The right-wing blogosphere is going slowly batty over the plight of Pastor Jack Hakimian of Miami's Impact Miami Church. Impact is a sort of theologically generic Protestant outfit, where Hakimian, a former gang member, is given to saying things like:
… there is an aggressive approach by … gay theologians that says the Bible never spoke about homosexuality in a way that contemporary Christians understand it. It’s all over — it’s on YouTube, its on CNN, and its on 60 Minutes. They are not just saying, ‘accept us’ — and I believe we should protect, and not bully, and treat all people with dignity and respect. But they are going beyond and above to change the very meaning of Scripture.
No one thus far has questioned Pastor Hakimian's right to say such things. However, Impact is currently located on property rented to the church by the Miami-Dade School District — located, in fact, on the campus of North Miami High School — and the school district now plans to evict them. From the appalling rag called New American:
… the school district’s superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, responded to the sermons with a statement that Hakimian’s take on homosexuality “appears to be contrary to school board policy as well as the basic principles of humanity.” Carvalho told ABC television news affiliate local10.com that he had asked “for immediate legal review to seek the termination” of the church’s lease contract with the school district. “I am making this decision not on the basis of policy or politics, but as a rejection of prejudice and intolerance,” claimed Carvalho.
A spokesman for the district followed up Carvalho’s comments, saying that the school board and superintendent had reviewed the “allegations” against the pastor and found his words “disturbing and appalling."
Liberty Counsel's gotten involved, writing the district a letter opining that eviction would constitute a breach of Impact's 1st Amendment rights:
The nondiscrimination and antibullying policies of the Miami-Dade School Board are not applicable to the situation at hand. Pastor Hakimian and the church have violated no law or policy. The district cannot discriminate on the basis of his Biblically sound viewpoint. Any attempt by the school board to modify, change, or revoke the lease agreement would be unconstitutional.
“The district must respect the First Amendment rights of Pastor Hakimian and the church,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Pastor Hakimian, who seems to have excellent PR instincts, has turned Carvahlo's charges on their head, claiming that he, Hakimian, is the victim of intolerance and bullying, and publicly demanding an apology. See him do it AFTER THE JUMP (and note his fascinating pronunciation of the word "tyranny") …