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Evangelical Christian Leader in Charlotte Invites Gay and Lesbian Clergy to a Public Forum But is Snubbed

Contact: Eric McCoy, assistant to the director, Coalition of Conscience, 704-782-3760, emccoy@fire-school.org


CHARLOTTE, NC, Sept. 19 /Christian Newswire/ -- For the last three weeks, Dr. Michael L. Brown, director of the Coalition of Conscience, has been reaching out to the clergy of gay and gay-affirming churches in greater Charlotte. He has invited them to participate in a public forum and to present their views on "Can you be gay and Christian?" this Thursday night, September 20th from 7:00-9:30 PM, hosted by FIRE Church in Concord, North Carolina. But after contacting the leaders of more than a dozen gay and gay affirming churches, he has not found a single member of the clergy willing to participate.


For Brown, who has gone out of his way to state that the forum will not be a platform for gay bashing, the unwillingness of the local clergy to participate is striking. "For the last two years, young people affiliated with the gay organization Soulforce have visited Christian college campuses, protesting their policies and calling for public dialogue. Earlier this year, Joe Solmonese, the head of the Human Rights Campaign, issued me a challenge in the presence of 1,500 people. Yet when we invite gay and gay-affirming clergy to participate in a public dialogue, we cannot find any takers."


Brown is still hoping that some of the invited clergy will choose to participate in the forum, but even in their absence, he expects that the presentations that will be given and the extensive interaction with audience Q & A will prove enlightening. "We handed out over 500 invitations at Pride Charlotte on August 25, and we're hoping for some excellent questions from the audience. Even the fact that an evangelical congregation is opening its doors to this dialogue is significant in and of itself."


Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and is a published biblical scholar. He has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Donahue, Prime Time Justice, Fox News, Hard Copy, and Inside Edition. His work has also been featured in newspapers such as the Washington Post, the Charlotte Observer, and the Baltimore Sun.


There will be a news conference before the forum, Thursday, September 20th, at 6:15 PM, at FIRE Church, 4323 Concord Pkwy S., Concord, North Carolina. At the news conference, Brown will share the list of gay and gay-affirming churches that he invited, along with the transcription of the personal challenge he received earlier this year from Joe Solmonese.