Move Christian conservative opinion writer to the faith page

Judging by the last two Weekender editions of the “Independent,” I think the paper’s transition from the “Independent” to the “Conservative Christian” is complete.

On April 20-21, readers of the opinion page were presented with evangelical Christian conservative Erick Erickson’s “The truth on Easter weekend,” a work of apologetics clearly best suited for the faith page, but nevertheless given prime real estate on the opinion page. On April 27-28, the paper followed up Erickson’s Easter apologetics with his latest work, “Flat-Earth Christianity.” Once again, it was on the opinion page rather than the faith page.

On the same page as Erickson’s latest defense of (his version of) Christianity was publisher Gregory Orear’s “Is America ready to elect a homosexual president?”

Orear argues that if the 2020 presidential election is between Donald Trump and Pete Buttigieg, Trump will win because many evangelical Christians would rather vote for –in my words here, not Orear’s– a corrupt, adulterous, military service avoiding liar who has bragged about sexually assaulting women than vote for a gay Christian veteran.

Much to my dismay, Orear may be right about that, as the last few years have revealed how many evangelical Christians — the same ones who used to stress the importance of integrity and character in a president — don’t care a whit about integrity and character as long as the president belongs to their preferred political party and produces the results they want.

The hypocrisy is stunning.

Contributing to the attitude of those who would seemingly prefer any heterosexual presidential candidate over a gay one is the language used by Orear himself. Although Orear says, “Don’t misinterpret my statements as a condemnation of Buttigieg’s lifestyle because they aren’t as more of a commentary on our current political landscape,” his use of the words “homosexual” and “lifestyle” contributes to anti-gay bias.

For example, the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Reference Guide (https://www.glaad.org/reference/offensive) regards the word “homosexual” as offensive and advises the media not to use it because of how it has been “aggressively used by anti-gay extremists to suggest that gay people are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered–notions discredited by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s.”

Writers should also avoid using “‘homosexual’ as a style variation simply to avoid repeated use of the word ‘gay.’ “ Regarding the term “lifestyle,” GLAAD writes, “There is no single lesbian, gay or bisexual lifestyle. Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are diverse in the ways they lead their lives. The phrase ‘gay lifestyle’ is used to denigrate lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals suggesting that their orientation is a choice and therefore can and should be ‘cured.'”

If the “Independent” desires to be less biased and actually live up to its name, I suggest moving Christian apologetics to the faith page where they belong and following GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide.

— Brett Gaul is a Marshall resident

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