September 25, 1961|
|Years active||1991 - Present|
|Known for||Ex-gay movement|
Darryl L. Foster is an American activist, author and Christian minister. He began his ministry in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), a Christian denomination, and has been described as being ex-gay.[by whom?] As the founder and executive director of Witness Freedom Ministries, an outreach ministry to men and women seeking to change their sexual orientation and refrain from same-sex relationships, he has appeared in numerous media outlets including CNN, Newsweek, and Charisma Magazine, sharing his conviction and views on sexuality and theology. He married the former Dee Graham,[Clarification needed] in October 1992, and fathered three boys and two girls.
Foster was born into a family of Church of God in Christ preachers. His father was a pastor in the denomination, as was his father and grandfather, Ezekiel Foster, Sr whom he acknowledges as a major influence in his life.[ambiguous] Foster was reared in Marlin, Texas, until his graduation where he enlisted in military service in 1982.
After graduating from Marlin High School in 1980, Foster enrolled in McClennan Community College at Waco to study journalism and mass communications in hopes of landing a career as a media writer. While there, he served as the News Editor for the school's official paper, The Highland Herald. After a spending a decade in military service, Foster begin pursuing theology and enrolled in Liberty University's External Degree Program. He completed a course in "Faith Writing" offered by Baylor University and taught by writer William Mattox, Jr. Later, he studied theology at Atlanta Bible College, but withdrew after a year because of doctrinal concerns with the school's denominational affiliation.
Foster served in various infantry and combat support units at Fort Campbell, KY, Fort Benning, GA, and 3rd Armored Division, Germany. He served in Operation Big Pine II in Honduras, 1983 and served as a US Chief of Staff driver during a year's tour with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in El Gorah Egypt from 1984-1985. In August 1991, his Fort Benning based unit deployed to Operation Desert Storm. Foster was the recipient of numerous service medals and honors including the Army Achievement Medal (2nd OLC), the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the rare Kuwait Liberation Medal presented by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Foster was honorably discharged in May 1992.
In his public testimonies, Foster has described himself as living as a homosexual man, until dedicating his life to Jesus Christ in 1990. The following year, he became a licensed minister in COGIC. He eventually "came out" as having lived as a homosexual male in the past, publicizing his testimony in the denomination, on a public-access cable channel in Waco, TX. He gained national prominence when the Christian magazine Charisma featured him in the 1998 cover story entitled "Let's Stop Hiding From the Pain".
He founded Witness Freedom Ministries in Waco, TX in 1996 and began developing programs to reach and assist Christian men and women with their personal struggles with same sex attractions and behavior. A historic conference was launched in 1998 and in 1999 Foster relocated the ministry to Atlanta, GA with a specific focus on people of color.
In 1998 was during this time, he became associated with the ex-gay movement Exodus International. He became one of the few prominent leaders African American in the ex-gay movement. Foster and other leaders of the movement defend their outreaches as part of the church's mission to provide help to people who "struggle" with homosexuality.
He founded the Restoration Sanctuary Church in Forest Park, GA, where he served as pastor from 2001–2008. The church was later renamed Praise Power Ministries.
In June 2007, Foster launched Gay Christian Movement Watch, a controversial blog website which began calling attention to the "gay christian movement".
In September 2009, Foster launched Report COGIC Abuse, a second website which called attention to cases of clergy sexual abuse in his former denomination. Foster contended the church's leadership was turning a blind eye to sexual abuses. The site stirred considerable resistance from leaders of the denomination including Bishop Charles Blake, the church's Presiding Bishop. Blake told the Memphis Commercial Appeal, ""Brother Foster has a flavor of the year he usually focuses on. His flavor this year is sexual harassment and sexual abuse," Blake said of the pastor, who has been a harsh critic of the bishop. Blake said the attention the site has received is out of proportion considering the thousands of COGIC leaders. "Thirty allegations of sexual misbehavior is too many, but it should be looked at in that context," he said.
Foster chronicled his 11 years of homosexual experiences in the semiautubiographical Touching A Dead Man: One Man's Explosive Story of Deliverance from Homosexuality.
Associations and Honors
- Member of the Society for Church Consulting
- McClennan Community College Alumni Association
- Recognized as "10 Emerging Voices of the African American Church" by Charisma Magazine 2008
- Recipient, the 2010 Patriarch Award from Hope and Heritage Ministries, Inc
- Foster, Darryl (E-book). Touching A Dead Man: One Man's Explosive Story of Deliverance from Homosexuality.
- France, Lisa Respers (April 16, 2010). "Christian music star Jennifer Knapp comes back and comes out". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Music/04/16/jennifer.knapp.gay/index.html?iref=allsearch. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "African-American Ex-Gay Pastor Explodes The Myth That Homosexuality Is No Different Than Race". LifeCiteNews.com. May 23, 2003. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20120915020035/http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2003/may/03052304. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- Roberts, David (June 13, 2006). "Exodus Begins to Distance Itself From Rev. DL Foster". Ex-Gay Watch. http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2006/06/exodus-begins-t/. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- McAllister, Matt (June 1, 2010). "Deliverance: A True Story of Gay Exorcism". Details. http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201006/gay-exorcism. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "EX-'GAYS' ACCUSE SENATORS OF DISCRIMINATION". WND. June 22, 2004. http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39076. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Butcher, Andy (February 21, 2002). "Black Churches' AIDS Awareness Group Criticized for Gay Appointee". Charisma Magazine. http://www.witnessfortheworld.org/charismamag.html. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Jasper, Kelly (October 4, 2010). "Church confronts sex issue". The Augusta Chronicle. http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2010-10-04/black-church-confronting-sex-issue-0?v=1286157473. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Thomas, Cal (July 21, 1998). "Telling the truth about homosexual behavior". Jewish World Review. http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/thomas072198.html. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Melvin, Lindsay (November 5, 2009). "COGIC bishop addresses convocation relocation, sexual misconduct". The Commercial Appeal. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/nov/05/cogic-bishop-addresses-convocation-relocation-sexu/. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Witness Freedom Ministries official website
- Gay Christian Movement Watch
- Gcmwatch on YouTube
- Report COGIC Abuse
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