Paul O’Brien is an openly gay Christian conservative. Which strikes me akin to being both the Dallas Cowboys’ star quarterback and a man opposed to the sport of football.
Or, to be more precise, I’m just sorta baffled. I mean, as a whole Christian conservatives seem to be very outspoken against homosexuality. It’s a group of people who brought us this guy. And this guy. And, ugh, this guy.
And yet … when I reached out to Paul, told him I leaned hard liberal and asked whether (despite that) he’d be up for a Quaz, he didn’t flinch or think twice. Which I admire in a huge way. See, we’re living in an age of loudmouth cowardice from all sides of politics. Go to Twitter and look around. The vast majority of ranters, screamers, insulters hide behind fake names and fake images. They’re tough guys sans repercussions. Which means, in fact, they’re as soft as supermarket tissue.
He exists on Facebook as “The Gay Trumpocat,” and while I share exactly, oh, zero beliefs with the man, he refuses to flinch or hide. Hell, he’s even written and published a pair of books (The United Resistance of America) and From Clinton to Trump, A Gay Christian’s Shift From the Left to the Right) that confirm his outlooks on life.
Paul O’Brien, I hope Trump gets impeached yesterday.
Now welcome to the Quaz …
JEFF PEARLMAN: So Paul, you’re a gay Christian conservative. Which in and of itself is quite interesting, considering the church’s view that homosexuality is a sin. Basic question—but how do you accept this? I mean, aren’t you a believer in a religion that—in a sense—doesn’t believe in you?
PAUL O’BRIEN: As a Christian, and the son of a preacher, I learned a long time ago what was in the Bible and was told to interpret it myself. I don’t listen to what others believe scripture means because it is written that we should read for ourselves. Old Testament is the only book in the Bible that speaks negatively on the subject of homosexuality, but the Old Testament was written for Jews and not Gentiles. So in terms of Christianity and homosexuality I look to New Testament and what Christ said. I never found anything negative from him regarding gays. But I also came to terms with something. I believe that anyone who has sex outside marriage is committing the sin of adultery, including straight and gay people. All sins are forgivable and luckily I believe in gay marriage so therefore I don’t believe it is a sin to be intimate with your husband/wife. I don’t believe being gay is a sin as I was born this way, which means God made me the way I am. And luckily for me, I have surrounded myself with Christians who have never judged me, including my father. I believe the old school era of Christians preaching fire and brimstone are dying out. More and more churches are accepting of gays, which is fantastic.
J.P.: Along those lines, you posted glowingly about Karen Handel, who won the Georgia congressional race. Handel is an outspoken opponent of gay adoption; she literally does not believe gay couples should be allowed to raise children; that they are not morally fit to do so. How can you hear that and, as a gay man, support someone with such beliefs?
P.O.: Yes, I am very happy that Karen Handel won the race, making her the first GOP woman to represent Georgia in Congress. In terms of how she feels about gays adopting, I gave up on the belief that everyone would share my views on everything. If they disagree with me regarding adoption, that is their right as an American. That might be the one political view I don’t agree with Handel on, but I’m not a single issue voter so it helps that many of her views I do share. But in terms of supporting someone who has a belief I don’t agree with, I would say that taking money from people who slaughter gays and proposing an immigration increase of those people concerns me more than her opinion regarding adoption. I’d rather have someone disagree with me regarding raising a child than someone funded by people who want me dead.
J.P.: You backed Hillary Clinton in 2008. Now, clearly, you’re not a fan. What changed? How did your thinking change?
P.O.: I was a massive supporter of Hillary and Bill Clinton. I look back on that time now and the one things that comes to mind is something my hero Andrew Breitbart said about himself. Default liberal. I was a default liberal because I believed everything I heard via the media. It wasn’t until I began doing research for a book I was writing about Hillary that I began learning things I never knew. I learned about her taking millions from men who slaughter gays and oppress women while claiming to be a champion for women and gays. I learned that the people of Haiti hate her and accuse her of stealing from them. I heard her laugh when recalling a rape case where she represented the rapist of a 12 year-old girl who was beaten and put into a coma, left infertile from her injuries [Writer’s note: Snopes largely disagrees with this take]. I learned that she blamed the victim, something she could not do now thanks to rape shield laws, telling her that she asked for it and that she fantasized about older men. Then I started learning of her dishonesty. She could not seem to tell the truth regarding anything. Whether it be landing under sniper fire in Bosnia, the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, destroying evidence after a subpoena was issued, lying to the American public about her email server, etc.
But the final straw for me was the Orlando terrorist attack. I listened to her pander to Muslims as if they had been attacked while preaching down to the LGBT community about “embracing and protecting” Muslims. She claimed we didn’t even know the motive of the attack despite 911 calls and witnesses revealing the motive. Then I heard Donald Trump, the so-called homophobe, speak and he condemned not just the attack, but Sharia law and the slaughter of gays. He vowed to protect the LGBT community, encouraging Republicans to defend my community. So I began researching him, which led to my first published book From Clinton to Trump.
J.P.: I’m gonna be honest—I view Donald Trump as nothing but a conman. If you look at his life, from discriminatory housing to Atlantic City ugliness to ruining the USFL to the scores of unpaid contractors; if you look at his charity (to which he never donated any of his own money) and his history of greed and narcissism … I just view him as everything ugly in America. So … what do you see? What am I missing?
P.O.: I remind you to look back and see how different things were 30-to-40 years ago. In the housing case you cited, I recall over 100 real estate companies being sued for discriminatory housing. Donald Trump was the only one who fought the case. It is also important to remember it was not Donald Trump sitting in an office, turning down minority tenants. The people he hired to do the job did this. But then I learned Trump’s company actually did house minorities… the scandal was that they were housed separately from other tenants. Now in terms of charity, I find it hard to believe that he never donated his own money. I recall how popular he was in the gay community back when I was living in Connecticut, only an hour’s drive from New York City. He was often featured in Advocate magazine where he was praised for his donations to Gay Mens Health Crisis and various HIV/AIDS charities. Then I see him being awarded for his work with the African American community with Rosa Parks, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton praising him. So in terms of his charities, I don’t see it the same way you do. As for greed and narcissism, I have met many with those traits. Human beings are not perfect. I see those traits in almost every celebrity in movies, on television and on the cover of magazines. But I support someone based on policy and it just so happens that I agree with the policies Donald Trump has put forward.
J.P.: I know you’re gay, I know you’re 37, I know you work as an author and paralegal. But … what’s your story? Where are you from? How did you get interested in politics?
P.O.: I was actually the son of an Air Force veteran so I was born on a military base in Washington. My family moved to Turkey when I was five and then to the UK a few years later. My father retired and the family moved to Tennessee, which is where he was from. I didn’t like it so I moved in with my brother who was also in the Air Force, living in both New Mexico and California. When I turned 18 I moved to Connecticut and I lived there until I was 22 before moving back to Tennessee to be closer to my parents. I actually got into politics back in 2008 when Hillary Clinton ran. I was one of the only Clinton supporters in the town I live in. When she dropped out I lost interest. I hadn’t ever heard of Obama and he didn’t interest me. Same with McCain. I did like Sarah Palin’s spunk and I remember thinking she was being treated differently than Hillary had. This was probably what got me noticing things I hadn’t paid much attention to before. I watched as celebrities like Kathy Griffin attacked Palin and her children relentlessly, but saw a rodeo clown fired for impersonating Obama. The double standards was showing up everywhere. I had always been told that the GOP was anti-gay, racist, sexist, etc. But I knew this wasn’t true because my father, my brother, my sisters and my in-laws were all Republican. I started paying more attention to politics then and by 2016, as I was doing research on Clinton for my book, I became obsessed with politics.
J.P.: I used to live in Tennessee. It’s not the most progressive (LGBT-wise) state around. What was your path, coming out? How did you do it? When did you first know you were gay? How did your family react?
P.O.: I always knew I was gay deep down, but I hid it so deep down that no one would ever guess. I dated women and was even engaged to get married when I was 20. Then I met my first partner, who I was with for 10 years, and that was what gave me the courage to come out. I was living in Connecticut, which is a pretty openminded state, so the first person I told was my sister. She was fine with it and so was my family. Now I cannot speak for all of Tennessee, but I can tell you that West Tennessee is actually very openminded. As I discussed earlier, more and more churches are accepting of gays now. So I didn’t experience the anti-gay rhetoric that someone may have back in the 1970s or 80s. Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville had many gay bars and clubs so if I wanted to be around gays I didn’t have to look far.
J.P.: I hate your Facebook page. I mean no offense, but I hate it. You source bullshit websites that don’t report; so much of it is snarky, rude, cruel; one of your go-tos is Infowars—the same place that said Sandy Hook was a hoax. Paul, I just don’t get it. Why can’t we have real political dialogue, where you have a stance, I have a stance and we agree or disagree? With civility. With dignity. Why has it come to this?
P.O.: I would say the same about sites that you may like. I dislike CNN, MSNBC and I detest Huffington Post. I read articles like If You Don’t Vote Democrat, Fuck You or Otto Just Found Out His White Privilege Doesn’t Work Outside America [JEFF NOTE: Close enough on the headlines] and I cringe. I enjoy Breitbart, Drudge Report,and even Infowars because they cover stories the mainstream media won’t. Do I agree with everything they write? No, but then I wouldn’t agree with everything liberal media writes either.
As far as Sandy Hook, I lived in Connecticut and one of my friends went to college with the mother of a child killed. So I never bought into any conspiracy theories regarding it being a hoax. What I did hear about, and believe could be true, was that crisis actors may have been used by the government and the media to take advantage of the tragedies to influence gun laws. There are websites, videos and articles discussing men and women who seem to appear in every tragedy like Sandy Hook, Boston, Orlando, etc. Now as far as taking a political stance and agreeing or disagreeing, I do that every day. I don’t believe my taste in media reflects the opposite of that. But as strongly as you feel about Infowars, I feel about CNN, who was caught rigging a debate in favor of one candidate, or New York Times, who our own intelligence called out as fake news. People get their news from sources they like. The reason for that is tone. A conservative like me would never watch Morning Joe, The View or Rachel Maddow because their tone when discussing politics is a sneering, looking down at me kind of way. Just like you would never watch Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, or Infowars. My webpage carries my own articles, as does Southern Sky Site, but it also carries videos, memes and articles that friends of mine might not see.
J.P.: You recently wrote, “Sad to hear Sheriff David Clarke has turned down a position in Homeland Security. Our country would benefit from a patriot who puts America 1st over the globalists & 1%.” I’ve followed Clarke’s career closely, and I just don’t see it. Patriot? The guy was sheriff when an inmate named Terrill Thomas was denied water for a week—then died in jail. Three other inmates also died in jail for similar circumstances. The list is long. So … what do you like about him?
P.O.: I love David Clarke. I first noticed him when he shamed Don Lemon, who I detest, over Black Lives Matter after the shootings of Dallas police officers last summer. He is blunt, loud and I share a lot of the same views as him. Plus he looks a lot like my brother-in-law. And, yes, he is a patriot. He is not about illegal immigrants or refugees. He is about Americans first. That means our veterans, our elderly, our disabled, our children, etc. He and Larry Elder are two men who receive so much hate from the left because they are proud black men who don’t share the same opinion as a majority. That is brave to me. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say something you know many will disagree with. As far as the people who died in his jail, I am not familiar with those cases so I can’t comment, but if you’re telling me he personally ordered these inmates to be denied water why weren’t charges pressed against him? [JEFF’s NOTE: Answers—we have answers].
J.P.: This is weird to ask you, but if you were advising the Democrats, what would you tell them? Being serious—they’re obviously floundering right now. What are they doing wrong?
P.O.: Stop trying to be the PC police. Stop relying on celebrities to spread your message (if you have one) because next to the media, Hollywood celebrities annoy people the most when they preach politics. It’s easy for them to talk about accepting refugees and illegal immigrants when they’ll never be around them because they live in mansions behind gates and security guards. Fact is that a lot of Americans are unhappy because there aren’t enough jobs for the people already here, but Democrats seem to want open borders. The Democrats have relied on identity politics and most important, they have not condemned the violence that has pushed openminded Democrats away from the DNC. Condemn Antifa. Condemn Black Lives Matter. They wanted Donald Trump to disavow David Duke and the KKK even though it was Hillary Clinton who received an endorsement and a donation from the California chapter of the KKK, so why can’t they? [JEFF’S NOTE: Read here]. And for God’s sake stop talking about Russia. No one cares! Even Democratic strategists keep telling them no voter is asking about Russia at the town halls they attend.
QUAZ EXPRESS WITH PAUL O’BRIEN:
• Rank in order (favorite to least): Sandy Koufax, Brietbart, John Cena, Amari Cooper, “Batman and Robin,” Nashville, Bobby Brown, the color blue, Sean Hannity, lemonade, Milk Duds: Nashville, color blue, lemonade, Milk Duds, Sean Hannity, Breitbart, Bobby Brown, John Cena, Batman and Robin, Amari Cooper, Sandy Koufax. (last two are cuz I am not familiar with the names)
• Who wins in a 12-round boxing match between you and Freddie Prinze, Jr.? What’s the result?: I outweigh him so I think he could probably knock me out if he tired me out. Result would be a TKO or a decision.
• What happens after we die?: Our bodies die, but our souls—which is our energy/personality—transcends to another realm. What that realm is I don’t know. It could be Heaven, it could be a spaceship full of aliens, but I don’t believe when our body dies everything just goes black.
• How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?: I know a girl who did it in 20 but she had a strong tongue lol.
• What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?: Trainwreck
• Five reasons one should make Tennessee his/her next vacation destination: Dollywood, Smoky Mountains, Graceland, Grand Old Opry, and Tennessee River
• What do you imagine Donald Trump’s hair smells like?: Tangerines
• Can you say three nice things about Barack Obama?: He was so likeable that people liked him even when his policies sucked. He would be fun to have a beer with. He took Trump’s election maturely.
• One question you would ask Kent Hrbek were he here right now?: Who are you?