It's one thing when your ideological opponents reject your position. That's part of disagreement and debate. It's another thing when your opponents willfully misrepresent and even lie about your position. That is actually a sign of the weakness of their own position. If they were on the side of truth, they would not need to demonize their opponents or fabricate straw men.
When it comes to the culture wars, it's a given that the moment you differ with the standard LGBTQ talking points, you will be branded a bigot, a hater and a homophobe. You will be compared to Hitler, ISIS and worse. This has been the reality for decades.
But as ugly and revealing as these name-calling tactics are, it's even more revealing when your ideological opponents simply lie about your position.
For example, in response to my article bemoaning the fact that Anderson Cooper's son would not be raised by his mother, Emma Powys Maurice at Pink News wrote, "Right-wing radio host Michael Brown, a man with a long history of anti-LGBT+ diatribes linking homosexuality with paedophilia, decided to chime in on his podcast Line of Fire."
Her article then interacts with my article, fairly and at length, and ends with this: "We'd urge him to consider whether the saddest thing could be that a right-wing pundit is reading tragedy into the birth of a child and fabricating problems for him before he's even a week old—but that's just us."
That was a gracious way to end the article, and I do appreciate it, Emma.
To be sure, Pink News used quite an interesting screenshot of me (classic!). And its headline was not too subtle: "Homophobe uses tragically flawed argument to explain why we shouldn't celebrate Anderson Cooper becoming a dad."
But it was the second sentence of the article that was so telling, with the volatile claim that I have "a long history of anti-LGBT+ diatribes linking homosexuality with paedophilia." Thankfully, Pink News provided a link to an article of mine, titled, "Is God Responsible for a Pedophile's Attractions?"
The article began with these words, printed in italics for emphasis: "To ensure that there is no misunderstanding of any kind, please say these words out loud, slowly and clearly: Michael Brown is not comparing homosexuality to pedophilia. Michael Brown is not calling homosexuals pedophiles. Michael Brown is not comparing a mutually consensual, adult relationship to an abusive, adult-child relationship."
Could I have made the point any more clearly? I went out of my way to start the article with a major caveat, printed in italics, to be 100% sure no one could misunderstand or misrepresent my point. Yet that is exactly what Pink News did, and willfully so, it would appear. Why?
Is its position so weak that, along with the name-calling, it must rely on disinformation and lies?
As for my article, my point was simple. I was comparing "an illogical justification of homosexuality that can just as easily be used to justify pedophilia," namely, that is must be right because someone is born that way.
I also wrote, "What about those who, to the core of their being, struggle with pride? Or anger? Or greed? Or jealousy? What does this prove? It proves that we are a fallen, broken race in need of a Savior. And what about the claims of a violent gene or a selfish gene or an obesity gene?
"Do we therefore celebrate violence, selfishness or obesity, if, in fact, they are genetic? Or, if we have these alleged genetic tendencies, do we work harder to overcome them?"
My purpose was to illustrate how the "born that way" argument for homosexuality is self-defeating, opening the door to all kinds of counterarguments, including the argument that pedophiles can claim to be born that way.
But why care about accurate reporting when your goal is to defame your ideological opponents? Again, this shows weakness, not strength.
Even more dishonest was the article by Hemant Mehta on the Friendly Atheist. He wrote, "Michael Brown, who has a long history of anti-LGBTQ diatribes, is already complaining about it on YouTube. This is the same guy who promotes conversion torture, links homosexuality with pedophilia and said just two months ago that a gay-married president (Pete Buttigieg) would "contribute to the further degeneration and moral confusion of our society" (his emphasis).
So, not only does the Friendly Atheist repeat the lie that I link homosexuality with pedophilia, but he adds a new one, claiming I promote "conversion torture." What is his support for this claim?
Hemant links to a page on the oft-discredited SPLC website that begins by saying, "Michael Brown is not typical of most who push the idea that a cabal of liberal media elites have orchestrated a so-called 'homosexual agenda' to indoctrinate children into a lifestyle that makes a mockery of Christian values." (Am I not typical because of my educational background? Because of my other ministry work? Because of my tone? That was not clear from their site.)
As to the claim that I link homosexuality to pedophilia, the SPLC can do no better than cite my question as to whether Penn State's Jerry Sandusky, who engaged in sexual acts with young men and minors, engaged in acts that "were homosexual in nature." That's it.
What of the outright, fabricated lie that I promote "conversion torture"?
In more than 1,700 pages of relevant writing on LGBT issues (to use a conservative number), and in hundreds of hours of radio broadcasts and seminars, I have never written or said anything that could possibly be construed to support this statement. Not a sentence. Not a syllable. Nothing.
I have simply stated my support for the rights of those with unwanted same-sex attraction to receive professional counseling if they desire. That's it.
I believe that someone who is not happy being gay has the right to sit with a counselor (or pastor) and talk about his or her attractions and desires. And if they are helped in the process, wonderful. Many testify that they have been helped, and I have no reason to doubt their stories.
What does this have to do with "conversion torture," whatever that means? Nothing whatsoever.
It would be as if I said, "I think it's great when a dad has a heart to heart talk with his son," for which I was accused of advocating child abuse.
But that is the dishonesty of the Friendly Atheist and of Pink News, a dishonesty that only discredits their cause.
By all means, we will have our disagreements, profoundly so, for sure. But let us have them based on truth rather than on lies.
And let Pink News and the Friendly Atheist demonstrate some integrity by correcting the misinformation they have posted about me. And if either Emma or Hemant want to discuss our differences on the air, they are both welcome to join me for an equal time discussion on my radio show.
Emma and Hemant, what do you say?
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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