Metro Weekly

Anti-gay pastor claims that casual sex is more sinful when gay people do it

Conversion therapy advocate Steve Gallagher says homosexual sin is "worse" than heterosexual sin

sex, gay, sin
Photo: Christian Buehner

A preacher who claims to help free men from “sexual sin” has argued that gay sin is “worse” than straight sin.

Steve Gallagher, pastor and founder of Pure Life Ministries, made the claim in a recent post on the organization’s website. Pure Life claims to help people “struggling with sexual sin” — including pornography and infidelity — into an “encounter with Jesus Christ.”

In Gallagher’s blog post, spotted by Pride Source, he calls the severity of gay sin versus straight sin “one of many hot-button questions in our day and age.”

“Many years of well-intentioned Christian activism against homosexuality in our country has left the gay community with the impression that Christians are self-righteous and intolerant,” he says, before proceeding to be intolerant. “Be that as it may, it is still a worthwhile issue to consider.”

Luckily for gay people, Gallagher generously acknowledges that “a man raping a woman is far worse than two men hooking up for casual sex.”

“Simply putting homosexual activity up against heterosexual sin is too broad of a comparison,” he writes. “Perhaps a better way to ask the question would be, ‘Is homosexual promiscuity worse than heterosexual promiscuity?'” (Gallagher fails to note that it was perhaps better left unasked.)

However, while Gallagher is aware that murder is worse than larceny, he seems to believe that “within the legal structure of God’s kingdom…homosexual promiscuity is ‘worse than’ heterosexual promiscuity.”

He offers four reasons for his bizarre argument, starting with his belief that “Scripture treats homosexuality more seriously” and that the “lifestyle” was “carried into the New Testament when the apostle Paul designated homosexuality as particularly vile behavior.”

Gallagher also argues that while it’s “sinful” for a straight person to engage in extramarital sex, “their behavior fits within the parameters of ‘normal’ sex — something that cannot be said of sodomy and the like.”

His third argument is that gay people identify “more closely with an immoral lifestyle,” presumably because LGBTQ Christians can’t match the “godly behavior expected of a true believer.”

Indeed, Gallagher dismisses pro-LGBTQ Christians, writing, “The homosexual movement has spawned an entire community and culture within our nation — complete with its own Christian denominations.”

Finally, Gallagher admits that his belief that gay sin is worse than straight sin is “more of a sense” derived from “years of ministering” than something concrete.

He claims that gay sex “brings about emotional suffering and a spiritual corruption that runs very deeply,” adding, “It doesn’t take much to see how deeply gays have been scarred as a result of the course their lives have taken.”

Gallagher concludes: “In light of all of that, I repeat: homosexual promiscuity is ‘worse than’ heterosexual promiscuity.”

It’s of little surprise that Gallagher holds such strong opinions about homosexuality, particularly given his views on “sexual sin” and especially given other posts on Pure Life Ministries’ website suggest that the organization advocates for conversion therapy — or the widely debunked idea that a person’s sexuality or gender identity can be changed.

In a 2019 post, Gallagher claimed that gay people need “Biblical conversion” to “be converted from a life of habitual sin to a life of godliness.”

“Every human being is ‘born into sin’ and therefore must be redeemed through the atoning work of Christ at Calvary,” he wrote. “That redemption only comes about through conversion: not conversion from homosexual tendencies into heterosexual tendencies, but from a life of rebellion to God’s authority into a life of obedience.”

Related: ‘Ex-gay’ grifter Jeffrey McCall admits to sex with multiple men

Jordan Yoshimine, a counselor at Pure Life Ministries, claims to have come out of “a homosexual background,” and in a 2018 post argued that gay men can change if they focus on “becoming holy, becoming like Jesus.”

“Your focus and your gaze has to be on eternity, because it’s going to be tough,” he said. “I had a really close friend who’s not a believer, and she said to me, ‘You’re just suppressing your feelings.’ And I thought about it, and I said, ‘No, I’m not suppressing my feelings; I am denying my flesh — and there’s a big difference.'”

He continued: “Without God, would I go back to homosexuality? Yeah, I would totally be back in that lifestyle. Absolutely. But God has called me out of sin and out of the world and into a relationship with him, and the two can’t co-mingle together.”

Conversion therapy — which can include extreme methods such as electroshock or aversion therapy — has been widely debunked and found to be detrimental to the mental health of LGBTQ people subjected to it.

In 2020, the United Nations urged a global ban on conversion therapy, labeling it “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” and saying it “may amount to torture depending on the circumstances.” In December, more than 370 religious leaders from around the globe called on lawmakers to ban conversion therapy.

Research has found that conversion therapy — which is also known as ex-gay therapy — more than doubles the risk of suicidal ideation among gay and bisexual adults, while transgender people subjected to conversion therapy as children are four times more likely to attempt suicide.

In addition, a number of former “ex-gay” leaders, who touted the efficacy of conversion therapy, have since come out as gay and decried the practice, admitting the harm it can cause to LGBTQ people.

McKrae Game, South Carolina faith-based conversion therapy organization Hope for Wholeness, last year admitted that he was gay and said the ex-gay movement was not only “a lie,” but also “very harmful.”

Last year, the founder of “ex-gay” group Freedom March confessed to having multiple hookups with men during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jeffrey McCall — who claims to have lived as a gay male sex worker, as well as a transgender woman — told his followers that having sex with multiple men had helped make his “relationship with the Lord…even stronger.”

Truth Wins Out, an organization dedicated to fighting anti-gay religious extremism and the ex-gay movement, called McCall a “hypocritical fraud” and demanding that Freedom March “permanently shut down and stop conning people into believing that they can ‘pray away the gay.’”

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