In my last blog post, I described Michael L. Brown, a popular Fundagelical author and frequent guest on Religious Right radio and television shows. His unhealthy obsession with the LGBT community leads him to make outrageous claims and become positively apoplectic at the thought that gay people might have equal rights.
Brown also practices the fine art of the Fundagelical lie. His most recent hit job was published on his Ask Dr. Brown website. The article was titled, Why California Pastors Must Stand Up To Government Tyranny. It was picked up by Prophecy news Watch and has spread from there. In the article, Brown claims,
“In the latest and most egregious example of attempted government overreach, California legislators have proposed a bill that would dictate what pastors preach from the pulpit. Specifically, “Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 calls on ‘counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators’ and institutions with ‘great moral influence’ to stop perpetuating the idea that something is wrong with LGBT identities or sexual behavior. ACR 99 also condemns attempts to change unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion as ‘unethical,’ ‘harmful,’ and leading to high rates of suicide.”
Put another way; these legislators are telling pastors and spiritual leaders to throw out the Bible, disregard the Lord’s will, ignore the testimony of thousands of ex-gays, and conform to extreme political correctness – or else.”
Of course, none of this is true. Yes, there is an Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99. However, the resolution isn’t a law. You can read it for yourself. The analysis of the resolution reads, “This measure would call upon all Californians to embrace the individual and social benefits of family and community acceptance, upon religious leaders with conviction to counsel on LGBTQ matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy, and on upon the people of California and the institutions of California with great moral influence to model equitable treatment of all people of the state.”
It isn’t a law; there is no punishment for not following the resolution; it simply asks that religious leaders educate themselves on the damages of conversion therapy and counsel LGBTQ people accordingly.
The two “Resolved” sections that mention religious leaders say,
“Resolved, That the Legislature calls upon religious leaders with conviction to counsel on LGBT LGBTQ matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy; and be it further
Resolved, That in addressing the stigma often associated with persons who identify as LGBT, LGBTQ, we call on the people of California–especially its counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators, and legislators–and the institutions of California with great moral influence–especially its churches, universities, colleges, and other schools, counseling centers, activist groups, and religious centers–to model equitable treatment of all people of the state;“
Nowhere does this resolution limit what Pastors can preach from the pulpit. There is no “or else” in the resolution.
The State of California has taken the lead in banning conversion therapy for minors because it is ineffectual junk science that causes harm to people. This resolution asks that religious leaders look at the evidence and counsel with the one thing they fear the most – – – FACTS!
The American Psychological Association issued a statement in 2013, expanded from its 1998 statement, that said,
“The American Psychiatric Association does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed, and efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change. No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed.”
If a pastor knew of a counseling technique for alcoholism that led people to depression and suicide, I doubt they would recommend it. Dr. Brown thinks it is government overreach and tyranny to request pastors not to advise a dangerous therapy technique. He ramps up the Fundagelical outrage by claiming that this request will “throw out the Bible, disregard the Lord’s will, ignore the testimony of thousands of ex-gays, and conform to extreme political correctness” Conversion therapy isn’t in the Bible. I find it hard to believe that the Lord’s will is to drive young people to depression and suicide. The resolution does not ignore the testimony of thousands of ex-gays; it is based on their testimony of how ineffectual and harmful conversion therapy was for them. Former leaders in ex-gay ministry have issued an apology for promoting conversion therapy and gave their support to a federal bill to ban conversion therapy for minors. Their video is below.
Dr. Brown blows his last dog whistle by claiming it will force pastors to conform to extreme political correctness. Sorry Doc, the resolution just asks that pastors conform to the truth.
When this article was posted to Facebook, outraged Fundagelicals, who had obviously never read the resolution, not knowing the difference between resolutions, bills, and laws, went into full outrage mode. Browns irresponsible lying to stir up his base certainly isn’t biblical. Brown is obsessed with the “sin” of homosexuality but lying, which made the top ten list of commands, doesn’t seem to bother him. His promotion of harmful therapy techniques certainly falls far short of his “loving response to homosexuality” that he claims to speak.
Here is my biggest problem with Dr. Brown; his lie is easily exposed. One Google search brought up the full text and analysis of the resolution. Brown lies and does so clumsily. He and others like him have destroyed the credibility of the Church by claiming moral authority while practicing immorality. This hypocrisy is what drives people away from the church.
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