Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who founded the lobbying group The Pray In Jesus Name Project, said on Tuesday that he possesses the power to “exorcise” the gay right out of people, including one of the nation’s leading LGBT advocates.
Joining Klingenschmitt on Tuesday was Wayne Besen, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Truth Wins Out, who immediately challenged Klingenschmitt’s opening claim that he once “healed” a lesbian woman of her sexual orientation.
“Those who are LGBT are fine just the way they are,” Besen said. “You cannot pray away the gay. What I think he’s talking about is absurd. People who go through individuals like that come to me afterwards to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. They’re not healed, they’re harmed by such voodoo, so to speak. This isn’t Christianity. This is some kind of cult-like, bizarre notion that has nothing to do with real religion but has something to do with radicalism and extremism.”
Klingenschmitt responded by saying that when people confess their sins to him and profess faith in the Christian deity figure, he’s actually been able to “exorcise” the gay out of them. He also cited two specific scientific studies which, as Besen quickly pointed out, have been discredited.
But Pakman wasn’t done with him yet. “As a former Navy chaplain and as somebody who has performed these gay exorcisms, could you take anybody — could you take Wayne Besen — and perform an exorcism where he would no longer be gay? Is that within your purview?”
“Well, Wayne would have to repent and he would have to consent,” Klingenschmitt said. “It’s an act of his free will to contract with the devil, and it can also be an act of his free will to renounce the devil. That’s a very simple exercise that I lead people in when they want an exorcism. When they come to me for help, I say, ‘Pray with me and repeat these words: Father in heaven, I renounce my sins and demons. I invite holiness and the holy spirit.’ And if Wayne would be willing to do that, then certainly he could find hope and healing.”
This video was published to YouTube on July 3, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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