April 8th, 2009
In their delightfully campy ad currently running in several states, the National Organization for Marriage presents a spokesperson, Damon Owens. He tells us that “A rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color are coming together in love to protect marriage”, but he tells us nothing about himself.
And other than presenting his name with “National Organization for Marriage” underneath, we know nothing about his position or affiliation. He’s not listed on the NOM website as being on their lily-white staff or a member of their Board of Directors. In fact, a search on their website for “Damon” yields no hits at all.
Who then is this mysterious Mr. Owens?
Well an internet search reveals a bit about Damon Owens and his unique perspectives on marriage. An undated bio on the website of the National Black Catholic Congress tells us:
Damon Clarke Owens lives in West Orange, NJ with his wife Melanie and their five daughters. He is the Director of Natural Family Planning for the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ and the founder of New Jersey Natural Family Planning. He speaks nationally on marriage, chastity, Theology of the Body, and Theology of the Family. [more on that later]
And we also find that Damon Owens is a devotee of the spirituality of St. Josemaria, better known as the Opus Dei. A secretive Catholic organization mostly unknown before being dramatized as the fictional villains of The Da Vinci Code, the Opus Dei is a group that believes in the sanctity of good works (perhaps best defined by the advancement of Roman Catholic doctrine). The Opus Dei is also known for the far-right political associations of its members.
Perhaps the most controversial practice of the Opus Dei is Mortification, self-inflicted pain intended as a gift or sacrifice to God. This may include the use of a celice, a metal chain with inward pointing barbs, or other discomforts. Mortification is practiced primarily among the celibate, about 30% of Opus Dei followers.
Owens is not, however, among the celibate. In fact, he goes in the opposite direction. As indicated in his bio, Owens is a practitioner and teacher of the Theology of The Body.
The Theology of the Body loosely refers to Pope John Paul II’s teachings about Catholic doctrine and how it applies to sexuality and family. But to Protestant ears such as mine, it seems to go much further than matters of behavior and spiritual conviction.
I hesitate to state with certainty, but it appears that the Theology of the Body hints, at least, that one knows God – or perhaps Christ’s relationship with the Church – through sexual complimentarity with the opposite sex. Because this seems startlingly like the beliefs of a fertility cult, I may perhaps be overstating their views.
[Jim Burroway provides additional context for understanding the Theology of the Body and, while foreign to my religious experience, it does appear to be well within Catholic orthodoxy. ]
In any case, Owens is hardly representative of “people from every creed”. Rather, he is affiliated with some rather extreme offshoots of the Catholic Church, and his beliefs about marriage are far from mainstream Christianity, much less the American populace.
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.
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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.
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