Religious Right Leader Admits That Anti-Gay War Is Lost Without a Miracle

TWO Special Report: Inside “The Awakening’ Conference In Lynchburg

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Truth Wins Out’ founder and Executive Director Wayne Besen spent two days in Lynchburg, Va., to observe a major Religious Right conference, “The Awakening”, which featured many of the religious right’ biggest stars. TWO released a full report on the event, which can be viewed at The symposium revealed that anti-gay rhetoric was on the decline and no longer the far right’ number one priority.

“While the sheer number of anti-gay attacks had decreased from past conferences, the remaining rhetoric was vicious and vile, as our desperate opponents see they are losing the battle of public opinion,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out.

The sullen mood over losing ground was best summarized by Lou Engle of “The Call”. During a breakout session on the “LGBT Agenda”, he acknowledged that when he preaches against LGBT issues, Christian youth often “rage against him.” Engle said that the far right has lost on this issue barring a miracle. One idea floated by Engle to turn the tide was creating an intercession by holding a 500,000 strong youth rally.

“If Lou Engle is wondering how his movement lost the current generation of youth, it is because the hatred and hyperbole spewed by anti-gay activists is incongruous with reality,” said TWO’ Wayne Besen in the report. “Many teenagers, including evangelicals, have friends who come out of the closet at early ages. They listen to the slurs and the slander at such conferences and know, based on real life experience, that they are hearing lies. Such cognitive dissonance is costing evangelical leaders enormous credibility”.

At the same breakout session, Rena Lindevaldsen, a law school professor at Liberty University, revealed that the anti-gay lobby’ strategy to defeat the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is, “letting people see how the kids are affected…it’ an unhealthy lifestyle.” ENDA is a federal bill that would prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Another breakout session, “Pastors and Political Activity”, urged fundamentalist Christians to use stealth tactics to infiltrate public schools. A man in his 20′ spoke up during the Q&A period and claimed that the panelists were not trying hard enough to get into classrooms. He alleged that through his youth ministry, “we’ve been to 330 schools and only two asked us to leave.”

Upon hearing this, Dr. Rick Scarborough, Vision America, cheered these youth and said, “We need more special forces like yourself”, and then spoke of the importance of engaging in “guerilla warfare”. Rev. Rick Joyner, Morningstar Ministries, chimed in that fundamentalists should “come in undercover.” For example, a fundamentalist could go in to speak “as an athlete”, but really be in the schools to push a sectarian message.

“It is disgraceful that these supposed moral leaders would use chicanery to promote Christianity,” said TWO’ Besen. “It seems that the ends justify the means and these zealots will do almost anything, no matter how dishonest, to proselytize to captive audiences at public schools.”

Energized by the Tea Party, many people in Lynchburg pledged not to automatically give their votes to Republican candidates without assurances that they would champion rigid conservative positions on social issues.

“Our loyalty belongs to Jesus Christ, not to any party,” said Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. He added in a breakout session that, “The black community has been used and exploited by the Democratic Party. The goal is to make sure Christians are not exploited by the Republican Party.”

“While conventional wisdom has the energy on the far right helping Republicans, it could easily backfire and split the GOP,” said TWO’ Besen. “Republicans are playing with fire by thinking they can control the combustible right wing activists that I observed.”

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns, counters the so-called “ex-gay” industry and educates about the lives of LGBT people. Our goal is to help individuals be true to themselves and lead genuine lives of honesty and integrity.

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