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Right-wing church plans ‘dialogue’ on gay issues, in response to NC gay pride

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Partly in response to the PrideCharlotte festival being held this week and into this weekend in Charlotte, NC, a right-wing religious group affiliated with the radical, anti-gay protest group Operation Save America, has announced its plans for a “dialogue” and forum on “the Bible and Homosexual Practice,” according to a press release from the Coalition of Conscience and the FIRE School, based in Concord, NC.

Local gay clergy in and around Charlotte are being invited to participate in the forum.

More after the flip.According to the press release:

Dr. Michael L. Brown, director of the Coalition of Conscience, has extended an invitation to Charlotte’s gay clergy to participate in a public dialogue on Thursday night, September 20th, from 7:00-9:30 PM. The event will be hosted by FIRE Church, located at 4323 Concord Pkwy S., Concord, North Carolina.

Brown said he was prompted to call for this public dialogue after reading an article in Q-Notes, the gay newspaper of the Carolinas, which stated that Pride Charlotte would feature a “Booth of Truth” that would offer “truthful, gay affirming information about spirituality.”

Said Brown, “This is a highly divisive issue that is of paramount importance to tens thousands of Christians in the greater Charlotte area, and it’s about time that we bring the relevant issues to light in a mutually respectful, Christlike manner. Hopefully, clergy in the gay and lesbian community will be willing to come out on this issue too.”

Brown also pointed out that the stakes are high. “If my viewpoint is wrong, that means I’ve been guilty of making God into a bigoted homophobe. If their viewpoint is wrong, that means they’re sanctioning sin.” Brown added that Jesus himself said that, “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light.” “So,” Brown asked, “if we’re convinced that our position is right, why not bring it into the light? Do we have anything to hide?”

The press release goes on to say, “Still, despite the highly-controversial nature of the subject, Brown believes that there can be a healthy dialogue without acrimony or venom. ‘Hopefully, in 21st century America, we can air our differences and have serious interaction without engaging in name-calling, hate speech, or rancor. And certainly, there will be no gay-bashing from me.'”

I’ve emailed the Coalition of Conscience to ask if I can attend not only as an audience member but also as a member of the media – as a blogger – in order to take notes and video for a later report on I’ve yet to hear back but am hopeful I’ll be able to attend with my notepad and video camera in hand. I have not heard if any local Charlotte gay or gay-affirming clergy plan to respond to Brown’s invitation.

During the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala in February 2007, Brown’s group hosted a week-long series of lectures on homosexuality.

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Matt Comer

Matt Comer