Barber and His ‘True Civil Rights’ Nonsense

Matt Barber, who works for Liberty Counsel and the Liberty University law school, both founded by Jerry Falwell, went on Janet Mefferd’s wingnut radio show and spewed his usual nonsense about how wrong it is for gay people to claim they’re fighting for civil rights.

He complained that gay rights activists have “cynically co-opted and hijacked the language of the very, very noble civil rights movement and applied it to their disordered lifestyle.” Ah yes, that noble civil rights movement that his now-deceased boss condemned as satanic and ungodly? Right Wing Watch recounts the evidence:

He preached against Brown v. Board of Education, which banned racial segregation in public schools, telling his church, “When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line. The true Negro does not want integration.”

Falwell kept his private Christian school segregated to help families avoid integration in public schools and opposed the Carter administration’s attempt to challenge the tax status of segregated schools. He also subscribed to the belief that black people were under “Noah’s curse on Ham” and argued that school “facilities should be separate.”

“If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made,” he said, warning that integration and interracial marriage will “destroy our race.”

Sound familiar?

He condemned the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a “civil wrong” and attacked movement leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., as “Communists” who sought to “bring about violence and bloodshed.” The televangelist even opposed sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid government and said that anti-Apartheid protests were “instigated primarily by Communist-sponsored people.”

Falwell’s rhetoric against the Civil Rights Movement are actually remarkably similar to Matt Barber’s own anti-gay diatribes, as Barber seemed to have taken a page from Falwell in warning that gay rights advocates are inspired by Karl Marx and that radicals “trying to impose a globalist, Communist structure” are the real culprits behind the gay rights movement. He claimed that “homosexual activism, undermining the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic and doing away with it, that is the ice breaker that breaks the ice so that the bigger Communist ships and the redistributionist ships.”

This all fits the historical pattern. In every era, Christian conservatives were on the wrong side of history in fighting to maintain the unjust status quo, always arguing that God himself was opposed to whatever advance in freedom and equality was being fought for — the end of slavery, women’s suffrage, the end of the Jim Crow laws and segregation, every law to increase the equality of women and now the fight for equal rights for the LGBT community. And then, when the tide of public opinion had changed and the advances they fought against were entrenched in the law and almost universally praised, they suddenly change their mind and even pretend that they were for those changes all along.

And yet their rhetoric is identical in opposition to every civil rights achievement. Every single advance in equal rights is condemned as satanic, as communist, as contrary to the word of God and as the thing that will destroy society itself. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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