Charlotte church leaders protest HRC: Gay agenda is a lie; ‘connected’ to pedophilia, bestiality


For an update on the happenings at the HRC Carolinas Gala see this update: HRC Carolinas Gala: Largest Dinner in the Nation

A few days ago, I posted an article, along with commentary from myself, concerning the week-long series of lectures being put on by the Charlotte, NC-based anti-gay, right-wing “Coalition of Conscience” (“Charlotte, NC church leaders challenge HRC Gala, so-called ‘radical agenda of homosexual activists'”). The Coalition offered the series of lectures in this week, prior to tomorrow’s annual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Carolinas Gala, which this year will be the second largest state HRC dinner, with close to (if not more by now) 1400 registered guests, being second-only to the national dinner in DC.

Brent Childers, a journalist and Vice President of the Hickory, NC-based Inform, Inc., a marketing company which proudly supports the Human Rights Campaign, as well as the Raleigh, NC-based Faith in America, the organization headed up by the Reverend Jimmy Creech, working to end religion-based prejudice mainly through the media and outreach to communities, attended one of the “Coalition of Conscience” lectures last night and forwarded to me a commentary he wrote on it (with some of my own commentary interspersed throughout):

What is the Christian agenda?

I attended the Wednesday seminar entitled “Is There Really A Gay Agenda” presented by Michael Brown on Feb. 21 at the Booth Playhouse in Charlotte, N.C.

I attended the seminar as a representative of Faith In America, a Raleigh-based organization working to end the injustice of religion-based bigotry against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

My goal was to simply listen to Brown to learn what the lecturer would identify as the “gay agenda.”

Brent did what I didn’t have the time to do. Thanks to him for sending me his commentary, although I would have been a bit more vocal, wearing my little rainbow lapel pin and showing the attendees the face of a gay Christian unafraid to proclaim the truth about my own humanity and memberhood in God’s family.

Brown’s use of language and how he played the term “gay agenda” was somewhat masterful in the way he used it to create a backdrop that painted GLBT people and the various organizations that work to advocate GLBT issues as deceitful liars right from the start.

For those not as schooled in language as Brown – he holds his doctorate degree in Near Eastern language from New York University – it would be easy to miss the semantic slight of hand.

Brown began his lecture by pointing out how various gays and lesbians on web sites and individuals within certain gay rights organizations have for years said there is no “gay agenda.” He then methodically listed on the video screen comments that appeared to contradict that – statements from a variety of gay activists talking about the goals of their organizations or just issues they would like to see addressed.

Like Pam Spaulding, I’ve yet to receive my copy of this so-called “gay agenda.” As far as I’m concerned right now, my “gay agenda” includes getting this post done and taking my medicine for the little cold I caught from my younger siblings.

But Brown knows that “gay agenda” can mean one thing when referred to in general terms (gays seek to take over the world) and it can mean something different when referred to in specific terms (the goals of a particular person or organization).

Here’s another example: Ask your Sunday School if there is a Christian agenda at work in North Carolina. The person likely will answer no. Ask Coalition for Conscience (which bills itself as a Christian organization) if it has an agenda. Of course.

Ah ha. Your Sunday School teacher lied. No. It’s a play on semantics.

Brown’s definition of the gay agenda was little more than some of the same language that for years has been disseminated by certain so-called Christian organizations on the Religious Right. I sat there watching Brown post a list of goals (the agenda) that various gay rights organizations either advocated for in the past or are advocating today – things like gay marriage, schools where kids are taught to respect those with different sexual orientation, a hate crime law that includes crimes committed against GLBT people. (Brown opposes the federal legislation)

Really… who are the radical ones here? LGBT activists aren’t the radical ones. We’re simply asking for the same rights that others currently have and, sadly, many take for granted. The radical ones are those on the far, far, religious right who seek to use the High Holy Name of Our Lord as a battering ram against gay and lesbian citizens of America and gay and lesbian brothers and sisters of Christ’s family.

Then he began posting on the viewing screen comments from certain gay activists who reportedly had said things like they wouldn’t be happy until they were completely integrated in every part of our culture – our homes, schools and even our conservative Christian churches.

I began getting alarmed. They really do want to take over our society and rape our young children – as much of Brown’s posts on the video screen implied either directly, indirectly or satirically.

Scare tactics… plain and simple and nothing more. Scare tactics are what the religious right have utilized for years. Go ahead, play on people’s fears and prejudices… Hitler and the KKK certainly accomplished their goals in much the same way.

I could see the grimaces of a middle-age couple city in front of me as they looked at each other with raised brows.

And then came the closer in Brown’s presentation: The gay and lesbian advocate organizations will not stop until they force our fundamental Christian pastors and other Bible-believers to refrain from treating homosexuals as morally inferior. The day is coming very soon, Brown said, when the freedom to condemn gays and lesbians as sinners will be no more.

It’s almost come full circle, he said: Gays are out of the closet and Christians who believe same-sex relations is a sin are on the way in the closet.

Despite supporting an organization working on behalf of GLBT equality, as a Christian I had begun getting a little alarmed myself by the time Brown presented his closer. I mean, come on, this America. If I can’t stand on the corner and yell that gay and lesbians are doomed to hell, what has this great country come to?

Brown stated he had been compared to the Ku Klux Klan in an email he had received Wednesday. Can you imagine the gall of these gays and lesbians, he asked his audience, in comparing him to the Klan when all he was doing was giving a lecture on the fact that the Bible says same-sex love is an abomination to God?

In no way will they enter heaven, he implied to one young woman during the question-and-answer period when she told him she had a friend who was saved when young and is now lesbian. Can she still be saved, she asked?

The question seemed somewhat difficult for Brown to answer. His final summation to the young woman was that there are people who once may have made a profession of faith but their current sinful lifestyle would suggest to him that the person was never saved in the first place or has lost his/her salvation.

I sat there in amazement at his statement to that young girl.

I wonder if church leaders – including the Rev. Mark Harris of the First Baptist Church in Charlotte who reportedly has ties to Brown’s Coalition of Conscience – are reading this. Read again what he told the girl: you can be saved at one point and then not.

As someone who has spent 40-plus years in fundamentalist Baptist churches, I can most assuredly state that there is no doctrinal truth that is held more dear than “once saved, always saved.”

I, too, grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church and I still consider myself Baptist in many respects. “Once Saved, Always Saved” is a doctrine near and dear to every Baptist’s heart and it is an eternally truthful doctrine which applies to all who are saved by Christ’s Sacrifice.

I suppose the fact that this doctrinal statement came from a New York City native with a degree in language shouldn’t have surprised me so had I not known that his organization is comprised of area Charlotte churches and ministers.

As I left the Booth Playhouse, I began reflecting on the two-hour session and how Brown skillfully had couched his attack on gays and lesbians with what he said was “a heart of compassion.” He was mouthing the words but love for gays and lesbians wasn’t what I was hearing.

I reviewed my notes to see that he had linked gays and lesbians to pedophiles on at least three occasions and had implied an association to bestiality on another occasion. He compared them to adulterers on another. And of course all this was set against his backdrop of gay and lesbians being liars about their agenda. I also could see how those subtle references had attempted to play on my emotional responses to solicit thoughts of loathing, fear and prejudice.

Hitler? KKK? Playing on people’s fears and prejudices? The Holocaust and all the lynchings of the past were caused by these tactics and used by Hitler and the KKK. You’d think we all might have learned a valuable lesson from all that sad history, but I guess not.

I also began thinking about that reference he made about someone associating him with the Klan.

I imagined an African-American man sitting in some lecture hall in the 1920s listening to a religious leader espouse the belief that the Bible said “colored” people were morally inferior or perhaps listening to some religious leader espouse the belief that interracial marriage was an abomination before God. I wonder what would have happened if we had put religion-based discrimination against African-Americans in the closet a lot sooner than we did.

I think of how so many older African-Americans possess such a loving, kind and forgiving nature, despite the great injustice enacted upon them – that often came with the blessing of many a conservative Christian church.

I thought about a passage that Brown had posted from Mel White, director of Soulforce and who used to ghostwrite for Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham. White, a Christian, is gay and his most recent book, “Religion Gone Bad,” talks about how so many GLBT people that he knows possess a similar kind, gentle and passive nature. Perhaps, White surmises, it’s time GLBT people become much less passive in their opposition to discrimination – that seems to come with the blessing of a lot of fundamentalist Christians.

Of course, Brown saw this as evidence that the GLBT community was going to become more active in their stance against religion-based bigotry.

Let’s hope they do.

Oh, we are indeed. Three words: Soulforce Equality Ride

I once was one of the Christians who would have been cheering Brown and the Coalition of Conscience on for their condemnation of gays and lesbians (And remember Brown will say he never condemns anyone). Several years ago I walked away from the GLBT prejudice that I so often justified with misguided religious teachings. I put that religion-based bigotry against GLBT in the closet and locked the door.

It’s proved to be a great spiritual blessing.

And one last word for Dr. Brown as to something I was poignantly reminded of during his lecture:

There will be homosexuals in heaven.

AMEN, BROTHER! I’ll see you on the other side of those pearly gates, walking right past St. Peter giving him a high five and then on to my Heavenly Father!

Brent Childers is a journalist living in North Carolina. He serves as vice president of Inform Inc., a marketing company in Hickory, N.C., which is a proud supporter of the Human Rights Campaign, Faith In America and other organizations working to achieve GLBT equality.

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Comments
6 Responses to “Charlotte church leaders protest HRC: Gay agenda is a lie; ‘connected’ to pedophilia, bestiality”
  1. Matt,

    Thanks for discussing my lecture series on your website. I must admit, though, that I was amazed at the report given by Brent Childers which systematically left out many key statements I made when discussing “Is There Really a Gay Agenda?”

    How about this one: “I take for granted that the primary ‘agenda’ of the ‘average’ gay or lesbian is to live a productive, happy, fulfilling life, 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.”

    Or this: “And I recognize that there is great diversity among gays and lesbians – political, spiritual, economic, social, etc. – just as there is great diversity among heterosexuals. That is also a given.”

    My specific argument was this: “Still, there is no question that the vast majority of the leading gay organizations, activists, magazines, newspapers, and websites stand for similar goals and are actively working to see those goals achieved.
    In that sense, there is most definitely is a gay agenda.”

    Is that such a ridiculous concept? And I discussed the premise that: “Perhaps, some might argue, the real reason that gays despise the concept of a homosexual agenda is because it really is not an agenda at all. Perhaps the reason for the consistent gay denial of a gay agenda is that the extent of that agenda is simply: Please leave us alone and let us live our lives in peace.”

    But my argument for a an activist “gay agenda” was simple: “In the last two decades, major changes have taken place in: 1) the public’s perception of homosexuality and same-sex relationships; 2) the educational system’s embrace of homosexuality; 3) legislative decisions recognizing gays and lesbians as a distinct group of people within our society, equivalent to other ethnic groups; 4) the media’s portrayal of homosexuals; and 5) corporate America’s welcoming of what was once considered sexually deviant. Is this simply one big coincidence? Did all this happen by chance?”

    I also quoted Matt Foreman of the NGLTF: “You want to know the state of our movement on November 10, 2006? We are strong, unbowed, unbeaten, vibrant, energized and ready to kick some butt. . . . The agenda and vision that we must proudly articulate is that yes, indeed, we intend to change society.”

    Of course, I understand the depth of our differences here, but your readers deserve a more accurate account.

    Also, Mr. Childers failed to note my repeated remarks of sympathy for the struggles facing GLBT people — but I differ with the legitimizing of their sexual actions — my clear denunciation of violence and hatred against gays, and my frequent comments (in terms of “sin”) issues that all sin is equal at the foot of the cross and that Jesus died for heterosexual and homosexual alike. On several nights I also reiterated that the Church has failed to treat gay men and women with sensitivity and compassion. (For my apology to the gay community of Charlotte last year, see http://www.coalitionofconscience.org/statements/homosexualCommunity.shtm.)

    Do I agree with gay marriage? No, but neither do I agree that two brothers who love each other should have the right to marry, or that a widow should have the right to marry her grown son. Does that make me a Nazi?

    In any case, I don’t think for a moment that these few words will change your mind ,and I certainly was trying to prove a point Wednesday night about the existence of an activist gay agenda. However, for the record: Mr. Childers painted quite a misleading picture (in particular with his descriptions of my comments about gays and pedophiles, etc. — in fact, in my presentation, the only text that specifically mentioned pedophiles had to do with the Catholic priests who have been exposed) and everything I said about loving the gay and lesbian community was meant from my heart, although you would claim that I was totally misguided in the application of that love.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to interact with these lectures.

  2. Matt says:

    Dr. Brown…

    Thank you very much for commenting on the site and engages directly with myself and my readers. Thank you for offering your own side of this story, as there are always many sides to a story (sadly, it’s just the way us humans are, I guess – We can never get anything right).

    Brent made a wonderful point in his commentary – The word “agenda” can be used in many ways and in some instances it is used correctly. We are all human, Dr. Brown, and we all see things through our own experiences and lenses. Perhaps, just maybe, Brent saw your words and expressions as something that maybe you didn’t intend say or mean, but because you said them in such a certain way, it allowed people to take them a certain way. I’m sure you know this happens in the world… I’m sure it has happened to you many times and I know that it has definitely happened to me.

    You are right Dr. Brown… the majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people do not have an “agenda,” except, perhaps, the desire to live their lives on the same equal footing as other people. People like you and your organizations are actively fighting to deny this equal footing, hence the need for activists. In political senses of the word “agenda,” all persons involved in politics, activism, advocacy or public relations have an “agenda.” Me, my friends, those I don’t agree with… Even you, Dr. Brown.

    The “activist” gay, so-called agenda that you refer to and preach against Dr. Brown is nothing more than a politicized reflection of the wants, needs and desires of most lesbian and gay people.

    The majority of our wants, needs and desires have nothing to do with the corporate world or the media, two big things you seem to focus on, but rather they have everything to do with being able to have gay youth grow up in loving, nurturing environments, to make sure that gay families can take care of themselves financially, medically, emotionally and in the general ins-and-outs of life, and, finally, to live knowing that we will not be judged simply because we were less fortunate to have been born differently and to be free from fear that at anytime someone would want to take a metal pipe and beat us to death.

    I challenge you, Dr. Brown… Let me post your entire presentation, Un-Edited. I certainly know that I didn’t have time to come to your lecture and many of my readers are scattered across the entire state, as well as the nation. Let’s give your presentation the fairness it deserves. I’ll post it and add my thoughts at the bottom of the post in a way which would mirror your presentation, which I assume is written very well in an academic style.

    So… If you are up for the challenge: matt.hill.comer ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com

  3. Matt — I will definitely email you and we’ll interact further from there.

    Dr. Brown

  4. Geoffrey Miller says:

    I just wanted to say that I was at several of the lectures and I have rarely heard someone take the position that Dr. Brown did so graciously. I do not agree that homosexuality is right, but so many opponents are just so mean spirited, that it embarrasses me to admit that I agree with them on any issue. I did not hear anything hate-filled from Dr. Brown. I truly believe that he sees homosexuals as people who are loved by God, but that they, like most of the world have sin in their lives. What I want to know is: why is it that whenever someone disagrees with the politically correct view that homosexuality is natural, good and genetic is that person automatically called a bigot who is filled with hate. I’ve read about Dr. Brown being equivocated to Nazis and Holocaust deniers when anyone who has read about him should know that he was raised and is by descent fully Jewish. I’m sorry, but calling a Jew a Nazi is probably the most hate-filled thing someone could say. It seems as though that whenever the topic of homosexuality is breached the pro side can curse and yell and say whatever they want to, but the other side isn’t even aloud to say they disagree and to do so labels them as Nazis and bigots. I just don’t think that that is right. If you believe that you are supporting the winning side, you should welcome an open presentation from both sides, confidant that yours will win; not try to suppress the other side and call them names.

  5. Matt says:

    Geoffrey states: If you believe that you are supporting the winning side, you should welcome an open presentation from both sides, confidant that yours will win; not try to suppress the other side and call them names.

    Maybe you should take the time to read Geoffrey… Quoting from just two comments above yours, where I stated: “I challenge you, Dr. Brown… Let me post your entire presentation, Un-Edited. I certainly know that I didn’t have time to come to your lecture and many of my readers are scattered across the entire state, as well as the nation. Let’s give your presentation the fairness it deserves. I’ll post it and add my thoughts at the bottom of the post in a way which would mirror your presentation, which I assume is written very well in an academic style.”

    And, for the record, as I state again how important it is to read, I never called Dr. Brown a Nazi, I only stated that the Nazis and the KKK have, just like the Religious Right, used scare tactics to play on people’s fears and emotions. I’ll get a better idea of what I think of Mr. Brown’s presentations once I get to see them… which should hopefully be soon. I think, Geoffrey, that you can clearly see that Dr. Brown and I are politely engaging in civil conversation here on this post’s comment thread and I think our email exchanges have been just as polite and civil.

    As for why the “pro side” can yell and scream, well… that one is easy: We are the ones being oppressed and we are the ones whose humanity is being denied by oh so many people… You think we are just going to sit and let it happen?

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  1. […] During the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala in February 2007, Brown’s group hosted a week-long series of lectures on homosexuality. […]



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