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District Attorney, Union-Tribune fail to remove Dennis Hodges from San Diego County commission

Gay male, transgender woman support pastor, Summer Stephan opposes him

Dennie Hodges: “I’m here to support the protection of biological women while in private and sacred spaces.”
Dennie Hodges: “I’m here to support the protection of biological women while in private and sacred spaces.”

The San Diego County Human Relations Commission held a special meeting June 9 to consider expelling Commissioner Dennis Hodges, a Christian pastor, for controversial statements he’s made about transgenderism.

Commissioner Cara Dessert, the CEO of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, called the meeting and motioned for Hodges to be removed, an action the San Diego Union Tribune endorsed. Dessert charged Hodges with violating the commission’s bylaws when he made “transphobic comments” at a county supervisors meeting on May 10, and “on May 8 he posted a video on YouTube calling the LGBT community an abomination.” Hodges posts his sermons to YouTube.

Zoom meeting of commission. Cara Dessert (lower left), CEO of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, moved that Hodges be removed.

On April 5, county supervisors granted the commission authority to expel fellow commissioners for offenses that include “making disparaging and/or derogatory communications.” Despite the supervisor’s clarification the new power could not be used retroactively, much of the discussion in support of expelling Hodges centered on his quotation of the biblical word “abomination” during a commission meeting on November 9, 2021.

Hodges had abstained from voting on an anti-transphobia resolution. When asked why he abstained, he referred to Deuteronomy 22:5, “A woman shall not wear a man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.”

In a letter to commission chair Ellen Nash, Hodges explained, “The binary of male and female is God’s idea. If we are meant to embrace, by divine design, our biological and creational difference as men and women, then it only stands to reason that the confusion of these realities would be displeasing to God…telling someone that he/she is in the wrong is not hateful.”

During public comments at the May 10 supervisors meeting, Hodges said, “I’m here to support the protection of biological women while in private and sacred spaces.” He said he grew up “normal” and has sisters, a daughter and granddaughter and believes in “keeping gender-specific bathrooms as well as creating gender-neutral, single-use bathrooms.”

In his defense at the June 9 commission meeting, Hodges said, “I am a dark shade of brown, heterosexual, unapologetic Christian man. I don’t say I’m black, because we’re all different shades of brown and we all bleed red… I am a pastor who preaches from the Bible. To silence me is the ultimate contradiction of what this commission was created for. One set of beliefs should not be allowed to eradicate the other.”

He continued, “I don’t have a hate for homosexuals or transgenders. As a corrections officer I put my neck on the line to protect LGBT inmates from being raped during attacks in prison…I will continue to fight for the rights of others who believe different, including LGBT…I’ve been on police board longer than this because I don’t have a problem working with others.”

Hodges has served on San Diego’s citizen’s advisory board for police and community relations since 2017, worked as a San Diego police chaplain from 2000-2016, and in 2008, retired from the California Department of Corrections as a special agent after a 32-year career.

During public comment, opponents of Hodges said religion has no place on the commission and Hodges’ comments are harmful to people. Supporters said Hodges was being bullied and shouldn’t be discriminated against.

Blake, a gay male, said, “I do not support removal when we have commissioners who are hypocrites,” referencing commissioners who display preferred pronouns. He said the gay community should oppose the “fake” transgender ideology and called it a “nightmare” that has caused closeted gays to be confused.

Commissioner Eleanor Evans pointed out gender-neutral bathrooms are already widely used, including by public agencies and organizations in California. She questioned the validity of accusing Hodges of hate speech for talking about gender-neutral bathrooms.

In regard to “abomination,” Commissioner Angela Elliot-Santos said, “I don’t believe the King James Version translated that word correctly. We shouldn’t be quoting those things. They’re not right.”

The sharpest words in favor of removing Hodges came from District Attorney Summer Stephan, who sits on the commission. She compared Hodges’ quotation of the Bible and his belief about the morality of transgenderism with people who “use religion as a cover to harm someone else.”

Stephan said, “You cannot be a commissioner and quote anything that signifies that any human being is an abomination...We can never on a commission allow religion as a way to express anything hateful, period. End of story…What Hodges is expressing tells me he is going to say something that is harmful in another meeting.”

Commissioner Rodney Fowler responded to Stephan, “I’m disappointed to hear DA talk about what actions Hodges will take in future. Imagine if all of us were held accountable for what we might do in the future. Not a good standard… There is some political stuff going on with this.”

The motion to expel Hodges failed by three votes. DA Stephan and nine other commissioners voted to expel Hodges. Six commissioners, including a Muslim imam and a transgender woman, voted against expelling him. Three commissioners abstained. The new bylaws require two-thirds, or 13 of the 19 in attendance, to remove a fellow commissioner.

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Dennie Hodges: “I’m here to support the protection of biological women while in private and sacred spaces.”
Dennie Hodges: “I’m here to support the protection of biological women while in private and sacred spaces.”

The San Diego County Human Relations Commission held a special meeting June 9 to consider expelling Commissioner Dennis Hodges, a Christian pastor, for controversial statements he’s made about transgenderism.

Commissioner Cara Dessert, the CEO of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, called the meeting and motioned for Hodges to be removed, an action the San Diego Union Tribune endorsed. Dessert charged Hodges with violating the commission’s bylaws when he made “transphobic comments” at a county supervisors meeting on May 10, and “on May 8 he posted a video on YouTube calling the LGBT community an abomination.” Hodges posts his sermons to YouTube.

Zoom meeting of commission. Cara Dessert (lower left), CEO of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, moved that Hodges be removed.

On April 5, county supervisors granted the commission authority to expel fellow commissioners for offenses that include “making disparaging and/or derogatory communications.” Despite the supervisor’s clarification the new power could not be used retroactively, much of the discussion in support of expelling Hodges centered on his quotation of the biblical word “abomination” during a commission meeting on November 9, 2021.

Hodges had abstained from voting on an anti-transphobia resolution. When asked why he abstained, he referred to Deuteronomy 22:5, “A woman shall not wear a man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.”

In a letter to commission chair Ellen Nash, Hodges explained, “The binary of male and female is God’s idea. If we are meant to embrace, by divine design, our biological and creational difference as men and women, then it only stands to reason that the confusion of these realities would be displeasing to God…telling someone that he/she is in the wrong is not hateful.”

During public comments at the May 10 supervisors meeting, Hodges said, “I’m here to support the protection of biological women while in private and sacred spaces.” He said he grew up “normal” and has sisters, a daughter and granddaughter and believes in “keeping gender-specific bathrooms as well as creating gender-neutral, single-use bathrooms.”

In his defense at the June 9 commission meeting, Hodges said, “I am a dark shade of brown, heterosexual, unapologetic Christian man. I don’t say I’m black, because we’re all different shades of brown and we all bleed red… I am a pastor who preaches from the Bible. To silence me is the ultimate contradiction of what this commission was created for. One set of beliefs should not be allowed to eradicate the other.”

He continued, “I don’t have a hate for homosexuals or transgenders. As a corrections officer I put my neck on the line to protect LGBT inmates from being raped during attacks in prison…I will continue to fight for the rights of others who believe different, including LGBT…I’ve been on police board longer than this because I don’t have a problem working with others.”

Hodges has served on San Diego’s citizen’s advisory board for police and community relations since 2017, worked as a San Diego police chaplain from 2000-2016, and in 2008, retired from the California Department of Corrections as a special agent after a 32-year career.

During public comment, opponents of Hodges said religion has no place on the commission and Hodges’ comments are harmful to people. Supporters said Hodges was being bullied and shouldn’t be discriminated against.

Blake, a gay male, said, “I do not support removal when we have commissioners who are hypocrites,” referencing commissioners who display preferred pronouns. He said the gay community should oppose the “fake” transgender ideology and called it a “nightmare” that has caused closeted gays to be confused.

Commissioner Eleanor Evans pointed out gender-neutral bathrooms are already widely used, including by public agencies and organizations in California. She questioned the validity of accusing Hodges of hate speech for talking about gender-neutral bathrooms.

In regard to “abomination,” Commissioner Angela Elliot-Santos said, “I don’t believe the King James Version translated that word correctly. We shouldn’t be quoting those things. They’re not right.”

The sharpest words in favor of removing Hodges came from District Attorney Summer Stephan, who sits on the commission. She compared Hodges’ quotation of the Bible and his belief about the morality of transgenderism with people who “use religion as a cover to harm someone else.”

Stephan said, “You cannot be a commissioner and quote anything that signifies that any human being is an abomination...We can never on a commission allow religion as a way to express anything hateful, period. End of story…What Hodges is expressing tells me he is going to say something that is harmful in another meeting.”

Commissioner Rodney Fowler responded to Stephan, “I’m disappointed to hear DA talk about what actions Hodges will take in future. Imagine if all of us were held accountable for what we might do in the future. Not a good standard… There is some political stuff going on with this.”

The motion to expel Hodges failed by three votes. DA Stephan and nine other commissioners voted to expel Hodges. Six commissioners, including a Muslim imam and a transgender woman, voted against expelling him. Three commissioners abstained. The new bylaws require two-thirds, or 13 of the 19 in attendance, to remove a fellow commissioner.

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Comments
4

I would expect any Christian pastor to feel the same way. Expressing your views is another story. Some things are better left unsaid. With the exception of online anonymous commenting, you can't say anything these days.

June 13, 2022

DA Summer Stephan is 100% right. There is no place for this type of behavior on the Human Relations Commission by Hodges. He can preach that view all he wants in church, or on TV. Of course, it makes him a false-Christian. I am proudly NOT a Christian, but I know enough about that religion to know that Hodges' judgmental statements violate the Golden Rule, as well as basic decency. .He should resign immediately. P.S. I noticed the Ashford University degree in the photo. That for-profit institution was shut down for corrupt and illegal behavior. A degree from them is a bad joke.

June 14, 2022

It does not make him a 'false Christian." Homosexuality is an abomination in the Old Testament (Leviticus). I agree that he shouldn't express his views. outside of his church or on tv. I've never heard any pastor preach on homosexuality in church.

I don't think he should resign. We all say things we shouldn't. Move on.

June 14, 2022
June 15, 2022

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