Slander and Self-Censorship by a Homosexual Activist

John C. Rankin

(December 18, 2012)

In June, 2007, I invited Harry Knox, religious director for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to address a Mars Hill Forum with me. He initially accepted, and in a prior email communication, he had been enthusiastic about the possibility of a public forum. The HRC is the largest and most well funded homosexual rights organization in the U.S. Mr. Knox is also now serving on the White House “Advisory Council of the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.”

The opportunity was at the Hartford Civic Center (across the street from my office at the time) during the 50th anniversary of the United Church of Christ (UCC), the same convention Barack Obama addressed. Our agreed topic was on the question of “homophobia and hate speech.”

Then Mr. Knox reneged. Because I was working in conjunction with the Biblical Witness Fellowship (BWF) in the UCC, he said he could not do it. He said that the BWF was funded by the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), but a friend of mine at the BWF – a shoestring operation – said they have never received a penny from the IRD. I also knew the executive director of the IRD. Mr. Knox viewed the IRD as “homophobic.”

He slandered the BWF this way: “LGBT people routinely lose their jobs, their children, their health, even their very lives because of what is said and done by groups like the BWF.” “LGBT” is an acronym for people who self-identify as “lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered.”

Mr. Knox professes to be a Christian. This was an accusation that BWF was complicitous in the deaths of people. I asked him to sustain it with concrete evidence, adding: “Of course we disagree on the issue of homosexuality, and how the Bible addresses it. Do we agree or disagree on the ethics of reconciliation defined by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17?” If his accusations had substance, he was obligated to honor this biblical norm of reconciliation and approach the appropriate people in the BWF and IRD accordingly. He responded by saying he did not believe the BWF’s “denial” of funding by the IRD, and saying there was no need for Matthew 18:15-17 reconciliation between us.

I responded and said the matter of Matthew 18 applied to his accusations against the BWF, not me (he knew that). As well, if the BWF were lying, he would be even further obligated to go to them, since they would thus be sinning against him.

He then asked “that we not correspond further, please.”

In the ministry of the Gospel, I always seek to communicate across the chasm. And people are free to accept or reject it. In most cases, I find people open to honest communication. Here, a man putatively professing to a Christian and homosexual in the same breath, did not cut off communication due to the question of the Bible and homosexuality. Rather, he rejected the very core of who Jesus is as the Redeemer and Healer of broken relationships.

Mr. Knox has silenced himself in the presence of the Gospel, exposing his real agenda. It is painful to watch, but also represents the reality of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:31-46 – separating the sheep from the goats. I pray it will prove otherwise for him, and may we all pray likewise.