February 1st, 2010 by M. French

A new bill has been introduced in Congress that seeks to prevent bullying in public schools based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. According to the LGBT magazine Metro Weekly:

Citing “relentless harassment and discrimination” and “life-threatening violence” faced by students “based on their sexual orientation,” U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) today introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit such discrimination, as well as that based on gender identity, in public schools in the United States.

The bill would require that no student in public schools be “excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” based on the student’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill also would prohibit harassment based on either characteristic.

The bill protects LGBT allies as well, prohibiting discrimination based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of the people with whom a student associates.

Similar policies have already been enacted around the country at the local level.  In 2008, when the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District was proposing their own LGBT-focused anti-bullying policy, Dr. Brown warned of the negative consequences that would inevitably result from enacting such policies, speaking at a school board meeting and writing an editorial for the Charlotte Observer.  The editorial can be found below… the points made are all the more important as this legislation is being proposed on a national level.


Michael L. Brown, Ph.D.

Director, Coalition of Conscience

Has the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board opened the door to homosexual indoctrination in our classrooms with its new anti-bullying policy? The Observer (March 13th) is convinced this is not the case, stating, “The policy doesn’t tell students what to believe, it tells them how to behave.” A letter to the editor (March 14th) is stronger, arguing that it is only “religious fanatics” who would connect the anti-bullying policy with an alleged homosexual agenda.

To the contrary, anti-bullying policies are largely the brainchild of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, whose mission is to assure that all students are “valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.” And it is these very categories, namely “sexual orientation” and “gender identity/expression,” that were added to the new CMS policy. Not coincidentally, one of the agenda items at the November 3, 2007 gathering of gay activists at Duke University Law School was to see these same categories added into the statewide anti-bullying policy. Similar examples could be multiplied almost ad infinitum.

Still, it would be fair to ask, “What’s so bad about this? The goal is to reduce bullying in our schools, and gays and lesbians are commonly targeted.”  Certainly, none of us want to see kids picked on and bullied, but the new policy goes one step further. It “directs the Superintendent to establish training and other programs to enforce this policy . . . as well as to foster an environment of understanding and respect for all individuals.”

In other words, with little or no room granted for moral or religious disagreement, training will be introduced to sensitize teachers, administrators, and students to homosexual practice along with issues of gender identity/expression, the latter category often referring to GID (Gender Identity Disorder), which is recognized as pathological behavior by psychologists and psychiatrists. Now this disorder is codified as an acceptable behavior in the new anti-bullying policy. So 17 year-old John, who in his genetics and body is a boy, can decide that he is “Jane” and come to school wearing a dress, and students will be taught to “respect” his cross-dressing behavior.

Indeed, indoctrination such as this is already written into the elementary school curriculum in Montgomery County, Maryland, and the GLSEN Lunchbox provides educators across the nation with elementary school lessons such as: “Getting in Touch with Your Inner Trannie” (meaning, transgender identity) and “Deconstructing Definitions of Family,” while the “Terminology Game Cards” activity quizzes students and teachers on terms such as: Transsexual, Cross Dresser, Genderqueer, and Sexual Reassignment Surgery, among many others. This is what we can expect to see in our CMS schools.

And perhaps we shall soon see a “gender-bender,” cross-dressing day (as happened in Iowa schools last November, with the help of GLSEN), or a girl running for prom king in her high school (as happened in Fresno last April), or a bill like Califiornia’s SB 777, which, according to attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund, “redefines a student’s sex as his or her ‘gender identity,’ relying upon a student’s feelings about whether the student is male or female rather than his or her biological sex,”, opening up a Pandora’s box of potential problems.

One need not be prescient to see what’s coming. One need only look back and look around. We have been forewarned.

Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

July 27th, 2009 by M. French

Over 500 followers of Jesus participated in an event known as God Has a Better Way in downtown Charlotte on July 25th, 2009. The event began at noon at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, where Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Coalition of Conscience, shared the goals and terms of involvement for the rally, described as a “Spirit-birthed response to Charlotte’s annual gay pride event.” After being required to sign their names to the terms of involvement before receiving red “God Has a Better Way” t-shirts, the group marched to the corner of Cedar St. and Trade St. for a time of worship, prayer, and preaching across the street from Pride Charlotte.

Among the news outlets covering the event was News14, which released a story that included an interview with a lesbian woman named Monica Simpson. Their article states:

One Pride Festival participant turned the tables.

“Each year, we have groups come to our pride celebrations trying to demonstrate their message of love, saying there’s a better way or we need to change who we are, and so this year I thought, what if we go to them? I think it’s time to flip the script, so to speak,” Monica Simpson said.

In the midst of the sea of red shirts stood Simpson, a yearly pride participant.

“It allowed me to see how much work still needs to be done on this earth as we really talk about the dream that god has for us to live as one and realize we are all connected as one,” she said.

What’s not recorded in the News14 story however, is that she gave this account prior to the event as the God Has a Better Way participants were on their way to their designated meeting place. Dr. Brown had this to say about what happened with Monica after the interview with News14:

She and about four of her group then came to the front of our crowd, right near the musicians, and began to worship with us. We even gave one of the ladies a jimbe to play to join in with our folks. After about an hour of prayer and worship, Monica came over to talk with me.

She explained to me that she didn’t even want to come over to our group because she had her defenses up, but what we were doing was “wonderful” and “radical love” and she “really felt God’s presence.” And she was thrilled with my expressed desire to sit down and dialogue. I have already emailed her with the hope that she and some of her church leaders will sit down together and talk.

Following a time of worship and prayer, Lou Engle of The Call led the group in a prayer of repentance for the sexual sin that has gripped the church in America, and Dr. Brown led a prayer asking for forgiveness on behalf of those in the church who have brought condemnation instead of love and hope to the homosexual community, asking God that their hearts would be filled with love and compassion instead. The rally participants gathered into small groups to intercede on behalf of friends and family who struggle with homosexual desires, and then many stayed to continue to worship and pray while others made themselves available for conversation with Pride participants by walking around the Pride event in groups of two. In addition to the main event, several small worship teams were located in other areas around Pride Charlotte, with God Has a Better Way leadership asking participants not to gather in groups larger than ten in these places to avoid disrupting the Pride event.

During the rally, a small group was gathered across the street in protest. Some of their signs included “There Is No ‘Better Way’ Than Being Human,” “Focus on Your Own Family,” and “God Is a Militant Transgender Feminist.” In an interview with the leader of this protest, the protester said that the last sign was written to:

Poke fun at the concept that there could be any better way than what is just the human way. We’re all people, and so to say that one way is any better than any other way is foolish, to say that there’s someone whose job it is to determine what that way is, is foolish.

The protest leader was confused however by the peaceful, loving event he was witnessing across the street, expecting something quite different after reading what had been said about Brown, Engle, and the people involved with God Has a Better Way in the weeks prior to the event (see the World Net Daily article Opposing rally has ‘pridefest’ fans enraged for some examples), saying:

If you compare their rhetoric to their presence … reading the publications they release, they come with a message of hate and intolerance, and the manifestation of that is clearly not violent, not aggressive.

Not knowing what publications he could have been referring to, we probed further:

VOR: Can you quickly talk about what you read that you thought was violent or

Protester: From accounts of “God Has a Better Way” demonstrations in the past,
where red-shirted individuals would scream hateful things at people or their
children, specifically about how they’re an abomination, or that they’re
less than human, or not human, [and also] the writings of several people that are part
of the organization.

One can completely understand the need to protest an organization that is doing these sorts of things year-in, year-out. But are these allegations true? Dr. Brown responds:

Everything the protester said is completely fictional. The only other time we had red-shirted individuals in the midst of a gay pride event was 2005, and they were required to conduct themselves in accordance with the same terms of involvement as the ones we handed out yesterday. Throughout the event, their conduct and speech were exemplary. In fact, their instructions were to make it their goal to be invited to someone’s house to hang out after the event as a friend.

Unfortunately, there were some quotes in the Charlotte Observer’s coverage of the event from Charlotte Pride participants (not the Observer reporter) that spoke of red-shirted protesters hitting people over the head with the Bible and telling them they were going to hell. The reality is that the story was so one-sided that the Observer invited me to write an editorial giving the other side of the story. My editorial was entitled, “Pushing the Hate Button Again,” and I pointed out how people accuse us of speaking hatefully rather than interact honestly with the things we say in a gracious spirit. (Click here to read the editorial.)

More unfortunate are the recent quotes in a wildly misleading article that appeared on the gay blog Interstate Q, where an anonymous source claims that we told the children of GLBT participants at Charlotte Pride in 2005 that their parents were going to hell, and it was this bogus report – note that it is anonymous and surfaces for the first time more than four years after the event! – that was repeated in stories on other websites, like Box Turtle Bulletin and 365Gay. Thankfully, these last two websites had the integrity to print my responses to these charges, despite our obvious differences, and Interstate Q allowed me to print comments refuting the false accusations. (Click here for the BTB article that includes my response, and here for the 365Gay article with my response).

As for the notion that the writings of several people that are part of God Has a Better Way leadership were hateful and violent, that is also 100% false and, sadly, fueled by some of the reports that were published on some of the aforementioned websites. The good news is that they are verifiably false, as opposed to the accusations and denials regarding the demeanor and speech of our participants in Charlotte Pride 2005. There’s not a syllable in anything I have ever written concerning LGBT issues that is either hateful or violent. (Of course, I am consistently branded as “hateful” for saying that, according to the Bible, homosexual practice is sinful and that I differ with many of the goals of gay activism, but by no rational definition can that be considered hateful). As for advocating violence, that is as mythical as me (or Lou Engle, another leader who participated in GBW) advocating that lambs go to battle and tear up lions with their teeth! (Just to be clear, I’m not calling GLBT’s “lions”; I’m simply exposing the absurdity of the “violent” charge.) Again, some writings having to do with spiritual warfare or the like were massively misconstrued in some recent gay articles, but Lou addressed that in a VOR interview and I addressed it in an article.

I must say, however, that some of the “violent” accusations were quite laughable, akin to the National Guard being called out because the Salvation Army was coming to town. I think readers would enjoy listening to my two-hour interview with a young gay journalist named Matt Comer where we discussed these very issues last week. (Click here to listen.) I think listeners will find it insightful that he agreed that in all the time he has known me and/or heard me speak, and in all my writings regarding GLBT issues, I have never once said or written anything that could be called hateful.

Towards the end of the event, an official statement to the media was read by Dr. Brown, followed by prayer and proclamation from Lou Engle for righteousness to be restored to the nation, and for the homosexual agenda to be carried no further, calling specifically for a “stone wall of intercession” to rise from the church concerning these issues.

During the prayer, a protester who had previously driven by the event honking and waving a “Stop Preaching Hate” sign, went across the street from the event and started shouting at the rally participants to look at her in an effort to disrupt the prayer. Intrigued by the sign, considering the love that other protesters had seen from the God Has a Better Way rally, we asked her what “hate” she had heard from the people preaching at the rally. She replied:

They’re preaching hate because they’re coming against who we are, they’re against who we are as human beings, it’s not really about gay rights, it’s about human rights, and they’re against human rights, obviously.

Thus, according to the protester, the GBW participants and leaders were “coming against who [GLBT people] are” when they say that God has a better way than homosexuality, and that this was “preaching hate.” Is this true? As mentioned in Dr. Brown’s article from 2005, the verb hate is defined as “to feel hostility or animosity toward; to detest.” Were the people at the God Has a Better Way rally hostile towards gay people? Clearly not. Were they hostile towards the ideologies and spiritual powers that propagate what they see as a “radical gay agenda”? Yes. And here-in lies much of the conflict and misunderstanding between the groups.

The event ended with GBW participants linking arms to form a “stone wall” of prayer, declaring together “IT STOPS HERE, GOD HAS A BETTER WAY!” After the event, one woman who had come to experience both Pride Charlotte and God Has a Better Way said of the latter: “I was blessed.  I think everybody is loved here. This is a very moving event, that I think everybody should be a part of.”

Reports have been coming in since the event concluded that show that many Pride Charlotte attendees were quite open to and welcoming of receiving prayer from the GBW participants (whether they were in red shirts or not), and a few testimonies have been circulating of people at the Pride event coming to faith in Jesus and getting healed of physical injuries and ailments.

What significance will God Has a Better Way end up having? Dr. Brown had the following perspective: “I’ve been saying for years that God’s going to do something in Charlotte that’s going to get the attention of the nation. Believe me, this is the first salvo. By God’s grace, this is just the beginning.”

Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: , , , , , ,

February 18th, 2009 by M. French

The Charlotte Observer

The Observer reported on the upcoming Love Won Out event in Charlotte, comparing it with the upcoming pro-gay Leadership Conference in Tonya Jameson’s Battle for Gay Souls article, reprinted below :

Battle for Charlotte gay souls

This weekend two religious conferences offer different takes on homosexuality and faith.

One seeks to be a refuge for homosexuals struggling with their sexuality by turning them away from homosexuality. The other seeks help homosexuals find love and acceptance.

Two perspectives on a complex issue.

Love Won out, by Focus on the Family, is part of the ex-gay movement in which people abandon homosexuality. It’s Saturday at the Central Church of God.

For people who are dissatisfied with homosexuality the conference offers an alternative, said Melissa Fryrear, who used to be gay.

“It’s a message of hope and encouragement.”

Rev. Nancy Wilson disagrees. Wilson is part of the Leadership Conference that is Wednesday-Saturday at the Omni Hotel. A focus of the conference is to show that someone can be a GLBT person of faith and feel good about themselves, and improve the community at large through volunteerism.

“People ultimately are happy if they are true to themselves,” she said. “We pick up the people who are ex-gays. It’s bad psychology. It’s bad theology they’re teaching.

“What these people need is to find a sense of self-acceptance, to be able to live healthy and good lives as gay people.”

The issue of sexuality isn’t as simple as either side frames it. It’s not as simple as we in the media frame it either. It’s not us versus them. It’s an intensely personal issue that can rip apart lives and families. Or depending on the person it can also build stronger individuals, families and communities. I know people who fit in both categories as well as people who fit somewhere in between.

The conferences are here when homosexuality is back in the local headlines. On Saturday, Charlotte Presybterians voted to end the ban on gay clergy. Earlier this year, county commissioners voted to study providing domestic partnership benefits to county employees.

At least 250 faith leaders from GLBT friendly churches will participate in the annual Leadership Conference gathering, which begins Wednesday. Participants are typically church members and leaders from area Metropolitan Community Churches, the Fellowship, and Unity Fellowship churches. Sessions are designed to spiritually and emotionally bolster faith leaders who cater to the GLBT communities.

“It’s very challenging to be a leader in our community,” Wilson said. “There are a lot of needs, a lot of brokenness, a lot of challenges. There’s a lot of healing that’s needed. You have to have strong leadership for that to happen.”

The day the Leadership Conference ends on Saturday, is the same day that the Love Won Conference takes place at the Central Church of God on Sardis Road. This is the eleventh year of the conference. Charlotte also hosted the conference in 2002 at First Baptist.

Love Won Out caters to GLBT people who want to overcome their sexuality as well as to family members of GLBT people. About 1,000 people are expected. Workshops topics include examining homosexuality, GLBT clergy, pro-gay theology and gay marriage.

No matter which side you agree with, the conferences will give you insight and likely challenge your own perceptions about sexuality and about faith. Ultimately, I hope they help individuals struggling to find peace within themselves.

It was encouraging to see such an even-handed report. The only element of the story that gave me pause was her use of the word abandon in her comment “Love Won out, by Focus on the Family, is part of the ex-gay movement in which people abandon homosexuality.”  With the word usually used to refer to something that a person has left behind but shouldn’t have (as in, abandoning a child), I was concerned that the Observer was slipping in an implied moral judgment on the subject.  According to thefreedictionary.com, the relevant definitions for the word are:

1. To withdraw one’s support or help from, especially in spite of duty, allegiance, or responsibility; desert: abandon a friend in trouble.
2. To give up by leaving or ceasing to operate or inhabit, especially as a result of danger or other impending threat: abandoned the ship.
3. To surrender one’s claim to, right to, or interest in; give up entirely. See Synonyms at relinquish.
4. To cease trying to continue; desist from: abandoned the search for the missing hiker.

WIth the primary definition corresponding to my understanding of the word’s most prevalent usage, I asked the reporter whether she was using the word in a way that was more defined by the first definition, or the third definition.  She responded by saying “No. 3 – to give it up.”  It’s encouraging to see the local media being even-handed in their reporting.

Truth WIns Out

With a decidedly different approach to reporting, Truth Wins Out, a pro-gay organization that describes itself with the catchline “Fighting Right Wing Lies and The ‘Ex-Gay’ Fraud”, reported on the Love Won Out event as well as other homosexuality-related events on their blog here.  Their original post is reprinted below:

North Carolina, National Groups to Protest ‘Ex-Gay’ Road Show

Exodus International and Focus on the Family take their exgay-for-pay road show, “Love Won Out,” to Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 21.

The event is timed not to help Carolina ex-gays or their families, but instead to coincide with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship

The Charlotte Rainbow Action Network plans a series of events Feb. 14-21 to raise public awareness about the ex-gay organizations’ ongoing acts to divide families and churches and to replace school science lessons with sectarian religious rhetoric. Truth Wins Out is among the invited participants.

According to Q-Notes:

In his presentation, “Pray Away the Gay,” Besen will discuss the myths and lies of “ex-gay” organizations like Exodus International. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Charlotte’s Lesbian & Gay Community Center.

A press conference will follow the next day. Media has been invited to the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Charlotte where Besen will unveil a new Truth Wins Out/Lambda Legal booklet “Ex-Gay & the Law.” The new publication offers resources for those who might have been victimized by unscrupulous “ex-gay” ministries and therapies.

On Saturday, Feb. 21, the grassroots group’s efforts will culminate in a non-violent, silent protest of the Love Won Out conference. Members and supporters will be present outside Central Church of God on Sardis Road from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Other invitees for the events countering Exodus and FOTF include Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign and Faith in America, and local and state groups such as One Voice Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice, UNCC Pride and EqualityNC.

The section concerning the reasons for Love Won Out’s schedule were of particular interest.  Our February 2nd article “Love Won Out” and “Truth Wins Out” in Charlotte dealt with the timing of the events, and so I left the following comment on the Truth Wins Out article:

Your article states:

“The event is timed not to help Carolina ex-gays or their families, but instead to coincide with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship.”

Incorrect! I’m affiliated with the ministry of Dr. Michael Brown, a speaker at the event, and this is what we published on February 2nd concerning the two events occurring on the same date:

“In addition, the Human Rights Campaign will be holding their annual Carolinas Gala, featuring North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan as their keynote speaker, on the same day as the Love Won Out Conference (though it should be noted that the conference was not scheduled in response to the Carolinas Gala, in fact, neither Dr. Brown nor the other leaders from Love Won Out were even aware of the fact that the two events were scheduled for the same day until a few months ago, well after it was scheduled).”

Please correct this in your article.

Marcus French
Editor: Voice of Revolution

While the author responded with hostility in our back and forth conversation (you can read it here), he did change the section I called into question.  The section that had previously read:

The event is timed not to help Carolina ex-gays or their families, but instead to coincide with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship.

Now reads:

The event’s timing was suspicious, as it coincided with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship.

The section, while still getting across the point that the timing was “suspicious” (which is a feeling TWO is clearly allowed to have, though their suspicion is unfounded), no longer states that Love Won Out is more interested in raining on HRC’s parade than “help[ing] Carolina ex-gays or their families.”  It’s encouraging that, if only in this small way, truth really did win out on the “Truth Wins Out” blog.

Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: , , , , ,