May 26th, 2008
This month’s edition of the Presbyterian newspaper The Layman features two more shining examples of ex-gays who claim to have changed. The commentaries by Maria Cardenas and Brad Grammer are actually word-for-word reprints from their testimonies found on the OneByOne web site — an organization for which they both just happen to serve on the board of directors. Grammer is also the Executive Director of Exodus-affiliated Hope & New Life Ministries. Funny, but have you noticed that virtually all the ex-gays who speak publicly have some professional connection with ex-gay ministries?
But what’s not so funny is Grammer’s and Cardenas’ promotion of one of the worst messages ever to come out of the ex-gay movement: Death or change. Grammer begins his statement by saying,
Seventeen years ago, my life came to a crossroad. In my mind, I could either commit suicide or give God one more chance to change my life and bring it meaning.”
It was at this point I made a deal with God. I asked Him either to end my life or change it.
Death or change. According to Cardenas and Grammer, those were the only two choices before them. Given what they claimed were the only two options — as the ex-gay movement is all too often inclined to do — they chose “change.” They also chose to use their experience as fodder for denying civil rights to those who don’t buy into their false crossroads between death and change. Grammer uses his testimony to claim:
For the Church to make a decision to bless same-sex unions or ordain practicing homosexuals is to communicate to me, and individuals like me, that the transformation in my life did not happen and that I am obviously in an unhealthy state of denial.
What Grammer fails to recognize is that if a church makes a decision to bless same-sex unions or ordain gays and lesbians, it is not an act of judgment on his life. He is free to make whatever choice he wishes to make. But what it does do is expose the false argument that there are only two choices which can be made: death or change.
But exposing this false argument is what Grammer really fears, and he’s not alone. Exodus President Alan Chambers told NPR’s Terry Gross in 2006 that he opposed same-sex marriage because he feared that if it had been an option when he was younger, he might have chosen to marry another man.
A few days ago, I facetiously posted a “Heterosexual strategy” based on what the Alliance Defense Fund claimed was a “Homosexual strategy” to win acceptance for gay people. In my parody, the Heterosexual strategy ended with recriminalization of homosexuality.
The problem with my parody however is that it’s not the least bit funny. One wonders what the ultimate goal of the ex-gay movement really looks like. If they really got their way, what would my world — and yours — look like? Is it really their goal to make our lives so miserable that the false choice between change or death actually looks plausible?
It appears so. We’ve often heard them frame the problem with homosexuality in precisely this false choice between death and change. This has been their recurring theme for quite some time. And we also know that they believe that accommodating the civil rights or the spiritual needs of gay people necessarily comes at the expense of those who would have you believe that there are only those two choices before us.
And so if they feel threatened whenever there are gains in the LGBT movement, then maybe they ought to feel threatened — at least insofar as upholding this false message is concerned. Because tragically, too many LGBT kids and adults have bought into that false choice, and some have chosen to take their own lives when they discover the “change” that they were promised was not forthcoming.
We can agree to disagree when it comes to religious doctrine or even political positions. But when it comes to suggesting that there are only two ways to deal with one’s sexuality, there can be no agreement. The message of “change or die” must itself die. Better that than another struggling LGBT kid or adult.
Alan Chambers’ Death or Change
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.