Poison in a Pretty Package. Kathy Baldock Reviews “Gay Awareness” by Landon Schott

Gay Awareness: Discovering the Heart of the Father and the Mind of Christ on Sexuality
by Landon Schott
Famous Publishing (March 21, 2016)
312 pages

Texas-based, travelling evangelist Landon Schott is certainly not unique in his strongly anti-gay theological and ideological beliefs. His lack of academic integrity and immature reasoning skills alone should render him inconsequential in the conversation about faith as it intersects sexual orientation. Yet he can’t be dismissed because his target market is teens and young adults, in particular, the most vulnerable of them, gay youth.

Schott’s new book, Gay Awareness: Discovering the Heart of God and the Mind of Christ on Sexuality, “ . . . is primarily for the individual who struggles with same-sex attraction, but truly loves God with all his or her heart… [T]his book is for the Christ-follower who desires to know what the Bible truly says about homosexuality” (p. 17). Schott adds, “I want you [the reader] to feel respected and safe” (p. 18). While I do trust Schott believes his motives will match outcome, tragically, he seems appallingly unaware of the consequences of his message.

In 240 pages, Schott weaves together immature reasoning skills, low level academic integrity, sloppy scriptural interpretations, and ignorance of human sexuality, then cements it all together with his “revelations” from God.

Demons, demons, demons …

As a foundational flaw, Schott clearly has little understanding about sexual orientation. He ignores what all professional medical and mental health organizations in America assert: Sexual orientation naturally exists along a spectrum from heterosexuality to homosexuality.

Lacking understanding of human sexuality, Schott falls victim to his own ignorance, and literally demonizes people with a homosexual orientation. This has been a recurring pattern throughout history; what people do not understand, they frequently attribute to the work of demons.

While Gay Awareness is filled with red flags, none are as dangerous as the message he gives in Chapter 16 “The Revelation of Deliverance.”

Schott attempts to build a case that gay people, and those who advocate for them, are themselves deceived or possessed by demons. He says, “These gay-affirming teachers won’t mention the demonic because they are influenced by demons” (p. 112).

While Schott may not have been around many gay-affirming pentecostal churches, he has been in community with gay Christians of distinctly pentecostal leanings. He selectively omits facts about those encounters, thereby painting himself as the heroic protagonist of those encounters in sole possession of revelation from God.

Schott writes, “Not one of the gay-affirming faith teachers ever mention Satan (the devil), demons, or the demonic. Not one time did they mention any of this! This is not a coincidence or accident. It is purposeful and strategically orchestrated by Satan himself” (p. 111). I have been in plenty of gay pentecostal environments, and I assure you, Schott is wrong and conveniently leaving out details of stories of people, places and events I know he has witnessed.

Schott’s assumptions continue without bound — homosexuality is demonic: gays ignore the demonic and/or are under the influence of Satan, ergo, they are powerless to battle the demons causing homosexuality.

No fear though. Schott to the rescue. He may not get that demon of homosexuality out on the first try, but if you’ll keep coming back to his never-ending enterprise of homosexual demon exorcisms, it is possible. Recalling this book is directed specifically at gay youth, Schott writes:

“There is not just one spirit of homosexuality, SSA, immorality, perversion, and more. No person knows how many. But we can give a biblical guess the there are tens of thousands, possibly millions. There are a lot. So when you have the similar temptations or feeling, the devil immediately says, ‘See, you’re not really delivered. You’re still gay. You’ll always be gay.’ The truth is, you were delivered. You defeated that demonic spirit and temptation. . . . There isn’t just one spirit of same-sex temptation or of lust. There are many. The devil wants you to be discouraged by your feelings of temptation when you should be encouraged. God delivered you from the previous temptation. He will deliver you from the next temptation.” (p. 199)

Imagine the extreme crushing hopelessness Schott’s message gives a young gay person completely taken in by this hip, charismatic young preacher. Scientific and medical ignorance form the basis of a deadly poison he concocts and serves up to gay youth. But it sure is quite a good business model. Schott tells gay kids, “Those same-sex attractions you feel are not really you, that’s demons, and they may, or may not go away on the first try. So keep coming back and I will pray them out for you.” Tens of thousands of times even.

Schott didn’t do his homework

Schott imagines himself as brave and forward thinking in writing his book. He wrote it because the church “has not addressed homosexuality” (p. 19). Where has he been? The church has been focused on homosexuality since the late 1970s, well before Schott was born.

This may seem a new and brave conversation to young Landon, who recalls back in 2008, when “gay rights and gay marriage weren’t mainstream yet” (p. 15). Perhaps gay marriage was not on his 19-year-old-heterosexual mind, but the struggle for marriage equality had already been forty years old. There are plenty of books, and in fact, a glut of them in the past three years, on homosexuality from a traditional Christian point of view.

Schott is consistent in his sloppy and immature reasoning skills. One would presume that telling a young person he or she is controlled by demons might be built upon a strong scriptural foundation. One would be disappointed. Schott writes, “This [his book] is not a scholarly work that will compare first century translations and arguments in the original language (though I will recommend books by brilliant, God-fearing men that deal with homosexuality from a scholarly approach.) This book is the heart of the Father and the mind of Christ as found in God’s Word” (p. 18).

So confident in his conclusions, Schott thought about calling the book “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, but didn’t want to sound presumptuous” (p. 19). Instead, he tells us the heart of God and mind of Jesus on homosexuality without the benefit of understanding the context of same-sex behavior passages, original language translations, or the historical ancient structures of male and female social and sexual roles.

Not everyone agrees with Schott’s reading of “clear narrative” (p. 57). He has noticed that people in relationship with gay people “begin to reject clear biblical understanding and embrace false teaching” (p.221). Well, that is one way to utterly dismiss people who choose to study for themselves.

Unsurprisingly, people are motivated by relationships and opt to reexamine Scriptures written in the context of and to ancient cultures. Reexamination could lead to wrong conclusions, Schott warns, “ … it’s never sound to use secular historical writings and commentaries by worldly philosophers to interpret Scripture. That strategy leads to heresy and false doctrine” (p. 62).

Think back to any Bible study you’ve ever done. Did any of those studies call for participants to ignore historical context or cultural background? Both are the keys to good Bible study, yet when it comes to homosexuality, we should ignore context.

Schott reaches back to the debunked pre-1970s theories in speculation of the “causes” of homosexuality. He writes, “I have not met one individual who self-describes as gay or struggling with SSA who hasn’t been sexually abused or had an absent/distant/strained/abusive relationship with his or her father. This cannot be ignored” (p. 173). As is often true of Schott’s work, a bit of unbiased research would dispel his unsupported assumptions. Instead, to anchor his narrative, Schott includes select stories of nine alienated, abandoned, sexually abused people whose life history supports rehashed old junk from a half century ago. He conveniently ignores the testimony of gay people from attached, supportive loving families. His oversights are insulting.

Further, Schott consistently dehumanizes those with homosexual orientations. For them, relationships are about sex. “Gay-affirming Christians describe the climax of love as sex.” (p. 106) There is no way, he says, that those who are gay and in relationships can identify as Christian. In fact, “The ‘gay Christian’ lifestyle aligns better with the Church of Satan’ teachings that biblical teachings of Christianity” (p.116). Schott then uses 7 of his lonely 18 endnotes to “prove” this point by citing passages from the Satanic Bible.

Is anyone else screaming yet?

So gays are demon possessed, care about sex far more than love, and come from families of abuse and alienation. All this written by a man who tells us over and over and at the start of every interview, that he loves gay people and hopes they “feel respected and safe” while reading his book.

And there is more …

Schott is not only a poor researcher of facts and an inaccurate teller of events, he merges his twistings of information with revelation about homosexuality that he “hears” from “God.” While I do believe God is without error, noticeably the god that reveals things to Schott about homosexuality is frequently wrong; it makes you wonder.

Schott wrote that God “revealed” to him why gays have adopted the rainbow flag. If Schott would do just a bit of research, he would would have found (referring to a grade school way of recalling the colors of the rainbow) that the iconic gay flag started out as P Roy G Tiv, became Roy G Bv, and never was Roy G Biv. The 6-color gay flag is not and never has been the 7-color rainbow. The story of the flag involves unavailable fabric colors and a leftover Rainbow Girls flag order in 1978. Instead of real research, Schott uses Rev. 4 and “revelation” from the god-of-the-treadmill-prayer-session to tell us that gay people “desire the presence of God without passing through the judgment of God” (pp. 162-163). Someone has an active imagination.

Likewise, if Schott were familiar and empathetic to the medical, legal, cultural, and governmental oppression of the gay and transgender community from the 1930s through the 1970s, he would know the history and reason the word “pride” was chosen. It’s selection is related to coming out from hiding and becoming authentic and honest about oneself. It is not related to the sin of pride as “the first characteristic of Satan” (p. 65).

More inaccuracies …

To briefly touch on a few other gross inaccuracies postured as truth to foster Schott’s opinions:

To support his premise that mutually loving, equal status, same-sex relationship have existed and been recorded through history, Schott cites the example of royal servants Khnumhotep and Niankhknum who “effectively lived as a legally married couple” in 2400 BC (p. 38). Historians, however, tell us the two servants are often pictured with wives and families. Historians speculate the pair are either brothers, or possibly siamese twins. Yet in Schott’s world they are gay married men. By simply understanding the social and sexual roles of men and women in ancient cultures, it is clear that Schott’s imaginings of the two as a “legally married couple” is ridiculous.

Reputable scholars have moved away from seeing the story of Sodom as one of the evils of homosexuality. One need only read Ezekiel 16:49-50 to clear up the matter. But not Schott.  He imagines a plot to reposition the “sin of Sodom” from homosexuality to inhospitality starting in the 1950s. He writes that back in 1955, Anglican priest Derrick Sherwin Bailey “argued for church acceptance of homosexuality” (p. 46), apparently being the first theologian to begin twisting the “sin of Sodom” to inhospitality.

One needs to be careful when reading Schott’s words. There is usually some truth that drifts (how devilish of him, Matthew 4:1-11). In the 1950s, no religious community was focused on homosexuality. In America, that would come in the late 1970s. D.S. Bailey disagreed with the morality of same-sex relationships, yet was compelled to seek justice in the treatment of those who were homosexual or “sexual inverts,” the term then used. Researching for his book, he gathered experts in law, history, and the Bible. His purpose was to help decriminalize homosexuality, and, in part, force the church to understand their own mistreatment of those who were gay. His groundbreaking work was used to decriminalize homosexual acts in Great Britain in 1961. So, once again, Schott missed the truth, but strengthened his own bias.

Continuing, Schott elevates the writings and insights of severely anti-gay “ex-gay” Joe Dallas to the role of “insider,” stating he “played a part in starting the nationwide gay Christian movement” (p.165). Not quite. Bisexual Dallas attended a Metropolitan Community Church. Pew-sitting is not quite an original player.

There is much to critique, but back to the gay youth reading this Schott’s poison …

Can you imagine a gay teenager or young person having trudged through over 200 pages of biased opinions, poor translations, and juvenile reasoning skills, “blessed” by Schott’s revelatory connection to God? What a disaster!

No problem though. In classic abuser style, Schott, who has had “a heart for the gay community and individuals who struggle with SSA all my adult” (p. 139) reassures that young gay person that he loves them.

Utterly self-unaware, Schott warns that others may come along and try to deceive, but don’t listen to them because “using Scripture to hurt people is witchcraft” (p. 22). Be oh so careful, for “It is often difficult to recognize you are deceived until it’s too late. [Those who affirm homosexuality] . . . aren’t seeing clearly through the eyes of God’s Word. Their vision is distorted through deceiving spirits” (p. 125).

Gay people have demons. People who are affirming are listening to deceiving spirits. Gay preachers don’t engage in spiritual warfare and are also controlled by deceiving spirits. The homosexual demons are out to destroy the Bible, all that is holy, and Jesus Himself. Thank goodness Schott has the answers. Connected to the heart of the Father and the mind of Christ on homosexuality, it is Schott to the rescue! Whew!

Schott writes in his “Love Letter” at the end of the book, “I want you to know I’m so proud of you for making it through this book. Every chapter I wrote, I prayed that you would have ears to hear the Spirit of God, a soft heart to receive God’s Word, and a mind set on being renewed” (p. 219). To seal the destructive religious abuse and sense of hopelessness, there is a follow-up “Bonus Chapter” from Schott’s mentor, Michael Brown, who is famous for his anti-LGBT vitriol.

To readers of this book…

To young gay people who read Gay Awareness, BEWARE! It is dripping in poison. Seek God and get support. You can find a list of gay-affirming churches at gaychurch.org. Join the online community at gaychristian.net. You are not alone. Your sexuality is not controlled by demons. You are part of the spectrum of God’s beautiful and good creation. Don’t let Schott tell you who you are. There is no good news in his business model.

To the parents of gay youth, take similar actions. Get educated. Read:

And connect with other Christian parents of gay children. I am findable and can help with that.

To the rest of Schott’s young audience, please step out from under this man’s teachings. While his charisma is captivating, his messaging is alienating, shaming and harmful.

Ironically, the tagline to Schott’s ministry is “making Jesus famous.” Google “top ten most famous people of all time,” or top five, or whatever—Jesus is always in the #1 spot. He certainly does not need Landon Schott to head up His PR team.

Schott’s message and business model gets repeat customers and elevates him to idol, fixer, and mediator for God.

Whatever it is that really drives Schott in his anti-gay campaign, for the sake of his ministry and the lives of young gay people, it might serve him well to focus on that. He apparently feels the need to draw attention to himself—Schott making Schott famous. In the process, he is stepping on the souls and lives of young gay people whose parts will be strewn in his path.

Parents, tell this man to get out of the business of hurting your gay kids and breaking up your families. If you attend Reach Church in Austin, TX, protect your kids from Schott. LGBT Christians and allies, warn this man to step out of his willful ignorance and get educated. His email is: contact@revtv.com.

To Mr. Schott, as you go from Christian show to podcast to youth rally, know you are not “being persecuted for the sake of righteousness” or truth-telling. You are being confronted for your ignorance, religious abuse, and destructive theology. You are alienating, shaming, and hurting the most vulnerable in our churches — lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Stop it.

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KATHY BALDOCK, Executive Director of CanyonwalkerConnections.com, is a heterosexual Evangelical Christian who has transitioned to a fully affirming advocate over the past ten years. Understanding the language and issues on both sides of the dialogue, Kathy is able to foster the mission of Canyonwalker Connections: to educate, engage and encourage. It all began with a hiking relationship with an agnostic lesbian.

You may also find her on Facebook.