by Dan Savage
on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 10:49 AM
From KUOW's Ann Dornfeld's report this morning about a failed attempt to enact an ordinance in the early 1960s that would've prohibited race-based discrimination in housing:
Presbyterian minister Thomas W. Miller also [testified against the ordinance, arguring that it would] violate religious freedom. He was challenged by city councilmember Wing Luke, a Chinese-American.
LUKE: "Are you for that provision which prohibits discrimination because of race? You have ... "
MILLER: "No, I'm not in favor of that on another basis. On the basis that it violates the eighth commandment of the decalogue: Thou Shalt Not Steal. This is an unjust usurpation of property rights."
LUKE: "You are, of course, a minister, and I don't it have it available, but what chapter and verse is it in the bible, in the New Testament, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself?'"
MILLER: "Um... I don't know the exact verse right offhand."
LUKE: "Thank you."
I hope KUOW posts the audio. (Maybe it's up, but I can't find it.) In that "um" and the brief pause that comes afte it—the moment after Luke hands Miller his ass—you can clearly hear the minister realizing that he's just been exposed as a bigot and a hypocrite. And, now, remembered as one. (Did he ever come around, I wonder?) The Seattle city council—never a profile in courage—punted, sending the ordinance to voters.
Seattle voters rejected it by a two to one margin.
UPDATE: Luke also exposed Miller as a pretty lousy, uninformed, incompetent Christian minister. "Love thy neighbor as thyself" appears in the Old Testament—in Leviticus, of all places. (When you're not stoning your neighbor to death for eating shrimp, or your neighbor's daughter to death for not being a virgin on her wedding night, love 'em as thyself!) In the New Testament Jesus is asked, "Which is the first commandment of all?" He replies...
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
You'd think a Christian minister would be up on both of those none-other-commandments-greater-than-these.
UPDATE 2: And, hey, fair's fair: I thought Scher's comment during the first hour of Weekday—about holding cyclists accountable (when its cyclists who are being mowed down on our streets)—was ill-timed and I posted so. But the second hour of Weekday today was great—it was fascinating social history—and it was small of me to praise Dornfeld's contribution to the hour without giving Scher props too. He was juggling a lot of guests, it could've been a real train wreck, but it wasn't. It was great radio.