The Aftermath: ‘The Matt Hill Comer problem’


Everyone remember last week’s guest column, “The Matt Hill Comer problem,” written by Jason Crawford in UNCG’s Carolinian? Remember how he said that I was a person “prostituted to a cause which wrecks the lives of other human beings,” and that, “In the wink of an eye, God can frown into hell all those rebels like Matt Hill Comer, the members of PRIDE!, and all those administrators and students that have foolishly desecrated what the King calls sacred”?

Remember when I said that the community discussion it prompted would serve as a test to see if UNCG and Greensboro were as open, accepting and welcoming of the LGBT community as it says it is?

Well… All you have to do is look at this week’s numerous letters to the editor and another – yes, another – guest opinions column.

Snippets provided below (if the links to The Carolinian don’t work at first – if the pop up with a DNS error or something – just refresh the page, then it will work):

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Christians: Christianity’s biggest flaw?
by Sarah Benedek, Guest Column

Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” I’m certain that when he made this statement, he had people like Jason Crawford in mind.

Mr. Crawford’s guest column, “The Matt Hill Comer Problem,” was ridiculous and offensive. (I’m going to refer to Mr. Crawford as Jason. He may have a problem uttering the names of people he finds reprehensible, but I don’t.) Not only did Jason’s column come out of nowhere, but it managed to simultaneously drag someone’s name through the mud who has done nothing to deserve it while validating the concerns of many who oppose Christianity. Congratulations Jason, you’ve helped your religion take two giant steps backwards.

I’m not defending or condemning what Matt does or does not do in his personal life. Personally, I don’t get the concept of a gay Christian, but you know what? It’s not my business. It’s no one’s business but said gay Christians. It’s especially not Jason’s business.

Last time I checked, “Jason Crawford” was not synonymous with “God.” Jason has no right to judge or condemn. Jason says that, “true love demands somebody get in (Matt’s) face.” I’m guessing that “true love” does not include slander or writing disparaging columns. For someone that “hates to name names,” Jason does a pretty good job of doing exactly that, even including Matt’s name in the headline.

Read the full column…

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Discrimination against gays not ok
by Samantha Korb, Letter to the Editor

A few days ago I read Mr. Crawford’s guest column “The Matt Hill Comer Problem.” Mr. Crawford’s column invoked the feelings of hate I and my fellow LGBTQI brothers and sisters have had to face because of who we are. Mr. Crawford called us, Matt Hill Comer, and all LGBTQI people desecrations from the King. My God is one who loves all, regardless of who we love.

Read the full letter…

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Crawford’s got it all wrong
by Caitlin Stroud, Letter to the Editor

I was outraged when I read in last week’s Carolinian a guest column entitled “The Matt Hill Comer Problem” by Jason Crawford. I am on the Student Government Association legislative board with Matt and I am also a member of PRIDE!, so I found this column doubly insulting. It is in poor taste to openly attack someone like that based on your standards of what is good, let alone an entire community of people.

Read the full letter…

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Our doors are opened: UNCG PRIDE! makes an official statement promoting tolerance and open-mindedness
by The Executive Board of UNCG PRIDE!, Guest Column/Published Statement

The previous edition of The Carolinian published a guest column by Jason Crawford. Since its publication, many people have come to the Executive Board of PRIDE! to see if we are going to take any action. We have been discussing what would be the most efficient way to get our point across. Our message is not to deliberately offend anybody for their beliefs, values, or lifestyle; it is intended for the people who were angered and disheartened by the distasteful guest column written by Jason Crawford.

We would like to clarify some assumptions that could have been made from reading the article, “The Matt Hill Comer Problem.” Matt Hill Comer has not been an active member of UNCG PRIDE! since September. Secondly, it can only be assumed that Mr. Crawford was using Matt as a scapegoat for what he really meant to say. Although he did mention Matt by name, he put emphasis on the whole entire GLBTQA community. Nobody will ever know whether or not this was his true intention, but we all can speculate.

Read the full statement/column…

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Not the same idea of non-violence
by Leehe Shmueli, Letter to the Editor
related to another guest column last week, “No tears need to be shed for Greensboro.”

In response to Mr. Ivey’s column comparing Mr. Comer’s acts of nonviolence to the antiwar demonstration in downtown Greensboro, I can only say this: The two hardly compare.

As a colleague and friend of Mr. Comer, I can honestly attest to the fact that his view of nonviolence is not near to that of Mr. Ivey’s. The two columns give your readers two very different opinions of the principle and I hope they see the differences.

Mr. Comer believes that nonviolence is a complete way of living and state of mind, whereas Mr. Ivey clearly admits his belief that nonviolence is only a tactic. Mr. Ivey also sanctions the use of violence in retaliation to violence. This is not the King and Gandhi-inspired principle of nonviolence. It certainly isn’t the view of nonviolence through which Gandhi successfully led the movement to rid India of British occupation.

Read the full letter…

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I have to say… I think The Carolinian has had a good run this year. Plenty of discussion and conversation for sure.


Comments
17 Responses to “The Aftermath: ‘The Matt Hill Comer problem’”
  1. Ryan says:

    So why can’t you be open and accepting of someone else’s religious views?

    (note: not that I agree with them, just playing devil’s advocate)

  2. Matt says:

    Ryan… During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, if you were alive, would you have told black Americans that they should be “open and accepting” of other people’s views on segregation or Jim Crow?

    Would you have told women to be “open and accepting” of the religious views that women should be second to their husbands – arguments people used to keep the right to vote away from them?

    Would you have told those in slavery to be “open and accepting” of the religious views people utilized to say that God ordained slavery as an acceptable human institution?

    What you are doing is asking oppressed people to be open and accepting of the views which have oppressed them. How does that make sense? It doesn’t. The very nature of being “open and accepting” means that all people are accepted as they are, BUT at the SAME TIME all people are treated equally. Viewpoints which advocate oppressing other groups of people are the exact opposite creating spaces which are “open and accepting.”

  3. Ryan says:

    That’s not what I’m saying at all… views of segregation and religious views are two different things.

    I said something very specific… if Mr. Crawford fundamentally believes everything he said as part of his religious views, who are you, or me, or anyone to judge them?

    The way I see it, as long as one does not use their religion to advocate physical violence against someone, they should be free to express those views. That’s an essential right that we have in this country, and it distresses me a bit that simply because you don’t agree with his views, you’re quick to demonize them. That’s like me saying that muslims who feel that I’m an “infidel” aren’t entitled to their opinion. Clearly they are, and unless they advocate violence based on this view, who am I to judge them?

    Of course, this isn’t directed toward anything you’ve written, but rather all the “enlightened” folks who wrote LTEs this week… they claim to be inclusive of everyone, but are they? I would argue that they’re not, they simply want to promote a society that makes everyone feel good about themselves, even if that means marginalizing people with different views.

  4. Matt says:

    Of course, this isn’t directed toward anything you’ve written, but rather all the “enlightened” folks who wrote LTEs this week

    I’m glad you noticed Ryan… I can’t publicly respond to letters to the editor or guest columns, remember?

    Many of my friends (mostly those not from North Carolina) asked me how in the world The Carolinian allowed this “hate speech” to be printed. Some even asked me if I could sue Mr. Crawford. You would have been proud of my reponse: Mr. Crawford is protected under those all-important Freedom of Speech, Press and Religion clauses of our Constitution.

    Mr. Crawford has every right to speak his mind, but that does not preclude others rights to speak out and try to offer opposing views which serve to educate others. Those who wrote letters to the editor and guest columns have simply done what they feel they need to do in order for their opposing voice to be heard.

    However, Mr. Crawford’s views, as revealed to me in the comment thread of this post, are the very same views which are used when people want to keep LGBT people from receiving equal rights under the law.

    As for your statement: “views of segregation and religious views are two different things.” Religious views, many times throughout history and even in recent history, are THE views which were used to keep equality from other people.

  5. Samantha says:

    I think Jason has the right to his opinion, but I also feel that I have that right as well and that’s why I did so. I am inclusive of all opinions and people. One of my best friends does not agree with homosexuality, and that’s something we had to overcome, but you know what, she loves me for me.

    Jason and I are going to fundamentally disagree about what if gay people are going to hell or not or if Matt and I deserve our rights. Like I said I don’t think I could change his beliefs, but I wanted to open and broaden his mind (see gay people and their friends as people, besides us a group of people whose identity is just our sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, we are much more complex than that).

    From reading his column I feel Jason wouldn’t want anything to do with a gay person, particularly one who is fighting for his or her rights. That’s why I put particularly, I do not think Jason sees as human. Now I do not know what gay people he has meet in his life (because we all have), but I’d hope he’d give me the same respect that I would give him.

  6. Dan says:

    “From reading his column I feel Jason wouldn’t want anything to do with a gay person”

    I disagree with this comment, if Jason didn’t want anything to do with Gay people, I don’t think he would publish something like this that was bound to be noticed be alot of Gay people.

    You must understand where Jason and I are coming from. (Whether you agree or not) We see gay people (as described in the Bible) as transgressors and sinners who just like unbelievers need to come to know Jesus and cease in thier sinful ways.

    This is why we do what we do. You see this as discriminating and denying you rights, but we are just trying to help! Alot of the people on my side do not always do this the right way and yes even I forget to love homosexuals too. But even so, what comes off as hate to you may just be an attempt at love from us! (if that makes any sense)

  7. Matt says:

    Dan… thanks for your comments.

    As I’m sure you’ve already noticed, I’m participating as a Rider in the Soulforce Equality Ride (official site: equalityride.com).

    The Ride’s parent organization has a credo… a creed. One part of the credo is as follows: I believe that my adversary’s motives are as pure as mine and of no relevance to our discussion. You can read the entire credo here.

    I admit… that portion of the credo is one easily forgotten. We are all human… even us activists. But really… when you think about it… it’s true. Dan, your comments prove that. You and Mr. Crawford are truly coming from a point that you believe is love.

    The thing that I try to do and many other activists try to do is try to point out that true love is one that accepts others for you they are. It is our struggle that we must deal with in slowly proving that, as gay people, we are not sinners and we are not “transgressors.” It is an unfair burden, yes, but it is our burden: We are not sinners… we are human, just like you and our love is no different from yours except for the gender our love is directed to.

    It is a long battle, but it is one that LGBT people will win because we have truth on our side. Being gay is not sinful. It is not a trangression. It is not a sickness. It is not a choice. It is a hard thing to know that many people see us this way, but we are not. One day people will look back and say, “What were we thinging? God, forgive us for excluding and treating your children so badly.”

  8. Dan says:

    So I suppose that is the really question then isn’t it?

    Is homosexuality wrong???

    You will say no, I’ll say yes, but where is the Biblical foundation for either of our claims??

  9. Matt says:

    Dan… is slavery wrong? 150 years ago some people said the Bible permitted it, others said the Bible condemned it.

    Using the Bible to classify groups of people as who they are (black, white, gay, straight, male, female, disabled, not disabled, mentally ill, sane, etc.) as wrong or sick or sinful has been proven to be wrong over and over and over again throughout history.

    Everytime the Bible has been used to condemn groups of people, the church has had to apologize.

    Really, now, Dan… Let’s think clearly about this some more. The truth is right here, clear for all of us to see.

  10. Sarah says:

    “Really, now, Dan… Let’s think clearly about this some more. The truth is right here, clear for all of us to see. ”

    i’m going to have to argue with you here, Matt.

    i am, like Ryan was, playing devil’s advocate here, but why is it the “truth” just because that’s what you believe it is?

    You’re doing the exact same thing that Jason was doing. You’re saying you’re right, and that’s it. Everyone who disagrees is wrong.

    He feels the same way. Does that make YOU wrong?

    It’s a catch-22, really.

    That’s the reason my column was aimed more at the hypocrisy (did i spell that right?) and immaturity of his column rather than the message that he had. i don’t have a personal belief in the issue, but i can see where both sides are coming from.

    No one really knows, and to say that someone is just missing the clear truth is kind of self-righteous.

  11. Matt says:

    No, Sarah… Saying I have the truth in this instance is not the same as what Mr. Crawford was doing.

    Mr. Crawford proclaimed to have the “truth” about other people… people he doesn’t know and he uses his “truth” to strip away the humanity and inherently in-born, God-given dignity and worth of ME.

    I, on the other hand, am proclaiming the “truth” that I am, whether gay or straight, a full and complete human being. I am not sick, I am not sinful… just because I am gay. I know that the “truth” is that I have an inherently in-born, God-given dignity and worth as a Child of God… gay or straight. I am proclaiming truth about myself. Just as Mr. Crawford’s feelings toward people of the opposite sex are inherently in-born and God-given and natural to him, I am proclaiming that the same feelings I have, although for the same-sex, are just as valid, just as human and just as equal to his.

    There is a difference between what I was saying and what Mr. Crawford was saying. It is one thing to proclaim “truth” about oneself and one’s own person and being and a completely different thing to pretend that you know and that you have the ability to proclaim “truth” about the very person and being of another.

  12. Dan says:

    To classify groups of people by the Bible
    may not be the answer, but to find out whether being gay (not gay people) is sinful.

    Here is a thought…. The Bible tells us that being tempted to sin is not a sin. A sin is when you act on your temptations. Maybe the actually sense of liking the same sex is not a sin, but when you act on it and start a relationship on that feeling it is a sin.

    “I am, whether gay or straight, a full and complete human being. I am not sick, I am not sinful… just because I am gay.” -Matt

    If you are human then you have sinned and are sinful. You may be gay and sinful.

    The question is- Is being Gay sinful?

  13. Dan says:

    “Using the Bible to classify groups of people as who they are (black, white, gay, straight, male, female, disabled, not disabled, mentally ill, sane, etc.) as wrong or sick or sinful has been proven to be wrong over and over and over again throughout history.”-Matt

    Matt, couldn’t the same thing be said about liars?

    “To classify liars as wrong or sick by the Bible would be wrong”

    See how funny that sounds? The Bible clearly tells us that lying is wrong!

  14. Matt says:

    Dan said: Matt, couldn’t the same thing be said about liars?

    Lying is a sin because it hurts another human being or yourself.

    Sins are sins because they are harmful to other people or yourself.

    Loving another person, no matter the gender, and committing yourself to another person, no matter the gender, does not hurt you and does not hurt any other person.

    Please don’t compare my love for another human being to acts which are intentionally harmful to other people.

    Please don’t compare lying to what people are as people, as they are born (i.e. black, white, gay, straight, male, female, etc). Lying is an action willingly and intentionally committed, usually to the detriment of other people. Loving is natural and hurts no one.

  15. Dan says:

    Answers.com depicts “sin” as:
    “Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God”

    It is true that sins may harm others, but don’t sins also harm God? Yes. What we really ought to do is find out if homosexuality harms God!

  16. Matt says:

    You know, Dan, I’ve noticed that whenever I make a point that really can’t be argued against you always turn to some statement about God, in fact a statement I find ludicrous. You know very well that the great majority of sins are sins becuase they hurt other people. That is why they are sins, because we are called to love one another, not hurt each other.

    Yeah… You couldn’t find a way around my “don’t compare love to lying” statement could you?

  17. Dan says:

    Do you know what my point is? You keep suggesting that we can find out what is right and wrong according to how we see it and how it affects us. Although alot of sins hurt others maybe that is not the only criteria. Back in Romans people were disputing whether they were alowed to eat meat offered to idols. Paul makes it clear that it was fine but if it hurts the weaker brother and makes him stumble then you should not eat the meat around them. Now I’m not suggesting that homosexuality is ok and it is I who doesn’t understand this, but it could go both ways.

    If it is okay to do something that could hurt some one, why wouldn’t it be wrong to do something that doesn’t hurt anyone? (except God perhaps)

    Also, you made a valid point on the love-lying thing. (assuming you are born gay)

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