A Christian group has been using LGBT slogans and language associated with the community to spread their message and some are claiming that it’s their attempt to subtly promote gay conversion. The name of the group is Anchored North, and they have a YouTube channel where they’ve posted a video entitled “Powerful Coming Out Story!!! LOVE IS LOVE!”
In the video, a woman named Emily who is recalling her life as a lesbian. During that time, she regularly partied, drank alcohol, and had multiple relationships, she says. She eventually gets engaged to another woman and seems at ease with her sexual orientation until she gets invited to a new church for Bible study. She says that she thought they would bring up her “lifestyle” early on so that she would have a reason to stop going. She adds that when she went to the Bible study, she heard stories from women that she couldn’t relate to.
It seems that this feeling of alienation led her to question her sexual orientation. Then she googled Bible verses about homosexuality.
“I realized that I was in the ‘Will I Enter The Kingdom of God?’ lineup and it scared me really, really bad.”
Emily goes on to say that she changed her life which seems to be shorthand for changing her sexual orientation. She adds that when people tell her that they were “born this way” i.e. gay, she understands that to mean that they weren’t born with the “right affections,” or born into sin.
“It’s not gay to straight. It’s lost to saved,” she says.
During the final frames of the video, you can see Emily laughing and cuddling with a man, presumably her boyfriend or husband.
Although the video doesn’t explicitly advocate gay conversion, viewers used the YouTube comment section to point out the anti-gay subtext they observed.
“Hate dressed up as caring. Why am I not surprised. This typifies religion in general,” wrote one commenter.
“I’m gay and I support freedom of speech, and if you want to promote this thing like ‘gay to straight’, do it, but please, don’t use that misleading title only for publicity,” another comment reads. “Like you read the video and see the first image and when you start to see the video, it’s a completely different message. Liars!”
This isn’t the only video on the organization’s YouTube channel that’s about homosexuality. There’s another one that’s titled “Homosexuality was my identity.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 24, 2018
Anchored North co-founder, Greg Sukert, told The Guardian that Emily has been getting a lot of backlash since the video was posted. He says that Emily has been told that she has surrendered to The Church’s oppression and that she’s actually bisexual. Sukert claims that she has even received death threats.
He also said that their videos aren’t about converting gay people but converting lost souls. According to Sukert, their message is that homosexuality, promiscuity, drunkenness etc, are all symptoms of a bigger problem, a “wicked heart” that all human beings have at birth.
He added that they do not support gay conversion therapy, which is the use of psychotherapy to get members of the LGBT community to change their sexual orientation.
According to the Huffington Post, laws banning this type of therapy have been banned in nine states, Washington D.C., and over twenty-four municipalities. But that’s a small minority that seems even smaller when you remember that gay conversion therapy was a part of the Republican party’s 2016 platform and that there some evidence that Vice-President Mike Pence has openly supported it.