The internet is abuzz about Anderson Cooper’s “coming out.” Andrew Sullivan wrote about CNN’s Anderson Cooper and how he has been reserved about his private life, but has decided to be more public about it. Sullivan (who, it should be noted, moonlighted as a OB/GYN for a couple of years) introduces Anderson Cooper’s coming out email with the following diatribe:
But it does matter nonetheless, it seems to me, that this is on the record. We still have pastors calling for the death of gay people, bullying incidents and suicides among gay kids, and one major political party dedicated to ending the basic civil right to marry the person you love. So these "non-events" are still also events of a kind; and they matter. The visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality.
And I would submit that this rhetoric is an example of why it is nearly impossible to have a rational discussion over the matter of homosexuality. Some questions/thoughts come to mind…
Who are the pastors calling for the death of gay people? Fred Phelps? The vast majority of the Christian community is disgusted by his vitriol. While certainly there is room for improvement within the church in terms of ministering to homosexuals I’m not going to deny that most Christians realize that Christ died for the homosexual just as He did for the heterosexual. He wants to have a love relationship with them just as much as he wants a love relationship with me. A quick reading of the past tense description of the church at Corinth should make that plain, (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Are there people like whom Andrew Sullivan describes in the Church? I’m sure, but it is hardly epidemic.
Bullying incidents and suicides among gay kid while tragic have been blown out of proportion in relation to actual statistics behind bullying and suicide. I’ve been pretty vocal about how bullying of any kid, including homosexual kids must stop, but I see the current trend for what it is – the victimization of homosexuals in order to tamp down opposing views. It isn’t bullying to have a theological belief that homosexuality is a sin. That is called freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Dan Savage is a perfect example of how the “bullied” have become bullies to those with home they disagree. I’ll practice tolerance unless you disagree with me.
The concept that a behavior, which is how many people view homosexuality, becomes one’s identity. This makes it harder to have a conversation. I want to address a behavior, but those who are homosexual see it as part of their identity feel like I’m attacking them. It is hard to bridge the gap. I have a hard time understanding this because my identity is not wrapped up in my sexual preference. I talk about my wife sure, but I don’t celebrate straight pride, I don’t generally discuss the fact I am attracted to women (though that now has a laser focus on my wife) at work and in public, and I don’t discuss my sex life in public – ever. Anyway, my point is it’s just simply hard to discuss. When I refer to homosexuality as a sin, I’m not attacking the person engaged in it. I’m a sinner too, I just struggle with different things. I find my identity in Christ not in my current or past behavior and/or feelings.
Regarding the marriage debate, I’ve written extensively elsewhere about this, but it again is painfully obvious that there is a disconnect as homosexuals, which we deem to be a behavior not a permanent status such as a race, gender or ethnicity.
Which brings me to Anderson Cooper. As far as journalism goes I could not care any less whether he is homosexual or not. My primary problem with is email is his claim of being unbiased he writes in an email sent to Andrew Sullivan:
I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn’t set out to write about other aspects of my life.
Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.
I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.
The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.
I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.
Since my early days as a reporter, I have worked hard to accurately and fairly portray gay and lesbian people in the media – and to fairly and accurately portray those who for whatever reason disapprove of them. It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do. I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth.
I’d just like to point out that he is not as unbiased as he says, not even close. In his own words – “I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. “ And that has been made possible how? Through many of the liberal journalists who claim not to have an agenda.
It’s ok to have an agenda, just be honest about it. I am completely honest about having an agenda. You can see it in the subtitle of this blog – “Christian conservative news & commentary.” I make no bones about who I am and who I represent. I have a point of view and a worldview which is the lens with which I view things. I seek to be honest to, but I am not going to claim I’m unbiased.
That would be dishonest.