Thanks to the invaluable Daily Kos for a direction-finder to a Philadelphia newspaper column by Joe Murray, a former staff attorney for the American Family Association, the ultra-conservative religious group in Tupelo, Miss., that has made a living on gay-bashing. He has had a conversion. His column has no direct relationship to the recent debate in Arkansas over gay foster parenting, but the words are worth considering as anti-gay groups consider a petition campaign to ban a nearly non-existent practice on account of their fear and loathing of a small group of people. Take a taste:

How could preachers preach such vehement messages towards gays when it was clear that the Bible was unclear at best, and silent at worse, on the issue? Why recklessly condemn a group of individuals? Why fixate on them when your congregation is knee deep in divorce (Jesus had some pretty clear words on that issue)? And as for gluttony, how could preachers lecture gays on restraint when churches host pot luck dinner after pot luck dinner and not be deemed hypocritical?

It was this hypocrisy that caused me to open my eyes. Those on the Christian right, for whatever reasons, have become fixated on homosexuality. They are obsessed by it and perverse form of vengeance appears to be fueling their inquisition. I may be wrong, but I think actions are speaking much louder than words here.

The whole gay issue is no longer about the quest for the Truth; it is about fear and loathing. It is about shame and sorrow. It is anything but Christian.

Rita Sklar of the ACLU had a similar thought when asked about the Family Council’s threatened petition drive in Arkansas. She told Stephens Media:

“Most Arkansans do not share this general animus toward gay people that the Family Council is clearly seething with, and they will not go for anything that dehumanizes a section of our population by questioning their parenting skills, their suitability to be good parents,” Sklar said.

Can the simple message, love they neighbor, prevail at the Arkansas ballot box?