Remember, just because someone opposes a behavior, don’t assume they’ve never behaved that way themselves.
Like the video’s intertitles say, I captured this footage in 2008, during my research among the Evangelical preachers of UF’s Turlington Plaza. I collated this research, produced several short ethnographic films, and eventually presented it at AAA’s 2011 conference. This video represents a small tidbit of all that.
It’s said that this man once practiced homosexuality. However, upon meeting a preacher, he converted, rejected homosexuality, and took up preaching himself. He now spends his days singing "The Gay Song," as he called it. Though, Malinowski would probably demand a little more context than that, right?
As another preacher’s daughter described it to me:
"One of the preachers out here, with a big beard and playing the guitar, [he actually represents] one of the converts of other street preachers. He was a homosexual at Mardi Gras. He was enjoying himself, and then one of the campus preachers was preaching at the time, and the guy heard him, and it clicked. It was like a light bulb went on in his head, and he realized that this [homosexual] life he was living was only death, that was all it led to. It was hollow and empty. He needed to change and he needed to follow the Holy Bible."
Her informancy closely reflects the preacher’s own, who says,
"♫♪ I’ll give you a personal testimony, now. I’ll tell ya. Personal testimony time! I can tell you, from personal experience, that homosexuality is an unhappy, unholy, unnatural, unsatisfying, unfulfilling lifestyle. ♫♪"
I’ve encountered this trope many times during my research — that willpower and the Holy Spirit can undo homosexuality. It reminds me of one student’s question toward another preacher, "so what, you’re saying that prayer can just magically turn a gay man straight?" The preacher simply answered, "yes." Since then, I’ve heard the phrase "pray the gay away" several times.
Before you start writing hate mail, note that the applause you hear at the end of the video doesn’t belong to me. The applause belonged to a handful of students, who were being sarcastic.
So what’re your thoughts on the matter? Can homosexuality be undone through prayer, or any other means? What’re your thoughts on this preacher’s backstory or song? Heck, I’m even open to general discussion about gay rights and religious freedom. Of course, any other thoughts are welcome, too. I put a lot of thought into these posts, and I sure do love it when people leave comments. Even short, stupid ones. So be awesome, and click here to say something. No registration required. No strings attached. Yay, free speech!