Councilman raises some eyebrows with remarks during meeting

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Jan 9, 2008 - City Councilman Gary Jordan raised a few eyebrows with two remarks Tuesday during the debate over a zoning change to allow private beverage clubs in downtown restaurant, but stood by his words today.

After fellow Council member Clay Walker said he believed the change "is the only chance we've got to get some development downtown, and have money spent downtown and do some good downtown," Jordan asked what the alternative was.

"If this doesn't work, to bring alcohol to the downtown square, if this does not work, what's plan B?" Jordan asked. "Gay bars?"

The remark brought some murmurs of disapproval from the crowd.

Jordan said today his question stemmed from a query from a constituent after the zoning change was discussed and voted on in December.

"Someone asked me that after the last meeting. They asked the question, if this doesn't bring it in, what's coming next, strip tease joints, gay bars or what?"

While cities have the power to regulate sexually-oriented businesses, Jordan said he didn't know if Sulphur Springs officials can regulate a private club based on the sexual orientation of its membership.

"I don't know. I figure if the alcohol comes in, the gay bars will come in too, don't you imagine?" Jordan said. "I would imagine they could. I don't know that we have any ordinances against it. It's something I'd have to check out and see."

Jordan also said he was "kind of offended" when told someone asked if he was gay following his statement.

"I didn't appreciate that after I found out, " he said. "I didn't hear it — I heard somebody say something, but I didn't know it was aimed at me. I thought my brother was going to go back there and deck 'em."

On another issue, Jordan was questioned after rebutting a comment from the audience regarding the Biblical account of Jesus turning water into wine.

"I tell you, that was not fermented wine," Jordan said during the meeting. "Jesus was referring to his own body, and that is God's word. It was definitely not tainted. It was definitely not fermented. You've got to get into the Greek to see there's more than one word for wine in the Bible.

"When he talks about turning water into wine, he turned that water into the best-tasting grape juice ever tasted. He did not turn it into fermented drink."

Rick Murray, who plans to open a steakhouse downtown, took umbrage at the remarks.

"It seems like a very convenient interpretation," Murray said, addressing Jordan. "I think most Catholics ... "

"The Catholics need to read the Greek to see what it says," Jordan  parried.

"So the Catholics aren't good enough Christians, either?" Murray countered.

"Well, I'm not saying they're not good Christians," Jordan said, "but they need to read God's word for what it says, because they're taking wine, which is fermented. What they need to be using is grape juice."

Jordan stood by his position when contacted by the News-Telegram Wednesday.

"I've got a lot of good friends that are Catholic, but as far as the area of them using wine to represent Jesus' blood, I believe they're wrong," he said. "My Jesus' blood was not tainted — it wasn't fermented.

"In fact, it talks in the Bible about 'wine on the vine.' What would wine on the vine be? It would be grapes. Are grapes fermented? No, they're sure not. There's plenty of things to be able to show that the wine that Jesus partook of that was of that day was not the wine that people are drinking today.

"Even on the cross, Jesus wouldn't take any sour kind of wine to even deaden the pain," he added. "So I believe if he wouldn't take it on the cross to try to cut down on his pain, I sure don't think he would have — I know he wouldn't have drank it otherwise."

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