A Springfield pastor’s comments from a City Council meeting in August have gone viral, bringing a city debate over gay rights to the national stage.
Recorded during the City Council meeting Aug. 13, the comments by Rev. Phil Snider were posted to YouTube.com on Aug. 20. The video received a relatively scant number of views initially, but took off Friday when it was shared by online news agencies and former Star Trek actor George Takei.
As of Monday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 2.4 million times.
Snider, the pastor of Brentwood Christian Church, was one of more than 60 people to speak during a three-hour public hearing on a proposed ordinance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance.
Initially, he appeared to oppose the ordinance, which would have made it illegal for businesses and landlords to discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender employees, customers and tenants.
“Any accurate reading of the Bible should make it clear that gay rights goes against the plain truth of the word of God ...,” Snider said. “It’s not that we don’t care about homosexuals, but it’s that our rights will be taken away and un-Christian views will be forced on us and our children for we will be forced to go against our personal morals.”
The speech went on, with Snider asserting that “(t)he right of segregation is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.” Then came a twist.
“I’m sorry, I brought the wrong notes with me this evening,” Snider said. “I borrowed my argument from the wrong century. It turns out, what I have been reading to you this whole time are direct quotes from white preachers in the 1950s and the 1960s, all in support of racial segregation.