My question, though, has to do with Larry Brinkin, who allegedly enjoyed watching infants as they were being sexually abused (yes, infants!). Where is the national indignation? Why isn’t the name of Larry Brinkin on the lips of every news commentator in the nation? And why, two weeks after his arrest, does a Google search for his name yield just 111,000 hits? More importantly, why hasn’t his arrest caused the public to stand up and say, “We must do something to stop the vicious exploitation of little children!”?
The answer is that Brinkin’s arrest has received relatively little media attention because he was a gay activist leader, not a conservative Christian leader, and there is no hiding the mainstream media’s pro-gay, anti-conservative Christian bias. And because Brinkin’s arrest has not been widely reported, the general public has not been confronted afresh with the horrors of child pornography.
(On another note, there was a shocking case in England a few years ago where social workers had evidence that a gay activist couple was sexually abusing the boys in their foster care, but the social workers were afraid to report the couple lest they be accused of homophobia. Not surprisingly, the case received limited coverage in the UK and almost no coverage here in the States. What if this had been a conservative Christian foster care couple?)
To be sure, Ted Haggard was a better known figure than Larry Brinkin, but there have been other Christian leaders of much less notoriety than Haggard (like an otherwise unknown Catholic priest), and that didn’t stop the media from making their failings into a national scandal. Brinkin, for his part, was no smalltime player, with the San Francisco Examiner describing him as an “iconic San Francisco gay activist who brought the nation’s first domestic partnership lawsuit in 1982.” And he was, after all, a respected, long-term leader within the Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest gay activist organization. Why hasn’t the HRC been tarred and feathered the way evangelicals (or Catholics) are after one of their leaders falls? Why the inconsistency?
To this day, the name of Ted Haggard, is used to mock evangelical leaders (in the form of emails and comments we frequently receive, telling us that we will be the next Ted Haggard) while the name of Larry Brinkin is being forgotten as quickly as possible. Why the double standard?
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.