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Monday, April 09, 2007

Interview with Marine Cpl Matt Sanchez

Matt_sanchez Recently, Marine Cpl. Matt Sanchez was vilified across the cable news networks and the blogosphere for being a conservative activist with a gay porn past.  After my initial post on the subject, I contacted Matt through his blog via email and a couple of comments.  My intent was to encourage him because while I don't have a past in porn, I do know what it is like to move beyond a past that no longer defines who I am today. 

I also read more of Matt's writings and another article by a friend and found Matt to be a very smart and eloquent man.  He displays the qualities of a leader and so it was discouraging to see him being reduced to talking points and talk show/rant post fodder.  I prayed for him and when I sent my email and left those comments I had no idea he would actually respond.  He did and as a result we have had one phone conversation and a few more emails.  In that time we briefly got to know a bit more about each other and agreed to do an interview for my blog.

The following is the transcript of our Google Talk interview.  I have only done the bare minimum of editing (i.e. formatting clean up, linking and content flow.)  We cover topics of CPAC, Ann Coulter and her "faggot" remark, "gay fundamentalists" as compared to conservatism, Matt's sexual orientation, Ex-gay's and a little bit about spirituality and a couple of other things thrown in.

I thought about breaking up the interview into different posts but ended up deciding not to in order to keep the flow preserved.  I think you will find the interview intriguing, thought provoking and of course you are more than welcome to add your thoughts in the comments section.


Randy: I first heard of you when you were "outed" by the gay blogs for having done gay porn 15 years ago. However, you were in their "line of fire" because you won an award at CPAC. Could you explain the award and why you were given it?

Matt: It was an award for Academic Freedom Ambassador Kirkpatrick died last year and it was decided that to honor her death an award on Academic freedom would be presented. The award is meant to honor someone who has stood out and made a difference in academia I was nominated and given the award because of my activism on behalf of veterans on American campuses.

Randy: Could you tell me more about how your "activism" is accomplished on campuses across the country? Do you do speaking engagements? Challenge campus administration? recruit others?

Matt: I filed a complaint regarding a group of socialists at Columbia. Long story short, the university decided to change their policy on the recognition of veterans. That in turn has received a lot of other groups of veterans to do the same on their campuses and we get feedback from people who insist that much of the same double-standard problems from both anti-military groups and the administration have taken place on their campuses

Today, I keep working to get veterans more recognition by the administration

  1. Getting more vets to attend Ivy League schools

  2. Honor Veterans who have fallen, such as in the accepted proposal of a Columbia Veteran's war memorial for all the fallen since the French Indian War

  3. Recognize Marine and Columbia benefactor Alfred Lerner

  4. Get a veteran's affair administrator on campus until now there hasn't been one

  5. Get the university to offer their aid on veteran's projects. Currently there's an ongoing collaboration between Columbia and a veteran's museum in Harlem


Randy: That's wonderful. Thank you for explaining that further... Another reason you were in the line of fire for the gay activists is because you have been on conservative shows like Sean Hannity and have had pictures taken with Ann Coulter and mega blogger Michelle Malkin. How well do you know these high profile people and what is or has been your relationship with them?

Matt: They've been very nice. I've met them personally and they have been very supportive since we generally agree that elite campuses are some of the biggest snobs in their treatment of veterans as well as the biggest opponents of military action or even a military presence. I've had my articles posted on all of their sites and have been mentioned by them several times

Do we all hang out together? Not quite, but they've been very helpful in getting the anti-military at elite colleges out to the public

Randy: Great. So ... another controversy at CPAC was Ann's use of the word "faggot." Since you were right there ... what is your opinion of her using that word?

Matt: I believe in free speech. It was a racy thing to say but it was an effective joke.  Since then, I've been called faggot by the people who complained Ann was a homophobe for saying the word. So, the righteous indignation or irony of it all isn't lost on me … it was a tempest in a teapot brewed up by a disgruntled group of people who are very sensitive about what others think of them and will do all they can to "silence" anyone who doesn't march in lockstep with them.  Personally, I wouldn't have said the term "Faggot" in public discourse.

Randy: Some have said something to the same affect that she used the situation to create the tempest in the first place ... are you saying that the response of those angered by it is hypocritical?

Matt: Absolutely. Like I said, the group complaining obviously does not have a problem with the word faggot. The word to me is a bit childish, but that's just my opinion

Randy: Great, I would agree, the use of derogatory words is childish and something she didn't have to resort too. … with regard to the underlying situation that fueled all of this and that has been indirectly referred to so far is the fact that you are a Marine. How long have you been a Marine? Why did you decide to join the Marines?

Matt: It's definitely childish, but she was actually referring to the tv actor who went to re-hab for his anti-gay slurs. … 2003 is when I joined.  I joined after 9/11 and I joined because I wanted to serve no magic or mysticism to it, I just thought I should do something so I did.

Randy: Why the Marines though? Why not another military branch?

Matt: Marines are the toughest I knew next to nothing about the military, but I knew the Marines were "first to fight" and I thought I'd get the biggest challenge from the mentally. It's true, by the way. They give the worse in terms of benefits for school they give the least in terms of bonus pay they really are bare-boned but they offer the most in terms of honor courage and commitment.  Joining the Marines was a bit like a religious experience.

Randy: Really? Wow... now that is a statement ... how so?

Matt: Several ways it's very much based on the trial by fire method, almost like a 12 step program you're asked during the "moment of truth" to fess up to everything you may have done.  You're constantly placed under enormous pressure and often your only way of being "saved" is turning toward the Marine method. Honor, Courage, and Committment are the 3 commandments.  There's a lot of leeway, but if you follow those tenets, you're generally ok.

Randy: Ok... that makes a lot of sense. Now, I am not a reporter but I can't possibly pass this up :) ... in your "moment of truth" what did you fess up to? :)

Matt: nothing. I had already confessed everything up with my recruiter.  He saw the pictures, someone sent them to him anonymously and he asked if I was a homosexual. I said no. Most people fess up to drugs and some kind of delinquent behavior.  It's a great "come to the altar" moment they do that sort of thing a lot.

Randy: What do you mean by "come to the altar" ... some of my readers may not understand that metaphor and I want to make sure I am tracking with you ...

Matt: It's when you're told you can stand out from the crowd by performing, confessing, or just taking a stand and coming forward and publicly making a statement.  It's sort of evangelical. You're put on public display and made an example of for better or for worse.

Randy: ... So, in light of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the recruiter did ask and you said no ... and that was the end of that? What is your current status and what do you think of DADT?

Matt: Current status is as a reservist. I think DADT does the job. We can't have sexuality especially gay sexuality be the defining characteristic among Marines. I'm not for repealing the law Marine Corps is more than what one does in the privacy of his or her home. Activists see it differently, as I'm sure you know.

Randy: Yes, I do know. Could you explain how gay sexuality would affect the Marine Corps? Why is that something you think (and I personally agree) should not be a defining characteristic of the Marine Corps?

Matt: The Marine Corps just passed a ruling on excessive tattooing because it was generally becoming disruptive by putting the individualism of body art ahead of the Marine Corps duties.  By that same token, the "I'm here, I'm queer" mindset is a self-indulgent ideology that clashes with the "The Few the Proud" mentality of self-sacrifice and team work.  On another level, sex and sexual action is a huge issue in the Marine Corps even with female Marines and their interaction with male Marines.  You simply can't overlook sex in the military it breaks down the command structure and damages authority in ways that have no parallel in civilian society. The needs of the Marine Corps are inherently different than the needs for the student body of a college campus. So, the gay movement or black power movement or latino pride movement are counter-intuitive to the mindset of the Corps. There are no "Latino Marines, or Black Marines or Chinese Marines, there are just Marines.  In that way, they're not different from Christians who have a non-segregation "We are all God's children" approach to their fellow Christians

Randy: Given the recent hullabaloo... is your status as a Marine in jeopardy? Explain.

Matt: There's an investigation going on and I'm cooperating fully.  It's preliminary, but I've responded vigorously to everything. I will aggressively defend myself.  That is how Marines are taught and I'm sure they expect as much. :)

Randy: How do you respond to those who believe that you should be discharged from the Marines for being "gay" even though you say that you are not? After this question I only have one more along these lines and we can move on to the sexuality angle.

Matt: The queer thing about those who believe I should be discharged for "being gay" is that they tend to be gay themselves.  It's very indicative of the self-loathing of the gay fundamentalists who eat their own and will pretty much say, do or speak anything because they have no sense of intrinsic values, universal truths, or no greater understand of the world beyond themselves.

Randy: you sound like you have had a difficult time with "gay fundamentalists." Would you please compare/contrast the gay activist and conservative response to your situation?

Matt: activists want my head gay conservatives and conservatives in general think it's a non-issue and are much more concerned with who I am today. There's a huge ideological difference as well. The difference between who can change and whether one is simply born into a situation and unable to get out of it. Gay fundamentalist are original sinners, they're very frustrated because they truly feel they were 'born that way" and have no choice. These are the people who love to tell me I was in those films therefore I am "damned for life" they also feel their sexuality makes them "marked men" or people who are eternally on the fringe and that there's no need to do anything but "accept" oneself anything else would be self-loathing

Randy: How does that compare to conservative ideology?

Matt: Conservatives feel there are intrinsic values, universal truths and that humans--who are inherently flawed--can move toward those values there's a fundamental divide between the two. Conservatives believe the truths are external and we as humans, people, souls can move closer and farther to these truths and that proximity, if you will, is what defines us.  The liberal/gay fundamentalist side says that the individual is "that truth" and that he/she needs to just accept who one is. In other words, they as individuals are the sum of all things. They are the society, nation and religion of one … that one being the individual. They are subordinate to no one.

Randy: What is your sexual orientation? … Identity?

Matt: flawed historically, it has been me-centered so, I have lived like a hermit dating no one although I have had several girl-friends. I was never really interested in setting up house, probably because I felt that I wasn't worthy of it.  Or maybe because I thought I wasn't mature enough for it.  The straight answer is Straight and not gay

Randy: :) thanks for both the around the way answer and the "straight" answer ... so, why did you get involved in gay porn 15 years ago?

Matt: Narcissim, self-absorption, self-hatred, indifference, depravity, protest, big on protest back then … @##$% society mindset.

Randy: what were you protesting?

Matt: lack of satisfaction, my lack of spirituality, my religious upbringing, frustrations, the 'unfairness of it all" pretty much everything we all protest except for that I was a lot more bold or stupid or depraved in my protests or even indifferent.

Randy: It sounds like a very sad place to be in life ... how were you "recruited" into gay porn?... or did you go looking for ways to participate?

Matt: I met one of the directors and that's where it started. It was a bit like a cult

Randy: There is a quote on your site that I will insert here about the affects of being porn on you. Could you elaborate on what you thought you were getting involved in and what actually was the result? … being "in" porn

Matt: but I own up to what happened and what I did. I think one of the ironic things was that I truly felt I was only harming myself and not anyone else hold on.  Like I said, I thought I was just getting involved in social suicide but it turns out that I was actually getting involved in a fairly warped life-style, a lifestyle of setting oneself up as a type of idol and then worshiping my own silly fantasy of myself. At the time, it meant "freedom" now I see it meant a type of prison. Freedom from societal restraints. Now, I see it's society that threatens to restrain me for my participation and those images.

Randy: How do you respond to those who say that it is impossible for a "straight" man to participate in homosexual sex? That you must be "gay" and in denial ...

Matt: Those are the marked man ideologues. These are reductionists who feel you are what you do and you are stained for ever.  This is the bulk of the gay fundamentalists, the anti-religious, the pro-abortionists constituents these are the people who feel you're "born that way" by that token, child molesters are just born that way, and should be "forgiven" for just doing what comes natural. These people tend to be very hostile to anything above their homemade philosophy of me-as-god.

Randy: There were several posts around the blogosphere claiming that you were also a "male escort" ... even as recently as two years ago (I think, I can't remember where I read that) is that true or not?

Matt: Not true but if you read it on the internet--it must be true :) No, listen, it's quite amazing how all this information has come forth so conveniently.  I was just reading the Alan Colmes interview and like a fool, I wanted to make a point about sin and about how it was all bad. So, I made these blanket statements about "owning up to all of it.” That's what got the bloggers going to prove a point at all costs including lying. So, let me say it again. Not true.

Randy: Thank you for addressing that rumor. This next question is self-indulgent but ... many of my readers would want to know ... what do you think about Exodus and "ex-gays" like myself?

Matt: I think ex-gays are interesting and I wish they'd take a stronger stand you're being overshadowed by the "I'm here, I'm queer" movement and I think those people are bent on tearing you guys down. I heard a sermon where the minister insisted that Jesus wasn't a wimp, he was someone who was willing to fight, and defend.  I'd like to hear more from ex-gays I'd like them to take on the Psychologists and the talking heads and get their experiences out there to the prozac popping public who simply chalks it up to a "live and let live" ideology but don't seem to realize or care that the gay agenda will affect them too


Randy: … I am inspired. Thanks :)

Matt: I do want to be truthful, and I feel you have an IMPORTANT voice in the current political/societal debate taking place here and throughout the world you guys need to get aggressive and I want to meet more of you guys and help in any way I can

Randy: Thanks! Do you ever hope to be a husband and father? What goals do you currently hold on too.  Thank you and I would like to think and pray about how we can get to know each other more and how we can possibly work together.

Matt: Yes. with this stuff behind me I really do hope to be a father husband and a stronger Christian.  I also see that this is a trying time for Christians who are becoming more closeted as gays become more "enfranchised." I believe the tide will turn but I do think it'll get worse before it gets better

Randy: Do you believe that "gay rights" is coming at the expense of religious liberty?

Matt: Of course I do. It won't be long before the Bible is considered hate text. We already see that in universities which tend to be the harbinger of societal shifts.  Religious groups are not allowed on campus because they're not 'inclusive', you see this on schools where gay and straight alliances marginalize Christian groups. Only Christian groups, when of course Muslims are far more stringently anti-gay but that come under the "diversity" umbrella the key problem here was allowing secularists to integrate the human being as a pre-packaged "unit" that is already hard-wired. That idea needs to be torn down by people who prove the contrary ex-gays are one of those groups.  Women who regret abortion are another and minorities who view themselves as individuals rather than "the other" are another group…

Randy: Thank you and I completely agree. We have several projects underway that will address a lot of what you wish to see from ex-gays.

Matt: Good, keep me up to date and let's get you guys some more publicity and attention. I thought the leader shot himself in the foot on the Montel show, but, oh well, I did the same on Colmes.  I think you should go out and do it again and keep going

Randy: Matt, I told you before that the reason I contacted you initially was simply to encourage you. I was worried for you because I see you as a very talented, eloquent leader and I was truly upset that the totality of who you are was being reduced to talking points and being exploited by others.

This isn't necessarily a question but a statement: I see porn as a pernicious evil because it exploits and distorts men and women individually and as image bearers of God.

I am so glad you got out of that industry alive and I am very glad to see your humility and transparency. You have my prayers and if there is anything I can do to be a friend, a good Christian brother ... or fellow blogger :) don't hesitate to let me know.

Matt: Thanks for your comments, I agree porn reduces the mind and flattens the soul and I truly believe that. I also believe it's important for people who find a different way and know there is a universal truth speak up.

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Wow. Amazing interview. Great job, Randy, and thank you, Cpl. Sanchez!

What a skilled way to chat with someone! Randy, you're certainly a professional. Ok, obvious statements aside...

That was really encouraging. I can certainly identify with the feelings of being marginalized because of my walk with God, and that the education realm is propogating hate toward Christians. However, I am also prompted to turn to God's word on that emotion, so here we go...

(2Co 4:8) We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair;

(2Co 4:9) we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed,

(2Co 4:10) always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body.

(2Co 4:11) For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus'sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal body.

Thanks for hanging in there... both of you!

Thank you, Randy and Matt. Good interview.

Thank you all for your encouragement. I enjoyed doing the interview. I might try to do more.

The eighth commandment prohibits lying. Unfortunately, Mr. Sanchez has been doing little but spreading lies in the past month. Folks, you are being played. You need to take a good, hard look at this man.

Let's start with his prostitution, ... ::: the rest deleted:::

note from Randy, William, get your own blog for posts a million miles long accusing Matt of all kinds of lying.

So much for certain Christians and the truth, eh Randy? Thanks for behaving exactly as predicted.

Good interview. I'll be reposting this on my blog because it intrigues me so.

William Wilson responded to your decision to edit his comments with "so much for certain Christians and the truth..." Nothing in this interview concerns me. As you've stated in other posts recently, there really is a problem, in the view of many, with a man or woman changing the way they choose to live their lives. That point of view (Willim's included) certainly undermines the power of the mere human to make drastic changes in their lives simply because they want change. Add to that the additional power afforded mere humans through conversion or other meaningful spiritual experiences and we see humans changing all the time.

Additionally, I don't see the problem with someone continuing to try to make such changes even if they relapse. Anything that is strongly addictive or deeply seated requires LOTS of active choosing over long periods of time to make changes. I'm still a work in progress regarding my sexually addicted, lesbian past...Yet, at the 17-year mark I have to say that it is a very rare day that I deal with any significant sexual temptation of any kind and I'm glad I've done the work required to find that peaceful place.

Anyway, I appreciate this post and Sanchez's clear direction and his effort in living with some moral code and direction. As a conservative, I've got no problem with this man's history.

William, you are a pretty imposing legalist (as bad as any religious legalist I've met). Your comment was basically calling Matt a liar and then attempting to take over my blog with a mile long set of accusations. I don't owe you a soapbox. Even so, I did allow your assertion that he is a liar to remain.

It's not like you are the only one saying Matt is a liar. If people are truly interested they would find your arguments that he is alllll over the place. I respect that the Internet is larger than my blog and I don't owe you a soapbox no matter how manipulative you want to be.

I did an interview and posted it for what it is. If you want to copy/paste internet born arguments calling Matt a liar... do so on your own blog.

And even if Matt is a liar, which I don't think he was lying to me, I would hope to show him grace and forgiveness ... not name calling and manipulation like your comment (before the edit) was full of.

So, you are not banned from my blog but I am setting your user name to be moderated. I am also halfway savvy to "sock puppet" and "troll" kind of comments.

Laura Leigh, thank you for your gracious response :) and for sharing a part of your testimony.

Randy, a couple things. First, while my posting was long it wasn't nearly as long as the interview itself. Second, my posting consisted of verified facts.

Your sympathies blind you to the truth. You are a Pharisee, protecting one of your own. It's funny, maddening and, as I look at today's politicized "Christians," all too predictable.

Great job with the interview, Randy. I appreciated hearing Marine Cpl Sanchez's answers to your good questions.

Randy, you are to be commended for attempting to make sense of Cpl. Sanchez. And for someone who isn't a journalist, you have a good rhythm of asking questions. I think the reason William Wilson posted was not to attack you, but to enlighten your readers about how many inconsistencies and untruths have been uncovered in the (very) many interviews Matt Sanchez has given since this controversy began, only a month ago. This isn't to say Sanchez shouldn't be forgiven, because I myself think he should get the help he needs, but to point out that he's made contradictory statements to the ones given here in other places.

I am an Officer in the United States Marine Corps, so I have a particular interest in finding the truth in this case. Sanchez is still one of us, though I'm dismayed at how he's lived his life in the Corps. Unfortunately, he's engaged in prostitution while a member and that goes against our code in the Corps.

I wish you continued success in your journalistic efforts, Randy.

Thank you Susan, thanks for your unverified anonymous post USMC Officer.

I've learned that all kinds of things can be made up and spread across the Internet. Including identities of real people being stolen by others willing to create profiles or sites on their behalf (i.e. what is termed "sock puppetry" on the web.)

I did an interview, these are the results ... you can believe them or not.

Randy, I did some quick checking on you. I hadn't known that you have a history of opening and then closing website, usually after you've been caught in one lie or another. I hadn't known of your connection to the Exodus Int'l ex-gay group. The ex-gay ministries are notorious for their recidivism rates.

I'd say Matt Sanchez found himself a good home here. He'll need one once the Marine Corps kicks him to the curb. You are truly made for each other. But keep it at arm's length, fellas. Jesus is watching.

Gosh, I didn't know that about me either.

William, you aren't helping convince me of your claims by obsessively posting here and around the web ( "quick checking" is easy).

My name isn't Susan. Who's unverified and anonymous? Are you somehow angry that I mixed some criticism in of Matt Sanchez along with my compliments of you?

Just calling them as I see them. Calling me Susan or "unverified anonymous" doesn't make one want to post here that much. Are you somehow implying I'm not an Officer in the Marine Corps? That's a road you don't want to go down, my friend. Did you think I was going to post my full name, DOB and SS#? The Internet doesn't work that way.

I was referring to Susan when I referred to Susan.

I am not angry a bit and thanks for the compliments. At the same time, you are an anonymous person claiming to be a Marine Officer.

Did I ask you for your DOB or SS#? Your second reaction is curious.

Hello, Randy. As unskilled as I am, I've referred to this post on my baby-blog.

I html'ed your link to make it easy and clickable. Thanks for the heads up and for posting a great post about this post :).

I am surprised there has even been controversy to what you transcribed, Randy. I read the interview, and thought it was fair. I believe Cpl. Sanchez has a right to choose, and, therefore, the right to choose to change his life for the better. Despite being outside the US, and a non-American, I had assumed that freedom was a tenet of the nation’s beliefs. Whatever the man’s past, he engaged in (I believe) legal actions, and in 2003, he chose to better himself by joining what he saw to be an honourable cause.

The opponents suggest to me that they wish to shut the door on such decisions that, ultimately, could benefit their nation. Why they want someone who has done something that is, in their eyes, immoral to remain that way, I do not know. Is it convenience? Pigeonholing? I had hoped that forgiveness for those past deeds and allowing Cpl. Sanchez to serve his nation would be a more fitting gesture of any American.

At the end of the day, regardless of nation, we are all human, and I believe in respecting Cpl. Sanchez’s free will.

Thank you Jack for your great perspective. I love you adding your views because they always *add* to the discussion and not detract or derail. Also, your perspective is unique and valuable to us all to often ethnocentric Americans.

get a room randy and matt.

Well aren't ewe clever!

Oh wait, I am supposed to be insulted.

::: pouting for 30 seconds with a couple of heavy sighs of anguish thrown in :::

I ::: sniffle ::: am so ... SO hurt you would say something so disrespectful.

Ok.... ::: smile ::: I am not really hurt but thanks for playing.

Next ...

no randy, you actually are the one who cant play. And... if you consider bashing your unaccepted gay self as some sort of play action, then you are more twisted than any cure camp you go to can possibly ever help you with. You are in denial. keep fighting. your power is not real. your words are silly because you sit in judgement and espouse god. immature hypocrite. Oh but have a nice day now ya hear.

I am sorry ewe are so misguided about who I am and what I am about. It's a good think ewe are not me.

I say no to bashing (even though your post bashes my path), never heard of a "cure camp" and am out and proud of the fact that I am more than a sexuality.

Life is to precious to be limited to a gay centric ideology.

Moving on ...

politically correct gobbledygook Randy. i do indeed bash your path because your denial of self is a terrible obstacle on those who consider life so precious that they embrace their sexuality and assimilate it into their whole being. you dont. grow up.

decided to censor now Randy?

Censor? oh yes, absolutely and your follow up posts totally deserve it. You call me names, distort my beliefs and dehumanize my life. Yes, in the capacity that this is my blog and you have plenty of other ways to make your views known, I have held your comments in queue. You have been censored and will continue to be so until you start to show some tolerance (which do not include personal attacks) for other points of view that you don't agree with.

In case you missed it, here is the comment policy linked also in my sidebar.

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