Speaking recently to a group of teen and young-adult antigay Christians, Engle, founder of The Call, a ministry for young people, shared his fever-dream/psychotic fantasy. I should mention that Engle has the perfect voice to be a World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smack Down announcer, which makes his antigay rants sound all the more over the top.
“[Bob Jones] had a vision in 1989 of a first wave of homosexuals coming to Christ. One-hundred thousand would be just the first wave, and it would come suddenly. I dreamed of this before,” he told the enthusiastic audience.
Now, we all know who Bob Jones is, right? Of Bob Jones University fame? Where you can basically get a diploma in gay-bashing?
So to be clear, Jones had a vision and then Engle had a dream of this vision. Far out, man.
In this vision/dream/fantasy, Engle sees this army of gays and lesbians, converted by God to be “normal,” like, you know, him, and that these people would “begin to be the preachers of righteousness in their own communities with radical salvations and healings of AIDS.”
The young audience likes this idea very much. They cheer. Because we all know how much conservatives love outsourcing.
Engle continues, “This is the issue of your day. You know it. Something goes off in your heart when you touch this one. Because this is the heart of God.”
Really? Of all the issues facing young people in this country, “fixing” gay people is really priority No. 1? I mean, if you ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” I don’t think Jesus would be all, “Screw the poor, let’s straighten out some queers.”
“Would you raise your voices and begin to pray?” Engle urges, “God give us 100,000 gay and lesbian men and women to be radically transformed! Begin to pray it in your youth groups. Begin to pray it in your schools, pray it in your devotions. We’re asking God! Loose a movement — a divine breakthrough! One hundred thousand gay and lesbian men and women! Loose a sound that D.C. can’t contend with! Loose a sound that the media can’t contend with! Overflow the media with the sound of revival.”
Unfortunately, I don’t think Engle has thought this one through. It’s a very impractical plan. First of all, there’s the whole ex-gay thing and how that doesn’t actually work. Even the “ex-gay” group Exodus International disavows the concept, saying, basically, that you can’t scrub or pray the gay away, but you can be celibate. Which is not the same thing. Hence the zombie reference.
And if all it took was a bunch of antigay Christians to pray their hardest to make homos un-homo, then this bastion of “cured” zombies would already be roaming the streets curing AIDS and stuff.
The crowd listening to Engle’s message is a big one, and enthusiastic to boot. They literally rock back and forth, trembling with enthusiasm. It’s, well, kind of weird. As a commenter on YouTube put it, “Why are the people in the audience and background bobbing and weaving like that, do they all have some kind of inner-ear problems? I would think that they’d want to heal their balance issues before rushing off and trying to tackle AIDS.”
In other words, glass houses? Stones, anyone?
D’Anne Witkowski is a Detroit-based freelance writer and poet.