A conversion story

Here is a sad, sad story: it’s the tale of Michael Glatze. He was a gay man, a gay activist, someone who supported and helped gay kids. Now he’s straight and crusades for gay conversion therapies. How, you might wonder, did that happen? You won’t be surprised to learn that it was that potent combination of fear and the Bible.

Michael didn’t begin to question his life path, he told me, until a health scare in 2004 that led to what he calls his “spiritual awakening.” That year, when Michael was 29, he experienced a series of heart palpitations and became convinced that he suffered from the same congenital heart defect that killed his father when Michael was 13. (Michael lost both his parents young; his mother died of breast cancer when he was 19.) After tests eventually ruled out his father’s illness, Michael felt that he had escaped death and found himself staring “into the face of God.” In a published interview with Joseph Nicolosi, a leader in the controversial field of reparative therapy, which seeks to help people overcome unwanted homosexual attractions, Michael said that he became “born again” in that moment and that “every concept that my mind had ever entertained — my whole existence — was completely re-evaluated.”

Along with this conversion came the adoption of a whole host of weird political shifts, too — he’s now a fan of Ann Coulter (which raises the question: was he always this stupid, or did he suffer brain damage when he was born again? The article doesn’t say).

The explanation for his conversion is revealing, though. When I gave up on church, it was entirely because I found no rational defense of the nonsense I was expected to believe in order to be a member; converting to Christianity is all about an emotional response, fear in particular.