"Sound harsh?": Tribune guest columnist asserted that AIDS victims "would still be alive ... if we simply did what God told us"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In a June 24 commentary that criticized federal hate crime legislation, Greeley Tribune guest columnist Mike Martin suggested that AIDS victims "would still be alive ... if we simply did what God told us." Martin, identified as "a former editor of The Colorado Christian News," further asserted that if gay men "saw [homosexuals] executed, they would stop listening to those who glorify homosexuality." The column marked at least the second time that the Tribune has published Martin's comments.

Deriding the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (U.S. House Resolution 1592) in a June 24 Greeley Tribune "Guest Commentary," Mike Martin, identified as "a former editor of The Colorado Christian News," implied that AIDS victims "would still be alive ... if we simply did what God told us." After noting that in the Bible's Leviticus chapter God "actually says to execute homosexuals," Martin further asserted that if young gay men "saw someone ... executed, they would stop listening to those who glorify homosexuality" and "[g]irls would start to look a lot better." Later in his column, Martin suggested that God's "harsh law" to execute homosexuals "would actually have already saved many thousands of their lives." He then asked, "Sound harsh?"

H.R. 1592 seeks to "provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes." According to the text of the bill, "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution."

But Martin's column omitted reference to the free-speech protections of H.R. 1592. The commentary began with a fictional scenario of police questioning a pastor about preaching "from Romans 1," which Martin facetiously called "hate speech." Asking readers if such a scenario were "[f]ar-fetched," Martin added, "Not at all. H.R. 1592, the hate crimes bill in Congress, is designed to pave the way." According to Martin:

H.R. 1592 gives extra protection under the law to "special" people, such as homosexuals and transvestites. Hence, someone who attacks a homosexual will get a couple decades in the pen. (Worse yet, he'll probably have to take sensitivity training.) However, if he attacks your grandmother, he'll only get a couple of years. Granny just isn't as important as a transvestite. Of course, it doesn't work both ways. Homosexuals who commit crimes won't receive stiffer punishment.

As any public school child will tell you, sexual orientation is the result of genetic predisposition. The homosexual didn't choose his orientation, and change would be impossible. So, passages like Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1 that tell us homosexuality is wrong must be in error since they disagree with what is taught at school and on TV sitcoms. That means, if the Bible is the Word of God, then God is a dangerous criminal. Worst of all, in Leviticus 20:13, he actually says to execute homosexuals. Hate speech for sure!

Every Memorial Day when I go to the cemetery, I pause at the headstone of one of my son's classmates who died of AIDS at 24. He would still be alive, as would tens of thousands of others, if we simply did what God told us. If young men like my son's classmate saw someone else executed, they would stop listening to those who want to glorify homosexuality. Girls would start to look a lot better. What many homosexuals decry as a harsh law by an insensitive God would actually have already saved many thousands of their lives. Sound harsh?

Martin continued, writing, "But let's face it, just arresting a few clergymen won't solve anything. The real problem is God. He simply refuses to change with the times":

The question is, once politicians succeed in passing laws that make God a criminal, do they plan on storming into heaven and arresting Him?

The truth is it doesn't matter if we all agree homosexuality is right, it's still wrong. Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished (Proverbs 11:21).

The June 24 column was not the first time the Tribune has published Martin's derogatory and inflammatory comments. For example, in a May 27 guest column about so-called "partial-birth abortion," Martin stated, "Go to Planned Parenthood in Denver and watch men take underage girls in for abortions. These rapists are simply using abortion to cover their crimes. And, this is by far the most common scenario when someone has been raped." He added, "Abortion kills the innocent child and protects the rapist, leaving him free to rape again. If that is compassion toward women, the moral high ground is northeast of Kersey under a manure pile." The May 27 column also stated that Martin "served three years as public relations chairman for Pro-life and Non-violent Action."

Furthermore, as Colorado Media Matters noted, a July 30, 2006, guest column by R.P. Adamson Jr., whom the Tribune identified as someone who "is in the drywall business," compared liberalism to Nazism and said liberals "can't differentiate between good and evil."

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