Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Swaggart Downplays Comments 

The Times-Picayune (via obtained an interview with televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, in which he downplayed the seriousness of his statements regarding killing any man who looked at him "that way." Among his comments regarding the incident:
"It was a tongue-in-cheek statement best left unsaid. I won't make it anymore," Swaggart said in an interview Tuesday.

On whether his statement could encourage violence against GLBT individuals:
"Good gracious alive, it would be a long stretch of the imagination to come up with that," he said.
His overall summing up of his thoughts in hindsight:
"I was unwise in making the statement. All of us have made statements we wish we hadn't made. That was one for me."

So basically he feels that making a "blunt and plain" intention to kill a man who "ever looks at me like that" can be interpreted and accepted as a joke, that it would be nearly impossible to take seriously or to be inciteful to his many viewers, and that he should have left this sentiment unsaid. Not that he's sorry, not that his followers should know he didn't actually mean it, not that he doesn't really think that way. He just wishes he didn't say it out loud, and be caught on tape doing it.
UPDATE (2:06 pm): The editorial board weighs in. From their article:
President Bush and the GOP - and Indiana Republicans who backed a state constitutional amendment on marriage - might not win many votes denouncing Swaggart and others who smirk or cheer at the mention of killing a gay man because of the way he looks. But they would enjoy the respect due any leaders who recognizes that some followers are a source of shame, not strength.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:20 AM