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Marriage Equality

Texas Pastor Now Says He Didn't Mean He'd Really Set Himself Aflame

Texas Pastor Now Says He Didn't Mean He'd Really Set Himself Aflame


He threatened to become a human torch if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. Now Pastor Rick Scarborough is clarifying his remarks.

Put away the marshmallows.

Texas Pastor Rick Scarborough issued a statement clarifying his statement that he would be willing to set himself on fire in his fight against gay rights, now declaring, "We do not support any violence or physical harm." .

The antigay clergyman from Pearland, Tx., made the remark to right-wing preacher E.W. Jackson in a recorded conference call with supporters on June 16:

"We are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and if necessary we will burn."

Although it was not clear at the time whether Scarborough meant those words to be taken literally or figuratively, the fiery pastor issued a statement to KFYO News several hours after the high court issued its ruling Friday morning, walking back his remarks to clarify he was not planning a self-immolation.

"I made that comment to paraphrase a spiritual song, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in which the three were given a choice--to bow to the image of Nebucahdnezzar or burn in a furnace," said Scarborough."'We will burn' means that we will accept any sanction from the government for resisting [Friday's] Supreme Court decision. We do not support any violence or physical harm."

Scarborough previously made headlines with a full-page newspaper ad announcing that he had tens of thousands of followers, including presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who pledged to go to jail to defend so-called traditional marriage.

The Advocate has attempted to reach Scarborough for comment through his group, Vision America, which describes its mission on its website as trying "to inform, encourage and mobilize pastors and their congregations to be proactive in restoring Judeo-Christian values to the moral and civic framework in their communities, states, and our nation."

Our calls have not been returned. Scarborough did not clarify another controversial offer he made, first reported by Right Wing Watch, that he would volunteer to say, "Shoot me first," if pro-marriage supporters threatened "ordinary citizens" because of their opposition to equality.

Listen to Rick Scarborough on June 16 conference call, below, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

[iframe height=166 width=633]

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