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
Posted in News, Revolution & Justice Tagged with: Crosswalk.com, discipleship, don't ask don't tell, Dr. James Dobson, gay activists, hate crimes bill, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Rosie O'Donnell, same-sex marriage, shmuley boteach, time magazine, Warren Throckmorton, white house
Here’s some of the reaction to the upcoming November 1st debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on Is Homosexuality America’s Greatest Moral Crisis?:
From Jeff Johnston of Focus on the Family:
On Monday, November 1, Dr. Brown and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach will debate the question: Is homosexuality America’s greatest moral crisis? The event is available on the Internet via a live webcast. Rabbi Boteach recently had an article – with a very different perspective on homosexuality – published in the The Jerusalem Post and The Wall Street Journal.
With these two scholarly and savvy communicators, it should be a lively and interesting discussion.
From Rhiannon Bowman on the Charlotte Creative Loafing Blog (a link will not be provided due to the extreme vulgarity directed at Dr. Brown later in the article):
Michael Brown loathes homosexuals, and he wants you to, too. Which is, of course, exactly the opposite of what Jesus would do, but never mind the minor details.
In slightly positive news, Brown’s announced he’s ready to debate the issue with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is joining him in his crusade of intolerance to offer the Jewish view on homosexuality and why, maybe — just maybe — we should stop bashing gays. Or, at least, he admits to having gay friends … which is one step closer to the reality that every human deserves the chance to find and foster love, regardless of what it looks like.
Rather than point out all the blatant falsehoods and logical fallacies in this short bit of text, we’ll just let it lie (pun intended), and hope that Rhiannon will actually watch the debate (whether live or online), and give a fair report afterward. An email will be sent out shortly inviting her to the debate.
Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: debate, Dr. Michael Brown, gay agenda, homosexuality, shmuley boteach
Editor’s Note: Email blast sent to the AskDrBrown & Coalition of Conscience E-Newsletter lists on October 26th, 2010
We invite you to join us for a very special event this coming Monday night, November 1st, from 7:00-9:30 PM, as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Dr. Michael Brown debate the question, “Is Homosexuality America’s Greatest Moral Crisis?” This is a debate that you don’t want to miss!
What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Is homosexual practice worse than other sins? Have evangelical Christians demonized the homosexual community? And does homosexual activism really present a moral threat to America?
This vital debate could not be more relevant, coming just one day before the elections, and in the midst of daily news stories regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, same-sex marriage, and the bullying and suicide of gay young people. What should our response be?
The debate will be held at Southern Evangelical Seminary at 3000 Tilley Morris Road, Matthews, NC 28105. Admission to the debate is free; an offering will be received to help cover the expenses. There will be audience Q & A at the end of the debate.
There will also be a live webcast of the debate; go to: http://askdrbrown.org/about-dr-brown/itinerary/shmuley-vs-brown-debate-is-homosexual-activism-americas-greatest-moral-crisis. (The webcast will be free, but online donations will be appreciated.)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a bestselling author and media personality, widely known as “America’s most famous rabbi.” For Rabbi Boteach’s article on a Jewish view on homosexuality, published in the Wallstreet Journal and the Jerusalem Post, see http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=191923.
Dr. Michael Brown is a biblical scholar, author, and activist, widely known as the foremost Messianic Jewish apologist. For an article on Dr. Brown’s recent lecture on homosexual activism, published in the Christian Post, see http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101019/christians-urged-to-wake-up-to-reality-of-glbt-agenda/.
If you live in the greater Charlotte, NC area, we hope to see you at the debate; for everyone else, join us on the webcast, and please forward this email to your friends.
CLICK TO VISIT WWW.ASKDRBROWN.ORG
Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: charlotte, debate, Dr. Michael Brown, homosexuality, shmuley boteach, Southern Evangelical Seminary
Can a Jew Believe in Jesus?
Rabbi Shmuley vs Dr. Michael Brown
Debate after the 2010 National Apologetics Conference
October 15-16 Charlotte, NC
Dr. Michael Brown vs Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is considered “the most famous rabbi in America” by Newsweek magazine and is the international best-selling author of 23 books. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, was a spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, and has his own take on spirituality and religion (see biography here).
As a Jewish believer in Jesus, Dr. Michael Brown is active in Jewish evangelism, debating rabbis on radio, TV, and college campuses. He is a radio show host, author, seminary professor, and ministry leader. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University (see biography here)
Join us for a stimulating debate on issues of Jesus, Judaism, Christianity, and religion.
[CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION]
Posted in Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: apologetics, charlotte, Dr. Michael Brown, Jesus, jew, jewish, messiah, messianic judaism, SES, shmuley boteach, Southern Evangelical Seminary