National Anti-Gay Movement Based in Fort Lauderdale
    AN EXPRESS INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
    By Norm Kent

As gays and lesbians quietly bronze their bodies in the afternoon sun on Fort Lauderdale’s beaches, local leaders of the religious right are in offices only a mile away, on Federal Highway, waging a national media campaign attacking homosexuals, same-sex marriages, gay rights, and life partners. 

Calling gay Americans everything from pedophiles to Nazis, the national leaders of the anti-gay movement base their offensives against homosexuality in Fort Lauderdale and South Florida. The main group is the recently renamed ‘Center for Reclaiming America,” They claim their objective is to convey a  “Biblical message of love.”

“They may call it love,” says prominent gay businessman and Catalog X retail outlet owner Mark Possien, “but it is a pretext for hate.”  The published comments by leaders of the Center would seem to bear him out.

The Folger Factor

Janet Folger is the National Director of the Center, which is an outreach of Coral Ridge Ministries, located on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale.  Prior to her tenure at the Center for Reclaiming America, Janet was a pro-life lobbyist, and the Legislative Director of the Ohio Right to Life Society.

Since moving to Fort Lauderdale, Ms. Folger has been the director for an annual spring conference entitled “Reclaiming America for Christ.”  It features an all-star parade of religious zealots opposed to the social acceptance of homosexuality.  Besides the conference, Folger is responsible for orchestrating the controversial ex-gay campaign, a ministry for conversion of homosexuals. She has also spoken angrily against tolerance and understanding of gays in public schools. 

An accomplished and sought-after speaker, Janet has appeared on numerous national talk shows and been featured in People magazine. She holds a Master’s degree from Cleveland State University where she graduated with honors. Her 60 second radio commentary is broadcast on over 100 stations in America

“Our main goal at the Center is to inform and empower Christians to take a stand and be counted. We have to stand up to the homosexual agenda.” says Folger, on her website. 

“Her efforts have led to a series of national slanders and libels against all homosexuals,” declared Tony Ramos, the President of GUARD.  It was Ramos who led the most recent demonstrations against the Coral Ridge Church that brought out hundreds of gay and lesbian protestors.  He declared that the Church was simply “continuing to use gays and lesbians as a cash cow” to raise money.

Dr. Kennedy disagrees.  He called  Janet Folger  ‘a committed and zealous Christian determined to maintain the Christian values which made this nation great.’ He hired her.

Gay Bashing Comments

Meanwhile, The Express has uncovered a series of startling remarks made by the unmarried Ms. Folger, Dr. Kennedy, and other Christian leaders in the past few years. Often, these statements are made from South Florida venues.

Folger, for one,  insists homosexuals are unnatural.  Last June, she argued that “if you don’t think homosexuals have an agenda for
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your child’s school, think again.”  She then proceeded to say that homosexuality should still be a mental illness, and the only reason it was reclassified, in 1973, by the American Psychiatry Association was due to a “militant protest staged by activists and ACT-UP. “Intimidation was a key motivation.”  But ACT-UP, an AIDS organization, did not even exist at the time.

Additionally, last year, when PBS introduced a sophisticated documentary aimed at teaching tolerance and understanding to schoolchildren, Folger declared that it was “lesbian propaganda designed to use manipulation and indoctrination to suggest homosexuality is good.” 

With Dr. Kennedy’s backing, Folger initiated last year’s national media advertising campaign designed to encourage gays to  repent their “sins” and convert back to Christianity. 

The “Worthy Creations”  group now holds its sparsely attended regular meetings in West Palm Beach at the Lighthouse Christian Center, in Fort Lauderdale at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and in South Beach on Lincoln Road.

“What is she talking about?” says Human Rights Campaign spokesman Wayne Besen. “The ex-gay movement has had more defections than the Cuban national baseball team. For every ex-gay, there are ten that it did not work for.  They keep no stats because their failure rate is staggering.” 

These organizations, Besen says, “selectively cite the Bible as proof that homosexuality is a sin, and attempt to change individual sexual orientation largely through prayer, meditation and programs that in some cases, are patterned on the 12-step programs. They have all the earmarks of a cult.” 

Besen also noted that these groups are causing conflicts even within Christian communities, and have been plagued over time by their leaders  “backsliding” into homosexuality.

Said Doctor Jeffrey Ford, a licensed Psychologist who has battled the ex-gay ministries: “No scientific basis exists for the reparative therapy to cure homosexuals. It is drivel, nonsense, and does not hold up under any examination.”

Still, Dr. D. James Kennedy is the most listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world today. His broadcast messages are televised from the 9,500-member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, to 35,000 cities and towns across the United States. Meanwhile, in speech after speech he claims that the “homosexual lobby is trying to ‘silence him’.  “That’s ridiculous,” commented  Besen: “he’s the one with forums all over the country.”

Gay Disney

Last summer, Dr. Kennedy decried the Gay Days at Disney in Orlando:  “Parents were forced to shield their children’s eyes and give hurried explanations as to why these people were behaving as they were.”

He was then joined by Reverend Pat Robertson, who declared: “I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I’d be waving those gay flags in God’s face if I were you. Allowing homosexuals at Disney.a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.” 

This month Broward County celebrates its oneyear anniversary of a domestic partnership ordinance.  GUARD President Tony Ramos and his partner Chris Neill were one of the first to register; Scoffing at Robertson, Ramos added that “We are a perfectly happy couple, and we are going to continue to live decent and respectable lives. We haven’t seen any meteors lately.”

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