1 min

First Coren-thians

Credit: Jan Becker

I’m interviewing Michael Coren about gay marriage and he comes across as a nice guy. Some of what he says actually makes sense to me, yet I know we are quite diametrically opposed on most issues.

Coren, who is often seen as a bellwether for the Christian right in Canada, is a regular columnist for the Toronto Sun and the Christian Herald, and host of both the television show Michael Coren Live on CTS and The Michael Coren Show on CFRB radio.

He seems softer on gay rights than I remember from his writing and shows. After all this is a man who, in the past, hasn’t been kind to queers.

“When people dress up as fairies and run down Yonge St on gay Pride Day, this has nothing to do with their sexuality,” he told now-defunct Chaos magazine in 1999. “It has to do with the fact that they’re profoundly neurotic. Dressing up as Tinkerbell… is his neurosis speaking, not his sexuality.”

Has he changed?

“I don’t think my views have changed, but the public perception of them is different so maybe I have,” Coren says laughingly. “But 10 years ago – I was not a Christian in those days – the way I presented my views was different.

“These days after my show I am more likely to sit and talk for an hour with the gay lawyers than with the Christian panelists. There are many gay leaders whom I regard as friends who appear on my television show.”

Can that be true? Douglas Elliott is one of those lawyers.

“I think he has mellowed. I was surprised,” says Elliott. “The notion of me sitting around yacking with Michael Coren is high improbably…. But you know life takes some strange turns sometimes…. He still thinks homosexuality is a sin, but he opposes discrimination against gays and lesbians.”

Coren says that, as a Christian, he tries to empathize with others. “There has to be an informed and loving debate and I have to be a participant in that.”

Coren says that this isn’t an issue of winning as much as it about carving out a fair society for everybody.

“There are too many people on both sides who are just talking about winning,” he says. A better question would be, “How can we be fair? How can we be loving?”