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Monday, November 5, 2012

Pray the Gay Away

Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays by Bernadette Barton drew me in with it's promise of an ethnographic study of gays in the Bible Belt. I was sold and ravished this book so quickly in just a matter of days.

Barton is a professor at a university in Kentucky, and she lives with her partner in the same town. One afternoon she was told on her very own lawn that she is an abomination, and this, among other instances of intrigue, prompted her to do research on what life is like for gays and lesbians living in a region where religion has such a stronghold on every day life. What she found was not surprising but not entirely expected, ether. So much of the hatred and violence came from the victim's very own families.

This was a great read that was interesting and flowed well. The most intriguing of chapters for me was the one looking into the ex-gay faction: a huge industry that believes they can "pray the gay away" from people. With only hard prayer and deep focus, you too can look toward your faith in order to rid yourself of feelings of attraction toward the same sex. There is even a huge annual conference supporting this very notion (where, it is to be said, so many participants just end up sleeping together--no surprise there).

I was also fascinated with the chapter on Barton's class trip to the Creation Museum. It was one part fascinating and two parts horrifying. You have to read it for yourself to properly understand, but once you do I promise you will never forget it.

If you are at all interested in this topic, pick up this book. You will be grateful for your time with it and you will leave with answers to questions you didn't know even existed.

1 comment:

  1. Seems like a very interesting book. I'm going to have to read it! You should watch the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So." Same topic, very interesting.