Yvonne Moore Sued Her Church For Performing “Disgusting” Gay Marriage, Which is Crazy

Have you heard about the lady who tried to sue her church for performing gay marriages? While she later dropped the charges, Yvonne Moore became “pissed off” when she heard that her pastors, husband/wife team Dennis and Christine Wiley, would be marrying a lesbian couple.

Sidenote: If, like me, you thought $250,000 sounded like an awful lot of money to have given to her church, just remember that the typical amount to tithe is 10%. $250,000 over 37 years means that her yearly income was about $68,000–totally doable. Also, that’s a ton of money.

Moore attended the wedding and reported that it was “totally disgusting” which is weird because that’s exactly what I thought about what she had to say. You should probably check out CNN’s coverage of it because a) this woman talks complete nonsense and b) Toni and Sandrene, the couple who were married, are totally cute/the opposite of disgusting.

While it’s easy to demonize Yvonne Moore (who “That’s Gay” calls the nation’s worst church lady), her beliefs are obviously not uniquely hers. The pastors said they lost half their congregation after the wedding but remain committed to their vision of inclusion. They say they see the fight for gay rights as a “natural extension of the Black civil rights movement.” And while we feel that gay rights movement and the civil rights movement aren’t the same thing and shouldn’t be conflated, it’s fantastic to see a church pushing for acceptance.

Here’s that ‘That’s Gay’ episode we mentioned:

Yvonne Moore represents many others who have “traditional” beliefs that they aren’t willing to question, even when someone as influential as their pastor points out that holding on to them is hypocritical and probably wrong. Moore’s pastor told her, “you can not just read a Bible and think that somehow you have now mastered the word of God,” but there are still countless Christians who refuse to look at their holy book in its historical context.

Just in case you didn’t have the privilege to be dragged to a Baptist church like I was, let’s get a few things straight with:

A Brief Primer to Biblical Mentions of Homosexuality

With a little help from my friends at Religious Tolerance and For The Bible Tells Me So. Have you seen that movie yet? It’s great, it really really is.

Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 19

What happens here? Well, first two angels come to Sodom and Lot invites them to stay with his family so that they don’t have to spend the night in the street. They’re all “no, it’s fine” but Lot’s such a nice guy that he takes them in and bakes them bread without yeast and tucks them in and tells them bedtime stories. A little later, all the men from the city come banging at Lot’s door and tell him to send the men out so that they can have sex with them but niceguy Lot says no and tells them that he’s got two sexy virginal daughters that they can have their way with instead. Then God smites the city for being evil.

Lots (Ha!) of people think that this story means that being gay is bad. Maybe what it really means is that God just doesn’t like people raping strangers for fun.

The Holiness code: Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

You know the deal here:

“You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.” “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

Also no pork, no tattoos, and no Harry Potter.

Leviticus is a book about holiness which really just means it’s a list of things that sets Jews apart from non-Jews. Holiness is about marking yourself and your things as separate from the culture that surrounds you. Did you cut your hair short when you first came out and wanted everyone else to know you were gaygaygay? It’s alright, I did too. It’s kind of like that, only with things like not mixing seeds in fields or fibers in cloths and not rainbow bracelets.

So why is it so important to keep things separate? Because pagans mix things. You can’t combine linen and cotton because pagans combine linen and cotton and you are not a pagan, you are a Jew and you do Jewish things. All these rules were part of God’s covenant with the Jews and so breaking rules was like breaking a promise to God. According to the New Testament, when Jesus came, he made a new covenant with God’s people that rendered all the old laws void and null. What I’m trying to say is: these guys shouldn’t even be brought into the discussion.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

So if the bits from the Old Testament are meaningless to Christians, why do they keep hating on the gays? Well, there are a few letters from Paul in the New Testament that look like they’re condemning homosexuality.

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

But wait! Can we just talk about translation for a second? The Bible been translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic into Latin into Middle English into modern English. There’s an alphabet soup of modern English translations including the NIV, NRSV, KJV, WGCIB, ASV, KJV2000 (coming soon to a gaming system near you), and BBE. In all that translation, something’s bound to get lost, right? Especially when it comes to something that didn’t even have a name until the 19th century. Homosexuality wasn’t a thing until we decided to start dividing people up by the subject of their sexual attraction. Before homosexuality and heterosexuality were socially constructed, being a man who liked to have sex with other men was on par with having a hair fetish, it was something you did, not something you were.

So. There are two main Greek words that usually pop up in earlier translations of the passages that are cited.

Numero uno: “arsenkoitai”
Literal translation: males who go to bed
New Revised Standard Version translation: male prostitute [inferred meaning: who has sex with other men]
Why?: Lord knows. Actually he probably doesn’t because–contrary to popular belief–he didn’t write the Bible. It’s worth noting that in Martin Luther’s time, this word was translated as “masturbator,” but since we’re a little more down with that now, someone changed the meaning.

Numero dos: “malakoi”
Literal Translation: morally soft
KJV translation: effeminate
NRSV translation: sodomite
How did this happen?: In case you weren’t sure, the historical consensus re: women has not been a shining review. Back in King James’ times, women were considered to be wishy-washy in the morality department and so it makes sense that they would feel comfortable with this translation. But then the NRSV writers came along and were like “effeminate? does that mean swishy? they’re probs talking about gay boys here,” and changed the meaning again.

So there you have it. Next time another Yvonne Moore rolls into town, you can tell her that God doesn’t hate fags but he’s probably not the biggest fan of your poly-cotton power suit.

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  1. Hats off the the pastor for being courageous enough to do what he knew was right – despite how unpopular it proved to be with his congregation.

    This is a prime example of why I LOVE Autostraddle = “Next time another Yvonne Moore rolls into town, you can tell her that God doesn’t hate fags but he’s probably not the biggest fan of your poly-cotton power suit.”

  2. this is better than the children’s bible stories book i had. except there is no pictures :( but thats okay, i forgive you like jesus would.

    • edit: there are* no pictures.

      sorry, i’ve been up all night writing about einstein, who had cooler hair than jesus, but jesus would forgive him for that too.

  3. First off, way to go those pastors. My experiences within black churches and Baptist churches have taught me that what they’re doing is no easy feat. Bravo.

    Second, Yvonne Moore, what are you doing? It’s one thing to leave a church you disagree with. Lots of people did that. Lots of people DO that. If you have a problem with your house of worship for any reason (gay marriage, bad music, you don’t like the communion wine…), you have the right to leave. But asking for your money back? It’s a church! It’s a house of God! You think God writes refunds? Is that seriously a fate you want to tempt?

  4. Half my family is Greek Orthodox, and even THEY can’t understand what the priest says in church, because his bible is in the ancient form of Greek, not the modern. No wonder so much got lost in translation. Can we make this article go super viral so that every biblical condemnation of homosexuality can be exposed for the major hypocritical/irrelevant/non sequitur garbage that it truly is??

    Also…people who try to quote that mistranslated Corinthians passage should really be calling themselves “Paulians” not “Christians,” ’cause, let’s face it, Paul made Christianity the way it is, not Jesus. The people who damn us to hell for breaking “traditional” marriage could also stand to learn that Paul himself hated the concept of straight marriage way back in the day and only recommended it to people who couldn’t keep it in their pants. Better to burn with desire, I say.

  5. This is seriously great. We’ve all heard the “so no leather, no pork, you’re a hypocrite” argument in response to those verses from Leviticus, but then you did a whole entomology lesson up in there!

    • Entomology is bugs. Etymology is word histories. Although Leviticus does have a lot to say about not eating bugs too I guess, so.

  6. This is great. You are right, she is being crazy/doing a crazy thing. And damn, that is a lot of money!

    In response to, “Lord knows. Actually he probably doesn’t because–contrary to popular belief–he didn’t write the Bible,” I would like to share this quote from a guy that did write things, because it’s made me laugh since intro philosophy in my 1st year of university:

    “It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author – and not to learn it better.”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche

  7. “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
    Surely that’s a big old yes to girl on girl? Woop!

  8. You forgot the rest of the story of Lot that happens after he and his daughters flee from the town as it’s being smote. The daughters want babies and there are no men around, so they get daddy Lot drunk and seduce him and have inbred babies. So the story that the misinformed crazies try and use against homosexuality is really about rape and incest. Anyone who hasn’t seen Fish Out Of Water yet really needs to!

  9. Dear Dennis and Christine Wiley,
    You are lovely.


    Dear Autostraddle,
    Love you too.

  10. But then what do the bits from the Old Testament mean for Jews and Judaism? I mean, I’m a reform Jew (and an atheist), so it doesn’t really matter for me personally, but I’m just wondering.

    Hooray for the pastors Wiley!

  11. Did anyone else see how ANGRY the ‘special correspondant’ looked in the CNN video?? I had to watch the video with no sound because I’m at work but hey, she looked really pissed at something… I’m guessing Yvonne. Don’t blame her.

    So this lady is (was) asking for her money back, right? I’ve never been a religious person and the only time I went to church was for a school project, so can someone tell me where the money goes that people give to the church? Does it go to that particular church, or does it go into some central ‘churches of the same type fund’? What kind of thing does the money pay for?

    If the money she had given in the past had gone to help others or keep the church running as a place for her and others to worship then surely it has done it’s bit and she should feel like a good Christian? Surely this is like wanting a refund from a charity? That’s harsh man.

    The ‘inclusion’ debate will be one that rages on forever and ever (amen) I guess, it’s just a matter of good people like the pastors spreading the message that Christianity and homosexuality can work together. Good work!

    Cool article, taught me a few things about the bible. Every day is a school day huh?


    • regarding where the money goes, it does depend on the religion and w/in the religion, the sect or denomination.

      it would most likely go in part to both the particular church AND to their central body.

      generally, the offering goes towards building upkeep/mortgage if they own their own building, rent payments if they don’t, staff salaries, church supplies and church programs, various other administrative fees and charitable organizations/donations etc. it isn’t the kind of thing the church can just give back, like unless you’re talking about the LDS or Rick Warren’s church type style, most community based churches do not have that kind of money around and it’s all already been spent.

      crazy crazy sad lady.

  12. many parts of this story disturb me, for instance why yvonne moore apparently makes so much more money than me. also more than my grandma, who is closer to her age/earning bracket. my grandma is a broke ass old lady and wouldn’t ever ask for her money back even if she had any because she doesn’t hate gay people. the end.

  13. Has anyone here read The Church and the Homosexual? It has a really in-depth chapter on scripture that examines more closely how both patriarchal traditions masquerading as “human nature” and a long history of translations that didn’t take into account the current cultural quirks have made the Bible appear a whooooole lot more anti-gay than it actually is.

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