What can motivate a person to think that love is a greater crime than torture?

Ok, don’t read this post if you have a weak stomach.  Seriously, trigger warning.

Remind me again why I read the news…because every day it’s stuff like this.

Three ‘gay and effeminate’ teens have died after being starved, tortured and killed at a camp that promised to turn them into ‘men’.

A picture of Raymond Buys, 15, taken in April 2011 showed a skeletal, emaciated figure fighting for his life.

Just 10 weeks before, the teen’s parents signed him up to the Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa in perfect health.

In hospital, Buys was severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were burns and wounds all over his body. He lay in intensive care for four weeks until he died.

The scariest thing is why this kid was put into this situation: he was placed there by a loving parent who was trying to make his son happier in life.

‘I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future,’ Buys’ mother told The Daily Telegraph. ‘I trusted Alex De Koker with his life.’

The simple fact is that his father needed to be the better man.  He should’ve been more skeptical of the religion which told him homosexuality was a terrible thing.  Like all religious people who get presented by unreasonable claims, he should’ve done better.

Take away our religions and their arbitrary fear and loathing of other people’s sex lives, and this type of thing never happens.

Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, claims Buys was chained to his bed every night, was refused permission to visit the toilet and on one occasion was forced to eat his own faeces.

He also said he would be beaten with planks, hosepipes and sticks when he failed to carry out manual labor tasks.

Oostuizen alleged further he saw De Koker tied Buys to a chair naked with his head covered in a pillowcase, and would electrocute him with a stun gun.

And for what?  Did he have information about a secret terrorist plot?  Was he complicit in crimes against humanity?  What was so horrible that they needed to do these things to this boy?

Gender activist Melanie Nathan has said the three young men were all perceived as ‘gay and clearly effeminate’.

Oh right.

And here’s your epilogue:

Calitz’s family was informed of his death via text message, saying he had died of a heart attack.

Afterwards, doctors said the cause of death was from a seizure, dehydration and found bleeding from the brain.

Van Der Walt was also claimed to have died from a heart attack, but doctors said he had appeared to have been choked with a seatbelt.

Both De Koker and Erasmus have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case continues.

You want to know what injustice looks like?  Supposedly, if the young man, whose only “crime” was loving the gender his biology dictated, didn’t believe in Jesus than he can go to hell for the crime of finding happiness in a way that god allowed, but does not approve of.  However, if the people who ran this camp believe, they get paradise.

To call such an immensely fucked up approach to justice “love” or “fair” is as close to psychopathy as the law of physics allows, yet it is the very heart of Christianity.  The world will never be a better place as long as we’re able to reward monsters eternally and call it just.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    Fuck religion and fuck bigotry. There’s not much else that needs to be said.

    Okay, maybe this, fuck these charlatans that torture kids and sell this to gullible parents who believe this idiocy is best for their children.

    • http://twitter.com/johnnykaje K. Johnston

      Also, fuck patriarchy, which fuels this particular bigotry.

      “You MUST BE MANLY!! If you are not manly, you are a FAILURE!!!”

      • Glodson

        Sadly, I had not even considered that angle. That is part of the problem.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          <– M, this is my general disqus account

          Yeah, it's hidden in plain sight, isn't it? Why do we consider it the worst thing a boy can be is effeminate, that is, like a woman? And it's not just in fundamentalist circles, either- you want to hurt a man, you call him a bitch or a cunt or just that worst of all insults, a woman.

  • Artor

    Bear in mind, these poor kids apparently hadn’t even come out. They were merely PERCIEVED as being gay & effeminate. And for that they were tortured & murdered. I hope the parents are on trial as well.

    • Compuholic

      I sincerely hope so and I think they will be. But my guess is that the parents will get away with little or no punishment. Although they were the ones who are ultimately responsible they will most likely be able to get away easy with the “we only wanted the best for our child and didn’t know about his methods” defense.

    • Robert Bauer

      Yeah, that’s what I noticed, too. These kids weren’t even necessarily really gay, or any other sort of queer. They may have been straight, cis guys who just did guyness differently than they were “supposed” to.

      The box these people want to put us all in is so much smaller than just “straight.”

  • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

    If you can convince yourself that what you’re doing is going to save someone from eternal torture in hell, then the pain you are inflicting is nothing compared to the pain you think you’re preventing. Being starved, beaten with a plank, and forced to eat your own shit is temporary. Going to hell because you’re gay is forever.

    Just one more reason why the very notion of an afterlife is poisonous to morality.

  • Melody Hollis

    This is the kind of thing that makes me lose my fucking mind with rage. Conservative Christians are whining about “The homosexual agenda” and how gays want to recruit straight Christian kids into the “homosexual lifestyle.” WHO is running the fucking conversion camps? Not gays!

    I’m sure this particular individual torturing kids is psychotic and the Christians won’t claim him as one of their own and that’s fine. The fact of the matter is, that they won’t object to sending kids (some of whom are only suspected of being gay) to be treated like criminals and told they are sick and perverted and need to man-up or act like a lady. They don’t object to telling kids that there is something fundamentally wrong with them and that if they want to go to heaven they will have to either be celibate or marry someone they don’t love. Many of them wouldn’t even object to a little physical suffering to remind them of what their “Savior” did so that they could be forgiven for their sinful homosexual nature.

    This is not tough love. The word, “love” doesn’t belong anywhere in their vocabulary because they don’t know what it means. Their version of love is twisted, maniacal and selfish. I will be so glad when we finally have equality for all so that I can stop getting pissed off every fucking day at this bullshit.

    • Glodson

      You’re hitting on one of the worst aspects of religion, what religion can do to love. It twists the very idea, the emotion, into a weapon.

      Many of these parents love their kids, but when we filter that love through what they’ve been taught by religion, by the notions force fed to them since childhood, their actions come out tainted by this. They want what is best for their kids, but the very idea of what is best is far from recognizable. They see being gay, or transgendered, or bisexual, as some sort of mortal failing. And they seek to remake reality itself in order to make their child “better.” They end up punishing out of their desire for a better life for their child.

      Of course, if they just realized that rejecting their religion would make for a better life for their child, that would solve the problem. Sadly, it is hard to fight against a religion a parent has lived with their whole life, a religion that some feel is a core part of their being.

      So instead of dealing with the religion which conflicts with the child they love, they twist it by trying to change the child they love for their religion.

      The more I think about, the more embarrassed I am that it took me so long to reject religion myself.

      • CottonBlimp

        This is why I’m absolutely repulsed by the Karen Armstrong “love is the center of all great religions” bullshit. The fact that the Bible uses the word “love” does not mean it promotes actual love. Love is a nearly universal human desire, and this book tells you that love is beating and killing your own children, and that your love for God – the most self-absorbed, apathetic, narcissistic kind of love – should be greater than your love for the actual human beings around you who actually exist.

        In their world, no matter how evil religion is, no matter the awful things it does, it’s all made better because it says “I love you”. But fuck, any abusive boyfriend can manage that.

        • Glodson

          “I will only send you to Hell to be tortured for every and every, because I love you, baby.”–God.

          “Oh shit.”–Jesus upon hearing his dad loves him.

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  • Beutelratti

    What always shocks me is how these people never realise how small they are making their supposedly all-loving, all knowing god.
    Why would the creator of the universe™ care when somewhere somehow a penis ends up in a butthole and not in a vagina? Why? Whyyyyyyyyy? Why can’t god just be happy that people have orgasms?

    All joking aside, I honestly don’t know how to even react to these parents. I’m guessing they knew pretty darn well that there are other viewpoints out there (even Christian ones) that don’t condemn homosexuality and yet they chose this for their children over changing their minds? How could anyone call that love?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Love, true love, requires loving someone for who they are. Loving them despite the fact that they don’t meet your expectations, adhere to your beliefs, toe your line. It means loving people despite their flaws, and accepting who they are, treating them as equals.

    In other words, loving someone means not being able to walk all over them even if you think god hates them just as much as you do.

    So, no. Its not easy, and yes, people will find ways to paint it as bad. It requires them to do something hard: Admit that they may be wrong.

  • Emmet


    I’m not seeing any references to Christianity in the linked articles though – were the parents “religious people”, as the blogger suggests?
    And were the boys actually gay, or just “doing guyness” (good way of putting it) differently?

    In other words, is the blogger making a whole lot of assumptions here, without the facts, as a reason to bag “religion”?

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