The New Holy War

November 19, 1993

In 1992, a majority of Colorado’s voters passed Amendment 2 to the state’s constitution, which would have denied gays and lesbians the right to claim discrimination at the local level in jobs, housing, and public accommodations.  Bill Moyers travels to Colorado Springs, the town that gave birth to Amendment 2 that has become ground zero of a “holy war” between conservative Christian values and homosexual rights.  Moyers listens to the voices along the fault line of this controversy — which has set gay against Christian, and Christian against Christian — talking first with conservative evangelical pastors and congregants, and then with two gay rights activists, one of whom is also Christian.

Their discussions raise a number of different questions: How should the Bible be interpreted with respect to homosexuality? Can a Christian be homosexual? Is there an “agenda” by either homosexual groups or conservative Christian organizations to force their values on others? Moyers begins his investigation at the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, the town’s local daily, where the divisiveness of the “holy war” can be seen among its staff. Political cartoonist Chuck Asay regularly condemns homosexuality in his cartoons; and editorial page editor Dan Griswold wrote more than 20 editorials about Amendment 2 (he calls it a case of “conservative Christian People … trying to prevent the government from interfering in their lives”). But reporter Louis Aguilar, who has covered Amendment 2 for the news section of the paper, finds himself the target of criticism from both sides. “Amendment 2 is only the mechanics of what it’s about,” he says. “It’s about how you deal with people in your community who are gay.”

Moyers next talks with Reverent Ted Haggard, pastor of the 4,500-member, non-denominational New Life Church, who explains why he believes that “homosexual behavior is immoral”; and with Will Perkins, a well-known car dealer who is chairman of Colorado for Family Values, based on their Amendment 2 campaign.

Amy Divine, the founder of Citizens Project, a group that monitors conservative religious politics in Colorado Springs, says of Colorado for Family Values, “I would classify them with the organizations that would like to see Biblical law dictating American law.”

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  • James Green

    this story cements my belief in god’s ultimate sense of humor, love god!