Denver Columnist Gets Death Threat

March 10 2005, 7:57 PM
Keith Swain is a psychologist, professor and openly gay columnist for the "Other Voices" column in the Denver Post. Yesterday, he wrote of receiving a death threat. After the murder of Denver resident Donna Humphrey, mother of Illinois federal Judge Joan Lefkow, he's apprehensive about it:
Having been an openly gay man who speaks my mind, I have had my share of threats. But this past week, I received one that finally scared me, a letter scrawled in pencil on lined paper. The writer quoted Bible verses, and was obviously angry. "The wages of sin are death," he quoted the Bible, and added his own commentary: "God demands the death of all homosexuals ... There is more to come ... ." In the past, such threats wouldn't scare me. I used to think that if it was God's will, it would happen. But things have changed. Now I have a child. And as I watch him sleeping, I can't help but worry about his well-being.
Swain also remembers the murder of Denver talk show host Alan Berg:
Alan Berg, a tall, lanky man with a wicked sense of humor, was an acquaintance. When the letters started coming to his house, he laughed at the odd notes, handwritten on dirty pieces of paper, by someone obviously unstable and angry. He showed me copies of them, most of them loaded with bible quotes, just like the one I received. None of them directly said, "I'll kill you." They said God would
I don't follow the logic in the last two paragraphs of Swain's column, and that's not how I would respond to a death threat, but if what Swain is trying to express is that religious passion can turn into deadly zealotry, then I'm in agreement. [via Janus Online, a Denver blog by Mike Ditto, who suggests Swain turn the letter over to the F.B.I. ]