Humbled Infidel has the complete speech by ex-gay activist Stephen Black at a pro-bigotry rally held April 2 on behalf of Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern.
Black is the executive director of First Stone Ministries, an Oklahoma-based Exodus member “ministry.”
A point-by-point analysis of Black’s speech finds appeals to conformity, false and unsourced statistics, and sweeping dehumanization of sexual strugglers. Instead of healing strugglers and reuniting families, Black’s rhetoric divides families and alienates Americans whom he has falsely maligned.
Black begins by saying:
First Stone is dedicated to helping men and women overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and to live in accordance with what we believe is God’ design for sexuality ‚Äî which is one man and one woman in a covenant marriage relationship.
Black calls for conformity with what “we believe,” not reconciliation with what God might actually have uniquely intended for each individual, whose struggles differ in origin and nature from First Stone’s cookie-cutter model of sexuality.
I stand with Rep. Sally Kern today to say that I, who once lived as a gay man, agree with her assessment, that there is a political agenda and a cultural message about homosexuality [and] that it is destructive to our country.
Like Kern, Black refuses to express the specifics of that “political agenda,” which may vary by gay person or group and which may include nondiscrimination, nonviolence, recognition of the constitutional rights of gay and gender-variant individuals, and equal opportunity. Why are Black and Kern unwilling to detail the alleged political agenda that is so feared?
Over 26 years ago, I lived as a gay man for eight years.
Black blames his temporary indulgence in homosexual behavior on confusion resulting from abuse — then he asserts on the basis of fabricated statistics and anecdotal observations that abuse must be the cause of most same-sex attraction.
The overwhelming majority of those we serve experienced what I call “sexual distortions” in their early childhood, assaulting their innocence. These distortions include voyeurism, exhibitionism, exposure to sexually explicit material from sources like the television, the Internet, porn-magazines, sexual talk from adults and peers.
Having limited his ministry’s appeal mainly to those who recall perceived abuse, Black then asserts on the basis of his rigged sampling that abuse is prevalent among the families of gay youths. Unsupported by any study, Black adds that passing exposures to sexuality pose a dire threat to kids. Is he suggesting that society be politically sterilized of all public evidence of sexuality to save children and teen-agers from their own curiosity, inclination, or natural influences?
Black doesn’t just blame society for his confusion; he blames his family:
As is common with many who struggle with homosexuality, I found it difficult to relate to my dad.
Black fails to acknowledge that many heterosexual men also find it difficult to relate to their fathers, and that many gay men have no such difficulty.
However, I was able —- through the ministry of others ‚Äî to identify these common factors in my life. God restored my soul and my relationship with my dad before he died. In my process, I discovered that I had overidentified with my mother and sister.
Black’s displacement of his issues onto family members seems rooted in some long-disputed and not-very-Christian psychotherapeutic theories about the formation of sexual attraction. Then he takes a flying leap into political fantasy:
Today, homosexuality is accepted almost everywhere; not so when I was a struggling teen.
One wonders whether Black has been reading his own propaganda for too long:
- marriage between gay couples cannot be performed in any U.S. state except Massachusetts
- gays may not serve openly in the U.S. armed forces
- gays are hunted down and killed by mobs of people in Jamaica and targeted for elimination in Nigeria
- antigay discrimination remains legal in most states
- gay youths are being killed in U.S. cities
- gays are executed in Iran and severely punished in Egypt and Saudi Arabia
The gay priest told me that God loved me just the way I was. A peace came into my life, but it was a false peace, because I was STILL so disillusioned with gay life. For the next year and a half, depressed over my brother’ death, I determined I would try to make myself straight. I even adopted a policy of celibacy, but to no avail. Instead, I ended up in another gay relationship.
Black continues to stereotype so-called “gay life” — projecting his own pattern of confusion and compulsive behavior onto others and blaming his dissatisfying behaviors on homosexuality rather than his own lack of self-discipline. Similarly, he displaces blame for depression that related to past abuse and his brother’s death. Instead of addressing the causes of the depression, he blames homosexuality. When he fails to maintain celibacy — again, he blames homosexuality rather than his own lack of self-discipline — or, for that matter, antigay churches’ unreasonable demands and lack of support.
Black’s journey suggests a persistent and ongoing ignorance of what homosexuality even is: predominant sexual attraction to the same gender, nothing more or less. He claims “freedom” from homosexuality not by freeing himself of same-sex desire, but by joining Sally Kern in declaring that respect and equality for gay people are worse than terrorism. And apart from acknowledging some “struggle or temptation,” he fails to describe the predominant ex-gay experience of “freedom”: a personal life without sexual and romantic intimacy, and a political life of imposing upon others his desire for an entirely sex-free society — one that cannot abuse or tempt kids.
I believe with Rep. Kern that gay life and the destructive messages I encountered there, nearly destroyed my life and it is destroying others.
Black falsely describes homosexuality as a location or worldview, rather than what it is: a predominant sexual attraction to the same gender.
Some ex-gay activists assert a right to harm people — or rather, a right of same-sex-attracted persons or their guardians to choose harm at the hands of ex-gay activists, without the benefit of fully informed consent to the potential harm of discredited and unlicensed ex-gay treatments.
Black turns that argument upside down: If anyone at all (Black in particular) might find same-sex attraction harmful or troubling, then no one should be permitted the liberty of acknowledging and reconciling their same-sex attraction without fear of economic and legal retribution. In both contexts, the underlying principle is the same: The perceived good of a very few outweighs the objective good of the many.
I believe that we must love others enough to accept them as individuals, but not legitimize a way of life that will harm them.
Black implies that legal opposition to discrimination, violence, and defamation — in other words, recognition of individuals’ constitutional rights — somehow legitimizes “a way of life” that Black has already stereotyped and scapegoated.
I believe that we must undergird values that hold families strong together, not tear them apart. Thank you for letting me share my story. May God Bless You, AND Representative Kern and family!
Black is the leader of an Exodus ministry that contributes to the destruction of families. His ministry blames parents for homosexuality, misdiagnoses the causes of depression, falsely tells parents that their gay children live depraved and faithless lives, and equates constitutional equality with terrorism.
There may be a god that blesses such misinformation, blame, and fear, but it probably is not a Christian or Jewish God.
What others say:
- Joe Brummer: The Anatomy of Hate Speech
- Stephen Black’s blogs: Freedom from Homosexuality and stephenblack.org
- Ex-Gay Watch: Exodus Member Says “Homosexual Agenda’ Destructive to US
- Box Turtle Bulletin: Exodus Local Ministry Aligns with Kern