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Mississippi pastor-lawmaker denies endorsing the killing of gays

Rogelio V. Solis / AP file

State Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, speaking this year at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET: A Mississippi legislator and Baptist minister says he and his family have received death threats after he posted comments that some activists said endorsed the killing of gay men.

The comments were posted on the Facebook page of state Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, setting off fierce discussion that eventually went national.

(Gipson's Facebook page disappeared Monday, but he told msnbc.com that he hadn't deleted it. Facebook disabled the page for "suspicious activity," apparently because someone tried to hack his or her way into the account, he said. He said he was working to get the page back up.)


The controversy began May 10, when Gipson posted this after President Barack Obama told ABC News he personally believed gay men and lesbians should be allowed to marry:

Been a lot of press on Obama's opinion on "homosexual marriage." The only opinion that counts is God's: see Romans 1:26-28 and Leviticus 20:13. Anyway you slice it, it is sin. Not to mention horrific social policy.

The Leviticus verse is one of the bedrocks of conservative Christian opposition to homosexuality. It reads:

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.


M. Alex Johnson

M. Alex Johnson is a reporter for msnbc.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


The posting drew little national attention until Gipson responded to an online petition posted by Change.org, which called on him to apologize and to meet with representatives of gay and lesbian organizations in Mississippi.

On Friday, Gipson posted: "I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God's Word."

That caught the eyes of national groups and publications, including the Huffington Post, which highlighted the controversy under the  headline "Andy Gipson, Mississippi GOP Lawmaker, Blasts Gays, Cites Bible Passage Calling For Their Death."

Gipson said he had received threats by phone and email, as well as a death threat against his family, which he reported to authorities.

In a statement (.pdf) he issued Monday to NBC station WLBT of Jackson, Miss., Gipson objected to coverage of the story, especially by the Huffington Post, which he called a "well-known radical liberal blog."

"I have never publicly or privately called for the killing of any people," Gipson said in the statement. "I believe all people are created in the image of God and I stand firmly for the sanctity of all human life."

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