On September 10, 1992, I was interviewed by NBC's Today Show in a piece that was played September 12. Out of a thirty five minute interview, two segments were played, one of 15 seconds, the other of 30. Both segments were preceded and followed by statements comparing Ballot Measure 9 to the Nazi holocaust.
At the beginning of the piece, Today Show host Scott Simon framed the issue this way: "Measure 9 would prohibit the state from facilitating or encouraging freedom of sexual preference."
This characterization, of course, is utterly false. Freedom of sexual preference would remain intact.
Today's first interview was with a female Jewish leader. She explains her opposition to Measure 9 by saying, "I am the daughter of a Survivor of the Holocaust. We have to stick up for those who are persecuted."
They then cut to me. I said, "My attitude toward homosexuals is one of love for them as people, and disapproval of their lifestyle choice. You asked if I think God thinks that way. Yes I do. That's precisely why I believe what I do. I believe God thinks that way because that's exactly what He says in the Bible."
Next came the president of the Oregon Board of Rabbis, introduced by Scott Simon as saying he "disputes Christians and Jews who read the Old Testaments injunction against sodomy as a literal rejection of homosexuals." (What is being rejected, of course, is homosexual behavior—and the Bible could not be more clear on this subject.) He says that prohibition of homosexual relations was on the same temporary level as the commands against mixing wool and flax in garments. And he warns, "This [ballot measure] is how the Nazis began to dehumanize people."
The camera comes back to me and I say, "I absolutely and utterly oppose Nazi Germany and everything related to it. I believe everyone in this society has the right to live and the freedom to live—but not the right to have their particular lifestyle choice presented, with tax funding, as equally legitimate or more legitimate than others. I don't believe in that right. I think it goes beyond equal rights. It's special rights. I believe in equal rights. I don't believe in special rights."
The camera shows Mr. Scott and myself walking and conversing. (This was staged for the camera after the interview. I was asking Mr. Simon about where he lived, etc.—we were no longer discussing the issue.) As if I was saying more as we walked, Mr. Scott comments: "Special rights to Mr. Alcorn is recognizing homosexuals as a group of people entitled to come to the courts along with racial or religious minorities for protection against discrimination." I did not say that, either on camera or off, though the statement does contain a half truth.
Homosexuals, like any citizens (with the possible exception of evangelical Christians), have the right to go to court and successfully fight discrimination. Anyone who chooses a private sexual behavior has the same right to come to court as anyone else. But if he receives this right precisely because of his chosen sexual behavior (as gay rights advocates lobby for and is already law in the city of Portland), then that discriminates against heterosexuals as a class of people.
Furthermore, Simon maintains that religious minorities receive special protection against discrimination not granted homosexuals. But he failed to report what I pointed out to him in the interview: 1) when Governor Goldschmidt's 1988 executive order to give special was overturned by the vote of Oregon Citizens, the ACLU actively sought to find homosexuals who had been discriminated. They couldn't find any. 2) Several businesses in Springfield, Oregon, had bricks thrown through their windows when it became public that they had supported Ballot Measure 9. 3) Just the week before, Dave Hardisty lost his job at Eastmoreland hospital for speaking out in favor of the measure (see "An Open Letter to the Oregonian").
I did not point out to Simon, but could have, that a Cannon Beach restaurant has a posted sign saying "If you support Measure 9 or a the OCA, we don't want your business." And that handbills in Portland say "Vote No on 9 or we shoot the Fish" (meaning Christians will be harassed and harmed). NBC's Today Show didn't feel this side of the discrimination issue was important enough to cover, and it didn't fit the predetermined slant of their piece.
After my statement that I believe in equal rights, but not special rights, Today cut to still another Jewish spokesperson, saying "Measure 9 would cost people their jobs, businesses and housing—these are not special rights."
Is this true? In a word, no. Measure 9's official statement of legislative intent specifically prevents loss of these things. Read for yourself what it says about jobs:
"With respect to government employment: As long as an individual is performing his job, and is not using his position to promote, encourage or facilitate the behavior listed in the initiative, his private practice of such behavior will not be considered a matter of public policy and will be considered a non-job factor."
In fact, even if the person is working with children, and even if he is proven to be promoting such behavior, the measure would result in, and this is a direct quote, "subsequent reassignment to a job of equal status and pay not directly affecting children." The official statement of legislative intent goes on to say, "The primary factor in jobs relating to children is the protection of the innocence of children, and not the comfort of the individual practicing, promoting, encouraging or facilitating the abnormal behaviors listed in the initiative.
This is the most severe aspect of the measure. Does it really sound unfair? It is discriminatory only in the sense that it says certain agendas shouldn't be foisted on our children in tax funded environment such as the public schools. But is this really so radical?
As for the jobs and housing issues, it just puts homosexuals on the same plane as heterosexuals. If a Jewish employer knows that a job applicant is a white supremacist, or a black employer knows an applicant is a member of the Ku Klux Klan and spends his weekends burning crosses on lawns, he doesn't have to hire him or rent the other half of his duplex to him—and he shouldn't have to. If I own a family restaurant and I have a job applicant who spends his spare time recruiting young men for homosexual encounters, I shouldn't have to hire him. If I don't want my children exposed to a constant stream of same-sex sexual partners on my property, I shouldn't have to house him. (And I wouldn't have to if those partners were of the opposite sex—but with homosexuals having special minority rights, however, the law says I have to.)
I said in the interview that the measure does not criminalize homosexual behavior. Mr. Simon disagreed. Of course, he'd gotten all his information from the other side of the issue. The objective truth is that the measure's official statement of legislative intent specifically says, "the measure does not prohibit persons from choosing to participate the conduct identified in the initiative."
The last quote of the Today segment was from Ellen Lowe, a spokesperson for a "Coalition of Christian groups who oppose measure 9." (This coalition is Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, one of the most prominent gay advocacy groups.) She wears a pink triangle and a No on 9 button, and says, "In Nazi Germany the heterosexuals failed to stand with the homosexuals. In Oregon we won't make that mistake."
Why did NBC surround my responses with the references to Jew-hating and the holocaust? The same reason the Oregonian juxtaposed the views of white supremacists with the views of Measure 9 supporters. (See "An Open Letter to the Oregonian.") The bottom line of NBC's appeal to viewers is simple—"If you support the Holocaust and its slaughter of millions of innocent people, you will support Measure 9. If you support rounding up people and torturing and murdering them like the Nazis did, you will support Measure 9." Draw the line, then anyone who crosses it is a Nazi bigot.
Scott Simon ended the segment by saying some defenders of Measure 9 claim they are willing to tolerate homosexuals, but homosexuals and others "detect a patronizing smack in that word 'tolerance.' The word they prefer is 'respect.'"
I respect all people, in that all are created in God's image, are loved by God and are the objects of his atonement. Mr. Simon could have more accurately said, however, "The word they demand is respect—respect not just for their persons but for their specific sexual behaviors."
As I repeatedly told the Today Show several times, I love them, and I recognize their right to privacy. But I simply cannot respect their choice of a lifestyle that violate's God's created order and his explicit commands in Scripture. Furthermore, I cannot accept their insistence that this lifestyle must enter into public policy, be taught as legitimate in public schools, and result in hiring quotas for police work, County Youth Commissions, and other governmental agencies.
The new word for conviction is hate. The new word for holding to biblical and traditional moral standards is bigotry. Get ready, Body of Christ, for what's coming in America. The only way to avoid being portrayed as a hateful bigot and a Nazi will be to call evil good and good evil. The only way to be fully accepted by this society will be to outright reject or at least hedge on God's truth.
As Ecumenical Ministries and other religious groups have shown, once we start hedging, there will be no end. The same liberal "Christian" churches that started as lighthouses showing society a different and better Way, through their compromises now do nothing but mirror society's latest "moral values." The Bible is no longer their authority, but the current and ever-changing wind of social preference. Teaching that the commandments of God are written in pencil, they buy their social popularity by passing out erasers.
As true Christians, we can be popular with our society or popular with God. It does not appear that we will much longer have the luxury of being popular with both.
What NBC Left Out
After my interview with the Today Show, I knew that I would be misrepresented, or at best only a fraction of what I said would be reflected in the interview. For that reason I went home and wrote down exactly what I said while it was fresh in my mind. I asked another witness to do the same. (Normally I would have tried to tape it, but it happened so fast there wasn't time.)
Here's what I was asked, and how I responded, minus the comments actually quoted, referred to in the other article. Naturally the wording isn't precisely the same, but the substantive content is. I've also added in italics a few pertinent remarks not made at the time.
Simon: Ballot Measure 9 requires that homosexuality be taught by school teachers as being "perverse." How can you support that?
RA: You've just quoted the most controversial line of the bill. If you read the rest, you'll see that the main thrust is to prevent tax monies from being used to promote the homosexual lifestyle in classrooms, as well as hiring quotas. That's the major concern for many of us.
Simon: Are you saying you disagree with the wording of Measure 9?
RA: I'm saying that I didn't write the measure, so naturally it's not exactly the way I would have expressed it. But that's almost always true. You have to decide if you favor the heart and soul of a ballot measure, and what it's trying to accomplish. I certainly do.
I think children should be able to go to school and learn their ABC's and math. They shouldn't have to be exposed to Gay Advocacy groups coming into the classrooms, like they're doing in other parts of the country with programs like Project 10. Portland's Superintendent of Schools advocated Project 10 last spring—if we don't do something to stop it, it's coming. A lot of us believe parents have the right to do the educating in this area. I'm an advocate of parents' rights. Parents can teach moral values better than the state.
Simon: But this ballot measure associates homosexuality with pedophilia and sado-masochism. Isn't that unfair and mean spirited?
RA: Actually, it is the homosexual movement itself that has made this association. Homosexual newspapers commonly advertize S & M parlors and have articles that subtly or not so subtly justify or glamorize sex with boys. The proof is in the gay pride marches. The marches in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco have had Sado-Masochist groups march with them. They've also had big signs and marchers from the North American Man-Boy Love Association. [Note: NAMBLA's motto is, "Sex Before Eight or It's Too Late.”] That's what's made the connection between these practices and the Gay Rights movement.
As to your "mean spirited" evaluation, I think 99% of the people supporting this measure aren't that way at all. I can disapprove of having a behavior crammed down my children's throat without hating the people who choose to live that way. I don't hate them. I love them. I just don't agree with their lifestyle, and don't think my tax dollars should go to promote it. Disapproval is not the same as hatred or a mean spirit.
Also, you're not reporting the other side of the persecution issue. When it became public they had supported Ballot Measure 9, several businesses in Springfield, Oregon, had bricks thrown through their windows. Just last week, a Portland man lost his job at Eastmoreland hospital for speaking out in favor of the measure. That seems pretty mean spirited to me.
Simon: Why shouldn't homosexuals have the same rights as other minorities?
RA: I believe in equal rights for everyone. But there's a fundamental difference between being black or Hispanic on the one hand, and choosing to do a certain kind of sexual act on the other. Being black or white is the way we are, a matter of basic identity. Choosing to do certain acts is a matter of behavior. I personally know people who have chosen that behavior for a while, then stopped. They are former homosexuals. But I've never met a former white or a former black. Masters and Johnson proved that there is a 75% cure rate for homosexual orientation—I know it isn't politically correct to say that, but it is scientifically correct.
Calling groups "minorities" because of a specific sexual behavior is going way too far. If three people who are roughly equally qualified apply for a job, who gets it? If homosexual behavior is given special minority status, the answer is the one who indicates he does homosexual acts gets the job. I've heard people say the way to get a job under that kind of quota system is to pretend they do homosexual acts. Then they are not only assured of getting the job, but of special protection against losing it!
I don't think I or anyone else should be granted special minority status based on what we choose to do in private. What people do in their bedrooms shouldn't become the basis for job quotas. Yet it already has become just that in several governmental agencies in Oregon. The Portland Chief of Police, who marched in the gay pride parade, has said he's actively recruiting homosexuals for the police department. This means that heterosexual police officers will be discriminated against. When one group gets extra rights, another group loses theirs.
There's no basis for believing this measure would result in persecution—it would just swing back the pendulum of gay rights that has been pushed way past the middle. When Governor Goldschmidt's 1988 executive order to give special was overturned by the vote of Oregon Citizens, the ACLU actively sought to find homosexuals who had been discriminated, so they could sue. My understanding is they couldn't find a single person.
Also, there's the issue of economic persecution. Last year the Wall Street Journal issued a report that showed the average homosexual has an income 70% higher than the average American. It showed that half of homosexuals are in professional fields or in management positions. They have much greater education and financial opportunity than the average white American, and many times over that of the average black or Hispanic. Even if you believe in a quota system due to economic injustice, the fact is it just doesn't apply to homosexuals.
Simon: Why are you so opposed to homosexuality?
RA: You have to discern the difference between people, their desires and their behavior. I don't condemn people. As a Christian who accepts the Bible as my authority, I do believe that homosexual acts are morally wrong. But so is heterosexual adultery. And I don't want minority status and special rights being granted to those who commit adultery either. I believe in equal rights for everyone, and special rights for no one.
Beyond the basic moral issue, there's also the fact that AIDS epidemic was largely spread through the particular way that homosexuals engage in intercourse. It is an extremely unsanitary practice results in the spread of many diseases, including AIDs. This is compounded by the sheer numbers of sexual partners of the average homosexual. Extensive interviews from the Center of Disease Control and other sources have shown that half of the homosexuals with AIDS have had 500 sexual partners, and over 25% of them have had more than a thousand. Another study showed that 95% of homosexuals who know they have the HIV virus do not tell their partners about it. And most of them engage in unprotected sex.
This is a very unhealthy lifestyle. And that's another reason why some of us don't want our tax money going to promote that lifestyle. We'd like to see that lifestyle discouraged, not encouraged.
Simon: But doctors say that AIDS is spreading much faster among heterosexuals than homosexuals.
RA: Over 85% of AIDS cases are still among homosexuals. [RA note: The March 18, 1992 Oregonian said of all new AIDS cases in Oregon in 1991, 86% were among homosexual men, and another 8% were IV drug users.] The spread to the heterosexual community has happened through sharing needles of infected homosexual drug users, through blood transfusions from homosexual blood donors, then through bisexuals who pass on the disease to heterosexuals, who in turn pass it on to other heterosexuals. Now AIDS can be spread without direct contact with homosexuals, but let's not forget originally that wasn't true. [RA's note: In fact, the original name of AIDS was GRID—Gay Related Infectious Disease. It was changed for political reasons because once it spread no one wanted to blame the homosexual lifestyle for it.]
Because the total numbers of infected heterosexuals is relatively small, the percentage increases are naturally more dramatic than in the homosexual community where the virus was first spawned and spread. But the fact remains—unpopular as it is to say it—that nothing spreads AIDS as quickly as the kind of sex and the numbers of sexual partners in the homosexual community.
Simon: But AIDS is worse in Africa, and it's heterosexuals spreading it there.
RA: There are some reasons for this that I would rather not discuss on national television. But in any case Ballot Measure 9 would not be implemented in Africa. It would be implemented in the United States, where studies clearly show that regardless of its exact origin, AIDS became widespread throughout the homosexual community before it began spreading in significant numbers to non-homosexuals, and the most likely way to spread it further is still promiscuous homosexual relations.
Simon: We've talked with a number of Jewish and Christian leaders here in Portland that consider themselves just as good a person as you, and they totally disagree with you on this. Do you know that?
RA: I sure do know that! I realize this position is very unpopular, especially because of the way it has been distorted by gay rights groups and the media. But I don't believe the majority is what determines right and wrong. What's true is true whether or not you or I or any of us believe it.
I have a lot of respect for the Jewish community. The Scriptures are Jewish. My Lord Jesus Christ was and is a Jew, who is now seated at the right hand of God until he returns to set up his kingdom. But I have the most respect for those in the Jewish community who believe their Scriptures. Those who do know the Bible clearly teaches homosexual acts are wrong.
As for the Christian churches, not only the Old Testament but the New Testament clearly condemns homosexual activity. They have no excuse for waffling on this issue. But some of these so-called Christian churches just go with whatever society happens to be saying right now. I believe the church is supposed to be a light of divine guidance rather than a reflection of social preference. That's the only way we can ultimately help our society.
Simon: So, are you saying you think God agrees with your particular view that homosexuality is wrong?
RA: I'm not asking God to agree with me. What I'm saying is that I agree with Him. You asked if I think God thinks that way. Yes, I do. That's precisely why I believe what I do. I believe God thinks that way because that's exactly what He says in the Bible.
Simon: Why don't you believe homosexuals should have the same rights as other people?
RA: I do. As long as they engage in private, legal consenting behavior with adults. I don't think they have the moral right, but they have the legal right, just as you and I do. But even many homosexuals are embarrassed by the Gay Rights Movement. They recognize this has gone way beyond private behaviors. It isn't private anymore when you have Gay Pride marches down city streets and have to turn your children away because they're marching naked and exposing themselves. It isn't private anymore when it has to be discussed and endorsed in public school. It isn't private anymore when you have to hire a certain percentage of homosexuals. If it's private, let's keep it private.
[RA's note: William Dale Jennings, one of the founders of the first homosexual organizations in U.S. history, said this in an October 11, 1991 editorial in the L.A. Times:
"It was our original conviction that once we were allowed the invisibility that is the right of every citizen, we should fold our tents, disband, and vanish from the scene having accomplished our purpose.
"The heirs of our long, hard and literally dangerous pioneering have opted to go in the opposite direction. High on a liberty they had no part in winning, they demand special privileges on no discernible basis. . . It is literally true that all homosexual organizations that thrive on private and public grants speak only for the extreme few who have the compulsion to flaunt their sexual preference."]
Simon: So, do you believe that homosexuals have no right to get food stamps?
Simon: Well, if they get food stamps, that's endorsing their lifestyle by keeping them alive, isn't it?
RA: I don't want them to die! I want them to live! I don't hate them, I love them. They're people, just like all of us. I've counseled many homosexuals, including many that hate the lifestyle and feel trapped in it to the point of despair. many of them are miserable and frightened. I'm not homophobic. I've met with a room full of homosexuals, seeking to understand their struggles and their perspective.
Hey, I'm a sinner, just like they are. Christ died for their sins, just like mine. He loves them as much as he loves me. God loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to let us stay that way. He created us to be a way that makes Him happy and that's what ultimately makes us happy. There is no conflict in my mind between loving people and still having moral standards that may disapprove of certain actions they take. Having moral standards doesn't make you a bigot.
Simon: Since we know that 10-12% of the American public are homosexuals, with all the economic problems and other issues that really need attention, why focus on this one?
RA: First, the fact is that the 10% figure is based on Kinsey's studies of the forties and fifties, which has been proven to have had a flawed sample and faulty interview techniques. More recent and far more reliable studies by a variety of agencies show that the true figure is less than 3%. [Note: See "Sexual Disorientation" article in this issue.]
This country's problems, including our economic problems, can't be divorced from basic moral issues. When the foundation crumbles, it's just a matter of time before the whole building collapses. This country was founded solidly on the moral base of the Judeo-Christian ethic. If that base crumbles much more, we'll lose the America we've come to love.
I know it's hard for those of you in the media to understand this, but there are a lot of us who really believe in the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic based on the Bible. We really believe the Bible when it says that stealing is wrong, murder is wrong, adultery is wrong, and homosexual acts are wrong. We believe society should operate that way.
And when we look at the programs you and the other Networks put on television for entertainment, we agree with Dan Quayle that something is badly wrong. The morality reflected in the media and the homosexual movement is hurting our country, our children and our future. I know that isn't politically correct, and I'm sorry if it offends you, but that's what we believe.
NBC's Bias, Your Bias and God's Bias
The same September 12 Today Show that gave an extremely biased report on Oregon's Ballot Measure 9, didn't leave it at that. It also showed George Bush speaking to a meeting of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, then commented that "people don't like his [Bush's] mix of politics and religion."
Referring to another speech of Bush's the news reporter summarizes by saying "Bush offered nothing new." (Is this a report or an editorial?) Today then cut to Clinton on the economy, saying Bush "talks about family values, but doesn't value families." At Notre Dame Clinton says, "America does not need a religious war." Instead of a quick cutaway, the camera records the exuberant cheering crowd.
Scott Simon, the show host who interviewed me, says to a political analyst, "George Bush has said, 'I'll do anything to get elected—is this [various Bush actions NBC doesn't approve of] part of the anything?" The analyst recommends that Clinton take the approach, "The candidates don't have much disagreement about what we need to do . . . he should just point out that Bush has failed to do it."
On TV, news coverage is sometimes hard to separate from commercials. Immediately following two segments of the program, a loud advertisement for NBC's Dateline comes on with a bold lettered "Dateline Expose." The indignant voice decrees, "The President's son is living the high life and you're paying the price. A Dateline you must see, Tuesday."
If consistency is a virtue, NBC's Today Show is to be commended. Start to finish, it does not report the news. It creates it, molds it, uses it. It strips it apart, then reassembles it in the form of its choice, to promote the ideas and actions of its choice. Of course, it shares this in common with most of the media, including the Oregonian. (See "An Open Letter to the Oregonian" in this issue.)
The truth is, this newsletter is biased. I'm biased, you're biased, we're all biased. In the final analysis, the question is, "Whose biases are right? Whose biases are based on God's Truth? Whose biases will survive the final destruction of this world system?"
That's why we need to go back to God's Word, and be trained in the biases of our Lord. Because when we stand before Christ's throne on the final day, the only biases that will survive are His.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.