Lafayette Citizens for Freedom
February 11, 2022
This is an excerpt from the West Lafayette City Council Meeting on February 7, 2022.
Thank you very much, president Bunder. I first want to mentioned that this is a, an amended, um, ordinance. The most important part of the, um, amendment is, uh, the enforcement section sections. Uh, this ordinance shall be enforced upon complaints by a minor who has experienced physical or psychological harm through conversion therapy or upon complaints by parent legal, guardian, guardian, or de facto custody custodian of such a minor president Bunder as one of the sponsors, subordinating 31 21.
I've seen that there has been substantial public interest. I would like to clear up some of the misconceptions about it and also address some disturbing aspects of the opposition to it. There was community interests, as well as an inclination among some con counselors to express our objection to conversion therapy discussions occurred over the course of months.
Legal advice was followed in determining the language of the description of conversion therapy and the individuals who would become. The definition of conversion therapy in the ordinance was essentially the same is that used in laws, banning conversion therapy in more than 20 states across the country statements from opponents to this ordinance to the contrary are false from my own part.
I did not think that converted therapy was being practiced in west Lafayette's. We just did not want people from outside our area coming here and practicing it. The ordinance was shared among city elected officials. And there was no initial expression of concern about it after it was included in the, the sender agenda, a campaign to distort the meaning of the ordinance by those who wish to engage in self promotion and fundraising was initiated.
The ordinance was never intended to interfere with religious speech, but it was misrepresented fruitful discussions between counselors responding to public concerns. As well as the concerns of the mayor legal counsel and the counselors themselves led to amendments to the ordinance to clarify it's intense before the bullying and threats.
I had no cognizance of faith church or pastor Steven Byers or biblical counseling. I've learned quite a bit about them. President bender. I have learned that there were a remarkable number of people who don't like LGBTQ individuals. Although most of the people who wrote us in opposition to the ordinance, stuck to a script with a false narrative, about a threat to free speech, some straight, I need not repeat the highly offensive invective here.
I've also learned that there are people who don't like the truth. Besides the falsehoods about the ordinance and the numerous untruthful personal attacks on me, there was the repeated vilification of my fellow counselors. I was one of the only counselors who responded to pastor Viars electronic messages.
So he wrote directly to me. And one of them, he stated that there were quote, discriminatory comments from the civil counsel at a faith west bond meet hearing. He noted in particular, the following statement, quote, Steve Viars, we're going to be watching you most helpfully. He included the minutes of the June, 2012 meeting as evidence.
I was previously unaware of the summer meeting. I was probably out of town at the time. Having read the minutes. I couldn't find that reported statement by a city counselor anywhere when I asked pastor Byers, he stated quote, unfortunately the minutes are not a word for word record of what each person said and suggested that I listened to a recording of the meeting.
I did. There was no such statements by any city counselor. I later learned that pastor Byers has been telling this story for years, most recently using it as his ultimate proof of animus that is hatred towards people of religious faith. He refused to identify the counselor by name, but was happy to refer to him as an African-American as though that were somehow relevant to his favorite.
That counselor, Gerald Thomas in fact had very positive things to say about faith church and pastor Viars at the June, 2012 meeting and provided the deciding vote in their favor. It is disgraceful that my colleague on the council should be the object of such defamation president. Bunder. I've also learned that there are people who don't like Jews.
At one juncture in our exchange, the pastor concluded with the following bizarre request today, our CFO informed me that two checks were just forged and cashed against our checkbook robbing us of nearly $99,000. Could you put, instruct those who follow you? In Hebrew Aramaic, English, or the language of your choice to follow the 10 knots eighth commandment.
Apparently the pastor believes that I am in conspiratorial communication with some followers who forged checks and that we communicate about the Tanach and Hebrew or Aramaic, a clear, derogatory reference to my being an observant Jew. Of course, I had no idea about the porch checks and I have no followers, another pastor at the same check content at the absorbent.
Another pastor at the same church contacted me the message of his letter concludes with this passage, if the God of the turnoff and the Jews is real, he is able to turn the tables on you and your face. Because of your actions of harm to conservative Judaism and Christianity history shows that the masses turn quickly against the Jews and their practices, and that God has used the, and he uses the Hebrew word here, goyim to do so that appears to be a sinister threat.
He then asked to meet. As an elected official, who believes in communication? I agreed. I thought we were going to discuss his concerns about the ordinance. It emerged that warning me of the impending doom for my people was not the only favor that the pastor contemplated the major objective of the meeting.
He was carrying a Bible was his attempt to practice conversion therapy on me. When I confronted him with the question about whether he was trying to convert me to Christianity, he responded in essence that whenever he meets a Jew, he feels an imperative to convert him. He of course, was either unaware or unconcerned about how profoundly insulting his behavior was and how it was a continuation of a historical pattern of antisemitism.
My rejection of the attempt to convert. Was followed by an escalation of the vilification of me. I did not ask to be accused of involvement with check foragers. I did not ask to be threatened with destruction from my co-religionists. I did not ask to be converted. I can only imagine the situation of a minor who is being confronted with that sort of.
Because of his sexual or gender identity, actually, I don't have to imagine one of the messages we received had the following quotation in it. My sessions at faith Baptist church were the most hurtful, damaging and humiliating experiences of my life. I was forced to divulge any and all sexual thoughts and keep them in a jar.
I was also interrogated about my masturbation habits and the sexual fantasies that accompanied them. All of this was performed by an unlicensed therapist and observed by fi three therapists in training. It has taken years to overcome the shame and self-loathing these sessions cause these sessions caused and I'm still not there yet.
The opponents of the ordinance have prided themselves on their efforts to besmirch the name of west Lafayette and convince people that it is a bad community. They have not convinced me. I believe in the goodness of the people of west Lafayette president Bunder, the city of west Lafayette has been threatened with a lawsuit by those who pose in an ordinance that states.
This ordinance shall be enforced upon complaint by a minor who has experienced physical or psychological harm through conversion therapy or upon complaints by a parent legal guardian, or the fact though, custodian of such a minor. It does not take away the rights of minors or parents. In fact, it empowers them to seek redress.
Nevertheless, we have been persuaded of the necessity to spare the city, the expense of defending against the lawsuit that would seek to overturn a law that protects miners from physical or psychological harm, therefore councilor, Blanco, and I are withdrawing the ordinance at this time. Thank you very much.
Lafayette Citizens for Freedom
Seeking to glorify God in the public square through stewardship of participatory democracy