Dr. Michael Brown is obsessed with gay people. That might reveal something about his own sexuality and insecurities but it is probably more complex than that.
Wednesday, Michael Brown provides A Short Primer on the Bible and Homosexual Practice. Aside from the fact that the Bible says lots of things that are no longer applicable (like, say, murdering brides who turn out not to be virgins), Brown is being intellectually dishonest and, perhaps, revealing in ways that he does not intend.
I don’t want to go through this entire treatise and I am more interested in the why than the what. Here is just a sample of Brown’s prose:
1) Every single reference to homosexual practice in the Bible is categorically negative.
2) There is not one positive reference to homosexual practice in the Bible nor one positive example of a homosexual relationship.
The above is probably true. However, as Brown surely knows, homosexuality in biblical times was recognized as something different from what it is today. The homosexuality that was known in biblical times involved the conduct of patricians and their young male sex slaves. That was perfectly acceptable throughout the Roman and Persian empires providing that the senator or equestrian (for example) was in the active role and was not penetrated.
A tribunus laticlavius of the legion, essentially a four-star general of the senatorial class, might have sex with his young boy slaves. However, if that same elite caught two legionnaires having sex, both would be crucified (without hypocrisy on his part).
Why do some conservative Christians pay so much attention to gay people? If one subscribes to Christian teachings there are a great many more people engaged in a great many more sins.
It stems at first from the scientific fact that sexual orientation is innate and immutable. Pray-away-the-gay and conversion therapy have only one purpose and it is not the alchemy to convert gay people to straight people. That singular purpose is to attempt to refute the science. That is important because once people realize that sexual orientation is innate then people deserve certain rights regardless of their sexuality. Thus, sexual orientation increasingly becomes a protected class.
Michael Brown is obsessed because he does not approve of gay people. Hence he does not want gay people to have those rights that inure to them. I have theorized that some of this undue attention is the result of the tenuous position that conservative Christians find themselves in.
As a society we initially think of civil rights as the protection of people who have an immutable trait such as ethnicity, national origin and skin color. With greater scientific realization, we add things like sexual orientation and gender identity. The paradigm does not really work with religion. Michael Brown is a perfect example. He chose to convert from Judaism to Christianity. Even if he had not, he cannot argue that religion is innate and immutable.
Theoretically I suspect that some of the focus on gay people is due to insecurity over their own status as a protected class which, itself, must be protected. I think it goes further than religious insecurity.
It was Viennese psychoanalyst Alfred Adler who coined the term inferiority complex. Adler posited that people who feel inferior (insecure if you prefer) “strive for superiority” by overcompensating. These people can only find happiness by making others unhappy. In other words, insecure people try to make others more insecure than they are. This creates superiority out of inferiority.
No doubt, people like Michael Brown and Peter LaBarbera have genuine religious beliefs. Based on those beliefs they do not approve of gay people. The simple resolution, however, is for these people not to engage in gay sex but they have other needs.
Every time a gay person obtains rights these folks are confronted with less superiority in the eyes of others. The insane reaction to marriage equality was not based on God’s presumptive displeasure. This is all about superiority and inferiority.
These folks strive to assert their superiority over gay people. That makes them rather noisy (persistently noisy in fact) and often offensive.
I confess that they have the power to make me unhappy, even angry. Not for myself but because of the damage that they are capable of doing to young LGBT people; either directly or through their parents. It is unfortunate that they do not take the time to really think through what they are doing.
I am not suggesting that Brown makes a conscious effort to feel superior by demeaning gay people. Nevertheless, that is seemingly what he is attempting to do.
The notion that the Bible disapproves of homosexuality is entirely irrelevant to our lives today. Brown’s offering serves no legitimate purpose except to pronounce his superiority over others. Do you think that he is going to convince other conservative Christians to be even more homophobic? Does that make any sense as a motive?
In contrast I have no desire to make Michael Brown unhappy. His displeasure would have no effect on my sense of who I am. My motives are positive in nature. Have you ever noticed that people like Brown are angry all the time? Might that stem from a realization that making others unhappy is a negative pursuit? Does anger provide a pretext for attacking others in order to bolster one’s own sense of worth?
Just by writing this I am feeding the beast. I guess that I will just have to accept responsibility for doing so.