Earlier this year, ridiculously hostile anti-LGBT activist Matt Barber, working in tandem with his employers at the Liberty Counsel, opened a conservative website called BarbWire.com. The site's title is an obvious play on Matt's surname, but it might as well refer to the insults and sneers (or "barbs") for which the nascent site has become known, with the majority (and the worst) of those directed to the LGBT community. Day in and day out, Matt and his team fill the site with the most overheated attacks one can imagine.
There are articles that attempt to make a direct connection between LGBT rights and terrorism, like this one that ran just two days ago:
"The sin and failing of Sodom was always homosexuality and it is a sign in today’s world that Israel and any other nation that gives in to LGBT agenda has passed the mark and is due for God’s intervention.Homosexuals see injustice on every level of society because they are not fully accepted and their normal is seen by most as damaging perversity. They don’t realize that the more their plight becomes accepted as the norm, the closer the rest of the world is in danger of judgment."
When it comes to LGBT-affirming religion and debates on that front, the site's purview can be summed up with this headline, which is currently runing on the site's front page:
The site is rife with crude and offensive historical revisionism, like this recent post suggesting gays only suffered during the Holocaust because of other gay men:
The site is downright obsessed with making gay men seem like pedophiles:
The site is not meant to simply push back against LGBT rights or win some sort of political "culture war." Instead, the site represents a clear attempt to make LGBT people seem like a global threat that must be contained or even eradicated. The site loves to suggest that LGBT "tyranny" is going to lead to the ruin and "re-education" of all who oppose:
It is a site designed for dehumanization. And fear. That is a really frightening combo that can pose very dangerous consequences for the marginalized group in the proverbial crosshairs.
When you first look at the site's contributors list, it's no surprise that the tone is so nasty. Bradlee Dean, Bryan Fischer, Janet Porter, Laurie Higgins, Scott Lively, Robert Oscar Lopez, Peter LaBarbera, and Michael Brown all join Matt in contributing to the site. When you couple those names with some of the lesser-known-but-equally-vitriolic activists that Matt has brought in, you have one very obsessive team that clearly has no intention of stopping at just same-sex marriage or inclusive nondiscrimination laws. This is a band of advocates that makes no bones about it: they do not believe LGBT people should even be L, G, B, or T, and they will try their damnedest to make that reality come to light. That's not alarmist talk: that's what they say, in so many words.
But here's the thing: the site also includes contributors who are squarely connected to the very top of the conservative political and media chain. For instance, BarbWire runs Tony Perkins' daily column:
Tony Perkins, as you surely know, is one of the most visible and politically-connected faces in the anti-LGBT conservative movement. Tony regularly appears on Fox News' top-rated primetime show, Tony has the ear of top lawmakers on the Hill, he has a personal relationship with power brokers, and he is routinely tapped to address mainstream audiences that include prominent governors and senators and what-have-yas. And yet Tony is apparently a perfect fit for this website.
Then there's Matt's employer, Liberty Counsel. Liberty Counsel actually owns the BarbWire.com domain name:
This is the same Liberty Counsel that argues against our rights in all kinds of prominent LGBT rights court cases. This is the same Liberty Counsel whose head, Mat Staver, is also a Fox News regular and who was just recently invited to testify before a House Committee. This is the same Liberty Counsel that is serving as a sponsor of the Family Research Council's upcoming Values Voter Summit, at which a who's who of conservative politicians and media figures turn out to appear year after year (in presidential years, all of the candidates from one particular party traditionally show up to speak).
So while it's easy to look at the rhetoric of all of these folks (Perkins and Liberty Counsel included) and write them off as fringe, it's practically impossible to do so. Regardless of how fringe they sound, the sad truth is that there is very little daylight between policymakers who have very real and lasting effect on our lives and this team of anti-LGBT activists who attempt to connect us to pedophiles and Nazis. As LGBT rights victories come faster and become more sweeping, the line between the over-the-top voice and the mainstream pundit seems to be growing thinner and more indistinguishable.
BarbWire.com, while clearly designed to cut us, is actually helping us connect these dots.