At the world’s largest ministry for homosexual Christians, there’s no more talk of “curing” same-sex attraction.
Thirty years ago, Alan Chambers was a Christ-loving 10-year-old with a terrible secret. He knew he was attracted to other boys. He also knew that the Bible called homosexuality an “abomination.” After nearly a decade of hiding his feelings (and his love of shopping and decorating) from family and pastors, he discovered a ministry called Exodus International. Today, Chambers is the president of Exodus and the author of the book Leaving Homosexuality. He oversees more than 260 ministries, spearheads large annual conferences, and is married to a woman.
More recently, Chambers publicly rejected reparative therapy — a school of counseling that aims to make gay people straight. At the Gay Christian Network Conference in January of this year, Chambers told the audience that “99.9 percent of [Exodus participants] have not experienced a change in their orientation.” Around the same time, he pulled all reparative therapy books from the Exodus bookstore. His actions irked a number of therapists, including one marriage counselor, improbably named David Pickup, who argued that Exodus had “failed to understand and effectively deal with the actual root causes of homosexuality.”
The question is whether Chambers’s changes will filter down through the rest of his organization. One of Exodus’s policy statements promises that the group will “stand with the LGBT community both in spirit, and when necessary, legally and physically, when violence rears its head in Uganda, Jamaica, or anywhere else in the world.” It’s no coincidence that those particular countries are mentioned. Just last month, Exodus board member Dennis Jernigan traveled to Jamaica, where homosexuality is a crime, and urged the country not to change its laws. In 2009, another board member gave a speech in Uganda that inspired a Christian campaign to make homosexuality punishable by death.
” (On Friday, the day after we spoke, Exodus sent out a press release distancing itself from Jernigan’s statements and announcing his resignation from the board.)
-full report at Atlantic
Last week, I called attention to, but did not write about, an important article by former Ambassador Thomas Melady and the Reverend Richard Cizik, a prominent evangelical leader. The two men wrote about the need for Christians to oppose efforts in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality, including life-time prison sentences and even death as penalties in certain cases. I think Melady’s and Cizik’s article is very important.
Many gay men and women see the Christian Church as unjust and bigoted towards them. For purposes of this article, I will only consider the situation of the Catholic Church. Just today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in publishing its notice about Sr. Margaret Farley’s book on sexual ethics, reaffirmed the teaching that: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” It is not difficult to see how gay men and women could find these words hurtful and even demeaning, even though the CDF precedes this bit about “intrinsically disordered” by affirming the fact that the Church also teaches gay men and women “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
I should like to see the Catholic Church, and the broader Christian community, do more to focus on the teaching about “respect, compassion and sensitivity” and think Melady’s and Cizik’s article does this. It does not ask the Church’s leaders to do something they do not think they could, i.e., change the Church’s teaching. It does not ask the Church to reverse its views on marriage. Instead, the call to oppose unjust discrimination against gays in Uganda asks the Church to do what it can.
Michael Sean Winters
-full post at National Catholic Reporter
In June each year, the Church remembers a group of Ugandan martyrs, in the feast of Charles Lwangwa and companions
. This week, we as queer Christians have new Ugandan martyr to remember, in David Kanto, an openly gay church worker who was brutally murdered in a clearly homophobic attack. While we mourn his death, we should at the same time pause to reflect on both sets of deaths, and on the role of the Christian churches in fomenting African homophobia, in colonial times and in the modern world.
Charles Lwangwa and companions were a group of young pages to the king of Buganda who converted to Christianity. Encouraged by the local missionaries, they resisted the sexual advances of their royal master. For this act of treason (in the eyes of the king and the Buganda court), they were executed. For this courageous martyrdom (as the missionaries saw it), they were later canonized as saints.
This week, David Kanto was murdered.
|David Kato, Martyr
David was brutally beaten to death in his home today, 26 January 2011, around 2pm. Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member, and human rights defender.
David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone Magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals. David’s death comes directly after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that people must stop inciting violence against homosexuals and must respect the right to privacy and human dignity.
–extract from public statement by Sexual Minorities Uganda
Read more »
“The high-profile video contributions to “It Gets Better” may grab all the headlines, but stories describing the impact of Dan Savage’s invaluable project are just as deserving. We rarely get a glimpse of the real-world effects “It Gets Better” affords the lives of LGBT teens, but that changes with this YouTube video from “thatawkwardone01,” who reveals how the campaign saved him from attending anti-gay “Christian” counseling. Follow the jump to see how “It Gets Better” comes full circle.
“…I was not happy about the whole being gay thing. My plan … if I didn’t turn straight before the end of the school year, then I would go see a psychiatrist, to go see Christian counseling. Then I remember finding the “It Gets Better” videos. Those were so hopeful.””
“This week, we learned that virulently anti-gay Puerto Rican Senator Robert Arango was on a diet.
Like any straight man wanting to show off his sculpted new body, he posted pictures of his anus on the gay men’s cruising software Grindr. Last week, a homophobic Indiana lawmaker, Rep. Phillip Hinkle (R), answered a Craig’s List ad for an $80 male prostitute looking for a Sugar Daddy. After he was exposed by the escort, Hinkle said that he isn’t gay and declared “I don’t know what was going through my mind.” And, of course, we all know about Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) who sought sex in a Minneapolis airport men’s room by tapping his foot.
These tawdry tales of deception and deceit are tailor-made for the tabloids. They provide vindication for the LGBT community and punish villains who deserve their fate. However, it is time to look beyond the headlines and have the psychiatric community examine the heads of closet cases that inflict enormous damage on their own people. These disgusting betrayals are much greater than hypocrisy. They represent full-fledged pathology that has devastating consequences for the LGBT community.”
Falls Church News
There are at present no openly gay players in the top ranks of British football – unlike rugby and cricket, where things are beginning to change, and some individual sporting codes, where the circumstances are easier. (The last time a British footballer was known to be gay ended tragically in the man’s suicide, after intense hostility and gay-baiting from the stands. Some other modern players are not out, but receive similar taunting just on the suspicion).
In a welcome new development, the Football Association has agreed to join other sporting codes in supporting the UK government’s charter for action, to stamp out homophobia in sport. Young boys often idolize their sporting heroes, and seek to emulate them. When they see the leading players engaging in homophobic taunting of opponents, this too easily becomes repeated on playing fields and playgrounds of British schools. If the charter can succeed in changing the behaviour of top players, it could potentially help to counter the homophobic bullying that so many young boys encounter.
This, from Politics UK:
Football accepts gay-rights charter
Efforts to wipe out homophobia in sport have received a significant boost as the country’s major sports leagues put their weight behind a government campaign.
The organising bodies for football, tennis, cricket, rugby league, rugby union and the Olympics have all signed the government’s charter for action.
The charter aims to create a welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in sport.
Activists welcomed the move as a sign that sport – often considered the last bastion of homophobia in the UK – was pressured to modernise in line with other industries.
(Full report at Politics UK)