Tom Gilson

Book Review: A Queer Thing Happened To America

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Book Review

A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been by Michael L. Brown.

Let’s get straight to the point. Michael Brown has written a lengthy book on seamy practices in the “gay rights” movement. That means he must be (a) a raving homophobic fundamentalist, (b) an important contributor to a crucial debate, or (c) something else (take your pick). I’m sure you’re already forming your opinion, so we might as well get that on the table right from the start.

There’s one class of activists who will predictably pile all over option (a), for to them, any author who critically examines gay culture and politics must be a bigot. And because he is a bigot, therefore most of what he writes he must be wrong. The logic is, as they say, inescapable.

But I am going to call on those activists and their sympathizers—and also their political and cultural opponents—to ask a different question, the one I also kept asking all the way through the book. What does he have to say? Does he make his case? What is its significance? My vote on options (a), (b), or (c) begins by shucking the question aside and going somewhere else entirely: Who cares who wrote the book? The real question is, is it any good?

I owe you full disclosure: I shared a couple of very enjoyable meals with Mike Brown earlier this summer, and he gave me the book with the request that I read and review it. I like the guy. He doesn’t slobber, he doesn’t froth at the mouth, and he’s able to speak in complete English sentences. So I’m ruling out (a). Actually I’m doing him a huge disservice to speak that way, even facetiously. He’s thoughtful, intelligent, very well educated, articulate, and by all indications a truly compassionate man, with a heart of care extending openly to those with whom he disagrees.

Still, the question you should be asking is, “What about the book?”

I’m glad you finally asked. The picture painted in A Queer Thing is unfortunately not pretty—not even as pretty as the cover image, which, Mike tells me, the gay men and lesbians he checked with rather liked; they thought it was pretty funny. (Some Christians have found it a bit disturbing.) The book portrays an agenda being pursued by a movement that insists it has no agenda. No agenda—though it does have “revolutionary goals,” “imperatives for gay liberation,” thoroughgoing intentions for legislative change, “anti-discrimination demands,” calls for “surrender,” calls to “create a new reality in America,” national task forces in virtually every sphere of society, networks of activists, demonstrations, campaigns, strategy documents, and on and on.  No agenda, indeed.

And what is on this non-agenda? In short, it is the legitimizing of “queer” and the de-legitimizing of any opposition to it. Brown details the raucously politicized process by which the two APAs (the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations) normalized homosexuality in the early 1970s. Fast-forward to today, and anyone who disagrees with this non-agenda runs the risk of being met with hate, social ostracism, loss of employment, even imprisonment. The social environment for those who oppose homosexual activism is colder than frost. That didn’t happen just by the turning of the seasons, though. The homosexual insurgency has commandeered language, manipulated the media, and promulgated propaganda with masterful strategic effectiveness. Now we have grade schools urging children be sexualized in all directions. We have college campuses controlling speech. We have corporations sponsoring public perversity. All of this is propped up by transparently vacuous arguments fueled by spurious emotional associations and (in some cases) main force.

You have to understand that Mike Brown did not try to compress all that into one paragraph as I just did. He didn’t even use my loaded language of “insurgency.” I claim the credit (or blame) for that myself. He certainly didn’t say he hates gays. In fact, it’s clear he doesn’t—not unless, as many homosexual activists would say, disagreement is automatically equivalent with hate. On page 57 you’ll find him quoting a public statement he and his local Charlotte, NC organization issued to the community:

We recognize that we have sometimes failed to reach out to you with grace and compassion, that we have often been insensitive to your struggles, that we have driven some of you away rather than drawn you in, that we have added to your sense of rejection. For these failings of ours, we ask you to forgive us. By God’s grace, we intend to be models of His love.

He went on to say,

In February, 2007, when we held a five-night lecture series on “Homosexuality, the Church, and Society” at the Booth Playhouse … we went out of our way to air our differences with gay and lesbian activists respectfully. The Charlotte Observer even noted in a supportive editorial that I had stated clearly that the lectures would “not be ‘a forum for gay bashing'” and that I would do nothing that’s ‘bigoted or mean-spirited.'”

That is the spirit of the man I have gotten to know. The spirit of the book he wrote is one of making supportable claims in as clear and calm a voice as possible. Everything is footnoted; there are some 89 pages of small-print notes at the end of the book. I don’t claim to have made a case for anything I said in that one rather breathless summary paragraph above. But Mike Brown made a case for what he had to share.

In fact if there’s one flaw to the book, it’s that he kept making the case over and over again, adding example to example, documented reference to documented reference, until it seemed more than might have been necessary. He did it skillfully, though. Take, for example, his chapter on arguments in favor of pedophilia. He had little trouble finding and documenting a whole raft of such arguments, believe it or not, many of them from otherwise (ahem) respectable academic sources. Now, there are all kinds of ways a writer could go wrong, bringing up this topic in the course of discussing homosexuality, for pedophilia is distinct from homosexuality, and very few gays would offer any support for child sexual abuse. Mike got that right. He kept the two issues properly distinct.

What’s harder to distinguish, he pointed out, are the arguments advanced in favor of pedophilia and homosexuality. “I didn’t choose it. It’s inborn, it’s natural. You can find it throughout history. Claims of harm are greatly overstated; it really doesn’t cause distress. It’s about love and equality and civil liberties.” All these have been offered in support of adult-child sex. Most homosexuals would agree with you and me that those arguments don’t make the standard. You couldn’t use statements like that to convince very many people that pedophilia is just fine. But they same arguments, with virtually identical wording, are used for homosexuality. Face it: if these arguments are weak, then they are weak. If they’re no good in support of pedophilia, what makes them any good in support of homosexual practice?

I’ve hardly begun to mention the topics Brown addresses in A Queer Thing. There are “queer” theologies, gay identity politics, controversies over reparative therapy, and a dozen or more flavors of transgenderism, including the man who “came out as a lesbian.” The book serves throughout as a signal warning of a revolution well under way. There’s hardly any secret to the clamor it has raised for a change in marriage laws. What might be a revelation to some readers is the movement’s dank political underside. It claims to be about civil liberties, but its internal methods and its behavioral intentions belie something different altogether.

Let’s go back now to our options (a), (b), or (c). I’m sure you can guess what I would choose. Now let me turn this in a more personal direction. I am exquisitely aware that readers are asking the same questions about my bias. Nothing draws quite so much ire on this blog as this topic does. Now, I have no interest in being labeled a raving homophobic fundamentalist, and I have even less interest in actually being such a person. (The gay men with whom I have friendships would say you were wrong if you pinned such a label on me.) Still I know that by summarizing and reviewing a book like this, I may be asking for the (a) label to be applied upon my own head.

So be it. It is an important book, thoroughly documented, remarkably clear-headed considering its subject matter, and deserving a wide audience. I urge you actually to read and to judge the book—not the author or the reviewer, but the book. What does it have to say, does it make its case, and what is its significance? Agree or disagree, I am quite sure you’ll find it worth investigating.

A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been by Michael L. Brown. Concord, NC: EqualTime Books, 2011. 691 pages including extensive endnotes. Amazon price US$18.47.

Related: Interview, Michael Brown with Frank Turek, April 16, 2011.

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26 thoughts on “Book Review: A Queer Thing Happened To America

  1. @Tom Gilson:

    I am confused about one issue. It was my impression that the gay community and its allies strenuously deny that homosexuality is inborn but rather a choice of the Will. The reason seems clear: if it is in fact inborn (e.g. some genetic defect), then by all standards of human health, it is also a disease. How do gay-rights advocates that play the “inborn” card escape the “disease” charge? Presumably by changing the standard of what counts as healthy or of what humanity is, but the fact is that homosexual practices are so counter to the obvious human biological realities that I cannot see how even a semblance of an argument can get off the ground.

  2. No, the gay community generally takes their orientation to be inborn and permanent. The official line adds, however, that it is something to be celebrated, a “gift from God” for those who believe in gifts from God, and therefore not something to be regarded as wrong or pathological in any sense.

    Now, as Mike Brown has documented in almost excessive degree, every word in that first paragraph but one could apply also to another group:

    No, the community of those with a pedophilic orientation generally takes their orientation to be inborn and permanent. The official line adds, however, that it is something to be celebrated, a “gift from God” for those who believe in gifts from God, and therefore not something to be regarded as wrong or pathological in any sense.

    How does the either argument get off the ground? You got me.

  3. Actually, the gay community has “evolved” their position from being “choice” to being “inborn”. They also have really, REALLY begun to de-emphasize bisexuals, despite the LGBT moniker…and the reason is clear: bisexuals quite OBVIOUSLY have a choice.

    No, they are hanging their hat on the “inborn” aspect – and it may prove to be their undoing. Like obesity, or alcoholism, I have little doubt that there will prove to be a genetic component – but one that is ALWAYS subservient to choice. Still, the gay community is eager to find the so-called “gay gene”…and when they do, I suspect this will immediately convert some of them from pro-abortion to pro-life. How many prospective parents, upon a positive fetal test result for the “gay gene”, might be tempted to terminate? At this point, you might witness a strange partnership between gay activists and pro-life Christians.

  4. I’ve also marveled at the irony within that community where, if you sense you are the wrong sex and want to change it, you are encouraged to “slice and dice yourself” in whatever manner is necessary to change…but if you sense you are the wrong orientation and want to change it, you are reviled and ostracized for wanting to change.

  5. Beez,

    How many prospective parents, upon a positive fetal test result for the “gay gene”, might be tempted to terminate?

    A similar comment was made under this this article at STR. People are celebrating the decline of Downs babies through abortion. Will they also celebrate the decline of gay babies through abortion? If science progresses quickly, we may soon find out. As Tom pointed out already, the arguments for both are the same.

  6. Beez:

    Actually, the gay community has “evolved” their position from being “choice” to being “inborn”. They also have really, REALLY begun to de-emphasize bisexuals, despite the LGBT moniker…and the reason is clear: bisexuals quite OBVIOUSLY have a choice.

    I don’t see any significant de-emphasis of bisexuality – on what do you base that?

    While a bisexual does have choice of sorts in the gender that he/she chooses to have relationships with, I don’t see that undermines anything about beliefs that sexual orientation (including bisexuality) is inborn (or at least all or in part hereditary).

    A bisexual doesn’t have any more or less control over who or what sexually arouses them than anybody else.

    Just a few days ago, there was a new study making its away around the popular press that seems to support the idea that genuine bisexual men exist – that is, both sexes do really arouse them.

    Take a look if you are interested: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/health/23bisexual.html

  7. Just a few days ago, there was a new study making its away around the popular press that seems to support the idea that genuine alcoholics exist – that is, they are genetically susceptible to alcohol.

    And this: just a few days ago, there was a new study making its away around the popular press that seems to support the idea that genuine multiple sclerosis exists – that is, some people are genetically predisposed to acquiring MS.

    So, per d’s warped “logic,” even if genetically predisposed, one has a “choice” to remain an alcoholic or continue to suffer MS without treatment. To impose treatment would be bigoted, wouldn’t it? Let’s change the definition of healthy to include alcoholism and multiple sclerosis, shall we?

    Let’s neglect the deadly emotional AND biological effects of practicing homosexuals, shall we? These are the results of bigotry, aren’t they?

    Dumber than a bag of hammers, that.

  8. All people are spiritually predisposed to sin. Let’s celebrate our sin nature! Uh…no thanks.

  9. Holo:

    I didn’t make any claims about any impositions, or lack there of, of treatments. How we classify diseases, and by what means we treat them (or not) is a surprisingly complicated and actually very interesting topic – but its one completely unrelated to my comment.

    My comments were about Beez’s post and its confusing usage of”choice” (I thought so anyway). It seemed to be used in a manner that suggests bisexuals can somehow choose their sexual orientation, and that this undermines arguments and evidence supporting the belief that the homosexual orientation is inborn. I’m happy for Beez to clarify though, if this isnt right.

    I will agree that there was definitely was some warped logic in your post – it just wasn’t mine. =)

  10. I don’t think Beez was saying in that context that being bi means one can choose one’s sexual orientation, but rather one’s partner for the night. Arguably that does have implications for the wider question.

    The matter of choosing one’s orientation is complex. It is not as easy to choose as some non-gays suppose, yet it is certainly not impossible as some homosexuals want to persuade us it is.

    Holo, you have accurately identified some warped logic that’s prevalent among the homosexual insurgency—though d points out accurately that it wasn’t really there in what he said.

  11. I wasn’t implying that ONLY bisexuals can exercise some amount of choice in how they deal with their sexual orientation (notice how that is worded), just simply that their choices may require less effort than someone who has NO attraction for the opposite sex. Thanks for the correct interpretation of my comment, Tom.

    Meanwhile, D, the study you cite is in some ways evidence of what I am discussing, and I remember the pleasant surprise when I first heard of it from the Times. Anything that serves to paint sexuality as a spectrum characteristic starts to bring it in line with many other personality characteristics (whether considered by society as ‘disorders’ or not) and so therefore is less useful to those with an agenda that benefits from a “you ARE or you AREN’T” approach. The fact that someone had to do a study to prove that people can be bisexual suggests that there was a falsehood being promulgated that someone could NOT be. That falsehood would tend to benefit gay activists more than not (though that is certainly not proof of who is spreading it).

    The problems that some gays have with bisexuals probably don’t have a lot of scholarly research to document them – but I have been hearing about them for years, and it’s not hard to find evidence of them. The overarching concern seems to be that being bisexual “hurts the movement”. Here are a couple of examples (from gay-friendly posters, I might add):
    http://www.whosoever.org/v4i4/beyond.html
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060614102456AAKrvgs
    http://www.bialogue.org/index.html

  12. Relevant: Predators with Ph.D.s. “Academic” arguments for normalizing pedophilia, including:

    Pedophiles are “unfairly stigmatized and demonized” by society.
    “The majority of pedophiles are gentle and rational.”
    There was concern about “vice-laden diagnostic criteria” and “cultural baggage of wrongfulness.”
    “We are not required to interfere with or inhibit our child’s sexuality.”
    “Children are not inherently unable to consent” to sex with an adult.
    An adult’s desire to have sex with children is “normative.”
    Our society should “maximize individual liberty. … We have a highly moralistic society that is not consistent with liberty.”
    “In Western culture sex is taken too seriously.”
    “Anglo-American standard on age of consent is new [and ‘Puritanical’]. In Europe it was always set at 10 or 12. Ages of consent beyond that are relatively new and very strange, especially for boys. They’ve always been able to have sex at any age.”
    “Assuming children are unable to consent lends itself to criminalization and stigmatization.”
    A consensus belief by both speakers and pedophiles in attendance was that, because it vilifies MAPs, pedophilia should be removed as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in the same manner homosexuality was removed in 1973.

  13. “Children are not inherently unable to consent”

    Of course. Saying “okay” and giving your consent is easy – anyone can do that. However they ARE inherently UNABLE to grasp what they are consenting to – especially if the message is sugar-coated to make it look more attractive than it really is.

    Take legal contracts as an example. A child may be able to read the paper and sign the contract, but do they understand what they are doing? Maybe not.

    Jeepers, if consent is the sole criteria let’s let adults make binding legal contracts with children. Doesn’t matter if the agreement robs them of a promising future or somehow destroys their life, it only matters that both parties agreed to it.

    The rest of the list of reasons are just as horrible. These people are educated fools that cannot wisely apply what they know!

  14. By the way, feel free to visit Dr. Brown website.
    I recommend his 2 DVD sets on homosexuality and Christianity. and also visit often his “Line of Fire” radio. Great site, and great man!

    If you want to be current on queer fascism – make sure to visit “AFTAH” Americans for truth about homosexuality. This site is sometimes not for the fainthearted. 😀

  15. Konstantin, thank you for the comments. I think you said something in one of them that you did not intend, however, so one of your comments will not be showing up on the page here. I’m going to respond to it in part, even though others will not see what I am responding to.

    African-Americans, like all humans, have their rights by virtue of being created in God’s image. The law did not give them their rights, although (crucially) it did recognize their rights, which was overdue and very necessary when it came.

    So the question is, which rights do humans have? Is the law recognizing them properly? As far as I can see, the law gives every person the right to marry, and no one is excluded from that right. Some people are trying to create a right to “marry” persons of the same sex. But the law does not grant rights; it only recognizes them. There is no such right, so the law ought not attempt to recognize it.

  16. What evidence can you provide that Scripture does not teach that homosexuality is a sin? This seems like a topic you’re very passionate about, and I suspect that in your zeal to hear what you desperately want to hear from the Scriptures you’ve uncritically accepted the opinions of pseudo or fringe scholars. What was that about fringe groups, again?

  17. Bryan,

    What evidence can you provide that Scripture does not teach that homosexuality is a sin?

    She goes into detail here. I just glanced at the page and it appears her conclusion is that everyone has been wrong about scripture for centuries.

  18. More Queerness being imposed on those who disagree even though nobody opposed them and they got what they wanted.

    – Town clerk refuses to personally issue gay “marriage” license due to Christian beliefs.
    – Town clerk arranges to have a deputy clerk issue the licenses instead.
    – Everyone is happily “married” and loving life. It’s all about the love.
    – Nope. Not good enough says the gay couple. We demand that everyone play along.

    Reference WSJ article here

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