On Tuesday, I posted a link to a column in the Washington Post by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach about a debate he had with Michael Brown, head of the FIRE School of Ministry, regarding the topic: Is Homosexuality America’s Greatest Moral Crisis? I did not watch the debate since I read up on the Rabbi and believed I already agreed with him. I have had many discussions with Michael Brown and those affiliated with him and know we are far apart.
After I published the post, Dr. Brown contacted me saying that the Rabbi had misrepresented him and the debate. Just this afternoon, the Washington Post published Brown’s rebuttal and I agreed to post a link to it in the interest of fairness. I have no plans to watch the debate to fact check. Interested readers can read both sides and decide whether or not to invest the 3 hours. From Brown’s post:
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is not only “America’s most famous rabbi” and my frequent opponent in public debates. He is also a dear personal friend, which is why I was more than a little mystified to see his editorial, published one day after our November 1 debate.
The title of that debate, as proposed by Shmuley but not to my liking, was, “Is Homosexuality America’s Greatest Moral Crisis?” In my opening comments, I answered this question in the negative, stating that America’s greatest moral crisis was certainly not homosexuality but rather the lack of the knowledge and consciousness of God, because of which every area of society suffered.
I also explained that what two gay men did in private was between them and God and was certainly not our greatest moral crisis, and I stated emphatically that rampant heterosexual divorce had done more to destroy marriage and family than all the gay activists combined. I then addressed the church’s sins against the LGBT community, for which I have publicly apologized a number of times. (Those reading Shmuley’s report on the debate would not have a clue that I made any of these statements.)
Boteach made the case that evangelicals now put too much emphasis on winning the culture war against gays. Brown disagrees:
As to the alleged evangelical obsession with homosexuality (an accusation raised through the debate by Shmuley), I asked the almost entirely evangelical audience to respond to four questions: How many of them heard a sermon in the last year on the importance of marriage? Virtually every hand went up. The importance of devoting time and energy to the raising of their children? Same response. The dangers of sexual sin (and/or pornography)? The same response again. A sermon about gay activism? Not a single hand!
The truth be told, there is no “gay obsession” in evangelical churches, and, where pastors and leaders are concerned about the effects of gay activism, they are hesitant to speak up, lest they be branded intolerant bigots, homophobes, Hitlers, or jihadists, not to mention accused of inciting violence against gays.
While I mean no disrespect to his audience, I am not going to trust that they are a representative sample. I certainly disagree with Brown about the obsession of some evangelicals with homosexuality. Worldnetdaily is obsessed. Sally Kern said homosexuality was a greater threat than terrorism and certain evangelicals promoted Rallies for Sally. Brown’s contention seems odd when writing about a debate over homosexuality being the greatest threat to morality. About being labeled Hitlers, perhaps Brown does not read Bryan Fischer’s love notes to gays where he blames them for the deaths of 6 million Jews. In the name of Jesus, the American Family Association’s Fischer does some pretty good branding of his own. If such people are criticized sharply by gays, it is not hard to see why.
Here’s another example of how a focus on homosexuality has distorted social conservatism. The Family Research Council actually ran ads against LA Rep. Joseph Anh Cao, Vietnamese-American who voted against Obamacare because he was not convinced abortion funding was excluded from the bill. His pro-life position is firm and yet FRC ran ads against him because of Cao’s support for equal rights for gays. Guess who was elected in Cao’s district? His opponent, Cedric Richmond, a pro-choice Democrat. I wonder if NARAL sent FRC a thank you note.