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WATCH: Homosexuality Is 'Lethal Attack' on Family, Says Minister

WATCH: Homosexuality Is 'Lethal Attack' on Family, Says Minister


Moreover, says this Tennessee pastor, gay is not your identity -- and God can 'heal' you.

Not poverty, not war, not domestic violence, but homosexuality is the greatest threat facing families today, says a Tennessee megachurch minister in a sermon that's getting a lot of attention around the Internet.

"It's the most lethal attack we have today against the family," says Robby Gallaty, pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, in his sermon delivered last weekend. Video of it is posted on the church website and has been widely shared.

Gallaty contends, though, that Christian churches should welcome LGBT people and help them repent of their sin. God may not take away same-sex attractions, he says, but can help people resist them. He said he told a church member who was gay, "You may have to remain single for the rest of your life. The cool thing is this: God, over time, will heal you." The pastor claims that he was healed of the "desire I had to get high and score dope years ago."

Gallaty also claims that opposition to homosexuality is not the same as racism: "A black man can't change his race, a white man can't change his race, a homosexual can stop engaging in homosexual acts. See, sexuality is a choice. Gender and race are not." As a matter of fact, he appears not to believe there is such a thing as LGBT identity, saying, "You're not a homosexual, listen to me! You're not gay! You're not a lesbian! You're a child of God!"

He peppers the nearly hour-long sermon with Bible verses (including one that prescribes death as a punishment for homosexuality, though he doesn't go so far as to say the civil authorities should carry this out) and questionable historical and scientific references.

Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, responded to the sermon with a letter to Chattanooga news website

"I don't expect Pastor Gallaty to alter his views anytime soon," Sanders writes. "Maybe he never will. But what I get from him and those who are digging in with culture war rhetoric is that they don't believe they share any values with LGBT people or share any civic or religious space with them unless and until they cease to be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. This all-or-nothing approach doesn't cause LGBT people to change, but it does harm them."

Sanders points to bullying of LGBT youth and the high rates of suicide and homelessness among this population, and he also notes the video that went viral recently of a family's violent reaction to a young man's coming-out. "I wish the conversation we could have is what sort of pastoral care should be available to help families and communities approach coming out stories calmly and lovingly, regardless of anyone's views about the eternal destiny of LGBT people's souls," he writes.

Video of Gallaty's sermon is available below.

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