A video titled “Love is Love” is using LGBTQ language to promote conversion therapy, according to critics of the Anchored North evangelical media group.
Between the title and the rainbow flag, you could easily mistake this for a pro-LGBT video from the It Gets Better or Truth Wins Out campaigns. But it’s actually from Anchored North, an evangelical media company that uses short-form videos to proselytize on behalf of Christianity via social media.
For the first half of the four-minute video, Emily’s life is ticking along nicely, including getting engaged to a woman. Then she’s invited to a church. “I Googled [Bible] verses on homosexuality,” she recalls, “and it scared me really bad.”
By the end, Emily is cuddled up with a handsome young man in gray sweater, as she explains: “It’s not gay to straight, it’s lost to saved.”
At one point in the video, Emily uses the popular LGBT-affirming phrase “born this way”, but twists it to say that all humans are born with sin, but there is hope in Jesus.
The Guardian quotes Anchored North co-founder Greg Sukert listing homosexuality alongside drunkenness, promiscuity, and even rape – all sins, he says, which come from the same deceitful and wicked heart with which we are all born.
Sukert “vehemently denies” that the video and the group behind it are promoting conversion therapy, but the Guardian also spoke to an activist who sees that denial as particularly dangerous.
Deb Cuny, a spokeswoman for the #BornPerfect campaign, which speaks out against the dangers of conversion therapy, was in high school when she came out to her fundamentalist Christian parents. For years, their lives centered around conversion therapy classes, retreats, and even supernatural “cleansing” sessions to rid her bedroom of demonic spirits.
“Eventually I decided I was definitely going to hell and became very depressed,” she said. “I had so much self-hate around my sexuality.”
More than a decade later, Cuny and her parents use terms like “brainwashed” and “abuse” to describe that time. Cuny has since embraced her sexuality, and is on her way to becoming an Episcopal minister.
She sees Anchored North’s suggestion that their videos don’t support conversion therapy as particularly insidious.
“I want to expose all the different subtle practices of the church that don’t have the label of conversion therapy, but clearly are,” she said. “Any attempt to change someone’s sexual or gender identity, even through something as subtle as prayer, is conversion therapy.”
Read more of the story at the Guardian.