Evangelical group rebrands ‘pray the gay away’ message for LGBTQ millennials

No, praying to a higher power, regardless of which religion, won’t change your sexual orientation. Praying, no matter how willfully and intently, will not make someone “convert” to heterosexuality (or homosexuality, for example’s sake).

And it seems that Anchored North, an Evangelical Christian nonprofit charity, gets that (kind of) because they’re scrapping that messaging for something more ominous and equally dangerous.

The organization claims to be a media company for “next generation” evangelists and makes it a mission to reach out to young people through video and social media. However, Anchored North’s latest viral video, its most popular to date, asks LGBTQ youth not to “convert,” but to willfully live life as a heterosexual in order to “deny sin” and be a follower of Jesus. Yes, you can’t make yourself not be gay, but you can “choose” to live as a straight person, the video totes.

The video, with more than 1.6 million views, appropriates LGBTQ language and imagery with the rainbow flag and the title “Love Is Love.” However, the message promoted is far from one that the LGBTQ community would approve of, as the video follows a “former” lesbian named Emily Thomes.

In under five minutes, Thomes recounts her “serial relationships” with women from a teenager into her 20s, as well as her former female fiancee who she “slowed down” her life for because the woman had two kids. Then, after going to a Bible study and hearing other women talking about things Thomes hadn’t experienced, Thomes wondered if she was missing out—was she actually gay? Thomes eventually then studied the Bible, came to the conclusion that she was no longer going to “hold onto her sin,” and is now married to a man.

The messaging in this video certainly differs from that of traditional Christian fear-mongering: Thomes says that she, like her critics, was also born gay, but that this is why Jesus was born, in order to help them avoid their “desire to sin.” In other words, LGBTQ youth aren’t being told that they must no longer be gay—but that they must choose to be straight!

“It’s not gay to straight. It’s lost to saved,” Thomes says in the video.

And while the video directly attacks the LGBTQ community, Thomes’ mentions of serial relationships, her fiancee’s children out of wedlock, and her former party-heavy lifestyle continue to enforce other restrictive interpretations of Christianity. Which isn’t a surprise—Anchored North’s other videos peddle false information about Planned Parenthood and abortion. The most convoluted video is titled “I Forgave My Rapist” and features a rape survivor telling the story of how she reached forgiveness because, just like her rapist, she is a sinner, and, just like God, her rapist gave her a new life—her daughter—in his image.

So while it dabbles in dangerous, shame-based messaging, you have to give it the media arm of Anchored North for clearly being very good at what they do. Their videos have hundreds of thousands of views and feel as if you’re watching an ad for this summer’s hottest music festival lineup—slow, steady camera shots, Instagram-worthy framing, EDM music and all.

The future of Evangelism may be here, but it’s no less toxic than the fire-and-brimstone speeches delivered by prominent evangelicals such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Watch the Anchored North video below:

Love Is Love

"It's not gay to straight. It's lost to saved."

Posted by Anchored North on Wednesday, December 27, 2017

H/T HuffPost

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