Dallas Voice Reveals That “Convert’ Was Bipolar — Not “Ex-Gay’
TruthWinsOut.org called on the leaders of several major Christian ministries to apologize to a family after they took advantage of their son, who suffered from bipolar disorder. The crass manipulation of James Stabile — and false sexual conversion on television outside of a Dallas gay bar — was deceptive, immoral and unchristian, said TruthWinsOut.org.
“This was predatory coercion, rather than a legitimate conversion,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of TruthWinsOut.org. “The overzealous preachers were so intent on proving that gay people could change, that they never considered the damage they were doing to James Stabile and his family. Pat Robertson, Heartland World Ministries and Pure Life Ministries ought to apologize for dividing this family and fraudulently claiming that Stabile had become “ex-gay.’”
The absurd drama began when televangelist Pat Robertson aired a segment on the 700 Club on a supposed biblical prophecy that claimed the Old Testament mentioned that Interstate 35 is the “highway to holiness.” To fulfill this bizarre prophecy, Heartland World Ministries Church in Las Colinas staged so-called “purity sieges” on Friday nights at porn palaces, nightclubs and gay bars off of I-35 in Dallas. The group’ favorite hangout is outside JR’ nightclub, a popular watering hole for gay men.
On one night, Stabile, a 19-year-old gay atheist from Dallas, exited JR’ after a few drinks and was approached by Heartland evangelist Joe Oden, the coordinator of the controversial sieges.
“He just barely touched me, and he said, “Fire!’ And I remember staggering backward, and I thought I was, like, tripping on acid,” Stabile said in the widely seen 700 Club interview. “It was the weirdest thing ever. I didn’t feel the desire to be with men like I had felt before.”
Stabile had been evacuated to Pure Life Ministries, an ex-gay boot camp in Kentucky. It is the home of Michael Johnston, who was Rev. Jerry Falwell’ personal ex-gay leader until TruthWinsOut.org’ Wayne Besen and Virginia attorney Michael Hamar revealed that the HIV-positive Johnston was having bareback orgies with men he met online.
According to the Voice, Stabile had been kicked out of Pure Life for being, what Oden termed, a “compulsive liar.” The Voice contacted Stabile’ father, Joseph, who is the pastor of Cochran Chapel United Methodist Church. It turns out, he accepts his son for being gay.
Furthermore, Joseph said that his son is not ex-gay, but bipolar and had stopped taking his medication. Indeed, Joseph told the Voice that the Heartland also may have advised James to throw away his medication, telling him that God would cure his bipolar disorder.
“James did not fit into the program [Pure Life] because their whole aim was to have him not be gay,” his father said. James is now home — as gay as ever — with his supportive family.
“It turns out that James Stabile was saved — but it was from the predatory practices of the ex-gay ministries,” said TruthWinsOut.org’ Besen. “It is commonplace for these groups to take advantage of people who are in need of genuine professional care. They place these people in harms way, and then blame them when the miracle cure does not occur.”
Additionally, Truth Wins Out introduced two new Internet Public Service Announcements today (IPSA) that show the absurdity of the ex-gay myth, while rebutting the blatant fear tactics that these organizations use to recruit new members. The organization is urging all bloggers and websites to consider posting the ads.