Ever since GLAAD unveiled its Commentator Accountability Project, religious right groups and anti-gay pundits have been scrambling to defame the organization and the project.
GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project calls out 36 anti-gay pundits by focusing on statements they have made vilifying the LGBT community.
Now, in spite of the fact that GLAAD has emphasized that this endeavor is not about censorship but about honesty, religious right groups and their pundits have been invoking hyperbole after hyperbole, accusing GLAAD of such things as "Orwellian censorship" or "a conspiracy to silence Christians."
However, in the midst of their ecclesiastical freakout, statements from two anti-gay pundits stand out in terms of not only justifying GLAAD's project but also calling into question the honesty of the groups these pundits represent.
Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel -- and a person named on the list of anti-gay pundits highlighted by GLAAD -- had this to say in a One News Now article:
They need to understand -- liberals and secularists -- that as Christ followers, we will never, ever stop speaking God's truth in love. ... We appreciate when they reveal who they really are here and reveal the weakness inherent within their own arguments by attempting to silence those who would dare to dissent with their radical secular socialism.
Since Barber is listed in the project, let's peruse some of the other comments he has made while supposedly "speaking God's truth in love":
According to GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project, Barber:
- Has said that gay male relationships constitute "one man violently cramming his penis into another man's lower intestine and calling it 'love'"
- Has called President Barack Obama an anti-American enemy who is "determined to destroy America"
- Of a lesbian couple's parental decisions for their transgender child, said: "We shouldn't be surprised that we see this kind of child abuse and brainwashing when we allow children to be placed intentionally in motherless or fatherless homes that model disordered sexual behavior and push the false notion that human sexuality is somehow androgynous," adding that the kid is "the poster child against the unconscionable practice of legalized so-called 'gay adoption.'"
- Routinely uses words like "purveyors of evil" or "satanic" to refer to his political opponents
- Said Ellen DeGeneres "guides her many adoring housewife fans into rebellion against God's divine and explicit natural order"
- Claims that by supporting LGBT viewers, media outlets are trying "to make the absurd appear reasonable and normal" (0:46-0:51)
Glenn T. Stanton of Focus on the Family, during a back-and-forth on a right-wing blog, said the following:
Yes, I as a Christian believe homosexuality is a particularly evil lie of Satan. There are many. Abortion is one. Pornography is another. Sex trafficing is another. Adultery and divorce are some as well. Because they run contrary to what God created us for. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with historic Christianity. And yes, I did it literally, but certainly not proudly.
Stanton just admitted that he has a personal animus against homosexuality on a blog, which is something he probably wouldn't admit on national television when interviewed by someone like Dr. Phil when that show is focusing on a gay issue. He would be presented as an "expert," and his personal bias against homosexuality would not be mentioned.
And that is the gist of the problem.
"Silencing Christians" or "silencing dissenting points of view" are merely weasel phrases. The media should be presented with information that would lead them to question the motivations of someone presenting himself or herself as an expert, particularly if said person has not done the work and does not have the degrees but instead has already formed an opinion and has cherry-picked legitimate work to prove that opinion.
Don't get me wrong. That person should still be allowed to present his or her opinion on said interview or show, but the media figure should ask questions about the person's motivations, statements, and expertise.
That is what GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project is all about.
When it comes to discussing gay issues, the media sometimes handles anti-gay pundits with kid gloves.
It's not because of any bias, really. I think that a lot of it has to do with these pundits having the ability to disguise their anti-gay animus.
When they speak on news programs, folks like Barber, Stanton, Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher, or Brian Brown are careful to dress up their responses as reasonable. They are even able to portray themselves as supposed defenders of traditional values, leaving the interviewer and audience unaware of the comments they make when not in front of the cameras, comments that reveal that their animus against the gay community has less to do with preserving traditional values and more to do with exploiting ignorance.
And at the rare times in which they are pressed about these comments, they play the victim by claiming that they are unfairly being labeled as bigots.
It's a very dishonest thing to do, because it taints the debate over gay equality.
GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project is not about silencing anyone but having an honest debate. And you can't have an honest debate when one party is being deceptive in terms of their goals and their true feelings about the community they oppose.
It's a matter of laying all your cards on the table, and it's high time that the religious right and their anti-gay pundits did just that.