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Anti-Gay Extremists Predict “Flash Point” for Charlotte Pride

Jim Burroway

July 20th, 2009

Charlotte (N.C.) Pride this year falls on July 25. In response, two prominent Pentecostal evangelists plan to confront Pride attendees by surrounding the park with more than 1,000 “worshipers, intercessors, musicians, soul-winners, walkers, talkers, and believers of every age, color, and size” there to “stand together as a prophetic witness to our society.” One of the organizers of the anti-gay confrontation predicts that the day will represent a “flash point” in turning back the so-called “homosexual agenda.” Local LGBT advocates fear that the presence of such a large amp-ed up contingent of anti-gay extremists at the properly-permitted celebration could become a flash point of a very different kind.

In 2006, Charlotte-based pastor Michael Brown organized a group of red-shirted students to surround Charlotte Pride. Volunteers describe that encounter as frightening, intimidating, and an act that instilled terror in some who attended:

“The whole experience was horrible,” [one volunteer] told InterstateQ.com, speaking under the condition of anonymity. “I saw a lot of people trying to get away from the red-shirted people, and they just wouldn’t leave people alone.”

The volunteer describes several people, visibly shaken and emotionally distraught, who came to her for assistance. “I had people coming up to me in tears asking, ‘Please do something about these people,’” she said.

Many of those who complained, the volunteer said, were parents and children who were confronted by the members of Brown’s counter-demonstration. “They were going after the children of gay and lesbian parents. They were after the little kids, telling them that their mommies and daddies were going to hell and were sinners.”

Now Brown is at it again, except this time he is joining forces with Lou Engle of The Call. This year’s anti-gay rally, called “God Has A Better Way,” intends to surround the Pride festival not with a hundred volunteers, but a thousand. Local Pride organizers, who have obtained proper permits to hold the celebration in downtown Charlotte, are worried.

There’s reason for concern. Brown and Engle are both known for their fiery rhetoric filled with militant imagery of warfare against dark and evil forces. Acting on what he calls a “prophetic word,” Engle chose Charlotte “to raise up a contending house of prayer, that contends not with people, but with spiritual principalities and powers” He intends for this action to “be the high watermark, so to speak, of the homosexual agenda.  It stops here.”

Brown predicts that the event will be “history in the making.” Whatever their predictions, it doesn’t take a prophet to know that tensions will be high in Charlotte next weekend if these men have their way.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown

“Whether By Life Or By Death!”
I first encountered Michael Brown’s life-and-death rhetoric when I attended his lecture at a plenary session of the Exodus Freedom Conference in Irvine, California in 2007. I had attended the conference to get a first-hand look at the pre-eminent annual gathering of people who were “struggling with their homosexuality” and were trying to change. The struggle was a personal struggle against forces which would tempt them from their chosen path of pursuing heterosexuality. Those forces, of course, were often described in evil undertones, but the speakers rarely used that word or characterization directly.

Brown wasn’t nearly that coy. He was there to exhort the crowd to fight against “a pitched attack from hell,” but the attack he was talking about wasn’t an attack on an individual’s sense of sexual righteousness. Instead, Brown was talking about an evil attack on the moral fabric of the culture at large.  To counter that attack, his talk centered on developing a “revolutionary mentality,” which he summed up as, “Life as it is is not worth living, but the cause is worth dying for.”

Citing such revolutionaries as Elaine Brown of the Black Panthers (“Even the notion of dying for something bigger than you was far more powerful than living out a life of quiet desperation.”), he said “the key to overcoming the forces of hell” was the willingness to embrace martyrdom. While he said that the Elaine Brown’s quote represented a negative example, he also said that for Christians it was compatible with Luke 17:33 (“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”).

Now, it’s important to note that he didn’t use the word of “martyrdom” anywhere in his talk that I can recall. But it certainly describes what he was talking. Take, for instance, his quoting of James B. Taylor: “The world may frown — Satan may rage — but go on! Live for God. May I die in the field of battle.” Or when Brown recounted a tale of another dedicated Christian who was being held up at gunpoint by a robber demanding “your money or your life.” According to Brown, the Christian exclaimed “You’re going to send me to meet Jesus?” and began rejoicing, prompting the robber to flee. Brown also claimed that his own life was in danger because of his confrontations against the LGBT community. All of this to drive home the message that a Christian should value the cause more than his own life:

Listen, God promises us long life and health as blessings in Scripture, and he wants to bless many with families and kids and grandkids and all that. That’s wonderful. But we should have this warrior mentality. Come on, we’ve been addressed as warriors. We should have this revolutionary mentality that says the purpose of my life is to glorify God. And I would rather die glorifying God than live to be ninety and not make an impact.

He then closed that plenary session with a prayer:

I ask you (Jesus) to hold back nothing from me. Here I am. Change me. Fill me. Use me. Send me out to be a world changer to glorify Jesus, to be a holy revolutionary whether by life or by death!

Since Brown’s talk at that Exodus Freedom conference in 2007, he has become a regular speaker at the Love Won Out conference put on jointly by Exodus International and Focus On the Family.

Lou Engle

Lou Engle

Lou Engle and The Call
Lou Engle also echoes Brown’s embrace of martyrdom. Engle, whose own ministry is known as “The Call,” is closely aligned with a militant Christian Dominionist movement known as Joel’s Army. Casey Sanchez describes the relationship this way:

As even his critics note, Engle is a sweet, humble and gentle man whose persona is difficult to reconcile with his belief in an end-time army of invincible young Christian warriors. Yet while Engle is careful to avoid deploying explicit Joel’s Army rhetoric at high-profile events like The Call, when he’s speaking in smaller hyper-charismatic circles to avowed Joel’s Army followers, he can venture into bloodlust.

This March, at a “Passion for Jesus” conference in Kansas City sponsored by the International House of Prayer, or IHOP, a ministry for teenagers from the heavy metal, punk and goth scenes, Engle called on his audience for vengeance.

“I believe we’re headed to an Elijah/Jezebel showdown on the Earth, not just in America but all over the globe, and the main warriors will be the prophets of Baal versus the prophets of God, and there will be no middle ground,” said Engle. He was referring to the Baal of the Old Testament, a pagan idol whose followers were slaughtered under orders from the prophet Elijah.

“There’s an Elijah generation that’s going to be the forerunners for the coming of Jesus, a generation marked not by their niceness but by the intensity of their passion,” Engle continued. “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Such force demands an equal response, and Jesus is going to make war on everything that hinders love, with his eyes blazing fire.”

Joel’s Army began in the 1940’s, and was based on the preaching of Assembly of God pastor William Branham. The Assemblies of God has banned Joel’s army as a heretical cult and disavows all association with the movement.

Kansas City Prophet Bob Jones

Kansas City Prophet Bob Jones

Lou Engle and the Kansas City Prophets
In order to understand where Brown and Engle are coming from with their calls to martyrdom, it’s important to understand where their theology comes from. And to do that, we need to rewind a bit, back to the early 1980’s with a group known as the The Kansas City Prophets. Chief among them was “Prophet” Bob Jones (unrelated to Bob Jones of Bob Jones University fame) who claimed to receive prophecies through visions and dreams. Lou Engle would become one of Prophet Jones’ devoted acolytes.

Among the hallmarks of the Kansas City Prophets were calls for long periods of fasting and prayer, a feature that Engle has made a centerpiece for The Call. In 1983, Jones called for a 21-day fast to usher “a massive move of God.” He also predicted that a drought would consume Kansas City in confirmation of his prophecy from June until August 23. Jones and his followers blithely overlooked the 6.5 inches of rain that fell in June (making that June wetter than average) and another inch or so that fell in July. But the traces of rain that fell around August 23 was enough to confirm his prophetic powers among his followers.

In 1991, Jones was removed from a ministry known as the Vineyard for sexual misconduct, where he allegedly used his “prophetic gift” to fondle women in the church. But that scandal didn’t discredit Jones’ “prophetic gifts” in the eyes of his acolyte, Lou Engle, who made it his mission to fulfill a 1993 prophecy by his mentor:

In 1993, Bob Jones prophesied, “The Houston Oilers would move to Nashville, and Nashville would build God a stadium. And 100,000 people, particularly youth, would gather for a great mobilization of the army of God.” With this prophecy in effect, I was praying about holding The Call in Titan Stadium in Nashville on 07-07-07.

Engle’s earlier incarnation of The Call had become relatively inactive by about 2002, but Engle relaunched it in 2006 with the help of Kansas-City based International House of Prayer to fulfill Jones’ 1993 prophecy. The International House of Prayer is led by Mike Bickle, another of the Kansas City Prophets, who is also listed as The Call’s vice president on their 2009 IRS 990 form. Three other former Kansas City Prophets, Stacey Campbell, Jim Goll, and Dutch Sheets, also sit on The Call’s board of directors, as does Bishop Harry Jackson of Washington, D.C. (or perhaps not of Washington, D.C., but that’s a completely different story.)

The Call in Nashville, in 2007.

The Call in Nashville, in 2007.

I’ve been corresponding to one young man who attended the relaunched The Call event in Nashville in 2007. Tyler (his last name is being withheld) remembers that day vividly — July 7, 2007 (07/07/07 was their “Holy Date”) — and wrote:

I went to Nashville and the day was a whole day of fasting and prayer to “turn the nation back to God.”  Their tactics include, in my opinion, a lot of manipulation using emotionally-driven songs, yelling, dancing, and the like to get individuals charged up.

Tyler eventually left the group and came out as gay. But he found that leaving the group was difficult:

I just know that I was pretty “stuck” in that organization and by the time I left I felt like I was getting away from some hardcore brainwashing.  It is tough because everyone involved is extremely friendly (they would definitely not pass as members of the Fred Phelps crew…they are too kind).  Those involved tend to be young, 20-somethings, who all have a hip and fresh look about them (the Urban Outfitters or American Apparel kind of person).  They seem to be open and accepting.

It was difficult for me to leave the group and this movement because I did find such a home there and developed such great friendships.  I just couldn’t remain part of something that was so certain that who I am is wrong and I must change.

Since that Nashville gathering, The Call has sponsored additional gatherings in Cincinnati, Ohio; Montgomery, Alabama; Washington, D.C.; and San Diego, all in 2008. The San Diego event was called specifically to rally for the passage of California’s Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage.

The “Toronto Blessing,” Brownsville Revival, and Michael Brown

A service of the Toronto Blessing

A service of the Toronto Blessing

Prophet Jones also claims to have predicted the so-called “Toronto Blessing” revival of 1994, which was billed as a spontaneous and historic multi-year outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a congregation at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. Jones supposedly predicted the Toronto Blessing in 1984, exactly ten years earlier. But others see evidence of more direct involvement of the Kansas City Prophets in the Toronto Blessing aside from mere prophecy.

At any rate, the Toronto Blessing was immediately controversial, not only due to the theologies presented there which many mainstream Pentecostals believed were unbiblical, but also due to the odd ecstasies the Toronto Blessing became known for. Mainstream Pentecostal practices place an emphasis on a personal experience of the Holy Spirit, which can be manifested by such signs as speaking in tongues, dancing and being “slain in the Spirit.” To the uninitiated, these can be quite off-putting, but Pentecostal theologians point to scripture to defend certain specific ecstatic experiences.

But nothing prepared them for some of the new behaviors shown at the Toronto Blessing. That revival introduced some new and novel ecstasies never seen before, including uncontrollable “holy laughter;” barking, braying, and making other animal noises; being “drunk” in the spirit, and many other odd behaviors that many mainstream Pentecostals found both disturbing and unbiblical.

Steve Hill (left) and John Kilpatrick (right).

Steve Hill (left) and John Kilpatrick (right).

The Toronto Blessing spawned several other revivals, one notable one being a revival in the United Kingdom at Holy Trinity Brompton in London. In fact, it was the British press which dubbed the revival “The Toronto Blessing.” Abd that’s where an American Assemblies of God evangelist by the name of Steve Hill reportedly received “The Blessing” at Brompton. He moved to Pensacola, Florida, where he joined up with John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Brownsville Assembly of God. Kilpatrick’s wife had also attended a Toronto Blessing service along with several members of their congregation, so Kilpatrick was already familiar with the famous revival that was garnering a great deal of attention throughout the Charismatic Christian world. Together, Hill and Kilpatrick orchestrated a similar revival of their own in Pensacola, which came to be known as the Brownsville Revival or the Pensacola Outpouring. That revival would continue for at least the next five years. Hill and Kilpatrick were able to recreate the Toronto Blessing quite well — right down to the “holy laughter” and being “drunk in the spirit,” to the horror of other more tranditional-minded Pentecostal pastors and adherents:

“Yet in this Brownsville assembly there is not only violent shaking, but also shrieking and hyena-like laughter. And this is called ‘holy.’

“Another aspect of this so-called “revival,” “outpouring of God,” and “flow of the Spirit” is getting “drunk in the Spirit.” Pastor Kilpatrick of Brownsville admitted that he has been so “drunk in the Spirit” that he actually struck his youth pastor’s car with his own. He said that while driving he had hit many garbage cans sitting at the curb on several occasions, because he was so “drunk.” He added that his wife has been so drunk she couldn’t cook. Sometimes his drunken stupors are so severe that he has to be taken from the service in a wheel-chair, Kilpatrick reported.

That revival eventually died down amid financial scandals, tax evasion, fictitious biographies, theological squabbles with fellow pentecostal pastors, false claims of converting prominent public figures, hoax “cures,” failed prayers to raise the dead, crackdowns on dissenters, and accusations of turning away people in need. But among the many enduring products of the Brownsville Revival was none other than Michael Brown himself.

Michael Brown and the Brownsville Revival

Michael Brown speaking at the Brownsville Assembly of God

Michael Brown speaking at the Brownsville Assembly of God

It’s unclear how Michael Brown became involved with the Brownsville Revival, but we do know that he arrived in Pensacola in 1996 and quickly became a part of the Brownsville inner circle. According to the Pensacola New Journal, some who knew him say he waited for more than a decade for just such a major, long-running revival. Several people say he commanded a major role behind the scenes as the “brains” of the operation.

His official role with the Brownsville Revival centered on his founding of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in 1996. While at the helm, he reportedly engaged in crackdowns against dissent. The wife of a former employee says Brown threatened her family’s livelihood in order to force her to recant what Brown regarded as criticism of the revival. Others described him as a man “consumed by the desire to be in control.” Brown denied that, saying that because he had “strong moral convictions and have often taken clear stands on controversial issues,” it was “no surprise that some of those who differ with me might mistake confidence for arrogance.”

Brown’s position in the Brownsville Revival proved lucrative. By 1998, he was reportedly building a home valued at $727,360 on 11 acres of land purchased for $165,000. (Brown disputed the figures.)  Brown was fired from the school in 2000 for failure to agree on an “acceptable means of accountability” within the Assemblies of God. (Brown was not a member of the denomination and was therefore outside its lines of accountability.) He moved to Charlotte where he founded the FIRE School of Ministry, which appears to be a North Carolina recreation of Brown’s former school in Florida. FIRE is an acronym for “Fellowship for International Revival and Evangelism.”

Brown was joined in his new venture by several other BRSM faculty members and staff: Robert Gladstone, Josh Peters, Steve Alt, Scott Volk, S.J. Hill, and Tobi A. Peters. Five other FIRE faculty and staff members are BRSM graduates. Gladstone now serves as FIRE’s director. Brown himself reconciled with the Brownsville group in 2003.

Lou Engle

Lou Engle

A “Flash Point”
So as we can see, there is a direct line of theological and ministerial development from the Kansas City Prophets and Lou Engle, to the Toronto Blessing, and from there to the Brownsville Revival and Michael Brown. That line has become a complete circle, with Engle and Brown uniting for a showdown in Charlotte.

To prepare for this event, Engle and Brown have called for yet another 21-day fast in the days leading up to Charlotte Pride. And when Engle calls for a fast, he clearly intends something big. InterstateQ has posted audio of Lou Engle as he talked about an earlier fateful 21-day fast at a post-9/11 gathering of The Call in Boston:

It’s time for the church to gain air supremacy again. When 9-11 happened, we were in the midst of a 21 day fast. The planes flew out of Boston … I didn’t know what was coming down that day, but I wrote a devotional for that day it was this: We have lost air supremacy in America. I said the prophetic movie for this year is “Pearl Harbor,” when they said, “They’re building bombs, we’re building refrigerators. We don’t even know there is a war going on.” I think something far worse than Islam is coming to America in the homosexual agenda. Islam is something that comes from without. When we begin to change the very foundational laws of creation … we begin to literally destruct inwardly as a people.

And so it should come as no surprise that Lou Engle would call for a 21-day fast now for Charlotte. Engle said this about the latest fast in an interview posted on Brown’s web site:

I believe with the 21 day fast, that we’re calling, that breakthroughs could take place, in the community, people getting saved on that day, a divine favor shift in the high places of the government could take place, because in 21 days of fasting and prayer, because as you know with Daniel, everything shifted over the king of Persia, an archangel now had influence over the king of Persia, rather than the demonic prince of Persia.  Why can’t we believe for the same kind of shifts to take place in this season of time?  So I think the 25th is a flash point, at the ending of 21 days.

And what might that flash point be? We don’t know. In the interview posted on Michael Brown’s web site, Engle and Brown believe that it will be a rising up of a new movement to put a halt to LGBT advocacy efforts. But Lou Engle’s earlier description, from his talk in Boston, cannot be dismissed:

Addressing a post-9/11 TheCall gathering in Boston, whose participants phoned Engle to say they were afraid of attending, Engle said he replied, “Since when can Muslims die better than Christians? … Esther said, ‘If I die, I die.’”

In his message to FIRE Church, Engle said Christians needed to make “peace through war,” saying, “Revelation demands participation … Sometimes we use prophecies as toys instead of bombs to make war with in the Spirit.”

Describing his prayers to root out the “homosexual Jezebel spirit” in California, Engle said he prayed everyday with a “focused, laser beam.”

“There’s power in that kind of prayer,” Engle exclaimed. “That’s a prayer,” he said, making machine gun sounds and adding, “Shoot everything!”

Engle said, “If I die, I die” and “Shoot everything!” Compare that with Brown’s “Life as it is is not worth living, but the cause is worth dying for.” It’s no wonder these two found each other. In fact, Engle says he contacted Brown because he received a “prophetic word.” From the Kansas City Prophets, to the Toronto Blessing, to the Brownsville Revival, there is a consistent thread that runs through them.

We don’t believe that these leaders intend for any violence to take place at the Charlotte Pride festival. But we do know that they believe they are on a prophetic mission to confront the forces of evil, and that is the message they intend to share with their mob of 1,000 highly emotional protesters.

In a movement that places such value in the Word, there is little difference between word and deed. And that’s particularly true when the word is presented as prophecy. Engle says his prophecy is that the “homosexual agenda” will reach its high-water mark in Charlotte, and that because of their efforts, “it stops here.” Those hoped-for thousand will have fasted and prayed, and they will have heard the exhortations to value death more than life. Brown and Engle are playing with a very dangerous mix of emotion and religious fervor. Under those conditions, just about anything might happen.

Comments

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TJMcFisty
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

“…it should come as no surprise that Lou Engle would call for a 21-day fast now for Charlotte.”

Sounds like Pride needs a bbq and not a march since the protestors will be so hungry. Jesus would feed them.

Donna Patrie
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

One of the early Kansas City Prophets along with Bob Jones was Paul Cain. Paul was really the leader of this group of “prophets” and is now an old man.

Interestingly enough it has recently come out that Mr. Cain is gay. Can you imagine! Right in the midst of this God placed a Gay man and endowed him with more power than any of the other prophets. Okay so I’m being a little sarcastic. Militant Christianity, as represented by these men is unfortunatly a force we will have to deal with. They have chosen the glbt community because we are a convienent target.

Disgusted American
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

this is an obvious Hate ploy – brought to you by peopel who “worry about what other people do,too much”….these so-called religious nut jobs, should be worrying about soup kitchens needing help, hunger & homelessness in America, Unemployment, spousel abuse,child abuse etc etc……but no, they worry about Tax paying Law abiding citizens who don’t “Iive by thier ideas” of how society should be……we are a Republic democracy, NOT a Theocracy….these religious Nutz are America’s equivelent to the TALIBAN trying to make all those live under Sharia law….Keep your religious BS to yourself/and in your own churches..and OUT of our secular gov’t.

Alan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

“it stops here”?

Isn’t that what they said after passing Prop 8 in California?

After which 5 more states recognized gay marriage?

AJD
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Having abandoned the Christian religion years ago, I’ve lost any idealistic thinking that these people are not “real” Christians or that they should be feeding poor people instead of picking on the gays.

What I see are the earliest stages of a uniquely American equivalent to fascism, completely with stadium revivals reminiscent of a Nuremberg rally.

I think it’s a little naive to think Brown and Engle don’t intend to have violence break out at Charlotte Pride. To be sure, they haven’t said anything to advocate it, but they have to know how tense things got with just 100 protesters; with 1,000 emotionally riled up fundamentalist Christians, things are bound to get ugly, and violence is something the marchers need to be prepared for.

Donna Patrie
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

The new American Fascism. I can see that.

jimmy
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

I will have my pepper spray, spring loaded baton and taser if these nutcases even get near me! I have used them before and will use them again on these nutjobs!

Penguinsaur
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

2 things:
1. IHOP? seriously? they couldnt think of any other acronym?
2. wouldnt it be funny if only a few dozen poeople showed up for this? I doubt it though. Atleast the news reports of these bigots gaybashing will add to that huge pile of evidence that the religious right doesnt hate the sin, love the sinner. They just hate gays.

Richard Rush
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

AJD and Disgusted American are correct about the Christian Nutzies.

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — From a book written in 1935 by Sinclair Lewis titled “It Can’t Happen Here.”

Richard Rush
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

In January, 2008, there was a post on Ex-Gay Watch about Michael Brown, and it was followed by a huge number of comments where Brown participated extensively in the dialog. Some my find it interesting in light of Jim’s post here on BTB.

In that dialog Brown presented himself as a model of civility and having “genuine” concern for those on both sides of the issues. The reality is that Brown was/is a virulent bigot trying to hide in a Trojan horse.

FriendOfJonathan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

The idea of having food is not bad.

It would also be great to get the progressive/liberal churches in the area to show up, Bibles in hand.

There should definitely be a large film crew available, using every technological means possible to record – because when/if Engle’s folk cross the line – and personally, I believe that is guaranteed to happen – documentation of these pseudo-christian homophobes in acts of mayhem will indeed be a turning point – comparable to the footage of cops using waterhoses and dogs on African American students.

Christopher Waldrop
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

What’s really disheartening is that these groups can subtly advocate violence, but if any of the Pride marchers act in their own self-defense it will be painted as gays and lesbians being violent toward Christians. Actually even if there isn’t any violence I’m sure the “counter-protesters” will claim they were attacked either verbally or physically. Brown and Engle obviously don’t have any interest in being honest.

Are there any Christians calling for tolerance and understanding, though? I mean, are there any Christians who are vocal in their opposition to Brown and Engle? I’m not trying to be confrontational. I don’t think these guys represent the majority of Christians–at least I hope they don’t. But there seem to be very few people who call themselves Christians who are willing to oppose Brown and Engle and other bigots, which gives Christians as a group a bad name.

Priya Lynn
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

I think Christopher and other commenters are correct, they hope to provoke a violent confrontation and then claim its all the gays fault. I wish I could be there with a video camera as Friend of Jonathon suggests to protect the innocent, but with 5 days notice I can’t organize a trip and I find the U.S. to be a bit of a scary place.

Dan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

This post is a good example of why BTB is one of the best, if not the best, gay blog on the web. Anyone can post 50 words and a link to a news item. But few and far between are the bloggers who go and do the hard research and develop meaningful analysis of the events that impact our movement.

Excellent work, Mr. Burroway!

AJD
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

FriendofJonathan: They aren’t “pseudo-Christian homophobes.” I don’t mean to paint all Christians as homophobic, but they’re acting on the Christian religion’s nearly 2,000-year history of repressing, assaulting, torturing, killing and generally hating gay people.

Unfortunately, most self-professed Christians around the world aren’t too different from these people. Christians who are genuinely non-homophobic are a new and relatively rare phenomenon, globally speaking.

This reminds me of a line from “True Blood” last week during a dialogue between Bill and Sookie about an anti-vampire church (reproduced to the best of my memory):
Sookie: “They may be crazy, but they’re still a church! They’re not going just go out and start kidnapping people!”
Bill: “Sookie, churches have done far worse throughout history.”

Dr. Michael L. Brown
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Hey folks,

If this article was accurate, I would share your concerns! Alas, for those expecting ugly confrontation and violence — God forbid — at our God Has a Better Way rally, they will be sadly disappointed. What there will be is a lot of worship, prayer, and gracious, respectful interaction on our part. And I have no reason to expect ugly conduct from GLBT’s attending the event, since we have had no such confrontations in the past and do not expect any this time.

The take away from all this is simple: While our ideological differences are great, I deplore violence in Jesus’ name at least as much as, if not more than, you deplore violence in the name of the GLBT cause.

For those wanting to find out the truth about our spirit and approach, I suggest you watch my dialog with Harry Knox from 2008 at http://coalitionofconscience.askdrbrown.org/resources/debate.html

Marcus French
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Jimmy,

You said:

I will have my pepper spray, spring loaded baton and taser if these nutcases even get near me! I have used them before and will use them again on these nutjobs!

I’m the one that interviewed Lou Engle for the article on Voice of Revolution linked to in this article, and I’ll be at the God Has a Better Way rally on Saturday. Should I expect you to use “pepper spray,” a “spring loaded baton,” and a “taser” against me if I come up to say hi?

David C.
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

We’re in a down economy. A lot of people, and organizations, are running low on funds to do anything. For Talibangelists, that means trotting out the boogie-man of the “homosexual agenda” (they’ll never refer to our struggle as one for civil rights)—they need the money along with the visibility and influence it buys.

This is the product of the radical religious right these days: it has nothing to do with healing the sick, feeding, sheltering, and clothing the poor, or doing anything to help lift up the downtrodden.

These individuals and their groups are reaching their high-water mark. The run-up to this point has been coming since the late 70’s. The mood and attitudes of the country as a whole have clearly shifted, though at times of economic uncertainty, faith and the paranormal tend to resurge.

This challenge is unique for a variety of other reasons though. What we are seeing is the Christianist analogue of the Taliban and the hardening of a core of radical Christianists. These individuals are dangerous to themselves and their followers, and dangerous to the ideals of the United States. These are not mainstream Christians. It is therefore vitally important to maintain this distinction and to acknowledge it when we are dealing with both groups.

The Charlotte (N.C.) Pride parade and festival organizers should take time now to develop a strategy for managing these protesters, and provide information (through their web site and other outlets) for volunteers and parade goers that will help everyone to be safe and avoid unpleasant confrontations. It is especially important to get input and solicit help from local law enforcement. Perhaps it will be possible to cordon off a place for protesters to protect them and celebrants from coming into any contact that might lead to confrontation or violence.

Priya Lynn
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Michael Brown, you use two entirely different tones depending on who you talk to. When you come to gay blogs you try and sugar coat your hate and when you talk to anti-gay Christians out comes the hate speech with violent overtones overtones and war rhetoric. You’re not fooling anyone, you’re hoping to provoke a violent conflict and then to say “oh look how nicely I spoke to them – aren’t they bad”. Spare us your two-faced attempts at oppression – we see right through you.

Roger
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

The only thing I disagree with David C is about the Talibangelists beeing reaching their watermark point now, They met it quite a while ago, and now their waters are scarcing at alarming speed. This is what prompt all this sudden spiritual calls to battle.
I have NEVER met on of this selfrighteous “pastors who loved ANYTHING else than money and power. And attack the gay community has proven a cow they have milked for ages. Now I really hope the pride organizers call local law enforcement and prepare the participants to ignore these hungry mob and march peacefully and happily even in face os such harassment. Maybe throwing then some hotdogs could make wonders really ;)

WC
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

We made a huge mistake during the Clinton years by thinking that the christianist movement in America was no longer relevant. Anyone who has spent more than a minute over the last 10 years looking into these groups should realize that we are in for a massive christianist shitstorm in this country, and it is indeed going to be ugly.

CPT_Doom
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Um, Dr. Brown, a grammatical correction – it’s “If this article were accurate, I would share your concerns!” You see, you are using the subjunctive tense, and, as Sister Virginia Maria taught me “with ‘If’ and ‘Wish’ we use ‘were’.”

I bring this up because Sister Virginia Maria and the rest of the nuns and priests who transmitted the Roman Catholic religion to me taught me a lot of other things; things that you probably would not like.

I’d like you to consider the alternative scenario if the Roman Catholic Church, which of course believes it is the only legitimate, valid form of Christianity, decided to treat you and your fellow religionists in the same way you treat the LGBT community. Think of it, hundreds, if not more, Roman Catholics surrounding your “churches,” attempting to convert you and your flock from your current heresy, blasphemy and potential Satan worship (since there is only one way, according to the Catholics, to worship God, any other methods must be worshiping His counterpart). Roman Catholics demanding the right to practice their religion – which would, of course, require good Catholic employers to fire anyone who would make your lifestyle choice of religion, and require Catholic hospitals to refuse your sex partner access to you during an emergency (since your “marriage” is likely invalid in the eyes of God as well).

You see Dr. Brown, there is one thing you need to consider before you continue on your current path. Your religious lifestyle choice, one that is open to you soley because of the First Amendment to MY Constitution, directly violates the teachings of Christ. You are not simply a sinner in that you fail to live up to the image of Christ; you are a sinner because you have turned your back on His Church.

And yet, you are uncompromising in your sin. You insist that your sinful lifestyle choice be given the same respect as a real religion; you demand not just tolerance for your heresy, for your blasphemy, for your sexual sin, you demand acceptance and approval. You want society to think you’re a great guy even though you live your life completely contrary to the laws of God, at least according to a Roman Catholic.

Tell me, Dr. Brown, why should any Roman Catholic respect your immoral lifestyle choice when you will not show that same level of respect to others? In fact, is not the main teaching of Christ to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated? And how, exactly, do you expect LGBT people to treat you as you treat us with contempt?

WC
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Dr. Michael L. Brown

While your christianist group may be leaving their baseball bats and AK’s at home, your mere presence constitutes a threat and should be treated accordingly

Penguinsaur
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

“The take away from all this is simple: While our ideological differences are great, I deplore violence in Jesus’ name at least as much as, if not more than, you deplore violence in the name of the GLBT cause.”

You dont hate gays, you just think we should be shunned and fired for ever coming out of the closet:
http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2008/01/the-fighting-words-of-michael-brown/#comment-27809

“in answer to Timothy’s questions, I stated that I do not favor an openly gay person teaching children in our schools”

But keep up your bigoted crusade. Keep hiding behind the bible when people point out you obviously hate gays. Keep driving young people who dont share your prejudice away in droves.
We could use more athiests.

Christopher™
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Let me remind everyone that Dr. Brown supports the work of Peter LaBarbera.

That should be enough to tell you where Dr. Brown is really coming from.

JandyA
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Wow! I hardly know what to say. But that’s never stopped me from saying something in the past.

I am a converted sinner, converted born-again-ist, converted out and proud gay.

In other words, I tried the whole “confess and repent” route of the Brownies (not the Jr Girl Scouts either).

I was a gay who despised himself. I got “saved” and enrolled in a CONSERVATIVE Christian Church and University. Only problem was, I was then a Gay Christian in denial.

I finally decided to STOP lying to myself, to others, and to God. I am gay… my sexuality is DIFFERENT, not deviant. I LOVE… just not the same as the majority.

And FINALLY… I learned to love and accept my Self, my God, and my Humanity. I accepted that I’m no better, and no worse than every other SINNER on this earth. And none of us are Perfectly Holy.

I also decided that God must have a MUCH BIGGER PROBLEM with those who BELIEVE they are more righteous than their neighbor,than He does with those who KNOW they are not.

Shouldn’t Brown be concerned with getting the BEAM removed from his own eye, rather than tying to remove the SPECK from my eye? Or does Brown consider himself SO RIGHTEOUS that he can set himself up as Judge, Jury, and Executioner. I wonder what it IS that Brown is so desperately trying to defeat, within his OWN desires and proclivities.

We’ve certainly heard MUCH from others who stood on a Pillar Of (self) Righteousness… right before they PLUMMETED to their own destruction.

I’d say, just ignore him and avoid him as much as possible. His TRUTH is just beginning to become apparent. It is the color of HATE.

David Farrell
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Coming from an Assemblies of God background I understand the metaphors they use. What concerns me is the many GLBTs that are involved with F.I.R.E. and the damage being done to them.

snj
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Too bad we can except the things we can change but we can not except those things that we can not change.
T

Alan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Have to disagree a bit with AJD…it’s the world in general that has been anti-gay for the last 2000 years, not just the Christians.

Just like it isn’t just gay-accepting Christian that are a relatively new phenomnea, but gay-accepting people in general.

a. mcewen
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Underneath it all, it sounds like Mr. Brown is trying to push a large platform for himself. Usually the thought would be “ignore him,” but him and folks like him are difficult to ignore. I hope to be in Charlotte this weekend and if any of them comes up to me, I hope to have a nice discussion with them on thier constant inaccuracies and ugly rhetori.. And by nice discussion, I mean nice discussion i.e. talking.

Matt
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Amen to CPT_Doom’s comments. They’re all historically accurate, because they ALL happened during the Reformation era when Catholics did all those things to Protestants.

It’s really ironically funny to look at the history of Christianity. Under the Roman Empire, they were a persecuted religion (at times). Once Christianity became the dominant and official religion of the Empire, what did Christians do? They turned around and started persecuting pagans right back!

And some Christians have been doing the same thing ever since.

tavdy79
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

I’ve been corresponding to one young man who attended the relaunched The Call event in Nashville in 2007. Tyler (his last name is being withheld) remembers that day vividly — July 7, 2007 (07/07/07 was their “Holy Date”)

Historical note: 07/07/07 was the two-year anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London, which killed 52 people, not including the bombers themselves.

David C.
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Under the Roman Empire, they were a persecuted religion (at times). Once Christianity became the dominant and official religion of the Empire, what did Christians do? They turned around and started persecuting pagans right back!—Matt

There should be no doubt why the Founders put the Establishment Clause in the US Constitution: government institutionalization of religion through the normative structures of law has never proven to be ultimately good for the societies that have tried it.

timothy kincaid
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Hello, Dr. Brown,

Here’s a simple way to show that you are an honest and honorable man: if you deplore violence, don’t instigate confrontation.

Hold your God Has A Better Way event away from and apart from the Charlotte Pride event. Those who wish to attend either then could do so without confrontation.

Otherwise you seem a bit like an abusive husband that claims to hate beating his wife. Your words may be of peace, but your actions promise otherwise.

timothy kincaid
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Jimmy,

Advocating violence is a violation of our Comments Policy.

tavdy79
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Random, possibly interesting factoid:

About a decade ago there was a prophecy given which caused quite a stir in evangelical circles (I was in an evangelical church at the time). It was a prophecy about an upcoming battle, and pictured Christendom as a mountain (a fairly common image) with various different Christian sects each working to maintain and defend the mountain from attack. Towards the end of the prophecy it described how several sects chose to go on the offensive, and attack those assaulting the mountain, in the belief that they could win. However in their pride they ended up isolating themselves from the safety of the mountain, and they were completely destroyed.

It seems to me that if the Charlotte Pride does turn violent then the general public will instinctively want to take sides. The Call are probably assuming that people will join with them, but I’m not sure they will. This could be the point at which the Christofascists begin to become progressively isolated from not only mainstream America but mainstream Christianity, the precise opposite of what their leaders want. This is, after all, ultimately about power and control.

That’s why they’re saying “this far, no further” – they’re trying to claim power that isn’t theirs to own, power which (in the West and elsewhere) can only be granted democratically. And they’re basing their “right” to claim that power on religious belief, on the idea that it has been granted to them by God and that therefore it cannot be denied them. If state authorities try to intervene, they’ll take that as evidence that the state &/or federal governments have been “infiltrated by the devil”, and use that as a reason to view civil authorities as the enemy.

Gay Christian 101
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

The charismatic religiosity never ends with the FIRE folks.

“Bob Jones (no relation to Bob Jones of Bob Jones University in South Carolina) was the visionary of the bunch.

He… was quoted as saying that the general level of prophetic revelation in the movement’s “prophets” had an accuracy level of about 65 percent. Some prophets were as low as 10 percent accurate, he said, with some of the “most mature” prophets having a rating “approaching 85 percent to 95 percent.”

These 10%, 65%, 85%, 95% charlatans are nothing more than pseudo-religious con-men, fleecing the flock, when they’re not busy molesting the flock.***

Here’s what the Bible says about these religious fakirs.

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.

And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?

when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord,

if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” -Deuteronomy 23:20-22, ESV

*** “Bob Jones, however, who not so long ago was regarded as the most powerful of the Kansas City crowd is out of ministry.

First when Wimber’s Vineyard absorbed the Kansas City Fellowship, Jones and another “prophet” were disciplined for making some outlandish statements and prophecies that were judged to have harmed some, and their prophecy tapes were removed from distribution.

Jones’s ministry was then limited to church leadership “behind closed doors.” But it was behind those doors where Jones’s ministry ended. Two women came forward in 1991 and told Vineyard leaders that Jones had used his prophetic authority to touch and fondle them sexually.

Jones admitted it and was removed from ministry. “In recent months, I have manipulated certain people for selfish reasons on the basis of my prophetic gifting,”

Jones said in a statement that he dictated and signed before the Metro Vineyard Fellowship senior leadership on November 4, 1991.

“I have been guilty of sexual misconduct, and I deeply regret this. (I have not committed adultery.)”

Benjamin
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

I have an Idea. If someone wants to prepare at least 1,000 Plus whipped cream pies the Pride attendees could pull an Anita Bryant pie in the face experience for these anti-gay bigots. I hope this Idea gets presented to the Charlotte Pride organizers. Harmless yet sending a very clear message to these creeps.

AJD
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Alan, that’s not true at all; take a look at the historical record. There’s a long history of homosexuality being accepted in most societies around the world prior to contact with Christians and Muslims.

Homophobia — the idea that it is morally wrong for two men or two women to have sex — is an attitude that, for most of history, was almost unique to the Abrahamic religions.

kevinbgoode
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Perhaps everyone attending Pride should carry/wear this sign:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=25346750

Then there will be no need for any conversation.

Dr. Michael L. Brown
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

I have been totally consistent in my use of language in dealing with the GLBT community for the last five years — which is as long as I have been involved in a serious way in this issue. My statements and letters and sermons are available to the general public. What IS misleading is when people take a quote of mine from ten years ago written with regard to the general HETEROSEXUAL moral decline in America and our need for a spiritual and moral revolution and then claim that I’m calling for a holy war against homosexuals. God forbid! To hear my heart loudly and clearly — in a public statement read here in Charlotte in 2006 — go here: http://askdrbrown.org//media/albums/COC/OfficialStatements/Statement%20to%20the%20Gay%20and%20Lesbian%20Community.pdf

Timothy,

We have no plans to provoke confrontation within the gay pride event, and the police are fully aware of this, as we met together and laid out our plans clearly. If there are ugly confrontations, they will not be initiated by us or conducted by us. The problem is that gay activists with a political agenda will be making a very public statement in the heart of our city at Pride Charlotte. We are simply taking loving exception to that. As for proving that we are non-violent, that is like me challenging you to prove that you are not a Martian. The burden of proof is on your side, since we are and have always been a totally non-violent people. Really, now, would we have moms and dads coming with their families and babies in strollers to a violent confrontation?

Tragically, it is the recent spate of articles written by folks like Matt Comer on his website and Jim Burroway here that are fomenting the potential of violence and creating a hysterical reaction. (Just look at some of the angry, violent comments here in response to Jim’s error-laden article.) Our tone and spirit from first to last will reflect the spirit of Jesus. The day will speak for itself, and I do hope that people with honor and integrity will acknowledge their mistaken impressions when the day is over.

Do you and I have profound differences? Of course we do, but the horrific misrepresentations of who our people are, found on this very website, are without justification and do massively more harm than good.

Alan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

AJD-

I’ll have to look at that, I thought homophobia predated Christianity.

I think I saw a book about the history of homophobia at the library…

Alan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Dr. Brown-

In the South they used to have public lynchings, and “moms and dads coming with their families” would attend and even pose for photographs with the corpse.

So the presence of families doens’t mean they’ll be no violence.

Yuki Choe
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Everytime the man Brown speaks, it sparks such an irony of contradiction:

I have been totally consistent in my use of language in dealing with the GLBT community for the last five years

If there are ugly confrontations, they will not be initiated by us or conducted by us. The problem is that gay activists with a political agenda will be making a very public statement in the heart of our city at Pride Charlotte. We are simply taking loving exception to that. As for proving that we are non-violent, that is like me challenging you to prove that you are not a Martian. The burden of proof is on your side, since we are and have always been a totally non-violent people.

Before that:

The take away from all this is simple: While our ideological differences are great, I deplore violence in Jesus’ name at least as much as, if not more than, you deplore violence in the name of the GLBT cause.

His “consistent” message has always been there. It is about THEM and US. If anything happens, it is NOT going to be their fault. Whatever happens WE have to justify anything that will happen. And to compound matters, they have exclusive rights to “Jesus’s name”. We are just the “GBLT cause”, or gay activists. He can mask it using a more sellable tone, but the context remain the same. They make us their “enemies”.

Penguinsaur
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

The burden of proof is on your side, since we are and have always been a totally non-violent people.

A man who admits he thinks gays should lose their job for being caught kissing is telling people who dont want to interfere in his life in anyway*, that we have the burden of proof. Thats ludicrous and you have to be a magnifcicent point dodger to not realize why.
*you tried to claim in the discussion I quoted you have to ‘recognize’ gay marriage, are you a federal clerk? Well I’m afraid you’ll have to get someone to cover for you when two women in wedding dresses come in. If you arent the guy who gives out marriage license you do not have to recognize gay marriage in anymore then you have to recognize the existence of Shiva.

cd
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

I guess the event will also be an opportunity to make some converts to homosexuality. ;-)

Of course, if there just happened to be 10,000 gay people participating in Charlotte Pride, that would somehow change the dynamic of the situation….

In the larger picture, this is the sort of thing that will happen more and more as gay people come out and gay rights activism closes in on the Charleston-to-OKC stronghold corridor of the Southern Christian Right.

Dan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

I definitely do not advocate violence! However, I do believe that WHATEVER happens, it will be a step forward. The law of unintended consequences works in mysterious ways (at least to those who stand in the way of progress).

David C.
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

Have to disagree a bit with AJD…it’s the world in general that has been anti-gay for the last 2000 years, not just the Christians.—Alan

Umm, you might want to study your ancient LGBT history. You can get a quick refresher course here. Most of the world was not subject to the damage of the Abrahamic traditions before about the 4th century of the Common Era.

David C.
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

“There are those who sincerely believe that homosexuality is inconsistent with their religion—and the First Amendment guarantees their freedom of belief. However, the same First Amendment, as well as the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, preclude the enshrinement of their religious-based disapproval in state law.”David Boies in an Opinion published by the WSJ.

Something for Dr. Michael L. Brown to read and think about.

Steve Smith
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

What to do and what they want to do

1. Demand police protection – thousands of police, with video cameras etc. What these christian fascists want to do is provoke violence and then claim their free speech rights etc were violated. And then they fund themselves with their lawsuits.

2. Ignore them, and demand the police keep them separated. Tell the police the city/ county will be sued if they fail to do their job of protecting all the people.

3. Ignoring them is the worst of the worst punishment for them. They think that when you confront them, they are starting to get you to believe in their (hitlerite version of the) story of Jesus, and their weapon – the bible, is getting through to you.

4. And we need to get all good people to realize how hitler came to power based on religious hatred of the Jews. And how gays are the new Jews to the same mentality type control freak people.

5. I used to think that progressives vs regressive conservative churches defined how they treated other people who were different then themselves.

Now I understand. The so called right wing nut case churches are nothing but control freak run organizations. Their ego comes from controlling others. This is exactly what Hitler (a catholic btw), Stalin, Mao, Saddam Hussein were – control freaks. Religion is just a carrier for their mania in this country, as communism was for some in other nations, and as Islamic extremism is for others, eg Iran, and the people who gave us 9/11

REMEMBER, BESIDES THE PARADE ISSUE, ITS NECESSARY TO REACH OUT TO GOOD PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THE YOUNGER PEOPLE WHO ARE BECOMING AETHISTS (THANK GOD :-) DUE TO THESE CREEPS.

and show them that gay people are good, deserving of respect people. One thing it does mean is no near nakedness in public, and no suck your pals tongue out kissing and groping. BE Gentlemen and you will help give the lie to those who are still fighting the civil war with a new victim. And you will build support within the general str8 community. So these freaks will gain their rightfull place in history – as one of America’s great shames and a stain on our national soul

BTw, I got this last paragraph from a relatively conservative Catholic neighbor. He believes that gay people are entitled to all the rights of marriage, but he does have a problem with that word. Which I understand, given his upbringing..

And he was the one who said that gay people need to ALWAYS conduct themselves as gentlemen. A quick peck kiss in public is fine, mouth to mouth reuscitation is not, groping is not. Just do as str8 people do, and you will do so much to gain the support of the middle ground people.

FriendOfJonathan
July 20th, 2009 | LINK

AJD

You are painting a distorted picture through semantic games.

“They aren’t “pseudo-Christian homophobes.” I don’t mean to paint all Christians as homophobic, but they’re acting on the Christian religion’s nearly 2,000-year history”

A faith is NOT defined by it’s history, as you try to do above, but by it’s core beliefs.

The core beliefs of Christianity do NOT included condemnation of homosexuality. Jesus was silent on the subject of homosexuality, and very vocal about injustice.

The history you wrote of, which represents a narrow slice of the lives and faith of Christians, some 700 years out of 2000, reflects only the abuse and distortion of Christ’s teaching, hence my use of the term “pseudo”. When you buy into that false teaching, allowing homophobes like Mr. Brown to redefine Christianity as a weapon of violence, you actually assist the homophobes.

The fact is that all components of human society – all religions, all creeds, all ideologies, all philosophies, all systems of business and government, have their own history of violence, persecution, destruction, and prejudice. Christianity is not unique in that regard. The fact that a faith, any faith, including Christianity, has included within its members those who committed crimes against others, speaks only about the nature of human beings in general, for every segment of human society has had within it people who acted to harm others. The fact that a faith, any faith, including Christianity, has been used to excuse, cover, even justify harm, speaks only to the inventiveness of some human beings to make excuses for hurting others, for again, every field of endeavor humans have come up with, has been abused and used to excuse violence, discrimination, and destruction.

At least be honest and admit that science and philosophy have equally been abused to create excuses for abusing and discriminating against GLBTQ people, among others.

Yes, some of the most visible elements of Christianity, primarily the authoritative elements in Catholicism, and later some protestant denominations, have used their religion as an excuse for abusing GLBTQ people. Yet all along, there were segments of Christian society that did not embrace homophobia and ‘homosexuality is sin’ theology. And today, some of the most committed homophobes I know, are atheists – committed to pushing anti-gay theology as the strawman justification for pushing their anti-Christian prejudice.

The issue is not Christian teaching, for Christ’s core, explicit teachings condemn prejudice of any kind, including prejudice against homosexuals.

The issue, the wrongness, is lust for power over others, something that has led various humans to violate the principles of every religion, every political system, every philosophy, and every other ideal, art, invention in human history. And, AJD, that hunger to assert authority over other humans beings is something that non-Christians, and atheists, are just as prone to, even today. No group of humans is free of it.

If you condemn Christians, en masse, for the sake of those who have used their faith to dominate others, you must condemn every other group of people as well – no group’s history is free of acts of domination and coercion.

FriendOfJonathan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown,

“The burden of proof is on your side, since we are and have always been a totally non-violent people. ”

Bearing false witness and giving false testmony are condemned in the Bible, repeatedly, explicitly.

Anti-gay theology IS verbal violence, Mr. Brown. The reality is that people who believe anti-gay theology inflict serious physical harm, as an expression of that theology, the theology you teach, day in and day out.

I notice that you have not disputed the quotes here that you have objected to employment equality for GLBTQ people. I expect that you would object strenuously if you were denied any civil right because of your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, or any other trait.

If you object to be discriminated against, for any reason, but advocate discrimination against homosexuals, then you are in deliberate violation of Christ’s command ‘love your neighbor as yourself’.

Your prejudice against GLBTQ people is a deliberate rejection of Christ, just as any racist’s prejudice, or any anti-Semite’s prejudice, or the actions of anyone who harms another, is a deliberate, willful act of disobediance.

Your prayers might be more usefully directed at the log in your own eye, rather than the splinter you imagine you see in the eyes, and lives, of GLBTQ people.

Frankly, you and your peers would be better off concentrating on purging your own lives of sin and imperfection, rather than obsessing with and judging the lives of others.

Until you are sinless, Mr. Brown, mind your own business.

FriendOfJonathan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

“One thing it does mean is no near nakedness in public, and no suck your pals tongue out kissing and groping. BE Gentlemen . . .A quick peck kiss in public is fine, mouth to mouth reuscitation is not, groping is not.”
and “Just do as str8 people do, and you will do so much to gain the support of the middle ground people.”

Steve – you do realize that your first statemente conflicts with the second. Right?

There are hets who are groping, grabbing, swapping swit, swabbing tonsils, you name it, in public, 24/7/365, for millenia. The mass media is inundated, 24/7/365, year after year, with images of hetersexual physical, carnal intimacy, and not just as expressions of love. Het foreplay is or has been used to sell every commodity imaginable, from cigarettes and cell phones, to septic tanks and automobile oil.

Same-sex PDA’s at Pride are nothing in comparison to constant disply of het PDA’s at any public high school, or Mardi Gras, or bus station, on TV, or church parking lot, rock concert, movie theatre.

Just FYI, of course.

Davis: Pentecostal Evangelists Plan To Surround Charlotte Pride | News Blog from 365gay.com
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

[…] thorough story by the Box Turtle Bulletin reports that the last time Brown and his friends showed up at Charlotte Pride, many participants […]

Timothy (TRiG)
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

FriendOfJonathan,

I don’t know what right you feel you have to define who is and who is not a Christian. I’m an atheist. I have no such right. For me, as an atheist, to tell someone who calls himself a Christian that he actually is not one, would be an astonishing act of hubris.

So, to my mind, anyone who thinks of him-/herself as a Christian, is a Christian.

And, by that definition, we can probably agree that the vast majority of Christians have a theological disagreement with homosexuality, and very many are homophobic.

TRiG.

The Lauderdale
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

TRiG,
Speaking as someone who is neither atheist nor Christian, where does FriendOfJonathan say how to define who is or is not a Christian? As far as I could see, (s)he was talking about how to define what Christianity itself is or is not.

Alex
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Dr. Brown,

You said: “The problem is that gay activists with a political agenda will be making a very public statement in the heart of our city at Pride Charlotte.”

No, the problem is that you see the free expression of an opposing viewpoint in “your” city as a problem.

And when you claim, “…we are and have always been a totally non-violent people,” I sincerely hope you’re referring only to your church and not Christians in general. Think what you will about the LGBT community; at least the murder, torture, and imprisonment of countless people has never been part of OUR agenda. http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2002/10/how-many-people-have-been-killed-by.php

Christians have a long and well-documented history of violence toward homosexuals. I hope you can understand why we’re a bit distrustful.

Toryn
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

I invite all LGBT and allied people to Pride Charlotte on Saturday, July 25th. While there is no march or parade, we do offer 2 stages of great entertainment and vendors representing everything from financial services to the arts, and of course, plenty of rainbow merchandise for sale!

The venue itself, Gateway Village, as well as the city streets that are part of the festival, will be fully monitored by police and security. Our goal is for everyone to have a safe and fun Pride, without being discouraged or harassed by anyone. The police and security are aware of the protest, and have been planning accordingly.

As Steve Smith commented above, the best strategy really is to ignore the protesters. We encourage our attendees to do that.

I look forward to seeing the community come out to support Pride Charlotte this weekend!

Toryn
Pride Charlotte

Roger
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown´s statements make it startling obvious, what the game is, and do not be fooled, this shades of “chritians” are ALWAYS playing games, in order to gain power and money. The Master plan here is clearly defined in a few phrases:
“the police are fully aware of this, as we met together and laid out our plans clearly” and “If there are ugly confrontations, they will not be initiated by us or conducted by us”.

Tha plan here is a bait game, they mass harass the GLBTQ participants, expecting a reaction that they will use endlessly as a weapon agains us. Just remember the “foam-cross-lady from california”… that´s the spirit.

Their language is absurdly loaded. Mr. Brown can shout “god forbid” as much as he wants, but the evidence is there for all to see VERBAL ABUSE IS STILL ABUSE, and SPIRITUAL ABUSE IS EVEN WORSE.

The Charlotte Pride organizers need to reverse the trend orienting all participants to not give in to the provocations, if possible to have gestures of kindness back at then (again the hot dogs come to mind, but flowers will have a nice effect too) and have it taped so WE CAN USE IT for our PR efforts in the future. Confront the christofacists with sweetness and they will be at a loss, because they are thrilled with the prospect of a war, their rethoric shows how much they treasure abusing, controling and opressing in the name of God, (hardly a new trend, but still shamefull all the same)as a desguise to their own petty wordly dreams of dominance and power hunger.

Priya Lynn
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown said “Priya, I have been totally consistent in my use of language in dealing with the GLBT community for the last five years”.

I never said you weren’t. What I said is that you use two different tones depending on who your audience is. When you deal with the gay community you try to sugar coat your hate and when you talk to the anti-gay Christians your language is full of violent overtones and war rhetoric. You admit as much on your own website where you try to defend your use of violent language by stating that Jesus did the same thing. This isn’t something from 10 years ago, its what you are doing this very day and have done consistently going back in time.
You are not a decent person, you seek a violent confrontation which you’ll then disingenously claim was all the gays fault.

AJD
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

The Lauderdale: FriendOfJonathan defines certain people as Christians and others as pseudo-Christians based on their beliefs about gay people. In reality, a Christian is anyone who calls himself such.

And I agree with TRiG: The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world are homophobic, and Christianity has been homophobic for the overwhelming majority of its history. It doesn’t matter than Jesus never addressed homosexuality; Paul did, and not in a nice way, as did the Old Testament. You can argue about what those passages “really” say, but they have consistently been interpreted by practitioners of Abrahamic religions as prohibiting gay sex. All the Abrahamic religions have a history of sexual repression, which is why Jews and Muslims practice circumcision and why women are regarded more as property than as people.

You can choose to interpret the Bible any way you want, but there will always be people who interpret it the other way.

ncrev
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

I hope that the gay-affirming faith communities in Charlotte are planning to turn out members to Pride, as well. For too long, folks like Brown have tried to make the story “Christians vs. gays” when there are now many affirming congregations in the area. Not all Christians side with Brown, thank God.

MiniFail Blog Views: July 21, 2009 | MINIMUM FAILURE
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

[…] a sandwich a few months back, I asked him about his Kindle2.  Little did I know I was chatting up this guy.  [This would be the part where you insert your favorite profanities […]

TJMcFisty
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

I 100% disagree with AJD and TRiG. It does matter that Jesus didn’t address homosexuality since it’s the religion/faith named after him–remember?

Jesus wouldn’t stand for the kind of behavior Wood et al are advocating to their followers at all. If it was a Usury Pride Parade (in/near a church), given past performance, then yeah, probably have a big problem with it.

FriendofJonathan has every right to throw a little judge down on people believing they’re acting in Christ’s name when they’re clearly not. Hell, I ain’t a Christian at all, but I sure know ‘em when I see/hear ‘em. These guys ain’t it–just wearing the clothes of one.

Penguinsaur
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

“Same-sex PDA’s at Pride are nothing in comparison to constant disply of het PDA’s at any public high school, or Mardi Gras, or bus station, on TV, or church parking lot, rock concert, movie theatre.”

Yeah but We’ve all seen it before, a straight couple can be dry humping on a park bench and no one cares, but if two men kiss in public their being ‘lewd’ and ‘forcing their lifestyle’ on everyone. And of course if anyone does anything the least bit perverted the bigots are gonna snap a picture and parade it sround as an example of everyone there.

Ken R
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

AJD Said: It doesn’t matter than Jesus never addressed homosexuality; Paul did, and not in a nice way, as did the Old Testament.

And they have raised up Paul as some co-redeemer and bow to his writings more often than they have Jesus’ words. Paul was but a man. A sinner like the rest of us. Yet they follow him more often than Christ. So the name Paulists do fit them quite nicely.

Many within conservative Christianity have divorced and remarried despite Jesus himself saying it is adulterous (except in the case when one partner is unfaithful to the other). How can they justify it? How can some justify the Prosperity Gospel? How can some justify their fight to protect the unborn but demand the death penalty all in the name of an eye for an eye? How can they say to the GLBT community we love you but fight against us every step of the way when we fight for our equal rights?

It is written that you shall know them by their fruits. And from what I have seen and read over the last 3 years their “fruits” have spoiled and rotted. Its time for them to replace the fruit.

Peter
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Great piece, Jim. For people looking for more info on Engle, PFAW did a report on his Prop 8 work last year:
http://site.pfaw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_prop_8_call_to_extremism
and follows him on Right Wing Watch: http://rightwingwatch.org/category/individuals/lou-engle

FriendOfJonathan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Trig,

I would appreciate if you and AJD refrain from posting false claims about the contents of my posts. If you noticed, false claims were a dominant part of Mr. Brown’s replies, and your use of them was uncomfortable similar.

Trig, I did not define who is, or who is not, a Christian. I wrote: “A faith is NOT defined by it’s history, as you try to do above, but by it’s core beliefs”, which is a very different thing. I stated that a faith is defined by its beliefs.

The trouble with your statement ‘anyone who thinks of him-/herself as a Christian, is a Christian’ is that it is nonsense. Words have meanings, Trig, and for a word to apply to someone, the meaning must match. Christian means follower of Christ, and while that is a broad category, it is not an amorphous anything goes definition. There is a lengthy, documented set of ideas that Christianity is based on: the teaching of Jesus Christ. Beliefs that contradict those teachings, which includes ‘homosexuality is sin’ are not, by definition, Christian teaching.

The fact that some people who call themselves Christians believe “homosexuality is sin’ is as irrelevant to the nature of Christianity as the fact that some of them have Ford pickup trucks. No sane person would look at the parking lot of a Baptist congregation and define Christianity by the cars parked there, yet so many opponents of Christianity define the faith itself by the actions or thoughts of some of its followers.

This is worth arguing and correcting you about, because the more the myth ‘Christianity is anti-gay’ is perpetuated and bought into, the harder it is for GLBTQ people, and progressive, non-homophobic people of faith to reduce anti-gay prejudice in this country. Because the lie ‘God hates gays’ is used by professional homophobes, it is crucial to refute that lie, disprove and reject it at every reasonable opportunity.

Personally, I am not willing to surrender Christianity to the homophobes just so that atheists can have a strawman to complain about.

It is also important because Christ’s teachings contain explicit statements that negate the claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Jesus gave a clear test for accurate teaching versus false teaching, and the claim ‘homosexuality is sin’ fails that test. When people, including non-Christians, buy into the fundamentalist theology, you make it more difficult to use what Christ actually said to change the minds of Christians who are also homophobes.

Additionally, even by your false definition, your ‘vast majority of Christians’ demonstrably false. While poll after poll reports that 80% of more of Americans consider themselves Christians, support for GLBTQ civil equality is nearly evenly split. And there are plenty of non-Christian homophobes in the U.S, including atheist homophobes. So, that near fifty percent of Americans who do support civil equality for GLBTQ people (to varying degrees admittedly) – are mostly Christians.

Alan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Not sure I agree with TRiG that the “vast” majority of Christians are against gays. A simple majority, I could believe. But I think I would have noticed if a “vast” majority of Christians were anti-gay. Despite the fact that I attended a number of different churches in a number of different denominations, I rarely heard anti-gay sentiments, something I would have expected if the “vast” majority were anti-gay.

Priya Lynn
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Alan, I’m no fan of Christians, but I’d agree with you, I suspect that its not the “vast” majority of Christians who are against gays, but perhaps a simple majority. I’d also say that for that majority opposition to gays is one of their core beliefs regardless of Jesus’s muteness on the matter. Christians believe a variety of things that weren’t stated by Jesus or even in the bible, like “hate the sin, love the sinner”.

FriendOfJonathan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

AJD, you falsely claimed “FriendOfJonathan defines certain people as Christians and others as pseudo-Christians based on their beliefs about gay people. In reality, a Christian is anyone who calls himself such.”

Not only is that NOT what I wrote, your second statement is fallacious as well.

The really interesting thing to me is that both of you completely neglected the meat and substance of my posts, in order to make false, fallacious statements instead. I realize that many atheists, non-Christians have a strong need to falsely portray Christianity as defined by and intrinsically homophobic, but that is just as deceitful and vile a portrayal as any claim coming from Paul Cameron or Focus on the Family.

When you lie about Christians, it makes it difficult to criticize homophobes for telling lies about GLBTQ people. The posts by both of you are strikingly similar to the rhetoric that comes from anti-gay clergy.

Which reinforces my prior point that both of you have ignored – the core challenge, the heart of the matter, is not the interpretation of religious texts, but some people’s hunger to have power over others. In my opinion, the two of you seek to exert power over people of faith, and so employ religious prejudice, just as homophobic clergy seek to exert power over people, and so employ anti-gay prejudice.

Now, AJD, making false claims about my posts does not lend credibility to your subsequent claims.
“The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world are homophobic, and Christianity has been homophobic for the overwhelming majority of its history.” Neither of these statements are fact, AJD. At best they are prejudicial opinion, an opinion that contradicts the evidence. Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity. Judaism’s history regarding homosexuality is even more nuanced and convoluted, and Islam’s history harder to tease out.

“It doesn’t matter than Jesus never addressed homosexuality;”

It absolutely does matter to people who care about accuracy, because Christianity holds Jesus Christ as the highest authority to ever manifest in physical form. Paul’s writing are not equal in weight, particularly since he occasionally contradicts Jesus. It may not matter to you, if your goal is simply to manufacture an excuse for anti-Christian prejudice, just as the truth about sexual orientation doesn’t matter to Paul Cameron and his peers. In fact, many a homophobe has flatly said “it doesn’t matter” to testimony from GLBTQ people, as you have done here about Christianity. That terrible parallel should make you think.

As for sexual repression, the truth of the matter is that most cultures, Christian or not, Abrahamic or not, have repressed women at some point in history. The reality is that the efforts in Europe and the America’s to advance equality for women, has come primarily from people of faith. The reality is that most of the effort for racial civil equality has come from people of faith, and most of the effort for sexual orientation civil equality has also come from people of faith.

It would be greatly appreciated, AJD, and a sign of integrity, if fundamentalist atheists would stop trying to exaggerate the negative element of Christian history, and stop trying to pretend that every other element of human existence has the same problems and abuses. Your efforts are really no different from that of the homophobe who points to the misdeeds of some gay men to validate ugly and vicious claims about all GLBTQ people.

FriendOfJonathan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

If folk continue to alienate progressive Christians, particularly GLBTQ Christians, we will lose the one resource capable of actually changing the minds of fundamentalists Christians.

Athiests, agnostics, etc. are not going to convince ANY fundamentalist to reject God on their say-so, but, a progressive Christian has a good chance of getting such a person to reconsider, study and examine the Scripture used to fabricate ‘homosexuality is sin’ – and consistently, when non-authority figure Christians make such an effort –

they ultimately reject ‘homosexuality is sin’ as a fraud. I have personally seen it happen many times, many, many time.

Priya, it is not accurate to define what Christians believe by the visible and vocal 1% you see on TV. From my experience, not even homophobic people who call themselves Christians actually believe, much less live, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’. It is nothing more than a trite, canned rebuttal created solely to shut down discussion.

I would also remind the non-Christians here, particularly those who are GLBTQ folk as well, that just as GLBTQ people do not like it when homophobes define us for us, or define us by some outrageous example, it is inappropriate and wrong to define all Christians by Fred Phelps, Paul Cameron, or Mr. Brown, or any other homophobic claiming to be a Christian.

GLBTQ people get rightfully angry when Cameron or his peers distort research, text, testimony to make his prejudice, we should avoid mimicking his behavior when talking about faith and religion.

Priya Lynn
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Friend of Jonathon said “Which reinforces my prior point that both of you have ignored – the core challenge, the heart of the matter, is not the interpretation of religious texts, but some people’s hunger to have power over others. In my opinion, the two of you seek to exert power over people of faith, and so employ religious prejudice, just as homophobic clergy seek to exert power over people, and so employ anti-gay prejudice.”

Certainly for myself and I suspect for those two there is no desire to exert power over religious people. None of us are trying to deny them the right to marry, the right to not be fired or evicted for being religious, or any other right at all so you’re way off the mark there.

Friend of Jonathon said “Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity.”.

That’s most certainly not the case. From the time the first Roman emperor converted to Christianity in roughly 300 AD Christians began persecuting and executing gays. From the very beginning of Christianity the Christian writings were anti-gay and even before that the foundations of Christianity preached death to gays.

Friend of Jonathon said “Priya, it is not accurate to define what Christians believe by the visible and vocal 1% you see on TV. From my experience, not even homophobic people who call themselves Christians actually believe, much less live, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’”.

LOL, oh, I’d agree that few Chjristinas live that statement, but in my experience virtually every one claims to believe it. Do you have any proof that its only the “visible and vocal 1% you see on TV” who make that statement? Your wish that that be true doesn’t make it true.

Marcus French
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Some thoughts: http://voiceofrevolution.askdrbrown.org/2009/07/21/more-gbw-backlash/

Christopher Waldrop
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Friend of Jonathan said,

I would also remind the non-Christians here, particularly those who are GLBTQ folk as well, that just as GLBTQ people do not like it when homophobes define us for us, or define us by some outrageous example, it is inappropriate and wrong to define all Christians by Fred Phelps, Paul Cameron, or Mr. Brown, or any other homophobic claiming to be a Christian.

And as I’ve said repeatedly, there doesn’t seem to be any strong counter to the voices of Phelps, Cameron, or Brown in the Christian community. I’m sure there are tolerant Christians, but why are they either so powerless or so often silent, particularly when it comes to GLBT rights?

I don’t want to define all Christians by those examples, but it’s extremely rare that I’ll meet someone who says “I’m a Christian” who is also tolerant of GLBT people–unless they happen to be a GLBT person.

Jon
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

“I suspect that its not the “vast” majority of Christians who are against gays, but perhaps a simple majority. I’d also say that for that majority opposition to gays is one of their core beliefs regardless of Jesus’s muteness on the matter.”

I really don’t believe this is true. If you talked to most of the Christians attending religious services on any weekend, visiting all of the Catholic and Methodist and Lutheran and UCC and Episcopal and Presbyterian churches along with the churches that are hostile to us (many of the Baptists and the Pentecostals and the fundamentalists), I think you would find that most of those people (all of whom would consider themselves Christians) don’t think much about glbt people one way or the other. I suspect the majority would favor protection against job and housing discrimination and would favor hate crimes laws, while they might also be uncomfortable at the thought of same-sex marriage. It’s a mistake to think that one vocal subgroup speaks for all Christians — fundamentalists speak only for themselves, and we buy into their argument when we accept that they are speaking on behalf of all or even a majority of Christians.

Timothy Kincaid
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Christopher

And as I’ve said repeatedly, there doesn’t seem to be any strong counter to the voices of Phelps, Cameron, or Brown in the Christian community. I’m sure there are tolerant Christians, but why are they either so powerless or so often silent, particularly when it comes to GLBT rights?

Perhaps you haven’t been paying close enough attention.

Just last week the Episcopal Church voted to allow bishops to bless gay marriages and decided to start collecting liturgy so as to select nationwide language used for such blessings.

And you may have forgotten that Prop 8 was opposed by all six CA Episcopal Bishops, both No. and So. CA United Methodists, the United Church of Christ and litereally hundreds of other churches.

It can be easy some times to read anti-gay rantings and see our enemies without noticing our friends. After all, the enemies are more dangerous and thus require more attention.

But our friends are there, are visible, and are taking ever stronger steps of support.

I’ve noticed that just within the last year or so, whenever a local ordinance or gay issue comes up, there is a local clergyman supporting us in the press. It used to just be gay folk v. the preachers, but recently it is almost without exception a Christian minister supporting our rights.

I challenge you: over the next week or two follow all of the local stories about gay issues. See if I’m right.

Timothy Kincaid
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Jon

It’s a mistake to think that one vocal subgroup speaks for all Christians — fundamentalists speak only for themselves, and we buy into their argument when we accept that they are speaking on behalf of all or even a majority of Christians.

I ran into this figure today:

About one-quarter of America’s adults are evangelical Christians, and about two-thirds of them are seen as forming the conservative base of the Christian right.

In other words, about 17% of Americans are trying to speak for the 80% that consider themselves Christian.

Alex
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

And what’s worse is that those 17% think they know what’s best for all 100% of us.

Jon
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

They speak of the “homosexual agenda”. Am I missing something? If gays have an agenda, I’ve never seen it. If you just read this article it sounds more like Brown and Engle are the ones with the agenda. I’ve never met any gay people who were trying to recruit anyone but I’ve met plenty of Christians who were.

Richard W. Fitch
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Jon – The notion of “the homosexual agenda” comes from a book published in the 70’s or 80’s called “After the Ball”. I’ve forgotten all the details, and I’m sure others on this blog can fill in the correct details. It posed a marketing type stragety to make the LGBT community more acceptable to mainstream America. The book and the premise have been widely debunked but anti-gay forces still parade this around as something covertly followed by ALL the ‘homos’ around the world.

Penguinsaur
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

“it is inappropriate and wrong to define all Christians by Fred Phelps, Paul Cameron, or Mr. Brown, or any other homophobic claiming to be a Christian.”

What about the anti-gay organizations with 100+ million budgets funded almost entirely by christians?

FriendOfJonathan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

“there doesn’t seem to be any strong counter to the voices of Phelps, Cameron, or Brown in the Christian community.”

Then you are not paying attention.

Before Stonewall, there was a gathering of heterosexual, Christian ministers to strategize about how to create civil equality for GLBTQ people.

The largest GLBTQ institution, worldwide, for years, was the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a GLBTQ denomination, that continuously supported GLBTQ candidates, services, and civil equality.

There are GLBTQ advocacy groups representing every major denomination of Christianity, and Christians like Bishop Spong, Robinson, Troy Perry, who are recognized across the U.S. and Europe.

Just because you do not see, doesn’t mean much, frankly. I have friends, het Christian friends, in several denominations who have staked their friendships, relationships and careers, in order to fight for inclusiveness and change in their congregations and denominations. And the fact is that change is taking place among most of the leading Christian denominations – and not because of the foot-stamping of people who oppose Christianity itself.

The overt anti-Christian prejudice manifest here is just as despicable as homophobia.

FriendOfJonathan
July 21st, 2009 | LINK

Penguinsaur

You wrote: “What about the anti-gay organizations with 100+ million budgets funded almost entirely by christians?”

Do you know how many times some homophobe has replied to a point I have made in defense of GLBTQ people, by saying ‘What about the sex clubs that cater exclusively to gay men’ or something equally degrading.

Maybe the reason the quest for our civil rights is bogging down is that too many GLBTQ people are becoming as overtly abusive and prejudiced about Christians, as some Christians are about homosexuals.

Priya

“Friend of Jonathon said “Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity.”.

That’s most certainly not the case.”

Actually, it is the case. Your supporting statements were inaccurate. You might read John Boswell’s works to begin to get a better understanding of how complex and organic the history of anti-gay prejudice in Christianity really is. The history of Christianity is complex, and much more nuanced that fundamentalists would have everyone else believe.

I used the word dominate on purpose, because anti-gay theology developed over many centuries, started as a minority opinion, becoming noticeable about 1300 years ago, and becoming dominant some 700 years ago. The passages that fundamentalist Christians use now to bash GLBTQ people, were interpreted very differently through the first 7 centuries of Christian history, and much of the worst of anti-gay theology was developed as part of the protestant revolution, when the puritanical anti-sex theology blossomed.

Regarding ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’, you stated: “but in my experience virtually every one claims to believe it. ”

Claim and belief are two very different things. Ironically, although you provide no evidence for your claims, you ask for it from me.

First off, Priya, you cannot begin to ascertain what people truly believe, compared with what they claim, until you know and respect their context enough to recognize cognitive dissonances between what they claim, and what they do, feel, defend. My statement is based on more than two decades of arguing with fundamentalist Christians about theology and homosexuality. One clear proof that they do not believe ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’, is that they do not accept its implications when THEY are the one sinning.

It bears repeating, Priya, that just as it is inexcusable and reprehensible when homophobes attempt to define the lives, character, values and testimony of GLBTQ people for us, it is equally inexcusable and reprehensible when non-Christians attempt to define the live, character, values and testimony of Christians.

Additionally, the overt anti-Christian prejudice verbalized here, while somewhat understandable, absolutely shuts down any possibility of reaching heterosexual Christians who have been raised to believe ‘homosexuality is sin’ but are willing to examine and reconsider it.

To be blunt, no atheist is ever going to convince Christians in general, fundamentalist or otherwise, to reject God with any argument based on history, or science, or philosophy, just as no fundamentalist Christian is ever going to convince homosexuals in general to reject their true sexual orientation.

The oft-articulated atheist dream of a Christian free world is as impossible, and evil, as the fundamentalist Christian dream of a homosexual free world.

So, achieving full civil equality for GLBTQ people does pretty much require convincing millions of heterosexual Christians to re-examine dogma they have not questioned, providing them with reasoned information that acknowledges the context of spirituality they live their lives in. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to do so, but, we will get no where simply dismissing or denouncing Christianity itself.

As sick and tired as GLBTQ people get of being maligned by homophobes, progressive Christians, including me, are just as sick and tired of being judged by the actions and theology of those homophobes.

The fact of the matter is that I no longer can direct ‘on the fence’ heterosexual Christians to this blog as a resource (and many others) because of the overt anti-Christian prejudice that is so prevalent here.

And that’s a real shame, because a lot of useful information has accumulated here, but I cannot risk having a productive dialogue ruined by some chance piece of anti-Christian verbal abuse.

One last reminder – one only has to read the comments on a few GLBTQ blogs to get a sense of how offended GLBTQ people, in general, get when our lives are dismissed to simplistic cartoons created only to bolster negative stereotypes. Doing it back to Christians, is counter-productive.

Christopher Waldrop
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Timothy and FriendofJonathan, I appreciate you pointing out that there are large and visible groups as well as individuals who fight for GLBT rights. Even though I’m not a Christian myself, I work very hard not to practice the prejudice that I preach against. I agree that it’s unfair to paint all Christians, or even all religious people, with the same brush.

However I must take exception to this comment: “The overt anti-Christian prejudice manifest here is just as despicable as homophobia.”

I don’t see an “overt anti-Christian prejudice” here. I see many people using their religion as a justification for their homophobia. The fact that BTB, among other sites, criticizes people who wrap their homophobia in their faith is not an attack on Christians in general. Unfortunately people like Phelps, Cameron, and others have treated it as such, claiming that, whenever they’re attacked, it’s their faith that’s being attacked. No one here, as far as I know, advocates taking away anyone’s right to practice whatever faith they choose. The problem is when someone seeks to impose their faith on others.

Penguinsaur
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

“Do you know how many times some homophobe has replied to a point I have made in defense of GLBTQ people, by saying ‘What about the sex clubs that cater exclusively to gay men’ or something equally degrading.”

Their are sex clubs with $130 million budgets? Focus on the Family exists and I dont think its ‘prejudice’ to acknowledge where their money comes from. if that millionaire sex club actually existed and was funded almost entirely by gays I wouldnt claim someone was a bigot for acknowledging that fact.

Penguinsaur
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

“So, that near fifty percent of Americans who do support civil equality for GLBTQ people (to varying degrees admittedly) – are mostly Christians.”

Iowa is the 26th most religious state in the US, and they only allow gay marriage by court descision. Every other state to do so has been in the bottom 10. I know I’ll probably just be called Anti-Christian, but the numbers are still there:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/114022/state-states-importance-religion.aspx#2

Priya Lynn
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Friend of Jonathon said “Anti-gay theology has only dominated Christianity for the last 700 years, about a third of the history of Christianity.”.

I said “That’s most certainly not the case.”

Friend of Jonathon said “Actually, it is the case. Your supporting statements were inaccurate.”.

No, its you who’s making stuff up. In 390, the first law banning same-sex love was enacted in Rome, making it punishable by death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pride

As you can see as soon as Christians gained the power to do so they began persecuting gays.

Friend of Jonathon said “Claim and belief are two very different things.”.

Yes, they certainly are. The Christians I’ve known claim to believe many things which I doubt they sincerely do. Nevertheless, such “beliefs” are at the heart of what they claim their religion is about – like “Love the sinner, hate the sin”

Friend of Jonathon said “To be blunt, no atheist is ever going to convince Christians in general, fundamentalist or otherwise, to reject God with any argument based on history, or science, or philosophy”.

False. You need to read some blogs like Pharyngula. I regularly encounter former Christians there who say the discussions on the absurdity of religion eventually caused them to realize it wasn’t true.

Friend of Jonathon said “The oft-articulated atheist dream of a Christian free world is as impossible, and evil, as the fundamentalist Christian dream of a homosexual free world.”.

Nonsense. Some atheists desire to convince all Christians to willingly become atheists. Many Christians want to force gays to become heterosexual. The latter is evil, the former most certainly not. At the turn of the 20th century virtually everone on the planet was religous. At this point in time there are roughly 1 billion atheists on this planet, about 17% of the population. Atheism is growing and as people become better educated and economically secure the are dropping religion

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/paul07/paul07_index.html

The death of religion won’t happen in my lifetime, but it is an inevitable trend.

Richard W. Fitch
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Adding to FriendOfJonathan’s comment’s: A year ago when Sally Kern was making headlines with her vitriol, I decided to do some research of my own. I had heard of Boswell’s book but never read it. Fortuitously I found a copy at Half-Price Books that I could digest and underline at my leisure. In scanning the bibliography, I came across a very intriguing title. “The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology” by Mark Jordan [ISBN: 0226410390]. It is a rather small book, scholarly verging on boorish, but clearly establishes that the concept of Sodomy as we now know it was not developed until the 11th century. Even the term itself was simply a way of linking to the concepts of ‘blasphemy’. Back to Boswell’s work, there is strong evidence that the early Christian communities had well recognized rites for same-sex marriage and even a pair of partnered men who were elevated to sainthood {someone have the names?}. Even more to the point is the fact that much of the furor we see today was only started by conservative religionists in the mid-19th century when the work of Darwin and the new science of Biblical textual and historical criticism began to challenge the “proofs” given in scriptures. Remember it took 350 years for the RC Church to admit that Galileo’s science was correct despite the testimony of the Books of Moses.

Priya Lynn
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Richard, I am well familiar with Boswell. If the concept of sodomy was not developed until the 11th century, how do you explain the 390 AD Roman law banning it and making it punishable by death? You and Friend of Jonathon are awfully eager to hide from the sordid truth.

Priya Lynn
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Another source shows the first instituion of the death penalty for sodomy to be 324 AD under Emperor Constantius:

http://atheisme.ca/repertoire/lauritsen_john/religious_roots_of_the_taboo_en.html

The fact is that Christians were persecuting gays almost from the moment of their gaining the power to do so. Those guilty of the crime of same sex love were burnt alive.

Ben in Oakland
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Sergius and Bacchus. they have a rather well known church in Istanbul I hope to be visitinig. Patron saints of ‘mo’s everywhere.

Emily K
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

I can’t imagine my being forced not to be Jewish. But a lot of people – my great-relatives included – were, in Russia.

I’m fine if a virtually religion-free world is “the trend,” but I hope that it won’t give rise to yet another wave of persecution or ostracism of Jewish people.

Priya Lynn
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

I share your hope Emily.

Penguinsaur
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

“I’m fine if a virtually religion-free world is “the trend,” but I hope that it won’t give rise to yet another wave of persecution or ostracism of Jewish people.”

Historically trying to suppress religion has just made people cling to it more fervently, athiests who want to take that route are just poor strategizers. Education destroys religion far more effectively than oppresion.

A Response from the God Has a Better Way campaign | News Blog from 365gay.com
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

[…] took issue with some of my reporting. (He says he has also contacted the Box Turtle Bulletin with objections to their article as well.) He started off by clarifying his group’s use of the […]

Timothy Kincaid
July 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Christopher

I don’t see an “overt anti-Christian prejudice” here. I see many people using their religion as a justification for their homophobia.

Actually, we have very little instance on this site of people using their religion as a justification for their homophobia. It happens, but not very often at all.

On the other hand, as even a quick glace can tell you, we have a number of very devoted evangelical athiests who use every opportunity to preach their beliefs about religion. They are particularly fervent in their denunciation of Christianity.

In fact, they are often rude, defamatory, hateful, factually ill-informed and fond of the sort of language one would call “homophobic” if directed towards gay people.

Personally, I find evangelical atheists to be as obnoxious and annoying as evangelical Christians. I’m not overly fond of those who are absolutely certain that they are right about issues which they cannot possibly know and who insist that I’m at fault for not agreeing with them.

For example, I would find the statement, “A planet converted to Christianity won’t happen in my lifetime, but it is an inevitable trend” to be boorish and offensive. It isn’t any more pleasant in its current variation.

Richard W. Fitch
July 25th, 2009 | LINK

The most recent postings (7/25 6:30PM) at Pride Charlotte indicate that the day was very successful and peaceful, i.e., the Red Shirts were there but their impact was negligible.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/pridecharlotte?ref=nf

Progay
July 29th, 2009 | LINK

JUST BAN RELIGION IN ALL ITS FORMS – LIKE SMOKING AND DRINKING IT HAS BECOME A BAD HABIT AND A THREAT TO HUMAN KIND

A Son Of Thunder
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

With the comments you have put on this site you are dealing with a Spirit that you cant come up agianst and you are in danger of hell fire itself if you dont repent of your wicked ways. God will show his judgement on you.

Priya Lynn
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

Son of thunder, the voices in your head don’t concern me in the slightest.

Ben in Oakland
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

Did god tell you this personally, or did oyu make it up all by yourself?

GMRinSAN
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

Son of Thunder:

Fine, let God judge. Since you’re not God, you tend to your own sins and mind your own business and stay out of everyone else’s. Or, are you claiming to be without sin?

See, that was easy. Simple rules for simple folk to follow.

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