Hundreds of Vallejo, California residents turned out yesterday to protest (and support) the mayor’s recent comments that his was a “city of God” and that gay people don’t go to heaven.
The protesters waved rainbow flags, held signs demanding the separation of church and state and some called for Davis’ resignation. And then there was a roar. From inside City Hall came the sounds of more than 100 people clapping and cheering, praising God. “Lord, we’re not against anybody. We’re for our children,” prayed New Hope Church Community Senior Pastor Terrence Nichols. “No matter what outside forces may stir up the pot, it is the inside residents who will work together to bring solutions to Vallejo. Thank you God for the peace of this city.”
The city has been anything but peaceful, however, since a New York Times column on Nov. 20, quoted Davis as saying of gay people, “They’re committing sin and that sin will keep them out of heaven. … But you don’t hate the person. You hate the sin that they commit.” Davis later apologized for offending anyone, said his remarks were taken out of context, but did not expand on his religious beliefs. Shortly before the protest began, the New York Times released an audio version of the interview on its website that expanded on Davis’ remarks. In the interview Davis said that as a Christian he disagrees with homosexuality, but “loves” and “prays” for gays to see the “error in their ways.” He also says that he has “very close friends” who are gay, and cited Council member Michael Wilson as one of them.
In response to Davis’ claims that his bigotry was taken out of context, the New York Times took the unusual step of posting an audio clip of Davis’ exact words.