A Sioux City, Iowa, pastor who has been lobbying for the removal of a recently appointed gay activist member of that city's Human Rights Commission, who told him he deserved to "burn in hell" with his family for opposing homosexuality, has accepted an apology from the commissioner, but he still wants him to go.
Last month, the Rev. Cary Gordon, executive pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach church, said new Sioux City Human Rights Commission member Scott Raasch, 49, sent him threatening emails after he launched a successful campaign in 2010 that removed three Iowa state Supreme Court justices over a ruling that legalized gay marriage.
"I made a stupid, emotional comment that in no way was meant as a physical threat but since you don't know me, if you took it that way I want to once again apologize if I caused your family any unintentional stress," wrote Raasch in the apology published in the Sioux City Journal.
In the 2010 emails sent during the Christmas holidays, Raasch told Gordon: "You are a joke and your "church" is our version of Westboro Baptist. You are haters and bigots and you will get what's coming to you sooner or later. I hope you rot in hell."
He later aimed his vitriol at Gordon's entire family when the pastor tried telling him about Jesus and repentance.
"I know Christ and don't need a snake oil salesman like you to tell me about him. I guess that's the difference between us because I think there are many people that deserve to burn in hell ... including you and your entire family," Raasch wrote.
"The sooner the better for our community! Now be a good little bigot and go break some more laws now so you can get more attention for your snake oil show," he added.
In his one-page apology sent on July 25, 2013, however, Raasch admitted that his comments were "unchristian" and "childish" and maintained that he would hold no bias against the religious community in his role on the Human Rights Commission.
"Regardless of the fact that we seem to disagree on why I contacted you in December of 2010, that in no way excuses the tone of my conversation with you in a private message on Facebook. It was childish and certainly un-Christian," wrote Raasch.
"As I have stated to the city council, although we disagree on many issues, I hold no bias against religious people generally or against members of Cornerstone, and would stand up to protect their legal rights the same as any other protected class," he added.
While noting that he did not request an apology from Raasch, Gordon accepted the commissioner's apology, but detailed in a four-page reply why he should excuse himself from serving on the Human Rights Commission.
"As a commissioner, you are expected to defend me against anti-religious discrimination," Gordon wrote in his reply. "How on earth could anyone be expected to believe that is possible until you have brought forth 'visible evidence of your alleged inward sorrow?'"
"Why not do the honorable thing and tender your resignation to the council so that no one in our community has to worry about whether or not you are out to get them with power?" Gordon asked.
"I told you then, and I tell you now that I sincerely hope you will repent of your sins and come to Christ," he added.
He also gives examples of angry attacks from anonymous gays and gay advocates on his church in recent weeks for his defense of traditional marriage.
"Cary – go f**k yourself. Marriage belongs to all. No special rights for heterosexuals; no special rights for religionists. Equality for everyone. Per the Constitution. Fair minded Americans will not tolerate your version of sharia, you 'christian' talibanic a**hole. Love, a gay atheist," noted one missive share by the pastor.
Gordon told the Sioux City Journal last Thursday that Raasch disagrees with thousands of Sioux City Christians who oppose gay marriage.
"If he refuses to resign, it demonstrates a true lack of remorse, and the council should remove him," Gordon said.
Under state law, the council could do so, but it hasn't had an opportunity to vote on the issue since it came up. The next opportunity to vote would be at the council's the Aug. 12 meeting. The council members are divided on whether Raasch should go or stay.