Wayne Besen is a passionate gay activist and non-religious, liberal Jew who has dedicated himself to opposing the idea that homosexuals can become heterosexual. To that end, he founded the Truth Wins Out organization, and he writes extensively on the subject of “ex-gays,” with a monograph, hundreds of posts, and articles for the Huffington Post to his credit. (As to the question of “ex-gays,” see Chapter Twelve of my book A Queer Thing Happened to America.) Wayne has also appeared on O’Reilly and other TV shows, and he is never at a loss for words, especially when it comes to the “religious right.” In that spirit, he has graced me with several articles, including the not so subtly-titled, “Michael Brown Is an Anti-Gay Monster” (August 31, 2011).
In that article, Wayne claims that my “game is to try inciting followers to possible violence against LGBT people, while innocently maintaining that he loves homosexuals and simply wants them to meet his militant and perverted version of God.” He calls me “a slick dude,” a “sick and cynical” person, someone with “a messiah complex [who] is a diabolical individual who aims to manipulate impressionable followers to launch some sort of holy war,” noting however, that, I’m “too much of a coward to start the war” myself.
He even confesses, “I do strongly believe to my core that Brown’s ultimate goal is to create the conditions for a nasty physical clash.” Indeed, “The madman fully understands that he only has to create a hostile climate to inflame the most unstable of his thugs and they will eventually provoke the type of confrontation that this pathological monster deeply desires.”
God bless dear Wayne! He certainly has a way with words. After all, it’s not every day that you get called a pathological monster, a slick, sick, cynical, diabolical madman with a messiah complex, as well as get accused of trying to incite a bunch of unstable thugs “to engage in a violent physical clash with LGBT people.” (For what I actually advocate, namely, a totally non-violent, moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution, click here.)
Wayne even weighs in again in his own comments section, calling me an “ego-maniac,” while other commenters follow in his footsteps with sophisticated posts like these: “I would not be surprised if ‘Mein Kampf’ were to be found on his nightstand.” (This was followed by other comments too vulgar to print.) What a delightful, thoughtful bunch!
But I am only one of Wayne’s targets. In his most recent attack, “Mainstream Christians Must Stand Up to the Religious Right” (September 19, 2011), he reviles the hundreds of Christians with whom I attended the recent gay pride event in Charlotte, claiming that we “confronted and harassed festival attendees with [our] arrogant slogan ‘God Has A Better Way.’” He refers to us as “despicable bullies” and speaks of our “fanatical behavior,” although, for the record, our group of roughly 400 consisted of grandparents, moms, dads, kids, and college-age singles who handed out about 2,500 free bottles of water (labeled “Jesus Loves You”) and engaged in civil and respectful conversation with any who cared to talk with us. Oh, the horror!
All this, however, is the backdrop for Wayne’s heartfelt appeal. He is desperately concerned that religious “extremists” like me, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachman will “defile America – and permanently define Christianity.” Instead, Wayne wants the “Religious Left” to rise up and show America what Christianity really is. He writes, “It is time to stand up, speak out, and give voice to our values. If not now, when? Are we going to wait until it is too late and we have lost our country?”
The problem, of course, is that the “Religious Left” has rejected most of the fundamental tenets of the historic Christian faith, denying the authority of Scripture, espousing religious pluralism, defending abortion, and championing homosexuality. Could this be why these so-called “mainstream” churches are in such numerical decline while conservative churches are growing exponentially in many parts of the world? And could it be that the conspicuous lack of moral and spiritual absolutes in many of these “mainstream” churches is part of what fails to inspire their constituents?
Wayne himself is not optimistic about the prospects, writing, “This reluctance to stand up and speak out has created a hazardous vacuum where only the shrill and unreasonable voices of fundamentalism are heard. Instead of the dialogue that many progressives of faith claim to desire, this perceived weakness creates a lopsided right wing monologue, which is having a deleterious effect on our nation and the world.”
The reality, of course, is that the “Christianity” Wayne calls for bears little resemblance to the faith of the Scriptures or the faith of history, but that should not surprise us. After all, what else should we expect when a non-religious, gay Jewish liberal tries to redefine Christianity?
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