Peterson Toscano Debates Memphis Pastor on Christian Radio

Jim Burroway

February 26th, 2008

Peterson Toscano went on the Info Radio Network to debate pastor Bill Bellican from Memphis’ Central Church, which hosted the Love Won Out ex-gay conference this weekend. It’s a very long program and difficult to listen to at times. It is definitely not for the faint of heart.

But I love how host Larry Bates suddenly rushed to commercial when Peterson vigorously challenged him on the story of Sodom and Ghomorrah (that’s at about the 20 minute mark). Also, at the 34 minute mark the host went straight to the usual Paul Cameron statistics. At the one hour mark, he very adroitly and compassionately handled the alcoholism analogy. And at the 1:32 mark, Peterson was able to reveal to that audience what the Jones and Yarhouse ex-gay study really found — something that very few ex-gay proponents are willing to acknowledge.

But the worst is at the 1:36 minute mark when the host said, “The reason that a lot of homosexuals are upset with programs like Love Won Out, the ex-gays getting out of the gay lifestyle is, quite frankly, is they’re raiding the meat market, in other words you’re just simply are losing propects, because the average gay man and gay woman has multiple partners and you’re running out of prospects.”

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At times, the program appeared to be two-against one, with the host and pastor on one side against Peterson. And yet Peterson seemed to retain the upper hand through it all. I’m amazed at how well he was able to keep his cool throughout the two hour program. I really don’t think I could have done it.

Josh

February 26th, 2008

I have a lot of respect for Toscano and the tireless work he’s been doing to expose the ex-gay industry that he was marinated in for so many years but I suspect he was able to get through this interview mainly because, on some level, he is still only a degree or two separated from the people with whom he debated.

Bruce Garrett

February 27th, 2008

Josh: No…that’s Peterson. He’s a peaceful, very creative and empathic spirit and he really wants to nudge people away from conflict and into “being peace”.

I was raised in the fundamentalist culture, if not in one that was quite so hateful as Larry Bates. Peterson’s example, and those of the other Survivors I met over the last weekend in Memphis, have been a much needed tonic to my chronic anger at people like Bates. The thing about Peterson and the other survivor’s, is that they really wanted all their lives to be closer to God, and That’s why they went through what they did. Bates and his kind on the other hand, want to be God’s second in command.

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