Hartline can be counted on to provide some outrageous statement which the rightwing press never questions.
CityBEAT of San Diego wrote an interesting and illuminating article on Hartline in their October 5 issue which gives some of his history and how he views himself. What emerges is a picture of a tortured man, physically and mentally ill. Hartline looks to the extreme excesses in his past and finds some conspiracy of depravity of which he is always the victim.
Though he spent many years having unsafe sex and abusing drugs, he believes that he was deliberately infected with HIV while having a sex and drug binge at a bathhouse. He also believes God is going to miraculously cure him to give credibility to his cause.
Although it’s tempting to be angry at this man and all of the damage he does, I find myself reacting with pity. Here’s a man that has destroyed his own life as well as that of his family and the people around him. Like so many ex-gay activists, he’s unable to see that he is the cause of all of his problems. Instead he sees conspiracies and death plots and evil homosexuals as the cause of his misery.
Naturally, he believes his sexual orientation was caused by his parents’ abuse and, get this, his father’s stack of straight porn. And although he spent nearly all of his life either high or in jail (sometimes in a mental hospital) he somehow knows that “there is an evil conspiracy afoot in Hillcrest—an organized effort among homosexuals to lure individuals into the gay lifestyle, drugs, prostitution, and pornography, and to intentionally spread the AIDS virus.”
And yet the wingnuts are so anxious for another “ex-gay” that they give him credibility, even when he gets the Bishop of San Diego to cancel the funeral of a gay man or when almost suceeded in getting San Diego Pride cancelled. This poor man. Instead of the church providing comfort to the mind and soul of this terminally ill, emotionally scarred, and mentally ill man, they are using him to further an agenda.