This weekend just past Kathy Baldock and Lisa Salazar went to Gay Pride at Charlotte, NC. (Here’s what Kathy wrote about the event before attending. Stay tuned to her blog for her upcoming report of her experiences at Charlotte GP.) Also at the event was Michael “God Has a Better Way Than Homosexuality” Brown. Brown, who has chosen to make his “ministry” out of belittling and harassing LGBTQ people, was there because the media was there, and he craves attention like a thirsty anemic vampire craves blood.
Kathy and Lisa were there to spread love and reconciliation; Brown and his red-shirted brigade of braying bullies were there to make sure that people generally, and LGBTQ people in particular, never fail to associate Christianity with spitting, rabid, crotch-obsessed rage.
This morning I exchanged a few emails with Kathy and Lisa, both of whom I consider friends.
Brown has treated Lisa, a transgender woman, with particular contempt and venom. But all while smiling sweetly in the benevolent grace of Christ’s love, of course.
A lot of us these days are engaged in battles between right and wrong, between left and right. The Internet has provided platforms for us all; and so now an idea, or even just a blog post, can suddenly bring any of us all kinds of attention for which we may or may not be prepared.
If you’re a blogger, author, or any sort of public figure who writes or talks about issues that are in any way controversial, be aware that, in the eyes of a media vulture like Brown, the very moment you begin to receive just about any sustained attention you transform into delicious, still-palpitating road kill. These dark-winged creatures will swoop down on you; their survival means they must. The moment your head rises above the crowd, such ravenous raptors see nothing but dollar signs transposed onto your neck.
Their first circlings about you won’t seem ominous at all. You’ll like it! Someone further up the media ladder than you is paying attention to you! And they’ll be just as charming as a koala bear in a top hat. They’ll tell you that all they want is to engage with you, that they’re genuinely interested in your opinions, that they respect you. They’ll invite you to participate with them in some sort of public exchange. They’ll ask you (in the main) to be on their radio show. (If I understand correctly, Brown has intimated that he would like Kathy to be a “guest” on his complete waste of perfectly good sound waves.)
And what they will be hiding from you all along is that you are, in fact, nothing to them but attention fodder, that all they really want is to make of you a circus freak that will result in a spotlight being swung upon them, ringmasters of the show. Contrary to everything they say, and to everything for which they have the phenomenal nerve to pretend they stand, all they truly care about is getting attention. That’s their secret. That’s their trick. That’s their drive. That’s where, for them, the money is.
And that’s where you come in.
You are their money. You, impassioned writer. You, thoughtful speaker. You, ardent champion of the underdog.
You, who are fueled by an allegiance to, and a personal relationship with, the truth.
They need you like the snake needs the mouse. They don’t care about the truth. People like Brown, like Beck, like Limbaugh and Palin and wild-eyed Bachmann, have no more interest in the truth than they do in working toward genuine solutions to genuine problems. What drives members of that every-man-for-himself tribe is good ol’ fashioned money. And the only way they can keep their money river flowing is if media keeps pays them attention. And if there’s one thing people like Brown know, it’s that nothing attracts the media like blood in the water.
So if you’re a person doing just about anything interesting or even vaguely contentious—and especially if it has anything to do with religion—then sooner or later you’re likely to get an invitation to come wading into their pool.
Kathy and Lisa are big girls; they can take care of themselves. I sure wouldn’t want to be the guy who climbs into the ring with the formidable Kathy Baldock, and if Lisa can be unsettled, I’ve yet to see it. They both make all us Christians proud. So this isn’t about protecting them.
Well, it is, kind of. Not that I would presume to advise either of those wise women. But they, like you, and like me, would do well to at least sometimes bear in mind that the most effective way to fight a media opportunist like Michael Brown is to walk away from him. Nothing hurts a guy such as Michael Brown like ignoring him.
Because that, even if for only a moment, leaves him all alone with the very worst enemy he has: himself.