"Newsflash: Poverty, lack of healthcare, unequal access to education, gun violence"-- not gays-- destabilize society


Jesse Lee Peterson tea party via Bob Chamberlin- Los Angeles TimesPhoto via Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Ever heard of Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson? His Wiki says that he is:

...president and founder of The Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), an American religious nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to a conservative agenda among African Americans. He has hosted a cable TV program and a syndicated radio talk show. [...]

On September 21, 2005, Peterson penned a column for WorldNetDaily, in which he suggested the majority of the African-American people stranded in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina were "welfare-pampered", "lazy" and "immoral". [...]

He has said women should not be allowed to vote:

"Women cannot handle power. It's not in them to handle power in the right way. [...] I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote."


Per the Los Angeles Times, he is "founder of the South Central L.A. Tea Party, he detests Planned Parenthood and legal abortion, welfare and the black holiday Kwanzaa. And that's just for starters."

He also called Trayvon Martin a "thug."

In today's Times, the Letters to the Editor section devoted an additional section to the polarized response they got to an interview Patt Morrison had with Peterson. Here is how the Times described that reaction:

Jesse Lee Peterson hit all the right (or wrong) buttons: Gays aren't born that way, most African Americans hate whites, and President Obama is the worst thing to happen to this country. In his interview with Patt Morrison published Wednesday, the South L.A. tea party activist also had harsh words for civil rights activists and called the Democratic Party platform "anti-God" and "anti-anything that's good."

To say the reader reaction (about two dozen of you sent letters) was mixed would be an understatement; starkly polarized would be more accurate. Many said Peterson's views amount to hate; others called him a hero. There was no middle ground.

Sad commentary on the state of our collective political mindset: No middle ground.

Among those that the Times printed, the letter that zeroed in marriage equality stood out to me:

Ventura resident Brenda Tzipori discusses same-sex marriage:

"First, I snickered behind my hand, then outright guffawed while reading Peterson's responses.

"Obama is the worst thing to happen to America? Really? Obama's leadership dwarfs the travesties of legalized enslavement and Jim Crow?

"Peterson believes himself fit to counsel gays. He states that homosexuality is only about sex. Guess what: Heterosexuality is also about sex. Interracial marriage was once illegal in many states based on the same argument Peterson makes against homosexuality.

"With no basis in fact, Peterson states same-sex marriage will destabilize society. News flash: Authentic problems like poverty, lack of healthcare, unequal access to education and gun violence have that market cornered."