The Corner

Law & the Courts

If You Have to Fabricate Evidence, Your Case Is Probably Weak

TheWashington Post confirms what everyone with functioning critical faculties already knew to be true:

An openly gay pastor who claimed that a grocery store bakery wrote a homophobic message on his cake has dropped his lawsuit against Whole Foods, claiming he made up the story, according to news reports.

“I apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues,” Pastor Jordan Brown said in a statement, according to the ABC affiliate in Austin and other news reports.

Brown normally preaches about love and acceptance, with a particular focus on outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians, at the church he leads in Austin. But after he picked up a cake in April that was supposed to say “Love Wins,” he turned to preaching in the media, and in court.

That’s an interesting choice of language, to say the least: “he turned to preaching in the media, and in court.” Did he? Or did he turn to lying in the media, and in court? “Preaching” implies earnestness. But Brown wasn’t earnest in the slightest. Unprovoked, he defamed an innocent company and its innocent employee, and he dragged them gleefully through the mud. He didn’t do this because he misinterpreted a complicated situation, nor because he misunderstood what had happened. He contrived the ruse from the ground up. He is, to put it bluntly, a fabulist.

Brown now says that he is sorry for “diverting attention from real issues.” I daresay that’s true. But one has to ask how serious those “issues” can be if their advocates feels the need to fabricate evidence in their favor. People who really are struggling against oppression do not resort to inventing slurs or smelting smoking guns; they have enough to deal with in the real world.

That this happens so often should tell us something important: Namely, that gay Americans are not actually facing anything like the sort of quotidian hatred that figures such as Pastor Brown believe them to be. There was a reason that the Soviets resorted to wholly concoted show trials against the “wreckers” and the “subversives,” and that was that the suspicions of the ruling ideologues were not born out by the facts. By attempting so cynically to establish his own “bigger truth,” Brown has joined an ignominious and unpalatable crowd.

At one level I must confess to feeling sorry for the man: What manner of paranoia does one have to succumb to in order to believe that one is likely to be targeted by a gay-activist cake-maker in an Austin Whole Foods? At another, though, I consider his conduct to be unforgivable, and I hope that he is shooed hastily out of all polite society. Leaving to one side that he accused an innocent man of an infraction he did not commit, Brown is evidently unable to see the world with sufficient clarity to operate responsibly within it. At some point in the past, he has decided that the United States is a brutal, unforgiving, and serially ugly sort of place, and having failed to find the evidence to confirm his conjectures, he has resolved to fashion them from whole cloth. There’s a word for behavior like that, but it isn’t “love,” “acceptance” or “outreach.” It’s not “civilized,” either.

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