Thursday, January 15, 2009

Max Blumenthal on CNN's Roland Martin

Journalist and video documentarian Max Blumenthal came on the show last week to discuss his piece on Rick Warren's sham AIDS work in Africa. Max, who writes for the Daily Beast, Huffington Post, the Nation and other publications, does terrific work and comes on the show often. I had not had a chance until last week, however, to speak with him about his interview at the Democratic convention last summer with CNN's Roland Martin.

Martin, a Democrat and an Obama supporter (and defender of Obama's choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration), has in the past expressed what was clearly support of "conversion therapy" of gay people. People can call this anything they like -- counseling, reparative therapy, the cure, or walking away from the "gay lifestyle" -- but it's all the same. Check out a column of Martin's from February 2006:

My wife, an ordained Baptist minister for 20 years, has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle, and to live a chaste life. She has asked heterosexual men and women to abstain from sex until marriage. For her, the obligation is to her calling as a minister of the Word, rather than bowing to societal pressures. She loves gay and lesbian church members dearly, and prays with them, talks to them, and breaks bread with them. But what she cannot do is compromise the integrity of the teachings of Christ.

In my interview with Max -- a video clip of which is below -- I played a clip from his interview with Martin (which you can find on Max's site in full) and discussed Martin's views. Note that Martin now seems to be backtracking, implying that his wife only counseled one man -- "that man" -- as Martin says. But more interesting is when Max raises a question about who "that man" may be. Many listeners wrote me about that exchange, and others wrote me who hadn't heard it but heard about it and asked me to replay the interview.

Before we replayed it, however, I wanted to give Roland Martin a chance to respond. At first he was going to come on, but after he heard the clip, he decided not to appear on the show to respond, and then wrote a statement to our producer to read on the air. That statement follows the clip below.

Statement from Roland Martin
I will not waste my time responding to this utter nonsense from a guy who is totally delusional and confused.

One, my wife didn't "convert" anyone. Max seems to be obsessed about this, but the fiction in his mind is not met with reality. What gets me is Max is focusing on word emphasis and has concluded that means something? Any real journalist who based a story on that would get fired.

Two, that man is an actual member of the church.

Three, I am not "that man" as Max Blumenthal tried to toss out. So I'm supposed to prove that I'm not something? Wow, so this is how the little game is played with guys like him.

"That man" he's speaking of taught Bible study at our church. That's why he went to my wife for guidance. I've never taught Bible study. So if I've never taught Bible study, how can I be that man?

As a journalist, we like to follow that little thing called a fact and follow it to a logical conclusion. His little game is to toss something out, which is a lie, and get me to respond.

The fact that Max Blumenthal would make such a ridiculous and shameful statement shows that he's not worthy of me responding to anything that he says and does. But Max sounds like he's in desperate need of professional help for making such a statement that is so false that's it's unbelievable.

We should all pray for Max. He's obviously a confused soul.

Max didn't state outright that Martin was "that man." Rather he seemed to be simply raising the question because Martin was appearing to speak for the man. But no matter who the man is, this kind of thinking -- that people can "walk away from the gay lifestyle" -- is homophobic and destructive. And it is completely unaacceptable. Is it any wonder that Martin defended Obama's choice of Rick Warren?