Listening to Michael Brown and Scott Lively | Where Do You Fit in the Dialogue?

Michael Brown, “Line of Fire”

Michael Brown interviewed Scott Lively on Brown’s daily radio show “The Line of Fire,” October 19th .  Lively, President of Defend the Family, is one of the more prominent staunchly anti-gay activists in the world and Brown, founder of Coalition of Conscience, is quickly gaining status in the US for his similar views. Both cite their Christian faith as the source of their passions in combating the “radical gay agenda.”  Both see themselves as God’s instruments in the final stages of this battle to wake up and involve fellow Christians.

Brown repeats often that at 16, he was “radically saved from heroin addiction,” and Lively attributes his immediate deliverance from alcohol and drugs to God.  In their zeal, Brown, Lively and others take the healing gifts and transforming powers of God and apply them to sexual orientation,  expecting gay and trans people to also be radically delivered.  The “if God did it for me, He will do it for you” attitude is Biblical, but not when applied to sexual orientation.

Scott Lively, Defend the Family

On the show, Lively was recounting the trauma of his weekend in Chicago.  He had gone to a ceremony at Christian Liberty School to receive an award from Americans for the Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH), hosted by Peter LaBarbera.  The  morning of the event, two brick pavers were thrown through the glass doors of the school with warnings to “shut down Lively and AFTAH.”

When reported, the Chicago Police would not pursue the incident as a hate crime.  Even as I listened to the exchange, I looked up the definition of “hate crime.”  A “hate crime” is “a crime where the perpetrator has a prejudice against the race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disabilities of the target.”  Although Lively, a trained attorney,  decried the event as a “hate crime,” the police registered it as “vandalism.”  Agreed.  This was not a crime against a Christian for his religious views; this was a criminal reaction against Lively and AFTAH, two groups both solidly anti-gay enough to score positions on the Southern Poverty Law list of “Hate Groups”, for their anti-gay activism.

The tossed brick

Brown and Lively continued the chatty exchange:

  • The police department in a “deliberate attempt to prevent the gay community from  getting any negative publicity” had decided to not call the action a hate crime, but vandalism” instead.  SL
  • “Chicago has been  under the control of the far left for a long time and the individual officers may have marched in the Gay Pride Parade themselves.   I would not be surprised.”  SL
  • “The fact is homosexual activists have accomplished a lot by adopting the underdog status.” MB
  • “This [homosexual radicalism] is the issue of  not just of our times, but of the end times.” MB
  • Christians “would be derelict in our duties as believers to not be involved in this issue.” MB
  • MB on SL:  Scott Lively “is standing for country, standing for rightousness.”  MB
  • Playing “devil’s advocate”, MB asks “Why go to Uganda to provoke them to write the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’?” Lively answers, he went to Uganda in 2002 as a keynote on a conference on pornography and obscenity and to assist in the “pro-family” movement.
  • Gay men from the US and Europe started going to Uganda in 2003 and “kicked off a sexual revolution”  “messing with the boys” and “paying little girls to recruit lesbians.” SL
  • Lively hoped to bring the first world model of “rehabilitation from homosexuality just like when I was rehabilitated as an alcoholic” to Uganda and “spoke to the Ugandan Parliament and churches.” SL
  • Lively, with the unique expertise of “overlaying gay history over mainstream history,” is able to cite gay people as the root of the holocaust because “Romans 1 teaches that the reprobate mind was lived out in Germany.”  He documents this in “The Pink Swastika.”  SL

How does a Book with a message of love, grace and equality get so tangled in this “the gays are destroying marriage, families and society” mess?  Clearly, there is danger in taking the tenets of the God-inspired Book of Truth and placing them atop man-biased beliefs of fear.  To Brown, Lively and  about half of the Christian Church, being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is a choice and a sin.  When you overlay a “sinful, chosen behavior” with a few verses in the Bible, taken out of context and mistranslated, it results in the attitudes so clearly expressed between Brown and Lively on “Line of Fire.”

If we, as Christians, fail to understand the natural diversity of God’s creation in sexual orientation and try to impose the expectations that Brown, Lively and others have on an entire class of people, we will join in the fear-based biases, the withholding of equality and the exclusion of non-heterosexual Christians from our faith communities.  Never could I have imagined Jesus and the Apostle John having the exchange I heard on Brown’s radio show.

I have given up on trying to influence either Brown or Lively, both with whom I have had extensive interaction.  But, watching and listening, are well-intended, good Christian people trying to discern the truth in this dialogue.  All one needs do is pay attention to the tone of the message.  Fear, lies, misinformation and discrimination are not Jesus-values.  Use God eyes and ears in truth-seeking; you’ll find it.


God Does Have a Better way | Don’t stand in the Way of It

Conversation with Lisa Salazar and Michael Brown

Becoming Christian Allies to the glbt Community

A Game of Peek-a-Boo with Linda Harvey

“A Queer Thing Happened to America” by Michael Brown | a Review

On Scott Lively of the Kill the Gays Bill



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