Westminster John Knox Press publishes ‘Out of Focus,’ a story of sexuality, shame and toxic evangelicalism

Amber Cantorna-Wylde’s book is designed to help individuals harmed by toxic influence  and inspire Christian communities to pursue love and inclusion

by Westminster John Knox Press | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — When a mass shooter killed five people in an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, grieving people graffitied Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family headquarters with the words “Their blood is on your hands.” Such an accusation against evangelicalism comes as no surprise to Amber Cantorna-Wylde, whose father is a Focus on the Family executive and cast Amber out of her family when she came out in 2012. For the first time, Amber will name her father in this book.

From severed family ties to hate crimes, such enmity is the fruit of a religious movement that considers it more faithful to reject your child — or even to kill — than to accept and love LGBTQ+ people. Evangelical organizations like Dobson’s, along with pastors like Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, and Robert Jeffress, built an empire out of their conservative Christian beliefs and convinced millions of Americans that sexual purity, patriarchal families, and militaristic nationalism were God’s priority.

Amber Cantorna-Wylde

Cantorna-Wylde shows readers how the political and personal intertwine to cause shame and suffering that Jesus would never desire, including the long-term effects of identity-repression, trauma, and family estrangement.

Early praise for the book

“Amber’s power and presence as a storyteller have never been more electric — or more necessary. Her deft hand and compassionate voice help create the breathing space we need in a world that favors extremes over nuance and winning over community. Amber has a hard story to tell, but the journey leads her — and us — to a joyful and thriving existence every person deserves to experience.” — Flamy Grant, award-winning drag queen singer/songwriter

Learn more about this book from Westminster John Knox Press. For media inquiries, contact Natalie Smith at Nsmith@wjkbooks.com.

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