Stranger At The Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America
Few issues divide our country more dangerously today than does the question of homosexuality and the conflict between the concept of family values and the individual rights of gays and lesbians. Families are divided, careers are ruined, lives are lost - all in the struggle between beliefs founded in tradition and those based on personal freedom. Spearheading the fight against the increasingly vocal homosexual community are the leaders of the so-called "religious right," men and women who denounce gays and lesbians from their pulpits and encourage their followers to enact laws against them. Perhaps no one is better qualified to write about these issues and the conflicts they engender than Mel White. He was born into a conservative Christian home and educated in conservative Christian schools and churches. He met his wife there, and together they raised their children to believe in God and to follow a Christian lifestyle. He worked within the church as a filmmaker and writer, and eventually became a ghostwriter of books, autobiographies, and speeches for such noted figures in the religious right as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham. But all that time Mel White had a secret. He was gay. In this remarkable book, Mel White looks at his own life in the church and details the struggles he went through to deny and overcome his own natural sexual desires. And in ways sure to anger many of the people he used to know best, he provides a firsthand look at the teachings and workings of the religious right today, showing how they use their power first to politicize their followers and then, using these politics, to spearhead fund-raising efforts. Most specifically, he examines the methods they use to create a campaign of hate and fear against homosexuals. It is a deeply personal story of torment and triumph, as well as a frightening examination of the anti-homosexual tactics of the religious right and a prophetic look at where they might lead our nation. Both aut
White, a former ghostwriter for such prominent Christian conservatives as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Oliver North, details in this melodramatic, sentimental but absorbing autobiography his own troubling, yet ultimately empowering acknowledgement of his homosexuality. White's account of his futile attempts to deny or ``cure'' his desires--through life as a husband and father, through prayer and self-denial, even through shock therapy--is affecting if overdrawn; more interesting is his success in finally reconciling his faith with his sexuality. Such a reconciliation rested in part upon White's recognition that only through distorting the Bible can one find prohibitions against homosexuality there. That White himself, while still closeted and struggling, worked for those most responsible for perpetuating such disinformation is one of the more pungent ironies in the book; it is startling to read that Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell's agitprop denunciation of ``perverts'' purportedly overrode his nobler impulses towards tolerance and compassion. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Apr.)
Author : Mel White
Publisher : Plume
Published Year : 1995
Edition : Reprint
Format : Paperback, 347 pages
Dimensions : 6.05 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.82 (d)
ISBN : 0452273811
ISBN13 : 9780452273818
Until Christmans Eve 1991, Mel White was regarded by the leaders of the religious right as one of their most talented and productive supporters. He penned the speeches of Ollie North. He was a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, worked with Jim Bakker, flew in Pat Robertson's private jet, walked sandy beaches with Billy Graham. What these men didn't know was that Mel White—evangelical minister, committed Christian, family man—was gay.
In this remarkable book, Mel White details his twenty-five years of being counseled, exorcised, electric-shocked, prayed for, and nearly driven to suicide because his church said homosexuality was wrong. But his salvation—to be openly gay and Christian—is more than a unique coming-out story. It is a chilling exposé that goes right into the secret meetings and hidden agendas of the religious right. Told by an eyewitness and sure to anger those Mel White once knew best, Stranger at the Gate is a warning about where the politics of hate may lead America a brave book by a good man whose words can make us richer in spirit and much wiser too.