I was reading this afternoon from a gay Christian author, Peter J. Gomes, and came across a passage where the quoted Edwin Markham’s poem Outwitted. He was quoting it in reference to how LGBTQ Christians are often treated or spoken of as heretics or cast out of their churches. I thought it was quite a beautiful poem and decided to share it:
He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.
Moving further into his opening criticism Dan Savage talks about how the Bible clearly supports and allows slavery, and yet, Christians now consider slavery to be sinful and evil. He says that if Christians can adjust what they believe about the value of human beings on this simple topic that is clearly permitted in the Bible, then they shouldn’t be so dogmatic on the issue of human sexuality, which is far more complex. Brian Brown does address this issue of slavery and the Bible, but in a very poor way (I’ll cover his response, the good parts and the parts where he fails, in a future post).
When I posted on this before it was also in part because of another video and post I had seen on the Waking Up Now blog. However, at the time I wasn’t able to find that other video that I had liked so much, but now I have, so here’s a follow-up post on the topic.
The issue of ex-gay ministries and therapy has been in the news a good bit recently. The legislature in CA has passed a bill banning sexual orientation change efforts in therapy for minors, and it is just waiting for the governor’s signature. Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, the largest ex-gay organization in world, said earlier this year, “The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation.” Also under his direction, Exodus International, has repudiated the use of reparative therapy (sexual orientation change efforts), and altered a lot of their rhetoric. In effect, they now primarily promote celibacy for LGB people.
In reading more about this, I recently came across the work of Ted Cox, a straight atheists who spent over a year undercover in different ex-gay ministries. He’s published part of his experiences, specifically a story of his time at an ex-gay weekend retreat, online, and I wanted to share that. The story, which is about 20 pages long, can be found here: My Journey Into Manhood. The story almost seems surreal at times, and I might be hesitant to believe it if I hadn’t heard many similar stories from other LGBTQ people that I know that spent years in different ex-gay ministries, often times in even more extreme circumstances.
I want to start out with the disclaimer that party platforms are not binding, but neither are they meaningless. Whether or not they accurately represent the members of the party or the policies enacted, they do provide a powerful statement about the ideals of the party. This is also not a statement about the merits or lack thereof on the other issues contained in the platforms.