Tonight: “Can you be gay & Christian”


PLEASE NOTE that an update and story on the forum on the evening of September 20th has been posted. Check out the update which includes in-depth commentary and video & audio.

Dr. Michael Brown of the Charlotte, NC (actually Concord, but, close enough) based Coalition of Conscience put out another press release yesterday enticing gay and gay-affirming clergy to take part in his forum entitled “Can you be Gay & Christian.”

The forum is set to take place tonight, 7:00pm at the FIRE Church in Concord, NC. A press conference will be held at 6:15. Brown has said that he will give the media a list of churches which were contacted and invited to the event.

While the Coalition of Conscience says that this will be an un-biased event and that there will be no gay bashing, I’m sure many LGBT or LGBT-affirming clergy feel otherwise.

While Brown uses the visits of Soulforce to Christian colleges and tries to draw a comparison, there really can’t be. Soulforce – representative of the minority – goes to the schools to be a voice for the minority there. The majority – in this case the Coalition of Conscience – isn’t doing the same thing as Soulforce. What they are doing is deciding, as the majority, that now is a good time to talk, on our time, on our home turf, to make us look good… Not because they really want to have a true dialogue.

But I’ll be there… and I’m going to try to have some true dialogue. I hope that they will truly do as they say they are going to and that there will really not be any gay bashing.

More info on the event here, with address & map.

PLEASE NOTE that an update and story on the forum on the evening of September 20th has been posted. Check out the update which includes in-depth commentary and video & audio.


Comments
25 Responses to “Tonight: “Can you be gay & Christian””
  1. cara michele says:

    Matt, I went on their web site and read their “Statement to the Gay and Lesbian Community,” under Resources, Official Statements. I thought it was very open, honest, fair and most of all, loving. People can disagree with you, even on very fundamental issues like sexuality, and still love you.

  2. Matt says:

    Cara… The face they put forward is not their true face. I’ll posit a few points to back up why I think they are not going after what they say they are:

    1) Dr. Michael Brown has consistently compared gay & lesbian people to pedophiles and linked us to bestiality. At one lecture, Dr. Brown used the fears of parents protecting their children in insinuating that gays are more likely to molest their children.

    2) Dr. Brown’s Coalition of Conscience is directly affiliated with the far-right radical protest group Operation Save America, which was started in the late 1980s and once ran into major legal troubles over their physically intimidating protests at abortion clinics. Operation Save America continues to operate similarly physically harassing and intimidating protest tactics to this day.

    Two points… the first being Dr. Michael Brown’s extreme use of violent language and rhetoric and his group’s direct affiliation with a group known to physically harass and intimidate gay & lesbian people are enough points to firmly put this group in a “hate group” status. I’m sure that the Southern Poverty Law Center would agree.

    _______________________

    NOTE: This comment was made PRIOR to my attendance at the Coalition of Conscience’s event “Can you be gay & Christian” and does not fully represent my views of the event now that I have attended the event.

    CLARIFICATIONS:
    Point 1 – I should not have used the word “compared” in the sentence beginning “Dr. Michael Brown has consistently compared gay & lesbian people.” A more correct word usage would have been “linked” as in, “Dr. Brown has consistently linked the progression of gay & lesbian marriage rights to the “slippery slope” to pedophilia and bestiality.” As for whether or not the claim about the past lecture is true or false, I will wait to correct myself until I sit down and watch the DVD of that particular lecture provided to me last night (for which I thank you).

    Point 2 – Dr. Brown made it clear to me last night that the Coalition of Conscience and Operation Save America are two different organizations. In an interview with me prior to the event last night, Dr. Brown stated, “Operation Save America is not a part of the Coalition of Conscience. We are two separate organizations. Flip Benham is a friend. I respect him. His approach is very different than mine, but I respect him and I respect his motivation, even though our approach is totally different and even though we’re on record saying that Operation Save America is not a part of the Coalition of Conscience. So I don’t speak for him. He doesn’t speak for me. I respect him as a friend and as a servant of the Lord.” Dr. Brown also said claims of Operation Save America’s legal problems and confrontational tactics in the late 1980s are “complete myth.” However, Right Wing Watch notes Operation Save America – as founded by Randall Terry in 1988 – as a “militant anti-abortion group,” notes its trouble over “organized clinic blockades” and “sometimes violent” tactics, and writes about legal troubles in a racketeering case. (source 1, source 2)

    These clarifications & notes made approx. 12:50pm, 9/21/2007

  3. Praying for you Matt – behind their facade of reasonable discussion is the strongly held position that all homosexual relationships are sinful and that homosexuals cannot go to heaven.

    They base that belief on their erroneous interpretation of I Corinthians 6:9, specifically the Greek word arsenokoites.

    You are entering the lion’s den but God will give you wisdom.

    Dr. Brown used to be based in Pensacola so I am somewhat familiar with his teaching.

    Rick
    http://www.gaychristian101.com/Arsenokoites.html

  4. Casey says:

    Go with grace, and all of the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Far from easy, but it’s the best evidence we have of the absolute truth that yes, you can be gay and Christian. With you in prayer.

  5. Dear Matt,

    Since we met tonight and spent some time together, I must say that I’m quite disappointed at the false representation of my previous lectures in your comments above — a representation which was based entirely on hearsay — along with the erroneous statements concerning the Coalition and OSA.

    You assured me that you would operate in integrity, and a good place to start would be in repudiating the incorrect and patently judgmental statements in your reponse to Cara.

    In all candor, it is misinformation such as this that discredits your position, but out of love for you and love for the truth, I’ve taken the time to give you an opportunity to make things right here on your blog — whether one person reads it or one million people read it.

    The ball is in your court.

    In Him,

    Dr. Brown

  6. Jarred says:

    Dr. Brown:

    Which statements are you claiming to be false? Are you prepared to provided unedited transcripts of all of your lectures to demonstrate the falsehood of Matt’s claims?

    In the meantime, allow me to pull a couple quotes from the CoC website:

    Quote from “DIVERSITY OR PERVERSITY?”:
    Isn’t it inevitable that the same nation which was among the first to legalize soft drug use, prostitution, and gay marriage would be among the first to entertain the possibility of legalizing consensual sex with minors and to encourage the social acceptance of bestiality – and in the name of diversity at that?

    From “THE “CIVIL RIGHT” TO POLYGAMY?”:
    This is because proponents of traditional, heterosexual marriage have consistently argued that once the fundamental definition of marriage is changed from “one man and one woman” to “one person and one person, regardless of sexual orientation,” there is no logical or rational way to stop the slippery slide into polygamous marriages, incestuous marriages, or even adult-child marriages.

    At the very least, it would seem that there is basis for Matt’s claim that you consistently liken gay people to pedophiles and link us to bestiality. Your own website provides the substantiating evidence.

  7. Matt says:

    Dr. Brown… This post was placed on this website yesterday in the early afternoon. I left for the Charlotte area not too long after that and did not return home until late last night. Upon checking my email and websites just now (time is now approximately 12:30pm, 9/21/2007) I immediately attempted calling you (I left a message) and then wrote this.

    I will take a look at what I said here and contrast it with what I experienced last night. Please rest assured that I will do my best to accurately portray your organization’s event last night.

    As I stressed last night, however, you and I may disagree about my interpretation of your words; after all, I am the minority to which your words are directed and, as such, it would only be common sense to know that my interpretation of your words would be quite different than yours.

    In the coming hours I will correct any of my statements that need to be corrected and/or clarified.

  8. Matt,

    Thanks for demonstrating integrity in your post here. I expected that from you, hence my expression of disappointment when I spotted your pre-event comment. I appreciate you revising it after we met.

    As you know, we gave you the mike to share your own testimony and we gave you a round of applause for coming and having the courage to speak freely. And you were personally greeted by many of our people afterwards, and I’m confident that you met with genuine love.

    The key thing is that all quotes are accurate and fair; you are free to interpret and blog your own thoughts, of course, and we may strongly differ on those things.

    In Him,

    Dr. Brown

  9. Matt says:

    Thank you Dr. Brown… I hope that you will find the quotes I attributed to you are indeed accurate and were taken straight from the video I shot in our pre-event interview.

  10. Jarred,

    Thanks for your post. Matt has issued some further comments to his post, but in direct response to your questions:

    1)Matt made reference to my alleged “extreme use of violent language and rhetoric.” That is completely untrue, as I trust Matt can verify at this point. The first and last message we sounded last night was, “We don’t hate you!”

    2) Matt wrote, “Dr. Michael Brown has consistently compared gay & lesbian people to pedophiles and linked us to bestiality. At one lecture, Dr. Brown used the fears of parents protecting their children in insinuating that gays are more likely to molest their children.” This is also patently untrue, and I gave him a copy of my DVD lectures so he could listen to all statements in context. Matt is free to transcribe and post them in full (with proper attribution for copyright purposes, of course). This way, nothing can be pulled out of context. The record will speak for itself. My issue with parents and children has to do with pro-gay-family educational materials, etc., not with pedophilia.

    3) With regard to the quote from my web articles, perhaps you missed the point? The first had to do with the word “diversity.” If homosexual practice must be accepted under the rubric of diversity, then why not other sexual practices? Last year, I sent a major gay pride sponsor pictures of drag queens gyrating in the presence of two year-olds, along with pictures of gay porn on a table next to a little girl. I said to them, “I think this is really perversity, not diversity.” They replied, “We support this in the name of diversity!” So then, where do we draw the line?

    As for the polygamy issue, there is certainly nothing extreme in suggesting that redefining marriage from one man and one woman to one person and one person opens the door to other re-defining, such as polygamous unions which are practiced in many parts of the world.

    Again, I think an honest reading of what I have written, in context, cannot be equated with hate speech or gay bashing.

  11. Matt,

    Yes, the quotes were exactly what I said, just as you captured them on video. And I hope your web-colleagues understand that I gave you carte blanche to video the entire event last night. We have nothing to hide.

    Dr. Brown

  12. Jarred says:

    Dr. Brown:

    I have not missed your point regarding what you’ve written about the “slippery slope” at all. That does not change the fact, however, that I find the point based on such an obvious logical fallacy that I wonder how anyone can seriously offer it as an argument in the first place.

    In regards to pedophilia, there is an obvious and clear difference between sex with a minor (who is developmentally incapable of giving informed consent) and consensual sex between two adults. The two must clearly be prohibited for the continued safety and well-being of children, wherein the latter is a private matter between adults. This answer to your slippery slope argument strikes me as so incredibly obvious that I wonder why you continue to use the argument in the first place.

  13. Jarred,

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. There are so many questions you raise that call for detailed responses — I see this from a the exact opposite logical perspective that you do — but time does not permit that at this point.

    For the moment, however, may I ask you what is wrong with consenual sex between a man and his grown son? Hearing your perpsective on this would prove helpful.

    And may I ask you what is the logical fallacy in the slippery slope argument (say, with regard to polygamy or incest between consenting adults), since there is documentary evidence to support it?

    Thanks,

    Dr. Brown

  14. Jarred says:

    Dr. Brown:

    I will admit that I’d have a hard time making a good argument against incest between grown adults.

    The primary logical fallacy in any slippery slope argument is the basic assumption that the fact that something may follow, that means it must follow. That assumption is faulty until proven to be true in any given argument.

    For example, I can make a slippery slope argument that suggests that any sufficiently powerful group that believes in absolute truth will seek to persecute those who believe differently from them, even killing those they deem heretical or blasphemous. And I have several centuries of history from multiple cultures evidencing that this progression does happen. Should we then outlaw the belief in absolute truth to prevent the inevitable persecutions such a belief will bring? Or do we acknowledge that just because what I describe might happen and even has happened doesn’t necessarily mean it must happen?

  15. Jarred,

    Thanks for your candor re: incest. Enough said for the moment until time permits a more detailed discussion.

    As for the slippery slope argument, it simply points to likely results, not inevitable ones, and in my own life, as someone who started smoking pot at the age of 14 and was shooting heroin at 15, I witnessed a certain slippery moral slope (before I was radically changed at the age of 16). I remember mocking the slippery slope argument in my own life back then, but it proved true: by opening the door to one act, it opened the door of possibility to the next one. By making the once-forbidden permissible, it raised the question of, “So why is this next step so bad?” Was it inevitable? Hardly? But had the first door been closed would the second have opened? Never. That’s the logic, and it holds true with the current discussion.

    Again, thanks for your candor. If I’m not heard from on this post for some weeks or months, please don’t take that personally or be put off by it. Normally, time doesn’t permit me to have these personal interactions (as much as I’d like to), but with Matt’s visit last night, I wanted to take some time on his website today.

    Dr. Brown

  16. Jarred says:

    Dr. Brown:

    So where do we draw the line on when we use the slippery slope argument. Do we prohibit everything that might lead to something bad or worse? At what point does the slippery slope argument for prohibiting things become a slippery slope in itself?

  17. Casey says:

    Dr. Brown – one thing I always find interesting about people who make the claim that after recognizing same-sex marriages, that “there is no reasonable basis” not to continue on to a parade of horribles is just how little research these people have made into the actual justifications against said horribles. In the case of incest, polygamy, etc., I would strongly recommend reading Jonathan Rauch’s book “Gay Marriage: Why it is good for gays, good for straights and good for America.” Briefly, one of the best arguments against permitting adult incest is the destabilizing effect that having family members as potential sexual conquests would have on the trusting intimacy of the family setting. For example, if adult incest was legal, how could I as a daughter trust that my Dad was just being protective when he encouraged me to “wait until it’s right”… as opposed to just trying to save me for himself? Things like that truly would destabilize the family unit in a way that is much more logical than the claims that having two mommies confuses kids. Thus, there is a very clear line and an entirely separate rationale for keeping incest illegal – it isn’t about sexual liberty, it’s about genuine family stability. Not to mention the concerning genetic aspects.

  18. Dear Jared and Casey,

    Thanks for the questions! No time for an immediate reply but I hope to soon.

    Two quick comments: For Jared, Is it ever right to apply the slippery slope argument? Do we ever rightfully use it as parents or legislators? For Casey, Of course, I have the the Rauch book, and he’s one of the best spokesmen. And of course, I categorically differ. I believe that both Stanley Kurtz and David Blankenhorn have effectively refuted Rauch’s views. (BTW, the charts in the back of Blankenhorn’s new book on the marriage are very telling.)

    Again, thanks for the good questions!

    Dr. Brown

  19. Casey says:

    So you tell me you have the books, and you point me to other authors who Rauch and others – Dale Carpenter, for example – have intellectually beaten into the ground. But what you don’t do, sir, is acknowledge that the claim that same-sex marriage opens the door to incest has been effectively deflected because the two concepts do NOT rest on the same foundations. So, am I wrong in saying that there are other clear and very strong reasons to keep incest illegal than those reasons used to bar same-sex marriage? Or am I right in that the slippery slope ain’t so slippery after all? You’ve been accused of not fighting fair, sir – so quit being slippery, and let’s have a fair answer.

  20. Dr Michael Brown says:

    Casey,

    I’m just returning from several days on the road and my comments from two days ago just got posted. I’m trying to catch up on dozens of emails, but as time permits, I will gladly reply. I assume, of course, that you’re aware of legal cases both in Germany and America where arguments are being made in favor of incest based on the legalization of same-sex marriages in certain countries. Correct? Also, I trust you can see that these adults wanting to have their incestuous relationship recognized by the courts could say that you are not being loving in your response, just as Matt and others found my response to him to be unloving.

    Thanks again for your posts, and I do hope time permits to answer them in a worthy manner.

    In Him,

    Dr. Brown

  21. Matt says:

    Dr. Brown, there have been legal arguments made that McDonalds coffee is too hot and dangerous to consumers. Does that mean that we should ban all coffee served everywhere by everyone? Stupid and crazy legal cases make it in to the courts all the time. Your current arguments are exactly the kind of non-sensical “slippery slope” argument Jarred was talking about (stress on the word “non-sensical”).

  22. Casey says:

    Sir, I am a law student at UCLA – of course I am aware of the many sorts of crazy arguments that can be made in a court of law… in a free society, there are very few restrictions as to what you can say. What is restricted, and frankly, what matters, is what will be found persuasive by that court. In the United States, so long as there is a compelling state interest and the law is narrowly tailored to protect that interest, even a fundamental right such as marriage can be restricted.

    What we have been arguing about thus far is whether there is a compelling state interest that bars incest after the “interest” which bars same-sex marriage is debunked. I have made several substantive claims as to important interests in protecting the stability of families that the state can and does use in banning incestuous relationships, which will exist even when same-sex marriage is legal. I have now asked you twice to reply to the merits of these substantive issues – and both times, you’ve ducked, this time basically claiming that I’m being mean to ask such questions.

    Gay and lesbian families have been faced with such questions for a long time – we’ve been expected to prove that our relationships are harmless, and not only that, provide a positive benefit to society – and rather than just claim that society is mean and unfair to be asking, many of us have risen to the occasion and demonstrated exactly that. It is not unloving to justly place a burden on people – it is unlovely to do so unjustly, for no good reason. That is the difference between the same-sex marriage ban and the ban on harmful relationships like incest.

    Our families are well known for taking in unwanted, “unadoptable” children; our communities are renowned for rejuvenating dying neighborhoods; gays and lesbians are found in service professions everywhere from teachers to nurses to the clergy. Straight people have come to know us as their beloved and respected friends and family. Rather than breaking families apart, by living openly and honestly, we bring people together, creating larger and stronger families (just as straight marriages do). Study after study shows that we do no harm. That is why as time progresses, we as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are winning this struggle for equality, and your side is left without a logical leg to stand on.

    Because of the fact that you cannot truly make a strong, logical argument that allowing gay marriage must necessarily lead to incestuous marriages, or any other harm – if you could, you would have done so, rather than ducking, twice – I would hope that you would be honest and say that the slope is not nearly as slippery as you have previously implied. To do anything else is to bear false witness – something that even this homosexual knows to be a sin. Be well.

  23. Casey says:

    Oh, and Matt? I read the case about McDonald’s coffee, and amusingly enough, the plaintiff had a good point. Because pressure in the machines was negligently allowed to heat the coffee way, way beyond its natural boiling point, it dispensed much hotter than the customer could reasonably expect, and caused some serious damage. Actually, that’s not a bad parallel to our conversation – unnaturally hot and dangerous coffee was legitimately punished, but there’s no reason to hold liable coffee of a normal temperature. The question is, what’s the thermometer have to say about gay relationships – and as far as I can see, the jury’s in, and we’re pleasantly normal. *grins* What can I say? I couldn’t resist. Have a good day, my friend.

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