Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

The Christian Cure for Homosexuality Doesn’t Work?

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on August 14, 2009

After you read this news story about a recent APA report, “Top psych group: You can’t pray gay away,” read this story, “Focus on the Family drops ex-gay program, faces budget shortfall.” Is it possible there is justice in this life?

On a related note, does anyone know how many years of therapy are necessary if you learned about the birds and the bees from Dr. Dobson’s cassette series?

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15 Responses to “The Christian Cure for Homosexuality Doesn’t Work?”

  1. Jerry said

    Maybe they should rename it to “Money Won Out.”

  2. “Focus is selling “Love Won Out” to Exodus International, an ex-gay ministry.”

    Exodus International–the same group who tried to convert my classmate. Money seems to be a God we can all share.

    In Charlotte, Exodus parents Clean Heart Ministries. They are a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), as opposed to the American Counseling Association (ACA). From their Healing Statement:

    How does Clean Heart Ministries administer healing? We begin assisting our clients in knowing the truth so that the truth will set them free. The truth is God’s true intention for sex, His purpose for two genders, and how males and females relate and complement one another. We want our clients to stop believing in lies about their sexuality. God does not create homosexuals or sex addicts. He creates men and women. Some may become confused and deceived in their sexuality. We get the clients to stop naming themselves with false names.

  3. Jerry said

    The first gay man I ever knew personally was in my fundamentalist church and a member of Homosexuals Anonymous. He was pretty miserable with his life in HA and later found a fulfilling relationship with another man. These kinds of programs are hate under the guise of God’s truth and love. Most gay people don’t seem to stay in these programs long, and the people who do deny their sexuality often end up in very tragic situations.

    People like Dobson build large empires by promoting this veneration of the ideal couple, Adam and Eve. Of course, even the first family had its share of problems (Cain & Abel). In spite of this veneration of an unattainable family image, their churches are filled with not-so-perfect families and leftovers of families. My guess is that the focus on the “sinful homosexuals” is just displacement to avoid the real issues facing their churches. When my church recruited new members, I remember very clearly the unwritten rule that enrolling an intact nuclear family was far more important than just parts or leftovers of a family. Sad, but true.

    Ignorance about real gay life also creates these misleading notions, like the idea that all gay people are sex addicts or pedophiles. Some in my own church told me they believed my “liberalism” of thought and formal education drove me to my sexual place in the world. I still find that hilarious, since my own sexuality developed when I was 10 or 11, just like most other people, and I never questioned which gender I preferred. I’ve been happily together with one person now for 15 years, and my life is about as domestic as anyone’s could be.

    Here’s a link to an LGBT organization fighting such bizarre nonsense:

    http://www.truthwinsout.org

    • Good link. It can wreak havoc on a person’s life to go through a conversion experience. I think the problem for some people is they care about their families and/or friends so much they will do almost anything to salvage those relationships with intolerant people, even sacrifice themselves. Everyone gets what they want, except the people who make the sacrifice (although I realize it can be argued they get something from it too, for instance, maintaining those relationships, retaining an image…). Tragic.

      Regarding churches, my father, now a fundamentalist Christian pastor, has told me he would allow a gay person to attend his church, but that person would be denied church membership unless healed first of the “sickness”.

      I met my first gay friends when I was 18. The three of us became close. They attended a very fundamentalist Christian high school. I had just graduated from a different very fundamentalist Christian high school. They were gay Christians. I was at a point in my life where I was ignoring religion with the hope it would leave me alone. No longer technically a Christian though. For Senior Prom, George asked me to be his date. He didn’t want people to know he was gay, and wouldn’t have been allowed to bring a male date anyway.

      During the year I knew George, we had discussions on what it would be like to tell his friends and family he was gay (he had ultra-fundamentalist parents like mine). What the fallout would be like. His older brother, also gay, had killed himself a few years earlier. My relationship with him made a lasting impression on me. Although I haven’t kept in touch with him, I later heard from my sister, who attended his school, that he eventually did tell his friends and family. I can imagine what it was like for him.

    • JN said

      Sexuality is such a complex and sensitive topic nowadays. What defines a person as gay? Is a person born gay, or does a person become gay? Does a person define his/her own sexuality? Or are they pushed in that direction, feeling alienated by cultural norms?

      It kind of bugs me that people see certain traits as gay and others as straight. If you’re a guy and possess traits that are often thought of as feminine, then you’re sometimes shoved off in this gray area like no one really knows what to do with you. You see all these crazily creative gay guys on TV, but there are very few straight guys on these shows. Straight men are depicted as the ‘tough’ guys whose skills mostly revolve around sitting on a couch, watching football, and manicuring a carefully crafted beer belly.

      I don’t really have a super strong defined sense gender roles and hate being cast into the existing stereotypes. My wife and I try to do stuff that compliments each of our strengths, instead of labeling some things as women’s work and men’s work. Sexual identity has never been something I’ve struggled with, but accepting myself for who I am and determining where I fit in was sometimes difficult.

      • The Chaplain said

        Your questions about sexuality are things we all wonder about, but what strikes me the most about them is that they are irrelevant to the issue of gay rights. What causes homosexuality to exist in the first place might help Christian people, who look to holy texts or their spiritual leaders for guidance interacting with and navigating the world, to accept homosexuality. Those of us who do not look to holy texts to tell us what to think already think gays should be treated fairly and equally.

        Yes, what you see and hear in the media certainly reinforces stereotypes about what is gay and what is straight. It doesn’t have much connection to reality though. Sure, I have met a few flamboyantly gay men (usually they are openly gay students in my classes–it is great that they can even be openly gay at that age) in the mold of the stereotypical gay person, but it is no more common than meeting a guy who fits the stereotypical mountain-man mold: thick beard, flannel, gun rack in the pick up, hunts deer, etc. I was friends with a professor who died recently. He was gay, and had the most bourgeois (read: boring) life. It definitely did not fit a stereotype, unless it is a stereotype of the bourgeois: two dogs, house owner, same partner for decades and decades, spends vacation time re-grouting his tile floors, etc. He was comfortable with his sexual identity, and it did not draw on any stereotypes as a reference point. I had no idea he was gay until he casually told me. I imagine that most gay individuals fit the same bill. They just want to live their boring middle-class lives in the same boring way the rest of us do.

        My wife and I are also conscious of gender roles, and we have done our best to ignore them. On occasion we purposely twist them. My Christian friends with kids, the ones I have observed a regular basis, are very homophobic with their boys. I have heard them make comments about the color of a piece of clothing, or the “gay” look of an outfit. They also tell their boys what toys are too “girly.” I was actually quite proud of my own son’s fixation on My Little Pony toys (McDonald’s carried them for awhile) when he was three. I used to make a point of drawing attention to it at my friend’s house just to annoy him and point out what a homophobe he was. I would say things like, “Oh no, better not let your boys get near those toys, it might make them gay!” Yes, I can be a jerk.

      • JN said

        Sorry, I have the tendency to throw out rhetorical questions. I don’t really understand the relevance of your first paragraph. No one was really talking about gay rights, and I certainly was not constructing an argument of any kind. But I agree, you have to try to treat everyone fairly.

        I had a professor in college who ‘came out’ as a lesbian a few years after I graduated. She was also my guidance counselor. One time while going over my class schedule for the next semester we got off on some political tangent before eventually settling on gay marriage. Looking back, knowing what I know now about her struggle at the time, I am pretty happy with the things I said. I know now why she was really getting into the discussion.

      • The Chaplain said

        You know me, I don’t need much of a segue to start pontificating.

      • “My wife and I are also conscious of gender roles, and we have done our best to ignore them. On occasion we purposely twist them.”

        I’m not sure I understand what you mean here.

      • JN said

        Uh oh. BS alert!

      • The Chaplain said

        I had JN’s comment in mind, “My wife and I try to do stuff that compliments each of our strengths, instead of labeling some things as women’s work and men’s work.” Maybe “twist” was the wrong word. I don’t mean that I dress up like a French Maid, just that we are aware of stereotypical gender roles and we don’t allow them to exist as they are.

  4. Jerry said

    I’ve noticed that a lot of the typical labels don’t fit much any more, which I think it good for everyone. I’ve known some straight people that I would have sworn were gay by their gestures or clothing, or tastes, but turns out, I was wrong. I find it refreshing that some of the old stereotypes are breaking up and that people feel free to explore the (traditionally) masculine and feminine sides of themselves. As a gay man who has known a lot of gay people, I can definitely say that the variations in gay life are endless and not everyone I know is an interior designer or knows every Broadway musical by heart 🙂

    I am amazed by how many of my former classmates seem to be so apparently devout and belong to such conservative churches in KY and TN. Maybe it’s part of the culture there, who knows. When I lived on the east coast, Jesus-ness wasn’t worn on one’s arm as much as it seems to be in other parts of the country.

    • Paulo said

      Yep. It’s part of the culture, alright. I live in TN. The Bible Belt is filled with churches and Jesus fish decals.

      • The Chaplain said

        Yup, same thing here in NC. After 9/11 – this is sort of related – people plastered their cars with yellow ribbons and 8 1/2 X 11 inch American flags. We visited some friends in NYC a few months after that and mentioned this. These NYers thought it was very bizarre. They were the ones who suffered and lost loved ones, but they are no where as jingoistic as people down here. It’s ironic, because most of the folks I meet from the rural areas of NC did not like NYers at all prior to 9/11. In fact, they hated them, and would go on and on about how rude they are. Anyway, that was sort of related to the topic, slightly.

  5. Paulo said

    Man, this all reminds me of a Ron White stand-up comedy bit (You Can’t Fix Stupid) where he says:

    “… I told him, “We’re all gay, man. It’s just to what extent are you gay.” He says, “That’s bullshit, man, I ain’t gay at all!” I said, “Yes, you are and I’ll prove it.” He says, “Fine, prove it.” I said to him, “All right- do you like porn?” He says, “Yeah, I love porn, you know that.” I said, “Do you only watch two women doing it?” He said, “Naw, I’ll watch a man and a woman make love.” I said, “OK, do you want the guy to have a tiny, half-flaccid penis?” He said, “Naw, man, I like big, hard, throbbing co- (stunned pause) I did not know that about myself.”

    Hahahhahahahahha!

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