MIAMI – The question whether the homosexual activist group GOProud is conservative was the subject of a spirited debate invoking God, the Bible and the promotion of political agendas during WorldNetDaily’s “Taking America Back Conference” last night in this South Florida city.

GOProud Chairman Christopher Barron, left, squared off against WND Editor Joseph Farah in a debate Sept. 17, 2010, at Miami’s Doral Resort as part of WND’s “Taking America Back Conference.” (WND photo)

Christopher Barron, himself a “married homosexual” and founder and chairman of GOProud which is courting the conservative movement, went up against his top detractor, Joseph Farah, editor and CEO of WND, at a public discussion at the Doral Resort.

“I can stand before you confidently today and say GOProud is a conservative organization,” said Barron at the start of the event.

“It is a little bizarre to debate whether my organization is conservative, considering Mr. Farah has said he is not conservative. It’s like debating whether I’m Christian with an avowed atheist.”

Farah opened by declaring: “Today I stand here in defense, quite literally, of God’s law, the preservation of the institution of marriage as the union between one man and one woman, Western civilization, common sense, Judeo-Christian morality and the very definitions of the words ‘conservative’ and ‘marriage’ because both are under attack by my opponent. … The conservative movement has been infiltrated by homosexual activists like Christopher Barron.”

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Barron presented a number of his group’s stances on a variety of political issues to bolster his claim that GOProud is indeed conservative.

Some of them include support for cutting taxes, school choice, free-market health-care reform, the privatization of Social Security, fighting the spread of radical Islamic regimes, defense of Second Amendment rights, and opposing any effort to federalize marriage through a marriage amendment.

Regarding marriage, Barron asked, “How many marriages have been damaged or destroyed by ‘gay marriage?’ My guess is not many. How many have been destroyed by divorce? A lot more.

“The real threat to marriage is divorce. I want to defend the institution of marriage because I believe in it,” Barron continued. “Why aren’t we pushing for amendments state by state repealing no-fault divorce? It’s bad for women, and it’s especially bad for children.”

Farah did not disagree on the divorce issue but hammered away on his point that homosexuality is inconsistent with being conservative.

“Chris, your argument is not with me. It is with God,” said Farah. “It’s with 6,000 years of Judeo-Christian history and the founding principles of this country.

“Our rights do not descend from government edicts,” he continued. “We’re endowed with them by our Creator. If that’s true, and I certainly believe it is, shouldn’t we listen to what our Creator has to say about the sin which forms the basis of your special-interest group?

“Should conservatives, the people who are supposed to preserve institutions that work come to the rescue of homosexual activists? I say no,” said Farah.

With Farah’s continued focus on homosexuality in lieu of other issues, Barron told him, “Your vision of the conservative movement is one that would fit in a telephone booth, and there’d still be room for a couple of people.”

Farah cited numerous biblical Scriptures to demonstrate God’s condemnation of homosexuality, including Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:22-27, as well as Jesus speaking about marriage being between a man and a woman in Matthew 19:4-6.

When Farah asked the GOProud founder where rights originate, Barron responded, “They come from God.”

“Either you believe the Bible, or you don’t,” Farah said. “I’m sure some people here don’t accept the Bible is divine revelation.”

But the veteran journalist of more than 30 years said the biblical principle was important because “it works.”

“Conservatism recognizes institutions that work and tries to protect and preserve them. That’s what conservatism is all about. It doesn’t try to subvert them, undermine them and redefine them.”

Barron stressed that marriage should be a matter for individual states to decide instead of any federal mandate, though he also said he supported a federal judge’s decision overturning Proposition 8, a measure voted on by Californians declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman.

Concerning health-related matters, Barron said, “This organization cares about health-care reform because health care affects every single person in this country regardless of their sexuality.”

“Then why do you need a ‘gay’ organization, Chris? Why do you need a ‘gay’ organization at all?” Farah responded, receiving the loudest applause of the evening. “We don’t want to know what you do in the bedroom. Why don’t you just join the rest of us and work for these worthy causes?”

At one point in the debate, Farah went on an itemized attack against a list of priorities GOProud has posted on its own website, especially after Barron indicated his group doesn’t back legislation concerning so-called “hate crimes.”

“GOProud made it very clear we don’t support hate-crime legislation,” Barron asserted.

Farah pointed out one of the first items on the GOProud site states, “While hate crimes and employment protections may be worthy goals … .”

GOProud’s legislative agenda

“I should invite you over to help us redraft our website,” Barron said, receiving laughter from the audience.

One of GOProud’s listed objectives is “standing strong against radical regimes who seek to criminalize ‘gays’ and lesbians.”

“America has a role to protect human rights,” explained Barron. “Human rights don’t end at borders.”

“There’s no end to that war, folks,” said Farah. “We don’t have enough soldiers for that.”

“Especially if we’re kicking the ‘gay’ folks out,” responded Barron.

At the conclusion of the event, there was a variety of opinions about who won.

“I didn’t expect the other side [GOProud] to do so well,” said Ron Luppe of Boston. “I’m against normalizing homosexuality, but I thought Chris actually won the debate. Because they’re for a long list of conservative issues but mandating same-sex marriage is not on their agenda, as Chris said many times, I’d have to agree that they’re conservative.”

George Cousins of Fort Myers, Fla., said: “I thought Chris was weak on the key issue, which is the institution of marriage. I thought Joseph Farah made the point well when he said that if GOProud were really all about advocating conservative issues that are good for everyone, then why not simply join the rest of us as a conservative group? But rather, the organization makes it clear that it’s gays looking out for the benefits of the ‘gay’ community. They have to have a separate group because the key conservative principles of family and marriage are inconsistent with their agenda.

“It was interesting to see two polar opposite views on what they both think is the same issue,” said Jason Seaton of Kansas. While I tend to lean more toward Mr. Farah, it was comforting to hear the opposite point of view. I’m glad GOProud is on our side, and not the other, but I still wouldn’t say that makes them ‘conservative’. I would liken it to an illegal alien who does a good job, raises his family well, and contributes to community – it’s all based on a wrong to begin with, it’s all moot.”

The idea for the debate was conceived out of a controversy involving WND and conservative pundit Ann Coulter.

WND had disinvited Coulter from a keynote speaking role at its Miami conference when she agreed to address GOProud’s “Homocon” event a week later, prompting outrage from the pundit and intense media coverage. Farah contended she was “affirming” the group with her high-profile speech and was permitting herself to be exploited by the group, permitting it to make deeper inroads into the conservative movement.

Additional reporting by Drew Zahn.

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