More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Tony Perkins warns his supporters: When you talk, people might listen
On his radio show, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins had this to say about pastors and other conservative voices who might say anti-LGBT things:
In a nutshell, this clip signifies everything that is wrong about anti-LGBT pundits and their movement's distorted version of "free speech."
First there's the warning. Because it's always a warning. With the anti-LGBT crowd, it's always a case of their side of this debate being somehow victimized at the hands of the big, bad gays. That's the game.
Then there's the "liberal group" who dug through the audio, as if doing so is unfair. This is something that pundits like Tony always try to do to us. They like to call us "stalkers" or "trolls" or some other denigrating term, simply because we see a reason to listen to their radio shows and note what they themselves are saying about us. Even though they are putting on public interest programs that they presumably want people to hear or watch, it's as if they believe they are entitled to air these programs in vacuums that only allow for supportive audience members. It's bizarre, frankly.
And of course there's the biggie: the general idea that it's the messenger who finds the anti-LGBT clips who is at fault and not the person who chose the flawed, discriminatory, inapt, or downright offensive language. Tony would never tell his supportive listeners to shy away from extremely hostile comments since he himself has one of the most LGBT-hostile quote banks of anyone working in politics. So instead, he just tells them to be on the lookout for those "liberal groups" whose receptive senses happen to function.
...and, I suppose, those of us who might happen to also have a project aimed at telling the general public that people like Perkins believe things like 'gay people are pawns of the devil.'
Commentary is an exchange of ideas. This is not a tough concept to understand. People in public life speak because they want votes or donors or converts or fans or some sort of support base. When one chooses to speak and make his or her words somehow available to those outside of his or her own private life, then he or she instantly opens the possiblity for scrutiny. All of us—pro-equality, anti-equality, or somewhere in between. Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom from dissent.
If you are confident enough to say something publicly then you must be confident enough to stand by your words when others question them. That is called conviction. If the anti-LGBT movement is not onvicted enough to stand up for beliefs that they themselves stated, then they need to turn their questions inwards and ask why that is, not turn their condemnations outward.