Watching intently as Larry King interviewed guest after guest on his program the night Jerry Falwell died no man’s words intrigued me more than those of the Rev. Dr. Mel White, the man once hired by Jerry Falwell to write his autobiography. After working with Dr. Falwell on his autobiography Mr. White announced to his family that he was gay. He soon left his wife for his male lover. He had “come out.” He now leads a pro-homosexual, anti-evangelical activist group of college kids who purport to be both Christian and homosexual, two things the word of God clearly says are incompatible (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Two days after his appearance on Larry King Live I had a conversation with Mel White on my radio program in Detroit. I asked him, given his personal relationship with Dr. Falwell, if it was fair of him to characterize Dr. Falwell as the face of homophobia less than ten hours after he had died, to which he replied:
When I say Jerry Falwell was the face of homophobia there’s no doubt in my mind that the things he said about gay people are totally untrue. And because he had such a large following he was probably the most important person we had in terms of misinformation… Jerry loved to caricature and create straw men because that’s the way people got afraid. Jerry used fear a lot to mobilize volunteers and to raise money and do those things, but you must remember I’m saying he was sincere in all of that.
Mel blames Dr. Falwell’s message in part for his own lifelong battle to overcome same-sex attraction. He told me:
I went through 35 years of electric shock, and aversive therapy and exorcism trying to get rid of the demon of homosexuality. I finally slit my wrists and went to the hospital, and my wife said, “You know, Mel, you’re a good person, but you’re gay and you need to accept that.” And in accepting that I began a new kind of life; my whole life changed, and I became a person who loved Christ in a whole new way, I felt His Holy Spirit working in a whole new way.
Mel has it both wrong and right. He is right that the struggle to overcome patterns of sinful behavior can drive a person to the point of suicide. The Apostle Paul recounted the same struggle with his own pattern of sinful behavior in Romans 7:15-25, pushing him to the end of himself: “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death!” That’s Mel White’s story, it’s my story—and it’s your story. All of us have patterns of sinful behavior which must be overcome. Struggling to overcome sin in your own power will ultimately force you to slit your wrists.