Calling all ex-Gays: You'll Be Faith Healers!
"Prophet" Lou Engle's latest venture has the rational world reeling: a short video (see below) of the raspy-voiced preacher to teenagers and young adults slam-dunks his homophobia by envisioning an army of "ex-Gays" who've come to Jesus and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, cure AIDS victims around the world. It's all part of his "love" for gays. The hard-core intensity, the vehemence with which he slams his audience of upheld arms, however, belies any real "love" and it is overshadowed by his past militaristic pronouncements:
During his speech at the Christian Broadcasting
Network's " Week of Prayer "
yesterday, Lou Engle asked for support of his upcoming The Call: Virginia
prayer rally, saying that Virginia should fight back against Washington D.C.,
just as Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson did during the
Civil War. General Lee "had an anointing or something," Engle said, "he was
able to restrain Washington, he took his stand and held back those force."
Engle also pointed to Stonewall Jackson for "rallying the Virginians" against
the Union as a model to fight the "homosexual agenda" and the demonic "principalities
and powers" behind homosexuality. Engle said, "Raise up a stonewall to restrain
the agenda that is coming out of D.C."
Engle has had an image problem for two years now: his involvement in Uganda's "kill the gays" bill had him performing some major back peddling tricks to no avail: Christian Right entities in Uganda point to Engle as the guiding light of their proposed legislation along with Rick Warren. He has constantly fought off criticisms that you cannot recruit people to fight the so-called "homosexual agenda" with militaristic terms and calls for criminalization.
His directive has left millions of people scratching their heads:
"Where the hell is he going to raise up 100 ex-gays let alone a
100,000?" Pray-away-the-gay clinics are being exposed as harmful with
their reparative therapy techniques and in California they are banned from
practicing those techniques on minors. The nation's largest "ex-gay"
group, Exodus International, has now admitted that homosexuality can't be
"cured" and are now espousing celibacy. Poster children and former
administrators of ex-gay groups are coming out of their ex-gay closets. Numbers
have impact, but Lou Engle's numbers have the impact of sheer insanity,
unleashing fanaticism on teenagers and third world countries.
The media response has failed to pick up on Engle's reference to
Bob Jones (and his University), a reference that harkens back to misogyny and
racism as well as acute homophobia.
Proposing Scam With Scam ... and Touches of Genocide
The greater irony in Engle's request for 100,000 ex-gays is that
he is promoting a "pray-away-the-gay" scam to form faith healing
scams. It is also a vast cover-up of his overseas machinations: the idea that
he really "loves" gays must be maintained while he continues to
demonize gays to the point of extinction.
Engle has not, of course, been the first to use the
concept of faith healing as a tool for conversions and contempt -
televangelists like Pat Robertson come to mind - but he has been the most
notable one of late since his pronouncements have such a military and violent
It must be noted that Lou Engle himself does not deal in faith
healing - he lets other perform the entertaining rituals. Perhaps regaling
audiences with his visions and "prophecies" is enough: they elicit
power, not Bentleys.
faith healing industry definitely has a comrade in Lou Engle: he strengthens
their image by giving them his imprimatur. But will his raspy voice ultimately
make pronouncements that are so outrageous that even his followers begin to
doubt his validity?
Even the world of faith healers has its limits. Doesn't it?