A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. By Michael L. Brown. Concord, NC: EqualTime Books, 2011. 691 pp. Cloth, $27.99.
After speaking at a church recently I received a glowing recommendation of this book. Thus I was anxious to read it, especially since homosexuality is such a major issue today.
Brown, a Jewish Christian who is an OT scholar with a Ph.D. from NYU, is the author of twenty books and is a powerful speaker and debater. Thus I had high expectations for this work.
Though the book is hard hitting, Brown’s tone is non-hostile. He wishes to warn people about the dangers of the gay movement and he also wants to see gay people escape that lifestyle.
The title is extremely catchy. And it is descriptive. However, since the word queer is still seen by many as pejorative (though some homosexuals embrace the term), I would have thought that a more peaceable title would have been better in fitting with the author’s stated desire to be gracious and irenic in his approach (cf. pp. 9-13, 56-57, 68-69, 74-75).
I found the book full of amazing material that reveals how far the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) movement has come. However, I also found that I was deeply disturbed by what I read and I could not take more than about an hour of reading at a time.
There are many points that jumped out at me. I will mention but a few here.
According to the Riddle Homophobia Scale, to be homophobic includes being tolerant of gays or even being accepting of them (p. 117). That is remarkable. If you not only tolerate homosexuals but even accept them and their argument that they were born this way and there is nothing wrong with their sexual orientation or practices, then you are still homophobic unless you go much further! What homosexuals want today, what they consider non-homophobic, is “support, admiration, appreciation, and nurturance” (p. 117). If you do not admire and appreciate and support and nurture homosexuals, you are homophobic.
The homosexual community insists that it is impossible and even very dangerous for a homosexual person to attempt to stop being a homosexual (pp. 170-72; 425-26, 430-52). They completely reject the many testimonies of people who say they are now “ex-gays.”
Brown quotes from an article by Matthew Hoffman, a conservative journalist, who discusses the odd position in which psychologists and psychiatrists now find themselves. According to current psychiatric principles, if a man comes to a doctor saying he is trapped in the wrong body and wants to undergo surgery (i.e., castration) to become a woman, the therapist is to tell him that such a goal is fine, but that there will need to be a couple of years of therapy before the surgery can be scheduled (p. 270). However, if a man comes to the same counselor and says, “‘I feel terrible. I’m a man, but I feel attracted to other men. I want to change my sexual preference. I want to become heterosexual’” (p. 471), then “the psychologist responds: ‘Oh no, absolutely not! That would be unethical. Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic!’” (p. 471). So a person who needs surgery to change his sex is encouraged and one who wants therapy to have a wife and kids is told this is impossible and a violation of nature.
Brown gives examples of people, including the man who was permitted to play in the U.S. Women’s Open tennis championships, Dr. Renée Richards (née Richard Raskind), who had sex change surgery and who came to have lots of regrets (pp. 574-78). Brown shows real examples of how the decision to have a sex change operation has caused lots of hardship for people’s spouses and children.
The concerted effort in the public schools to promote homosexuality and gender confusion and even sex change is presented with plenty of examples (pp. 85-119).
“Monogamy” in the gay community often does not mean having only one sexual partner, but instead means having one primary sexual partner (pp. 387-89). Thus it is not unusual for those lesbians or gays who identify themselves as couples, despite the hype, to have outside relationships. This certainly puts a different spin on same sex marriages. Brown refers to one study by pro-gay writers that says that “roughly four in ten gay males, and over half of all lesbians, were found to be leading decidedly unpromiscuous sex lives” (p. 390). That means that the writers are admitting that six in ten gay men and somewhere close to half of all lesbians have decidedly promiscuous sex lives.
The research in this book is extensive. Unfortunately, instead of footnotes, there are endnotes. These endnotes, which are excellent, run nearly 100 pages (pp. 601-689). The book would be much more reader friendly with footnotes so that the reader could simply look at the bottom of the page on which a note appears.
There is no subject index in the book itself. It is available on a website called aqueerthing.com. While that is helpful, it is a bit of a hassle to go back and forth from a book to a website (or to print it out and have 25 loose pages).
There is very little reference to Scripture in this book. Nor could I find anywhere in which Brown explained to the reader what one must do to have everlasting life.
I believe this book should be an important resource for pastors, elders, deacons, Christian counselors, youth workers, and parents of children in public schools. I recommend it.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society