Why did I have to be such an ethical person? I’d make a pretty darn good professional member of the religious right. I’ve got such a perfect story to sell a ton of books and make it for years on the fundy speaking circuit too.
I mean, grew up in conservative homeschool family, did the Operation Rescue thing in my teens (even performed and spoke at several national events), even did the conservative Christian college thing. Then I “backslid” into sin and depravity by coming out about my “same-sex attractions,” became a rainbow flag waving/parade marching gay rights activist, took up liberal political causes, identify as a feminist, all I need to do is pretend that I was an atheist for a while and I’ve got the perfect matched set of depravity and apostasy that any good religious right audience would eat up.
I just need to invent the perfect Damascus Road moment that shows me being convicted of my sinfulness (is “seeing a Bible verse on twitter while in a gay bar” a sufficiently cliche story?), go find a Christian counselor for a few months of praying away the gay so I can add tearful talk about my “struggles” to the story, and then go find a closeted fundy guy to marry me (the closeted fundy part is important, that way we can put on the impression of a model family without actually having to sleep with him) so we can adopt the box set of foreign orphans that we will homeschool, and I’ll be rich!
That is the formula, right? Exaggerate your past so that you can sell the redemption story and be welcomed into the fold with open arms and wallets. The darker a picture you can paint of your depravity, the more people will eat up your ultimate redemption story. If not for my aversion to drug use, I’d be sure to snort lines off of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” just so I could tell the story tearfully as my rock bottom point.
Yes, I am being highly sarcastic here, that’s what speculating about Doug Phillips inevitable redemption narrative does to me. Just a reminder that there’s a formula for this kind of thing and the farther someone falls, the better the second act. I’d never spin my story to rake in the dough from religious right audiences, but there are plenty of people out there getting rich off of just the sort of narrative I just got done laying out. Throw in a bit about your gay past and it’ll get you even farther *cough*Rosaria Butterfield*cough*.
Next time you see someone coming around with a dramatic redemption narrative and their hands out selling books, stop and consider whether it’s real or merely someone less ethical than I spinning their past for maximum impact because it’s a good way to get rich.