The lengths religious fundamentalists will go to “combat” homosexuality never cease to amaze me. I wrote about a case last year in which a pastor received a reduced sentence for raping boys. His reason for his actions was that he “believed that he could rape away the gay by ‘praying while he had sexual contact’ with the boys, all in an effort to keep them ‘sexually pure’ for God” and that “when they would ejaculate, they would be getting rid of the evil thoughts in their mind.”
A gay Mississippi man says a male teacher at the Baptist school he attended in the 1990s raped him each week for three years as a way to force him to change his sexual orientation.
Jeff White told the Washington Blade during a July 14 interview at a restaurant near his home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast the teacher at Bethel Baptist School in Walls, Miss., who he identified as Steven Barnes, scheduled an “appointment” with him each Wednesday in his classroom or the office where he forced him to have oral and anal sex. […] “He would rape me because I was gay and because it would make me hate men and make me change,” said White.
It gets worse. White’s parents sent him to the school after he told them about his sexual orientation. It would appear this was an effort on his parents part to get their son to “pray away the gay.” Rather than being prayed for, White was preyed on.
It also appears that the school held a biased view towards other Christian sects:
“They [the church’s pastors] looked at Southern Baptists like they were liberal faggots, like they would say from the pulpit,” he said. […] The church’s website includes a section titled “God’s way to heaven” with a number of statements that include “agree that your sin must be paid for with death and hell” and “turn from your sin and trust Christ as your saviour.”
“In general it was a cult,” White told the Blade. “Aside from all of that other stuff going on, there was a thousand other things that they were doing.”
The school officials deny the allegations, which one woman describing them as “the biggest lie there ever was.”
What is not lie is that this sort of abuse is hardly uncommon. While every gay child who goes through one of these programs is not sexually abused, they are certainly psychologically abused. They are taught to hate themselves, hate their sexuality, and to deny their feelings.
This teacher simply did physically what the other teachers do mentally. In White’s case, he fought through the trauma of the abuse, but others are not so lucky. What the teacher did is an effective means of preventing someone from engaging in similar sexual behavior. If one makes sex something a person fears, that person will avoid it.
Of course, there is an inherent flaw in this tactic: one cannot control the outcome. If the teacher did intend on fulfilling his own sexual desires while trying to reconcile it with his religious beliefs, he forgot to factor in the possibility that White would so dislike sex in general that he would not want to do it all with anyone. What is the point of “raping away the gay” if White would not want to have sex with women either?
I do not buy the “rape away the gay” argument. I think this teacher simply used it as an excuse to rape White. What is truly disgusting is that the school made that possible. The antagonistic situation they created made it easy for someone like this teacher to come in and abuse a child. The dynamic of silence and shame are already in place. One could do anything to these kids and expect to get away with it. Who are they going to tell? Who would believe them? In a place where homosexuality is considered a mortal sin, what is the likelihood that a kid who wants out would lie about being abused by a teacher? One could not ask for a more perfect situation for abuse. One can write off any allegation as a child’s homosexual fantasy.
Police are investigating the case. It remains to be seen if the teacher will be arrested and charged with a crime.