Happy holidays from Charlene Cothran! The "ex-gay" (or is it merely celibate?) and former lesbian publisher of Venus Magazine, once the leading black-oriented lesbian magazine in the nation, now has officially crossed to the dark side by announcing the creation of an ex-gay ministry to "prevent homosexuality in today's youth."
Cotharn details the plans for her ministry at the former virtual home of Venus—now devoted to ex-gay propaganda—and in a holiday-themed fundraising email blast because "preservation of the family is what Thanksgiving celebrates."
I am also thankful to introduce The EVIDENCE Ministry, Inc. God has been gracious, merciful and patient with us all. He has allowed our talented Board of Directors, whom we will introduce soon, to carefully lay the foundation for a loving ministry whose mission is to reach those who want to be free from homosexuality with the gospel of Jesus Christ, to offer tools to prevent homosexuality in today's youth and to offer hope & spiritual healing to parents and family members of gays and lesbians.
The punchline is Cothran's appeal for your dollars. "Our prayer is that God will send 100 people to make a one-time donation of $300 or more or to donate $30 a month for one year."
Cothran wants substantial donations to fund a multi-platform broadcast ministry—with her as the host of course—on radio, DVD and internet. "Charlene Cothran has elevated her rabid capitalist 'ex-gay' charades from a magazine to a 'ministry'," writes Alicia Banks, who forwarded the email to my inbox. "Same twisted joke. New toxic punchline."
Banks is spot-on. The Evidence Ministry Inc is a business. Apparently it is not recognized as a tax deductible church or ministry—at least not yet—and the fundraising appeal and its webpage do not say the ministry is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity. Cothran claims she "will use 100% of your Year-End donation to achieve our ministry goals." We'll have to take her word for it.
Cothran's reinvention as a broadcast ex-gay "should be a treat," writes Clay Cane, who interviewed Cothran last year when she famously boasted of being "freed from the bondage of lesbianism." Clay compares Cothran's ex-gay-for-pay ministry to "those modeling agencies that are advertised in the back of the Village Voice—if they have to ask you for money, it isn't legit."
Charlene Cothran has quickly become a pawn in the evangelical social conservative scheme to use gays as a wedge issue into the black church. Christian broacdasters, the 700 Club and the powerful anti-gay Family Research Council are publicizing Cothran's story. After the disastrous results of Prop 8 and the escalating tensions between blacks and gays, Cothran's phony "pray away the gay" story might be become welcome currency in many anti-gay black churches. Just ask Donnie McClurkin.
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