August 9, 2012 | by WBadmin
It’s impossible to ‘pray the gay away’

By TIMOTHY HASKELL

Are you looking to leave homosexuality? Such a question greets individuals who encounter advertisements from the infamous organization Exodus International. Such a question seems to suggest that homosexuality is nothing more than a location, and it is a mutable circumstance. Indeed, Exodus has long argued that through hard work and copious prayer, an individual can be restored to a lifestyle that is “normal,” and which, here is the important part, will lead to the eternal bliss and happiness that heaven and Jesus have to offer.

Perhaps it is the fact that I am a proud gay man in my 30s, or quite possibly it is the fact that I am a logical, thoughtful and reflective person, but the dogma of Exodus International has always deeply perplexed me.

Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, recently went on record stating that the goals of his organization are misguided. Chambers commented that: “We’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else.” This statement—though obvious to anyone with a modicum of knowledge regarding the current cultural climate—is a remarkable moment for an organization that has devoted itself to telling people from all walks of life that they can, must, and have to “change” to be in compliance with supposed biblical mandates.  Chambers has said what many of us (gay and straight) have long known: Christianity, in virtually all forms but particularly in Catholicism, has a chronic compulsion to focus on ridding the world of homosexuals, and has an equally chronic blindness toward redressing other significant issues that plague our world.

I have been privy to many occasions where a well-rehearsed “man of the cloth” has espoused all the evils of homosexuality in front of an audience who seem all too ready to break into a chorus of “We’ve got trouble, right here in River City.” On the rare occasions that I do attend Mass — since the Catholic Church’s unhealthy fixation with damning homosexuality has caused me to turn my back on my church and most of its leaders (many of whom are closeted gay men) — I am always surprised that the discussion of other sins is non-existent. Those who hold prestigious positions in religious institutions, and who have direct access to influencing religious policy, have lost sight of the fact that there are a lot of unaddressed grievances that get lost in the nebulous talking points associated with the supposed sin of homosexuality.

In fact, I have often wondered why churches could not take the time to focus on a broad range of issues that need immediate rectification. Where are fervent religious organizations when there are issues associated with alcoholism and drug addiction, achievement gaps in schools because of funding issues, and how about we work on the largest group of people who need a talking to — the heterosexuals who live together, support each other in sickness and in health, and, most likely have sex together outside of wedlock. I can see the new Exodus advertisement posters now: “Are you looking to leave your sinful heterosexuality?”

Chambers has opened the proverbial “can of worms” for all religious organizations to consider. The question now: will organizations, churches, groups, and the clergy take this bait? Twenty-first century America faces a sea of both literal and figurative troubles; however, ideological fanatics continue to waste precious amounts of time and energy on a single issue.

Indeed, progress has been made. In my lifetime, I have seen this country evolve from a president who refused to utter the acronym AIDS to a president, who, from the White House, took the opportunity to explain to the American public that his opinions on gay marriage had evolved such that he was now in favor of these unions.

As a college professor, I see the numerous struggles that students often encounter when grappling with the complex issues associated with sexuality. More importantly, as the adviser to my school’s LGBT group, I hear directly from students about the challenges that continue to plague LGBT individuals. People may be weary of hearing about bullying, but this does not mean that circumstances have become any more tolerable for those who are unfairly targeted for ridicule by strangers, classroom peers, or worst of all, family members.

There will, no doubt, remain serious disagreements from the ubiquitous anti-gay cabal that exists in this country; however, in the wake of Alan Chambers’ comments, perhaps some Americans will begin to adopt the cliché “live and let live” as their new mantra. The largest “pray the gay away” organization has now openly acknowledged that “change” is impossible. A man or woman who is entirely homosexual will stay that way. Homosexuals are the people they were meant to be, and that is absolutely OK.

Timothy Haskell is an assistant professor of English at Northwestern Connecticut Community College.

9 Comments
  • Mr. Haskel, you are completely absolutely clueless in regard to the power of Christ that has changed homosexuals and other sexual deviants into the glorious image that God intended all of us to be. No do you have any possible idea what the true Body of Christ (the true Church) actually teaches and proclaims and how it ministers to all sorts of people with all sorts of problems. And, no, God did NOT make the homosexual, thief, adulterer and so on. Satan and sin did.

    Pastor Peter Macinta

    • At what “church” are you a pastor, Pastor Macinta?

    • Yea, seems like god only created self righteous jerks. Maybe a gay man or woman will marry one of your kids, just to fit in?

    • Pete…you’re living in the past… you are enraged, because you are threatened, time to shed your skin and get current. Heterosexism= pathological belief that everyone is and can only be heterosexual… you sir are a disgrace to your profession… another bigot in 2012 ? Power of Christ crap…. yaaawwwwwn. We are not living in loin clothes and biblical times… time to put down your stones and stop the hatred… God is love, you are expressing hate and far removed from the authentic, altruistic expression of what Christ’s love is about. You lack the integrity and grace that is love… you act from a self serving, overinflated ego, which is an abuse of your power and responsibility. News flash… read the article again… there is no debate..its over, so you can let go now… it’s gonna be ok. Homosexuality is a genetically natural, beautiful biological expression of love and human diversity…. I know it must be hard to accept the cultural, evolutionary paradigm shift that dismisses everything you have rigidly held onto and stood for, for so long… its hard to admit what you formally thought was right is unquestionably wrong…based on prehistoric, oppressive, wildly outdated teachings. The wall that divided east/west Germany came down in 1989 (sadly it took that long), now it’s your turn, take down your wall… no one will think less of you anymore, in fact they will respect you for it… greatly. Homosexuality is the most natural, biologically handsome and loving form of physical intimacy a man can experience when deeply in love with another man. Signed: Homosexually not yours, Brandon. (for my husband and the love of my life….I love you Joshua)

  • Prof. Timothy Haskell

    Pastor Macinta,

    Please use my title, as I gladly use yours. Also, why would someone of your “sacred” status be trolling around a reputable gay news website? Do you have something to share, Pastor? I think so :) In any case, my name is spelled with two ll”s, please don’t let all of your ignorance shine through. Work on the spelling my dear sir. TJH

  • Mr. Macinta, you are completely and absolutely clueless in regard to the powerlessness of Satan. You should know from Scripture that He is a liar and the father of all lies. Everything that exists was made by God, and nothing exists except that He made it. Satan can only lie to us, but reality can only tell us the truth. Reality teaches us that gays are born gay. You believe that Satan lie is true and that he has real power to create and change things. That is the definition of Satanism! God did not make you a Satanist. Neither did Satan. You believed a lie, you do not love others unless it is easy, and you are alienated from people whom God created. These are great sins. The power of Christ can transform you and other spiritual deviants and can set your feet on Jesus’ path. He alone is Truth and Life. He commands you to love, and He commands you to be reconciled to us. You can be transformed into the glorious image that God intended us all to be.

    Oh, I’m a pastor, too.

    • Pete…you’re living in the past… you are enraged, because you are threatened, time to shed your skin and get current. Heterosexism= pathological belief that everyone can only be heterosexual… you sir are a disgrace to your profession… another bigot in 2012 ? Power of Christ crap…. yaaawwwwwn. We are not living in loin clothes and biblical times… time to put down your stones and stop the hatred… God is love, you are expressing hate and far removed from the authentic, altruistic expression of what that is about. You lack the integrity and grace that is love… you act from a self serving, overinflated ego, which is an abuse of your power and responsibility. News flash… read the article again… there is no debate..its over, so you can let go now… it’s gonna be ok. Homosexuality is a genetically natural, beautiful biological expression of love and human diversity…. I know it must be hard to accept the cultural, evolutionary paradigm shift that dismisses everything you have rigidly held onto and stood for, for so long… its hard to admit what you formally thought was right is unquestionably wrong…based on prehistoric, oppressive, wildly outdated teachings. The wall that divided east/west Germany came down 1989 (sadly it took that long), now it’s your turn, take down your wall… no one will think less of you anymore, in fact they will respect you for it… greatly. Homosexuality is the most natural, biologically handsome and loving form of physical intimacy a man can experience when deeply in love with another man. Signed: Homosexually not yours, Brandon. (for my husband and the love of my life….I love you Joshua)

      • Timothy J. Haskell

        Thank you, Brandon, for adding some sanity to the discussion of my article. I truly appreciate your reasoning and comments to our friends who seem deeply conflicted over the power of productive human thought. Best wishes to you, Timothy J. Haskell (Matt’s husband) :)

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