June 20th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

Editor’s Note: Also published on Crosswalk.
 

It’s time for a gut check for conservative Christians in America. If we are on the right side of one of the greatest social, moral, and spiritual issues of our time, then we need to dig deep, hold our ground, strengthen our commitment, and redouble our efforts, regardless of cost or consequence. But if we are on the wrong side of this issue, then we had best throw in the towel before we lose all credibility and further damage the reputation of the Lord.

The issue of which I speak is that of “gay rights” (or, more broadly, “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights”), and on an almost daily basis, the mainstream media assures us of two things: 1) Just as many conservative Christians were on the wrong side of slavery, segregation, and women’s rights, we are on the wrong side of the gay rights issue today. 2) It is futile to oppose gay activism any longer, since the battle has already been won and Americans have embraced “equality and tolerance.”

Put another way, those who continue to argue that homosexual practice is sinful or that same-sex couples should not have the right to marry will soon be consigned to the dung heap of public opinion, there to join past generations of slave traders, misogynists, and members of the KKK. Is this true?

To be sure, we are living in times of stunning social transition:

  • For the third straight year, President Barack Obama has declared June to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, also commemorating the Stonewall Riots of June 1969.
  • In New York, both Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg are making an aggressive attempt to legalize same-sex marriage now.
  • One of the country’s most prestigious law firms, King & Spalding, dropped the United States Government as its client under pressure from gay activists after agreeing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Media outlets have praised the students of a Florida high school for selecting a cross-dressing teenage boy as their prom queen.
  • Major league baseball teams have now joined the “It Gets Better” campaign, designed to encourage gay and lesbian youth and teenagers in their sexual orientation, and “It Gets Better” commercials, sponsored by Google and even featuring a word of encouragement from Pixar’s “Woody” of Toy Story fame, have been broadcast during NBA playoff games.
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated some of America’s most respected family ministries as “hate groups” because of their alleged spreading of misinformation regarding homosexuality.
  • When a Chik-Fil-A store in Pennsylvania donated brownies and sandwiches to a pro-family organization that opposed same-sex marriage, college students began to call for boycotts of Chik-Fil-A on their campuses. At the same time, major corporations pour millions of dollars into gay activist organizations and are widely praised for their philanthropy.

And the list goes on… and on. Is it time for us to capitulate?  Are we on the wrong side of history once again? Certainly not.

It is true that there are many kind, friendly, hard-working, conscientious LGBT people and they deserve to be treated with civility and respect, but when it comes to biblical truth, there is not a single argument that has been presented or a single discovery that has been made – historically or linguistically or archeologically or exegetically – that would cause us to alter our understanding that God’s Word opposes homosexual practice. And it is true that there are many devoted, loving, same-sex couples, but there is still not the slightest reason to redefine marriage – society’s most fundamental social institution – nor, for that matter, has any  proponent of same-sex marriage provided an adequate answer to the most basic of questions, namely, What’s so special about the number “two” if marriage is not the union of a man and a woman?

When it comes to recent polls that indicate that a majority of Americans – especially among younger Americans – now believe same-sex marriage should be legal, we must remember that polls do not tell us what is right, they simply report public opinion. Why in the world should Christian leaders bow down to polls when it comes to determining morality?

We must also bear in mind that other recent polls indicate that most Americans, quite remarkably, believe that more than 25% of the population is gay (as opposed to the correct figure, which is closer to 3%), with Americans under 30 years of age putting the figure at close to 33%. This is an almost unbelievably inaccurate picture (thanks to TV and the media, no doubt), and one that certainly influences public perception towards LGBT people.

The fact is that followers of Jesus are called to swim against the tide of popular opinion and go against the grain of popular morality rather than do what is convenient or expedient. And so, the real question is not whether we are on the right side of history. The question is: Will we do what is right or will we cave in to culture?
 

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of A Queer Thing Happened to America and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

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December 8th, 2010 by Michael L. Brown

Editor’s Note: Originally published on Crosswalk.com

Writing in the On Faith blog for the Washington Post, Orthodox rabbi Shmuley Boteach claimed that evangelical Christians have “utterly marginalized themselves with their obsession over homosexuality.” Is this true? To be sure, in the aftermath of the elections, a lively debate is taking place as to whether evangelicals have been marginalized politically or, to the contrary, have actually increased in influence. But what about our alleged obsession with homosexuality?

When Rabbi Shmuley made this accusation in a November 1st debate we had on the subject of homosexuality, I conducted an impromptu survey of the audience, which was almost exclusively evangelical, asking them to respond to four questions: How many of them heard a sermon in the last year on the importance of marriage? Virtually every hand went up. The importance of devoting time and energy to the raising of their children? Same response. The dangers of sexual sin (and/or pornography)? The same response again. A sermon about gay activism? Not a single hand.

This, however, did not impress psychologist and professor Warren Throckmorton, who wrote on his blog, “While I mean no disrespect to his audience, I am not going to trust that they are a representative sample. I certainly disagree with Brown about the obsession of some evangelicals with homosexuality,” citing other examples that allegedly backed his claim.

Are the rabbi and the psychologist correct? Was my audience not representative of evangelicals as a whole? (Bear in mind that the audience consisted of people who were interested enough in the subject of homosexuality to come to the debate, yet somehow, if Throckmorton is correct, they were less exposed to the subject than those who were not there. Go figure.)

Let’s step back and think about this in terms of day to day, evangelical life. Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of sermons preached in evangelical pulpits across America, and there are thousands of evangelical books that are published, from novels to devotionals to commentaries to sermon collections to testimonies to books on doctrine, theology, prayer, discipleship, marriage, family, childrearing, worship, education, politics, missions, abortion, social action, and more. There is an almost endless stream of evangelical radio and TV shows, with millions of hours of programming, and there are hundreds of evangelical Bible schools, ministry training centers, colleges, universities and seminaries, offering thousands of courses between them.

Of all those sermons, books, radio and TV shows, and college and seminary classes, how many are focused on homosexual issues? Less than 1% would be a fairly good estimate; less than 10% could be absolutely guaranteed. (I invite Rabbi Shmuley or Prof. Throckmorton to challenge this estimate based on a survey of any of the data just mentioned, some of which is readily available.)

What about pro-family organizations like Focus on Family? Haven’t they been obsessed with homosexuality? Actually, under the leadership of Dr. James Dobson, who stressed the importance of evangelicals being involved in the political process, less than 3% of the Focus budget was devoted to homosexual issues, including funds that were designated to help people overcome same-sex attraction. So, out of a budget that reached $130 million, less than $4 million was devoted to homosexual issues. Contrast this with the budget of an organization like the Human Rights Campaign, devoted entirely to promoting gay activism, and topping $35 million in 2010. Yet it is evangelicals who are allegedly obsessed with the issue?

As for evangelical voting in the elections, it is true that certain moral issues are important to evangelicals, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, but for better or worse, issues like the economy or the reach of the government play a much more dominant role, as seen in the recent elections. Plus, how much of our time and energy is spent voting or politicking?

The truth be told, it is actually gay activists who are obsessed with homosexuality (which is no surprise, since from their perspective, this is who they are and they are fighting a battle for equality and civil rights), and they are often joined in their obsession by an all too-willing media, which is also obsessively focused on anyone who takes a public stand against gay activism. And so, virtually every day, we hear about the move to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or about gay teen suicides, or about the fight for same-sex marriage in the courts, or about gay-focused legislation like the Hate Crimes Bill or ENDA, or about some other gay-related story. And from another angle, as noted by Time Magazine‘s Michael Kinsley, “Kids are also exposed constantly to an entertainment culture in which gays are not merely accepted but in some ways dominant. You rarely see a reality show without a gay cast member, while Rosie O’Donnell is a coveted free agent and Ellen DeGeneres is America’s sweetheart.”

For the last two years, our president has officially recognized June as Gay Pride Month, and in 2009, he welcomed 300 gay activists to the White House to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (“This is your house,” he said to them). In the business world, 300 of the nation’s biggest companies earned perfect scores from the Human Rights Campaign by kowtowing to their demands, while on our campuses, college professors have been fired and students expelled for expressing differences with homosexual practice. Yet the moment we draw attention to today’s pervasive obsession with homosexuality or raise an objection to the queering of America, we are immediately accused of being obsessed. How convenient!

So let the truth be told. It is gay activists and their allies, not evangelicals, who are obsessed with homosexuality. We evangelicals are simply holding our moral ground.

Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, “The Line of Fire,” and author of the forthcoming book A Queer Thing Happened to America

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