MIAMI BEACH — Televangelist Rev. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church passed away today, only months after he suffered a heart attack. Kennedy was a radical fundamentalist cleric who demonized gay Americans, pioneered fraudulent “ex-gay’ ministries and fought to end the separation of church and state. Truth Wins Out’ Executive Director Wayne Besen issued the following statement on Kennedy’ passing:
“Truth Wins Out offers its condolences to the Kennedy family in this time of mourning. It is never easy to lose a loved one and those who took comfort in Kennedy’ sermons will surely miss him.
However, we must also recognize that Kennedy was a great source of pain for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. In 1998, Coral Ridge spearheaded a national advertising campaign that featured so-called “ex-gay’ ministries. The campaign ended in shame, after Kennedy’ HIV+ ex-gay poster boy, Michael Johnston, resigned after allegedly having unsafe sex with men he met on the Internet. Kennedy never apologized for the suffering this deceptive campaign caused for Johnston’ victims or the thousands of people duped by the false hope peddled by Coral Ridge.
Kennedy’ theocratic vision of America was divisive, exclusionary, sectarian and dangerous. His aim was “reclaiming America for Christ,” at the expense of personal freedom and religious liberty. We respect his commitment to his sincerely held beliefs, but are grateful that his radical plan for America never reached fruition.
We believe that a person should be remembered for the totality of his or her achievements and sins. Kennedy undoubtedly helped many people and inspired them to become better human beings. Unfortunately, he also leaves an ignoble legacy of intolerance that divided South Florida, destroyed families in the name of family values and relentlessly assaulted the U.S. Constitution.”
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
– 30 –