Your new book, ‘A Queer Thing Happened to America,’ has now been out for three weeks, and has garnered praise from the likes of Christian television host Sid Roth, and hate from gay activists such as Wayne Besen (something reflected in the Amazon book page in the form of 1 and 5 star reviews and a ‘tag war’ between supporters and haters), has this polarized opinion regarding the book been surprising?
Brown: This polarized opinion is exactly what I expected, and it’s also playing out in expected ways. Those who have taken the time to read the book have written positive reviews. Those who have scorned and mocked the book in the strongest terms are those who haven’t read it. Very interesting! I also find it revealing that the reviewers who agree with the book are, generally speaking, writing in gracious terms, recognizing the serious scholarly research that went into the book and very much aware of my compassionate tone towards the GLBT community (with which I often differ in my book) — yet they (and I) are allegedly part of the intolerant, bigoted camp. On the other hand, the reviewers bashing the book and even describing it with in some cases vulgar terms, are supposed to be the voices of tolerance and inclusion. Again, this is very revealing and fully confirms what I wrote in the book about the intolerance and hatred coming from those whose agenda we reject. Read the reviews and ask yourself: Who are the haters?
You appeared on the Sid Roth “It’s Supernatural!” program a few weeks ago discussing the book and the impact of gay activism on society. While many have said they were impacted by the program in a positive way, gay activist blogger Joe.My.God called the skit at the beginning of the program showing an Elementary teacher reading Two Daddies or Two Mommies to her class “repulsive.” What involvement did you have in developing the skit, or other portions of the program that aired?
Brown: I didn’t see the skit until the show was posted online, and my only involvement was to lend Sid’s staff some of the children’s books so they could photograph them. Those who liked or disliked the skit can commend or criticize Sid and his staff; those who like or dislike the book can commend or criticize me. As for the program itself, as normally happens with TV interviews, you record segments with the host. Everything else is done subsequently — graphics, adding of music, ads, etc. — and that was the case with this show.
The gay activist organization ‘Truth Wins Out’ recently attacked the book, stating that you’re “starved for attention,” a “pompous ego maniac and a long winded stage horse,” and “a self-righteous bore,” also claiming that the only reason the book made it to the top of the Amazon Gay & Lesbian Nonfiction chart was that your publishing firm, EqualTime Books, bought out the books on Amazon in order to “make it look like they have a popular book – when they don’t.” How would you respond to these accusations?
Brown: The folks at Truth Wins Out certainly have a way with words, don’t they? Actually, when I see attacks like this, I can only smile and pray for God’s grace and love to flood their hearts. I really don’t take it personally, and because I’m not particularly impressed with myself (in fact, I think I’m far more aware of my weaknesses than my strengths), all the egomaniac accusations actually amuse me. As for my ministry buying from Amazon the books that we sold them (since we self-published the book) — meaning, that we would be buying them from Amazon at more than twice the price they got them from us), are you kidding? Who in the world has money to throw away like that? Anyway, Amazon has records of all the orders, and they can readily attest to the fact that lots of individuals are buying them.
In chapter 12 of the book, you critique ‘Truth Wins Out,’ and the organization’s founder, Wayne Besen. What conclusions have you drawn regarding Mr. Besen and his organization?
Brown: I have concluded that Mr. Besen is very committed to his cause and that he really believes in what he’s doing, and that, despite the bombastic words, he is very serious about his work. He appears to genuinely believe that gays can’t change and that religious leaders like me are either hateful, mercenary, or both. And, of course, I have concluded that he is wrong.
Some of the articles attacking you did so based on a Christian Post article that claimed that you were “struggling to draw public attention” to your book but that the “gay rights agenda [was] shutting down debate on homosexuality,” and thus the “book tour failed to garner any members of the mainstream press.” Do you think this “shutting down [of] debate” is why there was very little mainstream news coverage of your news conference in Washington DC?
Brown: Actually, I had no idea if any media would come to the National Press Club event but I felt it would be a good way to officially announce the book release regardless of who showed up. In fact, when I was asked by the reporter from the Christian Post if I felt that the lack of turnout was part of the media’s tendency to ignore our side of the argument, I stated that this was not necessarily the case, that a lot was happening in the world (Japan; Libya) and that the media might not have had a reason to be at this press conference. I did state that it was possible some were choosing to ignore the book, but I had no way of knowing that and certainly wasn’t disappointed with the very small turnout. Thankfully, I have a national radio show that serves as a great platform to talk about the relevant issues, and the press club event was more of an official statement than anything else.
What can people do to support the book and its message in the midst of these attacks?
Brown: First, they can pray that truth and light will triumph (2 Cor 13:8; John 1:5) and that the Lord would bless those who are attacking the book. Second, they can pray that the attacks will draw more people to read the book and that it will have a national impact. Third, they can tell their friends about the book and help get the word out. Posting on Facebook and Twitter and the like is very helpful. Fourth, if they have read the book they can post reviews and even without reading the book, they can weigh in on Amazon as to which reviews they find helpful or unhelpful. Fifth, they can go to their local bookstore or library and ask them to carry the book. We have a specific strategy to that effect on the book’s website, AQueerThing.com.
The bottom line is this: I believe that God called me to write this book, I worked hard on it during a period of six years, and many people are praying with me that the book would be used to bring about positive change in our nation. And so the bottom line is that I’m trusting God to have His way.
Posted in Culture, Featured Articles, News Tagged with: a queer thing happened to america, Amazon.com, book tour, christian post, gay activism, homosexuality, joe.my.god, organization, sid roth, truth wins out, wayne besen
“…. thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” -2 Cor. 3.14
The greatest triumph is not in the establishment of an impressive organization, the saving of my reputation, or the performance of some great spiritual feat before men. The greatest triumph is led by God Himself, and it has to do with wringing out my personality and aura until I am a broken vessel through whom He shows forth “the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”
Though I have adapted to the niceties and expected behaviors of Christian culture, though I know how to act around the right people, though I have “stopped doing what I used to do, because now I’m a Christian,” I may yet be bound by self-conscious spirituality. The life of faith does not have to do with conforming to external expectations in relation to the Christian subculture that I’ve been inducted into. It has to do with an ultimate inward surrender to the Lord of history, “who always leads us in triumph in Christ,” over every earthly influence and power. When we are so conscious of the Lord that we are able to love our enemies, resist the lusts of the flesh, and we are no longer moved inwardly to seek glory from men, only then is it evident that we are following the Lamb of God in His holy triumph.
If I am not emanating the fragrance of Jesus Christ, I must still be bound by self-consciousness in some way or another. When the light of heaven shines upon me, it may yet be seen that I am still concerned for my own glorification. The evidence of this is that I am not yet “broken bread and poured out wine”; I am failing to emit the “sweet aroma” of Jesus Christ. When “the least of these” come into contact with me, are they coming into contact with the vitality of the Son of God, or something that smells too much like the work of man?
When we have soulish ties to men, to this earth, or to our own religious ideals and presumptions, rather than a total jealousy for God’s glory, it becomes impossible for us to “triumph in Christ,” and we are incapable of manifesting His “sweet aroma,” which is His very character and nature. His fragrance is always antithetical to our self-conscious attempts at spirituality. I may need to ask myself some questions along these lines.
When challenging or rebuking another saint, am I abiding in the kindness of Jesus Christ? Would the Lamb of God deal as abrasively as I have when addressing that child or that struggling brother? When complimenting or encouraging someone, am I using flattery to gain some end myself, or am I actually expressing His own encouragement? When correcting some faulty doctrine in another brother, am I exhibiting my own knowledge and correctness, or am I speaking out of a true jealousy for the glory of God and the good of that soul?
I may claim to be radical for the Lord, carrying the cross and going against the tide of this age, but am I emitting the very fragrance of Jesus Christ in the process? If I am not, it may well be that the “tide of this age” is still sweeping me away, except that I am blanketed in Christian phraseologies and ideas. The only solution to self-conscious spirituality is God-conscious living, and Jesus has rent the veil that we might abide with Him in that holy place. From there we triumph in Christ, and manifest the sweet aroma of the knowledge of God “in every place.”
You are not required to pass through a religious maze to “manifest” the fragrance of the Lord. There is no puzzle involved, no trick up His sleeve, no riddle to unpack. To experience the depths of Christ, you need only to go down into death, taking up your cross and following the Lamb wheresoever He goes. He will inevitably lead you on paths that will wring out your personality and press His glorious image into your person. You will still be unique as an individual, but you will exhibit the wisdom and power of the age to come, which is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
We do not triumph in Christ by boasting in a meeting, seeking favor from men, or finding our way onto some platform of religious fame. We triumph in Christ when the power of self is broken from our lives, and the very fragrance of Jesus flows from our being. When He leads us in triumph, we will bring to bear the knowledge of God Himself upon a world that is perishing for want of that great Light.
Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: character, christian subculture, doctrine, fragrance, glory of God, jealousy, Jesus Christ, organization, religion, righteousness, Son of God