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
Harry Knox, Director of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign (watch a debate between Dr. Brown and Harry Knox here), is in hot water after comments he made against the Catholic Church.
In 2007, Knox said in reference to an outspoken lesbian Wyoming couple being refused communion at a Catholic church (an act which is commendable Biblically, see 1 Cor 11:27-29):
“In this holy Lenten season, it is immoral and insulting to Jesus to use the body and blood of Christ the reconciler as a weapon to silence free speech and demean the love of a committed, legally married couple. The Human Rights Campaign grieves with the couple, Leah Vader and Lynne Huskinson, over this act of spiritual and emotional violence perpetrated against them.”
In 2009, Knox reacted to the Vatican’s opposition to an initiative to decriminalize homosexuality by stating:
“As faith leaders we were shocked by Vatican opposition to this proposed initiative. By refusing to sign a basic statement opposing inhumane treatment of LGBT people, the Vatican is sending a message that violence and human rights abuses against LGBT people are acceptable. Most Catholics, and indeed most Catholic teachings, tell us that all people are entitled to live with basic human dignity without the threat of violence. The Catholics we know believe that Scripture asks us to be our brother and our sister’s keeper. Many are speaking out against this immoral stance in the name of religion.”
A call has been made from Catholic leaders to have President Obama dismiss Mr. Knox from his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Community Partnerships:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500-0003
Dear Mr. President,
On April 6, you named Harry Knox to your Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. You claim to have created this Council, among other things, to “bring everyone together – from both the secular and faith-based communities.”
Harry Knox is the hate-filled antithesis of this noble objective. Knox is a virulent anti-Catholic bigot, and has made numerous vile and dishonest attacks against the Church and the Holy Father. He has no business on any Council having to do with faith or religion.
We do not know if you or members of your Administration were aware of Knox’s deplorable, abusive attitude towards the Church and Pope Benedict XVI when you named him to the Council. We assume you were not. But since then, there have been numerous press reports on Knox’s loathsome, and clearly bigoted rhetoric, so there no longer is any excuse for your failure to act. We can remain silent no longer.
As Catholics, we call on you to remove Mr. Knox from his position and to formally disassociate yourself from his militant anti-Catholicism. Failure to do so will result in the tainting of your Faith-Based Council—and indeed, your entire administration—as anti-Catholic. We urge you to give this matter your immediate consideration.
House Republican Leader
Member of Congress
L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder and President
Media Research Center
Judie Brown, President,
American Life League, Inc.
Catholic Activist and Founder
National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS)
Executive Vice President
Family Research Council
Deacon Keith A. Fournier
Editor in Chief, Catholic Online
Founder, Common Good
Deal W. Hudson
Philip F. Lawler
Catholic World News
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
(Mr. Leo’s affiliation is listed for identification purposes only)
Vice President of Government Affairs
Family Research Council
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
National Review Institute
American Papist Blog
The American Spectator
Patrick J. Reilly
The Cardinal Newman Society
Notre Dame Law School
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM)
Founder and President
Fr. Robert Sirico
The Acton Institute
American Target Advertising
Instances of Harry Knox’s Bigotry
Posted in Culture, News Tagged with: Barack Obama, catholic, communion, debate, harry knox, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (HR 1913) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today, April 29th, in a 249-175 vote. 231 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, 17 Democrats voted against, 18 Republicans voted for the bill, and 158 Republicans voted against.
Hours of debate preceding the bill included a stirring account by Rep. Jim Jordan of his attempt to add “the unborn” to the list of protected persons on the bill, with the amendment being voted down because the unborn were “not persons.” Contrasted with this were libelous and vacuous declarations by those for the bill, including one representative who quoted from the Ten Commandments as he accused those against the bill of “bearing false witness” in their attempts to raise warnings about the possible use of this law to muzzle and/or prosecute religious leaders when they attempt to speak negatively about homosexuality, and a declaration from another congressman that thinking the Hate Crimes Bill was about thought-crimes was like believing anti-lynching laws were about knot-tying.
Before the final vote, an attempt was made to “expand the applicability of the bill to the age, status as a current or former member of the Armed Forces, or status as a law enforcement officer beyond the scope of groups mentioned in the bill. ” [source: House Floor Summary] This was rejected however, and the bill was passed.
Following the vote, the Human Rights Campaign released a statement declaring:
“All Americans are one step closer to protection from hate violence thanks to today’s vote,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Hate crimes are a scourge on our communities and it’s time we give law enforcement the tools they need to combat this serious problem.”
Is this vote really a positive step, however? A Denver lawyer made an interesting point when he looked at the “politically correct” requirements in hate crime legislation in a guest commentary in the Denver Post:
Isn’t every criminal act that harms another person a “hate crime”? And Colorado’s law does not even begin to criminalize “hate” in general; it selects only politically correct, unacceptable categories of “hate,” only those derived from current zeitgeist that preferred minority classifications should receive extra special protection.
When a Colorado gang engaged in an initiation ritual of specifically seeking out a “white woman” to rape, the Boulder prosecutor declined to pursue “hate crime” charges. So the “hate crime” law does not apply equally, instead criminalizing only politically incorrect thoughts directed against politically incorrect victim categories.
A government powerful enough to pick and choose which thoughts to prosecute is a government too powerful.
In addition, Robert Gagnon raised fair warnings of where this Hate Crime Bill will lead in his piece:
In establishing an official “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protection category, “sexual orientation” hate laws make inevitable, so-called “employment nondiscrimination acts” for “sexual orientation” that turn out to be “employment discrimination acts” against people in the workplace who do not want to support a homosexualist agenda. Together they make inevitable the passage of legislation that mandates acceptance of “gay marriage.” It is not possible to be for a “sexual orientation thought-crime” bill and not also be for the enforcement of “gay marriage” because the former leads inevitably to the latter. That is how the courts in Massachusetts and, recently Iowa, operated. They moved from “sexual orientation” laws in “hate crime” and “employment” to treating as intrinsically discriminatory any opposition to “gay marriage.”
Look at how far things have already gone in Canada. Among those recently fined thousands of dollars are: Father Alphonse de Valk and Catholic Insight Magazine for speaking against homosexual behavior; Bill Whatcott, a Catholic activist, for producing pamphlets that called homosexual practice immoral (Whatcott was also “banned for life” from criticizing homosexuality); Stephen Boisson, a pastor, for a letter to a newspaper denouncing homosexual practice as immoral (also ordered to desist from expressing his views on homosexual practice in any public forum).
Can’t happen in the United States? Even though some high court justices have already made appeals to precedents in foreign law to support the homosexualist agenda here? Tell that to the freelance female photographer who on the grounds that it violated her Christian belief declined to photograph a lesbian wedding and, as a result, was ordered by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission to pay over $6000 to the lesbian couple.
Ought not these and other points be seriously explored before we move headlong into uncharted territory? We are seeing change, as Barack Obama promised, but is it really for the better?
Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: congress, Denver Post, hate crimes bill, homosexuality, House of Representatives, Human Rights Campaign
Dr. Brown put out a press release this morning asking the question “Do Ex-Gays Have Human Rights?” The press release can be found at http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/280649512.html, and is reprinted below:
Charlotte Christian Leader Asks the Human Rights Campaign, ‘Do Ex-Gays Have Human Rights?’
Contact: Eric McCoy, 704-701-2886, email@example.com
CHARLOTTE, NC, Feb. 20 /Christian Newswire/ — Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Coalition of Conscience and a speaker at Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out Conference at Central Church of God in Charlotte this Saturday, February 21, claims that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), has a history of “discriminatory and defamatory treatment of those who choose to leave the homosexual lifestyle.” (The HRC will be holding its annual fundraising dinner in Charlotte on Saturday night, less than one hour after the conclusion of the Love Won Out Conference.)
Over ten years ago, the HRC published a 28 page booklet designed to counteract ministries devoted to helping people come out of homosexuality, claiming that, “Most people who have been through these ministries . . . refer to their experience as psychological terrorism.” In the same publication, conservative Christian organizations were described as “religious political extremist groups.” The HRC also enthusiastically backed the recent anti-ex-gay movie, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” claiming on their website that the movie “examines how a select few biblical verses are used by right-wing extremists to deny gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people their basic rights.”
Brown, however, questions how an organization which claims to stand for the rights of gays and lesbians can so strongly oppose the rights of those within that community who are not at peace with their same-sex attractions and who choose to pursue change.
“How,” Brown asks, “can they be called the Human Rights Campaign? What about the human rights of ex-gays? And how can the HRC call for tolerance and understanding and yet be so intolerant and bigoted in their treatment of those with unwanted same-sex attractions? Why heap scorn on ex-gays and deny their very existence? Isn’t this the height of hypocrisy for an organization ostensibly devoted to the basic rights of gay and lesbian people?”
Sponsors of this year’s HRC Carolinas Dinner include Bank of America, Wachovia, Duke Energy, Food Lion, American Express, and Audi. Despite this high level of corporate sponsorship, Brown claims that the HRC hardly represents mainstream America, noting that Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC, has stated that all Americans who believe that marriage should be defined as the union of a man and woman are “right-wing extremists.” The HRC also calls on businesses to have special bathroom accommodations for employees undergoing sex-change operations.
“Who are the real extremists?” Brown asks.
Dr. Brown will be available to speak with the media between 1:00-2:30 during the Love Won Out Conference (5301 Sardis Road, Charlotte, NC). For further information, contact Eric McCoy at 704-701-2886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: Coalition of Conscience, Dr. Michael Brown, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, love won out
The Charlotte Observer
The Observer reported on the upcoming Love Won Out event in Charlotte, comparing it with the upcoming pro-gay Leadership Conference in Tonya Jameson’s Battle for Gay Souls article, reprinted below :
Battle for Charlotte gay souls
This weekend two religious conferences offer different takes on homosexuality and faith.
One seeks to be a refuge for homosexuals struggling with their sexuality by turning them away from homosexuality. The other seeks help homosexuals find love and acceptance.
Two perspectives on a complex issue.
Love Won out, by Focus on the Family, is part of the ex-gay movement in which people abandon homosexuality. It’s Saturday at the Central Church of God.
For people who are dissatisfied with homosexuality the conference offers an alternative, said Melissa Fryrear, who used to be gay.
“It’s a message of hope and encouragement.”
Rev. Nancy Wilson disagrees. Wilson is part of the Leadership Conference that is Wednesday-Saturday at the Omni Hotel. A focus of the conference is to show that someone can be a GLBT person of faith and feel good about themselves, and improve the community at large through volunteerism.
“People ultimately are happy if they are true to themselves,” she said. “We pick up the people who are ex-gays. It’s bad psychology. It’s bad theology they’re teaching.
“What these people need is to find a sense of self-acceptance, to be able to live healthy and good lives as gay people.”
The issue of sexuality isn’t as simple as either side frames it. It’s not as simple as we in the media frame it either. It’s not us versus them. It’s an intensely personal issue that can rip apart lives and families. Or depending on the person it can also build stronger individuals, families and communities. I know people who fit in both categories as well as people who fit somewhere in between.
The conferences are here when homosexuality is back in the local headlines. On Saturday, Charlotte Presybterians voted to end the ban on gay clergy. Earlier this year, county commissioners voted to study providing domestic partnership benefits to county employees.
At least 250 faith leaders from GLBT friendly churches will participate in the annual Leadership Conference gathering, which begins Wednesday. Participants are typically church members and leaders from area Metropolitan Community Churches, the Fellowship, and Unity Fellowship churches. Sessions are designed to spiritually and emotionally bolster faith leaders who cater to the GLBT communities.
“It’s very challenging to be a leader in our community,” Wilson said. “There are a lot of needs, a lot of brokenness, a lot of challenges. There’s a lot of healing that’s needed. You have to have strong leadership for that to happen.”
The day the Leadership Conference ends on Saturday, is the same day that the Love Won Conference takes place at the Central Church of God on Sardis Road. This is the eleventh year of the conference. Charlotte also hosted the conference in 2002 at First Baptist.
Love Won Out caters to GLBT people who want to overcome their sexuality as well as to family members of GLBT people. About 1,000 people are expected. Workshops topics include examining homosexuality, GLBT clergy, pro-gay theology and gay marriage.
No matter which side you agree with, the conferences will give you insight and likely challenge your own perceptions about sexuality and about faith. Ultimately, I hope they help individuals struggling to find peace within themselves.
It was encouraging to see such an even-handed report. The only element of the story that gave me pause was her use of the word abandon in her comment “Love Won out, by Focus on the Family, is part of the ex-gay movement in which people abandon homosexuality.” With the word usually used to refer to something that a person has left behind but shouldn’t have (as in, abandoning a child), I was concerned that the Observer was slipping in an implied moral judgment on the subject. According to thefreedictionary.com, the relevant definitions for the word are:
1. To withdraw one’s support or help from, especially in spite of duty, allegiance, or responsibility; desert: abandon a friend in trouble.
2. To give up by leaving or ceasing to operate or inhabit, especially as a result of danger or other impending threat: abandoned the ship.
To surrender one’s claim to, right to, or interest in; give up entirely. See Synonyms at relinquish
4. To cease trying to continue; desist from: abandoned the search for the missing hiker.
WIth the primary definition corresponding to my understanding of the word’s most prevalent usage, I asked the reporter whether she was using the word in a way that was more defined by the first definition, or the third definition. She responded by saying “No. 3 – to give it up.” It’s encouraging to see the local media being even-handed in their reporting.
Truth WIns Out
With a decidedly different approach to reporting, Truth Wins Out, a pro-gay organization that describes itself with the catchline “Fighting Right Wing Lies and The ‘Ex-Gay’ Fraud”, reported on the Love Won Out event as well as other homosexuality-related events on their blog here. Their original post is reprinted below:
North Carolina, National Groups to Protest ‘Ex-Gay’ Road Show
Exodus International and Focus on the Family take their exgay-for-pay road show, “Love Won Out,” to Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 21.
The event is timed not to help Carolina ex-gays or their families, but instead to coincide with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship
The Charlotte Rainbow Action Network plans a series of events Feb. 14-21 to raise public awareness about the ex-gay organizations’ ongoing acts to divide families and churches and to replace school science lessons with sectarian religious rhetoric. Truth Wins Out is among the invited participants.
According to Q-Notes:
In his presentation, “Pray Away the Gay,” Besen will discuss the myths and lies of “ex-gay” organizations like Exodus International. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Charlotte’s Lesbian & Gay Community Center.
A press conference will follow the next day. Media has been invited to the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Charlotte where Besen will unveil a new Truth Wins Out/Lambda Legal booklet “Ex-Gay & the Law.” The new publication offers resources for those who might have been victimized by unscrupulous “ex-gay” ministries and therapies.
On Saturday, Feb. 21, the grassroots group’s efforts will culminate in a non-violent, silent protest of the Love Won Out conference. Members and supporters will be present outside Central Church of God on Sardis Road from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Other invitees for the events countering Exodus and FOTF include Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign and Faith in America, and local and state groups such as One Voice Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice, UNCC Pride and EqualityNC.
The section concerning the reasons for Love Won Out’s schedule were of particular interest. Our February 2nd article “Love Won Out” and “Truth Wins Out” in Charlotte dealt with the timing of the events, and so I left the following comment on the Truth Wins Out article:
Your article states:
“The event is timed not to help Carolina ex-gays or their families, but instead to coincide with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship.”
Incorrect! I’m affiliated with the ministry of Dr. Michael Brown, a speaker at the event, and this is what we published on February 2nd concerning the two events occurring on the same date:
“In addition, the Human Rights Campaign will be holding their annual Carolinas Gala, featuring North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan as their keynote speaker, on the same day as the Love Won Out Conference (though it should be noted that the conference was not scheduled in response to the Carolinas Gala, in fact, neither Dr. Brown nor the other leaders from Love Won Out were even aware of the fact that the two events were scheduled for the same day until a few months ago, well after it was scheduled).”
Please correct this in your article.
Editor: Voice of Revolution
While the author responded with hostility in our back and forth conversation (you can read it here), he did change the section I called into question. The section that had previously read:
The event is timed not to help Carolina ex-gays or their families, but instead to coincide with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship.
The event’s timing was suspicious, as it coincided with the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas Gala and a conference of the gay-affirming Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship.
The section, while still getting across the point that the timing was “suspicious” (which is a feeling TWO is clearly allowed to have, though their suspicion is unfounded), no longer states that Love Won Out is more interested in raining on HRC’s parade than “help[ing] Carolina ex-gays or their families.” It’s encouraging that, if only in this small way, truth really did win out on the “Truth Wins Out” blog.
Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: charlotte, charlotte observer, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign, love won out, truth wins out
Focus on the Family will be holding a Love Won Out conference February 21st at the Central Church of God in Charlotte, North Carolina. In response, Truth Wins Out will be holding a “protest rally” entitled Pray Away the Gay on the 19th at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center in Charlotte. An email sent out by Focus on the Family announcing the Love Won Out Conference, and a screenshot from the Truth Wins Out Facebook event are below:
Focus on the Family to Host
Love Won Out Conference
Homosexuality is one of the most difficult issues many individuals, families and churches face today. Popular culture tells us it’s simply an alternative way to live. Mainstream media promote it as genetic and unchangeable. And the pro-gay movement seeks to politicize the education system, alter biblical truth regarding sexual behavior and redefine the meaning of marriage and family.
If the issues surrounding homosexuality are personally relevant to you, or someone in your family or a friend is living homosexually, it’s time to make plans to attend Focus on the Family’s longest-running conference, Love Won Out. We’ll be in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Feb. 21.
The Charlotte conference marks our 53rd national event. It’s led by those who have overcome homosexuality and other experts from across the country. We will share the hopeful message that change is possible for those dissatisfied with living homosexually, and offer encouragement and practical help to parents, siblings, co-workers and others who want to love their gay-identified relatives and friends without compromising their Christian beliefs about sexuality.
To learn more about Love Won Out, or to sign up for the conference, please visit our Web site.
We hope you’ll be with us.
Melissa Fryrear, M.Div.
Director of Gender Issues
Focus on the Family
In addition, the Human Rights Campaign will be holding their annual Carolinas Gala, featuring North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan as their keynote speaker, on the same day as the Love Won Out Conference (though it should be noted that the conference was not scheduled in response to the Carolinas Gala, in fact, neither Dr. Brown nor the other leaders from Love Won Out were even aware of the fact that the two events were scheduled for the same day until a few months ago, well after it was scheduled). Needless to say, these will be a key few days in Charlotte with regard to homosexual issues. Pray that the truth would triumph, and the lies that keep people in bondage to homosexuality would be exposed.
Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: charlotte, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign, love won out, truth won out
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty released a full page ad in the New York Times today entitled No Mob Veto. It calls for an end to violence toward religious institutions that supported Proposition 8, and is signed by leaders representing various faiths. The letter is reprinted below (click on it to enable zoom):
For those that would like to show their support for the ad, you can add your name to the letter on their website NoMobVeto.org. Be aware however, that it calls for one questionable commitment that may prevent some of you from adding your name, specifically.: “Furthermore, beginning today, we commit ourselves to exposing and publicly shaming anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry – against any faith, on any side of any cause, for any reason.” Is this really a commitment that authentic believers in the Messiah should promise to undertake? Why would we “commit” ourselves to “publicly shame” everyone that commits a certain act, let alone something as open-ended and all-inclusive as committing “anti-religious bigotry” (whatever that may mean) towards “any faith, on any side of any cause, for any reason.” Is Satanism included? How about death-crazed Islam? Are people like Joel Richardson of Joel’s Trumpet, who are rightfully (and non-violently) exposing this demonic manifestation of Islam guilty of “anti-religious bigotry”?
Overall, however, the Becket Fund ad should be commended for its clear and uncompromising call to end religious intimidation and violence. (For those who have signed the letter, I encourage you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.)
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT lobbying group and political action committee, posted a response to the ad on their website, reprinted below:
Demand the Truth
HRC’s Religion and Faith program launches response to untruthful NY Times ad.
Today, members of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council responded forcefully to a full-page ad in the New York Times that implies there is an organized attempt to foment mob intimidation and violence toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to its actions dehumanizing lesbian and gay people in the recent election campaign, particularly in California around passage of Proposition 8, which stripped gay families of the right to a civil marriage. The ad was sponsored by NoMobVeto.org, a project of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
When did the LDS Church become the victim? It’s hard to believe, but that is exactly what it is trying to convince the public of. It is continuing to spend an excess of dollars in an attempt to mislead the public and transform its image. But the truth is that this is the same church that conducted a national broadcast to every temple, calling on members to organize and write checks to the Prop 8 campaign. The same church that donated more than half of the $40 million behind Prop 8, even though California Mormons represent just 2 percent of the state’s population. Yes, it’s the same church.
Don’t allow them to replace the truth with their own version of the truth. Use our Religion Council’s message today to take action and demand the truth:
- Click here to write a letter to the New York Times
- Click here to send an email to the Becket Fund, the organization that paid for the misleading New York Times ad
- Click here to share your personal story with NoMobVeto.org and let them know how the passage of Prop 8 affected your life
What HRC’s Religion Council had to say:
- “Several signatories to the ad are generals in the culture wars,” said Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Church (Epsicopal), Pasadena, Calif. “They lied about gay people in the campaign, and now they are lying again when they say we are in favor of mob intimidation and violence. I personally talked legitimately angry demonstrators in California out of such action and every credible LGBT organization called for peaceful resistance to the Prop 8 travesty. Many of the leaders cited in this ad preach hate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, then look the other way when LGBT people are the victims of hate crimes. This ad is an act of individual and corporate hypocrisy.”
- Bishop John Selders of Amistad United Church of Christ in Hartford, Conn. commented, “As an African-American, I’ve heard this before. A few frustrated members of a minority group respond in anger to a new indignity and the oppressor calls them anarchists. Satan, sometimes called the Father of Lies, is at work when powerful people seek to dehumanize those who are less powerful.”
- Rev. Dr. Miguel de la Torre of Iliff School of Theology in Denver agreed, “I am always struck that those in power, those who manipulate the truth to maintain oppressive structures, present themselves to the public as the ones being persecuted. Make no mistake, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a powerful organization with an agenda of imposing a narrow religious view upon the rest of America. As we Hispanics say, ‘que vergüenza’ (what a shameful act).”
- “Calls for tolerance of certain religious viewpoints rings hollow in a world where religion often stands by tolerating violence perpetrated on God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children,” was Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson’s reply. Dr. Swenson is a Presbyterian minister and psychotherapist in Atlanta.
- Rev. Dr. Ken Stone of Chicago Theological Seminary said, “While I agree that violence and anti-religious bigotry need to be combated, we must also demand an end to the violence undertaken by those religious institutions that not only encourage but also fund bigotry against lesbians and gay men. Where will the Becket Fund be when we call for endorsements of hate crimes and employment protection legislation for LGBT people?”
- Here’s what Rev. Dr. Mary A. Tolbert of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the Pacific School of Religion had to say: “The ‘No Mob Veto’ ad would be more convincing as a statement of concern for civil debate over the well-organized and well-funded participation of the LDS church in the passage of Prop 8 had it not itself ended with a clear threat of intimidation toward anyone criticizing that church’s role in the election. As the Christian gospels demonstrate in Jesus’ action of overturning the tables of money-lenders in the temple, sometimes speaking the truth to entrenched and wealthy religious leaders requires a dramatic stroke. To protest the enormous financial involvement of a religious body in stripping equal rights from California LGBT people, their families, and their children is in no way anti-religious bigotry; it is instead, like the example of Jesus in the temple, an attempt to speak the truth to those rooted in power and wealth whose actions serve to deprive other human beings of the equal respect and dignity all of God’s children deserve.”
- Rev. Rebecca Voelkel of the Institute for Welcoming Resources of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force summed up: “As a Christian, I was taught not to ‘bear false witness.’ One of the deepest tragedies of the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California was its bearing false witness– more plainly stated, its lies– about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. This ad is one more example. In response to the passage of Proposition 8, faithful, honorable, patriotic Americans from every walk of life and of many sexual orientations and gender identities gathered to say no to lies and yes to love, truth and the American way. To name these overwhelmingly peaceful gatherings as mobs dishonors me, my family, members of my church and so many others who participated in them. As a Christian, my religious tradition also admonishes me to speak the truth in love. Therefore, I prayerfully ask those who have run this ad and others like it, to stop your false witness. Instead, and especially in these times, our country and our world need all of us, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, pagans and all people of faith, to work on behalf of the dignity of all human beings.”
The HRC’s response to the ad is fascinating because it accuses the LDS Church of conducting “a national broadcast to every temple, calling on members to organize and write checks to the Prop 8 campaign” and donating “more than half of the $40 million behind Prop 8, even though California Mormons represent just 2 percent of the state’s population.” Has encouraging people to make a difference for the cause of righteousness and authentic love now become illegal or immoral?
In addition, the HRC has somehow convinced themselves that it is virtually impossible for Mormons to ever be victims, asking: “When did the LDS Church become the victim? It’s hard to believe, but that is exactly what it is trying to convince the public of.” The HRC needs to wake up and realize that it is indeed possible for other groups to be mistreated in this country, even organizations they believe to be “oppressors.”
As if these strange accusations and perceptions weren’t enough, next to the article on the HRC’s website, the link to the Becket Fund’s letter states “Click on the image below to read the untruthful ad”. One wonders how the ad was untruthful, since the HRC article never makes that clear. The only direct accusation made concerning what the ad allegedly “lied about” was not found in the main HRC article but in a quote from Rev. Susan Russell who said, “They lied about gay people in the campaign, and now they are lying again when they say we are in favor of mob intimidation and violence.” Her comments, however, are highly inaccurate. The ad never stated that the LGBT community was in favor of mob intimidation and violence – in fact, gays and lesbians were never even mentioned in the Becket Fund ad. The point they were making was that the LGBT community (without mentioning them by name) had either turned a blind eye toward or made excuses for the behavior of those who engaged in mob intimidation. Rather than accusing the writers of this ad of being “untruthful” without backing up their claims in the slightest, perhaps the HRC should consider taking the ad’s rebuke seriously and start leading the charge against religious violence and intimidation in their community.
It’s encouraging to see organizations such as the Becket Fund stand up for religious liberty and call for an end to religious violence and intimidation. Mormons, believing Christians, and people of other faiths (or even non-faiths) have the right to let their voices be heard and to affect positive change in society. They should not be punished for their success.
For more on the subject of the LDS Church, check out Dr. Brown’s Line of Fire show Should Evangelicals and Mormons Work Together?.
Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: Activists, Becket Fund, homosexuality, Human Rights Campaign, New York Times, prop 8