SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP)—A pastor’s brief speech to the Springfield City Council in support of gay rights was captured on video and has gone viral, garnering more than 2.5 million online views.
In his Aug. 13 comments, the Rev. Phil Snider appears initially to oppose a proposed city ordinance that would have made it illegal for businesses and landlords to discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender employees, customers and tenants, according to The Springfield News-Leader.
“Any accurate reading of the Bible should make it clear that gay rights goes against the plain truth of the word of God,” Snider told the city council. “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 “right of segregation is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example,” he said.
But then Snider’s intent becomes clear.
“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.
“All I have done is simply take out the phrase ‘racial integration’ and substituted it with the phrase `gay rights.’”
Snider then tells the city council members they should “stand on the right side of history” by supporting the ordinance, which has since been tabled so it can be reviewed by a task force.
Snider’s comments were posted to YouTube on Aug. 20, and as of Tuesday had logged more than 2.5 million views. In a blog post Monday, Snider said he was surprised by the popularity of the video but appreciates the support he’s gotten since it began circulating online.
“I’m not going to take the time to engage in a game of Bible proof-texting with those who disagree with me on this matter,” he writes in the blog. “But just so you know, I take the Bible very seriously (if not always literally).”