(Before switching servers, this post had over 7100+ read counts on it. Mr. Brown is quite a numbers aware man. Though he called the review “not a review,” the word is getting out about his wholly dismissive and poorly researched book.)
“There’s your truth, my truth and the truth.” Christians should make it standard operating procedure to stick closer to the truth. Too often, we tilt on over to the “my truth” side if it bolsters our fears. The tilt, however, has more damaging effects when the “truth,” yours or mine, is manipulated.
Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Coalition of Conscience, and host of the daily, nationally-syndicated talk radio show, “The Line of Fire,” self-published a 691-page book in March 2011 called A Queer Thing Happened to America | And what a long, strange trip it’s been. I contacted Michael and asked him for a copy of the book to review. I assured him I would be very honest in my assessments.
I do not doubt that Michael Brown cares about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) communities. He says repeatedly that he wrote this book in tears with love for the past six years. I believe that. I believe that he is burdened to care about the GLBT community. He says God told him to reach out the GLBT community with compassion and to resist with courage. I have no reason to doubt he is earnest in this desire.
I used to live in the “you can’t be gay and Christian” camp. I pitched my tent firmly there until events in my own life, unrelated to this topic, caused me to wonder if perhaps the truths that I held about my faith were really as solidly written in the pages of Scripture as I believed. Questioning the rigid confines of the way things must be, allowed me to be open to doubt and reconsideration. It is not uncommon that difficulties cause both those scenarios; I emerged with a greater faith and a better understanding of law and grace.
So, yes, I have been there. Just ten years ago, I had almost no relationships with GLBT people, but simply a head full of opinions and “facts.” I, too, would have been right there with the followers of Dr. Brown quoting verses excluding GLBT people from God’s Kingdom. I would have been right there alongside those who wanted to tell gay people that they needed to stop being gay in order to please God. Until, that is, I allowed the discomfort of having my theology challenged. My buddy Netto, an agnostic, Native American lesbian, literally crossed my path on a hiking trail. God used Netto in the most profound way to confront me about my mistaken beliefs about gay people.
Over the past ten years, I have established relationships with over a thousand members of the GLBT community, and an overwhelming majority of them are Christians. I have attended conferences, worship services and seminars, gone to recreational outings, family events and parties, and shared meals and rooms together. And in the midst of all that, I’ve listened to thousands of stories. Thousands of them. I have personally received hundreds of letters in addition to tens of thousands of emails, tweets, Facebook messages and phone calls. I know this community. I have had the extremely unique opportunity to be on both sides of this debate, and as a mature Christian believer, I am not only privy to the innermost circles of the GLBT Christian community, but also have hundreds of non-Christian GLBT friends. I say all this to say: I get it. I understand the messy place in which much of the church finds itself.
So, what about the book? The stated purpose of A Queer Thing Happened to America (AQTHTA) is “to see how we got to this point in history, to examine some of the main lines of pro-gay thought, to consider the impact of gay activism on our society, and to ask the question: ‘Where is the current trajectory taking us?’”
Michael Brown’s book has 15 chapters, and in preparation for this review, I jotted down notes on about one third of the almost 700 pages. However, it is not possible to address all of my concerns and insights in a single blog post. Instead, I will state as best I can, the point of each chapter followed by my opinion and reaction.
Chapter One: THE STEALTH AGENDA
Using 30 pages of documentation, Brown builds his case for the development and existence of a supposed “gay agenda.” Brown claims that the Stonewall Riots in 1969 sparked the beginning of the “Gay Liberation Movement”, bolstered by the publishing of Refugees from Amerika: Gay Manifesto by Carl Whitman. Whitman claims his book “never became dogma,” and no one I know has ever read it.
Brown then details the gay rights platform presented by 200 GLBT attendees to the Democratic National Convention in 1972, but thanks to the internet; you can Google anything. In all my searches on this 1972 event, the overwhelming majority of references to it were made by conservative groups repeating the tale over and over as if it were the seed of some major power play. One account even claimed there were 200 organizations represented. In 1972? Seriously? Actually, the truth is far less frightening; just five delegates presented their wish list to the Convention at midnight when almost no one was there to hear them, and more accurately, there were 200 GLBT people at that convention, not organizations, as several of Brown’s and other conservative references claim.
The book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fears and Hatred of Gays in the 1990’s is referred to dozens of times in AQTHTA. According to Brown, this book lists a six-fold plan for the “gay revolution.” Sounds terrifying. Once again, a simple Google search reveals that it is only the conservatives who refer to this “plan” but not one GLBT organization. If it is so much a part of the nefarious “gay agenda,” shouldn’t at least one gay group be using it or alluding to it?
Out of all the claims made in this chapter, the one statement by Brown that stunned me the most was this: “Ironically, when it comes to denying the existence of a gay agenda, there is immense unity in the gay community. Why? It is because the denial of that agenda is part of the agenda (although for some, it might be a sincere, heartfelt denial).” What? When I asked my gay friend Jeff if keeping the “agenda” a secret is indeed part of the agenda he sarcastically remarked, “I can let you borrow my copy. I keep it behind my ear on microfilm for secret meetings.” (Gotta love Jeff.)
You can ask 100 gay people what the “gay agenda” is and you will get an almost unanimous answer: “equality.” The “gay agenda” that threatens America with what Brown claims is “the complete elimination of God and Christianity”—that “gay agenda”—was invented by Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority in the 1970s as a political fund raising tool. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the “evil communist empire” was no longer a threat, the Christian Coalition turned to a new enemy—”radical homosexual activists”—in order to play on the fears of religious conservatives and generate voter turnout. And it worked. It still works. That’s why Pat Robertson continues to warn viewers of The 700 Club about the “gay agenda.” So, please understand this: it was conservative religious and family groups that created this “threat.” No wonder the GLBT community did not get a copy of the “agenda”; they were never invited to the meetings. There is a real gay agenda, however—equality—and the Man from Galilee is actually on that platform committee.
Chapter Two: JEWISH HITLERS, CHRISTIAN JIHADISTS, AND THE MAGICAL EFFECTS OF PUSHING THE “HATE” BUTTON
This chapter is essentially a stockpile of heated exchanges of internet postings, counter-postings, Facebook comments and television excerpts from people behaving badly and calling each other names for calling each other names. It should come as no surprise that people respond angrily when they are repeatedly disrespected by being called “less than” or told they need to “change.” We all want the same thing–acceptance for who we are, not patronizing tolerance of our existence.
Brown writes: “Is it so hateful to believe that homosexual practice is harmful and that change is possible? (If a doctor takes issue with you or me being overweight, do we brand him or her an anti-fat, hate-filled bigot, or do we recognize that the doctor is expressing concern for our well being? Isn’t the doctor trying to be helpful rather hateful?)”
Brown’s analogy falls apart quickly. When you suggest that an overweight person cut back and deny themselves excess calories, they get healthier. When you tell a gay person to deny their sexual orientation, the essential core of who they are, that is when you get all the symptoms from shame to depression to addictions to suicide.
So yes, we see in this chapter that people on the internet call each other nasty names in heated dialogues that often disintegrate to screaming matches. That is going to happen on either side when you keep insisting that someone is unacceptable. Brown suggests we “bring the real issues into the light [so] that we can render the hate button obsolete. Isn’t it time?” While I agree with his sentiment, dialogue is impossible when you can’t even agree on what the “real issues” really are. Contrary to Brown’s attempts to paint otherwise, the “gay left” has not cornered the market on nasty-grams or behaving badly. Come read my e-mail from Christians who disagree with my theology and actions if you want to see angry bile. Lots of people behave badly in discussions of controversial topics., but when you insist upon treating them as second-class citizens, they will feel pushed to say some less-than-pretty things because they are tired of being treated that way. And this is news?
Chapter Three: BOYS WILL BE BOYS: UNDOING GENDER AND TEACHING “GAY IS GOOD” IN OUR CHILDREN’S SCHOOLS
According to Brown, it is a bad thing that children are being taught in public schools about inclusion and the many variations of sexual orientation and family structures. This education is happening at a younger age, but then, so is puberty. Most gay or transgender people I know have told me that they knew anywhere between five to eight years old that there was something different about them. Same-sex parents exist and so do gay kids. If diversity is not something you want taught to your own children, then choose alternative education, spend more time talking about your family beliefs at home or make it a point to give your input during preliminary curriculum hearings in your school district. As for me, I home schooled my children for six years. I wanted my Christian imprint on them in their early years, so I made sacrificial choices.
Chapter Four: SOMETHING QUEER ON OUR CAMPUSES
Brown makes a big issue of the fact that young adults go to college and get exposed to all kinds of things that may shock parents. (Actually, maybe not. I don’t think my kids surpassed my antics.) He spends eight pages detailing that many of our American universities have Christian roots so he thinks you should be shocked that GLBT are visible on campus and have functions and study courses just like their fellow heterosexuals. Brown’s underlying assumption is that your college-age children will be pressured to be gay, as if that’s even possible. (Of course, if you believe that one “chooses” to be gay, then this misguided fear is very real to you). Then, Brown details all the kinds of perversions that take place during spring break. I certainly don’t support promiscuous behavior, but one shouldn’t be shocked that college students sometimes make some really lousy choices when they get their first taste of freedom. This is not exclusive to queer kids.
Chapter Five: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, THE FAB FIVE AND HOLLYWOOD’S CELEBRATION OF QUEER
Gay people are becoming part of the mainstream on TV and in the movies. Brown prints lists of TV shows that either include gay characters, have plotlines that address gay topics or feature reporters who cover gay issues. (The gay community is about 5% of the population, so we can’t exactly hide them.) Besides, our world has changed considerably since Leave It To Beaver, and we’re not going back to the 1950s anytime soon. Stupid sexual shenanigans by straight people are far, far, more prevalent on TV (just watch any episode of Two and a Half Men or Jersey Shore), so to blame the sexualization of TV solely on gay people simply because two boys in love shared a kiss on Glee is misguided and unfair. TV and movies are indeed more open about sexuality than when I was younger, but forcing gay people to go back in the closet will not make the media G-rated again.
Have you ever thought about why there are so many gay people on TV? Maybe it’s because they really are the most talented people in the entertainment business? I recently went to a gay karaoke bar in L.A. a few weeks back . . . and I have never seen such amazing “amateur” talent. Gay people are disproportionately extremely creative. We are going to find them on TV and in movies. As more gay and transgendered people come out of the closet and identify themselves, inquiring minds will want to know more about them.
Chapter Six: IS GAY THE NEW BLACK? ANALYZING THE ARGUMENT THAT “I WAS BORN THIS WAY”
While it is true that no one has yet found a single “gay gene,” being gay or transgendered is a result of a complex interaction of environment and biological factors. Brown argues that because other things are “programmed” into people–ruthlessness, violence, alcoholism, unfaithfulness and many other unfavorable traits–“I was born that way” is not a good enough excuse for accepting homosexuality. But Brown presumes that your sexual orientation in and of itself can be an unfavorable trait. I don’t accept that argument.
Until someone finds the gene that made me straight, I am not willing to insist that GLBT people find the “gay gene” so that they can be validated as acceptable.
Chapter Seven: SPEAKING THE UNSPEAKABLE: SOME DISTURBING PARALLELS TO PRO-GAY ARGUMENTS
The chapter starts with this disclaimer (and yes, it is in all caps): “MICHAEL BROWN IS NOT EQUATING HOMOSEXUAL PRACTICE WITH PEDOPHILIA. MICHAEL BROWN IS NOT CALLING ALL HOMOSEXUALS PEDOPHILES.”
However, the next FORTY pages are about pedophilia. This section of the book is so repulsive, it amazed me that Brown would include it. So, why did he? Well, Brown argues that pedophiles claim they are born that way, so the “slippery slope” of granting homosexuals equal status will now open the doors to pedophiles wanting equality and acceptance, too.
This section made me ANGRY. You can’t proceed to publish FORTY pages of the most vile trash in the middle of a book about the “dangers’ of homosexuality and think that a simple “Oh, I really didn’t mean to say that” will be a sufficient excuse. That’s a cop-out of the highest order, because readers WILL make this association. This is one of the most disgusting ploys, intentional or not, in the entire book. Brown could have stated his concerns in one paragraph, yet, I was subjected to reading FORTY pages of explicit NAMBLA boy-love trash???
How many already anti-gay readers will duct tape this whole yucky mess onto the GLBT community? How many potential GLBT readers will you thoroughly offend by this most egregious, don’t-think-about-the-pink-elephant-in-the-room tactic? This use of completely gratuitous porn was not only offensive , but an incredibly subtle form of manipulation. No wonder no publisher would touch this manuscript. This likely was one of the two major reasons that Brown was forced to self-publish this book. The unspeakable should have been left unspeakable. Absolutely horrid.
Chapter Eight: DIVERSITY OR PERVERSITY? CORPORATE AMERICA’S EMBRACE OF GAY PRIDE AT ITS WORST
For many years, Gay Pride events weren’t particularly “family friendly,” but as the GLBT community has matured and become a more visible part of American life, that is changing rapidly. These days, Gay Pride is less angry and more celebratory, and as a result, we see more married couples and families with children marching in Pride parades. (My daughter Sami, 24, was at San Francisco Pride with friends two years ago. She sobbed as gay families marched by with children in strollers decorated with rainbow-colored balloons. “Mom,” she said,“they are just families. They are no different.” Bravo, sweetie, you get what escapes so many others: they are just families.)
This isn’t to say that some Gay Pride parades don’t feature a healthy share of “interesting” outfits. But to target the GLBT community for scorn because of this is profoundly unfair. Just check out the predominately heterosexual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans or Freaknik in Atlanta or the now-cancelled Love Parade in Berlin. We heterosexuals can also strip down and behave in a shocking manner just like anyone else, and often be even more extreme about it. I attend San Francisco Pride every year. Are there pretty tasteless outfits or lack of outfits on display? Sure. But why does Brown only care about them when the wearers are GLBT?
Because of the popularity of all these events, including Gay Pride, it should not be surprising that corporate America will go to these events in order to make a buck. They don’t care if the audience is gay or straight; all money spends the same. So if Starbucks or Wells Fargo or Budweiser promotes their business in the sea of topless women at Mardi Gras, that’s okay, but if they show up to a relatively-tame-by-comparison Gay Pride parade, that’s “perverse”?
Chapter Nine: LAVENDER LANGUAGE, GENDER SPEAK, AND QUEER SEMANTICS: TOWARDS AN OMNISEXUAL SOCIETY?
Learn the jargon; it’s a good thing. I’m a “cisgender heterosexual,”aka straight.
Chapter Ten: QUEER THEOLOGY, A GAY/LESBIAN AND HOMOEROTIC CHRIST
Oh, my. On a radio interview, I heard Brown say “the queer reading of Scripture will blow you away” and that he was “so sad and so pained by the end of the chapter that [he] cried.” Well, I fully agree. However, I cried for entirely different reasons.
Almost everything Dr. Brown presented as “normal” belief/behavior for gay Christians, I have never ever experienced. Who did he speak to? What kind of fringe spiritual people did Brown dig up? Prayers for cruising? Fantasizing about taking off the loincloth of a crucified Christ? Come on! This is presented as what all gay Christians think about and do?
If I wanted to make my fellow evangelical Christians look bad, I could make a real effort to seek out and find a handful of fringe freak heterosexual Christians who have all kinds of crazy, vulgar thoughts and ideas , but that would not be a true example of what the overwhelming majority of heterosexual evangelical Christians believe. I cannot understand why Brown did not bother to go 2 1/2 hours up the road to Raleigh, NC to the headquarters of The Gay Christian Network (GCN) and speak with my friend Justin Lee. Lee is the founder of this organization and a fine gay Christian man of great integrity. GCN is an online community of over 18,000 GLBT believers and supporters worldwide. They’ve been featured on Dr. Phil and in the New York Times, so they’re not exactly hiding. Instead, Brown went out of his way to find the guy fantasizing about making love to the Michelangelo Christ? Are you kidding me?
Brown also did not call Todd Ferrell, President of The Evangelical Network, a group of gay affirming Pentecostal churches. He did not talk to Yvette Flunder of City of Refuge Church in San Francisco. Or speak with Rev. Troy Perry, who, aside from being the founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, is an amazing man of God. He did not sit down with Ralph Blair of Evangelicals Concerned or Ross Murray of Lutherans Concerned. Brown did not attend an affirming body of believers, much less get to personally know the pastors over a meal. He didn’t even bother to attend any one of several GLBT Christian conferences. Or even talk to me or Andrew Marin personally. This is unbelievably negligent.
This chapter and the pedophile chapter alone should completely disqualify anyone from publishing this book. This “research” is not only careless but deceptive. Is this a truthful and honest account of the day-to-day reality and theological beliefs of gay Christians? Simple answer? No.
Chapter Eleven: SO, IT’S NOT ABOUT SEX? THE ATTEMPT TO SEPARATE BEHAVIOR FROM IDENTITY
In this chapter, Brown attempts to make the case that being gay is really all about sex. And if you don’t believe him, he’s got lots of racy stories to share with you. You see, if you view a gay person as a fully human person, then you’ll be more likely to “buy into” the call for equality. But if you look at a gay or transgendered person, and all you can think about is sex, sex, sex—especially extreme forms of sex that many gay people themselves would find disgusting—then it’s easier to feel justified in discriminating against the GLBT community.
All the familiar, damning claims are here. All gay men are promiscuous, gay men spread AIDS, gay couples are not sexually faithful. (Interesting that lesbians get almost no mention.) Well, if you’re so concerned about promiscuity and faithfulness, then you should be encouraging gay couples to get married! Even the conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron recently stressed this. Any couple is more faithful in a marriage. Will gay men match the same “faithful” rates as the man/woman combo? I don’t know, but that isn’t the issue. As a friend of mine says, “You put two penises in an equation and you get trouble.” Boys.
The juicy stuff in this chapter is sure to shock, but by this point in the book, I am realizing that this is one of Brown’s intents. Forget the average, boring, just-as-dull-as-me gay person. These other gay and transgendered people are so much more memorable. When Brown says, “Why should people be put into a special class of citizens equivalent, say, to race or ethnicity, based upon the way they have romantic and sexual relationships?” this tells me volumes about his demeaning view of gay people. Being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered is not about the way someone has sex. That one sentence clearly demonstrates Brown’s severe lack of understanding of the GLBT community.
Chapter Twelve: THE “EX-GAY” MOVEMENT: FACT OR FICTION?
It is a fact that the ex-gay movement does exist. It is a fact that some people find some measure of reconciliation between their faith and sexuality in these groups. It is a fact that some gay people do get heterosexually married or remain celibate for the rest of their lives.
It is fiction however, that anyone can change their orientation. When I see the footnotes and quotes citing Dr. Joseph Nicolosi and his associates at NARTH or Dr. Robert Gagnon, I know Brown has reached to the discredited extremes for his “research.” Even Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, will tell Brown that no one can change their orientation… and Alan Chambers is supposed to the poster boy for “change.” Can anyone take NARTH seriously when one of its board members had to step down in disgrace after it was revealed he hired a gay escort off of Rentboy.com? Please, Dr. Brown, call Michael Bussee and talk to him. As one of Exodus’ co-founders, he can tell you why he got discouraged by the lies of those around him. Why haven’t you spoken to Darlene Bogle, a former Exodus leader, conference speaker and author of two of their books, as well as counselor for fifteen years. She now lives with her wife in San Jose, a stirring testimony that “ex-gay therapy” does not work. Why not talk to John Smid, who ran the residential reparative therapy program Love in Action for 22 years? He no longer believes in the “ex-gay” ideology.
Instead of focusing on the mountains of evidence against the claims of “ex-gay therapy,” Brown chooses to spend most of his time on the molehill fighting with activist Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, as he recounts the tiffs the two of them have had . This is neither helpful nor educational.
Chapter Twelve: THE STIFLING OF SCIENCE DEBATE
Another chapter filled with claims from discredited sources: NARTH, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), and the notoriously flawed study by Dr. Robert Spitzer which made the claim that some people could change their sexual orientation (although this was based on self-testimony, not empirical research.) However, there is one claim I want to focus on: the “fact” that gay activists had a meeting shut down so that the discussion of sexual orientation and reparative therapy would not be held publicly.
My research shows that the events are quite different from the way that Brown presents them. The APA was hosting an open discussion of homosexuality and religious reparative therapy, and the panel included Rev. Gene Robinson and two Evangelicals. When Robinson heard that the moderator was from Focus on the Family—not exactly unbiased—and that they were going to use the event to push reparative therapy, Robinson canceled. Been there, done that. The program host then made the decision to cancel the event before any public outcry from the gay community. Sorry, gay activists didn’t stifle this one. Stuff happens.
Chapter Thirteen: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING AND HE IS REALLY GAY
This chapter is designed to scare you into believing that the GLBT community has unlimited power to punish anyone who crosses them, so Brown fills these pages with “this could happen to you” stories. A few examples: two high school girls sent home for detention just for distributing fliers calling another boy “gay” along with a picture of him kissing another boy; Isaiah Washington of Grey’s Anatomy being fired for calling a fellow cast member a “faggot.”; Crystal Dixon, the vice president of HR at University of Toledo. fired for writing a personal letter to a local newspaper editor that was critical of homosexuality; Julea Ward expelled from a graduate program at Eastern Michigan University for refusing to counsel a gay person. And several others.
If you leave out pertinent facts, you can slant a story to say anything you want I researched all the stories that Brown referenced in this chapter, and could easily make a case for the opposite side of each story. When you read something that appears completely outrageous , be sure to check out the facts for yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you’re not being told.
Chapter Fourteen: GLBT AND BEYOND: REFLECTIONS ON OUR TRAJECTORY
Brown believes that if we accept GLBT people for who they are, then we will be forced to accept all kinds of outrageous behavior. Again, he’s appealing to your fears of the unfamiliar and the downright strange. How about two women transitioning to men and having a baby? Not outrageous enough for you? Brown than lumps transgenders into the mix, including children who know at very young ages they are trans. He then tries to make the case that marriage equality will inevitably lead to incestuous or polyamorous marriage. We are going to have to accept all kinds of people.
Is this really so so scary? There are seven billion people on the planet. I can sure account for lots of varieties of combinations in that mix. The world is just not pink and blue and if you need it to be, you will be very scared.
First, thanks for hanging in there for the long read. A 700 page book filled with information on a crucial topic is not a 500 word piece.
I can say this to Brown’s credit; he did not say any directly hateful things about GLBT people. When we agreed that I would review the book, he said, “Kathy, God knows that there is love in my words because there is love in my heart. And, he knows that the book was written with tears. Whether you recognize that or not depends on your own heart, and I do trust you will hear mine.” I tried. I did not sense or feel love in AQTHTA. I wish I did, I wanted to. I wanted to read compassion.
I think it is a grievous flaw to write about a group of people from a distance. I know Brown’s brother-in-law “struggled” and Brown has had meals with Matt Comer, a gay blogger from North Carolina, but nothing will ever substitute comfortable, regular everyday relationships. The rules all change when you like someone.
I know the Bible very well. I have been reading, studying and listening to it for 25 years. I love the Word of God and I am crazy about Jesus. When I see Him in the lives of gay Christians, who are committed to living for Him and doing the will of God and when I see the life changing power and fruit of the Spirit in them, it forces me to consider that indeed they are every bit as Christian as I am. No need to change or suppress orientation. No need to demand they be celibate for the rest of their lives. The same rules apply to them as me, and committed, monogamous relationships will have to stand in lieu of marriage for now.
The clear witness of GLBT believers in my life tells me, without question, that my former interpretation of Scripture was flawed. Brown can fight it all he wants, and he can write 700 pages telling me how far the GLBT community is from the blessing of God, but there will always be God’s truth. I see God’s truth in the lives of hundreds of gay and transgendered people’s lives.
A Queer Thing Happened to America will certainly feed the fears and biases of those Christian believers who are followers of Brown. I know they will thoroughly enjoy the validation of their misguided notions about GLBT people. But, is it God’s truth?
AQTHTA manipulates the facts, focuses on the worst aspects of situations, travels to the fringes to find the extremes and interjects damaging oddball situations and thinking to horribly skew and demonize an entire class of people: the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. If that isn’t enough, the cover is wildly offensive.
There are no solutions in the book that would practically engage the GLBT community to the higher callings of Christ, the ones that tell us to love and serve. I know that was not the intent of the book, but if forty pages can be devoted to detailed accounts of pedophilia, then how about some practical steps for the “love and serve” options?
I would NEVER, NEVER give this book to a gay or transgender person. NEVER. I could not imagine a GLBT person could sense love on any page. I wasappalled by the many comments about transgender people. I have an deep compassion for this community, and only God knows why. I never even knew a single transperson a few years ago. Now, I weep over the ignorance and abuse targeted at them.
Sentences like: “We would do better to concentrate on trying to fix [transgender people’s] minds and not their genitalia.” Or this: “No doubt there are many beautiful people among them, but that hardly means that each of their sexual orientations and identities and proclivities must be recognized, endorsed and celebrated by society or that their sexual orientations or identities or proclivities are what make them beautiful. Really now, it is beautiful for a grown man to surgically mutilate his penis and wear a dress?” Wow.
Brown, no one is asking fora party to celebrate them; they just want to be treated like the human person of worth that they are. The GLBT community wants the same thing we all want: love, acceptance and dignity. If you cannot see how offensive these sentences are, then you do not fully understand the issues that transgender people deal with on a daily basis.
I absolutely believe Brown is convinced that his effort was done in love, but I was pained to read so much of this book. This struggle is one of the great mysteries we deal with when trying to understand God’s heart with our limited human mind. How can the same God possibly tell Dr. Brown that his attitudes are the truth, but those same attitudes make my heart ache? When I hit these walls, I ask, “Where is the strategy of God in each side of the debate? Do I “smell” Jesus in this one or that one? Is the calling from humility and service, or from ego and pride?” Everyone has heard the saying, “I have no dog in this fight.” It’s true. I am not a lesbian, I’ve never had one romantic thought about another woman, both of my kids are straight, I don’t have a ministry at risk, a church board to answer to or a book deal on the horizon. I am just one person, called by God to love, understand, listen to, encourage, serve and give voice to the GLBT community. I am not any less valuable because I only speak English and very spotty Italian. But I do know that with every ounce of me, I am convicted that God is orientation and gender blind. His people limit Him way too much. He has created beautiful people of every complexity imaginable.
Instead of spending the significant number of hours it would take to read this 700-page book, go befriend a gay or transgender person. Listen to them and really get to know them, not the “them” you think you know. A Queer Thing Happened to America feeds fear. Ditch your fears, your biases, your ignorance on this issue and go do relationship with gay and transgender people. I did, and it changed my life. If you need more into the reality of GLBT Christians, I am happy to help you. If I don’t have an immediate answer to a difficult question, I can help point you to answers. I am here for you.
We really need to move beyond fear to greater understanding and unconditional love. God help us all.
Series on Pride Charlotte where Michael Brown lead 200 Christians into Pride telling them “God has a Better Way” (than homosexuality)
Scripture and Homosexuality: A Look at the Verses
“Day of Dialogue” from Focus on the Family is Not a Jesus-Action
Dear Alan, My Friends are Gay, Not Broken
“Ten Lies about the glbt Community Told by Conservative hate Groups | A Straight Christian Perspective”
Statistics That Lie | “The Dutch Gay Marriage Study”
Focus on the Family: You Make Us Look Stupid, Stop Lying
“Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do”, Come on, Really?
Three Things My GLBT Christian Friends Want You to Hear
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