Bil Browning

Horrible Star article

Filed By Bil Browning | April 01, 2006 8:54 AM | comments

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Today's Star runs an article that is more or less preaching the virtues of the ex-gay movement.

Exodus International plans on holding their 31st Annual Exodus Freedom Conference at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana this year. The "conference" will focus on spreading the lies and hatred that make up the ex-gay movement.

Star religion reporter, Robert King, gives the gathering the same dignity that the Shriner's Convention would receive. There is no mention of the fact that the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, or the National Association of Social Workers have denounced this practice as harmful to the mental and physical health of gays and lesbians. The article doesn't say that the Exodus International founder has since denounced the organization as a "brainwashing cult." It doesn't tell you that the movement's "clinics" in other states are being shut down as unlicensed medical treatment centers.

In fact, the only negatives to the cause seems to be the Reverend Jeff Miner's quote. Talk about the lone voice calling in the wilderness...

How disappointing to see such drivel in the Star. After an opinion piece that said we deserve human rights, it's very discouraging to see a puff piece on how we wouldn't need those rights if we'd just conform to a good Christian life. Perhaps next we'll see a piece from King on a faith healer's convention so good Christian's won't support those sinful hospitals anymore.

Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, a self-described pro-family lobbying group, said churches with traditional beliefs on homosexuality have been slow to get involved in ex-gay ministries. But more are getting interested.

"As homosexuality is becoming more and more acceptable in the culture, even to the point of being hip or chic -- particularly among teenagers -- churches are realizing that this may be a growing problem that they need to address," said Clark, whose organization is among those telling churches about the conference.

The conference includes sessions for married couples in which one spouse struggles with being attracted to people of the same sex.

A youth-day event will point conflicted kids toward the path of heterosexuality. And there will be support groups and educational sessions for parents with gay children.

Miner, with Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, said he feels only a "deep sense of sadness" for the people who will attend.

He says few -- those with an ambiguous sexuality -- ever change, and many more will find only heartache.


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Linda Perdue | April 1, 2006 9:50 AM

When I posted this on gayindy earlier this morning, I said the "convention" was being held in Marion because they only needed 16 rooms. As a dear neighbor of mine instantly pointed out, the Exodus conventions are usually just someplace to cruise. Is there a gay bar in Marion? Should we open one?

The local group is headquartered in Redeemer Presbyterian Church at 16th and Delaware. Redeemer has never been welcoming to LGBT people. People in our neighborhood who attend there are frostily polite to the Q's that live next door to them. Fortunately between Herron Morton and the Old Northside, we Q's can hold our own.

The reporter just reported what he had to, and thankfully Jeff Miner was available and King knew who to go to. Just that little tidbit means we're on their radar somewhat.

Why does the possibility of change bother you all so much? Why is it so wrong to let people know they have options? They have a choice, even if it is a difficult one? Aren't you all about choice? And options? And alternatives? Who are you to tell someone there is no hope of change if the way they are living is making them miserable? Are you so insecure in your own self-identity that someone else choosing to change their own self-identity, to no longer live their life as a homosexual, threatens you? What a shame in a Democratic society such as ours you would feel the need to silence a "weak minority" such as you like to call them. There are real people behind this conference and they deserve a voice as much as you do!

Tara,

Exodus a "weak minority"? Minority maybe, weak? Hardly. If Exodus's communications director Randy Thomas is to be believed the organization is a capitol hill hobnobbing member of a powerful majority who would deny equal legal protections to families headed by same-sex couples. They have a pretty loud voice as far as I can tell. The anger expressed in comments above was more about the lack of balance in reporting and a response to the contrived efforts of the crowd at Redeemer Presbyterian to appear (rather than be) loving toward their neighbors. Even if they do feel called to offer ex-gay programs, if Redeemer Pres. was truly loving, they would be working alongside their neighbors to make sure that all families in their community are equally protected.

I don't think the possibility of change bothers most people who post here. The reason being that "change" for most Exodus members seems to consist of a commitment to sublimating or living with same-sex attractions and behaving as a heterosexual in order to maintain an otherwise incompatible belief system and to keep personally important social networks intact. While some people here might believe this pursuit is a poor choice for a lot of reasons, I doubt they would deny someone's freedom to pursue it.

As someone who underwent 5 years in an ex-gay ministry, including some time involved in the leadership of it, I'm happy to let Exodus have a voice. As a conservative Christian, my time with them was a key part of my coming out process. The thought of losing my bonds with God, family, friends, and everything I'd known was what scared me and made me miserable. That and the fact that I was constantly told healthy, long-term same-sex relationships were impossible (a lie, as Linda above can tell you since she and her partner have been together for almost 30 years).

In retrospect, Exodus provided a transitional space for me, but back then I could totally see myself posting the same comment you did. Hold on to that desire for the voiceless to be heard. You may need it more than you know in the future.

Troy,

Well, thank you for a response first of all. I wasn't sure that one would come. Also, thank you for so polite & calm a response. It is appreciated :)

As for the question of why Randy Thomas or others ?would deny equal legal protections to families headed by same-sex couples?? The answer is quite simple, while at the same time very involved. Traditional marriage has been legally protected and received special privileges and benefits BECAUSE it benefits society! This is something, in my experiences, in others? experiences, and statistically speaking, that rarely results from homosexual commitments.

On the other hand, there is a great amount of research out there that shows the benefits of traditional marriage for the adults, children, communities, and society at large. And this is of great concern to me as a wife, future mother, elementary teacher, and as a student of psychology. And yes, in this society of moral decline, marriage doesn?t always reach its potential; however, we must only look to its history to see how it has benefited our nation.

Why should the government recognize, legally protect, and give special benefits and privileges to other types of unions? No one is saying they can?t live the way they want to, only that traditional marriage needs to be protected and sanctioned, so that the very meaning and institution of marriage is not destroyed (which divorce is also attributing to)!!

As Jonathan Yarborough, the first in line to be married in Massachusetts two years ago said, "I think it's possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner, not in the polygamist sense? In our case, it is, we have, an open marriage."

And Michelangelo Signorile said in his own words, ?For these men the term "monogamy" simply doesn't necessarily mean sexual exclusivity....The term "open relationship" has for a great many gay men come to have one specific definition: A relationship in which the partners have sex on the outside often, put away their resentment and jealousy, and discuss their outside sex with each other, or share sex partners.?

The quotes speak for themselves! This is not about expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, but rather it destroys its very meaning of fidelity and faithfulness. I?ve been in a room full of gays and lesbians, and at the mention of a long term, monogamous, and exclusive relationship? there was laughter. And yes there are exceptions, the majority of whom are probably lesbian relationships, the result of the nature of emotional and relational womanhood, rather than the nature of homosexuality.

As for your assertion that ?change? may be seen as a poor choice by some, but you doubt they would deny someone?s freedom to pursue it ? Linda?s comments: ?the Exodus conventions are usually just someplace to cruise. Is there a gay bar in Marion? Should we open one?? This sounds like pure mockery and derision to me? However, I apologize for the church?s response to her and her friends, the coldness they have received! I would be the first to defend her and stand up for her. The church is not yet all it should be, but we are learning to be more like Him!

And yes, I will ?hold on to that desire for the voiceless to be heard!? I will need it more than I know in the future! You too, as a conservative Christian, should see that so clearly! Our very faith and beliefs are being targeted in the public square regularly!

I apologize! Some quotes and apostrophes seem to have been lost in translation and have been replaced by question marks. Please overlook these obvious errors. Not sure what happened... Thanks :)