For a lot of religious folks, homosexuality is a really big deal … and really bad. They obsess about it constantly and seem to think there are gays lurking around every corner, ready to leap out and attack them … or something. I’m not sure why this is; even back in my own fundie days, homosexuality wasn’t something I concerned myself with, although I did hear occasionally about gays from my co-religionists. Militant Christians have their Bible verses to trot out that seem to say that homosexuality is ungodly and a dire sin … but that doesn’t seem to keep them from engaging in other behaviors that are also forbidden in their Bible.
As part of their war on gays, the Religious Right has promoted the idea that homosexuals can change their sexual preference and become “straight.” That their “reparative therapy” is usually cruel, and never works, has no effect on the people promoting it. They’re doing it for Jesus, you see, so that makes it right.
Well, that line of Christofascist thinking appears to have run into a wall. The best-known religious group backing “reparative therapy,” Exodus International, as CNN reports, has given up the ghost and is closing down (WebCite cached article):
“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus [cached]. “For quite some time, we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
Chambers, who has a wife and children and previously identified as gay, has acknowledged that he has “ongoing same-sex attractions.”
Although this was a staggering decision on the part of a group which had withstood a great deal of criticism and had soldiered on in the wake of several scandals … such as when one of its founders and one of its ministers (both men) left the group to be with each other, and when the group’s chairman was fired after having been seen cruising gay bars.
Thus, one can see these aren’t people who are really all that worried about how the rest of the world views them. That makes their surrender all that more surprising. Even so, in the apology, Chambers exhibits some of the group’s trademark defiant attitude:
“I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them,” he said. “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.”
But I doubt Exodus’s closure will make Christofascists who despise gays, give up their childish little war. Exodus International was, more than anything else, a confederation of many “ex-gay” ministries. Those ministries aren’t likely to fold up and vanish just because the parent group shut down. Most, if not all, of them are sure to soldier on, doing what they do best, which is to demonize a group of people merely because … well … because they can.
For those Christians who remain convinced they’re required to keep stamping, fuming, whining and caterwauling about the “abomination” of homosexuality and gays’ “sinning” ways, I have these words supposedly spoken by your own Jesus:
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:3-5)
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:41-42)
But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jn 8:7)
Maybe it’s time for Christians to stop sticking their sanctimonious noses in other people’s lives. So what if there are gays in the world? What makes other people’s private lives, their business?
Photo credit: Austin Cline; Original Poster: National Archives.Tags: abomination, alan chambers, conversion therapy, exodus international, gay, gays, homosexual, homosexuality, homosexuals, jn 8:7, john 8:7, lesbian, lesbians, lgbt, lgbtq, Lk 6:41-42, luke 6:41-42, matthew 7:3-5, mt 7:3-5, religionism, religionist, religionists, reparative therapy, sexual preference, sin