On her CanyonWalker blog, Kathy Baldock has written the first lengthy review of A Queer Thing Happened to America, and immediately after it was posted, others began to read and refer to it rather than interact with the book itself. Unfortunately, her review is riddled with serious omissions and misrepresentations, because of which I have taken the time to respond in detail
While Kathy and I have never met, both of us profess to be committed followers of Jesus and to love the GLBT community, yet we have markedly different perspectives on what the Bible says about homosexual practice and on what our response to homosexuality should be. That being said, I don’t doubt her sincerity any more than she doubts mine, and I appreciate her kind words in her introductory comments. As stated, however, despite her professed efforts to write a fair review, readers of her review will get a misleading and at times glaringly inaccurate picture of A Queer Thing Happened to America.
Kathy begins her review by stating, “‘There’s your truth, my truth and the truth.’ Christians should make it standard operating procedure to stick closer to the truth. Too often we tilt on over to the ‘my truth’ side if it bolsters our fears. The tilt, however, has more damaging effects when the ‘truth’, yours or mine, is manipulated.”
Ironically, that is the very thing she has done, although I honestly believe her misrepresentation of my book was unintentional. It was simply a matter of “her truth” getting in the way of “the truth,” in this case, a truthful assessment of the contents of the book. While it is tempting to point out every inaccurate statement in her review, I will simply illustrate where the reader of her review would get a totally false impression of A Queer Thing Happened to America.
She takes issue with the thesis of Chapter One, “A Stealth Agenda,” writing:
The statement by Dr. Brown that stunned me was : “Ironically, when it comes to denying the existence of a gay agenda, there is immense unity in the gay community. Why? It is because the denial of that agenda is part of the agenda (although for some, it might be a sincere, heartfelt denial.” (pg 43) What? I asked my gay friend Jeff if keeping the agenda a secret is indeed part of the agenda and he said, “I can let you borrow my copy. I keep it behind my ear on microfilm for secret meetings.” (Gotta love Jeff.)
You can ask one hundred gay people what the “gay agenda” is and you get an almost unanimous answer: “equality”.
Readers of Kathy’s review might be surprised to know that I begin this chapter by asking, “Is there really a homosexual agenda? Is there truly an insidious gay plot to undermine traditional values and subvert the American family? The very idea of it appears to be laughable – especially to the gay and lesbian community.”
In fact, the first seven pages of Chapter One explain why most GLBT’s deny there is such a thing as a gay agenda, with statements like this, “A gay agenda? What a joke! Simply stated, a ‘gay agenda’ does not exist anymore than a ‘Head Homosexual’ exists – at least, that’s what many gays and lesbians would surely (and sincerely) say.” And this: “Of course, most gays and lesbians do have an ‘agenda.’ They want to live productive, happy, fulfilling lives, just like everyone else. Beyond that, they probably want others to accept them as they are. That would be the ‘agenda’ of the majority of homosexual men and women worldwide.”
Yes, that is written in my book, and that is what I believe. What I also note (with detailed documentation) is that there are a plethora of gay activist organizations with clearly identified missions and goals – in other words, an agenda – yet it is common for these organizations, such as GLAAD, to urge that terms like “gay agenda” be avoided and to use terms like “gay rights” instead. Thus the “agenda” is a stealth agenda. It’s quite simple, and the facts are what they are: Facts.
On a more specific note (but once more, giving a good example of misleading information), Kathy writes:
“After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fears and Hatred of Gays in the 1990′s” is referred to dozens of times in AQTHTA. It has a six-fold plan for the “gay revolution”. Sounds terrifying. Again, a Google search has all the conservatives referring to the plan and not one GLBT organization. If it is part of the “gay agenda”, shouldn’t some gay group be using it or alluding to it?
Apparently she failed to read the lengthy discussion of this very question in endnote 29 – and Kathy has reiterated that she read every endnote – which ends by saying, “If Kirk and Madsen didn’t invent the strategies, they helped articulate already extant strategies for advancing a gay agenda.”
In summarizing Chapter Two, “Jewish Hitlers, Christian Jihadists, and the Magical Effects of Pushing the Hate Button,” Kathy fairly states:
So yes, we see in this chapter that people call each other nasty names in heated dialogues that disintegrate to yell-matches. That is going to happen on both sides when you keep telling someone that they are unacceptable. Dr. Brown suggests we “bring [ing] the real issues into the light [so ] that we can render the hate button obsolete. Isn’t it time?” I fully agree. But we widely disagree on the “real issues”.
What she fails to grasp, however, is the main point of the chapter: Those of us who graciously say that marriage should not be redefined or who hold to biblically based sexual morality or who do not celebrate homosexuality are branded bigoted, intolerant, haters – and much more – yet the hate speech and invective constantly flies our way from the so-called tolerant crowd. What a double standard! (And yes, I fully agree with Kathy’s assessment that lots of people claiming to be Christian express all kinds of hatred and venom.) My appeal, then, remains the same: Let’s quit pushing the “hate” button and let’s talk civilly about the issues. What is wrong with that?
Kathy’s review of Chapter Three, “Boys Will Be Girls Will Be Boys,” is extremely short, although she does try to justify gay-slanted children’s curricula. At the same time, she recognizes that some parents may choose to homeschool their kids and to keep them from unwanted influences. What about those parents who simply are not able to homeschool their kids or send them to private schools? She provides no answer. Readers of her review would do well to look carefully at the actual contents of this chapter and ask: Is this what schools should be doing? Do we really need lessons for elementary school students like, “Discovering Your Inner Trannie?” or, “What’s With the Dress Jack?” Is the policy of the Los Angeles United School district something commendable, when it states, “‘Gender identity’ refers to one’s understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one’s biological sex”?
The review of Chapter Four, “Something Queer on Our Campuses,” is also very short, ending with, “College students have and always will push the edges of what parents would like them to. This is not exclusive to queer kids.” True, but the chapter is not only about what the kids are doing on campus but rather on what the professors are teaching and modeling. Not only so, but it is one thing for college kids to party and sleep around; it is another to boast about being a “21-year-old genderqueer lesbian” with multiple identities.
Turning to Chapter Five, “Hollywood’s Celebration of Queer,” Kathy once more misses the point of the chapter, first noting that, “All of media is not like it was in the Hollywood Moral Code days. The same chapter could be written on stupid sexual stuff straight people do. All the filth cannot be laid on the backs of gay people.” But that is not what the chapter is about, and there is not a single sentence that attempts to lay “all the filth . . . on the backs of gay people.” Once again, the “review” is not a review but rather a response.
Kathy asks, “Why are there so many gay people on TV? Maybe because they really are the most talented people musical note for musical note or performance per scene?” That’s possible, but again, it has nothing to do with the point of the chapter, nor does Kathy’s comment that, “Television and movies are more sexual than when I was younger; making gay people go away will not make media PG again.” Rather, the point of the chapter, which was once again missed or ignored, was simply that Hollywood has served as a convenient and very effective tool through which gay activists have helped shape American thinking, as proudly owned by gay leaders themselves. How could that point have been missed?
The review of Chapter Six, “Is Gay the New Black,” is also quite brief, and Kathy rightly recognizes that no “gay gene” has yet been found. She also understands my argument that scientists have claimed to have found a violent gene and an obesity gene and an adultery gene – among others. Thus, just as the argument that, “‘I was born that way’,” cannot be used as a justification for, say violence or adultery, so also it can be used as a justification for homosexuality. Her response, however, is a non-sequitir: “Well, until someone finds the gene that made me straight, I am just not willing to insist that GLBT people find the gay gene so that they can be validated as acceptable.” That is actually the opposite conclusion to draw, since it is GLBT people who are constantly seeking to validate their orientation by claiming “I was born that way,” whereas the whole point of the chapter is that even if they were born that way (which I see no scientific reason to accept), that would not validate their orientation.
It is as we turn to Kathy’s treatment of Chapter Seven, “Speaking the Unspeakable,” that we find the most egregious part of Kathy’s “review,” the part that is producing especially hostile reactions from gay activists and professing gay Christians. After noting that I begin the chapter with the emphatic statements, “MICHAEL BROWN IS NOT EQUATING HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICE WITH PEDOPHILIA. MICHAEL BROWN IS NOT CALLING ALL HOMOSEXUALS PEDOPHILES,” she writes, “However, the next FORTY pages are about pedophilia. So repulsive, it amazed me that Dr. Brown would include it. Why does he say he included it then? Pedophiles say they are born that way and the slippery slope to including homosexuals with equal status will open the doors to pedophiles wanting equality and acceptance too.”
This section made me angry. Just because you say “I am not saying this . . . ” and then publish FORTY pages of trash in the midst of a book on the dangers/damage of/by homosexuals does not negate the impact of the natural association that people will make to homosexuality. This is one of the most disgusting ploys, intentional or not, of the entire book. Dr. Brown could have stated his concerns in one paragraph, yet, I was subjected to reading the NAMBLA boy-love trash???
. . . How many potential GLBT readers will you thoroughly offend by this most egregious, don’t-think-about-the-pink-elephant tactic? So offensive and incredibly subtly manipulative. Completely gratuitous porn. No wonder no publisher would touch this manuscript. This may have been one of the two major disqualifiers from options other than self publish.
It would appear then, that in her anger, she failed to understand the purpose of the chapter, a chapter that was carefully vetted by philosophers and lawyers and theologians, and a chapter that compares arguments and not acts. (This, of course, is explicitly and repeatedly stated.) In the chapter, I present eight principle arguments used by pedophiles (or pederasts), namely: 1) Pedophilia is innate and immutable. 2) Pederasty is richly attested in many different cultures throughout history. 3) The claim that adult-child sexual relationships cause harm is greatly overstated and often completely inaccurate. 4) Consensual adult-child sex can actually be beneficial to the child. 5) Pederasty should not be classified as a mental disorder, since it does not cause distress to the pederast to have these desires and since the pederast can function as a normal, contributing member of society. 6) Many of the illustrious homosexuals of the past were actually pedophiles. 7) People are against intergenerational intimacy because of antiquated social standards and puritanical sexual phobias. 8) This is all about love and equality and liberation. (Note that some of the same psychiatrists and psychologists who argued for the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the 1970’s are today arguing for the declassification of pedophilia, based especially on argument #5.)
What was the purpose of this chapter? It was to expose the weakness of these arguments, the very arguments used by gay activists to prove the rightness and acceptability of homosexual practice. My appeal was straightforward: “Whatever you do, just don’t use [these] same shelf-worn, ineffective arguments anymore [to prove the morality or acceptability of homosexual practice], since they just as easily make the case for pederasty (how dreadful), and, in reality, they do not prove the morality or rightness of homosexual practice, nor do they give us a single good reason to queer our educational system, redefine marriage, create special categories of protected peoples, or undermine gender.”
Not only was that missed in the midst of Kathy’s acknowledged anger, but those reading her “review” will surmise – totally falsely! – that the chapter contains “completely gratuitous porn.” God forbid! The wrong and misleading associations, which are sure to outrage GLBT readers, come from her pen, not mine, and rather than me being guilty of some kind of “disgusting ploy” (intentional or otherwise) I was actually raising points that do need to be addressed. But why address a point of substance when you can simply accuse someone of equating homosexuality with pedophilia? Why deal with a difficult message when you can shoot the messenger? As for the length of the chapter, it was important to document every argument, since GLBT’s I have interacted with have claimed that such arguments do not exist.
Kathy’s response to Chapter Eight, “Diversity of Perversity,” is to state that: 1) plenty of heterosexual events are marked by immoral and vulgar displays and, 2) if corporate America wants to make money, they need to get the gay dollar. She does not write one syllable interacting with the main point of the chapter, namely, that the word “diversity” has become a codeword for gay activism (often quite intolerant gay activism at that), and that it can include some of the most perverse imaginable displays. She also fails to interact with the widely acknowledged fact (in “conservative” gay literature as well) that gay pride events have historically been (in)famous for their sexual displays.
As for Chapter Nine, “Lavender Language,” Kathy offers only one line, encouraging readers to learn the new jargon. (This, once again, underscores why her “review” is not really a review.) Well, she can have Androgeny, Androgenous, Bigendered, Bi-Dyke, Boi, Boidyke (or, Boydyke), Bro-sis, Butch, ButchDyke, Camp, Cross Dresser (CD), Cross-Living, Drag (In Drag), Drag King, Drag Queen, Dyke, FTM or F->M or F2M (Female to Male), Femme, Femme Dyke, Female Bodied, Female Impersonator (FI), Fetishistic Transvestite, Gender Illusionist, Gender Neutral, Gender-Bender, Gender-Blender, Genderqueer, Genetic Boy, Genetic Male/Man (GM), Genetic Female/Woman (GF/GW), Genetic Girl (GG), Grrl, Half-dyke, Heteroflexible, Hir, Intersex, MTF or M->F or M2F (Male to Female), Male Impersonator, Metamorph, Monogendered, Multigendered, Neuter, No-gendered, Non-op, Omnisexual, Pansexual, Pre-operative Transsexual (Pre-op TS), Polygendered, Post-operative Transsexual, Queer, Queerboi, Shape Shifter, Stem (a feminine-identified lesbian), Stud (a masculine-identified lesbian), Trannyboi, Trannydyke, Trannyfag, Transboi, Transgendered, Transgenderist, Transitioning, Transmale, Transsexual (TS), Transvestite, Transidentified, Trisexual, Two-Spirit, Ze. I’ll stick with “male and female.”
Turning to Chapter Ten, “Queer Theology,” Kathy expresses outrage and shock at my alleged misrepresentation of what gay and lesbian “Christians” believe. She writes,
Almost everything Dr. Brown presented as “normal” belief/behavior for gay Christians, I have never heard. Who did he speak to? What kind of fringe spiritual people did Dr. Brown drag up? Prayers for cruising? Fantasizing about taking off the loincloth of a crucified Christ? Come on! This is presented as what gay Christians think about/do?
Where then did I get the material for this chapter? Straight from the major gay commentators, theologians, and leaders, both Jewish and “Christian.” The fact is, I didn’t go looking for this. Instead, when I bought the major books written by the major, respected leaders – some of the top names in the MCC churches – I was shocked and disgusted to read the material.
Dr. Brown did not call Todd Ferrell, President of The Evangelical Network, a group of gay affirming churches. Or Yvette Flunders of City of Refuge Churches. Or personally speak with Rev. Troy Perry, who, by the way, aside from being the founder of MCC is an amazing man of God. Yes. Or Ralph Blair of Evangelicals Concerned. Or Ross Murray of Lutherans Concerned. Or even attend an affirming body of believers and get to personally know the pastors over a meal. Or go to any one of many GLBT Christian conferences . Ahhhhh! Or even talk to me personally or Andrew Marin, personally. This is unbelievably negligent.
Once again, her charges are totally misguided. First, she ignores the fact that I acknowledge that, “Of course, there are conservative ‘gay Christians’ who would be appalled by such sexual depictions,” while also pointing out that “‘gay Christians’ are not lining up to denounce the writings of [“gay Christian” leader Robert] Goss and to express their revulsion at his words. Instead, many are lining up to praise his moral courage and spiritual sensitivity.” It would appear, then, that Kathy associates with those “gay Christians” who would be appalled by these deplorable interpretations, but that only begs the question: Why aren’t they denouncing the writings of men like Robert Goss rather than celebrating him as a key “gay Christian” leader? It can also be asked whether the standard gay reading of the close friendship of David and Jonathan as a homosexual affair is any less ugly, or if her “gay Christian” friends follow the common “gay Christian” interpretation (which is really quite blasphemous) that the servant of the centurion healed by Jesus was his gay teen-lover, healed by Jesus so they could continue their illicit relationship. (How repulsive!)
As to her specific charges, I read Troy Perry’s story and watched a recent documentary on his life; I read the Ralph Blair material and watched some Justin Lee videos; and I went out of my way to make an appointment to have lunch with Kathy and a gay friend of hers while in California, but they cancelled at the last minute. As for Andrew Marin, I have tried to contact him at least four times, twice through associates of his and twice directly, inviting him to join me on my radio show and asking if I could meet with him personally while in Chicago, and I never received a single response. What is “unbelievably negligent” is that Kathy would make these charges without first checking on the facts.
I should also mention that Kathy completely ignores over sections of the chapter where I state:
To be sure, many gays and lesbians have not been treated with grace by the Church, as if, in Christian eyes, homosexual acts were worse than all other acts and as if homosexuals were lepers not to be touched. The common attitude of all too many Christians seems to be: “Don’t go near them or you’ll get the cooties, and don’t dare confess that you’re struggling with same-sex desires. If you do, you’ll be disqualified for life from any meaningful position or place of service in the Church. Stay away from those gays!”
Certainly, in many ways, the Church has failed to reach out to the homosexual community, and, speaking personally as a leader in the Church, I am ashamed at the way we have often treated LGBT men and women. Many times, when reading their stories, especially those who experienced rejection and shunning by the Church, my heart has broken for them. Their pain is palpable, and their hurt anything but silent.
Why leave this out unless the intent is to paint a certain picture that is far from accurate?
She closes her section on this chapter by writing:
This chapter and the pedophile chapter alone should completely disqualify anyone from publishing this book. Careless, deceptive. Sure, the shock value is wonderful, but, is it the truth? Is it a good view of the reality of the norm in the gay Christian arena? Simple answer, no.
Again, she indicts herself, not the book, with the charges of, “Careless, deceptive.” As for the material presented here being “the reality of the norm in the gay Christian arena,” it is certainly the reality of the norm in major works like The Queer Bible Commentary or Queer Commentary on the Hebrew Bible or Queering Christ or Torah Queeries and many other works, all of which are praised as seminal works by leading “gay Christians” (or, gay Jews). Let the “gay Christians” Kathy knows rise up with one voice and renounce such blasphemous trash.
Regarding Chapter Eleven, “So It’s Not About Sex,” Kathy once more misses the intent of the chapter, also ignoring the many qualifying statements that I make. She writes, “Dr. Brown tells us it is not really about equality, it is really about sexual behavior and gay people want to be affirmed in their sexual behavior.” Not so. As I wrote early in the chapter:
Now, to be quite clear, for the gay and lesbian community, this is perceived as a matter of civil rights and as a struggle for equality and justice. In other words, this is not merely a matter of rhetoric or good PR strategy. Gays would emphasize that they are regular people who live their lives like everyone else, going to school, working jobs, paying their taxes, falling in love, having families. Why stigmatize them because of their sexual orientation or sexual behavior?
I also stated clearly that,
. . . it’s also possible that the gay man or lesbian woman who lives next door to you is the best neighbor you’ve ever had, very kind, helpful, and courteous. It’s also possible that you have a lesbian coworker or boss or employee, or a gay teammate or colleague or fellow-student, and it’s possible that each of these people is hardworking, honest, and ethical. I have no doubt that in countless thousands of cases, this is true.
The argument of the chapter is simply that: 1) behavior cannot be separated totally from identity, and, 2) there are good reasons to draw attention to the problems of gay sexual behavior, especially male. But in a glaring example of quoting me only to misquote me, Kathy states,
This one sentence “Why should people be put into a special class of citizens equivalent, say, to race or ethnicity–based upon the way they have romantic and sexual relationships?” tells me volumes. Being gay or lesbian of bisexual is not about the way someone has sex. That one sentence tells me the shallowness of the knowledge and understanding of the gay community.
Compare her critique of what I wrote with what I actually wrote – defining sexual orientation as the way a person has romantic and sexual relationships – and you get a snapshot of the flawed nature of this review. And how else should sexual orientation be defined if not referring to one’s romantic and sexual attractions?
Kathy has an obvious ax to grind in her treatment of Chapter Twelve, “The Ex-Gay Movement,” stating,
It is a fact that the ex-gay movement does exist. It is a fact that some people find reconciliation of faith and sexuality in these groups. It is a fact that some people do get heterosexually married or remain celibate for the rest of their lives.
It is fiction however, that people change their orientation. When I see the footnotes and quotes citing Nicolosi, NARTH and Gagnon, I know Dr. Brown has gone to the extremes for his research.
First, it is not fiction that people change their orientation (or, in faith terms, God changes their orientation). My own late brother-in-law is a close to home example. Countless other former gays and lesbians whom I have known attest to this. I have also met many who are celibate and still same-sex attracted, along with those who have experienced a degree of change in their orientation. The fact is, there are decades of scientific and clinical reports documenting change in orientation, and, more importantly, the Bible specifically addresses this:
But you yourselves wrong and defraud- even your own brothers! 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 Corinthians 6:8-11, ESV).
When we come to the Lord, He changes us to the very core of our beings – we are, in many ways, rotten to the core and in need of redemption – and that change can include (and for many, does include) change in one’s sexual orientation. Unfortunately, Kathy has listened to those who say change is impossible – where, by the way, does the power of God factor into that hopeless equation? – and ignored those who have experienced change.
As for those cited in the chapter, as in every chapter, I cite a wide range of evidence, and the sources I use from NARTH, for example, are sound and scholarly, while as a biblical scholar myself I can attest to the fact that Robert Gagnon is the foremost academic authority on the subject of the Bible and homosexual practice. But why deal with facts when it’s easier to fling mud?
As for the famous failures among former “ex-gay” leaders, they are just that: famous. Why do I need to repeat every story that is endlessly repeated on anti-ex-gay websites, when my purpose here is to give the other side of the story? (For the record, in the endnotes to this chapter I do make mention of some of the very people whom Kathy mentioned, but this was somehow glossed over as well.) And why does Kathy choose to ignore the many places where I talk about the terrible struggles many gays and lesbians have had – to the point of suicide – trying, without success, to change their orientation? Again, why leave this out?
As for her claim that, “Dr. Brown . . . focuses on Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out, gay activist extraordinaire and recounts the tiffs he and Wayne have had” (my emphasis), that is completely misleading. I do quote Wayne a lot in the chapter since he is the most outspoken (and perhaps well-known) anti-ex-gay activist, but the quotes have nothing whatsoever to do with me or any “tiffs” we have had, the only mention of my interaction with Wayne coming in two lines in endnote 51. In other words, Kathy’s statement, yet again, presents a completely untrue picture, which is all the more unfortunate when it becomes quoted as if true by Evan Hurst, Wayne’s colleague on the Truth Wins Out website.
The comments on Chapter Thirteen, “The Stifling of Scientific Evidence,” again give the impression of a slanted use of sources to buttress a point, whereas the main lines of the story rely on accounts accepted, for the most part, by parties on both sides of the debate. Kathy does take issue with one specific account in the chapter, but her argument is true only if gay activist Episcopalian Bishop Eugene Robinson is not a gay activist. Enough said.
Kathy’s treatment of Chapter Fourteen, “Big Brother Is Watching,” is remarkable, since I cite scores of cases – sometimes from legal summaries themselves – from America and around the world, yet she claims, “I researched all the stories in this chapter. I could make a case for the opposite side of each story. When you read something completely ridiculous and say to yourself ‘no way’, be sure to check it out and not just believe it .” She researched all the stories? Really? It would take years of backbreaking work to research all the stories – I took many months to research many of the stories and then had to ask a senior attorney and his colleagues to vet the content of the chapter carefully – yet in a few days, Kathy researched all the stories and found another side to each of them?
What is more scary, however, is that Kathy would want to argue the other side of these cases, which include police investigations at the homes of elderly couples in Britain for alleged homophobia (in one case, when they took exception to the vulgar public displays at a gay pride event in their city) and the case of a Christian college student being discriminated against and barred from graduation because of the actions of one department in the school – actions which were so egregious that, upon the school’s own investigation, the whole department was shut down and the president of the school paid for the graduate school education of the aggrieved student. Kathy could argue the other side of these cases?
Regarding the last chapter, “GLBT and Beyond,” the comments are brief, but some are worth repeating: “Legalizing gay marriage will lead to incestuous marriage and polyamorous marriage. We are going to have to accept all kinds of people. Is this really so so scary?” Read that again and ask yourself, “Is this a professed evangelical Christian stating that incestuous ‘marriage’ and polyamorous ‘marriage’ are not ‘scary’ propositions for the future?” Candidly, I find it “scary” that such a position could come from the pen of an “evangelical Christian.”
In her concluding comments, Kathy is gracious enough to say, “I can say this to Dr. Brown’s credit; he did not say directly hateful things about GLBT people.” She adds, however, “I think it is a grievous flaw to write about a group of people from a distance. I know Dr. Brown’s brother in law ‘struggled’ and he has had meals with Matt Comer, but nothing will ever substitute comfortable, regular everyday relationships. The rules all change when you like someone.” In reality, there are plenty of gay people with whom I’ve interacted at length that I find friendly and kind and enjoyable human beings, quite likable in many, many respects. And I did not just have a meal with local gay activist Matt Comer. I have met with and had meals with a number of “gay Christians” and gay activists, not to mention the many conversations I’ve had with gays and lesbians on long flights, not to mention that my first organ teacher (when I was just five) was gay, or the fact that he and his partner had meals with my family on a good number of occasions. Again, a misleading picture must be presented so as to delegitimize my conclusions. More seriously, Kathy has the temerity to change the facts regarding my own, late brother-in-law – whom she obviously never knew – stating that he “struggled,” rather than accepting his own testimony and the testimony of his wife and family. Perhaps Kathy has to rewrite the facts in order to support her own views? And what of the fact that some of the readers of the manuscript before publication included same-sex attracted but celibate men who between them have countless thousands of gay friends and associates – and who confirmed every detail of what I wrote? Are they ignorant as well?
I think AQTHTA manipulates the facts, presents the worst of situations, travels to the fringes to find the extremes and interjects damaging oddball situations and thinking to horribly skew and demonize an entire class of people, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. And, the cover is wildly offensive.
To the contrary, I did not go to the fringes or cherry pick but rather gave a fair representation of the whole, as much as possible, with constant qualifying remarks so as to avoid any stereotyping. And there is not a single fact cited that has been manipulated. As for the cover, I understand that Kathy finds it wildly offensive, but we surveyed many people from all walks of life – including gays and lesbians – and the cover was quite popular with almost all of them. Had we consistently heard from people that it was wildly offensive – as opposed to eye-catching and inviting – we would have used a different cover.
Re: transgenders, Kathy wrote, “I was appalled by the many comments about transgender people. I have an unusual burden for this community and only God knows why. I never even knew a transperson a few years ago. Now I weep over the abuse of them and ignorance towards them.” This too surprises me, since I frequently talk about the struggles of those who identify as transgender, and I have an older male cousin who now legally identifies as a female. I also know former trans-identified people, and I firmly believe that the best case scenario remains for them to be changed from the inside out rather than endure sex-change surgery and hormones for life, among many other indignities. What is unloving about that position?
Kathy states in bold, “I do know that with every ounce of me, I am convicted that God is orientation and gender blind.” That, of course, is her conviction, but what is indisputable from an unbiased reading of the Bible is that God is not blind to sexual activity, and the only sexual activity sanctioned by God is that between a man and woman in the context of marriage (needless to say, the only marriage recognized by the Scriptures is that between a man and woman).
Kathy does take additional time to argue for the rightness of her position, and there is no need for me to interact with that here in the context of this response to her response to my book. I do concur with her closing words, though, namely, “We really need to move beyond fear to understanding and love. God help us.” That is one main reason I wrote the book.
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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