LGBT activists in New York City have raised the $200,000 necessary to attempt to buy anti-gay Reverend James David Manning’s church at auction, the Village Voice reported on Tuesday.
“Could there be a more just outcome to the ATLAH foreclosure than that the young LGBT people most endangered by the hatred and contempt Manning promotes would take over his building,” Ali Forney Center executive director Carl Siciliano said in a statement.
Siciliano’s group, which provides aid to LGBT homeless teens around the city, announced a fundraising drive to support its bid for Manning’s former building, the ATLAH Worldwide Church in Harlem, shortly after a judge ordered that it be sold at auction in order to pay off more than $1 million Manning incurred in debt. Manning has argued that his church is exempt from most of the debt.
Manning, who was denounced by neighbors last year following a multitude of homophobic and bizarre public statements, was incensed on his radio show on Monday following reports that the LGBT spiritual group Rivers of Living Water Ministries was also planning to bid on the property.
“Before you can ever own this property, hook or crook … men who are f*gs with testicles will be carrying babies in their testicles and giving birth to them through their anus,” he vowed.
Siciliano said in his statement that his group anticipates having a partner in time for the Feb. 24 auction in order to secure the facility.
“AFC’s acquiring the beautiful and historic building that now stands as a symbol of hate would be extraordinary, but the bottom line is this: the Ali Forney Center has 200 youths per night on the waiting list for our beds,” he said. “As an organization, we have no obligation more urgent than to increase our capacity to provide housing to these vulnerable youth.”