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.