For a time after its founder D. James Kennedy recently passed away, there was hope that Fort Lauderdale-based Coral Ridge Ministries would go in a new direction.
For decades, the church had been a rabidly anti-gay organization that had employed attack dogs, such as the notorious Janet Folger. The church spearheaded the 1998 “Truth in Love” ex-gay campaign. (It ended badly after two of the campaign’s stars were caught having gay relations) But since Kennedy’s departure, Coral Ridge had been relatively quiet on divisive social issues.
Unfortunately, it seems their new pastor, Rev. Tullian Tchividjian, wants to reignite the culture wars. His General in this fight is Robert Knight, a veteran in these battles. Knight had recently been laid off from the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute. He had also worked for Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council.
Already one can see Knight’s deleterious influence on Coral Ridge. The website’s homepage is packed with shameless lies about hate crime legislation and it also promotes theocracy in America. (This brings us back to Kennedy’s dishonest days when the pastor even flirted with Reconstructionsism – a brand of Christian fanaticism that calls for homosexuals to be stoned to death.)
Knight is best known for his paranoid – if not delusional – rantings about the gay movement’s secret desire to stamp out the free speech of radical Christians. He is one of the right’s most nefarious propagandists and is severely truth challenged. Knight is also known for his sexual immaturity and penchant to make crude anti-gay wisecracks. At one event I attended, he joked about chubby lesbians in beer halls. Knight is also obsessed with gay sex and is closest in tone to Peter Labarbera. The two men worked together in the late 90’s at the Family Research Council and were like bosom buddies.
It seems that preaching the Bible was not enough to sustain the congregation – so Coral Ridge has returned to anti-gay bile. On the sun-drenched shores of Fort Lauderdale, Coral Ridge Ministries is still in the spiritual darkness.