The Coalition to Protect All N.C. Families, those who are working overtime to defeat North Carolina’s anti-LGBT, anti-family, anti-business constitutional amendment on the May 8, 2012, primary ballot, have released new TV commercials detailing some of the potential harms of the measure.
In one ad, a mother speaks about her fear that Amendment One could strip health insurance from her daughter. More than 222,000 unmarried couples currently live in the state. Thousands of them have children. Domestic partner benefits covering unmarried partners and children — like those offered to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples in Greensboro — could be on the chopping block if the amendment passes.
But what has the rabidly anti-gay Amendment One proponents so worked up this week is the Coalition’s TV ad warning women about the consequences the amendment could have on current domestic violence protections.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is just completely beside itself, writing on its blog:
New ads in North Carolina are claiming NC’s Marriage Amendment will somehow interfere with domestic violence prosecutions for unmarried women. They know this is a lie. They have claimed the same thing before about, for example, Virginia’s similarly worded Marriage Amendment.
In Ohio a silly judge ruled that the marriage amendment had this effect, but he was swiftly overruled by Ohio courts. 30 states have marriage amendments. In none of them were women deprived of domestic violence protection.
More evidence that our opponents know they cannot win this vote on the main question: “should marriage remain a union of husband and wife?”
A “silly judge”? “Swiftly overruled”?
Groups like NOM and the North Carolina’s Vote For Marriage NC aren’t being completely honest with the public. The anti-amendment Coalition isn’t lying: Ohio courts had, indeed, interpreted their amendment to mean that domestic violence protections for unmarried couples were invalid. And, there was no “swift” action overruling such cases. It took nearly three years for the Ohio Supreme Court to finally settle the matter — three years that domestic violence victims and their children were forced to wait in fear and uncertainty.
In case you missed it back in March, you should catch this in-depth summary of the domestic violence debate by The News & Observer‘s Craig Jarvis.
The question here isn’t whether North Carolina’s amendment will have a definite impact on such protections. Rather, it is whether the amendment could. The uncertainty of Amendment One and its potential harms is what is so devastating.
No one — not NOM or Vote For Marriage NC or the anti-amendment Coalition — can see into the future. No one can say whether the amendment will have a definite impact one way or the other. NOM cannot know that the amendment will have no negative effects. That Amendment One could have these impacts is, by far, the most truthful and accurate statement thus far made in this debate — a warning the Coalition to Protect All N.C. Families has been sounding since the campaign’s inception.
Anti-gay opponents in North Carolina don’t want to face the facts about Amendment One. Just like their Ohio counterparts who argued in favor of stripping away domestic violence protections in order to protect their discriminatory amendment, NOM and Vote For Marriage NC are, above all other considerations, ideologues first and foremost, unwilling to deal with reality and the possible ramifications of their efforts to experiment with our guiding and foundational governing documents.
WFAE 90.7 FM will host a public conversation and forum tonight on Amendment One. Entitled “Defining Marriage,” the radio station says it hopes to host a “very meaningful dialogue” on the proposed constitutional amendment that would strip marriage rights from same-sex couples and prohibit civil unions and domestic partnerships for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
That “meaningful dialogue,” bit? Likely not possible, especially since they’ve invited extremist and anti-gay bully Frank Turek to represent the anti-gay side of the debate.
Turek is associated with radicals like Charlotte street preacher and convicted stalker Flip Benham and Dr. Michael Brown, whose use of violent and militant religious rhetoric I’ve well-documented. In fact, my first introduction to Turek was during a forum sponsored by Brown back in 2007 (there’s an in-depth review and commentary of that event, as well).
Turek and Brown recently debated North Carolina philanthropist and activist Mitchell Gold on Brown’s radio show. I commented on the debate and documented some of the conversation, which left me with the distinct impression that Turek is more bully than academic.
It’s quite disappointing that WFAE would bring in such a radical voice to represent the opposing viewpoint. Couldn’t they find a more appropriate and respectful voice? In reality, perhaps not. How “appropriate” and “respectful” can pro-amendment voices be when each seem to be connected to people like Brown, genocide-enabling radicals like Lou Engle and hate group leaders and white supremacists like Tony Perkins?
The Charlotte Observer last week noted their slate of 36 different awards and honors from the N.C. Press Association. Among them was columnist Peter St. Onge, who was honored with awards for three columns on LGBT issues — two in the serious columns category and one in the lighter columns category.
The first serious column honor included one on his gay brother and his impending marriage in New York. A snippet:
This week, N.C. legislators dug in harder on keeping the wedding day away from gays, approving a constitutional amendment outlawing homosexual marriage that will go before voters next May. Our state already has a law against gay marriage, of course, but a consititutional amendment is harder to change than a simple law. Gay marriage opponents know it’s their best chance at defending an institution they believe is under attack.
That’s a word – attack – that sneaks often into this gay marriage debate. And also this word: agenda. It’s how those who fear homosexuality separate gays from the rest of us, by painting them as “others,” as an occupying force that wants to diminish the things we hold important.
St. Onge was also honored for his serious column on the Mecklenburg County Commission’s inadequate response to Commissioner Bill James’ “sexual predator” comments. The kicker:
What did politeness accomplish Tuesday night? We got a thoughtfully worded resolution that opposed, in principle, speech that could hurt others. We also saw several members of Charlotte’s gay community speak eloquently on the issue and remind everyone, with their presence, that there’s pain at the other end of the arrows people fling.
Lastly, St. Onge’s lighter column on Wells Fargo’s rainbow lights show on its Uptown Duke Energy Building on National Coming Out Day in October 2010 also received a nod. In it, St. Onge recounted Wells Fargo’s fumbling over questions about who requested and decided to “light the Southern city’s evening sky with a 48-story stamp of approval for a gay and lesbian event.”
Congratulations, Peter! And, thank you. Charlotte is much better place because of your outspokenness and word wizardry.
Update (Feb. 21, 2012, 7:03 p.m.): Click here to watch the Feb. 20 “282″ if you missed the live-stream on Monday or the Monday-evening broadcast on WTVI.
I’m pleased to be a guest today, along with host Carlton Hargo, Anthony Lindsey of the CIAA Committee and 16-year-old Republican writer and blogger Madeleine McAuley, on Charlotte’s WTVI’s and CLTblog.com’s local affairs program, “282.”
We’ll be discussing today:
- The upcoming seventh CIAA Tournament in Charlotte, what it has meant to the city, what it has become and where it is going.
- LGBT people and the church, following one Charlotte Catholic church’s dismissal of their gay music minister after his recent marriage in New York.
- Sue Myrick’s decision not to run for reelection and the resulting shakeup her decision is causing in local politics as area Republicans (count’em — nine so far) have jumped in the primary to replace her.
You can watch a live stream of the taping at noon on http://cltblog.com/live. The show will also air tonight at 6:30 p.m. on WTVI.
The News & Observer published a report from Associated Press writer Tom Breen this morning detailing some of the legal arguments, concerns and questions being considered as North Carolina’s anti-LGBT, anti-family constitutional amendment heads to the ballot in the state’s May 8, 2012, primary elections.
E. Gregory Wallace, who teaches constitutional law at Campbell University’s Wiggins School of Law, was one of several legal commentators Breen sought for comment.
From the piece:
“It’s difficult to predict with any certainty how courts are going to predict constitutional provisions or statutes,” said E. Gregory Wallace, a constitutional law professor at Campbell University’s Wiggins School of Law.
In a decision called Ohio vs. Carswell, the state supreme court ruled that the marriage amendment didn’t invalidate domestic violence laws. The analysis by UNC researchers argues that an Ohio-like situation is possible here, but Wallace said the fact that the matter has been settled in that state makes such an outcome less like in North Carolina.
It’s up to the voters, of course, to determine whether all of the legal back-and-forth amounts to more than speculation, which Wallace argues is probably for the best on such charged topics.
“I think it’s a healthy thing that it’s going directly to the people of North Carolina,” he said. “When you talk about making fundamental change in an institution as old as marriage, that’s probably something that’s best left up to the people themselves.”
Notice that? Every time Wallace comments on the discriminatory amendment he’s either defending it or deflecting concerns over its potential harms.
Meanwhile, legal commentators at the most prestigious and mainstream law school in the state disagree with every point Wallace makes. But, can we be surprised that a Baptist-affiliated law school professor is in favor of the amendment? Of course not.
And, take into consideration Wallace’s support over a decade ago of the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law’s “Marriage Law Project,” and his signature on a letter to the Dutch Parliament admonishing them for considering full marriage equality.
The text of the letter:
TO THE PARLIAMENT OF THE NETHERLANDS: A STATEMENT ON THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE FROM LAW PROFESSORS ACROSS THE WORLD
We are professors of law and jurisprudence at universities across the world. We believe that marriage is the unique union of a man and a woman, a community of life and love. Marriage so understood is built into the fabric of social life, and cannot be arbitrarily redefined by lawmakers. Male-female marriage provides incomparable benefits to society, especially for children and for those who invest their lives in raising their children. Our domestic and international laws should preserve, protect and promote the institution of marriage.
We offer no simple recipe for laws that address non-marital sexual relationships. Our countries address these questions in different ways (indeed your own country has already adopted a wide-ranging Registered Partnership Act). But we are united in the conviction that the legal definition of marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, should not be changed. Redefining marriage to include same-sex unions will introduce unprecedented moral, social and legal confusion into our communities. The casualties of this confusion will be the families and children of the future, and therefore our societies as a whole.
We would remind the Dutch Parliament that many legal scholars, including the undersigned, do support marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In that respect, we represent the beliefs and practices of the overwhelming majority of humanity. No country is an island. Your actions will have fateful consequences not only for Europe, but for every country in the world.
My contribution to Charlotte’s Creative Loafing‘s “City Forum” guest commentary series, “Queen City? She’s no reigning monarch when it comes to LGBT equality,” is on the streets now with the paper’s Feb. 15 print edition.
Despite the overwhelming amount of progress, there remains much yet to be done. Small, relatively uncontroversial changes to city policies and ordinances should be discussed further by our Council. Our city’s employees deserve to know that their persons and work will be judged by their character and its quality, not simply by who they are. Domestic-partner benefits are important, too. Healthy homes and families will only strengthen our city.
Be sure to pick up a print edition on your next trip out and read the full commentary there and click over to read the full piece at clclt.com…
Students, faculty and staff at Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University have teamed up to present a unique, online community portal to help them share their history and story in the lead up to the Queen City’s historic hosting of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
From the school’s as-of-yet-completed website, run-dnc-2012.org:
The REEL Urban Network’s RUN DNC 2012 project, inspired by the 2012 Presidential Elections and Charlotte’s historic role, is an innovative interdisciplinary project formed by the faculty and students at Johnson C. Smith University.
This project was launched in an effort to provide students, alumni and the residents of the West Charlotte area community an online platform to discuss issues and experiences that matter to them and how, we can work together to improve our community through the democratic process, civic engagement, and the sharing our stories.
The Charlotte Observer also reports:
The convention is one of the catalysts behind the new RUN DNC website at Johnson C. Smith University.
But it isn’t the only focus of the multimedia page, which launches Friday. Through videos, photos and writings, as many as 400 students will be “digitelling” stories on and off campus leading up to the convention.
A big part of their storyline will be reports about the campus’ westside – its civil rights and political history, its citizens and the present-day happenings that tie in with the rest of urban America.
“When all the reporters come, either we can tell the westside stories, or someone else does,” said Laurie Porter, communication arts professor and one of several faculty members leading the project, including Tonya Williams.
There’s lots of stuff happening among the local LGBT community’s leadership circles and lots of great conversation on how we can take advantage of the media spotlight being directed Charlotte’s way. Johnson C. Smith’s initiative is a great example of how communities in Charlotte can share their stories to a wider audience both within and outside the city.
A break from the politics and religion. A venture into sexual sociology (or, Matt got bored and started over-analyzing things). Note to parents, kiddies and folks who work for employers-masquerading-as-censors-and-big-brother: A somewhat mature conversation and questions, as well, though it’s almost purely academic.
Each of the following are headlines or bio lines from Grindr profiles I’ve seen in the past few days (obviously, I’m not sharing names, photos or locations of users; that would just be tacky, wouldn’t it?):
- “no hook ups, send me a face picture if you don’t have on ur profile”
- “Please have convo instead of ‘sup’ and expect me to carry the convo…friends only…sports lover here!”
- “chilled laid back guy loves to have fun .. not into hookups at all”
They all seem innocent enough. Good guys looking for friends and chat. The ironic thing is that each of the guys’ Grindr profile photos are shirtless. And, even without the ubiquitous shirtless photo, the last bio just seems ironic in and of itself, given “fun” is usually hookup-site lingo for “sex.”
Seriously, how many times have you had someone walk up to you on the streets without a shirt or other piece of clothing on and say hello? How is that any different than your bare-chested photo being a person’s first impression of you online?
Your profile bios and profile pics are sending mixed messages, dudes.
(By the way, if you don’t know what Grindr is… research…)
Two important caveats: (1) I’m certainly not passing judgment. I’m in absolutely no position to do such a thing. Do your own thing, peeps. Your life, your body, your decision. (2) There’s no doubt in my mind that there are plenty of people who use online dating or hookup sites for chatting and friend-making. I’ve used them for finding friends and new acquaintances, too, especially when new to Charlotte or when I’m traveling.
I’m just confused over what seems to me to be a disconnect between the way people present themselves in their profile bios and photos. So, I’m posing questions. I’m sure sociologists and other researchers into LGBT life might have already asked some of these and, if not, might find them interesting:
- Given the nature of gay male hookup sites and apps (e.g. Adam4Adam or Grindr), what’s behind the few guys who use it for “friends” and chat?
- Of those who say such things, why does there seem to be such a high number that use shirtless or other provocative profile photos?
- Again, of those, how many are really only looking for friends?
- Is the anti-gay prejudice that teaches us to hate ourselves and our own desires so strong that, even in what should be a safe space for sexual expression, some gay men find themselves too uncomfortable to admit what they’re really after?
- To what extent do differences in slang and lingo (e.g. “hookup” as seemingly innocent, flirtatious playfulness or “hookup” as casual sex, and “fun” as in amusement or “fun” as in sex) play into the intentions of online dating and hookup site or app users?
- To what extent do issues of self-esteem or self-image (50% of us would give up one year of our life for the “perfect” body, and one study found eating disorders disproportionately higher among men who have sex with men) play into how gay, bi or queer men present themselves online? (On a slightly related note this body image question and to the immediately preceding question, are there significant differences in how men who have sex with men define body-type descriptors like “slim,” “average,” “athletic,” “fat,” “height-weight proportionate” and so on?)
- How many true, sex-free and lasting friendships have been initiated on hookup sites or apps?
- How many long-term, or even slightly long-term, relationships have begun through a sex-free, friendly chat?
I think these are phenomenal questions for a study or survey of some kind, especially considering the number of couples today who are meeting online (23% according to one 2010 study from Stanford). If couples are using dating or hookup sites to meet, could it be that people are using them for “just friends,” as well? And how do individual users’ profile descriptions or bios and how they present themselves via profile photos match up with their true intentions?
If anyone knows of a study or a survey (even a survey of its own users by Grindr or another hookup or online dating site or app), I’d love to see it.
Update (Jan. 31, 2012, 2:08 p.m.): As promised yesterday and this morn, my reflections on the Brown/Turek/Gold debate below.
Regular readers of InterstateQ.com, followers of my work at my prior gig at QNotes and those involved in LGBT advocacy and community work in Charlotte know all too well who Michael Brown is. The leading anti-gay activist in the Charlotte area, Brown has taken on several LGBT groups in the Queen City and LGBT equality initiatives across the country. I’ve interacted with him from time to time, and in 2009 compiled a lengthy special report on his use of militant religious rhetoric.
Last Wednesday, Faith in America founder and North Carolina furniture entrepreneur Mitchell Gold engaged both Brown and his associate Frank Turek in a conversation on religion and LGBT equality on Brown’s “Line of Fire” radio show.
I’m just now catching up on the show, as I was in Baltimore last week for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference.
So far, I’m not surprised. The same usual rhetoric, straw-man arguments and generalizations. Turek and Brown set the tone for the two hours from the get-go. Gold appears in the second hour to rebut some of their outlandish claims.
Today, Michael Brown will host a question-and-answer show, partly discussing last week’s show. Gold’s Faith in America is encouraging people to call in and share their own views, offering affirming and compelling voices for equality.
You can help us speak to Brown’s audience. On Monday, January 31st, Michael Brown will continue the segment with calls from the audience. Since they were unable to execute that part of the show, given the heavy dialogue that occurred, they have decided to extend the segment. We encourage you to listen to the segment from yesterday and take a minute to call in on Monday … and be the voice of equality for their audience who otherwise does not hear our side on a daily basis. If you are unable to do so, you can also email the radio show at email@example.com and share your thoughts. As always, we encourage you to visit our website for ways to be effective in your messaging.
You can listen to today’s Q&A show live, 2-4 p.m. Easter, online here. You can call into the show at 866-348 7884.
Be sure to stop back in on Tuesday morning for an update and some of my own takeaways from last week’s exchange and today’s Q&A show.
= = =
Update (Jan. 31, 2012, 2:08 p.m.): As I said yesterday, I had begun listening yesterday to Brown’s Jan. 25 show last week. I wasn’t surprised to hear Brown and Turek launch right into scare tactics. Why must LGBT people always be linked to HIV and AIDS?
I grew up next to a family and one of the young sons from this family got involved with homosexuality. He was the older brother of my best friend and he got involved in it and went into New York City and immersed himself in that lifestyle and we buried him at the age of 35, dead from AIDS. That was back in 1993 and I started seminary in 1993. I saw so many people seemed to just be misinformed on this issue. Christians who couldn’t articulate why homosexuality was a problem for people who engage in it, much less society.
I have no reason to doubt Turek’s personal story is true. The 1980s and early 1990s were a horrible time for LGBT people and, in particular, gay men. Many lost loved ones and friends. It’s telling, though, that Turek has somehow managed to take his one, personal experience with a gay man and generalize it to the entire gay community. What kind of leap in logic is that? One man dead = they must all be saved?
I don’t think so.
We all have personal experiences that shape our lives and our worldview, but, usually, people form more rational ideas as they explore and come to know others. Turek, it seems, has approached every LGBT person as sinful and sick, based entirely on his one life experience. It’s a shame he’s never gotten to know the many, many LGBT people who are living happy, healthy lives — people I’m sure could break his misinformed outlook if he’d give them a chance, approaching people with an open mind and open heart.
Brown and Turek spent the next good bit of the first hour discussing Turek’s dust up with Bank of America and Cisco. Turek had been a leadership coaching consultant with the Charlotte-based bank — that is, until a gay employee noticed Turek’s voluminous anti-LGBT advocacy and his book opposing same-sex marriage, “Correct, Not Politically Correct; How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.”
Brown and Turek chat:
Brown: It’s not even a book based on the bible says this, the bible says that…You write this book, the book gets out. You could write a book on Labrador retrievers mating school. You could write a book on how to play better cricket. People write books on everything. What does that have to do with Bank of America leadership talks?
Turek: It should having nothing to do with it. Others will say, “He’s a bigot. He’s a bigot because he doesn’t agree with us.” I always ask people who say you’re a bigot because you’re against homosexuality or same-sex marriage to define what you mean by bigotry. One guy said fear and intolerance. That isn’t bigotry. Bigotry is prejudging an issue having no evidence for it and even when you get new evidence you don’t change your mind, evidence that counters your views. That’s bigotry. It’s not bigotry to say a certain behavior is good or bad for society. That’s not bigotry; that’s commonsense wisdom if you’re right about the issue.
Turek should take his own advice and look at all the evidence around him. Sexual orientation isn’t a choice, isn’t unhealthy and isn’t sick or sinful. And, neither are LGBT people. What is unhealthy, sick and sinful are the ways in which LGBT people are treated each and every day by Turek, Brown and other people in their corner. Upholding discrimination against already-marginalized people is about as un-Christian as you can get.
Throughout the show, Turek and Brown ridicule LGBT people and their experiences with anti-LGBT discrimination.
At one point, Turek completely denies the existence and humanity of LGBT parents and families:
There’s no such thing. There’s no gay couple with a child. There may be two people, one of whom is the biological parent of the child. Let’s cut through all this and say what it is, okay? A gay couple who are looking after the child; one of them might be the biological parent, but they’re both not. I’m sorry. I had to say that.
Perhaps, Frank, this is just a perfect example of why Bank of America and Cisco wanted nothing to do with you. They didn’t discriminate against you because of your religious or political views, they wanted to cancel your contract because you’re disrespectful and dehumanizing. I’m guessing families with step-parents aren’t families in your eyes, either?
Later, Turek and Brown talk about the supposed long-term ill-effects of same-sex marriage, comparing them to the effects of no-fault divorce. Obviously, no-fault divorce mustn’t be that big of a deal. I’ve seen no mass effort to stop it. Instead, Turek, Brown and others are all foaming at the mouth to take away human and civil rights away from LGBT people. These issues aren’t about family; if they were, the religious right would be focusing on divorce, the one single family problem that causes more damage than almost any other internal family dynamic, save abuse or abandonment. Nope… they’d rather focus on the queers. Misguided much?
About the only bit of common sense I heard in the first hour came from Brown. Responding to a caller you said Christians should “love the sinner and hate the sin,” Brown said:
The thing that’s really important to be sensitized to is this: If we use the line, “love the sinner, hate the sin,” and we say that to someone who identifies as gay or lesbian, what they hear is, “You hate me.” What they’d say is this is not what I do, this is who I am.
Unfortunately, as much as Brown is willing to acknowledge the reality of LGBT people’s experiences, he isn’t willing to accept them as truth. Brown talks so much about reaching out to LGBT people “with love and respect,” but the very manner in which Brown approaches LGBT people is offensive and hostile to open conversation and understanding. You can’t be understanding, loving, respectful or come to reconciliation when you, to your core, view your conversation partner as sick and sinful.
In the second hour of the Jan. 25 program, Brown and Turek welcomed on Faith in America’s Mitchell Gold. The group’s executive director, Brent Childers, was also present in the studio. Brown introduced Gold and spoke briefly about the book he edited, “Youth in Crisis: 40 Stories on Why Religion-Based Bigotry Against Gay People Must End Now,” and to which I contributed an essay on my upbringing as a gay teen in a conservative, fundamentalist, independent Baptist church in the south.
Gold spoke passionately about North Carolina’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, correctly describing it as the radical, over-reaching piece of legislation it is. But, Gold hit on a stronger, more salient and human element of the upcoming amendment debate and vote.
What bothers me most about the amendment, and I believe it was County Commissioner [Bill James] in Charlotte who said that this amendment really says gay people aren’t welcome. For a 14-year-old kid trying to understand their sexuality, to have an amendment in the public discourse in this big public discussion to have people saying gays are sinners and an abomination, that they are not entitled, that it’s not God’s plan to have it this way. I know from doing this book that these are devastating things. This is why kids jump off bridges. This is why kids hang themselves.
Despite Gold’s sincere attempt at honest, heartfelt conversation, Brown and Turek quickly pounced, throwing out straw-man arguments and red herrings meant to distract from rather than contribute to healthy dialogue. And, though Gold was attempting to discuss the health and well-being of LGBT young people, care to guess which issues Brown preferred come to the fore? Yup, you got it: Polygamy, pederasty and the supposed “sick” nature of LGBT people and the insinuation that being gay itself was causing youth to kill themselves — not that anti-LGBT hostility and societal prejudice was the root cause of such tragedies.
Brown’s inaccuracies on suicide quickly led into a discussion on the American Psychiatric Association (APA), its removal of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973 and Brown’s far-right conspiracy theory that posits the belief that the APA is nothing more than a gay activist front group.
Brown and Turek attempted to use a 2001 study by Dr. Robert Spitzer, a retired psychologist who helped lead the 1973 push to de-list homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, as proof of the APA’s “agenda,” saying that Spitzer’s work had proven that LGBT people can change their sexual orientation.
Of course, that’s all lies. Spitzer himself said such change is rare, and admonished anti-LGBT advocates for using his research to support discrimination.
In the last half-hour of the show, Brown once again threw in the polygamy red herring, then accusing Gold of being selfish and bigoted because he didn’t want to recognize marriages between multiple partners. It’s something far-right religious folks never seem to get: The issue isn’t about polygamy. The amendment won’t affect polygamists in mass. It will make LGBT people de jure second-class citizens.
In the last quarter of the show, I think I was nearly astonished as I’ve ever been listening to Brown. It’s no secret that I abhor his use of violent and militant religious rhetoric, but I was absolutely floored at the arrogance Brown displayed toward Gold:
Brown: I don’t know much about furniture business and it would be quite arrogant for me to come and lecture you about the furniture business…
Gold: Are you suggesting it is arrogant for me to come and talk to you about scripture?
Brown: I’m suggesting that you have as little basis for your viewpoint in terms of being a student of the scripture to lecture me about it or to tell me to keep my heart open as opposed to saying to me, “Hey, 40 years walking with the Lord…you have a right to your convictions.” No, ultimately you’re telling me my convictions are harmful to other people and therefore there’s something wrong with my views.”
Wow. Here I thought humility was supposed to be a Christian virtue?And, yes, Brown, you are wrong and your convictions and statements are causing harm.
As the show closed, it came full circle and right back to painting LGBT people as sick and unhealthy: Suicides, higher STD and HIV rates, higher cancer rates and so on and so on in LGBT people. Folks like Brown and Turek, so blinded by their own bigotry and prejudice, will never see their own role in the continued plight of LGBT youth and adults. Just as other marginalized communities have faced health inequities, so to do LGBT people. Societal prejudice and institutionalized discrimination, which Brown and Turek advocate, make such matters worse, not better.
The show wrapped with some of the silliest arguments the right has ever come up with for opposing same-sex marriage. Turek sounded almost child-like, reminiscent of a school-yard bully. Shame.
As for the Jan. 30 Q&A show, I don’t think I’ll write much. There isn’t much to say. Why argue with nonsense, right? You can listen to the Q&A show yourself here. Call-in shows always get off-the-wall, off-topic and crazy. I’ve about reached capacity in my ability to handle and digest pure ridiculousness in one day.