Interview with Michael Brown on the Critics of ‘A Queer Thing Happened to America’Filed under Culture, News on April 5th, 2011 by M. French
Your new book, ‘A Queer Thing Happened to America,’ has now been out for three weeks, and has garnered praise from the likes of Christian television host Sid Roth, and hate from gay activists such as Wayne Besen (something reflected in the Amazon book page in the form of 1 and 5 star reviews and a ‘tag war’ between supporters and haters), has this polarized opinion regarding the book been surprising?
Brown: This polarized opinion is exactly what I expected, and it’s also playing out in expected ways. Those who have taken the time to read the book have written positive reviews. Those who have scorned and mocked the book in the strongest terms are those who haven’t read it. Very interesting! I also find it revealing that the reviewers who agree with the book are, generally speaking, writing in gracious terms, recognizing the serious scholarly research that went into the book and very much aware of my compassionate tone towards the GLBT community (with which I often differ in my book) — yet they (and I) are allegedly part of the intolerant, bigoted camp. On the other hand, the reviewers bashing the book and even describing it with in some cases vulgar terms, are supposed to be the voices of tolerance and inclusion. Again, this is very revealing and fully confirms what I wrote in the book about the intolerance and hatred coming from those whose agenda we reject. Read the reviews and ask yourself: Who are the haters?
You appeared on the Sid Roth “It’s Supernatural!” program a few weeks ago discussing the book and the impact of gay activism on society. While many have said they were impacted by the program in a positive way, gay activist blogger Joe.My.God called the skit at the beginning of the program showing an Elementary teacher reading Two Daddies or Two Mommies to her class “repulsive.” What involvement did you have in developing the skit, or other portions of the program that aired?
Brown: I didn’t see the skit until the show was posted online, and my only involvement was to lend Sid’s staff some of the children’s books so they could photograph them. Those who liked or disliked the skit can commend or criticize Sid and his staff; those who like or dislike the book can commend or criticize me. As for the program itself, as normally happens with TV interviews, you record segments with the host. Everything else is done subsequently — graphics, adding of music, ads, etc. — and that was the case with this show.
The gay activist organization ‘Truth Wins Out’ recently attacked the book, stating that you’re “starved for attention,” a “pompous ego maniac and a long winded stage horse,” and “a self-righteous bore,” also claiming that the only reason the book made it to the top of the Amazon Gay & Lesbian Nonfiction chart was that your publishing firm, EqualTime Books, bought out the books on Amazon in order to “make it look like they have a popular book – when they don’t.” How would you respond to these accusations?
Brown: The folks at Truth Wins Out certainly have a way with words, don’t they? Actually, when I see attacks like this, I can only smile and pray for God’s grace and love to flood their hearts. I really don’t take it personally, and because I’m not particularly impressed with myself (in fact, I think I’m far more aware of my weaknesses than my strengths), all the egomaniac accusations actually amuse me. As for my ministry buying from Amazon the books that we sold them (since we self-published the book) — meaning, that we would be buying them from Amazon at more than twice the price they got them from us), are you kidding? Who in the world has money to throw away like that? Anyway, Amazon has records of all the orders, and they can readily attest to the fact that lots of individuals are buying them.
In chapter 12 of the book, you critique ‘Truth Wins Out,’ and the organization’s founder, Wayne Besen. What conclusions have you drawn regarding Mr. Besen and his organization?
Brown: I have concluded that Mr. Besen is very committed to his cause and that he really believes in what he’s doing, and that, despite the bombastic words, he is very serious about his work. He appears to genuinely believe that gays can’t change and that religious leaders like me are either hateful, mercenary, or both. And, of course, I have concluded that he is wrong.
Some of the articles attacking you did so based on a Christian Post article that claimed that you were “struggling to draw public attention” to your book but that the “gay rights agenda [was] shutting down debate on homosexuality,” and thus the “book tour failed to garner any members of the mainstream press.” Do you think this “shutting down [of] debate” is why there was very little mainstream news coverage of your news conference in Washington DC?
Brown: Actually, I had no idea if any media would come to the National Press Club event but I felt it would be a good way to officially announce the book release regardless of who showed up. In fact, when I was asked by the reporter from the Christian Post if I felt that the lack of turnout was part of the media’s tendency to ignore our side of the argument, I stated that this was not necessarily the case, that a lot was happening in the world (Japan; Libya) and that the media might not have had a reason to be at this press conference. I did state that it was possible some were choosing to ignore the book, but I had no way of knowing that and certainly wasn’t disappointed with the very small turnout. Thankfully, I have a national radio show that serves as a great platform to talk about the relevant issues, and the press club event was more of an official statement than anything else.
What can people do to support the book and its message in the midst of these attacks?
Brown: First, they can pray that truth and light will triumph (2 Cor 13:8; John 1:5) and that the Lord would bless those who are attacking the book. Second, they can pray that the attacks will draw more people to read the book and that it will have a national impact. Third, they can tell their friends about the book and help get the word out. Posting on Facebook and Twitter and the like is very helpful. Fourth, if they have read the book they can post reviews and even without reading the book, they can weigh in on Amazon as to which reviews they find helpful or unhelpful. Fifth, they can go to their local bookstore or library and ask them to carry the book. We have a specific strategy to that effect on the book’s website, AQueerThing.com.
The bottom line is this: I believe that God called me to write this book, I worked hard on it during a period of six years, and many people are praying with me that the book would be used to bring about positive change in our nation. And so the bottom line is that I’m trusting God to have His way.
Tags: a queer thing happened to america, Amazon.com, book tour, christian post, gay activism, homosexuality, joe.my.god, organization, sid roth, truth wins out, wayne besen
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