Earlier this week, a Texas House committee held a hearing on a so-called religious freedom bill that purportedly aims to prevent pastors from being forced to perform same-sex marriages.
Critics of the bill say it's written so broadly that it could allow any religiously affiliated organization — from hospitals and universities to homeless shelters — to discriminate against gay couples.
Most of those who testified in support of the bill were pastors brought in by the anti-LGBT Texas Pastor Council. But then there was also Jason Vaughn (shown above left, with Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton), who told the committee he's gay but supports the bill.
Here's part of Vaughn's testimony, from a transcript he later posted on a Texas GOP website:
"I stand before you as a gay man in support of this bill, but the truth is that my sexuality shouldn't matter. Nor should anything else other than the fact that I'm a proud Texan with inalienable rights.
"Inalienable rights to live my life as I wish as long as I do not hinder the rights of others. That's what the gay rights movement has been about, at least until recently. Now it seems that folks are more interested in forcing others to take part in our lives. The actions of my community that have too often made up the news cycle are nothing more than hypocrisy. To say that we want the right to live as we wish while harassing companies like Chick-Fil-A, attacking Brendan Eich in California until he could not work, and even demanding that HGTV fire the Benham Brothers for their views on abortion and gay marriage is beyond the pale. ...
"I'm sickened that we are at the point that pastors feel the need for this bill, but I urge you to support it."
One member of the committee, GOP Rep. Patricia Harless, asked Vaughn whether he agreed with one of the pastors who testified that disagreement is not the same as hatred or discrimination.
“I have friends from Jonathan Saenz to a gay communist stripper," Vaughn responded, referring to the leader of the anti-LGBT hate group Texas Values.
Vaughn's line got a lot of laughs, and his testimony was apparently persuasive in the mind of at least one legislator. However, it was predicated on a complete lie.
As Vaughn himself admitted in another post on the same website earlier this month, he's not really gay. Rather, he's a self-described "celibate Christian homosexual" — which apparently is just another term for "ex-gay." From Vaughn's post titled, "As a Gay Man, The Hypocrisy of the LGBT Community Really Ticks Me Off":
For those that don’t know me, my name is Jason Vaughn and I am a celibate Christian homosexual. I don’t really know how to describe it as some say I shouldn’t associate myself as a gay man. I use it that way instead of “reformed homosexual” or “former homosexual” because I want to be clear that it is still a temptation I have to fight regularly and one I have failed at many times. ...
Since coming out [as ex-gay] I’ve made a lot of friends that are either openly gay, secretly tempted with same sex attraction, or fighting for celibacy like me. Several young people have come to me and asked for advice on dealing with this. It’s not easy. I’m still tempted with same sex attraction and probably always will be. It doesn't get easier and the last year has been the hardest and most confusing. I’ve made plenty of mistakes sexually. I just continue to look to Christ daily and trust Him to keep me.
OK, here's the deal: If you want to futily attempt to repress your sexuality because you hate yourself, that's your call. But you don't get to ruin it for the rest of us by holding yourself out publicly as a member of the LGBT community.
Given that Vaughn is living a lie, it isn't terribly surprising that he has no qualms about deceiving lawmakers into thinking he's an openly gay man. Wait, isn't there something in the Bible about bearing false witness?