The radical right’s self-marginalization
Updated: January 17, 2014 at 8:58 am
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On New Year’s Day, I had the opportunity to appear on Charlotte’s new local Fox affiliate’s inaugural primetime newscast in a debate with Dr. Michael Brown, a Concord-based anti-LGBT theologian and activist. The topic was the Boy Scouts of America’s new membership policy prohibiting discrimination against gay youth members.
A longer version of the debate was published online. You can watch the video, as well as read a great take-away from local Huffington Post writer Victor Lopez at huff.to/1ielXn4. And, if you’re like Lopez and most sane folks, you’ll immediately notice significant differences in the arguments used for the policy change and against it.
While I maintained a calm composure and used facts to back up my support for the change, Brown bogarted the exchange, speaking at length and repeatedly about gay sex and flirting. According to Brown, the policy change — approved by 60 percent of the 1,400 voting members of the Scouts’ National Council — amounted to nothing more than an “injection” of sexuality into Scouting.
Brown’s intense focus on gay sex and what body parts go where and by whom isn’t unusual among the radical religious right. Ultimately, their unexplainable fixation on the sexual acts of gay men and other sexual minorities will be the right’s own undoing. My debate with Brown is a perfect example of how the right is creating their own self-marginalization. While proponents for equality and inclusion focus on facts and truth, anti-gay leaders like Brown are left screaming wildly about sex. All the while, it becomes more easily apparent to most sane members of the public where reason and rational thought truly lies in the debate over LGBT equality.
Brown isn’t the only example. Dozens of high-profile anti-LGBT leaders routinely find themselves discussing the finer points of gay sexuality, again wondering which body parts fit where and how.
Writer J. Lee Grady of Charisma Magazine recently penned a commentary on — you guessed it — gay sex. The title itself — “The Painful Truth About Gay Pleasure” — was laughable enough. But, Grady piled on, using the recent flap over “Duck Dynasty” and Phil Robertson to illustrate several lessons, among them: “[C]onservative Southerners might need some coaching on how to express their views in the media.”
I can suggest another lesson: Anti-gay Christians need a crash course in human sexuality, biology and anatomy — and a couple of educational viewings of some good gay porn probably wouldn’t hurt either.
The more radical anti-gay religious leaders flap their lips about gay sex, the more victories our journey toward equality will achieve. By now, it’s obvious that Americans couldn’t care less about who their family, friends, neighbors or co-workers love or how they love.
The anti-gay fixation on sex is juvenile and immature. And, ultimately, combined with other equally crazy fixations and conspiracy theories (one leader, Tony Perkins, recently labeled the esteemed Southern Poverty Law Center a “terrorist” organization), the radical right will marginalize themselves. For all their fears of “anti-Christian” oppression from “gay radicals,” the simple truth is that the radical right has more to fear from their own extremism.
Personally, I hope Brown, Perkins, Grady and others will continue on their middle-school-esque quest to talk about penises, vaginas and anuses as much as they like. It’ll provide me and my friends plenty of opportunities for laughs and giggles, and push more members of the public firmly into the only truly reasonable camp in this debate — the side that roots for justice, equality, liberty and inclusion for all. : :
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About the author: Matt Comer was the editor of QNotes, first hired to serve in the role in October 2007, with his tenure ending August 23, 2015.