On October 23, Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell hosted 200 evangelical leaders and 200 homosexuals at his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg,Virginia (see yesterday's article, Falwell Tames his Tongue). The idea for the reconciliation gathering came from Mel White, a minister who ghostwrote Falwell's autobiography years before declaring himself homosexual. The following is his welcome speech for that forum.

This is one of the most unlikely gatherings of our times. In fact, it is probably unprecedented to convene a meeting of 400 gay and lesbian activists and evangelical Christians for the purpose of creating good. I welcome my friend Mel White and those of you who have journeyed with him to Lynchburg this weekend. Thank you for coming to Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Why are we here today? I doubt there is anyone here or elsewhere who knows anything about me who thinks that by meeting with 200 gays and lesbians, I have suddenly changed my belief that homosexuality is Scripturally wrong—that it is sin. Indeed I have not. But we are not here today to debate homosexuality, as our views are clearly and equally divided in this room on that subject.

The Memory of 100

We are here because seven Christian young people were shot and killed in cold blood at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas several weeks ago.

We are here because of the senseless shootings of students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado earlier this year, most of whom were apparently evangelical Christians, such as Cassie Burnall, who was shot after answering at rifle-point, "Yes, I believe in God."

We're here because two persons full of hate in a Wyoming bar decided to torture and kill a young gay man, Matthew Shepherd.

We are here because, in ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.