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|Answers in Genesis takes offense to coverage of anti-gay billboard|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|November 05, 2010 10:39|
I wrote a blog post on Tuesday entitled “Gainesville, Ga., billboard demeans same-sex marriage” that highlights a billboard on display just off Georgia 53 and the Atlanta Highway between Flowery Branch and Gainesville.
Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis (organizers of the campaign), responded to the article yesterday by posting a blog of his own, “Intolerant People Opposing an AiG-backed Billboard.” In the post, Ham calls out my journalistic integrity over my choice of wording in the article.
“It’s all in the way you say things, isn’t it?” Ham writes. “How about a headline that states, “Billboard quotes Bible on Marriage” or “Billboard quotes Jesus on Marriage.”
“No, a ‘gay activist’ newspaper wouldn’t want a positive message like that. Because of the obvious anti-Christian agenda, they show their intolerance for the Bible even in the headline.”
Ham makes a point to call me intolerant throughout his piece, which is personally offensive. I’m not intolerant, especially about issues of free speech. I’m a huge advocate for free speech and access to information. I’m a journalist. The last thing I want is for someone to tell me what I can and cannot say in my articles. Unless it's my editor. She can tell me what to say.
But, as I wrote yesterday in the comment section of the original post, you have to be prepared to understand why your choice of words offends others when you choose to exercise that freedom. You’re allowed to offend whoever you want as long as it’s not obscene. That’s the beauty of the First Amendment.
Ham wants to have it both ways. He wants to put up a message that “demeans” same-sex marriage but hide behind the First Amendment when the community responds to that message with a difference of opinion. Just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t make him intolerant, Mr. Ham.
I don’t think Christians are intolerant. I do think, however, that denying marriage equality based on personal opinion is prejudiced. That’s my right to express, just as putting up a billboard that says marriage should be between a man and a woman is your right.
Ham’s blog post continues:
“Atheists have billboards up across the nation telling people there is no God, so why is this same reporter not writing an article stating, ‘Atheist Billboards Demean Christianity’? Why is this reporter (and the person quoted above) not complaining about the anti-Christian message of the atheist billboards? No, they wouldn’t do that, as they are tolerant of atheism but intolerant of Christians who quote God’s Word in public!”
I don’t complain about anti-Christian billboards because they generally don’t have anti-gay messages. I work for an LGBT newspaper, not the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We cover LGBT issues exclusively. I don’t write about NASA or the New York Yankees or California’s failed marijuana legalization (Prop 19) because that’s not my beat. I write about LGBT issues and this billboard falls right into my line of sight.
Read Ham's full post here.
Top photo: Ken A. Ham, President/Chief Executive Officer, Answers in Genesis (courtesy photo)
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