According to published reports, when Larry Brinkin was arrested two weeks ago, the police found “images of year-old infants subjected to sodomy and oral sex, and perverse racial comments (Brinkin’s email: ‘I loved especially the 2 year old n----- getting nailed. Hope you’ll continue so I can see what the little blond b---- is going to get. White Power! White Supremacy! White D--- Rules!’).” Yet the media has barely reported this terribly disturbing incident.
But, you ask, who was Larry Brinkin? He was “a central figure in the gay rights movement,” a man who was so influential that, “The San Francisco board of supervisors actually gave a ‘Larry Brinkin Week’ in February 2010 upon his retirement.” It was Brinkin who first used the term “domestic partnerships” in a legal dispute, marking a watershed moment in gay activist history, yet news of his alleged crimes against infants and children, not to mention his alleged White Supremacist leanings, has received very little media attention.
Is there a double standard here? Imagine what the media would be doing if Brinkin had been a conservative Christian leader.
When evangelical leader Ted Haggard fell, the media was quick to pounce, suggesting that this exposed the corrupt nature of evangelical Christianity as a whole. And media leaders have done this repeatedly whenever there has been a scandal connected to an evangelical (or Catholic) leader, and the news is blared from the headlines. But where, I ask you, is the outrage or the front page news when a gay leader commits atrocities such as those allegedly committed by Larry Brinkin? And why isn’t the media claiming that Brinkin’s transgressions expose the corrupt nature of gay activism as a whole?
The failure of a Christian leader is considered endemic and representative; the failure of a gay leader is considered an aberrant exception. Why the unequal treatment?
Personally, I do believe that ministry leaders should be held to high standards, and if we fall short in a serious, public way, we deserve the disappointment (and even scorn) that comes with it. After all, we are supposed to be moral and spiritual examples, even serving as faithful representatives of Jesus, and we have no business preaching morality while living in immorality. And while I absolutely believe in God’s mercy and the possibility of restoration (we all need His mercy), I do agree that the stakes are high and that there will often be heavy fallout when a prominent Christian leader sins in a serious and public way.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.