As disturbing and frustrating as the viral clip of a man declaring that he has been “delivered” from homosexuality at a recent Cogic Convention is, it’s hard to deny one’s instinct to chuckle. The spectacle is funny, but the spiritual exploitation? Not so much.
Consider the optics: A man, who sits at the intersection of domesticated Luther Vandross and a Black grandmother’s couch, is shouting, “I’m not gay no more. I am DELIVERED. I don’t like mens no more. I like wimen. Wimen! Wimen!” Already, there has been a dance remix crafted from the now-viral hit’s infamous quote.
Based on the looks of him, this dude couldn’t find his way into a vagina if he went by Google Maps. What follows his testimony is just as hilarious. After he is delivered from biology through the notion of divine order, he is then greeted by a bunch of men who proceed to join him dancing in celebration. That is what every ex-gay man needs: A bevy of individuals with penises happily crowded around him.
The spectacle only worsens after the pastor announces that God told him to give the man a $100 because he’s no longer gay. It’s crock logic about how sexuality works, coupled with a capitalistic-centered reward: pure comedy for those who don’t fancy themselves as Biblical literalists (including those of convenience).
Once the laughter fades, though, reality sets in. This is a person who has been beaten down week after week by his religion, which ideally, should only serve the purpose of uplifting him. Frustration soon follows once you consider how this reality is the same for many men who sit in church pews each week to be told that they are an abomination. Or “sissies” in bow ties. Or “faggots” in lavender. That their existence is a mistake, and their natural urges, perverse.
I know this feeling, as do many other gay people who’ve sat in church pews and faced similar harsh circumstances. You want to reach out and declare that it doesn’t have to be this way. That you don’t have to accept this rhetoric as your truth because none of it’s true. It’s neither true from a theological standpoint or just plain basic common sense about how humans truly operate and have operated since civilization.
You want to make sense of the senselessness you see and let those self-loathing gay Christians know that Jesus is not waiting somewhere with a flashlight, itching to point them in the direction of genitalia different from theirs in order to save their souls. Sometimes, you can convince people. You tell them to read the Bible themselves. You direct them to documentaries from actual religious clergymen and scholars who can help them rectify their faith with their sexual attraction.
Sadly, not everyone can be convinced, hence videos like these. This man is not “cured” of his sexuality. Suppression is not a cure, it is a curb. One that is not lasting and one destined for failure. He’ll have to learn it on his own, though.
I hope it comes sooner rather than later. Fairy tales like the one delivered in this video should star animated characters or Angelina Jolie. That’s what makes it so comical and laugh-inducing. But again, you can only laugh for so long once you remember that this is someone’s life. A life that has been damaged by dimwitted pastors who understand the Bible in terms of metaphor, idiom, and hyperbole about as well as most bottoms know a vagina.