Phoenix will be the site of Exodus International's "Love Won Out" conference in February. In advance of that conference, this group, which adheres to a completely flawed idea that reparative therapy can "cure" homosexuality, was holding training yesterday at the Church for the Nations on North Central Avenue. Clergy and lay leaders will be trained to ostensibly "deal with homosexuality and the church." Exodus International is known for its violent rhetoric that incites harm to young people and their families.
Members of No Longer Silent Clergy for Justice, PFLAG, Arizona Stonewall Democrats, and Human and Equal Rights Organizers (H.E.R.O.) staged a protest this morning to bring attention to this all-day meeting.
More photos and video after the jump.
Brad Wishon, Vice President of NLS:
We must send a clear and strong message that hate will be met with relentless challenge and radically inclusive love. The people of Arizona know all too well the results of misspoken statements that can and do lead to violence.
When some Christian leaders assert that Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual or Transgender people are not accepted by God, they leave the door open for people to do violence under the guise of doing God's will. We cannot allow that to continue.
In reality this is yet one more attempt to demonize and vilify Christians who tell the truth about their orientation. We're here because we want to ask our colleagues inside to not buy into this misinformed, misguided, wrong idea of reparative therapy. We are asking them to stop using language that is violent and harmful. We're asking them to do the right thing and to embrace the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ.
He went on to say:
It is our duty as Christians to call on our colleagues to dispense with the use of incendiary language in dealing with issues facing Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender individuals.
We unequivocally declare that God loves and affirms all people, including God's Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender Children.
No Longer Silent Clergy For Justice's Mission is:
We are Christian Clergy: grounded in the witness of the Bible; convinced of God's unconditional love for all people; raising a voice against Christian intolerance that promotes condemnation, discrimination, and hatred; and, advocating justice for all, especially Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgender persons.