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Originally published Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Nicole Brodeur

Deliver us from bullies

Heaven help us. A purported man of God threatened to advise his congregation to boycott Microsoft products unless the company pulled its...

Seattle Times staff columnist

Heaven help us.

A purported man of God threatened to advise his congregation to boycott Microsoft products unless the company pulled its support of an anti-discrimination bill that would include gays and lesbians.

And it worked. Pastor Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church got what he wanted. The bully made people cry.

Lawmakers stood weeping on the Senate floor Thursday as House Bill 1515 was defeated by a single vote.

Now we know the true meaning of being a "blue" state. It is against the law here to discriminate against people based on their age, race or religion. But if they're gay or lesbian, well, it's open season.

It helps to imagine Hutcherson as Elmer Fudd, tiptoeing around with his goofy hat and gun during "wabbit season" — and to remember how easy it was for Bugs Bunny to prove him a fool, often while dressed in drag.

And it helped to see television commentator and author Bill Moyers, whose speech at the Paramount Theatre on Friday night was like a balm.

We are not alone in our disbelief over the connection among a church, a corporation and the Senate chamber, Moyers said.

The entire country is reeling from "the illegitimate coupling of ideology and theology," Moyers said, as well as the increasing trend of religion being used as "an instrument of political warfare."

It's a tactic Hutcherson has mastered.

Last year, he challenged Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' executive order recognizing gay marriages for city employees, arguing that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong.

And, in a Seattle Times op-ed piece from March 2004, Hutcherson said it was a "stretch" for gays and lesbians to compare their fight for civil rights to that waged by African Americans.

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"Remember," Hutcherson wrote, "gays were never called 'three-fifths human,' according to the Constitution.... "

Well, thanks to him, gays can be called any number of slurs, and the state will not call them equal.

Moyers seemed to know the pain of this the other night. He spoke of "the joy of the struggle," and said that if you anger people who stand on their Bibles at the voting booth, "it means that you've touched a nerve."

I am about ready to grab nerves by the handful, but I remind myself of another thing Moyers said: "We owe our adversaries the compliment of an argument."

To that end, I would like to remind Pastor Hutcherson of something Moyers reminded me: The Lord's Prayer employs the first-person plural: "Give us this day our daily bread."

Shall I continue? "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

I am trying hard to forgive Pastor Hutcherson.

Meanwhile, let's finish this together: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

I have a sense of Hutcherson's definition of evil. Mine includes someone who claims to speak for God while urging that his children be turned out.

Heaven help them the most.

Nicole Brodeur's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com. And love is not the easy thing.

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About Nicole Brodeur

My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
nbrodeur@seattletimes.com | 206-464-2334

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