NORTH MIAMI – Officials and religious leaders have called a community summit this evening to address, among other topics, recent comments by a local pastor that he “absolutely” agrees that gays are vile. The Inclusion Forum, hosted by Temple Beth Moshe (2555 Northeast 21st Street, North Miami) tonight at 7 p.m., will address anti-gay speech, and call for tolerance among community members and religious leaders.
Pastor Jack Hakimian of Impact Miami church recently appeared on a Web broadcast, during which homosexuals were called “vile.” Hakimian, whose parish rents space from the Miami-Dade County Schools, replied “absolutely,” agreeing with the comment. For this and other comments, schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho has called for a legal review of Impact Miami’s lease, saying that the pastor’s record of homophobic-remarks “appears to be contrary to school board policy, as well as the basic principles of humanity.” Carvalho wants “the termination” of the church’s lease, “not on the basis of policy or politics, but as a rejection of prejudice and intolerance,” Carvalho told Local 10 News.
Hakimian, who will attend tonight’s forum, claims the district is violating his rights to free and religious speech, and has enlisted the conservative legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel, which said that evicting Impact Miami would by unconstitutional. “The nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies of the Miami-Dade School Board are not applicable to the situation at hand,” wrote Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, adding that “The district cannot discriminate on the basis of [Hakimian’s] Biblically sound viewpoint.”