This has nothing to do with Lady Gaga.

The “Christian Counsel for a Confused Culture” conference is underway in Moultrie, Georgia, and teaching participants how to “prevent sexual confusion” and “achieving deliverance from a sexual sin” as part of an anti-gay ministry that espouses people are not born gay, but some are born to be celibate.

The three-day event wraps today at Grace Independent Baptist Church in Moultrie, located about three hours south of Atlanta.

Rev. David Johnny Nixon, co-founder of the Born That Way Ministries and pastor at First Love Baptist Church, said society, especially the church, forces people to choose to be gay, according to a story in the Moultrie Observer.  The headline for the story in this newspaper is ‘Conference to address a confused culture.’

According to Nixon, people are not “born to be gay” but some are “born to be celibate.” “Either you enjoy relations with the opposite sex, or else you are gay,” the Moultrie Observer quotes him as saying.

Let’s take a look at Born That Way Ministries, alive and well in rural Doerun, Georgia, located near Moultrie. Both are within Colquitt County and residents there are voting today in the Republican runoff between Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue.

From the quote unquote ministry’s website: “Many young people have left our churches and wandered off into the gay lifestyle. They abandon their faith or somehow justify their choices by claiming they were born that way. Why would a loving God create them in a way that is contrary to the Scriptures? They are left struggling through the rest of their life, often falling deeper and deeper into a godless lifestyle and further and further away from their faith. Unfortunately, the Christian world has taken two opposite extremes, both which leave the gay individual without honest answers. Some have decided that homosexuality is not a sin and that Christians have the responsibility to accept them in spite of their sin rather than help them escape from their sin.  The other extreme is to deem them hopelessly condemned and to release them into the world with no way back.”

The founders, Rev. David Nixon and his late father-in-law, Rev. Glenn Hamm, quote Matthew 19:12 as proof that people are not born gay, but rather born to be celibate. The scripture states: “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

Just another example of cherry-picking from the Bible to make such an obscure point—but one that definitely can ruin people’s lives.

Their book, “Born That Way After All,” also states, “[Y]ou will see the Biblical fact of men and women who were created different and special. They were not created to be gay, but rather, unique servants of the Lord.”

We in Atlanta enjoy a freedom to be ourselves like nowhere else in the state. But we have to remember there are many LGBT people living in rural places like Moultrie where these kinds of anti-gay groups get positive coverage in the local press. And these people are so isolated. And scared. And hurting.

We cannot leave them behind. We cannot forget they are there.

And to those who are in Moultrie and Doerun and elsewhere throughout rural Georgia and other rural cities, you were born to be who you are and born to love who you love. Don’t let some angry preachers make you feel different. You have many communities who love and accept you for who you are.

13 Responses

  1. Peter

    Some people are truly sick. The damage these people like this do to innocent young gays is immeasurable. I can only hope that if there is a heaven and hell they feel the wrath for the pain and suffering they cause. Shame on them.

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  2. Jeffrey

    Well, I live in Moultrie and my husband and I had our wedding here in town lastyear with about 150 in attendance. So, please know that this does not speak for the entire community. We are very loved here and I believe that the best way to reach people is to show them we are no different. The South has a long way to go, but things don’t change if we don’t work at it.

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    • Steve

      I agree. Rural Georgia can actually be a lot more tolerant than some places inside the city of Atlanta, and definitely more tolerant than a lot of places in the northern suburbs. Congratulations to you and your husband!

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  3. Carrie

    I live in Moultrie; and this “conference” is at an extremely fringe cult church that very few here take seriously. Their odd beliefs do not begin & end with homosexuality.
    I hate that this stuff gets so much sensational press while the fact that we are a culturally diverse, artistic, & accepting small town is not exciting enough to be news.

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  4. Coagec

    As physician and as a gay evangelical Christian who believes in traditional sexual ethics, I believe the existing scientific evidence indicates an interplay of genetic and environmental factors in someone being gay. What is clear is that for the vast majority of gay people, there was no choice in their orientation. But I believe scripture is clear that God intends for sex to be experienced in a lifelong heterosexual marriage. This is a difficult teaching for all, not just gays, but I believe a living relationship with Jesus and deep Christian fellowship can make it possible and worthwhile. I share my own story of finding peace with my orientation in my new blog Confessions of a Gay Evangelical Christian coagec.wordpress.com. I recently posted about the origins of homosexuality in a series called “Born This Way”.

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    • bob

      There’s more lines in the Bible about killing your own kids and/or spouse for disobedience, which animals to eat, and a dozen other topics that absolutely NO ONE follows, than there are concerning homosexuality.

      So please tell me more about how you’re a good Bible following Christian, while ignoring or refusing to admit that you’re just picking and choosing pieces of the Bible to follow like the rest of us.

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    • Cjs

      Feel free to believe in what you want to believe, and if you want to remain celibate, it’s a free country and good luck with that. Just keep your beliefs out of civil law. I don’t “struggle” being attracted to members of the same sex; nor do I believe in some sort of deity that is the same as yours. Nor should I marry some poor woman and have her entangled in a marriage that will more than likely be incredibly unhappy (other peoples’ mileage may vary).

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    • Bruce Garner

      The Biblical “standard” for marriage is not what we try to say is a “lifelong heterosexual marriage.” The Biblical standard is one man and as many women as he could afford. The patriarchs had multiple wives, concubines and other sexual relationships. Even the New Testament, per the Book of Acts, only prohibits polygamy for two groups: deacons and bishops. Yes, celibacy is a calling. Some accept that call as a vocation but there isn’t a requirement for anyone to do so, it is a choice. The passage about eunuchs is as much likely to refer to same-gender relationships as anything else. And it is very important to note that Jesus is clear that some can accept this teaching and some cannot, but He does not condemn those who cannot accept it. It’s ludicrous to think that our loving God would create us with sexual desires and then not allow us to experience them. It is very cruel for the church to have an official teaching that some cannot ever have fulfillment physically except in a certain way. The only acceptable way for generations was with the man on the top and the woman on her back in the so-called “missionary” position. All of this comes out of a very patriarchal society where women were clearly property and anyone who “behaved like a woman” (however inaccurate that might be) was also owned. If you are called to celibacy, that is very well and good, but please do not try and make that a standard for anyone else. Conferences like the one near Moultrie do irreparable damage to many, young people in particular. That is the true sin here: forcing a particular religious belief on others. The church once participated in trying to “change” left handed people into right handed people. The Latin word for left is the root of our word sinister, so wrong was it believed that the left handed person was evil. Children suffered having their left hands tied down so they could not use it. We have come a long way in some areas…..too bad we lag behind in the practice of our faith.

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  5. Kristin

    I am the pastor’s wife of Grace Independent Baptist Church in Moultrie, where Dr. Nixon’s conference was hosted. Someone texted me this link this morning, and I found your article to be very interesting, albeit full of errors.

    The most glaring error would be the Moultrie Observer’s quote of Dr. Nixon that supposedly stated, ““Either you enjoy relations with the opposite sex, or else you are gay.” Unfortunately they omitted the first part of his sentence, which entirely changed the meaning. What he actually said was, “The world tells you that either you enjoy relations with the opposite sex, or else you are gay.” In keeping with the context of his book and message, Dr. Nixon actually believes that there is an alternate choice, and that is to live a celibate lifestyle that is wholly dedicated to serving the Lord.

    We were honored to have eight attendees at the conference who have been struggling in the gay lifestyle and are currently in counseling by Born That Way Ministries, Inc. You see, contrary to what you might think, not everyone immersed in the lifestyle *wants* to be there. There are those who are truly confused, who are truly searching for truth, who were accepted and coerced by a group of people who deceived them into thinking they were something they were not.

    Our ministry does not seek to convert individuals who consider themselves homosexual and actually want to be in the lifestyle. We are here for the hurting and confused who have been deceived and who are looking for a way out, and there are droves of such individuals. We have support groups all over the South that are ministering to these individuals, and if you feel their rights are just as important as yours are, I’m sure that you are as glad as I am that many are being delivered from bondage, confusion, and a desire to commit suicide and end it all. We have had the privilege to counsel many such individuals.

    As to the remark from Carrie about our “cult” church, we have only our local media to thank for that with such articles as the one cited above with deliberate errors, including a similar article entitled “Infant Death as the Result of Church Dogma” where the Moultrie Observer exploited the stillbirth of my own baby who was born at home. Apparently some feel that our right to choose home birth is trumped by their own right to be insensitive jerks. If you are confused about this issue, I recommend the documentary “The Business of Being Born” by Ricki Lake, who happens to be a lesbian. And for the record, all women in our church are not required to give birth at home, nor are we discouraged from going to doctors, contrary to local rumors. Most of our members choose birth in a hospital setting. Carrie, if you have any more questions about that, I believe we are friends on Facebook, so feel free to drop me a PM any time.

    The pastors involved in Born That Way, Inc. are not angry, unloving men at all. They are extremely compassionate and understanding, and the burden for the ministry began with pleas for help from individuals who have been hurt by the LBGT movement.

    I realize there are those of you who *want* to live a gay lifestyle. We are not here to condemn you or change you or even influence you at all. But surely you have had exposure to some of these young people who are battling with sexual confusion? What do you do with that? Do you just try to sway them over to your beliefs because your beliefs are more important than people? Your agenda matters more than people matter?

    To Jeffrey who commented above ~~ are you not the Jeffrey that manages the Colquitt County Arts Center? If so, you have personally spoken with Dr. Nixon and seen firsthand that he is compassionate and has no motive beyond helping people. I look forward to meeting you myself after all the good things Dr. Nixon has told me about you and your partner!

    I realize that most of the errors that you have cited here are through no fault of yours since you were not able to attend the conference and have nothing to go by other than media errors and rumors, but I thought you’d benefit from receiving firsthand information from someone who actually participates in this ministry.

    Blessings,

    Kristin McPherson
    Corporate Secretary, Born that Way Ministries, Inc.
    Pastor’s Wife, Grace Independent Baptist Church

    P.S. Actually, the only remark in this article that literally made me LOL was the one that states that Glenn Hamm is Dr. Nixon’s “late” father-in-law. 😀 I wonder where stuff like this comes from…

    Reply
    • Cjs

      This has to be the most gigantic “bless your heart” I’ve seen in writing. Which all Southerners know what that means … I am the grandson of a minister. I know how church people talk to one another with barely restrained passive aggression, and this is exhibit A.

      Reply
  6. John Rea

    When I first heard of Born that Way ministry, I was very doubtful. Having heard Bro. Nixon first hand and talked to him, my view changed completely.

    Everything that Bro. Nixon taught was taken from the Bible. While the main group of people that are benefiting from Born that Way are those who have been involved in the “LGBT” community, it is not a conversion ministry. It is a ministry to help those that God always intended to stay single.

    If you ever actually listen to Bro. Nixon’s presentation, the only people that are corrected for errors are the preachers that put an unscriptural emphasis on marriage.

    In my opinion, thegavoice.com should do an investigation on this article. Until there is a retraction of this article (way too many mistakes for a simple correction to fix), this publication has no more credibility than “The Enquirer.”

    Reply
  7. Joe Tomlinson

    I have just read over all of these comments. I was raised down south and am very familiar with those who are ‘gay bashers’. I was never part of that group but I never felt comfortable around around gay people. When I first heard of ‘Born that Way Ministries’ I was very skeptical. I gave Johnny Nixon a good listen to and he made absolutely perfect sense. He is not a fraud!! He is not a hater!! He loves the gay community and he deserves a listen. God used him and scripture to change my life forever toward the gay community. I now have an answer that I never had before. I work with along side gay people at my job and this has allowed me to present the gospel in a way I had never considered before.

    I know controversy sells papers but let me encourage all those out there to buy the book and you will find out first hand what he’s all about!! It will be the best $10 or so, you have ever spent.

    Reply
  8. Michael Pearson

    please explain to me where you said on page 57 that little boys have had a desire to be physical with other little boys and all males have had that desire and in the old testament god called them sodomiite ohh what a sick ministry this is and sorry to say I went to lbt under Dr Gray Sr over 20 years many times he called men with long hair fags, and called gays queers, women heifers and slut and homosexuals many names how can he deny this and lie Dr Gray Sr has never admitted he ws wron gin any area

    Reply

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