CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The University of North Carolina-Charlotte will host author and activist Matthew Vines for a public speaking engagement tonight. Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Marriage,” has become a leading evangelical Christian voice in favor of LGBT equality.

The event begins tonight, Wednesday, April 8, 6 p.m., at UNC-Charlotte’s Student Union Movie Theatre.

Vines first came to national attention in a YouTube video which captured his March 2012 speech on LGBT equality to his congregation in Wichita, Kan. The young leader’s video has been seen nearly a million times, and he’s been featured in The New York Times and elsewhere.

In 2013, Vines founded The Reformation Project, which he describes as a “a non-profit organization dedicated to training LGBT Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

His book, released last year, makes a scriptural case in support of equality.

Also last year, Vines debated Concord’s Dr. Michael Brown, a well-known anti-LGBT activist who has often opposed local LGBT organizations and equality initiatives.

Brown later complained that Vines had stopped communicating with him after the debate. Vines explained in response that Brown had no interest in true conversation.

“I am happy to do dialogues, debates, etc., with anyone when I feel that the event is likely to be constructive, respectful, and relationship-building,” Vines said. “I did a ‘debate’ with Michael Brown this summer that was largely a waste of time, because Brown is not interested in listening to and learning from LGBT people, only pontificating about them.”

Vines also said the organizers of the debate never fully informed him of the format or of Brown’s participation.

Vines continued: “And the only reason [the debate] happened was because Moody Radio didn’t tell me it was even a debate until Brown announced it on his social media. All in all, the conversation was about as edifying as one could expect given the inappropriate way it was arranged. I see James White in the same vein as Michael Brown. He has shown no desire whatever to learn from or listen to LGBT people. He simply wants to preach condemnation to people he hasn’t even bothered to get to know. There are far, far better interlocutors, and far more respectful conversations I am happy to have. That isn’t one of them.

The event at UNC-Charlotte is free and open to the public.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.