Thursday, November 28, 2013

#808: Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston is an ex-gay anti-gay activist, promoter of reparative therapy, and founder of the (now defunct) Kerusso ministries. In the 90s he became central enough in the movement that even Jerry Falwell would use him as “proof” that gays could become heterosexuals, and Johnston toured churches and schools with his message, underlining the fact that he had contracted HIV during his gay years, and even helped the Assemblies of God write their official position on homosexuality. He was also campaigning to use sexual orientation as a criterion to deny fellow citizens equal treatment under the law, the face of the Truth in Love campaign, and founder of Americans for Truth (currently AFTAH, run by Peter LaBarbera). Then, in 2003, Johnston and the Kerusso ministries disappeared, and all references to him by the American Family Association and the Family Policy Network were deleted. Story here.

The reason, of course, was that Johnston had been going by the name Sean and had been cruising men online. He had also been organizing unsafe sex parties and lying about his HIV status. Of course, once the news were released to the media, the anti-gay movement desperately tried to downplay Johnston’s involvement.

In 2007, however, Johnston reappeared as Director of Donor Relations for the Pure Life Ministry. Though he is assuming a somewhat lower profile, his anti-gay efforts apparently continue as before.

Diagnosis: It is somewhat hard to believe that Johnston actually thinks of himself as “ex-gay”, but his efforts in the anti-gay movement surely qualify him for an entry in the Encyclopedia. The Assembly of God’s official position on sexual orientation is not reason-based, to put it rather mildly.

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