A group of far-right conservative pastors from churches around Central Florida are organizing a conference they’re calling Make America Straight Again, coinciding both with LGBTQ+ Pride month, as well as the same week as the three-year anniversary of the brutal mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
“We’ve chosen this place and time because this is their gay Pride week in Orlando, and they’re going to be out and proud of who they are and daring someone to say something, and we’re going to go ahead and take them them up on it,” Pastor Patrick Boyle of the Revival Baptist Church, said in a 4-minute announcement video for the conference as he clutched a Bible. “We’re going to be giving them our view — or rather, God’s view — on it.” (While it is Pride month in the United States, Orlando’s official Pride week is celebrated in October).
His introduction was followed by other pastors preaching emphatically against LGBTQ+ people.
One of the pastors affiliated with the conference is Steven Anderson, an Arizona pastor who has been barred from entering 31 countries (Canada, South Africa, the UK, Botswana, the Netherlands, and the Schengen Area, 26 European countries that do not require a passport to travel between them) because of his anti-LGBTQ+ doctrine, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He’s previously said all gay people should be executed, and he celebrated the Pulse nightclub massacre. He is also a Holocaust denier and openly prayed for the death of former President Barack Obama.
A group of atheist YouTubers who describe themselves as valuing “debate and free speech as well as protecting those who have been marginalized against those who would do them harm” are organizing against the conference. According to Pink News, Boyle told Spectrum News that he expects counter protests at his event, which begins June 14, but has not released the event’s location.
"They are beyond reach, the Sodomites," Boyle said. "We are not trying to reach them. We are trying to warn society that if we embrace that, you are going to lose your children ... The schools are telling them it's an alternative lifestyle choice."