In the past two years, WorldNetDaily (WND) publisher Joseph Farah — the self proclaimed “Birther King” — has made a name for himself promoting “birther” conspiracy theories and sponsoring billboards questioning President Obama’s citizenship. But in August, Farah made news by booting Ann Coulter from her speaking role at his “Taking Back America” conference after learning that she planned to address GOProud, a right-wing group for gay conservatives. Reacting to her dismissal, Coulter mocked Farah as a “publicity whore” who peddles “birther nonsense.”
Because of the Coulter controversy, GOProud sent one of its founders, Chris Barron, to debate Farah over the topic, “Is GOProud conservative?” That debate took place last weekend at the WND conference in Miami attended by ThinkProgress. In full display of his paranoid style, Farah called in security officers to wave metal detectors over members of the audience before the debate. Several audience members and loyal WND readers told ThinkProgress that the extra security was warranted because Barron could bring his “radical gay” supporters to the debate.
During the debate, Farah called into question the conservative credentials of Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John Thune (R-SD) for associating themselves with GOProud. He also called for an outright ban on any gays serving in the military — openly or not:
FARAH: I would actually agree with you. I’d like to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell also. But I think we should go back to banning from the military.
BARRON: I’m sure you can understand as a veteran of the United States Air Force reserves, I find that more than just a little insulting.
FARAH: Well, you know, lots of military leaders who have looked at this. Commissions and others have determined that they’re getting the best and the brightest without recruiting from homosexuals.
Before the event, ThinkProgress spoke to GOProud board member Jimmy LaSalvia, who said WND is “clearly out of the mainstream.” He also expressed disbelief that WND had ordered additional security for the event.