As your friendly neighborhood columnist, it occasionally falls to me to call people out when they’ve done wrong. I don’t always like it, but I have to do it. I took no pleasure in reminding Tina Fey that identity politics is not feminism (when she tried to revive Hillary Clinton’s campaign last year with her “bitch is the new black” endorsement) right before the Ohio and Texas primaries, but I did it because it had to be done. I don’t have the same problem with the person I’m putting on blast this week because while I’ve got a lot of love for Tina, I can’t say the same for J. Matt Barber, the lawyer and conservative Christian radio talk show host who wrote the “Perez Hilton: The foul face of gay activism” piece published in this paper last Thursday. That guy is as wrong as two left feet.
If you missed it, Barber didn’t like the way pageant judge Perez Hilton responded to the answer Miss California, the “openly Christian” Carrie Prejean, gave to a question about same-sex marriage in the Miss USA pageant. Barber attempts to cast Carrie as the “Beauty” and Perez as the “Beast” in a battle to see which side of the same-sex marriage issue has more “class.”
Putting aside the fact that Perez’ whole existence is an off-shoot of the unfortunate Paris Hilton phenomenon (so the clock is ticking on his 15 minutes of fame), very few people would regard a celebrity gossip blogger as a spokesman for equal rights for gay couples.
And I think Perez would agree that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would think of him, a man who routinely draws poop on pictures of people, when they think of “class.”
Barber wanted us all to believe he was writing because he felt compelled to defend Prejean, who he claimed was being attacked (and didn’t win the title of Miss USA) because her answer reflected her religious beliefs. If anything, she didn’t win because she expanded on her answer to include her religious beliefs and offended a lot of people in the process.
She could have just said, “I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other.
We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage,” and left people thinking she’s a little dim. But she went on to say, “and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman,” and left people thinking she’s a bigot.
What I don’t understand is why Barber picked this particular horse to ride. He’s a self-styled champion for family values who rushed to the defense of a young woman who is supposed to be a religious conservative, but struts her surgically-augmented stuff around on stage in a bikini and high heels so people like Perez and Donald Trump can “judge” her on her physical beauty. I don’t get why she became his cause celebre when morally speaking, she’s only a step above a Web cam girl.
The blogger vs. the beauty queen is a totally ridiculous fight for Matt Barber to pick, and the fact that he tried to set it up that way shows what a fraud he really is. He says that Carrie “has given liberals a clinic in class,” while Perez “has provided the world a sneak peek into the soul of homosexual activism” because that’s what this is all about for this associate dean at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University Law School: defeating the “liberal activism” which would grant the same rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples to same-sex couples.
As director of cultural affairs with Liberty Counsel, his stated goal is to make religion (his religion, not necessarily yours or mine) a bigger part of public life and public policy — so that he and people like him can dictate morality to the rest of us. Sorry to have to be the one to tell you, Matt, but in America there is this document called the Constitution containing a little thing called the Establishment Clause which officially separates any church from the state.
In this country, you have the right to consider two men in a loving, committed, monogamous relationship to be “immoral” if your church says so — and those two men have the right to enter into a legally-binding marriage contract with each other, no matter what your church says.
Those men, like the rest of us, don’t need you or your church to dictate what’s right and what’s wrong — though Carrie Prejean might ask for forgiveness now that the inevitable topless photos of your religious conservative beauty queen have surfaced.
Some say if you don’t like abortion, don’t have an abortion. To you, Matt Barber, I say if you don’t like same-sex marriage, don’t marry a man.
Kenny Mack is a multi-platform content provider living in Santa Monica. His columns are archived at www.ifyoumissedit.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.