A Mississippi man says he was repeatedly molested by a teacher at a conservative Christian school he attended in the ’90’s.
Jeff White says that the abuse at Bethel Baptist School in Walls began when he was just 14 years old and continued until he was 17 under the guise of “ex-gay therapy” designed to make him “hate men.”
“He would rape me because I was gay and because it would make me hate men and make me change,” White said.
Teacher Stephen Barnes, according to Walls, scheduled an “appointment” with him every Wednesday in his classroom or officer where he would force the then-teenager into oral and anal sex.
Barnes, who is currently an associate pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, which operates the school, would “rape me because I was gay and because it would make me hate men and make me change,” White told the Washington Blade.
The truly sick part of this is that White’s parents sent him to the school after he “came out” to them. “They [the church’s pastors] looked at Southern Baptists like they were liberal f*ggots, like they would say from the pulpit,” he said.
“In general it was a cult,” he said. “Aside from all of that other stuff going on, there was a thousand other things that they were doing.”
A representative from the church told the Blade that the allegations are “the biggest lie there ever was” — as opposed to, perhaps, the school web site’s claim that “your sin must be paid for with death and hell” and “turn from your sin and trust Christ as your saviour.”
White told the Blade that he is still angry about the abuse, but that he has “gotten through it.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is known for helping survivors of clerical abuse, helped White file a lawsuit against the teacher.
“I just can’t overemphasize how proud we are to represent someone this courageous,” Sam Ames, an attorney with the group, told the Blade. “He’s honestly one of the bravest, one of the most determined people I have ever met and he has a unique, first-hand understanding that these attempts to change sexual orientation and gender identity are linked to a culture of hostility to LGBT people and when you combine that kind of hatred and self-loathing with a position of power, whether it’s in a religious leader or a licensed therapist, people get hurt, sometimes irreparably.”
Recently, another pastor and author pushing “ex-gay” therapy raped a young boy…for the second time. While some “ex-gay” activists may claim to “know 500 dudes” who went straight, and the GOP embraces conversion therapy with open arms, the rest of us realize it is dangerous and damaging. Two states, New Jersey and California, have led the nation in stomping out this disgusting mindset by banning it altogether.
Hopefully, the nation will follow suit in ending this horrible practice.