I have never been more proud of my career accomplishments than I am today. It has been said that the friends and foes accrued over a lifetime can be used as a measure of the man. Given the coalition of homophobes and hate groups that viciously attacked me today, I feel my life’s work has been vindicated and validated.
When I woke up this morning, I was greeted with a pernicious press release headlined, “Family Groups Urge FOX NEWS to Stop Providing Unchallenged Prime Time to Agitator.” The sub headline read: “Bill O’Reilly ignores repeated requests to drop SPLC’s Wayne Besen from show.” (Note: I don’t work for SPLC. I am the founder of Truth Wins Out)
The letter/press release was signed by a who’s who of anti-gay activists, many of whom have helped land their organizations on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. Here is the All-Star line-up:
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
Sally Kern, Oklahoma State Representative
Diane Gramley, President, American Family Association of Pennsylvania
David Smith, Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute
Laurie Higgins, Cultural Analyst for the Illinois Family Institute
Matt Barber, Vice President, Liberty Counsel Action
Denise Shick, Founder and Director, Help 4 Families
Regina Griggs, Executive Director, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX)
Arthur Abba Goldberg, J.D., Co-Director, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH)
Greg Quinlan, President, Pro-Family Network of Ohio
John Kirkwood, Pastor, Grace Gospel Fellowship
Brian Camenker, Executive Director, MassResistance
Peter LaBarbera, President, AFTAH
Scott Lively, J.D., President, Defend the Family International
Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD, The Pray In Jesus Name Project
Linda Harvey, President, Mission America
First, I’d like to thank Bill O’Reilly and his producers for ignoring these fringe elements. Bill has invited me on periodically as a guest for more than a decade. While Bill and I have rarely agreed on the air, our exchanges have consistently been reasonable, rational, and respectful. Perhaps, this is why I have been invited back time and again. I applaud Bill and his staff for thinking for themselves and not being intimidated by activists who are well known for an ignoble history of indecency and intolerance. A motley crew that has sullied the nation’s discourse and lowered the tenor of the debate in America.
Second, it is rich to see these alleged defenders of liberty and freedom begging FOX to censor a point of view in which they find objectionable. The hypocrisy of these individuals and groups is stunning and reveals that they embrace “free speech” as little more than political buzzwords employed for tactical advantage. This effort to silence diverse points of views is disappointing and stands in stark contrast to the America I grew up in and love.
Third, it is improper, if not a tad unseemly, for this group to cravenly exploit the tragic shooting that occurred last week at the Family Research Council. Truth Wins Out might have been the first non-profit organization in the nation to respond to the incident, immediately releasing the following statement:
“This is an awful tragedy and our thoughts and hearts go out to the victim, his family, and his colleagues at the Family Research Council,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “In America we settle political differences through robust debate in the public square, not with violence. If the shooting is found to be politically motivated, it is a detestable act of cruelty and cowardice and the perpetrator should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We stand squarely with the Family Research Council today and offer them our full support and prayers.” (Additionally we signed onto an LGBT community statement and issued a press release)
It deeply saddens me that anyone would use this awful situation as an occasion to sow further division and engage in unbecoming personal attacks. This is a time when we should all come together in the spirit of unity and not try to capitalize off this tragedy or score cheap political points.
Fourth, it was quite revealing that these activists would falsely accuse me of “demonizing conservative organizations and individuals” while asking their supporters to write to them at the e-mail address: WackyWayne666@hotmail.com. According to Wikipedia:
In modern popular culture, 666 has become one of the most widely recognized symbols for the Antichrist or, alternatively, the Devil. The number 666 is reportedly used to invoke Lucifer (Satan) the dark spirit of seething rage.
The press release ends with the signers saying: “words have consequences. Yes, they do. And Besen’s may lead to violence.” There appears to be a serious disconnect when these activists make such unverifiable claims but are unable to comprehend that equating LGBT advocates with the devil might place them and their families at an elevated risk.
This is not the first time I have been literally demonized by the organization Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), who spearheaded the press release and letter to FOX News. The group’s former webmaster used his computer to manipulate my facial features so they would appear demonic. A former PFOX board member photoshopped a Hitler mustache onto my face, even though I am Jewish.
And these activists want to be portrayed as the voice of reason and restraint?
Fifth, one must ask why the signers are genuinely upset and want to silence me with a smear campaign?
The reason: Because I have consistently challenged their propaganda campaigns, exposed their lies, publicly taken them to task, helped undermine the so-called “ex-gay” myth that they promote, and even destroyed some of their careers. If anything the level of vitriol they displayed highlights the effectiveness of Truth Wins Out and our ability to strategically frustrate the goals of our adversaries.
I think it would be instructive to now take a closer look at whom these activists making such crude and unsubstantiated charges truly are:
Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern is the most prominent signer of the letter. In a March 2008 speech Kern said that homosexuality was a bigger threat to America than terrorism:
“Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it’s the death knell of this country. I honestly think it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat… If you got cancer or something in your little toe, do you say, well, you know, I’m just going to forget about it because the rest of me is fine? It spreads. OK? And this stuff is deadly, and it’s spreading, and it will destroy our young people, it will destroy this nation.”
Kern’s views on other minorities are no more enlightened. Here is what she said during a debate in April 2011 regarding African Americans:
“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”
Kern’s opinion of women isn’t much better, with this statement coming from the same debate:
“Women usually don’t want to work as hard as a man… women tend to think a little bit more about their family, wanting to be at home more time, wanting to have a little more leisure time.”
It is quite clear to me that those who signed this letter must concur with Kern or they would not have elected to include her in the original draft. They are entitled to their opinion, for sure, but it’s a bit ironic that they are masquerading as paragons of civility and tolerance.
Scott Lively is a holocaust revisionist and one of America’s most spiteful anti-gay activists. He is the co-author of an incendiary, intellectually bankrupt, and historically inaccurate propaganda book, The Pink Swastika, which blames Nazism on LGBT people. According to the Lively’s description of his book:
“The Pink Swastika will show that there was far more brutality, torture, and murder committed against innocent people by Nazi deviants and homosexuals than there ever was against homosexuals.”
Lively has repeatedly compared homosexuality to pedophilia and demonizes advocates for LGBT equality:
“Even though probably the majority of homosexuals are not oriented towards young people, there is a significant number that are, especially the men…male homosexuality has historically been not adult to adult it has been adult to teenager”
“The gay movement is an evil institution that’s goal is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity in which there’s no restrictions on sexual conduct except the principle of mutual choice.”
Lively is currently being sued by a Ugandan gay rights group in federal court in Massachusetts, alleging that he violated international law by inciting the persecution of gay men and lesbians in Uganda. According to the New York Times:
The lawsuit maintains that beginning in 2002, Mr. Lively conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that gay people would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture.
Lively’s decision to join this unprecedented personal attack probably has to do with the fact that I openly challenged him on his misinformation at a church seminar he gave a few months ago in Oklahoma City. He was visibly flustered by my efforts and I eventually had to leave the church after his followers became testy.
I wasn’t stunned that Linda Harvey was on the list considering that she may be the most homophobic woman in America. In one of her columns, she warned mothers about the alleged “threat” of openly gay doctors and nurses treating their children.
“There are a few homosexual doctors treating kids, there are far more nurses, LPNs, technicians and other health care workers in these lifestyles so you may want to consider writing a letter that you file with your pediatrician that should your child ever be hospitalized, you do not want your child to be treated or cared for by one of these members of the Children’s Hospital gay employees group except in the case of an emergency situation.”
Harvey is also opposed to openly LGBT schoolteachers and claimed on her website that, “These teachers then become role models, in-house activists, and possible confidants for students who want to start homosexual behavior. Student molestation becomes a real risk.”
Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt is likely upset with me because he recently humiliated himself in a debate we had on The David Pakman Show. During the episode, he claimed that he could “cure” LGBT people by giving them exorcisms.
Peter LaBarbera once awarded me his “Gay Grinch” award. He’s angry because I dubbed him “Porno Pete” – a nickname that has stuck and defined his bizarre advocacy. Why the label? Because LaBarbera is best known for infiltrating gay male leather events and surreptitiously photographing naked men and posting the pictures on the Internet. He then claims that he is “exposing” the “homosexual lifestyle.” Of course, such activism is the equivalent of a gay person secretly recording revelers at Mardi Gras and Spring Break and politicizing the material as the “heterosexual lifestyle.” LaBarbera’s entire purpose in life, it seems, is to grossly distort the reality of LGBT people.
Perhaps, Arthur Abba Goldberg holds a grudge because I ruined his career. In a joint investigation with South Florida Gay News, we revealed that Goldberg was an ex-con who went to prison for defrauding investors when he worked on Wall Street. The moment his parole ended, he formed his latest scam, the Jewish “ex-gay” organization JONAH, which has been accused of sexual impropriety – which TWO also uncovered.
Here is some of the sage advice Goldberg dispenses to JONAH members:
“By the way, did you notice that a lot of gays who remain in the gay lifestyle also do a lot of body building. They will be in the gym a lot trying to build up their pecs…Because they have these body image issues and don’t feel they are masculine enough.”
The Liberty Council’s Matt Barber is a vulgar individual and regularly hurls insults at the LGBT community. According to Barber:
“It boils down to this: there is nothing ‘conservative’ about one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’ Or two women awkwardly mimicking natural procreative relations or raising a child together in an intentionally fatherless home.”
Barber’s cohort at Liberty, Matt Staver, was just hit with a civil RICO lawsuit alleging that he may have played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country.
Finally, Greg Quinlan has been personally attacking and outright lying about me for more than a decade. His rhetoric includes referring to gay people as “flaming faggots.” Last year, I sued his organization, PFOX, after Quinlan fabricated a story, saying – with no evidence — that I had ordered people to murder him.
Clearly, the over-the-top rhetoric coming from the individuals who signed this letter speaks for itself and they do not practice what they preach. They will do and say virtually anything to slime opponents who expose their misinformation and misdeeds.
There are 15 anti-gay activists who signed onto today’s letter representing some of the most homophobic individuals in the nation. Please consider giving Truth Wins Out $1 for each person who signed – for a tax-deductible contribution of $15 (or more). If we’ve upset an A-list of America’s most notorious anti-gay activists, we must be doing something right.