Within hours of the shooting of the security guard at the Family Research Council last Wednesday, more than 20 gay organizations issued a joint statement that they “utterly reject and condemn such violence.” This is highly commendable. Unfortunately, they did not utterly reject, condemn, or even acknowledge their potential role in helping to create the toxic environment that may have contributed to the shooting. Consider how shrill gay activist rhetoric has become.
In June, after Southern Baptists reaffirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman (for conservative Christians who base their faith on the Bible, a no brainer), gay icon Mel White branded them “holy terrorists,” ending his Huffington Post article with these words: “Please, for the sake of millions of our sisters and brothers who are victims of holy terrorism, resist!” What kind of actions could rhetoric like this produce?
To be sure, just a few lines earlier, White wrote, “If we resort to violence, we will lose the war,” but those words were drowned out by the passionate call to resist “holy terrorism” and by the reference to “holy terrorists.”
Interestingly, in 1995, White wrote his first book as a “gay Christian” with the irenic title Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America. In 2006, he published a much more aggressive volume, Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right, which was then reissued in 2012 with the title Holy Terror: Lies the Christian Right Tells Us to Deny Gay Equality. So, while the position of conservative Christians has not changed (aside from being much more compassionate than it was 20 years ago), gay rhetoric condemning that position certainly has changed: By following the Scriptures, you are guilty of holy terrorism!
Day and night, LGBT people are told how much we hate and despise them, that Prop 8 in California was actually Prop Hate, that Chick-Fil-A serves “hate chicken” (this from the mayor of Washington, DC). Is it any surprise, then, that a number of churches were vandalized after the Prop 8 vote in 2008 or that a Chick-Fil-A store had the words “tastes like hate” scrawled on its walls? And given the view that failure to affirm homosexuality is an act of hate, is it any surprise that in April of this year, a church in Seattle had its windows smashed by a group called Angry Queers?
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.