June 21st, 2013
In response to the announcement that Exodus will cease to exist and will be replaced with an organization that will “come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities”, Mark Yarhouse (co-author of the Jones and Yarhouse study on religiously mediated orientation change) had this to say,
When I think about what may be interesting in the years to come is this: Is there is room in a diverse and pluralistic culture for a Christian ministry to retain its beliefs and values about sexuality and marriage while moving away from the expectation of change (at least in the form of reparative therapy)? … A ministry would then have to ask: Is there an audience for that kind of ministry when many people (most?) who come to a ministry want the very change held out as normative in reparative therapy? All indications are that the message will be that of Christlikeness (or what Christian refer to as sanctification), and, I would guess, that the focus on sanctification will be independent of the question of whether attractions change.
Yarhouse is correct in noting that if a ministry seeks to encourage a life in accordance with one’s faith, then the question of whether one’s orientation changes is irrelevant. Whether same-sex attracted, opposite-sex attracted or possessed of little sexual attraction at all, we each choose how we express our sexuality.
But that isn’t really a revelation. Other than to the wackadoodles who (to comport with their own political and religious demands on society) insist that Christian doctrine demands that one make impossible changes, this is intuitive.
But Yarhouse does raise the one question that no one seems to have pondered: is there an audience for this message?
I believe that there is value in providing a safe haven for conservative Christians who are negotiating their sexuality. Those who are as yet uncertain – or even those who have concluded that they want a life of celibacy – can benefit from fellowship with others who share their experiences and values. And it goes without saying that many a conservative church needs to hear that their rejection of their gay and lesbian youth is an affront to Christ.
But does anyone want it?
Will the young conservative Christian man who discovers his own attractions seek out a support group that encourages celibacy? Or will he desperately look for a cure, a solution, a way that lets him be like his brothers? The old Exodus would have an appeal to him, but will the post-Exodus group?
And will the youth pastor confronted with a young woman in his church who discovers that her crushes on other girls is not a passing phase have any use for counsel that advises him to accept and support her and that she’s not going to ever fit the church’s presumptions? Or will he be drawn to a group that says, “you don’t have to mellow your rhetoric, she’s broken and we can fix her”? I suspect that the latter is less of a challenge to him than the former.
I think that the post-Exodus group has something to say to the Christian community. But I think Mark Yarhouse’s question is a good one, Is there anyone who wants to hear it?
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.