"I will fight against any policies that would promote discrimination in any form."
COLUMBIA, Mo 03/27/15 (Interview) -- In a case of crossed wires, First Ward Columbia City Council candidate Clyde Ruffin sent answers to this publication's questions about Desert Stream Ministries -- a so-called "gay reparative" group -- to the wrong email address.
Email is an excellent medium for interviews, but bounces, spam walls, wrong addresses, crossed cc's, and so forth are among its high-tech pitfalls.
Fortunately, Ruffin supporters read our story from yesterday, notified Rev. Ruffin his answers were missing, and the situation was corrected this morning.
Our interview in its entirety is presented below:
Columbia Heart Beat (CHB): From the perspective of a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) voter, do you think concern about the intersection of Desert Stream and your ministry is warranted? Remember: we're talking about people who otherwise may know nothing about you, your church, or your wife, Sheila.
Clyde Ruffin (CR): Thank you for contacting me. Because I have just ended a 15 hour work day, my answers to your questions will be brief.
Desert Stream Ministries was an independent community-based program that was neither under the auspices nor a reflection of the mission of the church where I serve as the senior pastor; therefore any concerns about the intersection of Desert Stream and my personal ministry in the community, past or present, is unwarranted.
CHB: Given this information and the concerns it has generated, is it a fair question to ask, "Do you, as a candidate for Columbia's primary policy-making body, have any reservations -- religious or otherwise -- about the LGBT community?"
To that question: Do you, as a candidate for Columbia's primary policy making body, have any reservations -- religious or otherwise -- about the LGBT community?
"Reservations," in this sense, is broadly defined. Considering members of the LGBT community "sinners," for instance, purely because of their sexual orientation would be a "reservation".
CR: The work I have done in the community as a champion of social justice for nearly 33 years is a matter of public record.
My career as a teacher, theatre artist and more recently as the pastor of a historically progressive congregation has provided a very public platform to share my political and social viewpoints. I have always fought, actively and creatively, against discrimination and issues of inequality.
In fact, the teachings of Jesus challenge us to "love our neighbor as we love ourselves", which is a universal message of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion.
Furthermore, Luke 6:37 states "Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you shall be forgiven."
As a minister, who must be open to receive people from varied experiences and lifestyles, this Scripture serves as the foundation of my belief that ultimately God is the only one with the divine authority to determine whether or not someone is a sinner.
CHB: Can you assure members of Columbia's LGBT community that any votes or other policy-making proceedings in which you will take part will never, in any way, be influenced by any connection you or your wife have or have had with Desert Streams, or just as importantly, any personal or religious views you may have?
This question is germane primarily to policies that affect the LGBT community, such as extension of partner benefits to city employees and other non-discrimination type measures.
CR: Be assured that as a member of the City Council, I would continue the work I have always done and fight against any policies that would promote discrimination in any form.
CHB: Any other comments/remarks?
CR: Thanks for contacting me regarding this matter, that seems to be of some concern in the community.
Click for story from yesterday that was missing these answers.