Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Daughter of Lesbian Couple Condemns Gays at Foresquare Conference

Loving the Homosexual Community from The Foursquare Church on Vimeo.

Following the closure of Exodus International and the abysmal failure of a recent "ex-gay" rally, it would be easy to assume that ex-gay ministries are on the decline. Unfortunately, plenty of such ministries remain active, as one unpleasant video reminds us.

Stephanie Singer, founder of Will Not Ministries, spoke at Foresquare Church's 2013 convention in Dallas, Texas earlier this year. Truth Wins Out and Good As You have brought attention to a video excerpt of her talk, in which she vacillates between love for the LGBTQ community and condemnation of homosexuality.

Will Not Ministries resembles ex-gay ministries in its messaging. In its vision statement, Will Not Ministries stereotypes LGBTQ people as somehow broken and in need of healing. "In a culture that believes broken relationships are normal, Will Not Ministries desires to bring light to the brokenness of homosexuality and help people see complete healing and restoration," the website states. In a pamphlet entitled "What You Need to Know", Singer promotes inaccurate and outmoded theories about "same-sex attraction", arguing that "lack of healthy affirmation from the same sex" and "lack of same gender friendships at a young age" steer people toward the gay "lifestyle". In short, Will Not Ministries claims to welcome and minister to gays while condemning homosexuality as something unsound. (Sound familiar?)

Singer told listeners about the very different worlds she navigated in her youth. "I was raised by two lesbian mothers and a Christian father," she explained, as if to suggest that Christianity and lesbianism were mutually exclusive categories. Her father brought her to his church, where she felt that she didn't fit in and eventually left. Meanwhile, Singer was raised by a lesbian couple and mentored by four lesbian women, all of whom she spoke of with warmth. However, she quickly blamed those mentors for her later sexual identity and alienation from the church, arguing that because her loved ones were lesbian, "therefore I thought that I was gay. I was loved straight out of the church." She eventually joined a southern California church that accepted her despite her "butch" appearance, where God's love called her to repentance and "broke the bondage of deceit".

Singer told the audience that she prays for Christians to "take back this territory that's been stolen from us." At the 2:16 mark, Singer toggled between messages of love for the LGBTQ community and language that condemned LGBTQ people in no uncertain terms. She warned that pro-LGBTQ messages were being taught in schools and that gays are allegedly loving youth out of the church, thereby depicting gays as a threat to the young.
"There's many people like how I was that are in your churches right now that have same-sex attraction. It's all over TV now. It's become the new normal. It's being taught in our children's schools, and this cannot just be another option. There needs to be freedom and fullness. We need to not only get equipped ourselves, but we need to equip our churches for this ministry, because it's in our families, our friends, it's in our workplace now. I believe that the church needs to start loving the homosexual community back into wholeness, and stop letting them love our children out."
First of all, religious homophobia, no matter how sugar-coated, will not help anyone cultivate "wholeness". It will, however, pit people's sexual orientation against their spirituality and teach them that their normal feelings are somehow pathological. Second, LGBTQ people are not inherently "broken" or spiritually lost. Singer, like other Christian ex-gay speakers, frames Christian faith and homosexuality as mutually exclusive, ignoring the fact that many people are both LGBTQ and Christian.

Finally, Singer's talk demonstrates hostility toward her lesbian mothers and mentors. Instead of accepting the female role models of her youth and using her experiences to cultivate an enlightened outlook, she had embraced homophobia. How did her mothers and mentors feel when she decried homosexuality on stage, I wonder?

Singer's talk represents a tragedy, in that it tells the story of a woman who chose intolerance over love and acceptance. Her words serve as a reminder that anti-LGBTQ rhetoric still thrives in some religious circles, as well as a call to resist prejudice.


  1. These people are tragic in their zeal to hurt others. This girl is such a fraud.

    1. Sherry -- I felt so unhappy as I listened to her talk. I really do wonder what her mothers and mentors think of this.

  2. That video was a bit confusing for sure. Is she pro or anti gay? She says that the problem is that the church is anti-gay and therefore people who love gay people leave the church. Is her solution that the church start accepting gay people? That doesn't sound so bad.

    But the language she uses...
    "loving the homosexual community back into wholeness"
    what does that mean? Is she just saying they need to accept gay people back into the church? That doesn't sound so bad. Or is she saying that there is fundamentally something wrong with them because they are gay, that does sound bad.

    "stop letting them love our children out."
    again, what does this mean? Is it that gay people loving their children makes them see how wrong the church's position is and results in them leaving the church? Is the solution that the church accept gay people so this won't happen anymore? If so it sounds good. On the other hand, is she saying that gay people trick their children out of the church by loving them?

    I feel like what she said could be interpreted in either way, is this intentional so people will hear what they want to hear?

    1. Hausdorff -- The language about fixing "broken" people and restoring them to "wholeness" is common in Christian ex-gay ministries. The Exodus events I infiltrated immediately come to mind. Folks like this see LGBTQ persons as spiritually and psychologically wounded people who need to be healed through Christ. It's NOT a pro-LGBTQ message by any means.

      As for "stop letting them love our children out", I interpreted it to mean that LGBTQ people are supposedly leading Christian youth away from the faith.

    2. "As for "stop letting them love our children out", I interpreted it to mean that LGBTQ people are supposedly leading Christian youth away from the faith."

      I agree, but the question is why are they able to lead people away. I could see it meaning that their rejection of gays opens the door for gay people to "love their children out". The children are contrasting the hate from the church with the love from LGBTQ people and leaving the church.

      However, I think that is just me trying to make sense of thier hateful speech in a way that fits into my brain.


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