Sioux City Pastor Seeks Removal of Human Rights Commission Member

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SIOUX CITY (AP) — A Sioux City pastor is demanding the removal of a newly appointed member of the city's Human Rights Commission, saying the man made threatening comments to him online nearly three years ago.

The Rev. Cary Gordon, pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach, has told Sioux City Council members that he felt threatened by comments newly appointed commission member Scott Raasch wrote on Gordon's Facebook page in December 2010.

In one comment, Raasch said he thinks "there are many people that deserve to burn in hell . including you and your entire family.''

Raasch acknowledges posting the remarks.

Raasch, who is gay, said he was angry about Gordon's role in urging voters to remove three Iowa Supreme Court judges, citing their ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state. He apologized for causing Gordon or his family any stress.

``I feel badly about this,'' he said. ``I don't want to get off to a bad start. I think I can do a good job on this commission.''

Gordon said he did not report Raasch's remarks to police, because he believed it would be a waste of time.

Gordon wrote a letter about the comments to former Councilman Aaron Rochester, a Cornerstone member, and asked him to email it to current city council members.

Rochester, who applied last year to serve on the rights commission but was not appointed, said he sent Gordon's letter to four council members and asked that it be forwarded to Councilwoman Rhonda Capron.

Capron said she did not receive the letter, but defended Raasch's appointment.

``This was three years ago and all of a sudden Pastor Gordon makes a point of it now?'' she said. ``He just doesn't want Scott on the commission.''

Councilman Tom Padgett agreed, but Councilman John Fitch said he would like Raasch to resign or be removed from the commission.

Councilman Keith Radig could not be reached for comment. Mayor Bob Scott said he wants to discuss the matter with his fellow council members.

The rights group hasn't met since Raasch was appointed. Its annual joint meeting with the City Council is July 31. Its next regular meeting is Aug. 2.

From the Associated Press

 Associated Press

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