When I was going through Watergate, my life was threatened repeatedly. And in the early years of my ministry with Prison Fellowship, the authorities had to monitor various individuals who had made threats against me.
In 1983 on my way to Prison Fellowship International’s convocation in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I learned at a press conference that I had been placed on the hit list of the Irish Republican Army. The IRA was threatened by the work of Prison Fellowship there, because we were reconciling Catholic and Protestant prisoners in the midst of a very hot war euphemistically called “the Troubles.”
In fact, when Patty and I arrived in Belfast, we were accorded special protection.
So I am no stranger to hit lists and threats.
But, it seems like I’ve made another list — and frankly, I’m surprised, though, as I’ll explain, I guess I shouldn’t be.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, with the misleading acronym GLAAD, has placed 36 commentators, yours truly among them, on its Commentator Accountability Project list. GLAAD claims, and I quote, that it is seeking to “educate the media about the extreme rhetoric of over three dozen activists who are often given a platform to speak in opposition to LGBT people and the issues that affect their lives."
Uh, okay. GLAAD’s press release goes on to say that everyone on the list has expressed an “extreme animus towards the entire LGBT community.” Its website accuses those on the list of “violent anti-LGBT rhetoric.”
So, yes, I’m surprised that Princeton’s Robert George and I, two of the three co-authors of the Manhattan Declaration, made the list. When we wrote the Declaration, we went to enormous lengths to be sensitive to homosexuals, to proclaim that homosexuals possess “profound, inherent, and equal dignity,” and to call upon the church to resist “disdainful condemnation” of homosexuals.
And in my 35 years of ministering behind bars, I’ve embraced and prayed with numerous men and women dying of AIDS. We have called all sinners — gay and straight — to repentance in Jesus Christ.
So, yes, I’m surprised I made the list. But sadly, I realize I shouldn’t be. For one thing, this type of intimidation is par for the course for many in the so-called gay-rights movement. Not interested in dialogue, they seem more interested in demonizing and shouting down their opponents.
For another, their definition of “gay bashing” is skewed. For them, anything short of renouncing the historical Christian teaching on sexuality is akin to hate. If I say that homosexual sex is a sin, they say I’m hateful. Yet I also say that pre-marital sex is a sin, as is drinking too much. Is that hateful, too?
Over the years I have been very careful not to engage in gay-bashing. I can’t think of a single time I have. I seek to honestly discuss the issues. So if any reporter has evidence of gay bashing on my part, I’d like to hear it. But again, I reject the notion that disagreement — even strong disagreement — is gay bashing or hateful.
I can’t speak for the others on this latest list, but I for one, will not be intimidated into silence. No matter what list I make!