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NRO's Lopez replies to my GLAAD piece—by sidestepping every word of my GLAAD piece

by Jeremy Hooper

I was the first person to bring to light the matter of Bob Newhart planning to perform at an anti-LGBT organization's annual summit, so it's safe to say that I know the conversation well. Basically, this is an organization that regularly promotes the idea that gay people are "disordered" and need to be "changed" (or at least rendered celibate, which is the preferred Catholic course of action), and I thought that Mr. Newhart was likely unaware of that fact. I wrote my piece so that he could make a more informed decision, which he did—he pulled out of the appearance.

I wrote my initial piece for GLAAD, where I do some work as an independent contractor. In said piece, I laid out various reasons why the organization was, in fact, anti-LGBT. To make my case, I used clearly sourced information directly from Legatus itself. All of it is linked out, so anyone who wants to know what, exactly, I/GLAAD found objectionable can simply click on the links and see it for themselves right here on Legatus' own web properties. Moreover, any commentator who wants to challenge my claims has easy access to the claims at the heart of the piece.

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 At 9.11.25 AmWhich brings us to National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez (pic), a reliable voice of anti-LGBT Catholicism. Lopez has jumped in to this fray, purporting to turn GLAAD into bullies for challenging the Newhart appearance. Only thing? She doesn't at all address what I actually wrote on GLAAD's site. Instead, the far-right commentator pulls a random quote from a random Legatus event and acts as if it is what GLAAD considers bigotry. She writes:

As Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez put it in one talk to a Legatus national convention:

Holiness is the beautiful demand and promise of the Gospel. And we are coming to realize that holiness is not just something for people who wear collars or people who wear habits. Holiness is won little by little in our faithful efforts to fulfill our daily duties. In our homes. In our businesses. In our neighborhoods. In our civic life.

St. Paul said: Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do it all for the glory of God and in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s the secret of life. That’s the reason we’re here. To give glory to God through our lives.

According to
GLADD [sic] that is bigotry? That is outside the realm of anyone who wants to be considered civilized?

This is important. This is an ongoing attack and the stakes are high.

FULL PIECE: Bob Newhart and the narrowing of freedom [NRO]

This Archbishop Gomez quote is nowhere in my GLAAD piece. It doesn't have the first thing to do with anything I wrote. Not the first thing.

The truth is, I am 100% willing to concede that many Legatus speakers have surely said some nice-sounding things about faith and God and the gospel. They've probably served nice refreshments, decorated nicely, and sung pretty Christmas carols too. So what? That doesn't change the fact that this organization spends a significant share of its time telling supporters (and anyone else who will listen) that LGBT people should not be L, G, B, or T and that our rights, freedoms, and protections are "non-negotiables" for Catholic voters. Just because you do good deeds and say nice things, it doesn't absolve you of the fact that you tell people my sexual orientation is "disordered" and that my family consists of "activities and a lifestyle that are dangerous — physically, emotionally and spiritually." If you actively work to deny my family of its due rights, freedoms, and protections, I'm going to have a hard time enjoying the expertly crafted canapés you serve during the cocktail hour or laughing along with the family-friendly comedian you hired to perform during the dessert course. The whole denial-of-gays thing is kinda, sorta the headline here.

But true to the anti-LGBT conservative movement's usual form (read: always, every time, without fail), Lopez is responding to me by sidestepping the actual conversation that I started. Rather than acknowledge that Legatus holds such views about LGBT people and honestly admitting that an entertainer who works in Hollywood with and around many LGBT people might see a reason to distance himself from such an organization, Lopez is trying to host her own conversation about Legatus' commitment to holiness. Worse yet, she's positioning GLAAD against that mission, acting as if the organization (through the vehicle of me, the writer of the Newhart piece) took exception to Legatus' faith in general rather than its recorded acts of anti-LGBT aggression. And even though I did not use any variation of the word "bigotry" in my piece (I rarely do), Lopez is going ahead and throwing that word into the mix too, just to drive home her duplicitous point and make me sound like a character assassin rather than a reasoned thinker.

It is yet another act of responsibility-shirking from a movement that refuses to own any of its nonsense. It's an extension of this movement's larger attempt to turn our side of a two-sided national conversation into a supposed limiting of their "free speech" and/or "religious freedom." It's yet another example of a losing movement trying desperately to turn the tide against LGBT people, in hopes that a much larger wave will soon wash away all progress. These words, from Ms. Kathryn Jean Lopez, are meant to make people like me, who do little more than raise awareness of documented facts as I take a stand on behalf of my life, love, and family, seem like the antagonists in this fight.

And let's be 100% clear: it is a strategic game that they are playing for a decided purpose.

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