Friday, February 23, 2007

Don't be gay, Spark!


A billboard advertising the Phoenix conference (Photo Credit: Daniel Greene)


Yay. Phoenix was lucky enough to host the latest "gay conversion" conference recently, Love Won Out, sponsored by ... you guessed it, Focus on the Family. Now, it would be way too easy to make fun of them for having a conference like this. But just because something is easy doesn't mean we shouldn't do it anyway.

I feel a South Park episode coming on:
Stan: Now, don't be gay! Don't be gay, Spark! Don't be gay!


Mr. Garrison: Gay people, well, gay people are EVIL, evil right down to their cold black hearts which pump not blood like yours or mine, but rather a thick, vomitous oil that oozes through their rotten veins and clots in their pea-sized brains which becomes the cause of their Nazi-esque patterns of violent behavior. Do you understand?

Jesus: A lot of people have asked for my position on homosexuality, and I would like to set the record straight, once and for all.
Voice-over: We interrupt Jesus and Pals for this commercial break!

I heard about the conference on our local NPR affiliate. In addition to the conference, it was announced that Pastor Ted, Ted Haggard, was thinking of relocating to Phoenix after his successful "conversion".

Those associated with the conference seem to be taking great pains to stress that you can't force someone to change and that is needs to be a personal choice to change. But the immersion type therapy that Haggard went through after falling from grace tells me something different. If you listen to the NPR broadcast, you hear a California family interviewed. They are evangelical and they have a 16 year old gay son. They see the conference as an opportunity for him to see God's way. They obviously feel something is wrong with him or they wouldn't have brought him. He, rightly so, doesn't feel there is anything wrong with himself. Who would you say has the healthier attitude? Homosexuality isn't something to be cured. Do you see the gay community having conferences with seminars to help cure heterosexuals?

For a spirited discussion on religion and homosexuality, check out Sadie's recent Killer Post series.

15 comments:

Sadie Lou said...

Hmmm...
It's hard for me to say how I feel about this. Seriously. It bothers me on so many different levels.
I need to think before I make a comment that I almost typed out but then retracted. Maybe I'll be back to put it down and maybe I won't.
:)Thanks for the plug, friend.

dbackdad said...

No prob. You deserve the props.

I'm not trying to sway people one way or another and that is why I linked to your discussion. I feel "retraining" is wrong but I know a lot of Christians look at it a little different, as is their right. I just would be very suprised to find someone who is not a Christian (or Jew or Muslim) that believes it is appropriate to make people believe there is something wrong with them for the way they were born. It is not a "lifestyle choice". No one would willingly subject themselves to the ridicule that our society heaps on them. People are gay or they are not. It's not like dying your hair blond.

Sadie Lou said...

I can say that there are Christians who are gay--because they just ARE--and they just don't practice a homosexual lifestyle.
They take a life of celebacy.
Which really makes me sad. I mean, I see why they don't act on their homosexual tendancies, because the Bible says that it's a sin but I don't understand why God would deny them the affections of another human being!
I suppose there are single people that stay single their whole lives and become celebate (like nuns and stuff) but they CHOSE to be celebate. I don't see how gay people have a choice. They have to stop having sex or they have to try and turn off their feeling for the same sex and sleep with the opposite sex--which we know doesn't work.
I'm confused. It's the one sin that has me baffled.

dbackdad said...

Sadie, that's what I dig about you. You're not afraid to say you're "confused". Christian or not, life should be about the search for some kind of truth. I know I don't know everything. Everyday I discover something new I don't know. But, I keep trying. That's all that any of us can hope for.

Laura said...

This kind of stuff really, really bothers me. I just don't see how a 'loving' god would allow to be created, people who, in order to fulfil their happiness and love, must 'sin' to do it. That doesn't sound compassionate to me. That' sounds downright sadistic. So either homosexuality isn't a sin or god is a real jerk.

Sadie Lou said...

Laura--
But you can apply that reasoning to a lot of individual situations. I'm sure there are people who grow up in homes where they were abused emotionally/physically and then they grow up to be abusers or to be abused by other people that take advantage of them and then they die never knowing real, natural, healthy love. Is God to blame for those circumstances or is mankind just being allowed to hurt each other for a greater purpose?
I believe the latter because saying there isn't a God REALLY bothers me--how can some people have such a rotten time here on earth and then die with no hope for something better beyond this life?

dback--
and I thanks you and my other blog buddies for constantly challenging me and forcing me to question things.
*smile*

josh said...

A huge important point:

Christianity is not a monolith. There are huge differences between sects and the generic term 'christian' used by many generally (in america) refers to evangelical christians, who are very different from many other types of christians.

"I see why they don't act on their homosexual tendancies, because the Bible says that it's a sin"

The bible says lots of stuff is a sin. an example. And the issue of homosexuality in the bible is open to a great deal of interpretation. So what you see as the bibles blanket condemnation of gays is actually one sects interpretation of the bible.

I heard the tail end of the NPR thing, and it was actually much better than I thought it would be. Both parents came off sounding like they really wanted their son to be straight, but they were going to love him regardless.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie asked: is mankind just being allowed to hurt each other for a greater purpose?

With all the suffering that has happened throught human history it must be one *heck* of a purpose!

Sadie also asked: how can some people have such a rotten time here on earth and then die with no hope for something better beyond this life?

Erm, quite easily actually....

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Sadie said: "Is God to blame for those circumstances or is mankind just being allowed to hurt each other for a greater purpose?"

These are two different examples. I'm not talking about circumstances of one's life such as hurt, or violence, or disease - things that occur over the course of one's life. People who experience violence or disease are still, by the rules of Christianity, able to reap the benefits of heaven and eternal life. They are able to be saved, regardless of their suffering.

What I'm talking about (and you agreed in a previous post on your site) about the way someone is born. If people are born gay, that means the only way they can find true love and happiness is to give up being saved. In effect, that means God created a whole subset of truly un-savable people - unless they deny who they are, deny themselves true love, and live an unfulfilled life. THAT is what I mean about God being cruel. I'm not talking about God having a hand in every single social interaction between people, but if you believe that God allows to be created, people who are born gay, AND that you believe homosexuality is a sin, then you also believe in a God that revels in the suffering of homosexuals.

Sadie Lou said...

Laura--but the thing with homosexuality and the conundrum (sp) it obviously presents, can equally be applied to people born with other problems. Let's say mental retardation. Are those people "unsavable"? Can they make a real, concrete choice to follow God and live the life of a Christian? I have a cousin that is mentally retarded and she was raised in church but she has a very skewed vision when it comes to doctrine and spirituality. She doesn't read the bible for herself and she just pretty digests whatever people tell her.
She's in a pretty weird Christian cultish church right now and God only know what messed up crap these people feed her on a weekly basis. I shudder to think.
But this was her born condition! She can't think real well for herself.
Is she unsavable?
The answer is no. God is capable of anything and I have faith that God isn't done with her. The same as a homosexual.
I believe God has a plan for their lives--I just can't figure it out and I don't know the reasoning behind it. Maybe he'll enlighten me someday.

Laura said...

Sadie said "But this was her born condition! She can't think real well for herself. Is she unsavable?"

If you take the interpretation of the Bible that everyone must make a conscious choice to follow God, then by that rationale, YES, she is unsavable.

You can't have it both ways. If the word of God is final, literal, and absolute, then that is the way it is. If, on the other hand, the scriptures are open for interpretation and full of allegory and symbolism- then it's not so absolute. But then it wouldn't be the literal word.

dbackdad said...

Josh said, "I heard the tail end of the NPR thing, and it was actually much better than I thought it would be. Both parents came off sounding like they really wanted their son to be straight, but they were going to love him regardless. " -- I agree. I didn't get the feeling that they hated him or were ashamed.

Sadie Lou said...

I just wanted to give you a head's up for my next post. I'm really excited about it. It's from an article I read where Richard Dawkins debated a scientist/Christian on evolution. It was an AWESOME read and I can't wait for all of you guys to weigh in.

greatwhitebear said...

I can't wait for the south park episode!