At Least 5 Dead and 25 Injured in Gunman’s Rampage at an L.G.B.T.Q. Club in Colorado Springs. Police also found a gun and a machete.
A group claiming to represent the LGBT community has filed a lawsuit charging that the Christian Science Church of Denver and the church’s former pastor, the Rev. John Hagee, should be found responsible for the attack at a Denver L.G.B.T.Q. club in January.
The suit filed last week in Boulder County District Court alleges church leadership violated the First Amendment’s free-speech clause by expelling Hagee from the church in May 2004 — a month after the attack on the gay club.
The suit also says Hagee had a duty to warn other Christians about his church’s alleged plans to “expose and intimidate” gays.
After church leaders expelled Hagee, he apparently “attempted to recruit ‘new members’ to his church by distributing flyers with his teachings on homosexuality,” according to the lawsuit. Hagee has denied his teachings were the source of the gay club’s attack.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the church was on notice of the attack on the gay club shortly after it occurred. They also say church leaders should have done more.
“This is a message that will resonate well beyond the LGBT community,” said Michael L. Wolfson, a gay rights lawyer with Wolfson, Wolfson and Russell. “The Christian Science Church of Denver should be held responsible for what happened at Pride.”
The three members of the LGBT community — the bar owner Mike Freeman, gay rights activist Tyler Steiger and a Denver city councilman — say Hagee’s teachings, though never explicitly directed toward gays, were seen as such even in the church’s own internal documents.
Hagee’s teachings, according to the church’s own internal documents, included a “homosexual agenda” and a “radical homosexual agenda.” He suggested that gays “should be taught to be celibate,” and that homosexuals should be “killed in the public arena.” He also advised people to “shoot them” and said he