I fear that this will prove to be premature given the looming election season, but has anyone else been taken aback by the number of big, honking lies told by local anti-gay activists so far this year?
In just the past four months, we have seen:
Patrick Henry College
April: The administration of PHC distributed a falsified version of Equality Loudoun’s commenting policy, in order to make the specious claim that we don’t welcome disagreement and debate on this blog. The occasion was the Soulforce Equality Ride visit to campus, and the objective was to justify PHC’s own unwillingness to engage in honest dialogue. The misrepresentation appeared in a flyer prepared for the media by the “Office of Communications, Patrick Henry College.”
When students and alumni (who had been reading and commenting on our blog) confronted their administration, the president implied that we had altered our policy after they produced the flyer. According to the Tuesday, April 24, 2007 minutes of the Student Senate, President Graham Walker told them
I don’t rem[em]ber that, and hope I have a copy of their posting policy on the day we quoted it. I’ll look into it.
The students, although they “do not agree with Equality Loudoun’s beliefs or political activities,” do care about truthfulness. They looked into it themselves, and produced proof that this later claim is also false. After pointing out that this kind of misrepresentation is a violation of the school’s honor code and that a student would be punished severely for the same behavior, this group of dissident students asks:
Why hasn’t the College explained the truth of the situation to us – whether this was a mistake or a deliberate misquotation – nor, identified those responsible for drafting and approving this flier for an appropriate discipline, nor extended an apology to Equality Loudoun, the citizens of this community, and the students of this school?
May: In order to smear her primary opponent, state Senate candidate Patricia Phillips falsely attributed to Equality Loudoun a statement made by a local editor two years ago, and misrepresented her own role in the School Board’s adoption of a policy restricting the content of student plays.
Her demand then was the censorship of student voices that acknowledge the existence of GLBT people, and she had this to say of the resulting policy in June of 2005:
“I was very pleased with how it turned out,” said Patricia Phillips of Sterling. Phillips said the policy addressed her main concern, which was for “the normalization of homosexuality to be prevented.”
On the other hand, this is what the Phillips campaign published widely in May of this year, under the heading “Equality Loudoun article in praise of Andrews”:
Fact: As Chairman of the School Board, John [Andrews] crafting (sic) a school policy on school activities that ignored community standards, limited parental control and was praised by Equality Loudoun. Check the facts out for yourself at:
That page links to a Loudoun Times-Mirror editorial, part of our archived material on the play policy. After being confronted by reporters, Phillips started backpedaling, and finally claimed that because the LTM editorial was posted on our website, but not on our “Know the Foe” page, this proves that Equality Loudoun “endorses” its content. Point for creativity, but still wrong.
For instance, this anti-equality letter was posted on our website in exactly the same manner – as a point of information. One would find it difficult, I think, to argue that our posting of this letter indicates our endorsement of it. The Phillips campaign has yet to correct these factual errors or to apologize.
Church of the Valley
June: A new quasi-church/political organization published a full page ad that blatantly lied about the pending Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard Act), claiming that if it becomes law
[I]n the near future, pastors will be subject to huge fines and prison terms if they say anything negative about homosexuality. THE PROPOSED LAW WOULD MAKE IT A CRIME TO PREACH FROM THE PULPIT FROM ROMANS, CHAPTER 1 OR CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 6.
In fact, the bill is only an extension of existing law, pertains only to acts of physical violence, and contains this passage:
Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The pastor responsible for the ad has been challenged by reporters, editors and members of the public, but no retraction, or even qualification, has been forthcoming.
July: A local blogger who works for Focus on the Family lied about this organization and then refused to publish comments that would correct the record.
She claims to administer her blog this way because she isn’t here to give us a “soapbox,” but it appears to be more that she wants to be able to make things up without any consequences. When I wrote to her in a personal email exchange and asked that she honor my request to correct the record, she got really abusive, really fast.
The sad thing that these incidents all have in common is that the players all aggressively identify themselves as Christians who are speaking from and advocating for a Christian world view. How is it that they justify to themselves the commission of this major sin, seemingly without a trace of shame?
It really does seem to me that they all think there is an unspoken exception in the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor (unless thy neighbor is gay).
Consider this exchange in our comments, starting here. We are discussing the “Ex-gay movement.”
…The problem with the agenda we are discussing, that of advocacy organizations like PFOX, Love Won Out, etc., is that it does not confine itself to advocacy on behalf of its purported constituents. One doesn’t need an agenda to support the right of individuals to choose to have sexual relationships with persons of the opposite sex, whether those individuals are “really” gay or not.
No, this agenda is focused on bullying, lying about, haranguing, punishing, coercing, demonizing, demeaning, and otherwise pressuring other people to also make that choice…
To which Jack replies,
Certainly such actions, if true, are deplorable. It is even more deplorable to lead others into sin [by which he means, I think, accepting or telling them that it’s ok to be GLBT].
This appears to me to be a clear articulation of belief in this exception. What do you think?