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03/15/2012

Jim Daly's nice, would help you build a fort. So ignore what he chose to put on record? #glaadcap

by Jeremy Hooper

To no one's surprise, professional "ex-gay" Randy Thomas has responded negatively to GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project. But in raising the points that he does, Randy only helps highlight one of the true beauties of the project. Reach this snip and then I'll get back to you:

Hmm… I took a look at the long list of people targeted featured and at least a couple of those folks, I would agree, have the capacity to be quite hateful. For example Peter LaBarbera and I have had our run-ins in the past.
...
But come on …JIM DALY of all people? JIM? Jim is like … the cool Uncle who would help you build your tree fort AND help you with your trigonometry homework. He’s the kind of guy that seems like he would randomly anonymously buy someone dinner … just because. From what I know of the man, he’s that kind of nice; a trustworthy authority figure.

My testimony is in Chuck Colson’s (also on the list) book The Good Life. I know he doesn’t hate gay people and is incredibly smart. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that my friend and former boss Alan Chambers has never called a gay person a satanist fascist and shouldn’t be lumped in with those who do.

Granted, Jim, Chuck and Alan [Chambers] speak into and represent topics that some folks who identify as gay won’t like much less appreciate. Having once identified as gay, I can relate with empathy. Even so, the men in the previous two paragraphs, and some other men and women I know on the list, would never say anything offensive for the sake of simply being offensive. They aren’t working out some sort of internalized anger or hatred. They genuinely believe what they are saying is a graceful/truthful response to difficult issues. They do hold expertise in their respective fields and offer their opinions humbly and with respect. They provide quality analysis to the various discussions concerning public policy initiatives across the board, not just those that affect the same-sex attracted.

There are other not “animus filled” people on the
target CAP list, others that make me cringe from time to time, and others I have never heard of before. I am certainly not going to break down the list from my perspective but GLAAD isn’t showing much promise in its effort to accommodate constructive criticism/accountability when it lumps this wide variety of Christian leaders into one big stigmatizing PR campaign.
KEEP READING: GLAAD vs. Christians [Randy Thomas]

Okay, so Randy's taking the anecdotal, "Oh, I know him and he's nice" approach. Guess what? I don't dispute that many of the folks on the GLAAD list are amiable people, good parents, virtuous in many other areas, and able tree-fort builders. I can say with near certainty that no one involved with the GLAAD CAP project would dispute this either. Congeniality is not the point.

The point is for commentators who get to speak to massive audiences in various outlets to actually be held accountable for what they sometimes say about LGBT in lesser forums, but rarely to never say in more prominent forums. For some, this isn't as true. Some of these folks (like LaBarbera) would be more apt to go on CNN and say the same thing he says on a website that Randy aptly notes as incendiary. But some, like Tony Perkins or Jim Daly, would never say that if we "redefine marriage" we will have to fight "the judgement of God" or that gay activists are "hateful," "vile" "pawns" of "the enemy" when speaking on "Morning Joe" or in the Washington Post's "On Faith" column. But both men have said as much in more like-minded forums [Tony's CAP profile; Jim's CAP profile]! And *THAT* is the point: Telling them that they need to stop playing dual roles and have the fortitude to reconcile the kinds of things they sake for the sake of fundraising with the things they say for the sake of media access!

I can tell you, familiarly, that twos project is not meant to say that Matt Barber is exactly the same person as Chuck Colson, or to even delve into who would be the better companion for a weekend boating trip. But the beauty, which I alluded to earlier, is that the project doesn't rank anyone: It only says that all of these folks have put out some form of rhetoric that GLAAD sees as in need of greater notice. It is absurd that a project that does nothing more than take people's OWN PUBLICLY-PRESENTED WORDS and give them greater prominence is somehow "one big stigmatizing PR campaign." If these folks are being stigmatized by this project, then they should've thought twice before saying and writing the things that they SAID AND WROTE!

And if they are not ashamed of what they themselves have put out there? Then they, professional engagers of public opinion, should be sending GLAAD a fruit basket for helping raise their profiles rather than making wholly anti-intellectual claims about their supposed "silencing."

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*Also interesting to note that Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton, who has one of the single most hostile comments on the entire GLAAD CAP list ("…homosexuality does more than fail. It’s a particularly evil lie of Satan because he knows that it overthrows the very image of the Trinitarian God in creation, revealed in the union of male and female.”), expressed his camaraderie on Randy's comments section. I had to respond:

Screen Shot 2012-03-15 At 8.47.50 Am

Glenn's "particularly evil lie of Satan" comment remains on Focus on the Family's website to this day, influencing countless mothers to think hurtful thoughts about their gay children.

Althought I hear Glenn's great at building tree forts, so -- get a hammer and forget your worries?

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