Sunday, April 20, 2014
OPINION: BILL NEMITZ COLUMN
Michael Heath is back. And Lord have mercy, he's one angry preacher.
"I hate this issue. I hate everything about it. There is nothing good that comes from talking about it," wrote Heath in a recent blog posting about this fall's statewide referendum on same-sex marriage.
But talk about it Heath must. What's more, he warns, "I don't want you near me unless you are prepared to sacrifice."
(Run for your lives, fatted calves. The man means every word he says.)
Heath, as most Mainers will remember, served for two decades as executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine before resigning in 2009 because, as he puts it, friends and supporters told him "(I) lost my momentum."
Since then, he's traveled to Tanzania to do missionary work. He's worked for Ron Paul's presidential campaign in Iowa. He's launched what he calls the Helping Hands Ministry.
Now back home in Waterville, he's using his blog to bludgeon his way back into a debate that has long since moved on without him.
With polls everywhere indicating rapid and significant migration toward acceptance of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people, the question now is whether they should be allowed to obtain marriage licenses -- not whether they should burn in hell for, as Heath puts it, "us(ing) the sexual instinct in humanity for their own ends."
Maine, of course, has heard all that before from Heath. This time, however, he vents his wrath not just on homosexuals, but on anyone and anything that detracts from what he proudly calls this "dirty, nasty fight."
He even has a problem with hair dryers -- and fair warning, this is where it all gets a little weird.
In his blog posting, titled "Shameful: Some history of our movement," Heath recalls how he took over the Christian Civic League of Maine right around the time Focus on the Family's national campaign was percolating down to the state level.
That was a problem for Heath, who felt steady pressure from Focus on the Family to go easy on the league's "Christian identity" and adopt a "more secular, wonkish image."
It was, Heath now claims, "a womanish attempt to gain the respect of another."
Meaning ... what?
"The old League was patriarchal," writes Heath. "The new League -- the one I led -- is womanish. That's why I had to do the blow dried hair and suit look."
Still confused? Me too -- which is why I shot Heath an email this week asking, "Do you consider it 'womanish' for a man to blow dry his hair?"
"NO," he responded in all capital letters. "I CONSIDER IT 'WOMANISH' FOR A COLUMNIST TO BE SO NUMB."
All righty, then. Back to the same-sex marriage fight.
Heath, who along with longtime ally Paul Madore of Lewiston recently launched a political action committee called Protect Marriage Maine, goes on to write that "man didn't put me at the League. Jesus Christ put me there." Thus it's Heath's fault, he confesses, "that Maine experienced twenty years of evenly split statewide voting on sodomy."
"I never should have put on the suit and blow dried my hair," he writes. "I never should have tried to use my image, and the image of those around me, to win the battle. I always should have trusted God more than I did."
Now God apparently has told him to take off the gloves and return to what Heath calls "the bleeding edge of the 'gay' fight" in Maine.
Much as he still reviles gays and lesbians, Heath appears particularly piqued with his old Christian Civic League. Now under the direction of Carroll Conley, the league has joined forces with the National Organization for Marriage to cast this fall's same-sex marriage referendum more as a threat to society and less as open season on homosexual "sinners."
(Continued on page 2)