Wednesday, March 28, 2007

And Now...Ex-Anti-Gay

In the rant before the rant, let me praise Pam Spaulding. Her Pam's House Blend (always a link to it here [appropriately] on the left) is a gem. The Durham-based commentary is insightful, often surprising, and continually evolving.

Yesterday, she ran a long interview with a former professional verbal gay basher who has come over from the Dark Side. A single conversion does not make a trend, but other anti-gay and anti-marriage-equality types might open their eyes and minds reading how he got from there to here.

Joe Murray had been an American Family Association staff attorney and columnist. He wrote some of the most vitriolic and divisive pieces from the right wing. Consider as an example his 2003 commentary following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Texas laws against consensual gay sex. The column, The Summer of Sodomy, includes such condemnations as:
There is no question about it: the Summer of 2003 will go down in history as the Summer of Sodomy. The Buggery Battalion, forever diligent in its quest to lay siege to America's cultural institutions, has made tremendous strides in replacing traditional Judeo-Christian values with a New Age doctrine of tolerance and acceptance -- i.e., unconditional acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. Put simply, there is not a social structure existing today that has not been touched by the homosexual movement.
It concludes that the least that needs to happen in reaction includes:
By excommunicating Justice Kennedy, the Catholic Church would be defending its faith, preserving its people, and protecting those nations who still hold true to Christian values. Protestant churches must follow suit, cleaning their house of members who only pay lip service to the message of Christ.
No question, no quarter, no compromise marked his high rhetoric at AFA. You may have noticed that I am pessimistic about reasoning with such folk, much less convincing them that what I see as equality, fairness, Christianity and American ideals are worthy of consideration. So, we can all wonder how Murray put down his light saber of vengeance.

The interview reveals all and is worth paging down through for the transformation. It turns out Murray is still adamantly Christian and pro-life, and pro-strong military. Yet, he studied his Bible and found:
  • He knows that it is his God's power, not other humans', to judge and condemn or save.
  • That the often quoted sections of the King James version used to damn homosexuals refer to boy prostitutes, not homosexuals and are too narrow to build a political and moral campaign on.
  • Much of the religious right obsesses about homosexuality. As he extrapolated, "The whole gay issue is no longer about the quest for the Truth; it is about fear and loathing. It is about shame and sorrow. It is anything but Christian."
After much study, prayer and introspection, he changed his heart. He even now hopes that by such interviews and his writing that he might "move (the AFA) in the right direction...I hoped that if some folks in the organization read the piece from a former employee with strong 'conservative' credentials, they would take a second look on how to handle this issue. It is a long shot, but it was worth the chance."

The far-ranging post covers Murray's assessment of the religious right's statements and campaigns. Do read it.

I remained to be convinced that the leaders of the anti-gay and anti-marriage equality campaigns will ease off, much less have Murray's kind of satori. I have noted numerous times, like here, how even their constituencies are slowly coming around and dribbling away from the Dark Side. Yet, even as their loss in his brutal crusade becomes increasingly obvious, the leaders are not likely to ease off.

Murray hopes they will come to reason and to do what he now knows is the Christian thing. I would welcome that, but I am not holding my breath.

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1 comment:

Ryan said...

This just put me in a happy mood. His columns were so crazy that even I remembered some of them. It's nice to see that someone like him can see the light. Now we just need to make the vote-on-marriage crowd to think the same.