The details of the tragic massacre in Norway are shocking beyond words. At least 76 fatalities. Scores of young people gunned down in cold blood. Others seriously injured or missing. Body parts still to be recovered in the bombed out buildings. A nation traumatized and in mourning.
Were these horrific acts the result of an outside terrorist attack? No. Was this the work of Muslim extremists living in Norway? No again. Rather, the bomber and shooter was a native-born Norwegian, a blue-eyed and blond haired vegetable farmer, Anders Breivik, with no prior history of violence. And he has been described as a “right-wing, fundamentalist Christian.” But of course! How long will it be before ominous new warnings are sounded throughout America reminding us of the dangers of “right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity”?
In 2007, a New Jersey school came under criticism after staging a mock hostage drill in which the intruders were not radical Muslims or other, known terrorist groups. Instead, they were Christian fundamentalists dubbed the “New Crusaders.” As noted by JihadWatch in April, 2007, the intruders were described as “members of a right-wing fundamentalist group . . . who don’t believe in the separation of church and state.” And these fake gunmen were driven to attack the school because they were “seeking justice because the daughter of one [member] had been expelled for praying before class.”
Conservative Christians who learned of this drill were rightly outraged. Where, they asked, had any of their people committed such acts? Where were the 9/11-type massacres carried out by American, fundamentalist Christians? Where were the barbaric killings, carried out in our country in Jesus’ name, similar to the slaughter of school children in Beslan, Russia that had been carried out by Islamic, Chechnyan sympathizers? Obviously, they did not exist.
“But,” we were warned, “they could be coming soon. After all, these Christian groups use violent, warfare language, and they talk about a ‘Jesus revolution.’”
In other words, singing old hymns like “Onward Christian Soldiers” might lead to bloodshed, and those conservative Christians who feel their rights are being violated by the government might just put down their hymn books, pick up their rifles, and lay siege to the school building across the street. Right. Just like those who believe in the “war on poverty” also believe in killing poor people (or perhaps rich people?) and those who engage in the “culture wars” believe in slaughtering the people with whom they differ. Yet there are many who truly believe that conservative Christians will somehow turn violent in the name of the Lord.
In the summer of 2009, in my current home city of Charlotte, North Carolina, a local gay journalist warned about religious leaders (which included me) who were allegedly “preaching and teaching with violent and militant theology and rhetoric, painting the social conflict over LGBT equality as a ‘battle’ and a ‘war.’” He asked, “How thin of a line exists between violent word and thought, and violent action and deed? That’s a question answered plenty of times before, from Christian Crusades and Inquisitions of ages past to the modern day of radical Islamic terrorism. But, it is a question yet to be answered in Charlotte, N.C., where I believe there is a potentially dangerous and violent threat ramping up its efforts to counter the annual LGBT event, Pride Charlotte.”
And what was this “potentially dangerous and violent threat”? It was a group of 500 Christians who gathered to pray, worship, and share the gospel with attendees of the gay pride event, declaring that “God has a better way.” After the event (which I helped organize and which was as peaceful as could be imagined), a local lesbian activist told me that what we were doing was an act of “radical love.”
Yet the murderous acts of Anders Breivik in Norway will be seen as proof that conservative Christians in America might just turn violent too, as if the demented actions of an anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalist Norwegian have anything to do with the spiritual, moral, and cultural aspirations of American Christ-followers who espouse the non-violent teachings and example of the Master himself.
Sadly, the atmosphere in our country has become so toxic that venerable ministries like Focus on the Family and the American Family Association have been branded as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, while People for the American Way sends out regular warnings about evangelical Christian leaders on its RightWingWatch website. And this will surely intensify in the days to come in the wake of the tragedy in Norway.
Let us, then, who call ourselves conservative Christians, redouble our efforts to expose the folly of these false charges, overcoming evil with good and hatred with love, thereby proving ourselves to be genuine followers of Jesus.
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.
See the clip below for the concerns of self-proclaimed gay atheist David Starkey on the direction the UK (and the West) is heading with regard to enforcing pro-gay viewpoints on the public, such as a ruling last week from the High Court in London banning pro-family Christian couples from becoming foster parents, and another British couple that were fined for not accommodating a homosexual couple in their small hotel.
Some notable quotes:
“I am gay and I am atheist but I have profound doubts about this case. It seems to me that what we are doing is producing a tyrannous new morality that is every bit as oppressive as the old.”
“I am very, very concerned that a new sort of liberal morality is coming in, which as I said, is as intolerant, is as oppressive, is as intrusive into family life.”
“The way to do that is not to ban them, not to fine them. It is for them simply to put up what seems to me to be a quite proper notice in a small privately run hotel which says we are Christians and this is what we believe.”
On May 6th, Dr. Keith Ablow, a TV psychiatrist and university professor, penned a controversial article entitled, “Cameron Diaz Is Right — 4 Reasons Why Marriage IS a Dying Institution.” The article, which was posted on FoxNews.com, received a considerable amount of criticism, as Dr. Ablow claimed that marriage is “one of the leading causes of major depression in the nation.” He even wrote that, “marriage is a dying institution . . . because it inherently deprives men and women of the joy of being ‘chosen’ on a daily basis.” Come again?
Did Fox News pull the article in the face of criticism? Certainly not. After all, the doctor is entitled to his opinion (even if his opinion is deemed inane) and, for a website and news agency, the more controversy the better – at least to a point. There are certain lines that one dare not cross these days, and one of those now appears to be the line of “transphobia.” (In case you’re not up on LGBT vocabulary, transphobia is to transgender what homophobia is homosexual.)
This, then, is what happened in the space of just two days. On May 17th, Dr. Ablow posted an article on FoxNews.com entitled, “Inside the Mind of Chaz Bono,” writing, “Chastity Bono, the daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono, has undergone gender reassignment surgery and now asserts she [that’s right, she] is a man. . . . I know my thoughts on this matter will be politically incorrect, but they are entirely biologically and psychiatrically accurate.”
Dr. Ablow continued, “First, Chaz Bono is not a man. She is a woman who has undergone radical surgeries and is taking male hormones in order to look like a man. That isn’t a political position, it’s a biological reality. Chaz Bono wants to be thought of as male, but she is not male.”
He explained, “Delusional disorders are notoriously difficult to treat. Paranoia . . . can require extensive psychotherapy and anti-psychotic medication. Sometimes, that isn’t even enough. So you can imagine that believing you are a man when you are a woman could require even more vigorous and dedicated attempts to alleviate the psychotic person’s symptoms. . . . “I think Chaz Bono, who is, in fact, a woman, will not escape, through surgery or manipulation of hormones, suffering that is far more than skin deep.”
On May 18th, just one day after Dr. Ablow’s article was posted, it was pulled from the Fox News website without explanation, apparently because of an uproar from the gay and transgender community, including threats of boycotts. When it comes to homosexuality and transgenderism, the message is plain and clear: “Thou shalt not criticize!”
Was this article any more controversial than his article attacking marriage? Hardly. After all, there is no genetic or biological indication that Chastity Bono is a man other than what she/he perceives in her/his head. (I say that with all respect to the struggles that Bono has passed through and without minimizing the very real needs of those who identify as transgender.) Perhaps Chastity could have been helped from the inside out? Perhaps some of Chastity’s inner turmoil had to do with the very unusual family environment in which she was raised?
When Chastity released her coming out story as a lesbian in 1999, we were expected to embrace her new identity with affirmation and approval, recognizing that this was who she truly was. Now we are being told that she was really not a lesbian at all but rather a heterosexual male trapped in a woman’s body. Is it so outrageous for a psychiatrist to question whether Chastity/Chaz is suffering from some kind of disorder? Apparently so.
In today’s upside-down world, a psychiatrist can make the claim that marriage is a dying institution, one of the major causes of depression, and that is perfectly fine. But let that same psychiatrist suggest that Chastity/Chaz Bono is suffering from a mental or emotional disorder (for the record, it is called Gender Identity Disorder), and his voice must be silenced post haste.
Consider the political climate in which we now live: Olympic gold medalist Peter Vidmar, the chief of the US Olympic team mission for 2012, resigned from his position under pressure from gay activists. Why? He supported Prop 8 in California, defining marriage as the union of a man and woman, and this was deemed too controversial. One week later, Rick Welts, the owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, openly declared his homosexuality and received nothing but praise and commendation for his candor. And “transitioning” from a woman into a man gets you a spot on Oprah and David Letterman, while questioning the rightness of sex-change surgery gets you silenced.
A queer thing, indeed, has happened to America. One can only wonder what is coming next.
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.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. — 1 Cor 6:9-11
I interviewed former self-described ‘demonic drag queen’ Trace McNutt yesterday. We discussed his former life, the Lord’s call to him out of that lifestyle, and the gay community’s perception of him and the church. Listen to the interview below:
From an email sent out to the Coalition of Conscience:
Join Us This Thursday Night, Feb. 10, for a Special Night with Lou Engle at FIRE Church
We are excited to announce that our dear friend Lou Engle will be with us for one night only, Thursday, February 10th, beginning at 7:00 PM, at FIRE Church in Concord, just a half-mile from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Please join us and encourage your friends to come.
We are in the early stages of launching the Charlotte House of Prayer with a very specific focus, one that is absolutely critical for our nation and region. We’ll share more about the vision for this House of Prayer and how you can be involved on Thursday night. Before Lou speaks, we will have a time of worship and I’ll also be sharing the word the Lord gave me more than six years ago to “reach out and resist.” This will be an important night!
Editor’s Note: Some of the links in this article are to gay activist websites that may contain objectionable ads, articles, etc… We do not condone their content.
Gay activist Matt Comer, who we’ve interacted with on a few occasions, released an editorial entitled ‘A prayer for Michael Brown’ in response to the Nov 1st Brown/Shmuley debate on homosexuality. The editorial starts by setting a significantly more cordial tone than he’s set before (c.f. “Brown … and his CoC are the real predators, their disguise a carefully plotted and scripted message of ‘compassion,’ ‘love’ and ‘gentleness.'” from his 2007 article) as he describes him as “respectful and polite”:
I used to think Benham and Brown were of the same mold. I thought both were hateful, deranged and dangerous anti-gay militants. That’s mostly true about Benham… Brown, on the other hand, is a little more reserved. I might even dare say he’s a little bit more respectful and polite. That doesn’t make him right, of course. He’s still wrong, still preaching exclusion and hate and pushing people away from Christ rather than pulling them in.
But, as if on script, rather than apologizing for his previous claims of Brown, Comer ends up praising himself for changing his thoughts toward him from contempt to “pity” because of Brown’s “unique brand of lunacy” (emphasis mine):
This worldview that allows Brown to paint gay people in the same light as child rapists also allows him, somehow, to think of being named a hate group as some kind of honor. It’s this kind of thinking that truly defines Brown’s unique brand of lunacy.
I’ve struggled immensely with my thoughts, opinions and feelings toward Brown, especially in recent weeks. Since his debate on homosexuality with Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in early November, I’ve often sat alone thinking about my interactions with Brown. I’ve gone back and read many of his writings, my writings and our interactions. It’s hard to despise a man when pity starts to take over.
In response, Dr. Brown was allowed a guest commentary on the Q-Notes site entitled ‘Setting the record straight’, in which he defended himself against Comer’s charges of comparing “homosexuality to child rape”:
The basis for these charges is that I supposedly compare “homosexuality to child rape” and that I “paint gay people in the same light as child rapists.” Is this true? God forbid! Why would I compare the forcible rape of an innocent child with the consensual acts of two adults, even if those acts are immoral or wrong?
What I have addressed — and which Matt, it appears, has consistently and persistently misrepresented — is: 1) the similar arguments used by both gay activists and advocates of “man-boy love”; and 2) the failure of many gay leaders to condemn the youthful (and, often fondly-recalled) same-sex encounters of some of their leaders.
Read the rest of Dr. Brown’s Q-Notes article here, and feel free to leave a comment. I pray the understanding of where we are coming from will become more real to Comer and his readers through it, though to paraphrase Keith Green, they will need to soften their hearts before they’ll be able to really see it.
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
He has packed all the collected information into a 475-page book that is slated for release in February.
Though he has published with major publishers before, no secular or Christian publisher was willing to go near his new book, titled A Queer Thing Happened to America: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.
His book was rejected by about 20 publishers, all of whom said the title needs to be changed and that the contents are too controversial.
This is exactly why we’re in the mess we’re in, because the Christian publishers are turning down a completely biblical message. Why? Because they didn’t like the title of the book?
In early 2011, you’ll not only be able to read the book the publishers weren’t willing to touch, but you’ll be able to participate in a campaign to bring it to the masses as part of a grassroots movement… stay tuned!