January 30, 2006

Brownback and "Fruits," Redux

On January 27, I reported on Sen. Brownback's (R-KS) apparent manipulation and abuse of scripture in order to make a pun in which he referred to Swedish gays and lesbians as "fruits." Sen. Brownback's press office responded today to the press release issued by the Human Rights Campaign:



January 30, 2006

Contact Brian Hart/John Rankin


WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today issued the following statement concerning his recent comments in Rolling Stone magazine about same-sex marriage in Sweden:

"When quoting Matthew 7:16, 'Ye shall know them by their fruits,' I was in no way referring to sexual orientation.

"While this biblical passage was pertinent to our overall conversation about faith and deeds, it apparently led the writer to believe I was making a joke; I was not and would never do so with such a personal and sensitive issue."

The author of the Rolling Stone article in question, Jeff Sharlet, left a comment on my initial post and said that although he didn't know whether or not Sen. Brownback intended to make a pun, "the awkward moment that followed -- and the fact that his press secretary later told me that the interview had made Brownback uncomfortable -- suggests that he was aware of the possible interpretations." I find it improbable based on what Mr. Sharlet said and plain old common sense that Sen. Brownback didn't recognize the implications that such a comment would have.

Be that as it may, I suppose that I have no choice but to accept what Sen. Brownback says at face value, since it would be impossible to prove either way what he meant by making his remarks. I withdraw my condemnation of Sen. Brownback's remarks and my demand for a retraction and apology, but I would like to call upon Sen. Brownback to be more careful when he is citing scripture in the future, because scripture can be and has been used to hurt gays and lesbians many times in the past. It would be easy to misinterpret the kind of remarks that Sen. Brownback recently made.