Montel’s episode Homosexuality…Can it be cured? aired this morning.
I will be adding to this post through the day but I can offer a few reactions.
Reparative therapy was a term used repeatedly but never precisely. It stood for everything ever done in the name of sexual orientation change – from electroshock to exorcisms. In this way, the episode served to greatly confuse the issue. However, some of the cause for that confusion is the frequent inability of social conservatives to self-correct on matters homosexual. There are truly harmful things done in the name of reorientation and critics like Montel and his psychiatrist guest, Dr. Salzer, have found those who will talk about those problems.
Mike Jones, the man who outed Ted Haggard was the first guest and described again his reasons for exposing Mr. Haggard. He also noted that, after Mr. Haggard stepped down, Ted Haggard’s New Life Church treated him better than gay advocacy organization, the Human Rights Campaign. While an escort, Mr. Jones said his “clients” were 80% married men and 15% clergy.
Lance Carroll described his experiences in Love in Action, including a 10k price tag. Lance described being forced to go to LIA. Montel continually referred to LIA as reparative therapy. At one point, he said, “Let’s talk about being at the camp itself, because that’s really what the base root of reparative therapy is, to guilt you and sin you and try to make you disgusted with yourself?” Essentially Lance agreed with this characterization.
Alan Chambers was up next and described his story. He noted that he did not know why he was gay, and said to him, it did not matter if we ever learn genetics play a role. Montel was fine with Alan’s descriptions until he indicated that he believed the Bible did not allow homosexuality. At that point, Montel became animated and said that this point “kills me the most.”
Montel had confused Exodus as a ministry with a reparative therapy organization. However, Montel asked, “Do they counsel?” This led to a confusing interchange between Alan, Lance and Montel. Montel said that there are parents who because of the existence of ex-gay ministries believe, “I can fix my child.” Alan said, “But that’s not the case. For me this was a personal choice for me; you can’t fix your child.” Lance chimed in to say that he was in an Exodus ministry that did attempt to change him (Love in Action).
At about this point, Alicia Salzer was introduced. She is the psychiatrist who produced the video, Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-gay Movement which I have briefly reviewed on this blog. She made an outrageous statement in her opening remarks. She said, referring to Alan’s story, “This is marketing; this is not science…Science has shown us that 96% of people cannot change and along the way, absorb an enormous amount of self-loathing, a lot of confusion, a lot of family conflict, so I know the harm.” I intend to write the show to ask for the study or study that supports that public statement. Of course, there is no such study. I challenge her to produce it. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am quite realistic about prospects for change, but to say “science has shown us” anything authoritative on this matter is hubris.
She then goes on to describe her documentary as a description of those who have gone through reparative therapies. Again, she is imprecise with her terms and muddies the situation. I expect that from Montel as a layperson trying to make sense of the conflicting messages from the ex-gay world but I expect better from a psychiatrist.
One thing that surprised me was the way Richard Cohen represented himself. He described himself as a psychotherapist and is described on the Montel website as “a psychotherapist and practitioner of sexual reorientation therapy, or ‘reparative therapy.'” While this is probably how he sees what he does, he is unlicensed in Maryland and says he does coaching. However, he demonstrates what he calls bioenergetics, which is a therapy modality. He clearly does therapy, allows what he does to be labeled as such but does not have a license to conduct it. In Maryland, the counseling law is a title law which means he probably is within the law to say he does counseling, as long as he does not say he is a professional counselor or a licensed counselor. However, the psychotherapy designation may put him at odds with the Maryland psychology licensing law which requires licensing to do anything psychological.
The show ended with conflict between Montel, Alan and by the end of the show Arthur Goldberg of JONAH. Montel pulled some material from the Exodus website which he interpreted to mean Exodus was in the business of changing people. In fairness to both of them, I understand the confusion. Montel focused on the the objective of heterosexuality that was in the statement whereas I think Alan and many evangelicals do not see terms such as “liberation” or “freedom” from homosexual attraction as meaning that those attractions are gone. In various ways, Alan and Montel talked around each other, with Alan at one point indicating that perhaps the word “liberation” should come off of their website.
Peterson Toscano made an appearance and described his exorcisms. Again, this was in the context of the discussion on reparative therapy. I can imagine a viewer erroneously thinking everything described as being reparative therapy.
The show ended with Arthur Goldberg angrily shouting from the audience that the Bible doesn’t teach that homosexuals go to hell and that “abomination” in the Hebrew means “you have been led astray.” Now that’s an interesting take on things.
Now I come back to my first reaction — what was this show about? Was it about ministry to those who want to live by their faith as they understand it? Or was it about some kind of therapy to remediate homosexual attractions? The show never really separated the two and the guests were either unclear about this or the constraints of the show’s format made it difficult for them to articulate the differences. Richard did broach this subject at one point but it was never made clear. Perhaps, ex-gay ministries need to examine how confusing it is to mix therapeutic talk with ministry talk. I suspect Alan may wish Love in Action would make these distinctions and get out of the teen business and out of the live-in business. As an observer, I believe LIA may need a significant review and audit (do they really teach people how to sit?). If ministries and leaders do not more clearly identify questionable and potentially harmful practices and ideas, critics will continue to do so. At the same time, I also believe critics, such as Dr. Salzer, who should be able to make fine distinctions, should help the public see the distinctions, rather than confuse the issue with distorted and unwarranted claims about science.
Alan Chambers provides an inside look at today’s Montel show.
127 thoughts on “Montel Williams Show on sexual reorientation”
Given the way English is normally used, if you mention three different groups or people together, say that they are all wrong about something, and don’t specify further, it does imply that they agree. Still, I’m relieved to see that this was nothing more than sloppy use of language on Mike’s part.
Thanks Karen for detailing your thoughts in that way.
In another post, Timothy expressed sadness over the fact that we might not achieve common understanding. The reality is, I donâ€™t think we ever will. Our worldviews are incompatible. (And I used to be on the â€œpro-gayâ€ side, so I know this firsthand.) The other reality is, within public and Church spheres we will probably be adversaries.
Yes, it is sad that you have assigned my as your enemy. And I know that your worldview does not allow for any reconsideration of your predetermined views so there’s nothing I or anyone can say. I’ll just pray.
Karen — you gave me a good, old-fashioned belly laugh with this one: ” I have a tendency sometimes to act like a grackle â€“ one of those noisy blackbirds that puffs up and screams at the other birds.”
Wow. You could have been describing me! I have to admit that I have definite unwanted GLT — “grackle-like tendencies”. Like you, I also sincerely want to model something different. Thanks again for the big smile. Hope you have a great day.
Below are my answers to questions about my eBay auction protest and my public apology to Mike Jones. I’m only posting it here on this blog. Feel free to link to it, but please don’t just do snippets.
I’ll be out of town for the next three days and won’t have access to the Internet or my email. And I also do really want to move on from this.
Here goes …
1. Why did I issue an apology, and why publicly?
Thatâ€™s what Christians do â€“ or at least try to do. Not just apologize, but ask for forgiveness. And not just ask for forgiveness, but repent â€“ meaning feel remorse and turn from the sinful behavior. I have a tendency sometimes to act like a grackle â€“ one of those noisy blackbirds that puffs up and screams at the other birds. I sincerely want to model something different.
I apologized publicly because I think I owed that to Mike Jones. I scorned and belittled him publicly; I needed to deal with that publicly.
2. Wasnâ€™t I just seeking media attention and notoriety for myself and the ministry I serve?
No. As other folk have posted, Transforming Congregations and I have been blindspots up to this point, not on anyoneâ€™s radar screen. And thatâ€™s been intentional. Not because weâ€™re doing anything underhanded â€“ who we are, what we stand for and what we do are all out there on our website and in our printed materials. But we donâ€™t seek or desire media attention. I foolishly didnâ€™t consider the eBay protest would be newsworthy. (And outside of Colorado and some ex-gay and gay blogs, it hasnâ€™t been.) What I hoped would happen â€“ that the massage table would just get out of the public eye â€“ backfired. Chalk that up to my inexperience with the media.
Why am I â€œsuddenlyâ€ appearing on the blogs? Thereâ€™s an easy answer to that. I had a break in my travel schedule and have been home for a few weeks. I have time and the topics interested me. Iâ€™ve â€œlurkedâ€ on Dr. Throckmortonâ€™s blog for a long time, but never had the nerve to post much before. That will probably change when travel picks up again in April.
3. What about Project Angel Heart?
I believe project Angel Heart and other similar organizations should be supported. I still donâ€™t think Mikeâ€™s auction is the way to do it. I thought about bidding on the table myself, but my motivation wouldnâ€™t have been for charitable purposes and I donâ€™t have $1200 (the original high bid at time of cancellation) in disposable income. In contacting eBay, several of our ministry supporters indicated they would make donations to Project Angel Heart, but I donâ€™t know if they followed through or not. That kind of ministry is not the focus of Transforming Congregations, so it wasnâ€™t appropriate to make a donation from our supporterâ€™s contributions.
4. Why didnâ€™t I protest the re-listing?
As stated above, because my first protest didnâ€™t accomplish what Iâ€™d hoped â€“ to get the massage table out of the public eye. Some of the Colorado media indicated they would spin a re-listing protest into a personal battle between me and Mike. I wonâ€™t participate in that. Though I acknowledge that I have treated Mike disrespectfully, my beef was with the auction itself and with eBay, not with him.
Will I personally boycott eBay as I threatened to do? How does that old saying go? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Especially around Christmas time.
5. Arenâ€™t I just a mean old ex-lesbian?
Iâ€™m truly taken aback by the depth of anger and hatred that has driven some peopleâ€™s responses to me and my actions. The overwhelming majority of vile emails came from men connected to another blog site (not Ex-Gay Watch.) Most surprising of all (because I thought it was a stereotype) was their utter contempt for women, especially lesbians. Iâ€™m also sorry folk have painted all evangelicals or all Christians with the same broad brush stroke because of my personal transgressions. That kind of generalization, labeling and name-calling really troubles me â€“ even though I sometimes do it myself.
I canâ€™t begin to understand all the â€œwhysâ€ and â€œhowsâ€ of it, though discussion on Dr. Throckmortonâ€™s blog has helped. But I imagine part of the intensity is due to continued fallout from the Haggard affair â€“ aftershocks from his sin, his lies and duplicity. I deplore his actions. But my heart still breaks for the man, his family, and all the other lives that have been harmed by what he did. And while my heart also breaks for Mike Jones, I also deplore his actions â€“ both then and now. To me, they are far from heroic.
In another post, Timothy expressed sadness over the fact that we might not achieve common understanding. The reality is, I donâ€™t think we ever will. Our worldviews are incompatible. (And I used to be on the â€œpro-gayâ€ side, so I know this firsthand.) The other reality is, within public and Church spheres we will probably be adversaries. Obviously, I donâ€™t always live up to Jesusâ€™ command to â€œlove your enemies.â€ I will personally try to do better in the future, and you all have my permission to call me on it if I am disrespectful again. But many of the questioners are still asking me to defend my ministry, and that I will not do. I believe itâ€™s loving; some of you donâ€™t. Weâ€™re not going to find common ground on that, either.
6. Finally, regarding my picture, my looks, and my sexual preferences â€¦ really guys, I absolutely DO NOT wear Birkenstocks! Never have. Never will.
In the spirit of further understanding and respect â€¦ Karen
“Thinking I’m a moron gives people something to feel smug about. Why should I disillusion them?” — Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Thank you Jim for your comments and for posting the link to Ex-Gay Watch. There are many folk on that blog and this asking questions – still about the auction and now also about my apology. Many of them are valid questions and I intend to try to answer those with as much transparency as possible. But I want to answer them all at one time, in one post, and after I’ve had time to reflect about it. And then I really want to move on from this.
So, ask away … and watch for my response maybe tomorrow or Monday.
(I don’t know what happened… I know I posted a response, but now it’s missing. So I’ll try again)
I cannot tell you how much my esteem for you has risen just now. That is a very generous apology. It was very courageous.
While we still disagree sharply on the auction itself, I’m very happy to see you take this courageous step.
God bless you.
While we disagree on many things — including this auction — I cannot tell you how much my esteem for you has grown just now. That was a very generous and gracious apology to Mike.
Very well done. God bless you.
Iâ€™ve decided that I want to issue a public apology to Mike Jones. (Iâ€™ve also contacted him personally as well.) I do it on this blog site because this is primarily where I have made comments about him. And I want to be as clear as I can about what I apologize for and why.
First a disclaimer: I am doing this as Karen Booth, personally, not as Karen Booth, Director of Transforming Congregations. I do not speak on behalf of the ministry. Second, I am not apologizing for protesting the auction to eBay â€“ or encouraging others to do likewise. Iâ€™ve already stated my motives for that and I wonâ€™t rehash them again.
But I said in a previous post that God views Mike as a person of sacred worth and calls me to do the same. I do believe that, but some of my behavior and words have not lived up to it.
I shouldnâ€™t have labeled Mike as a â€œgay prostituteâ€ or â€œmale prostitute.â€ Jim Burroway was correct to nail me on that. I shouldnâ€™t have made disparaging remarks about Mikeâ€™s integrity or questioned his motives. That was an ad hominem attack that has no place in public discourse. And before I contacted eBay, I should have first contacted Mike with my concerns and appealed to him to end the auction. That would have been the Biblical â€“ and healthy and loving â€“ thing to do.
In all of the above, I have treated Mike very disrespectfully, as if he were a non-person. For that, I am deeply sorry and ask for his forgiveness.
Thank you very much Timothy for this note – it means a lot to me – everything you have ever written is important and my heart is with you much more than you know. Thanks again 🙂
“It appears that you were the spearhead for an effort to get eBay to cancel this auction – which it now has done. Whether or not you were the actual cause, you did try very hard to get the auction cancelled.”
Yes, I registered my complaints about the auction with eBay and encouraged our ministry supporters to do the same if they were in agreement. A statement about the how and why of my action is on our ministry website, including my original memo to eBay. (Because of the “frames” format, you’ll have to click into the “Special Report” link and scroll down the page – http://www.transformingcong.org)
Jim Burroway suggests on his own blog and on the Ex-Gay Watch site that I did it because Mike Jones is a prostitute. That wasn’t my motivation. I did it because I believed Mr. Jones’ actions to be reprehensible, in other words “blameworthy.” It inflicted more pain and humiliation on Ted Haggard, his family and friends; it was an offense to the broader Christian community; it discredited the legitimate gay-rights cause; and it was a violation of eBay’s community standards to “treat others as you want to be treated.” One person I talked with said “You’re upset because it was in poor taste.” However, that understates our reaction. Mixing stripes and plaids is in poor taste. This went way beyond that, in my opinion.
But my Christian worldview has equipped me to be able to separate behavior from the essential person. The auction was sleazy; Mike’s action was and still is wrong. But nonetheless, in God’s eyes he is ESSENTIALLY a person of sacred worth. And that is how I choose to view him, too.
And now this whole thing is taking on a life of its own. Media outlets in Colorado are intent on turning it into a battle royal. One of them offered me airtime yesterday while Mike (with table) was in the studio to announce his re-listing. They seemed quite surprised when I declined. And completely oblivious to the “sleaze factor” of their program.
So defend the auction with â€œthe ways justifies the meansâ€ all you like, and question my motives and character if you must, but I know in my heart that my opposition was a free speech act of conscience. I stand by it and will not comment further here.
I apologize if you were offended. It can be quite difficult to communicate in this format and often tones and attitudes can be assumed when they really weren’t present.
My writing (and speaking) style is very direct. I blame it on being a Sagitarious and having no tact 🙂
Again, if you were offended, it was not my intent.
However, I do hope that you review the answer I gave about how we treat each other. I sincerely hope that I am not complicit in any activity that impacts your life. And i hope that you reconsider any complicity you have in the efforts that ex-gay ministries regularly take to make my life more difficult.
And though I will not cease to challenge you to reconsider your presumtions where I think they are presented, I will, when addressing you in the future, attempt to phrase things in such a way as to soften any concerns that I may express so as to not make you feel personally threatened.
Ann….. After re-reading Tim’s posts based in your own, I don’t get it. Tim is not speaking about you personally. He is speaking about those who would speak against gay folk in ways which derive from assumptions that are not truthful. In what other way can he speak? He has been quite honest with his answers.
It is neither TIm nor I who are making assumptions about you, Ann. It is rather you who appear to be placing yourself into that group to which we spake.
I’m not sure how to answer you because it seems as though you are making the same assumptions that Timothy has made about me. Thank you for writing and I think at this point I will become mostly an observer rather than a participant in the blogs.
Ed Hurst said: “we wanted the media to be vexed” — vexed, provoked, whatever. I still maintain “ex-gay” is a misleading media trick, not straightforward, Christian HONESTY about what EXODUS can and cannot do.
The word “ex-gay” is deceptive and so are the tactics of “vexing” or “provoking” the media — instead of simply telling the truth. The term and the tactic are examples of exactly why EXODUS has such huge public relations problems. Can you really blame people for not trusting EXODUS in what they say or do?
Also, Ed says I should write EXODUS’s anti-hate policy because I have the “heart” for it. I’ll do it, Ed. But how sad is that? Why doesn’t EXODUS (and those who support EXODUS) have the “heart?”
Hi Ed, thanks for the clarification about “evangelical” and “regular” Christians. I had originally heard it as a more judgmental assessment.
I agree that by and large the media has difficulty making the distinctions there, too. I recently spoke with a local reporter over an issue that’s affecting me and my ministry. I trust him most because he isn’t satisfied with sound bites or snippets from internet blogs. His worldveiw is very different from mine, and his articles have also prominently featured statements from “the other side,” but he’s taken the time to get to know me and the ministry, he asks intelligent questions, and he probes until he understands. I appreciate that.
Ann… not that Tim needs any help with this, but anyway….
Would you have expected a black civil rights activist from the 60s to be of any less of the adjectives you just used to describe TIm (that is if you were a white, generally southern person of that time)? The point surely is this: Is Tim really those things or is it just your perception of a person who is speaking his mind about the problems he sees in society. Problems which you likely don’t even recognize and thus consider to be attacks upon your own view of what you consider an adequate society (at least for yourself).
Me, I understand Tim. I share the pain in my life from which his words and ideas spring. Religion if not the general cultue (I’m older) has been the cause of that pain for most of us. At least for me such pain is the definition of what makes a civil rights struggle. I don’t see the equivalence in the lives of non-gay religious persons in this issue.
So if what TIm says seems abrasive, that’s because it’s supposed to be. One cannot be in a civil rights struggle without making people, who would not allow you your rights or understand that struggle, squirm. Fairness for such persons is not then often a concern; when fairness is at the heart of the issue for us in the beginning.
It is getting increasingly more difficult for me to read your posts to me – they sound very accusatory, contemptuous, biased, selfish, assumptuous, and hypocritical. You espouse equal rights and treatment, yet , without knowing me at all you continue to confront me with an accusatory and contemptuous tone – why? Everything you say is important to me and I want to respond. I can only do that if you treat me as fairly as you want to be treated. Remember the golden rule you cited?
Karen: Nice to meet you! I like your style.
You wondered what I meant when I differentiated between evangelical and just ‘regular’ Christians. I’m not sure I want to open that can of worms. Suffice it to say that a majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians while only a minority would identify themselves with the phrases “evangelical” or “born-again”. While both fall under the common label “Christians”, their approaches to daily life and its issues differ radically. Since the media has little grasp of the spiritual, it often fails to recognize these sharp distinctions both when it ask questions and when it hears the answers.
There have been some amazing comments–some even constructive–about ways to manage the miscommunications. Offhand, I’m recalling comments from you, Timothy, Warren and Jim B. that offer some hope. There were some comments contrasting therapy and ministry that were illuminating.
I notice that Michael has been lifting the provocative word ‘provocative’ out of one of my comments attempting to give it a nuance that I did not intend. I used it in the sense of “stimulating” or “vexing”…we wanted a term that would stimulate more questions; we wanted the media to be vexed so that they couldn’t just print some sleazy sound-bite. Michael’s renditions makes it sound like “inciting” and “irritating” were our motivations. You are all welcome to your opinions, I just thought I’d clarify what I meant when I said it. (That’s another thread and this one is already long enough!)
Michael, I also believe you should consider the suggestion of drafting the statement for Exodus. Alan could spend days or weeks drafting a statement only to find that he’s made some unfortunate word choice that stirs up a new furor. I hear what you said about it being his job and all but, on the other hand, it’s YOUR HEART. You’ve been riding Exodus for years about it and you’ve blogged about it pretty consistently, as well. So, you’ve got the heart and the writing talent…and now, you’ve even got the invitation. Won’t you at least consider it?
Ann asked me to “please submit a statement for consideration and then you will know you have done your part to contribute to that which you strongly believe.”
I assure you, Ann, I am working with others on this very blog to submit a sample anti-hate statement to Alan for his consideration, as Alan asked me to do. As God is witness, I WILL do my part. I am not so sure about Alan Chambers.
I still don’t think I should have to do HIS work. Alan’s the current leader of EXODUS. I left long ago. It still seems to me that EXODUS (if it truly “loved the sinner but hated the sin”) would have posted its OWN anti-hate, anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, anti-violence policy statement decades ago. It should not have to be SHAMED into doing so.
BTW – Didnâ€™t know if anyone on the blog realized this, but Mike Jones – whose integrity is clearly above reproach – has put his so-called â€œTed Haggard Massage Tableâ€ up for auction on eBay. Even if the proceeds do go to charity, this is reprehensible.
It appears that you were the spearhead for an effort to get eBay to cancel this auction – which it now has done. Whether or not you were the actual cause, you did try very hard to get the auction cancelled.
I did not see the newspaper report of your efforts to raise funds to offset those that Angel Heart would receive (something in excess of $1,275). Was this an error on the part of the liberal media or did you not make the slightest effort to raise replacement funds?
From what I read in Matthew 21:41-45, I would not want to be guilty of taking food out of the mouths of the hungry.
I always think of another thing after I post 🙂 Do you think it would be possible for the web sites that are “pro gay” to post a similar statement for those who do not share their beliefs? It would be a great foundation to come from when there is any disagreements in philosophies or when information is exchanged between people from all walks of life.
Please take this opportunity to participate in that which you endorse – please submit a statement for consideration and then you will know you have done your part to contribute to that which you strongly believe. There should be NO distinction between any kind of hate crime and I am glad to know that people can put this above any other differences they might have.
Iâ€™m sorry Timothy – I mean what does â€œsalt and lightâ€ mean??
This was in reference to Karen’s post immediately above
yes, Michael, you are right! Also, hate crimes should not be singled out to any particular group
Does that mean that you will fight as hard to remove “religion” from hate crime laws as to remove “orientation”?
I was not being one sided, though I concede it may sound that way.
But I am unaware at present of any way that I am treating you badly (Regina Griggs’ claims, notwithstanding). So I just listed the ways in which the ex-gay movement is treating gays badly. I’m totally open to including the ways in which gays are harming the physical tangible lives of Christians, so lets assume that my post includes that as well.
But I am curious. Did you find ANYTHING on the list that resonated? Was there ANYTHING there that made you think, “hey, I would not want to be treated that way?”
In all the conversations I have with ex-gay ministries and ministers, I have yet to hear one single solitary example of an ex-gay saying, “yes, that’s true. I don’t want to be treated that way. I’ll speak out”.
I’ve heard some say, “I’m not political”. But no one will take a stand against the abuse by Exodus, FOTF, and the other leaders of the ex-gay movement. Most refuse to acknowlege that it’s harm because, well, honestly they cannot envision gay people as “people” or as their neighbor… only as the enemy.
Even those for whom I have some respect, such as Warren, are unwilling to say, “stop it. Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
And that, Ann, is why gay people don’t trust ex-gays or Christians. When it comes to Sunday morning there’s lots of “love your neighbor” but when it comes to reality, there isn’t much visible evident love. Not “tough love” but the kind of love that doesn’t include making my life more difficult.
This is something that can change. But you have to be willing.
To quote the song from Hunchback: “God bless the outcasts, hungry from birth, show them the mercy they don’t find on Earth. God bless the outcasts, the poor and downtrod. I thought we all were the Children of God.”
Let’s hear EXODUS echo a similar sentiment by drafting and posting an anti-hate, anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, anti-violence policy on the front page of their website.
Alan asked me if I might like to write it. I am willing, but isn’t that his job — as the leader of EXODUS? Calling all EXODUS members and affiliates! Put some loving but firm pressure on Alan Chambers to get this done by 5/1/07. He wrote a book. Surely, he can do this. It’s 30 years past due.
yes, Michael, you are right! Also, hate crimes should not be singled out to any particular group – my heart is broken for the prostitue who is attacked just as much as for the pre-born baby who is killed through an abortion.
EXODUS opposes Hate Crime Laws and even Hate Crime Tracking? Because it might hurt evangelism? People might try to silence Christians? Christians might get persecuted for their beliefs? Hey, isn’t that the risk you take when you decide to protect the vulnerable from evil?
Les – Please explain what you mean by “ex-gay truth.” It may or may not have much to do with Koocher’s remarks. Koocher said people have the right to seek therapy. He followed up that statement in a phone call to me saying that he did not believe reparative therapy had a scientific foundation. In the statement he made on this blog he said, “Patients must understand that such treatments lack a validated scientific foundation and may prove psychologically harmful.”
While I believe many psychological treatments fall into those two categories, this is not a ringing endorsement.
I’m sorry Timothy – I mean what does “salt and light” mean?
President Koocher Says the American Psychological Association Has No Disagreement With the Treatment of Unwanted Homosexual Attraction
Highlighting the importance of client autonomy and self-determination, Dr. Koocher stated, “APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction.”
Ex-gays picket the APA to show that men and women do not have to live with same-sex attractions.
He emphasized that —
1. The choice to enter therapy to diminish homosexual attractions and to strengthen heterosexual potential must be respected.
2. The choice to enter therapy must be voluntary and not coerced in any way.
3. Treatment options must be discussed by the therapist.
4. Treatment goals must be mutually agreed upon.
5. The “iterative process” must be a part of therapy. That is, client choice regarding treatment goals must be reiterated throughout the treatment process.
In response to a follow-up question by Dr. Nicolosi about the lack of clarity in APA’s statements and positions, Dr. Koocher clearly emphasized that providing psychological care to those distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions was well within APA’s Code of Ethics, and he invited Dr. Nicolosi to submit his recommendations for further clarifications to APA.
So why is everyone still fighting against the ex-gay truth?
Thak you for your answer – I was hoping for something a little more unbiased that included everyone but I appreciate what you said. This is one of the reasons I hesitate to ask questions because of the response you have just given. When I wrote that someday I was sure we would have all the answers we need but was still concerned how we would treat each other about it, I was talking about everyone, not just one side. Therein lies the problem – people forget that there are other sides to consider – please see your example that you asked me to follow – you violated it already.
Appealing to “salt and light” does not excuse not treating gay people how you want to be treated.
PW writes. …
“The ex-gay movement does not have to march in lock-step, but it should get out of the politics of the culture war. By allowing itself to be co-opted by organizations opposed to gay civil rights and protections, the ex-gay movement has made it impossible for its own message to be heard. Instead, every move the ex-gay movement makes is cynically viewed as a political ploy. Furthermore, this political alignment exploits both the leadership and people seeking help from these organizations. A person seeking help for â€˜unwanted same-sex attractionsâ€™ is not seeking to be some trophy in the culture war, nor to be some excuse to deny someone else civil rights. If the movement wishes to regain its integrity, it will disavow political alliances and return to its primary mission. Itâ€™s time to end this destructive conflict of interest.”
Ah, now we get to the heart of the issue. It isn’t really about confusing the message of therapy and ministry, it’s about politics and the culture war. (Gordo, on the Ex-Gay Watch site also admitted as much when he said he liked my idea of “shutting up and going away.”)
I personally have mixed feelings on that. (Not the “shutting up and going away,” obviously, but the politics part.) My Board of Directors and I have been wrestling with that issue for the better part of a year, including what role we are called to play in denominational “politics.”
Many Christians believe that Jesus gave us a mandate to be “salt and light” in society and culture, to use our influence to try to shape the world around us for the good. Some phrase that by saying we are called to “bear prophetic witness.” (The classical understanding of a prophet is someone like MLK, not a fortune teller, but a person who speaks truth to power and calls people – usually the community of faith, but sometimes the secular culture – to faithfulness and righteousness.)
Admittledly, Christians disagree over what is true and right and just in relation to human sexual ethics. And we disagree over the methods, how much to get involved in public policy. But that’s why many of us (liberals and conservatives) do it.
I read a poignant article in National Geographic recently that said we can probably solve every single issue in time and with knowledge but we will probably never solve the issue of how we treat each other. In light of the show Montel had on, and the subsequent exposure it had and the discussion it produced, I am more convinced than ever that we will someday have all the answers we need and want regarding homosexuality but am still concerned how we will treat each other about it. Does anyone have any words of wisdom regarding this?
To answer you, I’ll turn to someone far wiser than I: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
This is often misinterpreted as “do to others as you would have them do to you if you were in their place” and then is used to justify things like, “If i were that evil sinner Ann, I’d want me to take away her health insurance” or “if I were that activist Karen, I’d want someone to pass laws saying I can’t get married.”
But that isn’t what Jesus said. He said treat people the way you want to be treated. Not “if I were in different circumstances” but right now.
If you want the medical insurance that you pay for your spouse to be deducted from your taxes, you have to do the same for gay people. If you want to serve your country, you have to allow gay people to. If you want to be the one to decide health decisions for your kids, you have to allow gay people to. If you want to be treated with respect and not be lied about with wacky things like “people like Ann die 20 years earlier” then you can’t lie about gay people. If you want to work for the city, then you can’t try to get gay people fired. If you want to get tax benefits because you start a family, you have to give them to gay people.
This, Ann, is how we should treat each other.
And if you don’t like those rules of conduct, take it up with the One who said it.
Jim writes, “Really now Karen, do you really think youâ€™re somehow singled out here?”
No, Jim, did I say that I was? I was answering Dr. T’s statement directed to me and Ann.
Hahaa…. probably the same obsessed person.
My guy later admitted that he was sexually abused as a child. I feel for such persons. Yet I cannot imagine the pain that would cause. That trauma quite obviously followed him throughout his life and tainted his own relationships.
When I afforded him that meager amount of compassion which I could online, I think it broke something in him. Hopefully it was something that needed breaking, because he disappeared from our forum after that.
No. Mine accused me of pedophilia and condemned me to the fire of hell because I had a blog. I have no idea why he was compelled to visit it if he thought it was so awful.
Oops, I am sorry for repeating my comment above. I’d lost track of my earlier comment.
Jim Burroway wrote: Special prize goes to the one whose hate mail came from the farthest away. Iâ€™ll start the bidding with one of mine that came from Queensland, Australia.
Now that is odd. My furthest came from that part of the world also. Did your guy accuse you of pedophilia and condemn you to the fires of hell just because you were speaking out in favor of yourself in an religious forum?
I read a poignant article in National Geographic recently that said we can probably solve every single issue in time and with knowledge but we will probably never solve the issue of how we treat each other. In light of the show Montel had on, and the subsequent exposure it had and the discussion it produced, I am more convinced than ever that we will someday have all the answers we need and want regarding homosexuality but am still concerned how we will treat each other about it. Does anyone have any words of wisdom regarding this?
Jag, I believe itâ€™s much lower. Most people wonâ€™t discuss their sex lives & thereâ€™s a tendency to inflate. What you wrote was not convincing, because why then is it taboo?
Swissalps – Most people won’t discuss but they inflate?
I have not allowed all of your comments because they all say the same thing, in contrast to reality. You can disagree with various sexual practices but denying they occur serves no purpose that I can see.
The ex-gay movement does not have to march in lock-step, but it should get out of the politics of the culture war. By allowing itself to be co-opted by organizations opposed to gay civil rights and protections, the ex-gay movement has made it impossible for its own message to be heard. Instead, every move the ex-gay movement makes is cynically viewed as a political ploy. Furthermore, this political alignment exploits both the leadership and people seeking help from these organizations. A person seeking help for ‘unwanted same-sex attractions’ is not seeking to be some trophy in the culture war, nor to be some excuse to deny someone else civil rights. If the movement wishes to regain its integrity, it will disavow political alliances and return to its primary mission. It’s time to end this destructive conflict of interest.
Jag, I believe it’s much lower. Most people won’t discuss their sex lives & there’s a tendency to inflate. What you wrote was not convincing, because why then is it taboo?
Dr. Throckmorton, I don’t know why my post as deleted because I did raise new topics. But here’s something new.
I think that if parents want to forbid kids from engaging in H&L behaviors, sodomy & oral sex, then that’s their right to do so as parents. It’s unjust to tell parents that they can’t forbid their minor kids from engaging in a behavior.
I don’t believe that the school & the workplace is the place to discuss homosexuality, abortion nor any controversial topics. If homosexual groups want to discuss it, then let them do so outside work hrs. What’s unjust is when people are fired because they express views about homosexuality that H&l groups dislike. It’s unfair for PFLAG to tell employees in a workplace that H&L behaviors are good & then fire those who differ.
It’s also unfair for teachers to use classrooms to discuss h&l behaviors in a positive way & then punish those who believe H&L behaviors are bad. If you want to discuss these controversial topics, do it outside work hrs. But if PFLAG is going to use classrooms to discuss h&l behaviors, then it’s only just that the other side be given =time, even if PFLAG dislikes the views. I support gun control but I believe it’s wrong for either the gun control groups or the NRA to use school classrooms to propagate 1 sided views. I can make my arguments in a debate on a TV show.
Workplace & schools are there to work & be educated, not to discuss controversial topics.
Incidentally, there have even been cases where people have been killed for making critical statements of H&L behaviors. In 2002, a Chicago woman was murdered after she advised a homosexual man to have sex with women instead of men. The media consistently discusses anecdotal cases of violence against homosexuals but the media basically ignored this woman’s murder. If you ask the American Medical Assoc. or PFLAG, they’ll downplay this woman’s murder, claiming it’s reaction to a homophobic society.
Sadly, PFLAG only supports views favorable to H&L behaviors while not tolerating views of those who are against it.
And while we’re at it, why don’t we ALL share the hate email’s we’ve gotten over the years. We can all get together throw a party. We can do an open-mike hate-letter reading, sort of like a poetry slam. We can even rate them on literary merit, originalilty, and spelling.
Special prize goes to the one whose hate mail came from the farthest away. I’ll start the bidding with one of mine that came from Queensland, Australia.
Really now Karen, do you really think you’re somehow singled out here?
Please do so, Michael – which â€œex-gay activistsâ€ have promoted discrimination and harassment and ignored the victims of violent crime? Be specific.
For Discrimination and harrasment, I believe he already convered that in this comment.
As for ignoring the victims of violent crimes: A specific example is right here.
Jim, I don’t buy your “ends justifies the means” argument. And if you TRULY believe that, then you have no logical or moral grounds to criticize anything anyone in the ex-gay movement says or does if they believe its for a righteous cause.
And before anyone uses the “straw man” deflection again, that’s getting old.
Ok, here is what I said – “I don’t believe that I ever identified myself as an ex-gay” – I did not clarify anything or say how I identify myself. Hope that makes things clearer. I choose to keep that information personal because of all the reasons I have stated in my past posts. I really appreciate all that you said in your post and learned from you – thank you for taking the time to write all that. Also, regarding what I wrote Michael – I am not dismissing it as an anomoly – I am very hopeful more people will think like he does and know that is so now that I read your post.
Karen, I’ve already identified those specific examples of ex-gay activism here and at Ex-Gay Watch.
In a comment here at this site yesterday, I cited examples in Florida and Ohio in which:
1) Alan Chambers has opposed antidiscrimination ordinances in the Orlando area
2) Exodus board member Phil Burress opposed proposed antidiscrimination laws and affirmed intolerance in Ohio.
I also pointed to Michigan and Oklahoma, where marriage-related constitutional amendments supported by Exodus and Focus on the Family have been used to deny benefits to partners of Michigan state workers, and to nullify the custody rights of out-of-state gay parents even when those families are merely passing through the state with their children and find they are in need of medical or police assistance while in Oklahoma.
Finally, I noted that sodomy laws — supported off and on by both Exodus and Focus and the Family — imprison people regardless of the privacy of their sexuality. They also are used to label people as sex-offenders for purposes of job and housing discrimination after prison.
If my earlier comment was moderated for some reason, then I respect Warren’s judgment but I hope he will kindly let me know of any concerns that he had.
Yep. That qualifies as hate.
Interestingly, in many states if someone were to call you “c**t” while commiting a violent crime against you that would be a hate crime (based on sex). And yelling “christian freak” at you would also qualify as a hate crime (based on religion).
But calling you “faggot” while commiting a violent crime would not. Nor does beating someone for being ex-gay.
Exodus and its leadership publically oppose giving hate crime protections (or even hate crimes tracking) based on orientation (or perception) which would help prosecute crimes against ex-gays. They say it would hurt evangelism.
Yes. If it was from someone who is also posting here, let me know and I will remove their commenting privileges. Email me and let me know…
Warren writes … Perhaps, it would be good for Karen or Ann or any ex-gay reading this to provide specific examples of hatred aimed at them for their stance.
How about the email today that called me a c**nt. Does that qualify?
Michael Airhart writes … “I can easily identify ex-gay activists who are criticized and condemned and ostracized because they choose to promote discrimination, harassment, and a selective lack of protection for same-sex-attracted persons from violent crime.”
Please do so, Michael – which “ex-gay activists” have promoted discrimination and harassment and ignored the victims of violent crime? Be specific.
Michael isn’t so very “different”. Please don’t dismiss his example as an anomoly
I donâ€™t believe I have ever identified myself as an ex-gay.
Thanks for clarifying that you are not ex-gay. I think the original confusion was generated by this comment from above:
Shouldnâ€™t one be allowed various methods of treatment that address their own personal situation? Should we ask those that disparage us what would be acceptable to them so that the attacks stop?
I mistakenly took that to mean that you are stuggling with unwanted same-sex attraction. I apologize for making that assumption.
I do appreciate the clarification that you are speaking theoretically rather than from personal experience. It helps me understand you and your reasons for participation more clearly.
As to your comments about being attacked. I am sorry that this happened. However, under the context of your earlier comments, I was under the impression that you were attacked for seeking to overcome same-sex attractions. It appears this was not the case.
So it remains an unsupported claim that anyone is being attacked for seeking therapy, prayer, or any other help to minimize or alleviate same-sex attraction.
I will not say that there is no one out there who will criticize those who seek reorientation. I’m sure there are. I was once criticized for supporting the rights of individuals to attempt to change their orientation.
But I can tell you with a great degree of certainty that those from the gay camp that do not support the rights of others to undergo ex-gay efforts are both very few and very marginalized.
There seems to be a misunderstanding about criticism of ex-gay ministries. Criticism about the claims, methods, or political endeavors of an ex-gay ministry is not at all the same as trying to deny the rights of participants.
You will notice that many ex-gay ministries function without a single instance of criticism. Why? Because they are not involved in anti-gay politics, do not participate in political campaigns, and do not make unsubstantiated claims to the media.
Please understand, it is not the ex-gay strugglers to which we object. Nor do we have issue with those ex-gay ministries who limit their claims to the supportable or their methods to the provable. Rather, we oppose deceipt, coercion, political punishment, discrimination, and villification.
Ironic, isn’t it. You’d think that would be the roll of the church.
My “5 to 10 percent” statistic was a rough attempt to be overly generous to the opposing side.
It would be ideal if someone would conduct a well-documented and well-designed study for this purpose, but without that, we have a mix of Exodus claims and Dr. Robert Spitzer’s study.
Exodus claims to have counseled tens or hundreds of thousands of people. But during an 18-month search with direct or indirect assistance from Exodus and NARTH members, Dr. Robert Spitzer was able to count only 200 people in all of North America who remained ex-gay five years after treatment or counseling began. If Exodus has reached 20,000 people, that suggests a failure rate of 99 percent. If it has reached 200,000 people, that’s a failure rate of 99.9 percent. If Exodus has reached hundreds of thousands more, then the failure rate grows progressively worse.
I confess I have no numbers for the proportion of those who worsen vs. benefit — I just have my subjective experience with many who are displeased with the results, compared with very few ex-gay individuals who clearly and publicly state that therapy was primarily responsible for a substantial reduction in undesired sexual attraction and substantial increase in desired sexual attraction.
Like I said Michael – I am glad you are different and would never encourage someone to accept that which they never wanted and don’t want now. Thank you!
Ann said: ” It is not the issue of homosexuality that is so hurtful, rather the hopelessness one feels when they are told to just accept it and be happy about it because there is no other way for them to be.”
Is that why they feel hopeless? Or is it because they are suffering from undiagnosed and untreated depression? Maybe they’re unhappy because they believe that they only way to “be gay” is to deny their faith, do drugs and have sex for sport.
I would NEVER tell a client to “just accept it and be happy”. I would work on their unhappiness, not their orientation. I think we all have a responsibility to tell people the truth. The gay attractions will probably NOT go away. You probably will NOT become straight. But you CAN decide HOW you are going to be gay — and it doesn’t have to be unhappy or hopeless.
funny comments 🙂
Also, if you believe the Sopranos there is a lot of hit money that is contributed to the Catholic church. Anyway, I am not defending anyone’s honor but wanted to point out that many values are compromised in any given arena. I also think if Mike Jones was given the option to learn or be trained in a different type of job where he could earn good money and be happy doing the job, he would jump at the chance. I don’t think anyone retires being a prostitute, do they?
Looks like we won’t have Mike Jone’s table to kick around any more…
It has been removed from Ebay.
I was addressing Karen Booth’s comment about Mike Jones.
I wonder if Karen Booth would be outraged to learn that Enron’s desks — the company that crashed leaving thousands of retirees broke — are being exploited (albiet for charity) in a bid to capitalize on Enron’s notority? I also wonder where I can get one. 😉
Swissalps states “Though people often hype it, most men arenâ€™t performing oral sex & sodomy on women, because most women arenâ€™t willing to do it & there are countries where itâ€™s a crime for a man & his wife to perform sodomy & oral sex.”
Get your facts straight….
The National Center for Health Statistics reported in 2005 after one of the most comprehensive studies on sexual behavior, that approximately 70% of 18 and 19 year olds have engaged in oral sex….with fairly equal distribution between men and women.
Swissalps, you lose credibility when you don’t research before you speak.
My sincere apology – I re-read your post and see that you said Karen and Ann or “any” ex-gay, rather than “any other” ex-gay. Sorry 🙂
I don’t believe I have ever identified myself as an ex-gay. I have had anonymous hate mail sent to my email account because of my support of those seeking treatment for unwanted SSA. I have been called hateful and inappropriate names for how I believe that a person has the right to choose or seek treatment for unwanted SSA. I have been yelled at in a group setting because I said that everyone should be treated equally when it comes to obtaining the support they need. I was denied a mentor position with a child at an organization I have volunteered with for over 10 years because I would not encourage her to accept the fact that she was gay – ah, she was 10! I have been harrassed at work because I wouldn’t join in with others who encouraged gay advocacy. All of this does not compare with what I have actually seen and heard people who made the choice to seek help for their unwanted SSA go through. You saw some of it on the Montel show. It also does not compare with what I know some who identify themselves as gay go through as well – it is reprehensible and unconscienable.
Another charity is auctioning desks from Enron on ebay! Not sure who you were addressing your question to about helping someone with AIDS/HIV but everyone has the right to participate in the charity of their choice. The important thing is they are helping others.
Perhaps, it would be good for Karen or Ann or any ex-gay reading this to provide specific examples of hatred aimed at them for their stance. I know I have been the target of hatred just for saying that people may pursue alignment of behavior with faith. I have been the target of a letter writing campaign here at GCC and was forced (temporarily) from a consulting post because of these views. I have had my privacy at home threatened as well. None of these are as scary or devastating as being attacked physically and I do not mean to equate the two.
Mike – you said:
1. Refrain from marketing treatments that work for no more 5 to 10 percent of those treated, and which cause the condition to worsen for a majority of those treated. In other words, donâ€™t fight cancer with known poisons that cause more cancer.
Please point me to the data for these claims that 1) interventions work for 5-10 percent of people and 2) that a majority of people worsen.
As you know I am no fan of reparative therapy, but I have come to this based on theoretical and anecdotal grounds. I would not be able to prove those claims with hard numbers.
The majority of people who identify themselves as gay have always said “who would choose this?” I don’t think we can generalize that statement to mean just the things you stated. Each peson has their own set of reasons. I can defininitely see your bias about why some would not want to be this way but believe it or not, many just feel it is wrong and does not fit in with their values and therefore wish to seek out methods or treatment to help them think differently. I do appreciate the way you would ask questions as to address each person’s personal circumstance – that is how I would do it too. It is very rare that a person who shares your beliefs would actually encourage another to seek out treatment for same sex attraction if they were unhappy with it. Thank you for thinking differently about it than most. I hope more people are as fair as your are about it. It is not the issue of homosexuality that is so hurtful, rather the hopelessness one feels when they are told to just accept it and be happy about it because there is no other way for them to be. Couple that with all the angry advocates that condemn any kind of treatment anytime they can and call anyone who is no longer part of their community a hypocrite and it is no wonder so many people who want help stay quiet or those that choose to walk away on their own do it anonymously. The people who seek to think differently from your beliefs deserve the same rights as anyone else. Up to now they have had no voice and I really hope all people will recognize their right to choose how they want to live and support them in seeking the appropriate and personal treatment they desire.
Didnâ€™t know if anyone on the blog realized this, but Mike Jones – whose integrity is clearly above reproach – has put his so-called â€œTed Haggard Massage Tableâ€ up for auction on eBay. Even if the proceeds do go to charity, this is reprehensible.
No, I will have to strongly disagree on this one. There is nothing “reprehensible” about it.
The proceeds of the auction were to go to Project Angel Heart, which “promotes the health, dignity and self-sufficiency of people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses by providing nutritious, home-delivered meals with care and compassion.”
Now, I’ve been asking myself all weekend why nobody — myself included — has rushed to Mike’s defense. And I guess we all know why, really. He’s a former prostitute.
Sure, it’s salatious and in poor taste. So are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who organized some of the first safe-sex messages when official health departments were affraid to touch the subject. They also raised money for home AIDS care, food and housing when nobody else wood.
And there are the Leather Daddies, also in extremely poor taste and a terrible influence, many of them. They also have a reputation for being among the most generous givers of time, money and talent towards AIDS care at the height of the crisis.
And we cannot forget the Dykes on Bikes, who cleaned apartments, cooked meals and walked the dogs. You get my drift…
Now you would never find me in any of those crowds. Not my scene at all, nor is it that of anyone I know. But we had a small dinner party last night, and there were two somewhat older gentlemen. They had lived in NYC during the early ’80’s, and had stories to tell, of attending memorials two or three times a week. One said, “it was simply exhausting.”
And I can tell you right now that last night if you had been there, you would have heard nothing but gratitude for everyone, no matter who they were or where they came from, who worked hard and tried to make a difference.
And where was the church during all that? Well, I think we don’t really have re-hash all of that. Everyone here knows the answer. Joe Dallas gave a powerful, emotional talk at Love Won Out on this very shame of the church’s reaction, concluding in a very loud voice, “And they [they gay community] will never forget it!” — leaving unspoken the phrase, “and who could blame them?”
Karen, if you really want to know why many in the gay community are NOT willing to condemn the more salatious groups of men and women, it’s because when the chips were down, there were two responses: thunderous condemnations or silence on the one hand, and rolling up your sleaves and getting to work on the other.
Now we have Mike Jones, a prostitute. I’m not going to defend his profession. Not by a long shot. But the folks at New Life Church made the brave decision to embrace him and forgive him. No, not forgive him, thank him.
And if he wants to raise money for a worthile AIDS charity, nobody’s going to hear any protest out of me. I’d rather follow Christ’s example and choose the prostitutes over the pharasees anyday.
What have you done to help someone with HIV/AIDS lately?
Ann asked: “What do you say to a person who is very unhappy being identified as â€œgayâ€?
First, I would ask “who identitified you as gay”? Did someone else apply this label to you when you are not homosexually oriented? If so, cast it off. Tell them you are bisexual, or straight if that’s the truth.
If you applied it to yourself and are unhappy being gay, I would ask, WHY are you unhappy being gay? What is it that you believe about being gay that is making you unhappy? I would not reply “Great! You’re unhappy being gay. That’s the way God likes it! Let’s try to change it!”
Instead, I would try to help the client identify why he or she is unhappy being gay “identified”. Perhaps they have been rejected by church or family. Perhaps they have suffered discrimination at the workplace. Perhaps their best friend was stabbed five times in the back for being gay and left to bleed to death. Perhaps they have been denied equal rigthts. Perhaps they have been brainwashed into believing that they are sick, disordered and destined to Hell.
IF they still are unhappy after all of these issues are dealt with, I would certainly respect their RIGHT to try to change their orientation, remain celibate or reframe how they “identify” their gay feelings. I would respect their right, even if I belive they are wrong.
Why are you using the word “celebate” – I never used that word in my postings so I am not sure what you mean in context to what I said. It seems to me that you are doing just as you have asked Karen and others not to do – say things that aren’t true. I’d be happy to clarify anything you would like me to but please don’t say things that aren’t true. Thanks in advance.
Karen Booth wrote: Nice evasions, Lynn, but you really didn’t answer my question. … Other than shutting up and going away, what exactly do you want folk involved in the ex-gay movement to say and do?
What evasion, I simply clarified my earlier statements as to the basis of your questions.
I think that the Michaels have pretty much handled the what you should say thing.
“These individuals deserve as much attention as anyone else and yet are criticized and condemned and ostracized for the personal decisions they make.”
If you don’t mind, please identify for me some specific ex-gays who have been ostracized solely for choosing to be celibate.
I can easily identify ex-gay activists who are criticized and condemned and ostracized because they choose to promote discrimination, harassment, and a selective lack of protection for same-sex-attracted persons from violent crime.
But I cannot think of any ex-gay activists who are criticized for being celibate despite their tolerance for the constitutional rights of same-sex-attracted persons. I know many celibate same-sex-attracted individuals, in fact I was one until age 35, and I never experienced the criticism or ostracism of which you speak.
Those of us who are of good moral conscience see no need to bash Mike Jones here because it’s understood by everyone that Jones’ eBay action was disgusting and salacious.
I see no disagreement here over Jones’ immorality. I’ll forgive your attempt at strawman argumentation.
“Other than shutting up and going away, what exactly do you want folk involved in the ex-gay movement to say and do?”
1. Refrain from marketing treatments that work for no more 5 to 10 percent of those treated, and which cause the condition to worsen for a majority of those treated. In other words, don’t fight cancer with known poisons that cause more cancer.
2. Refrain from excusing and defending discrimination, harassment, unequal punishment for violent hate crimes, and a seemingly endless array of strawman arguments. In other words, love your enemy. Do unto your neighbor.
3. Refrain from shallow buffet-style “ministry” which ignores the Bible except for cherry-picked verses that serve one’s own partisan political agenda. In other words: Do not use the Lord’s name in vain.
4. Engage in ministry that is rooted in hospitality, charity, sharing, grace, and humility. Don’t behave like the Pharisees, who called attention and power to themselves at others’ expense.
5. Promote all life and all of God’s creation — reject greedy favoritism for selected nations, denominations, political parties, and social groups. Be a good shepherd, an effective steward of what God has given us.
6. Refrain from ex-gay identity politics. That is idolatry.
7. Never claim to speak for God. That is blasphemy.
I’m not blaming gay activists for causing the confusion, Michael; I’m blaming them for continuing to use the confusion to discredit ALL ministry. I’ve already conceded that the Church (at least the Mainline) bears a great deal of the responsibility.
For the record…I unplugged my tv long ago…I spend the money I would have used on cable television, on a gym membership.
not all of us are a part of the craziness…and life is better because of its absence.
One more thing 🙂 I do not like labels of any kind – a person is much more than a label or term to me and I hope to society in general.
Isn’t Karen and others using plain English? Just because it doesn’t fit in with your belief doesn’t mean their point of view isn’t as valid as your’s. I respect what you say and know it has a lot of meaning to you and others. Her terms and words are very valid to many as well. Please don’t confuse those of us who believe in a person’s right to treatment with those who are radical in their condemnation. What do you say to a person who is very unhappy being identified as “gay”? Do you turn them away because they don’t believe the same as you or do you support and encourage them to seek their own form of treatment or remedy for their unhappiness? Do they deserve the same rights to support and resources as those that are given to an individual who wants to live as openly gay? That is our dilemma – these individuals deserve as much attention as anyone else and yet are criticized and condemned and ostracized for the personal decisions they make.
Karen asked: “So I ask again â€¦ exactly how do you folks want us to talk about homosexuality – in a way that honors our beliefs and is understandable (not necessarily acceptable) to the broader culture? ”
Try using English. Quit making up terms. Don’t say “freedom from homosexuality” when you really mean “a daily struggle with homosexuality”. Don’t use “ex-gay” when even EXODUS leaders admit that it doesn’t mean “ex-homosexual” or “heterosexual”. Quit blaming your audience for confusing “ministry”, “therapy” and “politics” when you guys mix these things up all the time. Accept some responsibility.
You blamed gay activists for the confusion YOU guys created — and by “you guys”, I mean those of you who believe that all homosexual behavior is sin and that sexual orientation (and/or identity) can and SHOULD be changed. I don’t expect you guys to “march in lock step” — I just expect honesty and a clear definition of the terms you employ. Quit blaming gay activists for your failure to do this. You remind me of NARTH — whining that gay activists wouldn’t let them do research.
Nice evasions, Lynn, but you really didn’t answer my question. (And no, Ann, it wasn’t originally posed soley to activists, but to everyone who has posted criticism on this thread.) Other than shutting up and going away, what exactly do you want folk involved in the ex-gay movement to say and do?
You write, “But where do you fit in? I dunno. How much of your ministry is purely theologically based and how much relies upon psychological counselling?” I’ve stated before on other threads, my ministry works with church leaders, not individuals with SSA or other issues. We don’t rely upon (or even recommend) any particular form of psychological counseling.
If you think ministry is “messing with someone’s mind,” I doubt you could be convinced otherwise. I don’t see it that way.
BTW – Mike Jones eBay auction was cancelled by eBay. I’m really glad, and hope they got a ton of complaints. Interesting that I didn’t see any criticism of Mike’s action (who was also on the Montel show) in this thread. But then, it’s so much easier to just keep bashing Alan.
Karen Booth wrote, “Transforming Congregations, which is national in scope – does not fit into your â€œtriumverateâ€ category. Neither does Homosexuals Anonymous. Are we not part of the â€œex-gayâ€ movement? Exceptions to your rule?”
I wasn’t even considering your group whatsoever. Sorry but you weren’t a blip on my screen. I was speaking about the one group, EXODUS, which acts as a mouthpiece for the number of ministries under its umbrella. That is what this thread is most about anyway Mr Chambers appearance representing EXODUS on Montel.
But where do you fit in? I dunno. How much of your ministry is purely theologically based and how much relies upon psychological counselling? And HA? Puh-leaze… homosexuality is not in any way an addiction for many of us.
Karen Booth also/later wrote, “One of the points Iâ€™ve been trying to make – admittedly not successfully – is WHY? Why does everyone associated with the ex-gay movement have to march in lock-step?”
How about because you’re messing with people’s minds. You’re not a political movement like all of those which you mention, you are a movement which seeks to interfere with the personality of a person, his mind and sexuality, his most intimate being. One would hope that you got your stuff together, in lock-step scientifically, and didn’t go off willy-nilly screwing with people’s minds. So is it theological ministry or psychological counselling?
There is no need to become tedious about this, my comment was hardly an exhaustive study. It was a reply to your comment on this by Mike:
To say that Freud, NARTH and Exodus are wrong does not necessarily mean that all three are in agreement on anything. However, Freud’s views on origin have been used by the other two at one point or another to explain their view of causality.
That is so good to hear – thank you for sharing it. The activists I am referring to are the ones who argue so vigorously on tv and through blog or web sites when anyone dare to not agree with them. I appreciate you writing and what you said about the people you know – thank you again.
Freud’s liberalism and lack of religious conviction has everything to do with my point, which is that it is mistaken to lump him with a conservative Christian organisation which believes homosexuality is a sin that should be overcome. To say that Freud agreed with Exodus about the ‘well-being of same-sex-attracted persons’ implies that he thought that gay people should change their orientation or be celibate for religious reasons, which is untrue. Freud did not think that homosexuality was immoral for religious or any other reasons. See, for instance, his famous letter to an American mother, which is quite different from anything that one would get out of Exodus or NARTH.
As for Freud’s views on the development of homosexuality, what you say about them is a serious over-simplification. Freud suggested a variety of different possible influences on the development of homosexuality, of which the famous dominant mother/distant father scenario is only one (and of course one that only applied to men). Freud even granted that homosexuality might be biologically predetermined in some cases, as for instance with one of his lesbian patients (see eg, Simon LeVay’s Queer Science, p. 73-74).
Please identify precisely which gay activists “attack so viciously at the mention of an individual seeking treatment for unwanted SSA.”
The gay activists that I know couldn’t care less what an individual does with his unwanted SSA, except to hope that the individual eventually finds happiness and peace with God.
NGLTF, Soulforce, and Truth Wins Out object to entities such as Love In Action and Richard Cohen whose treatments consist of Cohen’s same-sex full-body clothed sexual embraces, LIA’s self-shame, Cohen’s parental blame games, and LIA’s mixing of impressionable youths with adult sexual misfits during long group counseling sessions.
These so-called treatments are notoriously ineffective and counterproductive — in other words, the “treatments” of Cohen and LIA lead to increased sexual compulsion, depression, self-doubt, and alienation from God and society.
Freud speculated that formative childhood experiences helped produce sexual orientation, specifically the weak or absent father, dominant mother idea in cases of homosexuality. NARTH and Exodus both share this basic belief. Freud’s religious affiliation or heritage has nothing to do with it that I can see.
Ahem, you people still watch TV?
(not meant half as snarky as it sounds… but seriously? Do serious people watch TV these days?)
I’m glad I clarified it too. Who is your question posed to? I think it is to the activists but don’t want to make any assumptions. Thanks.
You write that, ‘…Freud, NARTH and Exodus are wrong about the origins, treatment, health and well-being of same-sex-attracted persons.’ Since Freud was a Jewish atheist intellectual with generally liberal views on personal morality and sexuality, it is just a little misleading to lump him together with a conservative Christian group such as Exodus International.
It is also misleading to imply that Freud shared the same view of homosexuality as NARTH and Exodus (or for that matter that NARTH and Exodus are exactly the same as each other). Freud did not think that a change from homosexual orientation to heterosexual was possible in most cases, or even necessarily desirable.
You should know all this already.
Ann, I’m glad you clarified. I thought you meant Christians should keep their opinions private and not express them in the public sphere. Which would have been an indirect answer to my most recent question.
I should clarify that I am referring to the gay advocates who attack so viciously at the mention of an individual seeking treatment for unwanted SSA. What would be acceptable to them without compromising our right to seek treatment?
All the public promoting of ministries, reparative therapy, labels, terms, etc. has successfully taken away from the true objective and that is to help individuals who are seeking it – isn’t that a private matter? I appreciate the original intent but it seems like now it has become more of a “I have to be right” issue rather than a presentation of options available. Not everyone is Christian, and when that is promoted as the only way to overcome our attractions, then many are excluded. Shouldn’t it be an individual choice based on a personal motivation? Shouldn’t one be allowed various methods of treatment that address their own personal situation? Should we ask those that disparage us what would be acceptable to them so that the attacks stop? Could they possibly say that we are undeserving of our right to think differently than them and will attack us for it? I know that many of their complaints are valid but is there a way that the attacks can stop and we can all pursue the right to happiness? Thanks for your web site and blog – you are fair and extremely accessable to those that participate on the blog – that is very appreciated.
I stated near the beginning of this discussion that the program left out a key demographic, and the subsequent discussions here seem to have borne that out.
There are few people, if anyone, speaking for sexual strugglers who need pragmatic answers — not just the Freudian myths or political correctness that currently dominate at Exodus and NARTH, and not just the views of those who have demonstrated from their own experiences that Freud, NARTH and Exodus are wrong about the origins, treatment, health and well-being of same-sex-attracted persons.
I am gladdened by Al Mohler’s recent acknowledgement that biology, not parent and gender blame games, accurately explains a substantial portion of the origin of sexual orientation.
I would like very much to see discussions proceeding from that starting point, to arrive at new ways of addressing — and respecting — same-sex-attracted persons and their struggles.
Responding to Alan:
Peterson Toscano was on the set of Montel and has stated what really happened to Tom Cole and his wife.
Combined with Alan’s observation, it seems likely to me that Donna’s remark about Lance’s story being no more important than hers was perceived by Montel as insensitive to the abuse that Lance suffered at Exodus’ flagship live-in program. Instead of demanding equal time (which she already had, until that moment), Donna would have been smarter and more compassionate to acknowledge that what Exodus did to Lance was immoral. Instead, she decided that she wasn’t going to confront difficult questioning or acknowledge Exodus’ obvious mistakes.
I really wish Tom and Donna had been willing to courageously answer the questions that Montel might have raised. The public deserved to hear the full truth about the Coles — not just a politically correct slice of it.
Michael writes … You guys canâ€™t even agree among yourselves what is â€œministryâ€ and what is â€œtherapyâ€ (and what it politics for that matter) … You guys need to get together and clear this stuff up and quit blaming â€œgay activistsâ€ for the confusion YOU created.
One of the points I’ve been trying to make – admittedly not successfully – is WHY? Why does everyone associated with the ex-gay movement have to march in lock-step?
By its very nature a “movement” is fluid, ever-changing, always in transition. Was eveyone affiliated with the black civil rights movement always in agreement? Did they speak consistently with one voice? Or how about the feminist movement? Or the gay rights movement? (Or the Wesleyan movement, which branched off into dozens of denominations, including United Methodist?)
Get real here. You guys are asking for something that’s unrealistic and probably unhealthy.
Now, speaking truthfully is a different matter. But let me give you a take on what I’ve briefly experienced here on this blog. Some folk in the ex-gay movement choose to share their experiences and beliefs borrowing from the language of therapy. They’re dismissed as ignorant and uninformed or deliberately deceptive. I speak in the language of orthodox Biblical faith and its dismissed as Christian jargon.
Sure looks like a no-win situation to me.
So I ask again … exactly how do you folks want us to talk about homosexuality – in a way that honors our beliefs and is understandable (not necessarily acceptable) to the broader culture?
‘Cause I think you’re mostly just blowing smoke.
Karen said: “So when activists continue to insist that ministry is the same as reparative or reorientation therapy – as Wayne Besen, the HRC, the gay caucus of the APA, and others do – then they are either confused or deliberately lying.”
I think they ARE confused — and I think it is the fault of the various ministries for using deceptive and misleading language for decades. You can speak plain English and still express the truth of the Gospel. Jesus used the plain language of his day. He didn’t need to make up new (undefined) words and special codes. He didn’t need to coin new and misleading terms to “provoke” the media — as Ed Hurst says was done with the term “ex-gay”. Jesus spoke the simple truth. EXODUS would be well advised to do the same.
Why accuse “gay activists”? You guys can’t even agree among yourselves what is “ministry” and what is “therapy” (and what it politics for that matter). Is terms of NARTH, EXODUS is confused with NARTH because Alan is part of NARTH. EXODUS failed to distance itself from NARTH when NARTH was making iits outrageous statements about slavery and teasing children. You guys need to get together and clear this stuff up and quit blaming “gay activists” for the confusion YOU created.
Lynn, the ministry I serve – Transforming Congregations, which is national in scope – does not fit into your “triumverate” category. Neither does Homosexuals Anonymous. Are we not part of the “ex-gay” movement? Exceptions to your rule? Or should your universalistic language have had the words “some” or “many, but not all” interspersed here and there?
Reading the comments herein I was struck by a realization that there exists in the ex-gay/post-gay/formerly-gay movement a triumverate of semi-equals which are at odds with each other. You have the theologically-induced pseudoscience of psychological therapies, a theologically-based political structure in the group Focus on the Family (and other such groups), and then you have the ministries based in theology but dependant upon the theraputic pseudosciences for aid in processes and the political structure probably for monetary support. My guess is Mr Chambers is walking a fine line between his other two caesars and doesn’t have much in the way of independance of thought and expression. Thus his own message is lost in the rhetoric of the need for change.
My point contitnues that if you have three similar yet different messages to elaborate, just where is the truth? One might assume it is the basis – the theology. But it is also true that it is the theology which moves each of the three in differing directions. I guess the message is get your acts together or the triumverate will be turning off more people as time goes on with messages at cross-purposes.
Timothy, I was asking you a legitimate question because I was intrigued by your post.
Can we forget for a moment the exchanges we’ve had in other threads, and will you attempt to answer my question. I sincerely want to know how you think the Church could better state the ex-gay message. Not that you’ll ever agree with it, but how could it be more accurately expressed?
Assuming I still believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, how can that be said in a different, more understandable way? I’d really like to know.
Dear Dr. Throckmorton:
While I didn’t see Montel’s program, Montel’s reaction relates to what you wrote in 2004 in an article titled “Dr. Phil weighs in on sexual orientation” when he rehashed genetic wiring, in replying to the letter by a concerned mom of a lesbian.
Here’s what must be asked about Montel thrashing reparative as with Dr. Phil rehashing genetic wiring. Did Montel & Dr. Phil say what they said because this is what they believe perhaps based on studies like that of Simon LeVay, or did they say it though they think differently, because they want to be politically safe & not face harassment as Dr. Chris Kempling did in Canada if they had spoken what they truly feel? This is asked because we’ve seen what happened to Dr. Chris Kempling after he spoke of the medical harms of homo&lesbian activities & the homosexual groups disliked what he wrote in letters to newspapers in Canada.
Perhaps the same people who are against reparative therapy to change them to straight or celibate behaviors should also thrash reparative therapy to quit smoking. Sexual orientation as far as I’m concerned is a moot point. Even if sexual orientation or attraction doesn’t change, they must change the behavior to either straight sexual behavior or no sexual behavior.
The medical harms of H&L activities, sodomy & oral sex will exist regardless of whether there’s a gene. Though people often hype it, most men aren’t performing oral sex & sodomy on women, because most women aren’t willing to do it & there are countries where it’s a crime for a man & his wife to perform sodomy & oral sex.
Montel’s show based on what I’ve read simply rehashes the same politically safe approach to attacking r.t. Sadly, the same people that thrash r.t. to change to straight or celibate such as the AMA, PFLAG & GLSEN are apologists for sex change surgeries. Now I believe that they must abolish sex change surgeries. If some1 has GID, they must be given counseling only to overcome GID. What’s sadly only discussed occassionally are the medical harms of sex change surgeries such as the raised risks of cancers caused by the hormone shots (both male & female) along with the high rates of suicides among transexuals.
Sex change surgeries are harmful in & of themselves & it doesn’t require an expert to understand that putting hormones into a body break it down & raise risks of certain diseases. It’s sad that political safeness has trumped medical safeness when discussions about the harms of sex change surgeries & h&l behaviors are discussed. It’s also sad that so many in the media speak such political safeness, either because they believe it or because they say it though they believe differently-because they don’t want to face repercussions if they give their true feelings.
I really donâ€™t understand in many ways, how the Church can (or even if it should) change some of its jargon. Can it be done without compromising the basic gospel message?
There is nothing in the gospel message that says, “fool ’em” or “use our special super secret code”.
Really, Karen, does God need anyone to be deceptive for Him?
Yet another example of conflating clinical talk with ministerial talk. From NARTH’s website posted just two days ago:
“Giving Pastoral Care, Addressing Gender Issues.”
The example I cited was not just merely “sharing the stage”.
Nicolosi is a licensed psychotherapist operating a clinic in Encinito. His talk, “The Condition of Male Homosexuality” set the stage at Love Won Out, both in words and in context which was repeated throughout the day.
Nicolosi’s talk was followed by a talk that morning by Melissa Fryrear entitled “The Condition of Female Homosexuality.” She used much of the same themes and language of Nicolosi’s talk. Similar theories, similar means of “overcoming.” She used much of the same clinical language as Nicolosi in her talk which was billed as the “Female” counterpart to Nicolosi’s psychologically-based talk.
But her degree is not in psychology or psychotherapy or any other social sciences. Her degree is in Divinity. She is a “gender issues analyst” at Focus on the Family. She is not a psychologist, psychotherapist or counselor. But her theories and languages were the female counterparts to Nicolosi’s.
And of course, conflation doesn’t end there. It goes all the way up to the top, all the way to Melissa’s employer.
Dr. James Dobson really is a doctor, a doctor of psychology. He touts his credentials in everything he says and does. His credentials, in fact, were touted at Love Won Out. And yet, he describes his work as ministry. He clearly bounces between clinical language, political language, and ministerial language, sometimes in the same paragraph.
I’m glad that you are moving your ministry towards a more carefully considered approach. I think I detect a similar albeit more tentative move on Alan Chambers part. I’m glad to see it. It is a much more honest and honorable approach. In fact, I found Alan Chambers talks to be disarmingly honest at times. I wish he would show that face more publicly.
I agree that you can’t expect Wayne Besen and HRC to necessarily see “both sides of the coin” so to speak. And neither does Exodus or Focus on the Family either, in my opinion.
But to say that the problem of conflating ministry with therapy rests with gay advocates is like blaming the parrot for cussing. We’re only repeating what we’re hearing. I spent nine hours at Love Won Out thinking that somewhere along the way I would get to hear that distinction between ministry and therapy. I didn’t. And you cannot blame Wayne Besen or HRC for that.
Dr. T … regarding your post #14423. I agree that the Church has largely defaulted to a theraputic, behavioral science mindset, though my experience is more in the Mainline than with the Evangelical movement.
I’ve been doing some archival research into the roots of our United Methodist struggle with homosexuality, and that’s exactly what I’m finding. In the late 50s and early 60s, denominational officials uncritically embraced Freud, Kinsey and friends. The resultant value-neutral “Christian education” in one case did not even mention God or explore interpretations of His revealed will for human sexual expression.
When the gay rights movement emerged a decade later, we didn’t even have the theological language left to address the issues raised. So now we’re paying the price – talking at each other, or past each other, instead of to each other.
Michael writes … The blame is squarely at the feet of the â€œchangeâ€ ministries for using vague, confusing and sometimes deliberately deceptive terms instead of using plain English and being truthful about what they do.
See my post above #14444. Can you also agree that some of the blame lays squarely at the feet of some pro-gay activists?
I have to agree with Michael on this. Why hasn’t Exodus posted an anti-discrimination statement on its website prominently?
As a general question, why is the Christian movement so reluctant to advocate for nondiscrimination?
I think, as Michael stated, there may be a fear that telling individuals not to discriminate or use hateful language will be equated with telling people to be “okay” with individuals who are gay/lesbians.
I’m not certain why that would be a fear…well…funding and other issues of that caliber aside…
Timothy, I find myself agreeing with your post 14441. Thanks for putting it the way you did.
I really don’t understand in many ways, how the Church can (or even if it should) change some of its jargon. Can it be done without compromising the basic gospel message?
Please say more.
Timothy rightly points out that “the problem is that while ex-gay ministries often function within the Christian community, their message is exported by means of a media campaign (often times politically motivated) to a secular audience.” In other words, programs like EXODUS mold the language to manipulate and minisform their secualr audience and to attract the vulnerable and trusting.
Alan may be trying to reform the language used by “change” ministries, but EXODUS ministries do not agree with him. Frank Worthen and Ed Hurst still like the term “ex-gay” even though it can mean whatever the particular ministry or speaker wants it to mean. Karen Booth wasn’t even aware that Alan was trying to change things, calling me ignorant and mis-informed for stating that Alan wanted to dump the term “ex-gay”.
Ed Hurst still defends it saying it means “from homosexuality” even though “ex-wife” would not mean “from wife.” Ed even recently admitted that the term ‘ex-gay” was designed, in part, to be “provocative” and to attract the attention of the media. I find this deliberate mis-use of the English laguage to be manipulative and deceptive. False witness. Sin. Ex-gay doesn’t mean ex-homosexual and freedom means continual struggle, not heterosexuality.
Jim, I did mean what I wrote, and with a straight face. So, I’ll try once again to clarify.
Yes, I realize Nicolosi speaks at Love Won Out events. In that respect, the result is a reparative therapist and folk connected to the ex-gay movement on the same public platform. And from many previous posts on this blog, I realize that can be confusing and I totally agree that the ex-gay movement bears some of the blame for that confusion.
But because Nicolosi and friends share the same public platform, it doesn’t logically follow that their approaches to and methods of dealing with homosexuality are identical. (The logical conclusion to that kind of argument is that everyone in the pro-gay movement is in solidarity with Mike Jones’ repugnant grandstanding.)
One is therapy, the other is ministry – at least what I do and most of the Exodus member ministries I’m familiar with. One is an approach based on the profession of behavioral science, the other is based on theology, prayer and pastoral counsel.
I see differences there, and our ministry is making every effort to sharpen the distinctions, including ending the offical NARTH membership we had under a previous Director. NOT because we disagree with NARTH’s goals and mission (though we do disagree with some of their recent statements) but because we think it’s critical to not confuse ministry with therapy.
So when activists continue to insist that ministry is the same as reparative or reorientation therapy – as Wayne Besen, the HRC, the gay caucus of the APA, and others do – then they are either confused or deliberately lying. I think they are lying – in an effort to discredit ministry. And yes, Jim, that still burns me.
If you can prove me wrong on that, I might reconsider.
I appreciate your efforts to reform the language that Exodus uses. However, the problem is not how it appears on sound bites, the problem is far more universal.
Having lived my whole life in the church (much of that almost literally) I am familiar with the church’s long history of using language that is jargonistic. Just like the military, or a political party, or any other institution, the church has meanings for words that can at times appear almost the opposite of their secular usage: sinner, freedom, bondage, overcomer. Much of this is tied up in the concepts of faith, redemption, and sin.
For example someone who constantly battles with some public issue, be it rage, drunkeness, or any other issue, is an overcomer through Jesus Christ. While another person who lives in peace with their neighbor and community is a sinner saved by grace. Though consistent with Christian faith, it can be confusing to the world that the good guy is a “sinner” with the guy with obvious problems is an “overcomer”.
Within the community, such jargon is understood. But the problem is that while ex-gay ministries often function within the Christian community, their message is exported by means of a media campaign (often times politically motivated) to a secular audience. And often the language is not modified so that it is understandable.
Consequently you have “claims” out there that are not consistent with what the reader hears. And it is not enough that “I know what I mean” when appealing to an audience. To be viewed as honest and forthright, those who hear you have to know they can believe the words they hear from you.
Currently, they cannot. You may be comfortable in your message, but if it does not coincide with what your listener observes, you appear to be deceptive.
This is not a new problem. And it is not a problem with which you are unfamiliar. And it perplexes me that correcting this language issue remains a low priority.
It is harming you, Alan.
To Warren: It seems unfair to blame talk show hosts for not distinguishing between “reparative therapy” and other approaches to dealing with unwanted gay attrractions. This is not Montel’s fault. The blame is squarely at the feet of the “change” ministries for using vague, confusing and sometimes deliberately deceptive terms instead of using plain English and being truthful about what they do.
Alan, do you agree with Arthur’s statement:
Hey Alan: When are you guys going to draft and post a strong and clearly stated anti-hate, anti-violence, anti-discrimination policy PROMINENTLY on the EXODUS website? You said you thought it was a good idea. So, why the delay? Why not do it today?
This is an important step for EXODUS to take, not just to assert that all Hate Crime Laws are a “tool to crush Christian evangelism”. When one of EXODUS’s own founders was nearlly killed in an anti-gay attack, his best friend murdered (and with your own stories of being bullied and harrassed as a kid) it seems WAY past time. What’s the hold-up? Take a leadership role, quit the excuses and do the right thing. Are you afraid that people will think homosexuality is OK if you say OFFICIALLY that hate and discrimination are not?
Are you afraid that EXODUS affiliates will be upset with you if you truly lead? It seems you have plenty of time and inclination to post your official opposition to gay marriage and other political issues, or to appear on yet another talk show, so I know you have time. Please do the right thing.
Karen – It bothers me too but I see it differently. I think Jim is correct. The reason ideological opponents do this is because it reflects the current state of much of what Evangelicals have to offer. I am not saying this is true of your ministry or group but I believe it to be broadly true. In casting their lots with Freudian explanations for same-sex attraction, ministries help create the confusion. There is nothing in revealed truth about defensive detachment, masculine wounds, narcissistic injury, or gender shame. These are psychological constructions that often show up in personal testimonies of spiritual transformation.
So I think there are a couple of reasons for the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in. I complain when my opponent shoots me but I should ask myself why I gave him the gun and the ammo in the first place. My impression that there is whole lot of complaining going on but relatively little asking why offer up the means to wound, and even less about how to stop it.
But it also really burns me that many on the pro-gay side continually (and I believe often intentionally) conflate therapy and ministry in order to try to discredit the latter.
I can’t believe you said that.
I just attended an all day session of Love Won Out in Phoenix. Dr. Nicolosi was there as the lead-off speaker, and his talk was nothing BUT therapy, as was his breakout session on the “Prevention of Homosexuaity”. He made it clear that his therapy could change a “heterosexual with a homosexual problem” into a heterosexual without a homosexual problem. He even described someone who is currently living a ‘gay lifestyle” because, in his words, “he did not continue” the therapy. His morning session, “The Condition of Male Homosexuality” was clearly the jumping-off point for the entire conference.
How can you say that “gay side continually (and I believe often intentionally) conflate therapy and ministry” It was conflated right there on the LWO’s agenda printed for that day. It was also conflated by many of the other speakers who were there. Surely you didn’t write that with a straight face, did you?
Karen, it shows his true motive: fame and fortune.
BTW – Didn’t know if anyone on the blog realized this, but Mike Jones – whose integrity is clearly above reproach – has put his so-called “Ted Haggard Massage Table” up for auction on eBay. Even if the proceeds do go to charity, this is reprehensible.
Timothy writes … “So unless itâ€™s just you on the show, itâ€™s going to be about â€œchangeâ€ and â€œwalking out of homosexualityâ€ and â€œa new orientation in Jesus Christâ€ and â€œpusuing heterosexual potentialâ€ or any of the other dozen or so ways of describing therapy to remediate homosexual attractions. Thatâ€™s what the ex-gay ministries are all about.”
I think that comment misses the whole point of Dr. T’s initial blog, which was about making distinctions between ministry and therapy. Using the above words and phrases is NOT describing therapy, as Timothy claims. It’s describing Christian ministry. The two are NOT the same.
Maybe those of us involved in the ex-gay movement – as Alan already acknowledged – don’t do a bang-up job with only sound bites. But it also really burns me that many on the pro-gay side continually (and I believe often intentionally) conflate therapy and ministry in order to try to discredit the latter.
As Dr. T said, Alicia Salzar should know better, and my guess is, she probably does. Some of the folk who post on this blog should know better, too.
Thanks for the comments on terminology. We do use language that is hard to understand or explain in sound bites.
I am trying to change the way I share and trying to be more honest regarding what change really means. That is still hard to explain in sound bites and on hostile talk shows that really don’t want to know about the issue of change.
You were not on the set and therefore cannot speak to the issue with Tom and Donna Cole. Even Montel’s staff was absolutely amazed and angered at his hostile treatment of the Coles. His outbursts were irrational. His staff said, “We have seen him go off like this before and we think it has to be due to the MS medication that he is taking.” Maybe.
The Coles did not get the chance to have any questions asked of them. They were thrown off the set before Montel even asked his first question. He was angered by Donna Cole who simply leaned over and said (after Montel’s very biased intro of them), “Our story is just as valid as the Lance Carroll’s.” She is right.
Your spin, MIke, as usual, is off.
I mean no disrespect by this, Eddy (though you obviously can’t hear my tone of voice to confirm that) – but how do you perceive that evangelical Christians differ from “regular” Christians?
I like where this is going…
For a second there, I was going to leave my comment as just that but I’m me and being brief is nearly impossible. I appreciate Timothy’s observation re the difference between the Catholic view (and terminology) and the traditional ex-gays. And, I’m in agreement with you all that we need to get to the root of the confusion.
I believe we need to recognize that some of the confusion is intentional. Ex-gay leaders sometimes purposely choose terminology that is ambiguous at best. More often, though, I believe we have people who are almost totally enveloped in a Christian culture–and they don’t understand that their ‘Christianeze’ is gobbledygook to many.
Then, on the other side, you have a media that often either has an agenda or has no grasp whatsoever of evangelical Christians and how they differ from ‘regular’ Christians. Those dialogues are pretty much doomed from the start.
There was a big gap in the show:
What guest represented those people who still struggle with same-sex attraction and want practical solutions, not political/evangelical doublespeak?
Exodus didn’t offer such guests — they offered a pundit, former Exodus board member Tom Cole, who became uncooperative with the show over Montel’s tough but necessary questions.
And obviously the former ex-gays couldn’t offer such guests — they could only speak to the harm done by Exodus in their own personal and spiritual lives.
Unfortunately when you have Nicolosi supporting Exodus/Focus on the Family via his speaking at Love Won Out, you have the major “reparative therapy” group associating itself with the confusion that showed up on Montel today.
Was it about ministry to those who want to live by their faith as they understand it? Or was it about some kind of therapy to remediate homosexual attractions? … Perhaps, ex-gay ministries need to examine how confusing it is to mix therapeutic talk with ministry talk.
Warren, you hit the nail squarely on the head. I’ve been working on my next essay about Love Won Out and I find myself struggling with how to describe this precise paradox.
There is so much ambiguity in all the terms that they throw around that whenver they say “change,” it can mean whatever either they — or the listener — thinks it means or wants it to mean. And everyone there, whether they are at the podium or in the audience, seemed to be okay with that. It’s absolutely insane.
George Orwell didn’t know the half of it…
Was it about ministry to those who want to live by their faith as they understand it? Or was it about some kind of therapy to remediate homosexual attractions?
Warren, I think you and the Catholic group Courage are about the only ones out there that talk about living their faith as they understand it.
So unless it’s just you on the show, it’s going to be about “change” and “walking out of homosexuality” and “a new orientation in Jesus Christ” and “pusuing heterosexual potential” or any of the other dozen or so ways of describing therapy to remediate homosexual attractions. That’s what the ex-gay ministries are all about.
And let’s face it. “Finding ways to live with your values and commitments” probably isn’t sexy enough for Montel.
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