bible is a book compiled of stories that hasn’t evolved like everything else in the world has evolved to today.”
Just let all of that sink in for a moment before we jump into analyzing this.
Gomez’s statements, in addition to being inaccurate at various points, are also self-contradictory. Gomez insists that no one should tell people of another religion they are wrong, yet Gomez tells Christians that we are wrong to believe as we do. Gomez says people should be allowed to believe what they want, but that they shouldn’t necessarily bring those beliefs into the public eye; yet Gomez brings his own beliefs regarding the hatefulness of biblical Christianity into the public eye. He insists no religion is superior to another, yet also asserts that his own philosophical view of tolerance is superior to anything that disagrees.
Beyond these glaring contradictions, let’s consider one question Gomez asks: “Why would anyone want to say that Judaism, Islam or any other religions are wrong or evil or that 2 people who love each other that are the same gender should be made to feel less than human?”
Notice, this is a loaded question. The biblical position is NOT that gay or transgender people are less than human. The biblical position is that all people are created in God’s image, and the image of God in man is marred by sin. This is true not only of gay or trans people, but of all people. All people are sinners (Romans 3:23). I am a sinner. Robin Gomez is a sinner. Every WV4G contributor is a sinner. Everyone is a sinner. As Christians we do not aim to make anyone feel less than human, rather we seek to see everyone’s potential as people created in the image of God maximized and fulfilled. But for that to happen sin must be addressed. And sin is addressed completely and finally in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again and in so doing remitted (paid the penalty for) sin. And we are saved by Christ and His work; by the free gift of God which none of us deserved. And we receive this through faith, repenting of our sin and believing in Christ for our salvation. Contrary to Gomez, telling sinners to repent of sin is not to make anyone less human, but to tell everyone the only way to realize our full potential as God’s image-bearers. Yes, homosexuality and rejecting your biological sex are sins. But they are not unique sins. They are not sins that overcome the cross of Christ; rather Christ overcame them.
In addition, why would we want to tell anyone that their religion is wrong? Perhaps because it is true. The issue here is not a matter of tolerance, or respect; it is a matter of truth. If Christianity is true, and we firmly believe that it is, then of logical necessity other religions are false. It cannot be the case that God is Triune (Christianity) and that God is not Triune (Islam, Judaism). One can present this in respectful ways, of course, but it does not change the fact that at the level of basic worldviews there are conflicting claims that cannot all be true simultaneously. Christianity makes claims regarding our origin, purpose, ethical obligations, and ultimate destiny. These claims conflict with the claims of other religions on the same topics. Quite simply they cannot all be true.
There is one more consideration I think is very important in light of all of these comments. The new Human Rights Commission will be tasked with educating the city and recommending new policies to the city council. Many people suspect that this commission is really just a ploy by liberals to foist more of the liberal agenda on the people of Fairmont. In light of the comments by Gomez, how is any biblical Christian supposed to think that the commission will have any regard whatsoever for the rights of religious people (particularly Christians)? As much as I want to believe the commission would truly be non-partisan and advocate for the rights of all people (including religious people), Gomez’s comments bring that hope into very serious doubt. Gomez considers Christianity hateful, and no amount of singing Kumbayah around the campfire is going to make Gomez’s intolerant and misinformed comments disappear. This is the man who will recommend appointments to the Human Rights Commission, and he has made it clear that he cannot be objective in considering the rights of Christians. Gomez’s comments bring into question the integrity of a Human Rights Commission that would be tasked with educating the public about the rights of a group of people that the city manager himself labels hateful.
The situation developing in Fairmont is as complex as it is controversial. Rather than seeking to build goodwill and create mutual trust and understanding, the leadership of the City of Fairmont is isolating its citizens by attacking the very rights that the Human Rights Commission would be tasked with protecting. Robin Gomez seems incapable of reaching across the aisle and speaking with political opponents in a way that does anything but provoke them. Far from building a coalition of support, Gomez is marginalizing constituents and adding fuel to a fire that is already generating far more heat than light.
So long as this situation persists, the divide between leadership in the City of Fairmont and voters will only widen. And even should the recall effort fail, 5 out of 9 city council seats are up for grabs in 2018. I call on Gomez to publicly repent for his untruthful and inappropriate comments and statements, and I call on the City Council to hold Gomez accountable for these same statements.
Soli Deo Gloria,