Last summer I made the stupid decision to come out to my fundamentalist Christian parents. My mother is a member of Concerned Women of America (a homophobic conservative women's association) and my father obtained his master's degree from Regent University (Pat Robertson's college). Needless to say, their reaction was disapproving. But I was tired of living a lie. I was tired of them asking me what girls I thought were cute and which ones I wanted to date because the truth was -- I wanted to date boys. After I told them about myself we quickly got into an argument about how homosexuality was sin. After I came out, we constantly got in arguments about the issue, and our home was quickly turning into a place of discord and anger.
The situation at home got so bad that our family decided to go into counseling. This counseling wasn't just any counseling, it was Christian counseling. My parents wanted to "fix" me, or change my sexuality using religious healing therapy. I didn't want to go because I thought this was a subtle attempt to "change" me. But when I actually went, I was happy to find out that the counselor made it clear that his agenda was not to "fix" me, but to help us resolve the warzone this issue had created at home.
In one of our counseling sessions we got on the issue of "challenging my thinking." I was, and still am convinced that homosexuality is NOT sin. So to challenge my views my counselor recommended a "revival" for gay people who supposedly came out of homosexuality. The revival cost $55 (I wasn't aware that morality was so expensive) and I told my parents they were throwing away the money if they thought this would change me. They spent the money despite my numerous warnings.
The revival was "Pursuing Relational Wholeness" and the speaker at the revival was Andy Comiskey, a popular "ex-gay" in the Christian community. The revival was held at a "Vineyard Christian Fellowship" church. For those that are not familiar with "the Vineyard," it is what I like to call "a den of demagoguery." It was a two day event, Friday night and all day Saturday. Nothing could have prepared me for the experience. In the beginning, Mr. Comiskey gave a speech about homosexuality. After the talk, it was time for a "word of prayer." During prayer people were falling out in the floor, screaming, waving hands in the air frantically, supposedly speaking in tongues (spontaneously saying something in another language) and knocking people over. While I sat in my chair watching this mess, a woman fell out in the floor and I looked for someone to pick her up or check to see if she was okay. No one did, and eventually she got up and walked back to her seat. I was horrified. It might just be me, but something tells me that when people are falling out in the floor and screaming, and doing all sorts of other crazy things that there's something slightly...shall we say <i>irrational</i> about it? Some would say this is the Holy Spirit, but I disagree. I am convinced that these organizations that supposedly help people "come out" of homosexuality are based highly on emotion and demagoguery, and these components can make people do almost anything.
I while ago I was watching a documentary on Adolf Hitler and they were interviewing a man who was a teenager at the time that Hitler came to power. The man described the feeling he got during the Nazi youth rallies and the sense of inspiration that he felt while Hitler spoke passionately to his generation. He said "I would die for Hitler." This revival that I went to was similar to a Nazi rally. It was based on emotion and convinced people that the problems that they were experiencing were due to their sexuality, which was sin.
It is important to understand that these organizations are very good at what they do. There are several things that these "reform" organizations play on, and they are weaknesses in the gay community:
1.) Promiscuity: I am not going to condemn anyone who has casual sex, but I think that people need to be aware of what promiscuity does. I think that promiscuity, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is not the best decision people could make for their lives. Promiscuity leaves a string of emotions maybe not with you, but with other people. This sometimes leaves people with a lack of fulfillment. If you're like me, you're looking for male intimacy, and screwing 100 different guys may not give you what you're looking for. Many of these men did not find what they were looking for in the gay community so they feel unfulfilled. Therefore "reformed homosexuals" say "homosexuality must be wrong because it's not fulfilling."
2.) Emphasis on looks: Many people that have "come out" of homosexuality, have described the feeling of rejection that happens as a result of a very looks-oriented community. Some men have described the horror of getting old in the gay community because of the very real emphasis on young, pretty boys. Both of these things result in a feeling of rejection and lack of purpose and as a result, they scapegoat homosexuality for their feelings. Because desperate people turn to desperate solutions, to give themselves a sense of purpose, they follow a sect of Christianity that imposes moral authoritarianism. After all, fascism is the easy answer to chaos.
The most important thing that these ministries harp on is the fact that some gays want to come out of homosexuality. And??? I'm sure if you were to poll minorities in this country, some minorities would want to be white! Is this because being a minority is wrong? Of course not, it's because American society treats minorities like second class citizens. So yes, I believe that you can change sexual behavior, and possibly even thoughts. But what does the fact that people come out of homosexuality prove? What does saying "Wow, I can step out of a sexual box, so I can be accepted by society" do? What does the fact that people say, "I would die for Christian fascism" say about homosexuality? Nothing. Anyone can step out of a societal sexual box. I e-mailed Rev. Matthew Baldwin, an Evangelical Christian, who is NOT gay but believes that homosexuality is not sin about the "coming out of homosexuality" issue. He was, like me convinced that their rejection of themselves was not prompted by the Holy Spirit, but by emotion What he told me was interesting. He said that although he was straight, and is absolutely positive he is straight, that he could somewhere deep down inside he might probably be able to find some attraction towards men. But how unhappy that would make him if he HAD to be gay. The same thing is true for homosexuals. Deep down inside we may all have heterosexual tendencies of some sort, but how despicable it is to tell us that we HAVE to be straight.
Comments, questions? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org