If you’re an anti-gay pastor watcher like me, you’re well aware that San Diego area radical clerics Miles McPherson and Jim Garlow relish both the spotlight and the media attention that comes hand-in-hand with being two of California’s better known anti-LGBT advocates.

When he’s not mentoring young Christians like former beauty queen turned soft-porn celebrity Carrie Prejean, Pastor McPherson of San Diego’s Rock Church is happy to take the stage to preach against LGBT rights, as he did in November 2008 at TheCall ‚Äî an anti-marriage-equality extravaganza held at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego shortly before the 2008 election. McPherson, according to Jeremy Hooper, writing at the Good As You blog, claimed “he and his followers are not ‘freaks’ who hate gays. They are really exterminators called upon to rid the world of satanic roaches.”

Pastor Jim Garlow also participated in TheCall. Veteran journalist, editor and blogger Karen Ocamb, writing at AlterNet, addressed Garlow’s enthusiastic participation:

“This is not political to us. We see it as very spiritual,” Jim Garlow, pastor of the evangelical Skyline Church in San Diego County, told AP. Garlow is part of a nationwide 40 days of prayer, fasting and intensive mobilization of “God’s Army,” leading up to a Nov. 1 rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium of 10,000 “young pioneers” supporting passage of Prop. 8. A video on TheCall’s Web site promoting the Qualcomm rally calls the Prop. 8 battle a war between Darkness versus Light.

This past November, in the wake of the passage of The Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Pastor Garlow traveled to Washington, DC to preach against homosexuality in what the organizers dubbed a Rally for Religious Freedom. The event’s organizers provide this description:

The Rally for Religious Freedom is meant to raise alarm over the nation’s new Federal “hate crimes” law just passed by Congress and signed last month by President Obama. The intention of the rally is to assert the freedom of speech of ministers and Christians in general to declare biblical truth in the public square. The Rally will also expose the unconstitutional nature of the hate law.

Ministers from various denominations will preach from the Bible, especially those parts that speak to the sin of homosexuality. This will serve to reassure ministers and Christians that they are free to do the same.

Pastor Jim Garlow was also one of the initial signatories of The Manhattan Declaration. Described by some as a “Declaration of War on full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans,” the signers, including Garlow, loudly, publicly and in no uncertain terms vowed civil disobedience if their theocratic demands were not met.

Avoiding the harsh glare of public disclosure:

Curiously, both San Diego pastors were subpoenaed to testify at the Perry v Schwarzenegger federal trial, also known as the Olson-Boies trial, on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which was backed, endorsed and aggressively promoted by both pastors and which eliminated the existing right of gay and lesbian Californians to marry.

Both Pastor Jim Garlow and Pastor Miles McPherson, through their legal representation — Brian R Chavez-Ochoa of Chavez-Ochoa Law Offices, Inc. — have filed motions to quash their subpoenas to avoid testifying in public. What follows is is the gist of their arguments against publicly continuing their anti-LGBT and anti-marriage-equality ministries before Judge Vaughn Walker in a court of law.

Pastor Miles McPherson:

Here, from the court filings, is Pastor Miles McPherson explaining, in his own words, why he should not be compelled to testify in public despite his deeply held convictions about marriage equality:

I, Miles McPherson, hereby declare and make this declaration out of my own personal knowledge and if called upon to testify to the contents herein I could and would do so competently

1. We preached at our church – The Rock Church – marriage and issues surrounding Proposition 8.

2. We organized supporters of Proposition 8 based upon our belief in traditional marriage; which happens to contradict same sex marriage and other forms of marriage, other than one man and one woman.

3. My church and I have nothing but love for homosexuals and lesbians, but we reserve the right to disagree with those we love.

4. I am concerned about the precedent that this subpoena sets for all those who wish to speak out about their beliefs.

5. Because of my preaching on Proposition 8, 1 have received hundreds of e-mails threatening me and expressing hate towards me and my church.

I hereby declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States and the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 7th day of January, 2010, at San Diego, California, County of San Diego.

MILES MCPHERSON

Pastor Miles McPherson’s motion to quash his subpoena can be found in the PDF file at this link.

Pastor Jim Garlow:

Here, from the court filings, is Pastor Jim Garlow explaining, in his own words, why he should not be compelled to testify in public despite his deeply held convictions about marriage equality:

I, James L. Garlow, hereby declare and make this declaration out of my own personal knowledge and if called upon to testify to the contents herein I could and would do so competently.

1. I teach weekly from the Bible, including passages that deal with the topic of marriage

2. I pastor a church called Skyline Wesleyan Church, a 55 year old church which is part of Wesleyan Church, a denomination founded in 1843. This was the only denomination that was formed out of a biblically founded social activism committed to radical abolitionism, thus honoring the scriptural mandate to free all African Americans from slavery. In addition, this was one of the very few denomination which from its founding championed women’s rights. The first meeting to launch the women’s suffrage cause was held in a Wesleyan Church in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. The purpose for stating the above is that my denomination is historically preconditioned to merge biblical and moral teaching with community and societal activism, and has been for 167 years. Such beliefs and actions are permitted and protected within the scope of the First Amendment.

2. While historic, orthodox Christianity has affirmed that marriage consists of one man and one woman for two millennia, the Judeo-Christian heritage has historically defined marriage as one man joined to one woman for 5,000 years. The pre-historic book of Genesis establishes the foundation for the mate-female marriage. What I taught regarding marriage was within that elongated historic framework and theological heritage, a right granted by the U.S. Constitution.

3. I encouraged other pastors to support Proposition 8, based on (a) the biblical definition of marriage, and (2) social science sources deemed by me to be credible which cite the inherent societal value of one man-one woman marriage, and (3) the constitutionally guaranteed right to speak and vote one’s personal convictions.

4. I, and the people in the church I pastor, have a deep, authentic and profound love for homosexuals. While affirming all persons, we reserve the right not to endorse all behavior. All persons – heterosexual or homosexual – are loved in our church.

5. During the Proposition 8 campaign, pastors were threatened and pro-Proposition 8 churches were vandalized across California. I, my pastoral staff and my family received many vitriolic and viscous [sic] emails and phone calls, designed to harass and intimidate.

6. The subpoena I received – considering that both the visibility and intensity of the trial has been heightened by being televised – sets a most dangerous precedent, with a (presumably unintended) consequence of attempting to muzzle and silence persons from exercising their First Amendment rights, at best. At worst. testifying at this trial places me, my family and my church at further risks of harm done by anti-Proposition 8 persons.

7. 1 did not write the Prop 8 legislation. I am not a legal party to this case.

I hereby declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States and the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 8th day of January, 2010, at El Cajon, California, County of San Diego.

JAMES L. GARLOW

Pastor Jim Garlow’s motion to quash his subpoena can be found in the PDF file at this link.

The real Prop 8 violence:

If Miles McPherson and Jim Garlow are so proud of their anti-gay ministries, why are both gentlemen so reluctant to testify under oath? The myth of persecution is a lie perpetuated by their comrades among the radical religious right. It has no basis in fact. The real persecution and violence has been perpetrated against California’s LGBT citizens:

[ Cross-posted from Mike Tidmus - A blog from San Diego ]