A few years ago, Exodus International, a Christian ministry focused on turning gay people straight, shut down after its leader Alan Chambers apologized for spreading the lie that you can “pray away the gay.”
Stephen Black was once a part of that ministry. But he didn’t think any apology was needed. In fact, he still believes gay people can magically turn straight and he cites himself as an example. He discusses all this in a new book released this month called Freedom Realized: Finding Freedom from Homosexuality and Living A Life Free from Labels.
He also did an interview with notable hate group leader Peter LaBarbera in which he elaborates on his beliefs… and… oh boy. You just have to hear some of this garbage.
… I was molested at 6, at 10, at 12, 13 years of age. Terrible belief systems about myself, lived in a homosexual lifestyle for eight years, and then had a radical transformative experience where Jesus Christ completely changed me… I’m a dad of three adult children and a grandfather of four grandchildren.
There you go. He turned temporarily gay because he was molested as a child. But don’t worry. He had children, and then his children had children, and therefore he must be straight.
What advice did Black have to give to teenagers who insist they’re gay?
… Can we talk about the Gospel? We don’t even have to make it about the homosexuality. He obviously needs to know the Creator of the Universe…
Not helping, God. Not helping.
Black’s message for transgender youth was full of ignorance, too.
… People that are actually encouraged to go that direction are more likely to commit suicide, and so the loving thing is to actually help people to find hope in who they are as gendered beings.
They commit suicide because conservative Christians belittle and bully them. We’re still having arguments today over whether trans people should be allowed to use public bathrooms. Giving them Jesus, as if they’ll stop being trans, only makes the problem worse.
So does talking about child molestation as if most gay people turned gay because they were assaulted.
… Because their abusers usually speak over them, they feel filthy, they feel dirty, the human nervous system somehow responds to the abuse. They will molest very nicely, with nice words, and so that makes the person feel very dark in their shame. And that’s usually most of the people.
With expertise like that, how could this book go wrong…?
I’m going to assume Black never considers the possibility that people like him are the ones lying to themselves. They may be ashamed to be gay, and being surrounded by conservative Christians may make them think they need to suppress their same-sex desires, but it sure as hell doesn’t mean others should have to travel that same path.
This, by the way, is why LaBarbera’s group and others like it are considered hateful. It’s not just that they have a rotten ideology. It’s that they actively spread lies about LGBTQ people. As if the testimony of a few deluded people invalidates the honest lives of millions of others.
It would be easier to dismiss if the same kind of bigots weren’t in positions of power right now, doing everything in their power to limit the civil rights of LGBTQ people.
(Jesus image via Saxby Brothers)