Christians, Stop Lying and Fearmongering about Gays

Sigh.

It bothers me that I’m even writing this. Like bothers me to no end. I don’t want to write a single post about how my fellow Christians are lying about GLBTQ people, let alone a 2-part series. You know why? Because I don’t want them to do it.

But they’re doing it. You guys, for the love of God, knock it off.

Please?


Okay, looks like nobody’s taken me up on that.

I’m going to start with a video by Dr. Michael Brown. [Edit: he says it was actually posted by one of his staff member. No comment about it having been removed.

You would think a guy with his credentials (he has a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures) would be able to tell the difference between the truth and convenient mis-tellings of the truth.

You would think a guy who talks as much about truth as he does would have the slightest amount of respect for it.

But no. Judging by his facebook page with his name on it, he (or his staff?) is all about fanning that flame of fear for Christians who think being gay is a sin and gays shouldn’t have equal protection under the laws of the United states.

So while I’m upset (furious, really) about the overload of misleading and blatantly false content in this video, on the other hand, it’s really convenient for me. He has compiled all the worst fearmongering lies in one place.

I’m not even going to touch the lies he tells about gays and lesbians because I did that in a previous post. Right now I’m just going to focus on the supposed “news articles” in the video. I’ll screencap them for you, then give you the full story.

The video: https://www.facebook.com/AskDrBrown/videos/1188501104508823/

The first screen cap:

"Clashes pit parents vs gay-friendly curriculums"

“Where homosexuality is promoted, schools subject your kids to mandatory homosexual currciula. ‘Clashes pit parents vs gay-friendly curriculums'”

This is real. It’s from the New York Times in 2011. But the headline is deceiving by way of its description. “Mandatory homosexual curricula” sounds (to me) like kids are going to be forced to sit through depictions of… gosh, something terrible. Probably going to try to convert them to being gay. But what’s it actually about? Maybe if we read the article…

After a lesbian student at Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo joined with the American Civil Liberties Union in 2008 to accuse the local school district of discrimination, district officials agreed as part of a settlement to show films and assign homework depicting same-sex families, beginning in elementary school.

Why do they want this? In the words of California state senator Mark Leno later in the article,

“People oppose and fear the unfamiliar,” Mr. Leno said in an interview. “When grade-school students understand the arc of the L.G.B.T. movement over 40 years, that otherness begins to dissipate. That’s desperately needed right now.”

The conservative groups don’t want their children to know gays and lesbians can have families, too. “Gay-friendly curriculums” just means curriculums that show families with same-sex parents. The horror!

Verdict: The headline is clickbait, and the way this video describes it as “mandatory homosexual curricula” is misleading at best. One part overblown, one part plain false.

"Father faces trial over school's pro-gay book: Dad arrested after objecting to kindergartner's reading material"

“Father faces trial over school’s pro-gay book: Dad arrested after objecting to kindergartner’s reading material”

Now this one… is genius. The first part is a lie. The second part is a misleading truth.

This too is a real headline – a headline from WND, a conservative “news” outlet that makes Fox News commentary shows look calm, reasonable, and relatively not-ridiculous.

In spite of their conservative spin and downright false headline, the article is relatively honest:

David Parker, of Lexington, spent a night in jail and was charged with criminal trespassing after refusing to leave a scheduled meeting with school officials April 27, unless they gave him the option of pulling his child out of certain classes.

He was arrested after objecting to the curriculum, but this headline is deceptive. It’s like a headline that reads, “Man arrested after walking into convenience store.” If you read that, you would think, “How terrible! They’re arresting people just for walking into convenience stores these days!” In the article you would find that he had pulled out a gun and attempted to rob the place, but the title’s tone is irresponsible and, if the author has any training in writing, intentionally deceptive.

But what was this horrible, wicked textbook about? Did it show gays having disgusting gay sex? Well…

The illustrated book, according to the local non-profit group Article 8 Alliance, says, “A family can be made up in many different ways” and includes this text:

“Laura and Kyle live with their two moms, Joyce and Emily, and a poodle named Daisy. It takes all four of them to give Daisy her bath.”

Another illustrated page says:

“Robin’s family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad’s partner, Henry, and Robin’s cat, Sassy. Clifford and Henry take turns making dinner for their family.”

Article 8, an opponent of the state’s same-sex marriage law, says the book “uses subtle but powerful emotions to normalize homosexual relationships in the minds of the young children.”

Gasp. How dare they try to teach David Parker’s kid that kids at his school who have two mommies aren’t oddballs spawned from the devil?! How dare they try to get children to empathize with other children from non-traditional families?! Darn schools. Next they’ll have stories about talking deer whose moms get shot by hunters to try to get them to empathize with animals. It’s a slippery slope, people.

Verdict: Intentionally deceptive fearmongering against a non-problem.

2 AskDrBrown

OBAMA MINIONS: GOV’T ‘CAN OVERRIDE YOUR RELIGION’ Court rules: businesses not allowed to reflect faith of their owners

You guys, I listen to NPR. I read the New York Times. I unfollowed Mother Jones and the Daily Kos because they tend to try to make me angry with their headlines so they can sell ad space.

Brown’s PR team obviously gets way too much of their news from WND, ’cause that’s where I found this one. Come on, Brown. At least have the decency to get your headlines from a semi-reputable source of conservative propaganda.

The headline quotes an Obama administration official, but the quote itself appears nowhere in the WND article. What was this thing about, anyway? From WND:

The Obama administration today argued in court that the government can make a requirement that violates religious beliefs and that a company cannot reflect the religious faith of its owners.

The administration’s statements came in a court filing that asserts the federal government has the authority to order private companies to provide abortifacients for their employees.

I did some more digging. WND cites their sources so terribly that there were no links to primary sources for the story. The third paragraph says the case was brought against a company named Weingartz Supply and against its owner.

So I googled “Weingartz Supply lawsuit.”

What to my wondering eyes should appear? An article from MyFoxDetroit.com, dated less than two months later!

Weingartz Supply Co. wins round in health law dispute

DETROIT — A judge has blocked the government from taking any action against a Detroit-area company that opposes the contraception mandate in the new federal health law.

Federal Judge Robert Cleland says the government could eventually win the lawsuit, but he ordered a preliminary injunction Wednesday in favor of Weingartz Supply Co., which sells outdoor power equipment.

They won? But wait! It says the government could eventually win the lawsuit. But the judge is a federal judge, so the only way it could be overruled would be… if it got to the Supreme Court. I wonder if the Supreme court ever decided “whether [to] exempt some closely held, for-profit firms from covering contraception in workers’ health plans”?

Hmmm… That quotation above would seem to be from a Wall Street Journal article from, oh, about a year ago. I seem to recall Hobby Lobby won that round. Huh.

Well, maybe this hadn’t been discovered yet.

Nope. The video was published June 28, 2015 – a year and two days after the Hobby Lobby ruling.

Also, that headline is a misquote from a clickbaity WND headline. The real headline said ”

OBAMA MINIONS: GOV’T ‘CAN OVERRIDE YOUR RELIGION’
Court brief says corporations not allowed to reflect faith of their owners

Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a significant difference between “court brief:” and “court rules:” As in “brief” is something submitted to the court, and a “ruling” is something the court hands down.

And no matter what the government official said, it turns out that in this case, the government couldn’t actually override anyone’s religion .

Verdict: Actual, bona fide lie, undergirded by deception.

“Christian photographers sued for refusing to take pictures of gay wedding”

Oh thank God. A headline that we might actually find substantiated in a reputable news source. From The Guardian, a reputable UK newspaper:

In Elane Photography v Willock, a New Mexico photographer sued after a state human rights commission fined the photographer for its refusal in 2006 to work a same-sex commitment ceremony. The photographer said that to shoot the ceremony – an unofficial blessing as same-sex weddings were not carried out in the state at the time – would have violated the company’s Christian beliefs. The commission made the photographer pay the legal fees of the couple, Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth.

An appeal of the decision by the photographer found its way to the New Mexico supreme court, which ruled in August 2013 that Elane Photography, run by Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin, had engaged in discriminatory business practices. On Monday the [US] supreme court declined to revisit that decision.

Now, here’s the problem: Elane Photography is a photography business. The photographer is a person with freedom of religion. As I understand it, people don’t have to be non-discriminary. Businesses do.

If your religious beliefs prohibit you from taking pictures, then don’t take pictures. If you have a business and your religious beliefs prohibit you from taking pictures, your business needs to find another person to take the pictures on behalf of your business, which is required by law not to discriminate.

So, once again, this headline is misleading. The photographers weren’t sued because, as photographers, they wouldn’t take pictures. They were sued because they have a business and as business owners, they (and their business) discriminated.

Verdict: Misleading.

AskDrBrown

News anchor fired for tweeting his support for true marriage

Well, what can ya do? This one definitely happened. His freedom of speech was gagged. The government told him he wasn’t allowed to…

Nope. That wasn’t the government. That was his boss.

Maybe we should check the constitution to see whether public figures can be fired for making statements on their twitter accounts that embarrass their (public) bosses.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So… congress… congress… congress. Don’t see anything in there about public figures being fired for saying things in public that their employer disagrees with:

Goddard wrote: “I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.”

The TV network then issued its own tweet, saying: “Today’s tweet from Damian Goddard does not reflect the views of Rogers Sportsnet.”

On Wednesday, it severed ties with Goddard.

(From ESPN)

The other thing that struck me about this Freedom of Speech disaster: Goddard is Canadian.

Verdict: This story is about a Canadian public figure who got fired for embarrassing his boss in public. What that has to do with America, only God knows.

Consultant fired for writing book opposing same sex marriage

Consultant fired for writing book opposing same sex marriage

This guy was about to give a diversity training called “Why Can’t You Be Normal Just Like Me?” for Bank of America. The Christian Post (don’t even get me started) reports that the training was about “how to adapt to diverse personalities to improve productivity and relationships.”

The CP continues: 3 days before the training, BoA googled him and found out about his little book. It was called “Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.”

I’m sure you can understand why BoA would be concerned about his ability to give a good diversity training.

But maybe they were talking about the consultant who got fired from Cisco.

Same guy. Same book. Same job. Turns out one of the managers he was training is gay and googled him and found his book with a title that said if he got married it would hurt everyone and didn’t want to take diversity training with him. And then Cisco fired him.

Verdict: Your job is to tell people how to get along nice and you write a book about gays with an inflammatory title? That’s not a sign of persecution; it’s just a sign that you’ve made terrible life choices and are experiencing the consequences.

AskDrBrown

Student expelled: Disagreed with same sex marriage

True? Yes. Relevant detail left out? Definitely. Here’s the details from the ACLU of Georgia:

She was placed on a remediation status by the faculty because of concerns Keeton may not be able to separate her personal, religious-based views on sexual morality from her personal counseling duties, in violation of the American Counseling Associations’ Code of Ethics. The remediation plan included activities focused on writing and composition skills as well as multicultural competency. Failure to complete the remediation plan would have resulted in expulsion by the end of the year.

Keeton decided she was unable to participate in the sections of the remediation plan related to multi-cultural competency beceause of her personally-held beliefs on sexual morality.

Turns out, the school didn’t expell her because of her personal views. They expelled her because she was in the counseling program and her personal views were in violation of the policy of the American Counseling Association, which her degree was aiming for.

From Lambda Legal:

Jennifer Keeton repeatedly expressed a desire to avoid LGBTQ students altogether or to subject them to dangerous conversion therapy, and subsequently refused to comply with the remediation program required by the University. The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics clearly proscribes conduct harmful to patients, imposition of the counselors’ views on patients, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The faculty presented Keeton with a remediation plan whereby Ms. Keeton would have greater exposure to the LGBT community and would read peer-reviewed articles regarding improving counseling effectiveness for LGBTQ populations; she refused to take these steps.

Personal beliefs are one thing, but you don’t give someone a nursing degree if they keep insisting their personal beliefs assure them that leeching is good therapy, nor do you give someone a degree in counseling if they keep insisting that conversion therapy works just fine.

Verdict: Missing critical information that would entirely undermine this case if presented. Also, the expulsion wasn’t for disagreeing; it was for not following the remedial training.

Catholic charities to stop adoption service over same-sex marriage law

Catholic charities to stop adoption service over same-sex marriage law

Chatholic Charities’ religion didn’t get overruled. As Laura Kiritsy from GLAD put it,

But there’s something else at work. The Bangor Daily News reports,

Catholic Charities of Boston formerly held a state-issued contract funded by taxpayer dollars to provide adoption services, and placed 13 children with same-sex couples between 1989 and 2006. The work was done in accordance with a Massachusetts anti-discrimination law that requires taxpayer-funded services to be provided equitably and without regard to sexual orientation, among other things.

Meade said that the Vatican demanded in 2006 that Catholic Charities end its adoption service, despite a unanimous vote by the charity’s local board to continue adoptions.

Laura Kiritsy was wrong. Catholic Charities didn’t choose to stop. This ridiculous fake headline is misleading: it wasn’t because of the laws. It was because the Vatican demanded it. The charity, it seems, was just fine with the ruling. The problem wasn’t American law; it was Rome.

Did they stop service over it? Yes.
Does the headline fairly tell the story? Absolutely not.

Verdict: In context, not even scary.


 

Dr. Brown, here’s the deal: You don’t get the moral high ground when you (or, apparently, your staff) intentionally deceive people in an attempt to scare them.

No pastors will be put in jail for saying “homosexuality is a sin.” None.

At least not in America. We’re peculiar that way.

Listen, you guys. Westboro Baptist Church is out and about and running around hate-mongering. I’m not talking like “They disagree with us.” Westboro actually is the First Church of Hate.

If Westboro Baptist is allowed to keep saying all of the terrible things that they say, no one is going to arrest you for saying “homosexuality is a sin against God.” Nobody.

Scooby Doo was right: Behind the scary gay-monster, there’s no monster at all. Just an angry old white guy trying to scare people into doing what he wants.

 

David M Schell About David M Schell
I am a doubter and a believer. I have a Master's in Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, but because faith grows and changes, I don't necessarily stand by everything I've ever written, so if you see something troubling further back, please ask! Read More.

3 thoughts on “Christians, Stop Lying and Fearmongering about Gays

    • “On the issue of homosexuality, [Jesus] is bringing over the old testament norm for human sexuality: one man, one woman, in a covenanted union for life. That is the only normative expression for human sexuality. Everything outside of that, in the scripture, is considered to be sin.”

      HOW IS HE A PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL STUDIES AT A SEMINARY?!

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