Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson in The Longest Ride
There’s been a lot of chatter lately about self-proclaimed “Christians” using their religion to discriminate against gay people.
Two weeks ago, Indiana Governor Mike Pence saw his political future go up in smoke after receiving nationwide backlash for signing a draconian “religious freedom” bill granting businesses the legal right to discriminate against gay people. As a result, one message was made crystal clear: Bigotry and homophobia are no longer acceptable in America.
As suburban housewives across the country gear up for The Longest Ride, the latest Nicholas Sparks film about pretty white heterosexual people falling in love, when it’s released this Friday, it’s an excellent time to revisit some of Mr. Sparks’ past comments about gay people:
In a 2004 interview with Christianity Today Sparks told a reporter: “I have certain moral parameters that I do not cross in writing. I don’t write about adultery or kids having premarital sex…I do not use profanity in my novels. My characters all go to church. My characters have drawn great strength from church.” He stopped just short of saying he doesn’t write about gay people. Until six years later when…
In a 2010 interview with Movieline.com, Sparks was asked if he would ever write a gay love story and he replied: “It’s a different genre. I don’t know that I could do that…Asking that kind of question is like asking, ‘Could you do a love story with more of a thriller element like The Bourne Identity?’”
Sparks echoed this sentiment again in an interview with Hollywood.com in February 2013. When again asked if he would ever consider writing a gay love story, he replied that it’s “not exactly in my genre,” adding “with the novels, I try to give the people what they expect,” which, for Sparks, means cliche love stories featuring white, middle class heterosexuals living in the South.
Though he tries not to talk about politics in interviews, Sparks is a registered Republican who quietly donated thousands of dollars to the campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. While in office, Dole voted yes to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Last year, Sparks was sued by the former headmaster of his Christian prep school, the Epiphany School, which the author founded in 2006, for allegedly brewing “a veritable cauldron of bigotry,” that included demanding the headmaster, who Sparks called a “bastard” and a “liar,” stop trying to “make homosexuality open and accepted” by “lecturing people on tolerance, diversity, non-discrimination.” He also axed plans for a proposed gay-straight alliance, saying it “obviously can’t happen.”
The Longest Ride opens in theaters across America on April 10.