Near death experience exploited to further anti-gay agenda
(Note: The relevant texts to this episode can be found here (adb/pdf)), and/or you can view the whole thing here.)
With that, we begin.
Dr. David Kyle Foster is the producer and co-host of a show called “Pure Passion.”:
David founded Mastering Life Ministries in 1987 and has been its director ever since. He is also the producer and host of “Pure Passion” – a televised outreach designed to equip the church to redemptively minister to those who are trapped in sexual sin and brokenness. … The goal of the program is to tell the world of God’s grace and love through Jesus Christ and His power to set anyone free from any sin or bondage.
Foster has a series of articles on homosexuality, rife with all the stale yet vicious antigay talking points:
Kyle Foster, 2008: The reality [of homosexuality] is a dramatically reduced life expectancy and the likelihood of contracting hepatitis, AIDS, or one of a host of diseases and infections, as a result of the unnatural perversity of homosexual activity.
Suicide among homosexuals is epidemic, not because society disapproves, as many would have you believe, but because these dear people feel trapped and condemned into a lifestyle and orientation that they know is out of whack.
And the faithfully monogamous gay couple myth – not even close. Such relationships are statistically nonexistent in the gay community.
On December 21st, 2009, the host of the show was Jayson Graves, a board member of Exodus International:
Welcome to Pure Passion. I’m Jayson Graves, and I’m your host for today’s program.
Today we have a man who has lived with the HIV virus for almost 30 years. His name is Jonathan Hunter, and since 1985 he’s been the director of a ministry to those with the AIDS virus, called “Embracing Life.”
After overdosing on drugs, he also had an after-death experience which utterly changed his life.
In my opinion, this episode exploited Jonathan Hunter’s near-death experience (NDE) in an attempt to convince their audience that there is now eye-witness testimony—proving once and for all—that Jesus Christ Himself is anti-gay.
For those of you who may not know about NDEs, or want to learn more, see near-death.com. It does an excellent job of categorizing NDE stories, with many subjects to choose from, including a gay and lesbian section.
Another helpful resource is the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, or nderf.org.
More on gay and lesbian NDEs later.
Jonathan Hunter’s NDE story begins with the recollection of the stereotypical absent father/I was called ‘fag’ and ‘queer’ in school, therefore I must be one, position. Later in life he accidentally overdoses on drugs and has a near death experience:
Jonathan Hunter: And went through this experience that we’ve all heard about, now, of coming out of this darkness into this light. And I just knew … I’m now in the presence of–instinctively, I said to myself, this is Jesus … he said “Jonathan, I want to show you your life,” … And at the end of it, the Lord said to me, “Jonathan, what did you see?” And I said, “Ugh, God, it was all negative. It was all destructive.” And he says, “Is that all you see from your life?” And I said “That’s…it. There’s nothing there, there’s nothing good.”
…But I didn’t stop participating in the gay lifestyle … I accepted Christ as my Lord and savior … And yet I thought I could be a gay Christian, and that God somehow would bless, monogamous relationships…
…two years after I made that commitment to Christ, I said the Lord … hopefully that I can understand how you could lure me to you, and then tell me that homosexuality was not right, even though that’s what I feel I am.
I don’t think it was the NDE that convinced him homosexuality was wrong, or he wouldn’t have even “thought” that God would have blessed a same-sex monogamous relationship.
Strongly implying that it was only after the NDE that he “discovered” homosexuality to be wrong. Yet the takeaway is that they are connected.
Graves picks up the ball and runs with it:
Jayson Graves: As you know, homosexuality and other sexual sin and brokenness problems have become a literal plague in our world today.
Plague: affliction, contagion, curse, epidemic, hydra, infection, infestation, influenza, invasion, outbreak, pandemic, pestilence, rash, ravage, scourge
“Infestation,” as in rats, or cockroaches.
Nearly all of the NDE stories I’ve read since HS (25yrs), whether it was Jesus, the being of light (angel), or both, are usually only interested in how well you treated others—as in Jesus’ command to love thy neighbor as thy self, otherwise known as the Golden Rule.
In her book, “Crossing Over & Coming Home,” Liz Dale, Ph.D. documents 21 NDEs of gays and lesbians. Many of the accounts didn’t even think that it was an issue worth mentioning.
One story puts it best:
If being gay or lesbian is such a horrible thing, I’m sure God’s angels (my six spiritual guides) would have been told by God to tell me of my gay life being the “wrong” way to live. It was not mentioned or brought up in any way. [p125]
In one of the more interesting and detailed accounts, the man asked the guides he was with if it was “okay to be gay?” They responded by laughing and said “Who do you think made gay people?” (p32)
Even in the life-reviews that so many NDE-ers report, no matter how badly they may have behaved in life, the angel/Jesus does not stand in judgment, but continues to love them unconditionally.
And I would be remiss in not stressing that so many NDE-ers, including Jonathan Hunter, who’ve experienced this being of light/Jesus, describe the experience as having been an all-permeating sensation of peace, love, serenity, understanding, etc.
Anti-gay Christians might retort with the notion that these “pro-gay” beings of light were simply demons in disguise, but that then raises the question as to whether or not Jesus Himself may have been Satan in disguise.
I cannot be sure this program intended to exploit the ‘firsthand-eyewitness’ aspect of Jonathan Hunter’s near death experience in order to depict Jesus as anti-gay, but I certainly see it as the effect.
Again, for more information on NDEs, see:
~Patrick Fitzgerald, aka Emproph
Thanks for the info, Patrick. More hucksters to add to a long list.
By the way, Jonathan Hunter is clearly moonlighting as George Clooney.
In any given public health study, there are discrepancies between men and women. Women outlive men, and whites outlive blacks and so on.
Blacks in particular have health and life expectancy differences that easily parallel those of gays and lesbians.
But add the context of being a long time disenfranchised minority, the mitigation of that explains the disparity, but by no means justifies MORE of the socio/political isolation that created the differences.
That is the point. Society has to bring that minority into the mainstream with equal status, access and protection and those gaps in health and economic strength and so on, closes exponentially.
If segregationists were still debating the merits of Jim Crow, they could point to the out of wedlock birth stats, lower marriage rates, incarceration, drop out rates and also health issues like obesity, high bp and diabetes and HIV/AIDS and say that blacks don’t have the physical constitutions, nor the mental and moral capacity to be given socio/political equality.
And since white men live longer than black men, then segregation is the way to go.
People like Jayson Graves can think they are the consciousness of a better society and it’s aspirations by pulling this kind of thing out of his a$$, but when it’s all said and done, we’ve been here before, just the minority has changed.
And what he’s trying to do is just as wrong.
Here is what I believe Christianity is all about. It was written by a very young (24) woman named Sarah Rachel Thomson, an Alabaman by birth. Her words are light. At the bottom is a link to her blog. Happy reading, folks!
Monday, February 8, 2010
When I lost my job almost exactly one year ago, I immediately began looking for work both in Huntsville, Alabama and in Memphis, Tennessee. I came in contact with the Church Health Center in Memphis and signed on to do some volunteer work. I met with directors and editors and took home faith-related books to review. Then I found a job in retail, then a few months later I landed the job I have now. In between I was juggling being a newly married woman and living on my salary alone for the two of us. I had, to say the least, a lot to figure out.
The books lay neglected in my bookshelves, forgotten and dusty. A few days ago I received an e-mail asking me to bring the books back if I was not going to review them. I mentally calculated the months I had these books in my possession, and then the months of empty promises of reviews I had committed.
This weekend I opened the first of three books I took home last year, called “Making Poverty Personal” by Ash Barker. I diligently took notes, read carefully, and then found myself skimming through the last third of the book. I tried to explain what lacked in the book to Stephen, and I couldn’t. The message was clear, and good. Everything was oriented in scripture. But…I don’t know. I didn’t jump up and run out the door to DO something.
Now, because I am a Thomson and my father’s child, I feel I MUST complete this task. But I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps I was the wrong reader for this book. I referenced a number of my own books, from the desert abbas to Joachim Jeremias. As the day dragged on, I found other things to occupy my time, rather than writing. The challenge is, how do I make this message and call relevant, interesting, and motivational?
I think for me, this task is less about saying whether a book is good or not and more about providing some sort of hope. Stephen and I live below the poverty line, intentionally, but we are not poor in spirit, and we have the kind of life that is full and happy. But many are not so fortunate. The poor and impoverished in spirit have been a central theme in Christian teachings since the ministry of Jesus, yet it is so easily ignored. We tend to think as Americans that poverty exists in slums in third world countries, or on commercials advertising sponsorship for African children.
As we see our own American economy decline, and as it is sure to only get worse in the coming years, more Americans that never thought about “being poor” are now dealing with the very realities that come with loss of income. Those who exist solely in their belongings have identity crises because their self-worth cannot be tied to what they own. What will their friends think? What will their children, their parents say? Poverty, as it seems, is not just a bank account–it is indeed a state of mind.
For those who are wrapped up in what they own, in the “right” lifestyle, in the “right” stuff, Jesus’ message may fall a little flat. The attitude is off. They are self-suffering, martyrs to their own god of money. But for the downtrodden, the working man and woman, the child on free lunch, the mother working two and three jobs to pay bills, Jesus’ message is a ray of light and hope. A day of judgment will come. God is both mighty and merciful, and He is not blind to the injustice that happens in this country and around the world. Greed will be punished. Those who take so others may not have will be judged on the day of reckoning. Jesus came with a sword to judge the quick and the dead.
So where are we in all of this? What is, in fact, our call?
We look after the least of these. Whatever our talent, we use that to the greater glory of God’s will. We feed people, we clothe them, we house them, we educate their children with the best resources. We elect officials who will care for those who have no voice. We will sacrifice so that all of God’s children can live a life of peace, happiness, and light. We will look around us, at the things we do not need, at the wealth we have amassed, and we will strive for something Higher, Greater, more heavenly. We will give our riches to the poor, and we will, yes, we will, take up that cross and march to Higher Ground.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.
Sarah Rachel Thomson