Gay Bar Massacres Then and Now

Pastor Anderson's Blog

June 29, 2016

In 1973, someone knocked on the door of a gay bar in New Orleans and lit a trail of lighter fluid on fire, killing 32 patrons. This arson was barely investigated and many people refused to identify or bury the victims. Families were embarrassed and homosexuals were afraid of losing their jobs if they admitted to knowing anyone in that bar. Radio hosts made light of the situation, and public officials remained silent. At least three bodies were never claimed. The following is a quote from this New York Time’s article:

“Churches refused to bury the victims’ remains. Their deaths were mostly ignored and sometimes mocked by politicians and the media. No one was ever charged. A joke made the rounds in workplaces and was repeated on the radio: ‘Where will they bury the queers? In fruit jars!’”

The same article refers to the early 1970s as “a time of pernicious anti-gay stigma.” You see, back then more Sodomites were in the closet, and those that came out were usually disowned by their families.

No, the killer wasn’t motivated by some fundamentalist Christian preaching hard against sin. The primary suspect was a homo who had been kicked out of the bar earlier that day. Just like with Orlando, it was a case of one wicked murderer killing other evil people.

Among the charred remains found at the “UpStairs Lounge” was the body of a Sodomite minister. He was the pastor of a community church that was notorious for welcoming homosexuals. Even though this man pastored what was probably the most liberal church in town, he had not come out to his family as a homo. When his mother found out what had happened and realized what he was, she refused to accept his remains.

Just like after the Orlando attack, hate mail was sent to a church--but to a different kind of church and for a different reason. People were furious with an Episcopal bishop for holding a memorial service for the victims. A Unitarian church and a Methodist church also had services, and mourners had to be ushered in through a back door. Are you noticing the stark contrast from the way things are today? Apparently, mourning Sodomites was not in vogue in 1973.

“For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” Ephesians 5:12

Here is a sermon to go along with this article.

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