Reverse Hatred, Steve Wessler and the New Totalitarians

mike_heath_10_commandments.JPGMike Heath of the Christian Civic League of Maine is a committed Christian who –like millions upon millions of pro-family Americans — opposes homosexual practice and all sex outside marriage. But to social leftists like Steve Wessler, Heath is an extreme “hater” whose views should not even be published in a major newspaper. Can we afford to let the anti-Christian Left become the arbiter of “hate” in America?

“[I]rresponsible and biased speech legitimizes extreme prejudice.” — Steve Wessler, Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence

By Peter LaBarbera,

Catching up on unpublished stories here: I sent a version of the following letter May 6 to Steve Wessler, executive director of a liberal outfit called the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence in Portland, Maine — in response to his April 26 column in the Portland Press-Herald advocating that this major newspaper gag my friend (and AFTAH Board Chairman) Mike Heath. The Left aspires to be the arbiter of “hate” in our society, but their absurd, radical and, yes, hateful arguments equating pro-family Americans with anti-Semites and racists — even slavery advocates — constitute a form of reverse-hatred. If the Left’s non-diverse “diversity” ideology ever gets full backing by the government here in the United States, it would be used to criminalize Christian practice, as is already happening in Canada and Great Britain.

Social conservatives need to wake up to the escalating threat to freedom that comes from arrogant, absolutist ideologues on the hard Left. If we fail to answer the poisonous smear-attacks by anti-religious activists like Wessler (e.g., labelling groups like the Christian Civic League of Maine and AFTAH “hate groups”), we will lose our freedoms as America inches toward the brand of left-wing totalitarianism found in Europe and Canada.

Truth is, nobody hates and itches to censor others like the Left, but Wessler and his ilk rely on intimidation tactics and the media’s help to silence debate and box conservative voices out of the public square.

Morality is not prejudice, and defending the time-tested Judeo-Christian sexual ethic is not “hate.” (If you warn your children against doing something that is wrong and potentially harmful to their health, and which could alienate them from God, do you “hate” them?) Equating sincere Christians and conservative citizens with racist and anti-Semitic practices of the past is one of the Pro-Homosexual Left’s most insidious tactics.

I must say, it takes a lot of chutzpah for Wessler — whose organization’s mission statement is to “prevent bias” — to write an article (reprinted below) this biased and inflammatory against a pro-family leader representing a 111-year-old faith-based organization, the Christian Civic League of Maine. Click HERE to read the excellent column by Heath, CCL Maine’s executive director, to which Wessler was responding.

PS. Wessler’s spurious attack on Heath and CCL of Maine did not come out of nowhere. After the Civic League launched an historic referendum drive to roll back homosexual “special rights” and preserve marriage as between a man and a woman, Heath came under one of the worst liberal media bombardments I have ever seen. He then canceled the campaign — not because of media pressure (Mike has withstood press slanders his whole professional life) — but due to insufficient support and finances to carry out a successful ballot effort.


My letter to Steve Wessler (he did not reply):

Dear Mr. Wessler,

I believe you are guilty of what I’m calling Reverse Hate, or maybe Reverse Bigotry (Prejudice). I read a recent piece you wrote on Mike Heath and I was struck by your choice of words, and your argument against Mike’s voice even being allowed in a Maine newspaper. You wrote:

I do not believe that the paper would print an opinion column blaming Jews for the destruction of the World Trade Center or denying the Holocaust.

Neither do I believe that the paper would print an opinion piece blaming African-Americans for crime and arguing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites.

In making the preposterous and extreme argument that Mike and the Civic League are analogous to Holocaust deniers or white supremacists — and hence that their voice is not even worthy of being printed — I believe you are guilty of the very “extreme prejudice” that you bemoan in Mike and others. It’s just a different variety — I guess I’d call it misinformed, anti-religious bigotry — but what is so frightening is that you and your colleagues on the Left now purport to represent the “mainstream.”

I see in your arguments the roots of a New Totalitarianism that has disturbing ramifications for American democracy. Americans are divided over the morality of homosexual behavior (see the Gallup surveys: nearly 1/2 of Americans oppose homosexual acts), but you and like-minded people want to proclaim those who act on such (historic Judeo-Christian) beliefs are beyond the pale — not even worthy to have their columns printed in a newspaper — even when they are under vociferous and vicious rhetorical assault!

I’m stunned, but coming to the sad realization that this is the new modus operandi of the Left — which is pursuing the Orwellian goal of attempting to “box out” conservative moral speech in the name of “diversity.” But you are not the arbiter of hate — you’re far too biased to be such: to quote you, I believe: irresponsible and biased speech legitimizes extreme prejudice — and you are helping to legitimize anti-Christian prejudice of the sort that could lead to persecution against the Mike Heath’s of the world. That may have seemed far-fetched 25 years ago, but surely you must see that possibility with the rise of anti- Christian “hate speech” prosecutions in Canada and Britain.

I’d like to offer you a chance to state your objections to my notion of whether YOU are guilty of (reverse) hatred and hate speech — irresponsible, biased and incendiary speech against a Christian leader — including floating the idea that Mike Heath’s voice should be blocked in major public media. Also, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the rise of government “hate speech” prosecutions in Canada, Great Britain, etc. — stick to those based on “sexual orientation” if you’d like. I will print and comment on your reply at

PS. Full disclosure: Mike is chairman of the Board of Americans For Truth and a good friend of mine.

Peter LaBarbera
Americans For Truth


Below is Wessler’s column in the Portland Press Herald and, under that, Heath’s piece to which he was objecting (emphasis added):

Paper erred in giving voice to Heath

Those who hold such opinions have that right, but giving them a forum legitimizes their views.

By Steve Wessler
April 26, 2008

Deeply prejudiced and baseless rhetoric that blames minorities for society’s problems is not a new phenomenon.

Jews, for example, have been blamed by some in the United States for an international conspiracy to spread communism, for masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and for the spread of AIDS.

Unfortunately, it is not difficult to find examples of bigoted and irresponsible diatribes against blacks, Jews, gays and lesbians and others.

The fliers and Web sites of organized hate groups are both readily available and deeply disturbing.

Extremists will continue to find avenues to express their biased, unfounded and inflammatory views on Web sites and at rallies.

This kind of rhetoric, however, has no place in the opinion section of well-respected newspapers. The April 13 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram included an opinion column by Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, blaming the gay-rights movement, as the “radical wing” of the so-called sexual revolution, for a range of societal problems, including broken homes, child abuse, abortion and AIDS.

Heath followed with the equally brazen assertion that, unless Maine people enact the Christian Civic League’s proposed referendum to roll back years of legislation which protects gay and lesbian families and individuals from unfair and discriminatory treatment, these societal problems “would be irreversible.”

Many readers will find Heath’s unfounded blame of gays and lesbians for child abuse, broken families and other ills to be simply ridiculous.

But it is more serious than that, and it would be a mistake to ignore the impact of false accusations against minorities.

Irresponsible and biased speech legitimizes extreme prejudice, lowers the quality of public debate on important societal issues and encourages others to engage in divisive and humiliating stereotypes.

Moreover, during the years I spent enforcing Maine’s civil rights laws and, more recently, implementing programs to reduce bias and harassment in schools and communities through the work of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, I have seen that stereotypes about racial, religious, ethnic, socio-economic, gender and sexual orientation groups never are static.

Rather, bias and stereotypes are part of a process of escalation in which degrading and dehumanizing comments, stereotypes and jokes can lead to harsher language, to threats, to property destruction and finally to violence.

Mr. Heath’s assertions are deeply disturbing but not surprising. The Telegram’s decision to print those assertions, however, is both disturbing and surprising.

I do not believe that the paper would print an opinion column blaming Jews for the destruction of the World Trade Center or denying the Holocaust.

Neither do I believe that the paper would print an opinion piece blaming African-Americans for crime and arguing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites.

Why, then, did the paper print Mr. Heath’s column?

I worry that the paper’s decision might have been due to our society’s acceptance of stereotypes and bias directed at gays and lesbians.

Alternatively, the paper may have been trying to appear evenhanded in its coverage of the Christian Civic League’s proposed referendum.

Michael Heath certainly has the right to express his opinions.

However, respected newspapers should not be in the business of printing, and thereby legitimizing, opinions that are deeply prejudiced, factually unsupportable and destructive to the culture of civility which is such an important part of our state.

The Maine Sunday Telegram is a far, far better paper than this.

Steve Wessler is executive director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence in Portland.



Mike Heath’s column in the Portland Press Herald that inspired Wessler’s column:

Wounds Inflicted by Sexual Revolution Can Be Healed

By banning gay rights, Maine could allay the harm done to society by men with ties to our state.

Michael S. Heath

Portland Press Herald, April 13, 2008

The largest of rivers begins as a small stream. That small stream tumbles and rushes down from the heights, joining other streams and tributaries, until together, they form a great torrent that sweeps away everything in its path.

The ideas that change the world are like rivers. They begin in well-trained minds and merge with other ideas until they become an irresistible force for change – and sometimes, revolution.

One such idea began in the First Parish Church in Brunswick, Maine. There, Harriet Beecher Stowe conceived the idea of a book about the miserable lives of slaves in the South. The novel she went on to write, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” spread her ideas far beyond Brunswick, inspiring an entire nation to take up arms against slavery. In the hands of a quiet woman, writing in Maine, a simple idea grew into the cataclysm of the Civil War.

Another earth-shaking idea can be traced back to Maine, and that is the sexual revolution. This idea has proven as deadly as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s idea was wholesome and life-giving.

The sexual revolution takes its name from a book written by Wilhelm Reich in 1929, called “The Sexual Revolution.” Another title for Reich’s book was “Sex in the Culture War.”

Reich maintained that the ills of the world could be cured by eliminating conservatism, love of country and respect for authority. The best way to do this, Reich believed, was to undermine sexual morality. For Reich, and many others on the left, the sexual revolution was only a way station on the road to real revolution.

In later life, Reich spread his ideas from his 200-acre estate in Rangeley. The Wilhelm Reich Museum, dedicated to his work and teachings, is located in Rangeley, where it still attracts dedicated followers. It is a pity that Reich’s ideas are not better understood, since they have done the world an enormous amount of harm.

Less well-known than Reich, but just as influential these days, is Marshall Kirk, a Harvard-trained researcher who was born in Norway, Maine. Kirk, who died in 2005, helped change society’s perception of homosexuality as harmful – a perception based on common sense, reason and science – to a vague opinion that homosexuality is merely an alternative lifestyle.

A book co-authored by Kirk in 1989, “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s,” sets forth the strategy used to alter society’s perception of homosexuals. According to this strategy, the media should “desensitize” the public to the perceived threat posed by homosexuals by “inundating the public in a continuous flood of gay-related advertising, presented in the least offensive fashion possible.”

In addition, Kirk and Hunter Madsen recommended stigmatizing the opponents of gay rights as “bigots and homophobes.” Kirk’s and Madsen’s ultimate goal was – in their own phrasing – “conversion.” Conversion, as defined in this book, meant that society would finally accept homosexuality as normal.

Kirk, Madsen and their allies did convert much of society with their strategy of unrelenting propaganda and deception. The “gay-related” advertising envisioned by Kirk and Madsen is now part of the public school curriculum, and children as early as kindergarten are told that the homosexual lifestyle is healthy and normal.

Where great reformers like Harriet Beecher Stowe shone a spotlight on real injustice, men such as Reich, Kirk and Madsen relied on psychological manipulation and pseudoscience to lead the public into a shadow world lying somewhere between truth and falsehood, reality and unreality.

But no deception, no matter how skilled or sophisticated, can hide the devastation caused by the sexual revolution and its radical wing, the gay rights movement. Broken homes, child abuse, abortion and AIDS are the inevitable result of a false view of sexual morality.

The people of Maine must act quickly before the last phase of the revolution – same-sex marriage – is complete. If they fail to act now, the pandemic of sexual immorality would prove incurable, and the damage would be irreversible.

To that end, the Christian Civic League of Maine will address the homosexual rights agenda in a comprehensive manner, by initiating a referendum to ban same-sex marriage, gay adoption, special rights and the interference of the gay rights movement in the public schools. I hope you will join with me in this noble effort to protect our families, our state and our nation.

Michael S. Heath is the executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, which is based in Augusta.

This article was posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 at 4:16 pm and is filed under A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, News, The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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