If a gay rights supporter were to launch a petition demanding that a publishing house drop its publication of a book opposing marriage equality, you could imagine that Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber would be the first to accuse the “intolerant” “homofascists” of trying to “shut down debate.”
Barber, after all, has denounced the Southern Poverty Law Center’s decision to classify some anti-gay groups as “hate groups,” accusing them of an “Orwellian censorship crusade”; dubbed the campaign to pressure advertisers to end their sponsorship of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show an “assault on free speech”; and attacked GLAAD for setting up a website that simply lists quotes from anti-gay activists, which he called a “censorship” project “reminiscent of the former Soviet Union.”
Despite such hyperbolic rhetoric on the menace of gay “censorship,” Barber himself is now embarking on a campaign to stop a publishing house with evangelical ties from printing a book on Christianity and homosexuality by Matthew Vines, a young United Methodist whose 2012 lecture on Christianity and same-sex relationships went viral.
Barber is upset that Vines’ God and the Gay Christian will be published by Convergent Books, which he claims is a front for the evangelical publisher WaterBrook Multnomah.
Stephen Cobb, WORLD Magazine notes, “heads up both WaterBrook Multnomah and Convergent out of the publishing group’s Colorado Springs, Colo., offices,” and both companies are divisions of Penguin Random House. Since WaterBrook Multnomah describes itself as “the evangelical division of Penguin Random House,” Barber claims that the Cobb is aiding an “apostate enterprise” by publishing Vines’ book.
In an appearance yesterday on The Janet Mefferd Show, Barber said that he is attacking Cobb and Vines out of concern for their eternal salvation. Responding to a statement from Cobb, who defended Vines as a “bold, young, evangelical writer whose first calling is to promote a civil, loving, and biblically based conversation on the subject,” Barber said that the book shouldn’t have been published since there is “no debate” on the subject to be had.
Barber: I’m not out to get Steve Cobb, I’m not out to get Matthew Vines, I’m sure he’s a nice kid, he’s misguided, he’s under deception, it’s sad and I fear for both of them. You know we’re all going to stand before God but if they’re unrepentant in this kind of sinful activity, either homosexual behavior or intentionally misleading and deceiving the Christian public, I think that they’ve got some ’splaining to do.
Mefferd: Very much so.
Mefferd: What about the ‘biblically based conversation’? That’s implying that it’s orthodox.
Barber: That’s right and that’s also implying that there is somehow even ‘a there there,’ that there is a discussion to have, that this is even debatable. There is no debate. Scripture is unequivocal, unambiguous throughout both the old and new testaments in addressing the sin of homosexual conduct, as well as other sexual sins, so there’s no debate.
The case is reminiscent of the controversy over the CGBG online marketplace, in which a gay rights group called on companies to cut ties with CGBG because it directs proceeds to anti-gay groups including Liberty Counsel, Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.
Barber condemned the CGBG boycott and called the effort proof that “radical, militant” gays want to put Christians “behind bars.”
As we noted at the time, Barber had endorsed a boycott of McDonalds and led a pro-boycott rally outside of its corporate headquarters because the company had partnered with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
“Unfortunately, McDonalds has chosen to side with militant homosexual activists over people with traditional values,” said Matt Barber. “The company has further escalated the controversy by lodging a personal attack against the tens of millions of Americans who support traditional sexual morality and legitimate marriage. While referring to Christians and other people with traditional values, McDonalds spokesman Bill Whitman arrogantly told the Washington Post that, ‘Hatred has no place in our culture,’ thereby suggesting that people who support the historical definition of marriage are simply motivated by ‘hate.’ This insult is highly offensive, and anyone who supports traditional marriage should boycott McDonalds and tell the company why they’re doing so.” (emphasis added)
Liberty Counsel has also backed a boycott of Starbucks over its support for marriage equality and applauded a pressure campaign on companies to pull their advertisements from the TLC show “All-American Muslim.”
But if any gay rights supporter were to dare employ the exact same tactics used by Barber and Liberty Counsel, you can bet that Barber would be the first to attack them as totalitarian fascists who hate freedom.