Hangin' with the Church Lady

Page 4 of 4

They had a "good laugh" about it, Hostetter recalled, and Carter agreed with her. In December, Carter appointed the WASP to the committee, causing much controversy in the papers. In a recent edition of the GLSEN newsletter, Co-chairman Michael Record wrote that Hostetter and fellow appointee Kane had "derailed" his group's mission.

Hostetter laughs when she hears this. "He gives me a lot of credit, doesn't he?"

As 1 a.m. passed at Denny's, I began to challenge some of her ideas about homosexuality. Hostetter stopped laughing. Her face tightened with anger. Her eyes glared at me as she spoke about sin. I asked her why she was so preoccupied with what consensual adults do in their homes. Looking as if she might burst into tears, she spoke of sex crimes and murders committed by gay men. They are destroying America, she cried, especially when they enlist youth on their side. They need to come to God and renounce their decision, she said, repeating her mantra that homosexuality is not a genetic trait.

Though it's not very constructive to go too far down this road, the truth is there are lots of respectable scientific studies that suggest that homosexuality is, in fact, rooted in genes. She writes those off as "illegitimate" and contends there is no proof.

I asked her, as we walked to our cars, how she can be so sure she's right. After all, there is certainly no scientific proof that it's not genetic. "If God condemns something," she said, "then he wouldn't have made them that way."

And that was that. One can't argue with the Inerrant Word. I thought of all the contradictions and cruelties in the Bible and how it was no wonder she sometimes looked as if she wanted to explode. All that considerable drive and passion -- the sensor mentality of hers -- was trapped in the rigid framework of the Christian Right that had been hammered into her during childhood.

But I didn't say any of that. I just thanked her and told her that I'd had a good time.

As Hostetter opened her car door, I smiled and nodded. Then the Church Lady drove away, surely planning another day of service in the Army of the Lord.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman