The First Baptist Dallas pastor will speak to a who's-who of anti-gay groups at the Houston Stand4Truth conference about the "coming implosion" of America.
One week before Election Day, prominent anti-LGBT activists and “ex-gay” therapists will gather in Houston for a conference that promises to reveal “the politically incorrect truth about sexuality and gender.”
Organized by the US Pastor Council, which led opposition to Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, the Stand4Truth conference is co-sponsored by several organizations considered anti-LGBT hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), including the Conservative Republicans of Texas (CRT), Liberty Counsel and MassResistance.
Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, who’s been busy defending Donald Trump despite the GOP presidential nominee’s recently unearthed remarks condoning sexual assault, will deliver two keynote talks during the conference, both titled “America’s Coming Implosion.”
Other noteworthy speakers at the two-day event, set for October 28 and 29 at the Houston Marriott South, include the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, CRT’s Steve Hotze, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz, Dallas “ex-gay” therapist David Pickup and former Harris County GOP chair Jared Woodfill.
Mark Potok, senior fellow at SPLC, called it “the witch’s coven of haters.”
“These are people who don’t merely represent the religious right, they represent the extreme religious right,” Potok told the Observer. “These are essentially the same people in the evangelical world who’ve refused to move away from Donald Trump.”
Asked about the timing of the conference, Potok said that in the wake of recent revelations about Trump’s past, evangelicals are “getting more and more nervous as the election approaches.”
“They can describe all of this as locker room talk, but the signs are ominous for them,” Potok said. “I’m sure they’re worried.”
Dan Quinn, a spokesman for the pro-LGBT Texas Freedom Network, said the conference represents “a rogues’ gallery of political activists who delight in generating hate and contempt for LGBT people across the country.”
“It’s shameful how they misuse faith as a weapon to promote a divisive political agenda and bash people simply because of who they are or whom they love,” Quinn said. “You can be sure that many of them will be in Austin next year asking state lawmakers to pass the same kind of discriminatory legislation we’ve seen do so much damage in states like North Carolina.”
Dave Welch, executive director of the US Pastor Council, wasn’t immediately available for comment. It marks the second time in as many election years that Welch and other Texas anti-LGBT leaders have gathered in Houston just prior to Election Day. In 2014, they were joined by Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
According to the conference website, Stand4Truth is needed because the nation is “on the verge of changing the way it defines basic human nature.”.
“Marriage between men and women, the basis of all civilizations, is being defined as never before in world history,” the site states. “‘New’ philosophies of sexuality and gender are catching fire across the world as never before because of social media. Without the truth, our children will know nothing of how to be in the world without being ‘of the world.’”