I'm not going to laugh at Rev. James David Manning. But I can understand the impulse – Manning is after all the pastor of Harlem's ATLAH Missionary Church, who this weekend posted a YouTube video entitled "Don't Let Your Son Cut Off His Penis." It's about Justin Bieber. And Obama. And demons.
Explaining that he and his followers are neither "lunatics" nor "haters," he explained, "We’re talking about young girls, 6 to 10 years of age. They can be led or influenced to cut off their breasts once they get into puberty. They can be led to have operations — like Justin Bieber — they can think that the best choice for their life is to cut off their breasts. And then by the time they reach the age of 20 years old, they say, 'I wish I had never cut off my breasts, I wish I had never mutilated my flesh, I wish I had never cut off my penis, I wish I had never done that, I was just young. And the people in the church or the people in the media said or gave the impression that I had a right to choose any kind of sexual orientation that I wanted to choose, and so I cut off my penis or I cut off my breasts." He went on to vow, "I will chase every sodomite, I will chase every lesbo, I will chase every political leader with the power of God, with the chariots of fire, that these children be not misled by people in congregations and people in business or in politics like Obama that are influencing these children to throw their lives away the way Justin Bieber threw his life away… People need to wake the hell up and see what’s going on in our world! They need to understand just how diabolical this devil and evil spirit is." Manning has in the past attracted some attention for putting up signs saying that "Jesus would stone homos" and "Stoning is the law."
I've got to say, I live in the same New York City that Rev. Manning does, and I am entirely unaware of a trend of girls my daughter's age cutting off their breasts -- and not just because they don't have them. If this is a thing that's sweeping the schoolyards, I can't believe the Post hasn't picked up on it yet. And the business about Justin Bieber? Can't figure out if he's saying Bieber is a transman or transwoman, but definitely get that the president is involved. But Rev. Manning seems to have all sorts of inside information, mostly regarding the nefarious homosexual-demon agenda, the rest of us are not privy to. Last week, in a conversation with Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks, he reasserted his belief that Starbucks is putting "semen of the sodomites" in their coffee, explaining, "It flavors up the coffee and it makes you think you're having a good time." He went on to elaborate, "In an ingenious way, they've discovered that since people like semen and there's so many people drinking it from one another, why not put it in our coffee?" And when pressed about his fixation on what he calls the gay "lifestyle," and whether he'd been "tempted" by it, he unhesitatingly replied, "Absolutely. No doubt about it." He recalled his three years in prison in the late seventies, and said he was "tempted but didn't yield" during the time.
And that is what makes this person so incredibly sad. Here's a 67 year-old man who can acknowledge that he's had same-sex attraction in his life, but is so warped by his own terror that he's made a career of calling for gay people to be killed. A guy with a fascination with the flavor of semen and the fantasy of accidentally consuming it. A man who speaks of protecting children from "known sodomites," whom he warns "are demons." How does a person get to such a point in his mind? What happened to him along the road to make him so fearful, so full of rage?
People who spew nonsense about demon gays and semen infused lattes and how homosexuals really ought to be stoned to death are not funny. They are a real problem. They can't just laughed off, no matter how bizarre the things they say are. They are hurting people with their words and their message and the fact that they have any platform at all is just painful. But they also can't be laughed off because you don't get to that place in your mind without a lot of profound problems. A man like that doesn't just spring out of nowhere. And it's not a joke. It's a tragedy.