Badpuppy Gay Today

Wednesday, 28 May 1997


"Former Homosexual" Featured in Baptist Press

Finds Himself Less Than Welcome Among Believers

By Jack Nichols


Lee Weeks, a writer for Baptist Press, has featured in that publication's May 19 issue the poignant tale of a young male's odyssey, that from hairdressing-pornophile-homosexist-partner-changer to Baptist Theological Seminary Associate Degree graduate.

The pre-Baptist-conversion difficulties experienced by Eric Garner find him described as once so "desperate" for love, so overwhelmed by loneliness, despair, alcohol, marijuana, and you name it, that he found himself "fallen into the depths of a two-and-a-half-year relationship with a man who was HIV-positive."

Mr. Weeks' article--from both writer's and subject's stances-- seems nowhere to approach love and affection as an unconditional manner of proceeding, and, it appears, not to comprehend the uncharitable hubris therefore exuded. The editors of Baptist Press have not successfully questioned Mr. Weeks' premises, keeping their blue pencils to themselves. "One can only hope, in the spirit of Christ," said a reader, the worried Christian mother of an HIV-positive son," that these so-called religious people will someday see how everything they say conflicts with the Jesus I love."

In fact, because Garner both aspires to and appears to be a mouth for the reception of ex-Gay Christians with Baptist credentials, he is allowed to indulge, in Baptist Press, uncensored lucid moments along with his expected, dogma-based rhetoric.

The "former homosexual" --upon his graduation--is clearly undaunted. "I'm saved. I'm delivered. I'm healed and I'm going to tell everybody," he is quoted as saying.

Unfortunately for him, the young divinity school product is getting, to start with, something of a cold shoulder from his fellow Baptist-"Christians.". Their reaching out to him, according to several pertinent parts of Weeks' article, hints at being invested with less than the enthusiasm Baptists generally show to even their more bland converts.

Given that his reception among these Baptists (as, say, a genuine Christian-party-invitee and fit-companion-teacher- for-a-teen-boys- Sunday School class) leaves something to be desired, Eric Garner's general reflections on Baptists have, therefore, special significance. He pontificates about the idiosyncrasies of his denomination's membership:

In my opinion, a lot of Baptists believe there is a degree of lostness, and they look upon the homosexual community as people that are more lost than they were.

Garner says that when he offers testimonies, his audiences react with incredulity and "awe". "A lot of people look at my testimony as something incredible and awesome," he says. But he believes his fellow Christians point fingers at him and say "I was never as lost as he was."

Quoting the Bible to gird himself against intransigent Baptist inhospitality, Garner summons scriptural exhortations to erase his most dismal fears: "Fear them not, therefore, for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed and hid that shall not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, that speak you in light. And what you hear in the ear, that preach you upon the housetops."

The problems admitted by "practising" Christians in accepting house-top-orating "Ex-Gays" into their midst are not new. Mona Riley, in MOODY, a publication of the Chicago-based Moody Bible Institute, sees "a hardness of heart of the American church" toward people who have reportedly once been homosexually-inclined.

What Mr. Garner preaches from his house top is that by allowing his own approach to same-sex love, he'd opened "a floodgate for Satan in my life." He opened this special floodgate, he explains, by joining the Navy.

Failing to find sociability in the Navy after telling officials that he was gay, he took a male companion, who was also a Christian and was HIV-positive. But one day, upon discovering the "don't lie with a man" death penalty in Leviticus, Mr. Garner approached his partner and, in alarm, asked, "What do you think this means?"

Thereafter, Garner, whose concept of proper Christian behavior found him leaving his partner without much ado, also found him talking to a former-lesbian who, says the article, later married a Christian man. "God Almighty has sent you to my house tonight," she told him.

Afterwards, the former-homosexual-Baptist hairdresser married a woman and went on to earn his degree not only in the rudiments of theology but in the magic of cosmetology as well. Cosmotological wizardry will help Garner to best establish what he feels to be his cosmic call to the Baptist ministry, he indicates.

1997 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
For reprint permission e-mail

GayToday Image Map