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Michael Brown Responds

Jim Burroway

July 23rd, 2009

Timothy Kincaid and I have exchanged several emails with Michael Brown since publishing my article, “Anti-Gay Extremists Predict “Flash Point” for Charlotte Pride” on Monday.  It’s been a cordial exchange; his opening line gave me a good glimpse of his humor: “A colleague just pointed out your new article to me, and obviously, we’re in two completely different worlds here.” Of the many things in which Dr. Brown and I disagree, obviously that much is something I can say “Amen” to.

Dr. Brown took the time to write several very lengthy emails. Unfortunately, his first emails to me bounced because because my inbox was full.  And once I cleared that logjam out, the rest of his emails came while I was working on my day job, I confess that my responses were considerably shorter and incomplete, probably coming off as terse. So for that, I’ll begin by publicly apologizing for that.

He had several bones to pick with me, and I concede that a few of those points are legitimate, and so I’ve made some modifications to the original article. I’ll point those out as we come to them. On some of the other points he raised, I’m not so sure I agree with him and I’ll discuss those as well. That said, let’s dive in.

First, Dr. Brown wanted to address my concerns about what I believe to be his violent rhetoric:

As for my use of “revolutionary” or “violent” language, perhaps my recent article will be of help. I’m simply following on the heels of Christian tradition and the New Testament – and always with absolutely clarity and full qualification of my points. (For example, if you recall my “revolution” message at the Exodus conference, when I quoted Elaine Brown, I spoke of her organization as being a negative example that we did not want to emulate – because of their violence – stating only that she exemplified the way revolutionaries think, and that mentality was in harmony with Jesus’ words that, “if you find your life, you lose it; if you lose it for me and the gospel, you find it.”). Jesus is our example – He laid down His life and renounced violence – and we seek to follow in His footsteps.”

True, he did say that. After having reviewed his talk again, I agreed that including the additional information about what he said would provide a more complete context. I added the following portion in italics to that paragraph:

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.”).

Brown then corrected me on my earlier statement when I wrote that, “One of the participants at the Toronto Blessing was Steve Hill.”

“Also, just for the record, Steve Hill never attended the Toronto Blessing, and to give you perspective, the great bulk of the scandalous articles of the PNJ (scandalous in terms of their journalism) came out in Nov. 1997; the revival continued well into 2000. At the time the articles were written, our school had 510 students. From fall 1998 until 2000, we had well over 1,000. We only grew and increased after the articles came out, one reason being that most of the people who knew us in the city knew the reports were false.”

My source for that information wasn’t the Pensacola News-Journal, but another conservative Pentecostal web site that was critical of the Brownsville revival. It turns out that the source I used for that wasn’t accurate, and I apologize for the error. Hill’s involvement with the Toronto Blessing was a bit more indirect. Therefore, I’ve deleted that sentence in Monday’s post and replaced it with this:

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.” And that’s where an American Assemblies of God evangelist by the name of Steve Hill reportedly received “The Blessing” at Brompton.

More generally, Brown was critical of our links to the Pensacola News-Journal for some of the criticisms of the Brownsville Revival:

For the sake of Christian integrity, however, I should point out that your characterizations of the Brownsville Revival are as false and misleading as the quotes you lift from the thoroughly discredited stories from the Pensacola News Journal (interestingly, that infamous series of articles was sandwiched between years of glowing  coverage about the revival in the PNJ which preceded those articles and then no more negative reports  in the years that followed the reports). There are thousands of hours of footage of the meetings available for all to see and hear, none of which concur with the ridiculous reports of the critics, while the fruit of wonderfully changed lives (to this day) remains as a witness to what Jesus did in those meetings.

As for the PNJ’s journalistic integrity, I will leave that for you to decide as to whom you’d prefer to believe. It does strike me as a count in the PNJ’s favor that they wrote both positive and negative articles, which leads me to believe they were capable of covering the Brownsville Revival with a measure of impartiality. Dr. Brown obviously disagrees, and strongly so. So I guess we’re at something of a stalemate there for the time being. Dr. Brown however did recommend a book by Steve Rabey titled Revival in Brownsville: Pensacola, Pentecostalism, and the Power of American Revivalism, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers (the Bible publishing people).

Brown believes that by quoting from Matt Comer’s article in InterstateQ, I mischaracterized his 2005 action against Charlotte Pride:

I’m not sure how to correct the completely false, anonymous report about our involvement in Charlotte Pride, 2005, other than to point out that it’s fascinating that these charges just surface now, for the first time, four years later. Unfortunately, it presents a 100% false picture of our involvement that day – shall I direct to you some of the 100+ people who were there that day to speak with them for yourself? – and the report is as ludicrous as claiming that we raided a gay bar and hit people over the head with Bibles. It is not who we are anymore than you and Timothy are secretly running a branch of the gay Taliban.

In a second email, he strongly emphasized this:

Under no circumstances did any of our people do such a thing. Under no circumstances did they communicate with the children who were there, and under no circumstances did they tell them that their parents were sinners going to hell, and under no circumstances did they harass people.

I’m not sure how anyone can vouch for all 100-plus people at an event like that, particularly with the assurance of “under no circumstances.” It may well have been that they were instructed that “under no circumstances” were they to speak with children or harass people, but I can’t see how anyone could make such a guarantee. I also suspect that a Pride-goer’s idea of harassment is likely very different from Dr. Brown’s under these circumstances. I also see that Dr. Brown has been exchanging similar emails with Ali Davis at 365gay.com. She notes that an article in the Charlotte Observer at the time also reported “some tense interactions, and notes one named source who says she was told she was going to hell.”

But that led to, I think, his main problem with the piece: our expressed concern that by having 1,000 people to confront (or surround in prayer or witness to or whatever anyone might want to call it) those who plan on attending Charlotte Pride.

As to your concerns about violence breaking out at our event on July 25th, there’s no more chance of that than there is a chance of it happening at a Sunday morning church service where we worship and pray together, although the spate of recent articles predicting this very thing makes me wonder if some will be disappointed when the Jesus-focused, Lamb-like nature of the participants is manifest for the whole world to see.

Dr. Brown gave his assurances in another email to Timothy Kincaid that for this year, the red-shirted participants will remain across the street from the the Pride festivities and will not interfere with those who want to attend:

Our red-shirted participants will NOT be trying to intercept people going into the event. If folks want to talk with us, we’d be delighted to do so, but our red-shirted folks (whom we can clearly identify and hold to our terms of commitment) will not be trying to intercept anyone. We will have a sufficient presence in prayer just by being there.

I hope he’s right. Believe me, I do hope he’s right and he will be able to hold his thousand or more red-shirted folks to their “lamb-like” commitments. And I take him at his word that he will do everything he can to make sure that happens. A thousand people though, that’s a lot to keep track of. And besides that, a crowd of a thousand people is an intimidating presence, no matter their intentions.

Think of it: What if we were to gather a thousand red-shirted LGBT activists — and let’s face it, they would be activists because ordinary people are rarely motivated to mount such an action — and have them gather at a park where a church picnic or festival was taking place, promising them that if they do this, that the religious right would meet its “high water mark” and that it all “stops there”? For good measure, we’ll go to a city that is “takeable” and promise to attack the “demonic spirit” that rules their ideology. Okay, we don’t speak in terns of demonic spirits, but you get the picture.

Wouldn’t the people attending that church picnic or festival have every right to be concerned? More significantly, wouldn’t they have every right to take the action as a serious and deeply held affront? I can just hear Focus On the Family now.

Brown and Engle characterize this publicly as an evangelical outreach effort. If that is their intention, then they may well rejoice if one or a few out of the crowd decides to “find God.” But for every one they do manage to reach by some great miracle, they will likely push countless others much, much further away. Surely, they must understand the consequences of that. That’s why I find it hard to believe that the intent is to convert. If it is, then Dr. Brown and Mr. Engle have hopelessly unrealistic expectations for what they hope to accomplish.

But I don’t think that’s what they really want to accomplish. It’s something very different, as reinforced by this press release issued just moments ago:

According to Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Charlotte-based Coalition of Conscience and the organizer of the event, “Nothing like this has ever been done in conjunction with a gay pride event in any city before, and those who join together on this day will be part of history in the making.”

Brown’s event is being actively supported by Lou Engle, national director of TheCall to Action. Engle, who advocates bringing about cultural change through prayer and fasting, believes that the “God Has a Better Way” rally could be a national flash point, with the goal that homosexual activism “stops here.”

Speaking of Lou Engle, Dr. Brown didn’t like how his friend was quoted in the SPLC article as saying, “If I die, I die” and “Shoot everything!”  Dr. Brown wanted me to understand that there’s really no such thing as a Joel’s Army — which is true insofar as I understand that it’s not an organization but a movement. But most importantly, he wanted me to understand that Engle wasn’t speaking literally but in metaphor:

I urge you to listen to Lou’s words in the context of his entire message; it is next to impossible to hear him speak and to take away any message other than our call to prayer and fasting. It would be like telling a rowing crew, “We’re going to fly down this river!” and think that they would take this to mean that they are supposed to become birds!

I understand metaphor. I also believe I can understand context. But I also understand that sometimes context is in the eye of the beholder as well as the speaker. So let’s try this: look at this video of Lou Engle and tell me what you think:

YouTube Preview Image

Rampant rape and molestation. Your children won’t be safe. Our whole culture will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. We’re in a Joel 2 moment. A Jezebel-Elijah showdown. This is survival of nations. Tremble you kings!

How much of all that is metaphor? Or is this guy, who is one half of God Has A Better Way, someone we should be concerned about?

Wouldn’t those Christians in my hypothetical park be equally concerned and insulted if they saw rhetoric like that coming from a leader of those red-shirted LGBT activists?

You bet they would, and rightfully so.

Comments

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David
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I think you misquote Lou Engle again. His emphasis in that clip is yes, the world is going to hell in a handbasket (and he’s welcome to think that) but the solution is prayer and fasting-that’s it.

Dr Michael L. Brown
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Jim,

For the public record here, I appreciate you printing some of my comments and revising your previous article where you felt appropriate.

As for your apology, I felt your emails to me were respectful throughout, so no apology is needed (but, of course, I do accept the apology).

I trust that as the days unfold, you will see who we really are and what our spirit is about.

Also, I’m curious to know why you state that we have billed our event as primarily an outreach event. We hope to do some outreach, but that has never been the main focus on the event in anything we have written or said. Could you clarify? Thanks!

Priya Lynn
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown, we know who you are and what you’re about. You are a hateful individual who seeks to deprive those who are harming no one of equal rights under the law. You try to sugarcoat your hate when you deal with the gay community and when you talk to anti-gay christians you use an entirely different tone full of violent overtones and war rhetoric. Then you try to justify that by stating this is just how the Jesus character spoke in the bible. Just because a character in a story behaved badly doesn’t justify you doing the same thing.

Dr. Michael L. Brown
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

Would you be kind enough to supply some quotes of me speaking “to anti-gay Christians” where my language and tone are different than here, especially in terms of how I speak about the GLBT community? You can listen to hundreds of hours of my preaching and teaching at http://www.askdrbrown.org, so feel free to point out that anything that could fairly be construed as violent, OK?

As for the Jesus of the Bible, you should really get to know Him. He behaved anything but badly!

I do, however, take it as a profound compliment that you group the two of us together.

Ken in Riverside
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Alas, Dr. Brown, you are tone deaf.

Ken in Riverside
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

My apologies, I didn’t think you were going to continue your correspondence via comments. I’ll flesh out my comments to you further.

What do you think the choice of red shirts communicates? Do you think someone who understands the language of color (a graphic designer, a marketer, etc) would agree with your assessment? This speaks to tone.

If your goal is to show to the world that you and your group are standing up in solidarity to support an alternative world where homosexuality isn’t normalized, then why does it need to occur during gay pride? Two possible explanations come to mind. Either you’re intending to intimidate (which would also explain the choice of red shirts) or you’re intending to connect with people who are attending the gay pride event. If you’re genuinely trying to connect with gay people then you’re going about it in a completely unproductive manner.

Timothy Kincaid
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I believe that when Dr. Brown and Rev. Engel speak of battle and in terms of war and violence that they are speaking of “spiritual warfare” in which they are fighting against ideology. They would not see people as their enemy, but rather as poor souls who have been deceived by the enemy. The enemy is Satan, sin, and the forces of evil. They are fighting “the homosexual agenda” not homosexuals.

Or so they say, and so they believe.

But I also believe that it is quite easy to mistake the enemy for those who they believe are doing the enemy’s work. In fact, those speaking such words often have difficultly in distinguishing the gay person from “the agenda”.

The mere fact that someone is gay is often given as evidence that the are a minion of Satan, a tool of the enemy, and that they (and not just their “master”) are out to destroy all that is good, right, and holy. If you doubt that, look at the response to any appointment or election of a gay person.

Just as “hate the sin, love the sinner” generally means in practical terms “hate the sin and make the sinner’s life as miserable as possible so he’ll rue the day he ever considered doing what I call sin”, so too can “fight the sin” be translated as “fight the sinner”.

We hope it does not. But we have seen it happen before.

We look to Riga, Jamaica, Uganda, Sacramento, and in incidences all over this country where physical violence against gay people occurs by those motivated by their “faith”. And we see repeatedly that while folks like Dr. Brown say that they do not favor violence, they never seem to get around to condemning it when it occurs.

Perhaps their argument that they are not a violent people would be more convincing if they spent as much time condemning violence against gay people as they do condemning the “gay agenda”.

Priya Lynn
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown said “As for the Jesus of the Bible, you should really get to know Him. He behaved anything but badly”.

Its impossible to get to know an imaginary character. As to his “behaving anything but badly”, you must take me for a fool, I assure you I am not.

Matthew

Jesus strongly approves of the law and the prophets. He hasn’t the slightest objection to the cruelties of the Old Testament. 5:17

Families will be torn apart because of Jesus (this is one of the few “prophecies” in the Bible that has actually come true). “Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” 10:21

Jesus had no problem with the idea of drowning everyone on earth in the flood. It’ll be just like that when he returns. 24:37

Mark

Jesus explains why he speaks in parables: to confuse people so they will go to hell. 4:11-12

Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children as required by Old Testament law. (See Ex.21:15, Lev.20:9, Dt.21:18-21) 7:9-10

Luke

Jesus says that God is like a slave-owner who beats his slaves “with many stripes.” 12:46-47

In the parable of the talents, Jesus says that God takes what is not rightly his, and reaps what he didn’t sow. The parable ends with the words: “bring them [those who preferred not to be ruled by him] hither, and slay them before me.” 19:22-27

John

Jesus believes people are crippled by God as a punishment for sin. He tells a crippled man, after healing him, to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” 5:14

Acts

Peter claims that Dt.18:18-19 refers to Jesus, saying that those who refuse to follow him (all non-Christians) must be killed. 3:23

Romans

Homosexuals (those “without natural affection”) and their supporters (those “that have pleasure in them”) are “worthy of death.” 1:31-32

The guilty are “justified” and “saved from wrath” by the blood of an innocent victim. 5:9

2 Thessalonians

Jesus will take “vengeance on them that know not God” by burning them forever “in flaming fire.” 1:7-9
Hebrews

Revelation

Everyone on earth will wail because of Jesus. 1:7

Timothy Kincaid
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Dr. Brown,

You have told us that this effort is just a matter of using the power of prayer to stop homosexual activism. You claim that the goal is prayer and not interaction with those attending Charlotte Pride.

If that is true, then I wonder at the reason for dressing your people in matching T-Shirts and “surrounding” the event. If, as you say, prayer is the purpose, why there?

We know that God hears prayer wherever it is given. We know that a fervent prayer is effective in reaching God’s heart even if it is in a closet where no one sees.

We also know that there is no spiritual advantage to wearing matching T-Shirts. God isn’t impressed by such displays.

So we have to conclude that reaching God through prayer is not really your sole purpose. You also are seeking to make your physical presence known to man – to the gay men and women attending their event, to the media, to other anti-gay activists.

Perhaps you should consider the words of Christ:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Oh yes. All the other anti-gays will point and say how righteous a warrior you are. You’ll probably even get a story in the press. But I wouldn’t count on any spiritual reward for your public prayer PR stunt.

Priya Lynn
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown asked “Would you be kind enough to supply some quotes of me speaking “to anti-gay Christians” where my language and tone are different than here”.

From your own web site:

“Why Do You Sometimes Use “Violent” Language In Your Writing and Speaking?

Jesus, along with others in the New Testament, often used “violent” language”.”

Do you deny what you try to defend on your own web site? Puh-leeeze.

Timothy Kincaid
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

Please do not try to debate Christian theology with Dr. Brown. You do no one a service.

You do not understand Christian theology and indeed none of your “examples” really do what you say they do.

You aren’t impressing Dr. Brown or, indeed, anyone with a rudimentary understanding of Scripture and Christian beliefs.

Priya Lynn
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown said “I do, however, take it as a profound compliment that you group the two of us together.”

I didn’t group the two of you together, you did – I merely quoted you doing so.

Priya Lynn
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, don’t claim to speak for me and what I understand. Your opinion on the matter is of no more validity than mine.

FriendOfJonathan
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown

I too, do not believe you. I find your rhetoric to be threatening and abusive, and your core premise, that homosexuality is sin, to be intrinsically violent spiritually and socially.

Christians frequently use the metaphor of a path, a road, when talking about faith, following Christ’s example, and living a God pleasing life. With that metaphor in mind

You cannot watch where you are going when you are looking at someone else’s feet, Mr. Brown.

There is a reason why so very many conservative, anti-gay clergy have been caught up in adultery, or fraud, or embezzlement and other sins/crimes:

you cannot watch where you are going when you are looking at someone else’s feet.

There is a reason why turnover in conservative/evangelical congregations is so high:

you cannot watch where you are going when you are looking at someone else’s feet.

Time spent by conservative Christians denigrating and harassing GLBTQ people, is time they are not spending on their own lives, their own families, and their own flaws and temptations.

Personally, I think that if you are truly non-violent in your mind-set, you will call off your invasion.

I also think that if you truly follow Jesus Christ, you will call off your invasion. You and your supporters would not appreciate it, at all, if a thousand emotionally charged atheists, or GLBTQ people, or Muslims, or progressive Christians, showed up at one of your events. According to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ – you cannot do to GLBTQ people what you would not want done to you. Continuing with your demonstration, in my opinion, is a deliberate and purposeful rejection of Christ’s teaching, and sin.

Finally, the core violence of your event has been largely overlooked. You and your followers are planning to protest the fact that a group of human beings will lawfully and legally exercise their freedom to peacably assemble in public. The implicit, intrinsic message is that you and your followers do not believe that GLBTQ people should be allowed this basic, Constitutionally guaranteed civil right.

This makes your protest an act of social violence, no matter how pseudo-politely you describe it.

Christopher™
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Thank you for the update, Jim. One thing I really enjoy about Box Turtle Bulletin is its willingness to accept and understand nuances in communication, and this is why I trust the reporting you do here.

For the rest of you, please be patient with me, but this is going to be really, really long. (But worth reading!)

Based on my observations of (and occasional online interactions with) Michael Brown, he appears incapable of true empathy, especially to those with whom he disagrees. Oh, yes… he claims over and over and over ad nauseum how much he loves GLBT people, but his use of the standard anti-gay canards (gays want to silence free speech, gays want to take away religious freedom, gays want to molest children) in his introductory video tells a different story about what his true intentions are towards our community. As a result, his claims of “love” ring hollow, and appear like a desperate attempt to convince us that he is not a mean, nasty homophobe. Well, he’s definitely not mean and nasty… his interactions are always polite and pleasant. But he’s still a homophobe.

Brown’s efforts are driven by a number of false assumptions, which I will detail below.

1. Brown sends an inherently conflicted message to the GLBT community. He claims that one should “reach out to GLBT people with compassion but resist gay activism with courage.” A famous line I heard years ago said, “you can’t shake hands with a closed fist.” Brown’s problem here is that he draws a false distinction between GLBT people (whom it’s okay to love) and GLBT “activists” (whom you should resist). But how can you express true compassion to someone when you’re pushing back against them? The whole concept is an exercise in cognitive dissonance. When does Brown think a GLBT person crosses the line into becoming an “activist”? When they work on a campaign against a gay marriage ban? Or if they simply vote against such a ban? Is a lesbian couple “activists” when they enroll their child in a new school and expect to be treated with respect at a PTA meeting? Are you an “activist” simply for donating time or money to your local gay and lesbian community center? I mean… what’s the threshold here?

The overwhelming majority of “activists” are not lawyers or executives of GLBT rights organizations (cue the scary music). They are normal, everyday people who are simply trying to protect their families from harm or seek equal treatment under the law. So, how is resisting those efforts showing true compassion? It’s either one of the following:

A: “Based on my interpretation of the Bible, I think your lifestyle is sinful, therefore I will oppose any attempt for you to validate that lifestyle by seeking health benefits, Social Security benefits, parental rights or partnership rights. Hopefully, this will make your life so miserable that you will finally seek Christ, end your ‘unhealthy’ relationship and become ex-gay.” This is not compassion… this is religious coercion through the force of secular law.

B. “Based on my interpretation of the Bible, I know you can’t possibly be happy in your relationship, since it’s a counterfeit form of love. I feel sorry that you are trapped in such an unfulfilling lifestyle, so by preventing the expansion of your rights, I’m showing you tough love.” This is not love OR compassion… rather, this position views GLBT people as mere children who must be corrected by their more enlightened parents. This is patronizing and insulting, and assumes that heterosexual life choices are inherently superior to all others, and as such, should be legally enforced upon everyone.

Basically, if GLBT “activism” is a sign of the “work of the Devil and of evil principalities and powers in high places” that must be broken by prayer, fasting and rallies such as “God Has A Better Way,” then it only follows that the “activists” themselves must be working for Satan, either knowingly or unknowingly. And how can you tell the difference? Because one assumes one must “love” the ignorant ones and “resist” the Satanic ones. It’s all very confusing.

Remember, the history of how the Church has responded to those whom they viewed as in the grip of the Devil is not pretty. It’s rather violent, actually.

2. Brown appears incapable of accepting that committed Christians can vigorously disagree on the subject of homosexuality and the correct interpretation of six passages in the Bible, much like committed Christians continue to disagree over many other theological issues, from the validity of speaking in tongues to end-times eschatology (pre-Trib, mid-Trib, post-Trib?) to the actual age of the Earth; ergo, only his interpretation of the Bible is correct.

It’s one thing to be confident in the validity of your position. It’s entirely another thing to assess the depth of someone’s walk with Christ simply because you have a serious theological disagreement, or a disagreement over methods of political action. I may take issue with Brown’s words and actions, but I would never in a million years try to discern what is going on inside his heart–that is only the Holy Spirit’s domain. By saying to someone, based on the content of a single internet post, that they need “a deeper relationship with Jesus”–when they may actually HAVE one–it appears spiritually arrogant. It also seems to indicate an unwillingness to take the other person’s faith in Christ seriously.

Although I disagree with Brown’s ultimate aims, I take his faith seriously. I wish he’d take ours seriously.

That’s why I have a problem with Brown’s responses to gay Christians. His position assumes that because a Christian accepts themselves as gay, they have put no prayer, fasting or serious personal Bible study into that understanding. Most gay Christians are very knowledgeable about the Bible and proper Scriptural exegesis–many of us have gone to seminary or have served in ministry–so the idea that yet another presentation of the same traditional arguments we’ve heard, examined, discussed and discarded is going to suddenly make us change our position–which has been based on prayer, fasting and serious personal Bible study–is, basically… insulting.

Mr. Brown, you may not like it or agree with it, but gay Christians exist. And we take our faith seriously. And we know our Bibles. And we’re not going away. And more and more churches and denominations are coming to a fuller understanding of our value to, and role in, the Body of Christ. Maybe one day, you will, too. But for now, we will have to agree to disagree.

3. Brown accepts the “ex-gay” position hook, line and sinker, and buys into the oft-repeated statement that “thousands have left homosexuality” (cue Alan Chambers), despite the fact that the only recent and meaningful study on the efficacy of “ex-gay” therapy by Jones & Yarhouse, flawed as its methodology is, demonstrates clearly that “ex-gay” therapy is a massive failure.

This is the one area that most anti-gay Christians categorically refuse to acknowledge, because if orientation change cannot take place, then their entire anti-gay efforts collapse like a house of cards. Sure, both sides can present anecdotal examples to “prove” their position. But real scientific studies are hard to come by when the “ex-gay” industry won’t release information, doesn’t do follow-up, and redefines words like “success” and “change” constantly in order to stop the constant flow of embarrassing failures. Plus, it’s interesting that all the supposed “success” stories are always the same people who work for such organizations, which mean they have a vested interest… which affects their truthfulness.

I won’t name names, but I do know one prominent ex-gay leader who has admitted privately to a friend of mine that he still has to think about sex with men when having sex with his wife. Or the author of one book that Brown suggests reading who made sexual overtures towards another friend of mine when this person was a keynote speaker at an “ex-gay” conference a number of years ago.

Oh, and then there’s Michael Johnston, John Paulk, Ted Haggard and many, many others to choose from, too.

“Ex-gay” is a canard, and any reader of this site or XGW can review that for themselves in greater depth.

4. Brown links to extremists like Peter LaBarbera on his Coalition of Conscience website, but still expects the GLBT community to believe him when he says he “loves” us. For readers of this site, this one needs no further explanation.

5. It appears that Brown cannot fathom why Pride festival-goers would feel under siege by the “God Has A Better Way” event, when, if the same tactics were used by the GLBT community against a particular church (a Mormon temple, Saddleback, *his* church), he would likely decry such efforts as an attempt to “silence and intimidate Christians” and “an attack of the Devil upon the Church.”

Brown has admitted on a long thread on XGW in 2008 that he is, indeed, a political activist. That’s definitely honest, and definitely why the GLBT community–and even gay-supportive straight people–view him with distrust when he claims that his aims are being misrepresented.

6. Finally, and probably most importantly, Brown appears to view civil rights as a zero-sum game. If the GLBT community gets protection from job and/or medical benefits discrimination or gains adoption, parental or partnership rights, then somehow, the Church loses its religious liberties. That sounds scary, but it’s not true.

When slaves were freed, did the Church lose its religious liberties?
When women got the right to vote, did the Church lose its religious liberties?
When the Civil Rights Act was passed, did the Church lose its religious liberties?
When interracial couples were allowed to marry, did the Church lose its religious liberties?
When openly gay teachers in CA were allowed to keep their jobs, did the Church lose its religious liberties?
When gays were recently given the right to marry in Connecticut, did the Church lose its religious liberties?

The answer to all these questions is “No.”

You can still demand whatever you please in your denomination to keep your membership as pure and as on the “straight and narrow” as you want. The Catholic Church does, so please feel free to follow their example.

But when it comes to the civil arena, stop trying to force your particular interpretation of the Bible on all the rest of us, many of whom are Christians who don’t agree with you. It’s not only un-Christian (using political means to achieve spiritual ends)… but it’s un-American.

FriendOfJonathan
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Brown, Christopher is on the money in his post, and I urge you not to dismiss his testimony out of hand.

I also recommend that you watch this video which is starting to make the rounds on the ‘net:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrAAKecFf-0&feature=player_embedded

It dramatically teaches what it is like to be a GLBTQ person in the world created by the theology you, among many others, teach.

In my opinion, as a progressive Christian, gay man, son of a Lutheran minister, you and your followers would be better served spiritually by taking up the exercise in the above linked video, then you ever will be protesting GLBTQ people exercising their civil right to gather in public.

Compassion is a core element of a living Christian faith, and it seems to be completely lacking in your ministry.

Priya Lynn
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Well written, Christopher! When I first saw your comment I thought “no way am I going read all that”, but I did and it was a light, easy, and convincing read. You asked “When does Brown think a GLBT person crosses the line into becoming an “activist”?”.

My guess is when any gay person opposes his attempts to make them second class citizens – he has no problem with gays who sit back and accept their lives as Mr. Brown chooses to dictate to them.

FriendOfJonathan
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Priya

I am disappointed that comments on the prior thread have been closed, as I would have appreciated the opportunity to further refute your false assertions there.

It is worth noting though that your posts here, and there, mirror the tactics and attitude of Michael Brown and his peers exactly.

Timothy’s statement above, that you do not understand Christian theology or history, is accurate. Your characterizations of Christians are exactly as reprehensible as Michael Brown’s, or Paul Cameron’s, characterizations of GLBTQ people.

I will remind you yet again, hoping that this time you pay attention: Just as GLBTQ people are offended, rightfully, when homophobes try to define who and what GLBTQ are for us, so to it is offensive and wrong when you, or any fundamentalist atheist defines who and what Christians are.

I stand by my statement, no atheist is ever going to convince a Christian to leave his or her faith. The unsubstantiated, rude and often amoral arguments of a fundamentalist atheist may serve as an excuse for someone who has already lost their faith, but, the trite, dishonest, facile arguments themselves accomplish nothing beyond articulate prejudice and contempt.

The dream of a world without religion you and your peers hope and work for is exactly as evil as the dream of a world without homosexuals that people like Michael Brown hope and work for.

And it is no coincidence that both are working to dominate, coerce, and subjugate other people.

Alan
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I’m wondering why we have to have this prolonged debate with Dr. Brown.

Isn’t it axiomatic that extreme views, especially those that disparage certain groups, are likely to lead to violence?

I’m sure Jim and Timothy have better things to do than engage in lengthy debates with homophobes.

Jim Burroway
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

FriendOfJonathan. You said that comments on “the prior thread” were closed. That was news to me. When I made updates to that post, the blogging software kept acting up, and somehow it closed the comments. I’ve re-opened them. Thanks for letting us know about the problem.

Alan,

I’m sure Jim and Timothy have better things to do than engage in lengthy debates with homophobes.

I thought that’s what we were here for. ;-)

Andrew
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Hi. Hopefully the shortest blog comment here. I read the above with increasing disbelieve and bafflement at the energies expended.

My relationship with God is private. It mostly concerns listening on my part, not speaking – which anyone who knows me would marvel at.

I don’t understand any of this.

Michael A.
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

*sigh*

It’s a shame the religious discussion is so far off topic. I’d be curious to hear explanations for Priya’s examples of immorality in scripture.

But a little closer to the topic at hand, I will say the comparison between Michael Brown and evangelical atheists is ridiculous. Where’s the violent (albeit “metaphorical”) rhetoric? Where’s the campaigning to deny basic freedoms? Where’s the mob of atheists crashing religious events?

Beyond their aggressive, perhaps even acrid, evangelism, how are they alike at all?

I’m all for evangelism and religious debate. Open minds can be changed. Heck, I used to be a die-hard, creation-science-spouting Christian. And, yes, the cogent arguments of one or more atheists did change my mind.

Jim Burroway
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Dr. Brown,

You asked:

“I’m curious to know why you state that we have billed our event as primarily an outreach event. We hope to do some outreach, but that has never been the main focus on the event in anything we have written or said. Could you clarify? Thanks!”

On your Monday broadcast, you referred to the action as an outreach event at least twice that I can recall when you were defending it against what you called a mischaracterization of the event. But I also see this in your press release:

“We have great love for the gay and lesbian community” Brown states, “and have always treated them with dignity and respect; at the same time, we take strong exception to the gay activist agenda and will be sending a message to the city and the nation that God Has a Better Way.”

Now when I read that, I take that to mean that this “Better Way” involves some sort of conversion, does it not? If you say that you love gay people and want them to be saved, is that not what you’re trying to do here? Isn’t that the message “to the city and the nation,” which includes LGBT people?

I guess I would call that an outreach of some sort. It’s how other Christian ministries describe similar (albeit smaller-scale) actions. It’s the constant mantra of Exodus International. Phelps doesn’t of course but he doesn’t seem interested in winning souls, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Or is that just more of that metaphorical “spiritual language” that doesn’t really mean what it appears to say? ;-) Because if it is, I’d recommend that you use some sort of hand signal so we’d know when it’s coming.

Ken in Riverside
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Christopher++

Burr
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I will pray that Dr. Brown learns to become a better Christian and embrace all of God’s children and stop falling into the temptation of Satan which is guiding him to confront his brothers and sisters with such hurtful behavior.

Lavender Lady
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I’m chilled to the bone by the planned actions of Lou Engle and Michael Brown. The majority of us (GLBTQ) just want to live in peace with our families and be safe in our neighborhood. We want the same thing that all other Americans want, fairness, equality, a happy family life, children who grow up with good self-esteem. . . .

We are not the sworn enemies of morality, goodness and God’s blessing that these men preach we are. Many of us want only to bring good into the world, and we do this by living our lives proud of who we are and of the families we have built. I personally have devoted my life to working for abused children, have adopted some and worked for others.

I ask you Mr. Brown, am I and my family a source of all evil in this world? Have you had walked for even five minutes in my shoes? Have you experienced the hated glances, the threats to person and property?

One of my best friends is now in her 70′s. She told me that she could never tell her parents that she was a lesbian because her father would kill her. I absolutely believe her.

Do you wonder, after what so many of us have experienced and continue to experience on a regular basis, that we would find your decision to “take a stand” against us with your red shirt Joel’s army anything but violent? Will you do physical violence? No, so you say. But your protest attempts violence to our very being, and to our deepest soul.

There is no

FriendOfJonathan
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Jim

Thanks for re-opening the prior thread.

Michael

You wrote: “I will say the comparison between Michael Brown and evangelical atheists is ridiculous. Where’s the violent (albeit “metaphorical”) rhetoric? Where’s the campaigning to deny basic freedoms? Where’s the mob of atheists crashing religious events?”

Nope.

Fundamentalists atheists routinely agitate for a world free of religion, usually specifying Christianity. That is a campaign to deny basic freedoms, including the freedom to decide for one’s self what one believes, and what one does not.

Priya cited a number of 1 billion atheists, the only way to achieve such a number is to factor in the forced atheism in communist China. There’s a prime example of campaigning to deny basic freedoms, and if you don’t believe that, talk to the Dali Lama a bit.

For people of faith, that evil dream of a world without religion requires forcing us to deny and reject our own experiences, including a vital relationship that enriches and sustains our lives, against our will, to our detriment, solely to appease the selfish beliefs of other people. You have no more right to castigate, threaten and wish away my faith, than Mr. Brown has to castigate, threaten and wish away my sexual orientation.

Your empty dismissal is no different from that from homophobes insisting that gays and lesbians are not persecuted. No doubt, it is unpleasant to be reminded that popular expressions of atheist sentiment are just as coercive and destructive as some expressions of Christianity, but doesn’t change the facts.

Telling people of faith that we are deluded is just as vile as telling homosexuals that we are “really” heterosexual, or that we are “possessed of a demonic spirit”. Really, in secular-speak, reference to mental illness, like the word delusional are the exact conceptual equivalent of demonic possession in fundie-speak. And the charge that people of faith are delusional is an extremely common occurrence.

I can only be sadly bemused by your last paragraph. It reminds me of Mr. Paulk. But I will say, people forfeit the right to complain about ex-gay ministries, at all, when they advocate trying to convince people of faith to become atheists.

Like sexual orientation, spirituality is not a mere mental construct, nor a mere decision. Like sexual orientation, it goes far,far deeper, and includes an experiential component that cannot be invalidated by trite argumentation.

Someone who can be talked out of their faith is like someone who can be talked out of their sexual orientation, among other things.

David Link
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I did as Jim suggested, and watched the video. While I can see how Michael Brown hears a repeated call to prayer and fasting in it, I also hear a building level of anxiety, frustration and near-panic in Engle’s voice, which his listeners are obviously responding to.

More important to me, this speech was given before the 2008 election. If Engle’s followers did, in fact, pray and fast — and lost — should we believe that his listeners will continue to stay the course of praying and fasting? That would, of course, be a Christian thing to do. But those camouflage pants on the kids on stage worry me.

I’m also concerned, as I’ve written at another blog, about the intent to “surround” the event in Charlotte. If Dr. Brown, in fact, intends to metaphorically surround the gay pride event with prayer, that is his right and privilege. And his statements here seem to reinforce that.

But the usual meaning of “surround” is to physically encircle something. Any attempt to corral a group of people your believers view as inimical, if not literally “the enemy,” strikes me as potentially creating a hostile situation that will nearly certainly lead to physical confrontations.

I don’t fully agree with Jim that simply bringing a lot of protesters to a gay rally needs to be a dangerous thing — and in any event, there’s no way I can think of to prevent it from happening. If Dr. Brown can get 1,000 of his followers there, that will reflect his popularity among his flock.

But he should also have some consequent responsibility for their actions. Again, if they are peaceful and nonthreatening, that is how our first amendment is supposed to work. But if they try to close in on the festival, or block people from freely entering and exiting, they will be violating both some fundamental rules of civil behavior, and what seems to be the intent that Dr. Brown is laying out here.

I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I am quite content to live in a world that contains people who disagree with what they mistakenly believe is my “lifestyle.” But I will also always stand up for myself, particularly in situations where I percieve a threat developing. My concern here is that the potential for provocation, particularly if there is anything like physical encirclement of festivalgoers, is high. And I don’t think that will lead to any good results for anyone.

GreenEyedLilo
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

@ Priya Lynn: I so often want to re-work Rebecca West’s famous century-old quote about feminism: “I don’t know what LGBT activism is, I only know that I am called an LGBT activist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

Above all, Dr. Brown seems to be surprised that he is not dealing with doormats.

So much has been said so well that I have little to add, except this: Dr. Brown’s counter-protest is going to create far more angry activist LGBTs than it will ex-gays and newly born-again Christians. I would stake my savings account and all my jewelry on that.

Zeke
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Hear, Hear Christopher!

Richard in CA
July 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Well said, Christopher.

Dr. Brown. I watched a video of you asking people to attend this event. In explaining the horrors of LGBT activists, you pointed to the New Mexico photography business that was fined for actively discriminating against a couple based on sexual orientation in violation of state law. Of course you did not state it that way – you twisted it into some anti-gay, pro-Christianist propoganda phrases.

But the fact remains that you are asking people to come and surround a legal assembly of citizens partly because a public accomadation (business) chose to actively discriminate in violation of law. I can only assume that you and yours WANT to discriminate against LGBT people and their families.

Dr Brown, when you gather together over 1,000 people in red who wish to discriminate legally against me and who wish to change the law in New Mexico – Sir, I take that in and of itself as an act of violence. It is intimidating and it places me, were I there, in fear of immediate threat of physical harm.

People who wish businesses to discriminate against me do not love me in any way, shape, or form. To say differently is a lie in any religion.

Dr. Brown – you have a huge problem facing you on Saturday. One you have not thought through adequately. Pity

Christopher Waldrop
July 24th, 2009 | LINK

Telling people of faith that we are deluded is just as vile as telling homosexuals that we are “really” heterosexual, or that we are “possessed of a demonic spirit”.

FriendOfJonathan, although I don’t share your faith, I respect your right to believe and practice your beliefs. I won’t debate whether your spirituality is “real”, simply because, not having seen the world through your eyes, I feel compelled to assume that you’ve had experiences that give you reason to believe what you do. And even if you haven’t, it would still be both futile and ethically wrong of me to attempt to force you to believe differently.

However I hope you’ll acknowledge that many people of faith–and in the US it’s primarily Christians–regularly seek to impose their beliefs on those of us who don’t share them. There are regular calls for public prayer and other public expressions of faith. Most politicians are expected to be religious. Those of us who don’t want to participate in public prayers, or who don’t go to a church, are regarded with suspicion and often treated with hostility. I’ve been told I was going to Hell so many times I’ve lost count.

Not all people of faith, and certainly not all Christians, behave this way, which is why I try to be very hard to be understanding in spite of the condescending tone that you and others sometimes adopt when responding to any criticism–or any perceived criticism–of your faith.

Timothy Kincaid
July 24th, 2009 | LINK

The debate over atheism and Christianity is taking place on another thread. Please keep it to that thread.

Ben in Oakland
July 24th, 2009 | LINK

Harry Ball, my very wise professor of sociology, once told me “You never do anything for someone else. You do it for yourself. You do it TO someone else.” Though I insisted in my youthful idealism that this must not be true, from a sociological point of view, it’s quite accurate. Thus, I am very suspicious when certain Christians of a certain stripe tell me how much they “love” gay people. I don’t think that’s possible, that they can actually “love” a whole group of people they don’t know, not in any sense that I understand the word “love”, certainly not in the sense of “wishing us well.” And in the case of most anti-gays like YOU, Dr. Brown, they obviously don’t know the first thing about being gay, what that might mean, what it might feel like, and most importantly, the real truths about our lives, as opposed to the made-out-of-whole-cloth truths they, and you, peddle. All you know is what you believe your book has to say on a subject obviously dear to your heart, and that somehow, it is YOUR job to stop it.

Here is something for you I KNOW to be true– it’s not a mere belief. For 2000 years or more, gay people have been subject to a vicious, virulent, and consistent prejudice. We have been imprisoned, slandered, criminalized, degraded, pathologized, and murdered for being different. There are many people who deem it a good thing to make our lives as difficult and unpleasant as possible, often under the guise of “We love you” and “This is for your own good”. That this prejudice exists is beyond all doubt. That we are treated far differently, and not in a good way, than other people is also beyond all doubt. Advocacy AGAINST including gay people as gay people as full members of the human family is predicated on the noble notion that it is a GOOD and GODLY thing that society — much to its loss, as far as I can tell– refuses to cease this sanctioned oppression and the subsequent humiliation of the homosexual minority, that whatever is done to the lives and happiness of these “lesser” beings is a good thing.

Double points if you get to pretend you do it out of love, whether for G or for the oppressed minority.

This is what I call the Brown Incorporated Anti-Gay Religious Agenda (BIAGRA, but it doesn’t make me hard): Because you believe that you understand something written in a book that you believe is the Word of G about a subject you believe to be homosexuality, my civil rights before the law, and my human rights before the whole of humanity, should be compromised. All on the basis of YOUR beliefs, not facts, not reason, and certainly, not love.

Oh, you’ll SAY I have exactly the same human rights as everyone else, but only insofar as I am willing to not be exactly what I am, an out, proud, happy homosexual man. Only insofar as I am willing to agree with you that hetero=good and gay=bad, reality be damned. Only insofar as I am willing to make my life conform to your expectations or your Church’s without a thought for my own, let alone for Reality. And only insofar as I am willing to give up what you call THE GAY AGENDA.

I, and a lot of other people, have big problems with all of this, and this problem is what you call the Gay Agenda. You see, I don’t share the slightest bit of your belief. I don’t believe you understand what is in your book, I don’t believe it is G’s word, and most important of all, IT IS NOT MY BOOK. That’s called freedom of religion. And funny, neither of us has a problem with freedom of religion, at least in theory, though we mean very different things by it.

Here is your very own copy of the Gay Agenda for you: we want an end to this idiotic prejudice that says that because we are made the way we are, because we are adult human beings who prefer members of our own gender for love, sex, and romance, that there is something wrong with us, that we must be punished, stopped, prevented, and that whatever anti-Gay’s do to make that happen is justified. We want an end to the differential treatment accorded to us by our government because some people don’t like whatever they imagine our lives to be, or believe their god doesn’t like it. We certainly don’t want to be “loved” in such a way that our lives are made as difficult and unpleasant as possible, with political campaigns, prayer rallies, and smug assertions that we cannot possibly judge what is best for our lives and our relationship with G.

That is certainly not love as I’ve always understood it. It reminds me of the old joke “I love mankind. It’s people I hate.” It’s not a joke, because the same mechanism is at play here. Gay people are defined as very “other”, and thus very easy to “love” as an abstract group, like mankind. Their reality does not impinge. But this “love” means nothing, because as long as we are abstract, instead of real people who are damaged and hurt, you can go on loving us to misery and death. Let us claim our place in the human family, and somehow, your place is threatened.

Timothy wrote: “They would not see people as their enemy, but rather as poor souls who have been deceived by the enemy. The enemy is Satan, sin, and the forces of evil. They are fighting “the homosexual agenda” not homosexuals. Or so they say, and so they believe. But I also believe that it is quite easy to mistake the enemy for those who they believe are doing the enemy’s work. In fact, those speaking such words often have difficultly in distinguishing the gay person from “the agenda”…just as “hate the sin, love the sinner” generally means in practical terms “hate the sin and make the sinner’s life as miserable as possible so he’ll rue the day he ever considered doing what I call sin”, so too can “fight the sin” be translated as “fight the sinner”.”

We have VERY VERY different ideas of love. You idea of love is spreading the your conception of the gospel to the poor sinners out there– whether they are interested or not, without knowing whether they have already heard it and accepted it–-or rejected it. In short, with knowing nothing about their spiritual state or how G sees them– or anything about them at all. In short, it’s all about you, and not about the people you allegedly love. And that’s not love, it’s narcissism. And as Christopher (fabulous post, BTW) said, it is spiritual arrogance of an annoying degree. At the very least, it is flying in the face of what your Founder enjoined you to do: minding your own god-damned and god-damning business. Funny how the Founder went on and on about PDP’s (public displays of pietizing), but had nothing to say about homosexuality, or whatever they are talking about in the six places it is occultly mentioned in a vague general sort of a way in your book.

Funny how much energy you are expending towards stopping the gay agenda, and how little energy you are putting into doing the other things he commanded, whether it is feeding the poor or loving thy neighbor as thyself. Your insistence that this is your job to stop the Gay Agenda, that you are appointed by G to do so, borders on the same megalomania that has infected so many others concerning the Jewish Problem, The Witch Problem, the Heretic Problem, the Protestant Problem, the Catholic Problem, The woman Problem, and on and on and on.

You know. We don’t. End of story.

A host of other good Christians are all happy to tell me how much they love me, and then follow it up with comments like “cancer on society”, “unholy” (Hi, AC!), “broken person” “devil possessed”, a threat to family and children, faith and freedom, followed, if they have time and breath, by the rest of the whole vicious panoply of anti-gay, homophobic, lying rants. They will tell me how much they love me right before they tell me how much they hate my child-molesting, family threatening, disease spreading, country-destroying, religion-despising, marriage-compromising, military demoralizing ways.

Again, when you tell me how much you love gay people, but you don’t think they should be teachers lest… what… G alone knows what is flying through your brain about this– well, you know, it is very hard for me to feel the love. Because, if that’s love– this belief that I am so broken, so inhuman, so perverted, so sex obsessed, so G-knows-what that I CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO BE AROUND CHILDREN, I prefer hatred. At least it doesn’t assume that I’m so stupid that I can’t tell the difference .

Another form your spiritual arrogance takes, Dr.. Brown, is your certainty that not only do you know the difference between hating the sin and hating the sinner, fighting the sin and fighting the sinner, but that you also are qualified to determine the nature of my sin, Satan, and the forces of evil.

Who died and appointed you Elvis? I believe when Jesus talked about talked about the Pharisees and hypocrites, he was speaking to you, then and now.

As a Jew, I rejected the whole of Christian theology. As a Unitarian, I prayed To Whom It May Concern, confirming the jokes about Unitarians. As a Buddhist, I rejected the notion of the Christian God, or indeed, the requirement of ANY god. And finally, as an educated, moral, and thinking adult, I decided that the ultimate answers to ultimate questions ultimately don’t matter. Be kind, try not to hurt people, be honest, try to make things better. All the answers I need.

And herein lies one of the keys to the mystery. I can reject the whole of Christian belief, and this bothers just abut no one except the most rabid, or dim, fundamentalist. No political campaigns, no prayer rallies, no nothing. But let me say that I am gay, that I reject this itsy, bitsy, irrelevant piece of some Christian theology, let me claim that my life as a happy, healthy gay man is just as valid as any heterosexual’s, and good Christians will do everything they can, including telling the most vicious of lies, to make sure that validity is denied.

Let me proclaim that the myth of heterosexual superiority (or holiness, or G’s word, or normality) is simply that–a myth– that supports the reality of heterosexual privilege and subsequent bullying and devaluation of the gay minority, and I am called a threat to family, children, and morality.

Let me demand that this prejudice end, that I be treated equally as any heterosexual expects to be treated by his government, then that demand is treated as a threat to freedom of religion, speech, association, and anything else guaranteed by our constitution to ALL citizens. My demand for equal treatment means that you mount political and religious campaigns to make sure that doesn’t happen, that there is one set of laws and standards for heteros and faux-mo-sexuals like Alan Chambers and anyone else who is willing to go along with it, and quite another for gay people who do not agree with your agenda.

In short, it appears to me that this is not really about your religious beliefs at all. It’s just about what it has always been about– how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people, and some faux-mo-sexuals, or no-mo’-sexuals, or whatever.

John
July 27th, 2009 | LINK

Being gay myself I know gay activists penchant for dramatics.
I do not believe for one second any stories about people telling children that their mommies were going to hell.
That one smells of fabrication:
Meanies? Check.
Innocent little children? Check.
Mommies? Check.

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