This anti-gay church might get turned into a shelter for LGBT youth. Hell yes.

This is what karma looks like.

To say the Atlah Church in Harlem, New York isn't gay-friendly is probably an understatement.

All GIFs via "The Daily Show"/Comedy Central.


The church has made a name for itself thanks to its ridiculously offensive marquee signage and bombastic homophobe pastor, James David Manning, who, by the way, really loves a good conspiracy theory...

...I mean, he really loves a good conspiracy theory.

So ... anyway...

The church recently found itself in a financial pickle because, yes, even churches have to pay their bills (though Manning disagrees).

As of January 2016, the church owed more than $1 million to creditors, mostly over unpaid water and sewage bills, Manning had told DNA Info last month. That little bit of chunk change means the church is teetering on the edge of foreclosure.

The pastor argued his church shouldn't have to ante up because it's a tax-exempt organization, which, as the courts and "The Daily Show's" Jessica Williams put it in a segment this week, is complete "bulls**t."

Learning that a church promoting so much bigotry could soon close up shop is pretty great. But learning about the group that hopes to take its place is truly the icing on the cake.

If the church forecloses, it will be auctioned off. And the Ali Forney Center, which helps homeless LGBT youth, hopes to move in.

You might call that ultimate karma.

The nonprofit, which claims to be the largest agency in the country dedicated to aiding homeless LGBT youth, helps about 1,400 young people each year through its housing facilities and a drop-in center. Ali Forney has multiple initiatives that benefit struggling LGBT youth, like education and job prep, transitional housing services, and programs specified to help transgender kids in need.

The center is championing a worthy cause: Young LGBT people are affected far more than their straight cisgender peers when it comes to homelessness, and family rejection and discrimination are the culprits. One study found up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

It's that sort of statistic that helped inspire Ali Forney to launch a fundraiser to raise $200,000 in order to buy the church building and make it into a housing facility for kids.

"The biggest reason our youths are driven from their homes is because of homophobic and transphobic religious beliefs of their parents," Carl Siciliano, the Ali Forney Center's founder and executive director, explained in a statement. "Because of this, it has been horrifying for us to have our youths exposed to Manning's messages inciting hatred and violence against our community."

"It has meant the world to us that so many Harlem residents have stood up to support our young people, and are now urging us to provide urgently needed care at the site of so much hatred."

Of course, Williams made sure to point how amazing it would be if the Ali Forney Center ended up moving in.

In her interview with Siciliano during the segment, she wanted to get all the facts straight...


Check out the whole "Daily Show" segment below:

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

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Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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