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Matt Comer

Holy war: ‘A cause worth dying for’

Michael Brown and his CoC are ready to mount a holy war against the ‘ho-mo-sek-shuls.’

If you are involved in the LGBT community across the Carolinas, chances are good that you have seen them at the NC Pride Festival in Durham, Pride Charlotte or outside the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Carolinas Gala Dinner. The “them” I refer to are the red-shirt-wearing, big-sign-carrying, loudspeaker-screaming protestors from Operation Save America (OSA). Because they are loud they get most of our attention, but they shouldn’t be our only concern.

Less in-your-face but (as you will see) no less harmful is the Coalition of Conscience (CoC). On the surface, CoC’s leader Dr. Michael L. Brown seems innocent enough. In September 2007, he organized a forum asking “Can you be Gay and Christian?” that he promoted as a peaceful opportunity for discussion and dialogue.

(Note: The forum will be reprised on Feb. 14, when Brown debates HRC Religion and Faith Director Harry Knox in the Booth Playhouse at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.)
Brown has realized that the hellfire and damnation style of preaching and protesting don’t work when it comes to converting “ho-mo-sek-shuls,” so he’s turned to more genteel, seemingly benevolent language.

Don’t be fooled. Many people fail to realize just how deeply Brown and his CoC are entrenched in the idea of “holy war” against society and more specifically the LGBT community.

I recently signed up for a subscription to The Intelligence Report, the quarterly newsmagazine of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate groups in America. When I received my first copy a few weeks ago a feature article profiling ex-“ex-gay” Peterson Toscano caught my attention.

In the piece, Toscano relates his experiences with reparative ministries tied to Exodus International. Near the end of the article, the words leapt off the page, revealing the darker side of the man who has become one of my most “loving” and “compassionate” acquaintances from the radical right.

The piece states, “One of the featured speakers [at the Exodus International conference] was Michael L. Brown, author of Revolution: The Call to Holy War, a millennial Jew who once described the red T-shirts worn by his ministry students at a gay rights march counter-demonstration as ‘the blood of Christ flowing toward the gates of hell.’”

(I guess this voids Brown’s assurances to me that OSA and his CoC are completely unaffiliated.)

The article continues, “On Exodus’ opening day, Brown’s comments were no more reserved. To a stand-up applause, he quoted from the Black Panthers and told the thousand members of his audience that the fight against gay civil rights is a ‘cause worth dying for.’”

The message is in keeping with Brown’s assertion in Revolution, his holy war training manual, that, “We live to do His will, period. If His will can be accomplished most fully through our living, so be it. If His will can be accomplished most fully through our dying, so be it. That should be our normal expression of faith.”

A quick online scan of reader reviews shows that Brown’s call for death strikes a cord with some fanatics. One reader remarked, “As a result of reading this book, I have become more impassioned than ever to be a part of the army of revolutionaries that are willing to say, ‘By life or by death, we will serve the Lord!’”

Another reviewer echoes the sentiment, “[This book] is about living and joining a cause so worthwhile that you would willingly lay down your life for it. As a Christian, our lives do not belong to us anyway. They belong to God.”

The Bible warns us of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Brown would have us believe that Christ-seeking LGBT people are the wolves, but it’s obvious that he and his CoC are the real predators, their disguise a carefully plotted and scripted message of “compassion,” “love” and “gentleness.”

Many have told me that all Brown and OSA seek are media coverage and attention. The radical danger of their plainly spoken message cannot be ignored. They want to eradicate the gay community and admit they’ll stop at nothing to accomplish it, even if it means their deaths.
(Of course, they never address the fact that their fanaticism fuels the brutal hate crimes that regularly result in deaths to our folks. It’s so easy to say you’re willing to die for a cause when you’re the one holding the gun on the other guy, isn’t it?)

It’s time to wake up. America’s already battling “holy war” nuts in the Middle East. Here at home, covering our eyes and ears to the issues that make us all uncomfortable or angry won’t solve anything. Brown and his CoC are a danger, and their threat is one I’ll keep exposing over and over again.

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Matt Comer

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