Opponents of antigay prejudice and arrogance gathered in south Florida two months ago at the Anti-Heterosexism Conference to expose the deceit of the ex-gay and antigay movements.

Dr. Sylvia Rhue, Ph.D., presented the first keynote. Dr. Rhue serves as Director of Religious Affairs with the National Black Justice Coalition and is a scholar, writer, educator and sought-after public speaker. The title of her presentation was “STRAIGHT” Rackets: Why the Religious Right Needs Reparative Therapy.

The conference organizers have now made video of this address available. Video length: about 58 minutes.

Sylvia Rhue, Ph.D. from SOULFORCE on Vimeo.

Some thoughts raised for consideration:

  • Homophobia in the black church is an artifact of archaeology, and not an artifact of faith.
  • Authoritarian religious movements, filled with fear and loathing, wage an ongoing war against love.
  • Ten years ago, the ex-gay movement patterned a national ad campaign in a fashion some found starkly reminiscent of past campaigns against Negroes. In those times, southern Americans, largely Baptist, would conduct castrations and lynchings on Saturday nights and worship on Sundays without a hint of schizophrenia or guilt.
  • Jesus is not in the orientation-changing business, because sexual orientation is God-given and morally neutral
  • From Fred Phelps to Harry Jackson, numerous Christian Rightists demonstrate a basic lack of understanding of human sexuality and a lack of empathy for the harm they do.
  • The need of some Christian Rightists to be at war with some segment of the population highlights a lack of integrity and confidence in their theology.
  • The word “homosexuality” was invented in 1869, didn’t arrive in states until the turn of century, and did not appear in the Bible until c. 1940 as a mistranslation.
  • Most evangelical youth leave their church, never to return: They want faith, but not their parents’ faith.

The Anti-Heterosexism Conference was co-sponsored by Soulforce, the National Black Justice Coalition, Truth Wins Out, Box Turtle Bulletin, Equality Florida, and Beyond Ex-Gay.