We had a laugh at the expense of James David Manning, the “sodomite semen” minister, for not grasping the concept of satire. Yet it’s not completely clear if we’re being had when it comes to Andrew Caldwell, the 21-year-old “I’m not gay no more” Internet sensation.
For the skeptic, there are plenty of clues to suggest that Caldwell is out for a laugh, a buck, or both. His Facebook page positions him as a “New york best seller,” while his published works have received little attention on their Amazon.com pages and his name hasn’t been noticed above John Grisham’s on any prominent lists lately. He was reportedly arrested earlier this year on charges of insurance fraud, and a radio host who spoke with him this month said he's concluded that Caldwell is a con artist.
And would someone serious about a supposed deliverance from homosexuality really green-light an “I’m Not Gay No More” remix to be sold on iTunes? That song led a “church honcho” to threaten legal action, according to TMZ — but on Caldwell’s Facebook page is the claim that this is untrue. Either way, his denomination, the Church of God in Christ, seems embarrassed or annoyed at the attention and released a statement saying that the video “does not, in any capacity, speak to all of the remarkable things that transpired during this great church convention,” held this month in St. Louis, Caldwell’s hometown. The statement ends with the terse note that “the Church of God in Christ will have no further comment on this matter.”
On Caldwell’s Facebook page, where he has been sharing an array of news reports about his video, this statement was posted last Thursday:
BREAKING NEWS* Andrew Caldwell would like to express that the viral video of his deliverance experience is not a hoax or scam. Andrew would also like to express that he already had books for sale prior to this event at the COGIC convocation. The “I’m Not Gay No More (REMIX)” was not staged or thought of in advance. The producer of the song, Andre Forbes, composed this remix and reached out to Andrew for permission to make a full song and distribute. Andrew is simply trying to make the most of a negatively publicized situation. His intentions are not to offend anyone, but rather to share his personal experience with others.
Caldwell, accompanied by his lawyer, also did a radio interview with Black America Web last week; the audio is posted on the site. Caldwell’s attorney said that Caldwell had “been coming to the altar and asking God for a help for about a year now.”
Caldwell said he had a lawyer because of threats and how people treated him online. He did not describe in detail any threats of bodily harm but expressed discomfort with the people who recognized him on the street and say that gay people cannot change their sexuality. Caldwell said that he would not “go into judging” others but that he believes gay people can change.
If Caldwell truly is pranking the Internet, perhaps it should be noted that the Web scored one back with a satirical story about Caldwell getting busted for picking up a male prostitute. Caldwell shared a link to that story on Facebook with the note, “Please this is not true what does the lord said about others lies on you.”