James Hartline is an ex-gay gadfly who lives in San Diego and spends his remaining days fighting against the “evils of homosexuality”. Hartline has a history of crime, drug use, and mental instability and it is clear that he suffers from delusions. However, he is occasionally quoted by religious media sources that are looking for a particularly venomous anti-gay quote.
In the past, Hartline has claimed that God was going to heal him from AIDS and this healing was going to be the start of a great revival. He also believes God spoke to him through a television, that there is a conspiracy to recruit people to homosexuality for the purpose of spreading AIDS, and that though he spent many years having unsafe sex and abusing drugs, he was deliberately infected with HIV while having a sex and drug binge at a bathhouse. Needless to say, these more sensational claims don’t make it on to the Christian media websites.
Now James Hartline is claiming a miracle occurred.
In addition to AIDS, Hartline has Hepatitis C. Recently he went into a government subsidized clinic for the results of a liver biopsy (after haranguing other sick patients in the lobby). His results showed that there was not scarring on his liver unlike what is often the case with Hepatitis C patients. In a blog entry entitled And The Gates Of Hell Did Not Prevail: Christian Activist James Hartline Receives Miraculous Healing Report!, Hartline (who writes about himself in the third person) says
Truly this medical report was a welcome miracle for James Hartline. And welcome news to the hundreds of Christians around America who regularly pray for this well known Christian activist.
As James Hartline, walked through the clinic, passing those very ill gay activists that were mocking him earlier, he just holds his head up, smiles and reminds himself that God is still in the business of defending His servant. And healing a sick body as well.
I am happy for Hartline. I’m glad that liver damage and a regimen of interferon will not be added to his many difficulties. And I also believe in the possibility of the miraculous and have lived long enough to not deny the impact of prayer.
But I suspect that this story is not one of God’s intervention into the medical conditions of James Hartline. I suspect, rather, that this claim of a divine miracle demonstrates that his mental health is continuing to deteriorate.
And it saddens me that the anti-gay activist community to which he has attached himself does not intervene. Instead they use James, quoting him and encouraging him and giving him a platform from which to speak while covering over and not reporting his more bizarre and peculiar proclamations.
But will they be there for James when he is no longer rational enough to periodically sound sane? Or will they find him no longer a useful tool in the demonization of gay persons and lives and just toss him aside?
The medical attention that was fought for by gay men and women, and frequently provided by the same, will continue to be there to do what can be done for Hartline’s ravaged body. But will his political allies continue to be there for him when dementia finally claims his rather fragile mind?