Opponents of LGBT equality often speak in prepared statements, but in private, their rhetoric is much more candid. This week, blogger Jeremy Hooper had the chance to see just how vile they can be. There is an email list of over seventy social conservatives that allows them to coordinate with each other, and in their own company, the anti-gay rhetoric apparently flows quite freely. This became a concern for Alan Chambers of the ex-gay group Exodus International, an organization that has moved away from its harsher past of claiming to “cure” homosexuality — so much so that Chambers added Hooper to the list so he could see just what was being said.
Hooper’s presence on the email thread only provoked harsher responses from its other participants. After Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute denounced Hooper’s writing as “deceitful, nasty, and juvenile,” here is how another individual came to her defense about Hooper’s inclusion on the list:
Jeremy, Your utter rebellion against your creator, and your efforts to encourage others to join in your rebellion are sins and crimes of the highest order.
If you call yourself a Christian, you are twice the son of Hell. […]
Repent Jeremy, you have perverted God’s straight ways! Repent or you shall receive the penalty due. Repent or face the judgment for the little ones you lead into your sin!
A response from Robert Gagnon was even more scathing. Gagnon is helping to organize the Restored Hope Network, the ex-gay group that splintered off to insist that “Jesus Christ provides hope for transformation to broken sexual sinners.” Despite his extreme promotion of ex-gay therapy, Gagnon is featured every year at the National Organization for Marriage’s “It Takes A Family” conference. He responded to the email thread with a long screed attacking homosexuality as a “perverse behavior” comparable to, albeit not as bad as, bestiality. Here are some excerpts:
Bestiality is an even more unnatural form of sexual practice since it is cross-species. Adult-consensual incest is also a particularly perverse form of sexual practice since it involves sex with someone who is too much of a familial same. But Scripture treats homosexual practice as even more severely unnatural because the male-female requirement for sexual relations is foundational for all that follows (so Genesis and Jesus) and because sex or gender is a more constituent feature of sexual behavior than kinship. […]
So, technically, those who willfully engage in unrepentant homosexual practice could be labelled “perverts.”
He also added this tidbit:
I also believe (ant this is just basic common sense) that having homosexual males as boy scout leaders is as stupid as having heterosexual males as girl scout leaders. It is a recipe for sexual abuse.
These candid remarks reveal a deeper and intentional animus against the gay community than is sometimes apparent in the remarks that these individuals — or the organizations they are affiliated with — make in public. Theirs is not a campaign for so-called “religious freedom,” but a blatant effort to demonize people who are gay.
This post has been updated to correct a misattribution. The first email was originally identified to have been from Laurie Higgins from the Illinois Family Institute, and then again as an IFI senior staffer, but it was, in fact, not from someone directly affiliated with the organization.
This post originally stated that Gagnon believed homosexuality was worse than bestiality. He has clarified that this is not an accurate depiction of his views, and he says he has expressed these views publicly: “Clearly I intend in context to say that homosexual practice is worse than incest, not bestiality.”