Stephen Baldwin of the Baldwin brothers clan recently defended his decision to speak at South Carolina’s “Rising From The Ashes” conference, comprised of ministries advocating “freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ.”
The event, to be held later this month, is organized by the Hope for Wholeness network, whose mission is to “shed light on the complicated issues of sexual and relational brokenness with a special expertise on homosexuality.”
The site goes on to read, “We hope that you will find comfort and guidance through this ministry by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and through godly love demonstrated by God’s people. We have experienced freedom in Christ from homosexuality and other forms of bondage and share from this place.”
Baldwin told HuffPost Live that the conference is “an opportunity for people who are unsure…to have a conversation about [which]direction they want to go.”
“I wouldn’t say that my message is, ‘You can pray the gay away,'” Baldwin said. “Literally, some of my best friends in the world are gay, and they know I’m evangelical and I know they’re gay, and we love each other and respect each other in that way.”
Last year, when Kirk Cameron made controversial anti-gay remarks and spoke out against same-sex marriage, Baldwin defended the “Growing Pains” star.
However, when Baldwin’s longtime friend and fellow Long Islander Rosie O’Donnell brought up the issue with him on her talk show, Baldwin said, “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it. I have never said that the gay community doesn’t have any rights.”
O’Donnell pressed him, asking whether or not he believed LGBT people had the right to marry, specifically, to which Baldwin said, “Yes—meaning, in their world.”
O’Donnell replied, “Well, not in your church. Just legally in a union.”
“Absolutely,” said Baldwin.