[Michael] Marcavage never uses slurs to describe homosexuals; rather, he turns the word homosexual itself into a slur, using it as a sort of branding. He is a deliberate speaker, careful as any politician. But if he is diplomatic with his words, he uses them to advance a militant agenda.
"According to the Scriptures, it’s the government’s job to enforce God’s law and to uphold his law, and the Bible talks about how, I don’t want to really get into this — it’ll make me sound like I’m crazy — but it does talk about how [homosexuals] are to be put to death. The wages of sin is death. But I want to make [it] clear that I’m not advocating the [independent] killing of homosexuals. … I’m saying that the government’s duty is to uphold God’s law. … I know that’s harsh, but we have all broken the law, God’s law, and we need to be held accountable."
Heterosexual college roommate Damany Higgs remembers Marcavage damning him to hell for tolerating gay people, and objecting to Higgs walking around the room naked.
Of George W. Bush, Marcavage says. "He was the first Republican president ever to appoint a homosexual to office. … There are people representing the U.S. in Romania sodomizing each other."
Kevin Lee, an openly gay councilman from Lansdowne, Pa., says Marcavage has:
- attacked him verbally and posted his telephone number on Repent America’s Web site, precipitating death threats
- picketed and bull-horned an Arbor Day event attended by Gov. Ed Rendell, and the opening or groundbreaking of a retirement housing facility where Marcavage objected to the politics of an affiliated minister
- harassed a child regarding abortion at a private residence that had been visited by Sen. John Kerry
To councilman Lee,
Marcavage is a huckster whose "whole goal in life is to get in front of the media and get arrested." Lee suggests that Marcavage is a paid agent of the American Family Association, a conservative Christian organization, which pays him to get in legal trouble so that the AFA can raise money to defend him. Marcavage and Brian Fahling of the AFA both say this is false, though the organization does provide the street preacher with free legal counsel. (When you visit the AFA’s Web site, the "Philadelphia Four" are plastered all over the place, and if you click on a link to donate for the cause, you are led directly to a nonspecific AFA donation page. Fahling says the AFA does use cases like Marcavage’s for fund raising).
Footnote: Christianity Today provides a Feb. 8 update on the criminal case against Marcavage. The story is weighted, perhaps predictably, in favor of Marcavage.