Dr. Michael Brown believes Christians have already lost the battle when it comes to public opinion on homosexuality and gender identity issues.
Pro-gay books are being read in elementary school classrooms, teachers are being mandated to use gender neutral language, gay activists have been welcomed in the White House, and young evangelicals see no problem with same-sex marriage.
Yet the prevailing thought in churches is that “this stuff is happening elsewhere” or that Jesus is coming back soon and “we’re out of here any minute,” Brown, a Jewish believer in Jesus, lamented.
“[We can] put our heads in sand or we can recognize that massive transformation is happening in our society right in front of our eyes, on our watch,” he told Christians over the weekend at the National Conference on Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, N.C.
Author of 20 books, Brown has spoken to revival in America, the need for moral and cultural revolution and Jewish outreach throughout his ministry career. But homosexual issues were never on his radar.
“This is not something that made sense for me to focus on,” he said.
It was just six years ago when he felt a divine mandate to start dealing with the issue.
Since then he has realized that many Christians have largely avoided the issue as well.
“The definitions of male and female are being eroded but don’t sweat it because praise the Lord you had a lovely service last Sunday,” he said sarcastically. “Don’t let me disturb you with these trivialities.”
Brown wants to awaken the conscious of Christians and bring them to a “divine reality” about what’s happening in America.
There is a need to reach out to homosexual men and women with compassion, he said, but at the same time there is “a gay activist agenda that we must resist.”
The speaker and author listed a host of examples, particularly in the public school system, to demonstrate how much GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) activism has advanced.
Currently, the Los Angeles Unified School District has a policy on “ensuring equity and nondiscrimination” for “transgender and gender nonconforming students.” The policy defines gender identity as “one’s understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one’s biological sex.”
In San Francisco, the school policy for restroom accessibility states, “Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity exclusively and consistently asserted at school.”
And the policy for locker room accessibility states, “Transgender students shall not be forced to use the locker room corresponding to their gender assigned at birth.
In other words, if Joey’s convinced he’s Jane, then he can use the girls’ locker room and restroom, Brown summarized.
Pro-gay books have also become prevalent in the classrooms. Just ten years ago, it was difficult to get a copy of Heather Has Two Mommies. Now, Brown has been able to collect stacks of similar children’s books.
They include One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads; Two Daddies and Me; Oh The Things Mommies Do!: What Can Be Better Than Having Two?; and the coloring book Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls.
Recently, middle school students in Washington, D.C., were given surveys that asked them about their gender (male, female or transgender) and sexual orientation (straight, bisexual, gay or lesbian, nor sure).
Even the largely religious state of North Carolina is not exempt. A preschool teacher in Charlotte was told not to address the class as “boys and girls” but rather as “friends.” In Burke, one Christian girl quit her high school softball team because she was the only non-lesbian, Brown said.
Many schools are also using the Riddle Homophobia Scale, where repulsion, pity, tolerance, and acceptance are measured as homophobic. Meanwhile, “positive levels of attitudes” that are encouraged toward GLBT persons include support, admiration, appreciation, and nurturance.
“Like it or not, this is coming to a community near you,” Brown warned.
All the while, Christians have not concerned themselves with the issue and pastors are afraid to speak out for fear of being perceived as homophobic, he lamented.
“The fact is, when our answer is ‘let’s retreat more quickly,’ we’re already defeated,” Brown said. “When our main concern is ‘I don’t want to be perceived as bigoted, intolerant and hateful, therefore I’ll say nothing instead of speaking truth in love,’ we’re already defeated.”
There is an abysmal lack of teaching and preaching on the issue, he pointed out.
“We’ve been silent because this is unpopular, because people will be offended, because ‘one of my biggest givers in the church has a daughter who’s gay.'”
And while some may be extra sensitive in these times because of the recent bullying of GLBT students and teen suicides spotlighted in the media, Brown pointed out that there are some 4,000 to 5,000 suicides a year among teens and little is said about the other kids.
“I want to find out what these real problems are so we can address them,” he commented.
Brown made clear that he isn’t trying to stir up anything hateful. Rather he is speaking out of love and a broken heart. He also stressed that he is not an alarmist or extremist and that he has done careful research.
“If I’ve given you information, it’s based on facts. It’s not cherry picking things to give a misleading impression,” he said.
He has packed all the collected information into a 475-page book that is slated for release in February.
Though he has published with major publishers before, no secular or Christian publisher was willing to go near his new book, titled A Queer Thing Happened to America: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.
His book was rejected by about 20 publishers, all of whom said the title needs to be changed and that the contents are too controversial.
“You have Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, kindergarten kids being taught terms like gender queer, queer theology and study programs in our schools, and [yet] to have a book [titled A Queer Thing Happened to America] is too controversial to touch,” Brown said.
The book, he stressed, does not have a single hateful syllable in it. He calls for compassion and understanding of gay and lesbian persons while taking issue with gay activism.
“We fail to understand the struggles,” he said. “Can you imagine what someone goes through, raised in the Lord and believing they must be condemned, crying themselves to sleep every night, hoping that they’ll change the next day and their desires don’t change. And then they meet someone and they love this person and they feel like it’s God but it can’t be God and they have to be celibate for the rest of their life and as the best answer you tell them to just suck it up.”
Brown is calling on Christians to repent of their sins against the GLBT community, particularly for making homosexuality out to be the worst of sins. He himself has made public apologies.
He is also challenging the church community to repent of sins within its own household (i.e. high divorce rate).
At the same time, he believes the GLBT issue is the greatest challenge to religious freedoms and family foundations in this generation and is something Christians cannot ignore.
“We must pray for awakening in the church. America’s messed up because the church is messed up, “he said. “This has happened on our watch.
“We must take a stand for righteousness in our society. We’re called to … expose darkness and to be a moral conscience and moral preservative. If we’re not shining the light, if we’re not making a difference … how’s the world going to have a moral conscience and know the difference between right and wrong.”
Brown has created his own publishing firm called Equal Time Books to get his book out on shelves. With the release of his book next year, he’ll also be launching a speaking tour called Campaign for Religious Tolerance and Intellectual Diversity.