Listening To “Christians”- They Don’t Speak For Me


Michael Brown, “Line of Fire”

Michael Brown interviewed Scott Lively on Brown’s daily radio show “The Line of Fire,” October 19th .  Lively, President ofDefend 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 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.”

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.

Harris Himes, Obsessed Culture Warrior or Victim of “Homosexual Agenda”: Decide for Yourself


More verses for the Bittersweet Ballad of Harris Himes….

From The Montana Human Rights Network:

Harris Himes, a self-proclaimed pastor from Hamilton, has a history of ranting about the LGBT community’s responsibility for many things, including the supposed moral collapse of America and the eventual destruction of Western civilization.  Therefore, it shouldn’t really be surprising that he is blaming the LGBT community, along with reproductive justice advocates, for the six felonies which he currently faces.

In late September, Montana’s Insurance Commissioner charged Himes with fraud and theft for an investment scheme that tricked a man in the Bitterroot Valley out of $150,000.  After posting bail, Himes called a talk radio program and went on the attack.  He said pro-gay activists were likely behind the charges.  He also claimed the Insurance Commissioner was going after him for political disagreements they’d had in the past.  Callers to the radio program responded by denouncing his baseless accusations.  However, Himes was merely singing from the same hymnal he has used since appearing on Montana’s political scene.

Connected at the State and National Levels

Formerly an attorney in California, Harris Himes frequently identifies himself as both an attorney and pastor.  The media recently reported on his claims to ordination by the Calvary Chapel.  After a few years, he split from the chapel and proclaimed himself pastor of Big Sky Christian Center.  A pastor with Calvary Chapel recently told the press: “But to call him a pastor isn’t accurate because he doesn’t have a church. There are accountability structures built into a church. He’s a self-proclaimed pastor….”

Regardless of his real or perceived pastor credentials, Himes has been active with a laundry list of Religious Right organizations in Montana.  He’s been a board member for the Montana Family Coalition (which originally was the Christian Coalition of Montana).  He is currently listed as a speaker for the Montana Pro-Life Coalition’s upcoming “Personhood Conference” in October.  He’s testified at the Montana Legislature on behalf of the Big Sky Christian Center, Montana Values Alliance, and Montana Eagle Forum.

At the national level, Himes has served as voluntary counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which was founded by Religious Rights icons including James Dobson to “keep the door open for the Gospel in America.”  Himes has also worked with the Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.  In other words, Himes isn’t just a rank-and-file member of Montana’s Religious Right.  His connections reach into national circles, and he has been a leader and prominent lobbyist for its issues in Montana.

Over the past decade, Himes has frequented the Montana Legislature and testified that America was “founded on biblical principles” and that legislators needed to “have a bias to stand for God.”  In other forums, he has stated America was better when people had to be Christian to run for office. He has also encouraged churches to get rid of their tax-exempt status so they can engage in open politicking.

While he has worked closely with numerous Religious Right activists in Montana, he has been most closely aligned with Ravalli County’s Dallas Erickson.  He has been integral to Erickson’s attempts to pass anti-obscenity/censorship ordinances in Ravalli County.  In 1999, the county passed the ordinances.  However, a district court judge ruled they were unconstitutional.  The Liberty Counsel represented the county, with Himes acting as the liaison.  In 2002, the Montana Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Ravalli County that sought to uphold the ordinances.  The county has had to pay damages and court costs of some $70,000 in defense of Himes’ and Erickson’s religious campaign.

Hating the LGBT Community

During the 2011 Montana Legislature, Harris Himes told a legislative committee that the Bible commanded that gays be put to death, saying:

“The religious reason [to discriminate against the LGBT community] is God himself, who says that homosexuality is an abomination, and he has punishments for that…The punishment is this.  If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.  They shall surely be put to death.”

He was testifying for House Bill 516 (Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre) which would have repealed the Missoula Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and prohibited other localities from passing similar measures.  The Missoula Ordinance outlaws discrimination against the LGBT community in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations.  It is notable that, when Rep. Hansen submitted her initial file to Montana Legislative Services for drafting the bill, it included a handwritten letter from Dallas Erickson to the bill drafter.  The note stated, “Rep. Kristen Hansen has given Harris Himes and I permission to work with you on LC1865 [which became HB 516].” Himes and Erickson were vocal opponents to the Missoula Ordinance, even testifying against it although they didn’t live in the City of Missoula.  The note with the bill-draft request makes it clear that they were instrumental in bringing HB 516 to the legislature.

Himes’ “death to gays” comment was shocking to many people.  However, it just echoed the many previous anti-LGBT comments he’s made.  The following is nowhere close to being a comprehensive cataloging of his anti-gay diatribes.  However, they provide a good overview.

  • During a 2003 legislative hearing to repeal Montana’s deviate sexual conduct law, which had been ruled unconstitutional a decade earlier, Himes compared the LGBT community to imprisoned drug dealers.  He said neither group wanted the law to apply to them.   He said homes where LGBT Montanans lived should be raided like drug dens.
  • Himes opposed attempts at the Montana Legislature to require the adoption of comprehensive bullying-prevention policies.  In 2003, he said such a bill contained the words “sexual orientation” and, since being gay violated the Montana Constitution, it should be treated as a crime.  In 2005, he said a bullying-prevention bill was part of the “homosexual agenda” to take over schools.
  • While opposing a 2003 hate crimes proposal, Himes stated that the protections in the bill would be a “sword against Christians who take the Bible seriously.”  In opposing a 2009 hate crimes bill, Himes said he preached God’s word, and the bill would make him a “potential prison inmate” if it passed.  Himes frequently mischaracterized hate crimes bills as attempts to limit his freedom of speech.
  • Himes has told legislators that there needs to be some discrimination against gays.  He’s told them that “God is watching” and would punish them for their leniency toward “sexual deviants.”
  • During a 2006 Board of Public Education meeting about bullying-prevention policies, Himes claimed the policies create “whispering indictments” like the ones used to kill Jews during the Holocaust.  He also stated the Montana Legislature defeated the proposed legislation, because the entire goal of preventing bullying was to advance the gay agenda.

Himes has a history of demonizing LGBT Montanans and blaming them for pretty much everything.  He’s even done this in the absence of the LGBT community.  During the 2005 legislative session, he opposed a bill and tried to link it to the “homosexual agenda.”  His supposed proof—that LGBT supporters weren’t in the room.  His claim that the LGBT community is somehow responsible for him facing felony charges has a similar level of “credibility.”


God does have ‘A Better Way’- don’t stand in the path of it

My friend, Kathy Baldock, writes about her crusade to counter anti-gay christianist hate groups during Charlotte Pride last week.

It’s an historically heroic effort- and her writing is very moving, funny and important- especially if you believe that  God is Love….


On Saturday, August 27, a group of about two hundred Christians marched into “Pride Charlotte” with “God Has A Better Way” (GHABW), an action formed by the Coalition of Conscience and the Speak the Truth Project.

Three quarters of the group, including children, wore red tee shirts boldly declaring the message and website “God Has A Better Way.” The balance of about 30 were “plain clothes” street evangelists.

I heard about the GHABW action two weeks before the event and decided to go to Charlotte with a str8apology action that I have done at many Gay Pride events. Some have striven to label me “gay activist;” a term that is often used to dismiss my intentions and the core of my Christian beliefs.

Would you label Martin Luther King as simply a “black activist” missing that his passions were deeply rooted in his faith that called him to strive for justice and against oppression?

I, too, am driven by my faith which compels me to fight against oppression and injustice. (Isaiah 58)

I am keenly aware that some Christians will and do use the Bible to exclude an entire class of people not only from social equality, but more egregiously, from the benefits of a relationship with God both now and in eternity. So, I took Str8apology to Pride Charlotte. Str8apology is a Christian action. We see the value of positive expressions of God’s love and are acutely aware of the damage caused by conditional and condemning messages from some Christians .

Read  the rest of Part One here. And watch LGBTQ Nation for parts 2 and 3- they just keep getting better…

Charlotte Pride and “God Has A Better Way”- Competing Messages

From CanyonWalker Connections:

On Saturday, August 27, two events are planned in Charlotte, NC: Charlotte Gay Pride and “God Has a Better Way”.

The goals of Charlotte Gay Pride are to:

  • Celebrate LGBT families from the Charlotte area
  • Provide LGBT individuals with a place to celebrate without harassment
  • Advance LGBT rights and visibility in the Charlotte community
  • Enpower individuals to be themselves in a relaxed and accepting environment

Also planned for August 27th is “God Has a Better Way” (GHABW)  a joint effort of the Charlotte based Coalition of Conscience  and The Speak Truth Project. The goals of GHABW are to:

  • Gather hundreds of “worshipers, intercessors, musicians, soul-winners, walkers, talkers and believers of every age, color and size to stand together”
  • To “walk through or surround the (Charlotte Gay Pride) event to evangelize, sing, pray, hand out water and reach out with love to those in attendance while resisting the (gay) agenda.”
  • And, they “expect this to be a challenging day as sexual immorality, wickedness, and rejection will abound, nevertheless, into the battle (they) must go-and (they) have a plan.”
More on the story here.

Rick Perry + Crazy Christianists = Scary

Since it’s Sunday- and most of us spend some time reflecting spiritually on Sunday- I couldn’t help but share the following article about Rick Perry, the current Governor of Texas. It comes from the Texas Observer:

A little-known movement of radical Christians and self-proclaimed prophets wants to infiltrate government, and Rick Perry might be their man.

Oh, it gets stranger.



The movement is called the New Apostolic Reformation. Believers fashion themselves modern-day prophets and apostles. They have taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot.


The movement’s top prophets and apostles believe they have a direct line to God. Through them, they say, He communicates specific instructions and warnings. When mankind fails to heed the prophecies, the results can be catastrophic: earthquakes in Japan, terrorist attacks in New York, and economic collapse. On the other hand, they believe their God-given decrees have ended mad cow disease in Germany and produced rain in drought-stricken Texas.


Their beliefs can tend toward the bizarre. Some consider Freemasonry a “demonic stronghold” tantamount to witchcraft. The Democratic Party, one prominent member believes, is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons. Some prophets even claim to have seen demons at public meetings. They’ve taken biblical literalism to an extreme. In Texas, they engage in elaborate ceremonies involving branding irons, plumb lines and stakes inscribed with biblical passages driven into the earth of every Texas county.


If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn’t be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take “dominion” over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the “Seven Mountains” of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an “army of God” to commandeer civilian government.

In Rick Perry, they may have found their vessel. And the interest appears to be mutual.

I always thought Perry was a loose, secessionist cannon. But now, I just think he’s a loose, crazy christianist secessionist cannon. And the goofy theology driving some of these fringe groups is becoming more and more pervasive. Like I said: scary.

But really, y’all need to read this for y’selves. Full, fascinating story here.

The Storm Brewing In Uganda

Excellent assessment of the gay panic in Uganda promulgated by Christianists. The obsessive passion which the U.S. right-wingnuts are fomenting here is inexcusable and distinctly anti-Christlike.

Kathy Baldock takes it apart here. Please read it.

Diane Has A Christianity Problem

Diane Silver has an excellent post about her difficulty with Christianity over at The Bilerico Project.

Christians terrify me. I am strong and capable, but part of me feels like a powerless child who can’t withstand the Christian onslaught. I’m a 10-pound cat facing a 120-pound pit bull and the snarling beast is frothing at the mouth.

Well worth a read.