Michael Brown spoke at Appalachian State University on Tuesday night hours after students protested his speech between Belk Library and Information Commons and the University Bookstore at 2 p.m.
Brown’s speech, which was in the Blue Ridge Ballroom in the Plemmons Student Union, was titled “Christian Mistreatment of Homosexuality.”
“I’m glad they came out and expressed themselves,” Brown said on the protests before his speech. “I’m glad they feel passionate about something, and I think a lot of the protest is a misunderstanding of who I am so I just hope they’ll come and hear me out and then stick around for the question parts so they can express themselves here.”
According to his website, askdrbrown.org, Brown became a believer of Jesus in 1971 when he was a 16-year-old “heroin-shooting, LSD-using Jewish rock drummer.” He is the founder of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, director of the Coalition of Conscience and is the host of the radio show “Line of Fire.”
Brown spoke for about 45 minutes to a mostly full room. He spoke mainly about how the church has fallen short and Christian mistreatment of the LGBT community.
His other topics ranged from examining the question about “God’s love through the LGBT community” and “where the church has failed to bear that love.” He also gave examples from what he has experienced in his own life.
“I am not going to be guilty of going from one error to another error. The error of condemning everyone; the error of speaking without love; the error of lack of empathy, lack of sympathy, lack of grace,” Brown said. “I’m not going to swing from that error to another error where I throw out truth. That would be wrong.”
After Brown’s speech concluded, Greg Walker, chapter director of Ratio Christi, invited another speaker to talk before he himself told of how he found Christ. Walker then opened up the floor to questions.
According to their website, Ratio Christi is an “organization encouraging and strengthening the faith of Christian students at universities around the world through the use of intellectual investigation and apologetics while sharing Christ’s message and love to those that have yet to receive it.”
Walker said in a statement via email that the group chose Brown because of his “keen ability in biblical scholarship, his track record in public debate concerning LGBTQ+ issues and his character as a man of kindness and compassion.”
“Regardless of the expected misrepresentation and mischaracterizations from protesters concerning his character, it was important that we move forward while offering the truth in love,” Walker said. “This offered an opportunity for students to hear a speaker provide an historic, orthodox, Christian perspective on gender issues while hearing it in a peaceful manner.”
Walker said that he was also grateful that App State gave them the opportunity to host Brown and hoped that it will deepen relationships and foster health, peaceful and civil discourse.
Keven White, a fifth-year senior religious studies major, opened up debating Brown for about 15 minutes. He had gone to the protest earlier in the day.
White said his opinion of Brown is still the same as before the protest. He said he read over Brown’s profile and articles he had written, but still said he thinks the ideology is inherently violent towards marginalized identities.
Quinn Fischer works at the LGBT Center on campus and attended the event by himself. He was the second person to ask Brown questions during the Q&A.
“I don’t particularly agree with (the speech),” Fischer, who was handing out buttons and stickers, said. “I think there are a lot of flaws in his argument, and I personally don’t think I will ever agree. But I think it is important that he’s allowed to speak because it not only proves that there are still people in this world who think like this, and it does validate some people, but it gives us space to give out buttons and stickers.”
Two others were able to talk to Brown and ask him questions before time ran out. The event was recorded live and is on Brown’s Facebook page, AskDrBrown.
Story by Moss Brennan, Indepth Editor
Featured Image: Michael Brown, speaker of the event “Christian Mistreatment of Homosexuality,” at the Plemmons Student Union talking to students and community of Boone.
Photo Credit: Moss Brennan, Indepth Editor
Photo Gallery Credit: Mickey Hutchings, Staff Photographer