26 October 2006

Authors Of Confusion (Part One)

Open Forum: Your Favorite "Ex-Gay" Blogs
Tell us about "ex-Gay" blogs that dare to think outside the box of the political religious Right.

Open Forum: Name Your Favorite "Ex-Gay"
or Former "Ex-Gay" Music, Books and Movies
What should Ex-Gay Watch review or advertise in the future?

These topic headings appeared on the blog exgaywatch.com last week. Both were posted by blogmaster Mike Airhart. "Favorite 'ex-Gay' blogs?" "Favorite 'ex-Gay' music?" WTF? Are these the kinds of discussions you'd expect to find on a blogsite devoted to exposing the evils of the "ex-Gay" movement? They certainly aren't what I expected to find. Airhart's latest choice topics struck me as bizarre, not to mention inappropriate and potentially harmful. Of course, I had to say something about them! My initial complaint was atypically mild:

Sorry, the terms "ex-Gay" and "favorite" don't go together in my vocabulary. This issue is far too serious to be made light of.

Timothy Kincaid, another exgaywatch.com blogger, responded to my objection in a manner I found as bizarre as the topics I was objecting to:

We are not making light! We are quite serious. We believe that each individual has the right to pursue "ex-Gay" efforts if they wish . . . we are sympathetic with those who seek this goal . . . we respect those individuals that seek a life of celibacy consistent with their faith, or those who are hoping that internal attraction will change . . . blog sites that publish their thoughts, concerns, hopes, and progression are a welcome part of the XGW community . . . there are some very decent people who are either "ex-Gay" or who are voices in that community.

"The right to pursue 'ex-Gay' efforts?" "Sympathetic with those who seek this goal"? "Progression" toward "ex-Gay" status? I could hardly believe such ignorant and misleading statements would be made by a blogger who purports to be Gay-friendly. When I responded to them, I was back in full Stuffed Animal mode: Nostrils flaring, fangs bared and claws extended!  Snarl!  I let Mr. Kincaid have it with both shotgun barrels!

You won't like what I'm going to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. Without meaning to, you are distorting the truth! You are perpetuating confusion. You are adopting Fundamentalist rhetoric and lending it the aura of credibility. There is no such thing as an "ex-Gay" person!!! This is not a simple matter of semantics, and I don't care how you parse it. You are either homosexual or you aren't! You do not stop being homosexual when you, for whatever reason, decide to copulate with members of the opposite sex. You do not stop being homosexual when you practice celibacy. And, quiet as it's kept, suppressing or trying to change one's God-given sexual orientation is not a legitimate expression of anybody's faith! As a Christian, I find it offensive that you would suggest such a thing.

Don't reduce homosexuality to an ideological argument. That's playing into the religious Right's hands, too! When you talk about homosexuality, you're talking about something as inherent as one's skin or eye color. You're talking about something that's so inherent, men and women are driven to kill themselves for failure to change it. Think about that the next time you're tempted to chat casually about "favorite 'ex-Gay'" whatever. You're making light of another person's anguish, and if someone has decided to call themselves "ex-Gay," you'd best believe that anguish was involved in the decision!
 
Nobody who proclaims themselves "ex-Gay" is making a benign statement. They're making an explicitly anti-Gay statement! They are saying homosexual orientation is wrong, that it can be changed, and that it should be changed. On all three counts, a lie has been told, and those lies promote the persecution of innocent people. If these blog sites promoted themselves as "ex-Black" or "ex-Jewish", you'd immediately understand what I'm saying. Open your eyes, already! How can you make peace with another person's self-hatred? A live-and-let-live attitude with the damage bigotry leaves does nothing but perpetuate bigotry. No, we don't have to attack its misguided victims, but we don't have to take part in misguiding them, either!

Evidently, as soon as Mike Airhart and Timothy Kincaid read this post, they banned me from commenting on their blog. I didn't know that at the time. However, the more I thought about Timothy Kincaid's comments, the more troubled I felt about them. I asked my friend Dr. Jerry Maneker to take a look at the new exgaywatch.com topics, and weigh in on what I saw as fetishizing the concept of "ex-Gays". I wasn't sure what Jerry would say, but in retrospect, I should never have doubted what his position would be!

I agree with Stuffed Animal's analysis! The very title "ex-Gay" denotes to people that being Gay is not a condition, but is a choice that one can reject if one is committed to Jesus . . . the assumption behind the existence of "ex-Gays," as witnessed by much of their animus and rhetoric, is that if a person remains Gay, he or she is willfully doing so, and hence, doesn't deserve the same considerations and civil and sacramental rights as non-Gay people. I know that your motives in your approach to this topic are noble and well-intentioned. However, as I see the reality of it, the very discussion of "ex-Gay" blogs "thinking outside the box of the political religious Right" tacitly gives credence to the stereotype that being Gay is a choice . . . as most knowledgeable people recognize, such change is not only impossible, but downright undesirable! And it's the promise of the possibility and desirability of such change by "ex-Gay" blogs, ignorant and mendacious politicians, and assorted clergy that has caused untold suicides, bashings, and murders of LGBT people!

Jerry certainly has a way of getting directly to the point, doesn't he? Apparently, he does it a little too directly for some people. Upon reading his comments, Airhart and Kincaid banned him just as they did me! A third exgaywatch.com blogmaster, David Roberts, leapt into the fray with comments that were just as troubling as the ones from Timothy Kinkaid:

So what would you have us do? Always place the term in quotes like others do with the word "Gay", or just ignore the fact that people with these beliefs and motives exist at all? What would be your alternative? Mike basically asked for links to blogs of people who are unhappy being homosexual but do not necessarily buy into the religious Right's exploitation of them.

That's a lie! That's not what Mike Airhart asked for. He asked for recommendations from people of their "favorite" blogs, books, movies, etcetera, authored by "ex-Gay" folk who "think outside of box." (Incidentally, I've edited his quotes and those of other exgaywatch.com bloggers' to include just the kind of quotation marks he objects to! I categorically refuse to validate the term "ex-Gay" here at Christ, The Gay Martyr.) Roberts continued defending Airhart's dubious choice of topics with a very unusual statement:

Does it really threaten your own psyche that much to consider the possibility that someone, somewhere, could actually change? I don't suggest we recommend it, as it does appear to be the most incredible of exceptions, and the road for most appears littered with damage, but neither am I going to steadfastly ignore reality.

At this point, I had to make sure my powers of reading comprehension hadn't failed me. People changing their sexual orientation is "reality"? He thinks I'm "threatened" by this "reality"? Trying to change one's sexual orientation "appears" to be damaging? I must admit, these wacky assertions, as well as the context in which they were being made, left me momentarily speechless! Of course, even if I'd had a quick response ready, it wouldn't have been posted. A regular patron of exgaywatch.com named Randi Schimnosky logged in to answer one of David Roberts' diversionary questions:

David said: "So what would you have us do? Always place the term in quotes like others do with the word 'Gay'?" Yes, that's what I'd have you do! It allows use of the term "ex-Gay" to define this group of generally anti-Gay people while suggesting that it is not to be a meaning taken literally.

As you'll see a little later, this comment got Randi Schimnosky awarded the honor of being the third person banned from exgaywatch.com in one day. (I wonder if dude broke a record?) Granted, Jerry Maneker and I tend to come on strong, but what was so confrontational about what Randi said? Are the blogmasters' egos that fragile? Or is there a more complex motive behind their eagerness to clamp down on dissent? While I was pondering that possibility, Timothy Kincaid threw in another two cents worth of lunacy:

Personally, I am able to respect and listen to those who find the term "ex-Gay" to be offensive and who cannot tolerate the decisions of those who choose to pursue "ex-Gay" efforts. But I'm not willing to let their discomfort exclude or dismiss those persons who believe that attempts at reorientation are worth trying. This site will continue to be welcoming of both.

If this fallacy-ridden quote makes you wonder if you've stumbled into a Mad Hatter's tea party, then you know how I felt when I first saw it. Stay tuned: The insanity gets progressively worse!

"Authors Of Confusion" continues with Part Two.

25 October 2006

Authors of Confusion (Part Two)

Mike Airhart responded to Randi, Jerry and I at the same time. How did he respond? By aiming hysterical attacks at us, refusing to address the concerns Jerry and I raised, citing ridiculous justifications for a policy we never questioned, and attributing to us wild accusations we never made. Dude managed to sprinkle a little "ex-Gay" rhetoric into the mix as well:

All three of you are (1) off-topic, and (2) issuing straw man arguments . . . (you're) lying about the position of "Ex-Gay" Watch regarding the "ex-Gay identity", and all of you are acting about as bigoted as the Exodus leadership. We have explained our usage of "ex-Gay" many times. For lack of alternatives, we use "ex-Gay" without quotes because this blog would look ridiculous if we did use quotes, or if we prefaced every instance of the word with "self-identified." We do not encourage anyone to suppress their sexual orientation; we do not allow predominantly same-sex-attracted "ex-Gays" to deny that they are still homosexual; we maintain that there's nothing wrong with celibacy for those who choose it. We are an incredibly busy all-volunteer web site, and are too busy analyzing "ex-Gays" to waste hours re-defending and re-explaining ourselves ad nauseam to intolerant individuals (Gay or ex-Gay) who refuse to think outside their own boxes, or who refuse to tolerate individuals that are Gay and celibate, or that discover their sexual attractions (through no deliberate choice of their own) to be fluid.

Randi, as you have been warned and subjected to temporary bans before. I find it necessary to make your ban permanent. Stuffed Animal and Jerry, please follow our guidelines for comments to remain on-topic and free from straw man argumentation. This page and its comments will relate solely to "ex-Gay" websites that think outside the box of the religious Right and that do not necessarily claim that orientation can be changed. No further off-topic comments will be permitted on this page.

A retroactive threat, to be sure! As I noted earlier, Airhart had already initiated bans against Jerry Maneker and I by the time he posted this incoherent "defense" of his topics. I must say, I disagree with him about what constitutes wasted hours. I think it's a waste for him to presume to "analyze" the "ex-Gay" movement when it's clear that he himself is the one in need of analysis. Timothy Kincaid and David Roberts belong on the analyst's couch right beside him! Their unhinged responses to serious social concerns reveal them all to be suffering from delusions! Here's the response to Mike Airhart that I was unable to post:

How dare you equate Jerry Maneker and I to Exodus International crazies? How dare you accuse us of "straw man argumentation?" What the Hell is that supposed to mean, anyway? Which one of us erected a "straw man"? Did you think we were criticizing your topics just to be argumentative?

When did we ever suggest that (your) blog encourages people to suppress their sexual orientation, etcetera? What's bigoted about us asking you to take the issue of homosexual persecution more seriously? Since when is disagreeing with the choice of a topic "going off-topic?" Since when is it "thinking inside of a box" to say that sexual orientation is inherent? Why would you even say something so inflammatory? It sounds just like something an "ex-Gay" ideologue would say!

Heterosexist hatred and the self-hatred it produces rate something better than the frivolous treatment you're giving it with topics like "What's your favorite 'ex-Gay' blog" and "What are your favorite 'ex-Gay' books, movies, etcetera"! When I saw those fluffy headings, I couldn't believe you were for real! How much more frivolous could you get? How much more offensive could you be? How could you possibly be so naïve about the negative symbolism the term "ex-Gay" carries?

When it comes to LesBiGay issues, I am not flexible. I admit as much! I grant no quarter for "friendly" interchange of ignorance, even when the ignorance is disguised as moderation and reason. Especially not then! Maybe I could excuse your being irresponsible and naïve about "ex-Gay" rhetoric, but I can't, and won't, excuse your being unrepentant of your irresponsible behavior! I don't know what your agenda is, Mike, but reality sure doesn't seem to figure into it. Neither does Gay liberation!

What happens when you sow seeds of confusion? Naturally, you confuse people! An anonymous poster tried in vain to clarify matters:

I am confused. Are there really "a few 'ex-Gays' and 'ex-Gay blogs'" that disagree with the "change is possible" message? If they don't think change is possible, how would they consider themselves "ex-Gay"? Am I missing something?

David Roberts' response confirmed that the Mad Tea Party was still in full swing:

Some "ex-Gays" are open to the idea of celibacy as a way of satisfying their desire, regardless of motivation, to live a life without intimate same-sex relationships. These people often come under the "ex-Gay" banner . . . a Gay blogger who believes in celibacy as the answer to their moral code, for instance, and therefore considers themselves "ex-Gay" would be one match to Mike's request . . .

Did you ever suspect that the terms "Gay" and "Ex-Gay" were interchangeable? Neither did I! What an edifying revelation. I'm not sure I understand the Airhart/Kincaid/Roberts mentality, but if I had to summarize their position, I'd say it amounted to this: Some of us call ourselves Gay, and some of us call ourselves "ex-Gay", but we're really all the same! Why should we get ourselves in a lather arguing about sin and morality and bigotry and discrimination? Let's all just get along with one another. Let's have fun discussing and debating one another's status! Nobody's position is necessarily right, nobody's position is necessarily wrong, and nobody, but nobody, is allowed to question the way we do things around here.

Let me rephrase what I said before: I definitely don't understand this mentality!

After Jerry Maneker and I were so vehemently discouraged from participating in it, the conversation degenerated into a meaningless "intellectual" discussion of what constitutes Gay (or "ex-Gay") identity, with occasional asides about the valid placement of quotation marks. One self-identified heterosexual male suggested that becoming "ex-Gay" is a boon to one's mental health! Last I saw, this outrageous suggestion had not been challenged.

Sure, neither you nor I would fall for such a ludicrous premise, but what about a vulnerable teenager who's struggling to understand his feelings? Ironically, the staff of exgaywatch.com would probably defend these kinds of forums on free speech grounds, but there's a difference between free speech and hate speech! Do they know the difference? Do they care if the two kinds of speech get confused on their blog?

What do these talk show-styled discussions accomplish other than promoting more confusion? More distortion? Perpetuation of harmful, false ideologies? How can blogmasters who profess to be foes of ignorance and falsehood encourage such discussions in good conscience?

exgaywatch.com bloggers boast about hosting debates with the likes of Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. They actually invite him to post on their topics so that they can match wits with him; if you don't believe me, check the blog archive. They think this kind of exchange is somehow helpful to the cause of LesBiGay equality! How could they be so foolish? You can't reason with unreasonable people, and Alan Chambers is as unreasonable as they come! Committing oneself to the eradication of LGBT identity is an unreasonable act. That's what Alan Chambers is committed to!

There's no evidence that engaging him in friendly debate has had any positive effect on his behavior. On the contrary! He still claims that conversion to heterosexuality is God's will for Lesbians and Gay men. He recently condemned celibate Gay people as sinful. He most recently went on National Public Radio to say that Gay people secretly want their quest for equality thwarted. Dude is as bad a liar and manipulator as ever, if not worse!

Airhart, Kincaid and Roberts make a grave mistake to assume they're building bridges when they dialogue with Chambers and his ilk. They're doing nothing of the kind! What they're doing is helping such people sharpen the rhetorical knives they plunge into the hearts of Lesbians and Gay men. The only bridge they're building is one that facilitates the transport of poisonous cargo!

"Ex-Gay" ideology, regardless of whether it comes from those who promote it or those who've been victimized by it, is a form of poison! My mother taught me that if a bottle has poisonous contents, I'd best handle it with care if I handle it at all! Even an "ex-Gay" blogger who "thinks outside the box of the political religious Right" is dangerous. Is he less dangerous than a stone Right Winger? Who the Hell cares?

The amount of poison in the bottle is of no consequence. What matters is that the poison is in there. It doesn't take much of it to do harm, and many questioning LGBT folk (especially young people) are ill-equipped to withstand any amount of exposure to lethal rhetoric. Hosting repeated "open forums" with religious bigots is even less of a benign act than flippant use of the word "ex-Gay". Ditto for treating "ex-Gay" bloggers and their tainted product as if they were trendy collectibles!

Mike Airhart later claimed to have rescinded his bans on comments from Randi, Jerry and I, and to explain himself, he posted this reluctant "apology":

I failed to notice that I had made this page an open forum. So the protest of "Ex-Gay" Watch's policy against using quotation marks around "ex-Gay" was allowed . . . I am sorry for acting so aggressively. I remain disappointed in our commenters for demanding politically correct labeling, for expressing intolerance toward sexual strugglers, and for seeking to suppress the fact that a few "ex-Gays" and "ex-Gay" blogs disagree with the religious Right and "change is possible" messages.

Yeah, dude is sorry. Like Osama bin Laden is sorry! He's just as unrepentantly dishonest as ever. Sure, he "forgot" that the forum was supposed to be open. I guess he also "forgot" that no protest against the use of quotation marks was ever mounted in that forum! How asinine! Talk about "straw man argumentation!"

What are we to think of Gay advocacy that resorts to diversionary rhetoric and outright lies when challenged on its tactics? What are we to think of "friends" whose public statements jibe so closely with "ex-Gay" philosophy? And what does it really mean to be accused of "political correctness?" I've been seriously thinking about what causes this accusation to be thrown at people.

If you object to rude behavior, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to racist jokes and music, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to language and humor that demeans women, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to the demonization of non-Christian religions, you're guilty of "political correctness".

If you object to the vilification of LGBT people by religious leaders, you're guilty of "political correctness". If you object to the scapegoating of poor people, you're guilty of "political correctness". Could it be that the word "political" is now being substituted for the word "moral"? I think it's not only possible but probable! I've used the phrase "politically correct" in the past. May God punish me if I ever use it again!

It's always a big letdown to discover that those who claim to be supporters of LesBiGay equality have an agenda that suggests otherwise (see my previous post, "Bad Tree, Bad Fruit"). The exgaywatch.com agenda includes providing a free platform for anti-Gay ideologues (as if they really needed another one)! There's no doubt about it; don't the blogmasters say as much in the quotes I've provided here?

I'd prefer to believe they're just a bit twisted in their thought processes, but I have an uncomfortable suspicion that there may be a sinister method to their madness. I can't say for sure. However, what I am sure about is that exgaywatch.com is not a safe space for Lesbians and Gay men! I used to think it was, but no longer.

Christ, The Gay Martyr is and will always be a safe space. This blog is a virtual altar to the Lord, and I wouldn't be honoring the Lord if I allowed His altar to be polluted with blood offerings to false doctrine. I'll never pander to people who want to drive my kind off the face of God's Earth! I'm not going to encourage my LGBT brethren to join hands with them and sing "We Are The World" when I know damn well they don't want us in the world!

Today, they try to pray us out of existence, and counsel us out of existence, and legislate us out of existence. What will they try tomorrow, when they realize these methods aren't effective? I have a fairly good idea of what they'll try. It'll be something similar to what they tried sixty years ago in places called Dachau, Buchenwald and Auschwitz!

It will do us all well to remember that many of the innocents who died in those places were lured to them by authors of confusion. Nazi sympathizers promised them they'd be taken to safety if they'd just co-operate and climb quietly into those nice box cars. Are some of the bloggers at exgaywatch.com the modern embodiment of Nazi sympathizers?

If any of them read those last statements of mine, they'll undoubtedly take offense. I'm sure I don't care! In fact, I hope they do take offense! Then they'll know how Jerry Maneker and I felt about being compared to the leadership of Exodus International!

However, I'm not trying to be deliberately nasty, like Mike Airhart was. I'm dead serious about what I'm saying. Airhart and his cohorts have shown themselves to be unreasonable people, so I'm not about to "waste hours" trying to reason with them anymore. If I can shock them into thinking more responsibly about what they're doing, then may God help me do so. If I can't, then may God help me warn as many vulnerable people away from their blog site as possible!

"Authors of Confusion" concludes with Part Three.

18 October 2006

Preachers In Your Pants

MATTHEW 19: 16-19
Then someone came to (Jesus Christ) and said: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have Eternal Life?” And He said to him . . . “If you wish to enter into Life, keep the Commandments.” He said to Him: “Which ones?” And Jesus said: “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother. Also, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In this very important passage, the Messiah lists the laws of conduct that apply to Christians. Notice that only once does he allude to sexual conduct. This is one of the key differences between God's Old Covenant with humanity and His New Covenant. Levitican law was extremely strict in regard to sexual practice, but with the coming of the Savior, the Israelites were granted increased sexual freedom. Unfortunately, human lawgivers quickly decided that they preferred the Old Covenant to the New, at least where sexuality was concerned!

There are certainly legitimate reasons for a society to want to regulate sexual activity. Do we want adults to use children for their sexual gratification? No, and for that reason, we have laws against pedophilia. Do we want adults to be forced into sexual intercourse against their will? No, and for that reason, we have laws against rape. Do we want adults having public sex in full view of children and elderly people? No, and for that reason, we have indecency laws. These regulations make perfect sense. They're designed to guard against people being victimized.

Religious institutions go quite a bit farther in regulating sexual activity. Some of their regulations serve the same purpose as civil law, such as prohibitions against adultery; infidelity, after all, can be devastating to individuals and to their families. However, most of the sexual docrines that churches, mosques and synagogues preach serve no legitimate purpose! They're simply intrusive. They dictate what gender of person adults can have sexual relations with. They dictate which adult partner is dominant in a sexual relationship. Sometimes, they dictate the ethnic/racial background of people their members marry or date. Some dictate how often adults should have sex. Some even dictate which sexual positions are appropriate for adults to assume!

This kind of regulation goes too far! It's inappropriate. Ministers, imams and rabbis cite Scriptural justification for regulating sex in this way, but it doesn't make sense! If they call themselves spiritual leaders and people come to them seeking spiritual guidance, then why are they so intensely concerned with carnal things?

You could call it prurient interest disguised as doctrine. I call it sexual fascism, a method of controlling and oppressing people by means of their faith. Yet it has nothing to do with faith in God. I can't speak for people of other religions, but I can and do say that this unseemly preoccupation with sex is a perversion of Christianity. The Holy Trinity is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It's not the bed, the penis, and the vagina!

Yet many "Christian" preachers seem to believe otherwise. One of them is Washington DC-based Bishop Eddie Long, who recently used his pulpit to proclaim the moral superiority of all heterosexual men, even while he excoriated "f*ggots." Yes, that's the word he used. In church! And he's not the only one to have done so.

I have another name for the unwarranted blending of spirituality and carnality: "Dirtylegs" religion! In other words, defiled religion. When Jesus Christ's message of salvation gets reduced to the equivalent of a sex manual like How To Please Your Husband (and it does get reduced to that, more often than you'd suspect), spiritual defilement occurs! The practice of "dirtylegs" religion may not be as prevalent in the world as it once was, but I'm not exaggerating when I say it's still rampant. You're sure to find its taint within the "Christian" doctrines most Fundamentalist churches preach.

Houses of worship aren't the only places where you can find "dirtylegs" religion being practiced. There are organizations whose entire existence is based on it! One of them is Exodus International, the world's largest exponent of so-called "ex-Gay" doctrine. Exodus "ministers" counsel Lesbians and Gay men to abstain from homosexual intercourse and renounce Gay identity.

At least, that's what they used to counsel. Part of Exodus International's mission has always been pressuring Gay people to marry heterosexually and engage in procreative sex. Recently, the pressure has become about as intense as it can get! In my previous post, "Homosexuality 101," I quoted an excerpt from a recent book called God's Grace and The Homosexual (sic) Next Door, written by the president of Exodus International. I brought this book to the attention of Dr. Jerry Maneker, my friend and fellow religious activist. God bless him, he had a few things to say about it! Let me now share what he said with you:

These are two quotes from this book that show just how nasty and ideologically driven these people are by not only condemning same-sex behavior, but even condemning same-sex orientation! Says Alan Chambers: "This is why I believe that it is so important to clarify that just living a celibate Gay life is just as sinful as living a sexually promiscuous one. The sin is in identifying with anything that is contrary to Christ, which homosexuality clearly is (page 218)." (This erroneous contention has been dealt with ad nauseum, and I won't bother to address it again here.) Says Mike Goeke: "Many who leave homosexuality behind are unwilling to accept that their only option is to live a life of celibacy, simply managing unwanted attractions. What they really want is a change in identity! They no longer want the Gay label attached to them (pages 69-70)." So, even a guilt-ridden Gay person who contents him/herself with celibacy as a way of coping with what he/she feels is sinful is acting just as "contrary to Christ" as is a sexually promiscuous one!

To say that Exodus leaders and their gullible, frequently guilt-ridden followers are doing indescribable damage to people . . . is obvious to any rational person who knows anything about love and sexuality! The real sickness here is that they seek to impose their own twisted views of sexuality and sexual orientation (likely projecting their revulsion concerning their own sexuality) on others, using Christianity as justification for this condemnation . . . even celibate, frequently self-loathing closet cases are made to feel guilty unless they literally change who they are, their very identities, their most primal urges.

Enforced celibacy is a sin, as seen in 1 Timothy 4:3 . . . the Roman Catholic Church departs from Scriptural admonitions to not enforce celibacy and, indeed, by doing so commits a sinful act. However, God does call some people to remain celibate, and one's obedience to that call is certainly NOT sinful! The quotes such as those of Chambers and Goeke have the effect of inculcating in others what these people undoubtedly seek to repress within themselves (with, most likely, a tremendous degree of effort) . . . they may well be seeking to doom other LGBT people to the feelings of guilt and self-loathing that they, themselves, deal with on a constant basis and seek refuge from . . . reinforcing each other in their illusion that same-sex activity, same-sex love, and even same-sex attraction is inherently sinful . . . they incessantly, and ironically, say that they have "changed" their sexual orientations due to (having come) to Christ, Who, I might add, created them Gay in the first place!

Actually, a far better case can be made that seeking to try to change one's sexual orientation (a gift given to us by God) is the real sin! Chafing under God's sovereign choices is far more sinful than is embracing what God has given us, whether or not other people (self-styled "Christians" or not) approve of our lives. Let's face it, if the people who are in Exodus really were changed, they would . . . tell people that that change came about because Jesus changed them, and if others want to change, they should ask Jesus to do the same for them. (They would) merely state that fact, write some books on the subject, and then go on with their lives. However, when Exodus and other such groups and individuals incessantly berate LGBT people; (when they) make a veritable industry of seeking to have others be "ex-Gay" like they say they are, (and) seek to inculcate guilt and self-loathing on others (a clearly un-Christian act), they are showing that they . . . are struggling with their own sexuality . . . (and) they are seeking to punish those who are very content to be who God created them to be.

So, although I don't talk about sin all that much, at least two questions must be asked: (1) What is the real sin? Embracing what God made us to be, or rejecting His choices for us and listening to others, many of whom have their own ideological, psychological, pathological, and material agendas . . . ? (2) Who is the real sinner here? The person who doesn't judge others and who loves others . . . or the person who seeks to inculcate guilt and shame . . . who (tries) to foment a climate of hate where those he or she targets are more likely to be bashed and killed . . . ?

The existence, rhetoric, and stridency of such people as (Alan) Chambers is not only decidedly un-Christian, but tells us far more about their own likely internal struggles with trying to accomplish the impossible . . . lying to themselves, as well as others, that they have changed the way God made them, and having the temerity to condemn others made in God's image . . . ! Groups such as Exodus and people who condemn LGBT people are committing grievous sins! It's the ones who have faith in and don't chafe under God's sovereign choices, and who embrace human diversity in the multifaceted tapestry created by God; those who trust God over and above seen circumstances, and over and above the ignorant, often hateful rhetoric of others . . . who show themselves to be God's own possession! It's people of such faith of whom God says (in Hebrews 11:16): "He is not ashamed . . ."

It doesn't take a genius to figure out how God must feel about organizations like Exodus International. Can't you just imagine Him bristling with rage? What incredible blasphemy! What brazen indecency! People claiming to be the messengers of Jesus Christ, but preaching an outrageous false Gospel of insertive vaginal sex! Heterosexual pimping in the name of the Lord! When Exodus spokesmen declare celibacy sinful for Lesbians and Gay men, that's what it boils down to! So this is the way to achieve Eternal Life, is it? This is what the Savior died for? This is the narrow road He encouraged us to travel?

MARK 8:33
(Jesus Christ said)"Get behind me, Satan! For you don't savor the things that come from God, (you savor) the things that come from men!"

God has no interest in getting inside the pants of Gay people! He already knows what we do in bed. He knows why we do it, too! He's the One who gave us our gift of sexuality. As long as our sexual proclivities aren't a danger to anyone, He doesn't care what they are. What God cares about is how we go about our lives, sexually and otherwise.

He cares about whether our motives are honorable. He cares about whether our hearts are true. He wants us to be respectful of our sex partners. He wants us to be respectful of ourselves. He wants us to be responsible and considerate in all our dealings with other people. He wants us to be accepting of each other instead of judgmental. He wants us to follow the example of His Son, Jesus Christ, as closely as we possibly can.

The New Covenant is still in effect! When it comes to sexual practice, I think God's attitude echoes the words to that old Jazz song Ella Fitzgerald used to sing: T'ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it!

There's nothing wrong with trying to bring Gay people to God. On the contrary, it's the right thing to do! That's what I'm trying to do. What's wrong is the way groups like Exodus International go about it: Trying to sell Divine salvation through heterosexual intercourse! It's insane! We may not be able to stop Alan Chambers and his ilk from falling off the ideological deep end, but we surely don't have to be so foolish as to go diving off after them.

If you have a legitimate sexually-related problem, there are plenty of licensed professionals who can help you overcome it. You don't have to go crawling in shame to some unqualified and unenlightened preacher who defines your problem in terms of sin. Religious "experts" on sex can leave you feeling even more ashamed! They can also leave you feeling abused and exploited; just a few weeks ago, a so-called evangelist raped a woman during a bogus ritual that was meant to "exorcise" her Lesbianism. Believe me, there are other horror stories!

Preachers have no business attempting to "treat" you. They have no business even wanting to attempt such a thing! What some of them really want to do is feign disgust while secretly getting off on the idea of you having "unnatural" sex. They're eager to condemn you, but their own impure thoughts are far more worthy of condemnation! Shame on them! Down with "dirtylegs" religion! We must begin to insist on pure Christian doctrine that separates the carnal from the spiritual.

If you're not a rapist, or an exhibitionist, or a sadist, or a hedonist, or a pedophile, or some other kind of sexual predator, there's nothing sinful about your sexuality! Don't let anybody convince you otherwise! Don't let anybody impose celibacy on you. Don't let anybody forbid you from practicing celibacy. Don't let anybody impose a specific kind of sexual practice on you, regardless of whether it's heterosexual, homosexual or pansexual. Most important, don't give anybody permission to pass judgment on your sexuality.

If, for allegedly religious reasons, someone assumes they have permission to do so, set them straight in a big damn hurry! Stand up to these Fundamentalist perverts! Tell them to stay the Hell out of your pants! Remind them that if they were truly representing Jesus Christ, they would keep their religious instruction focused on souls instead of on genitalia. This sexually and spiritually confused world of ours would be in a lot better shape if they did!

JOHN 13: 34-5
(Jesus Christ said)“I give you a new Commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Visit Dr. Jerry Maneker's Christian LBBT Rights weblog:

12 October 2006

Homosexuality 101 (Part One)

“You know, a great place to start when talking about homosexuality is to define the word. What is homosexuality?”

This is the way a televangelist named David Kyle Foster recently kicked off his new Christian Television Network talk show. It’s a testimonial outlet for “ex-Gay” people called “Pure Passion.” This pathetic excuse for reality television is produced by a front organization for Exodus International, the world’s largest “Christian” ministry devoted to “curing” Lesbians and Gay men. You can be sure that “Pure Passion” is one show that’ll never get programmed on my TiVo!

Dr. Foster’s definition of homosexuality is much too ignorant to be reproduced here; I have no desire to insult your intelligence, or try my own patience! However, I think his idea about defining homosexuality is a very good one.

So many people, regardless of sexual orientation, seem to have no idea what they’re talking about when they use the word. Don't know about you, but I’m tired of hearing my identity misrepresented all over the media! I think it’s time for me to put my own definition out there. Are you in the mood for a lecture? I hope you are, because if you’re reading this post, you’ve just enrolled in Homosexuality 101.

I’d like to start by telling you what homosexuality is not. Homosexuality is not sin. Homosexuality is not unnatural. Homosexuality is not bestiality. Homosexuality is not pedophilia.

Homosexuality is not pederasty. Homosexuality is not promiscuity. Homosexuality is not heresy. Homosexuality is not depravity.

Homosexuality is not conspiracy. Homosexuality is not sexual activity in public. Homosexuality is not atheism. Homosexuality is not Satanism. Homosexuality is not a mental illness. Homosexuality is not a form of sexual harassment.

Homosexuality is not like theft. Homosexuality is not like perjury. Homosexuality is not like pyromania. Homosexuality is not like kleptomania.

Homosexuality does not cause infidelity. Homosexuality is not like and does not cause alcoholism. Homosexuality is not like and does not cause drug abuse. Homosexuality is not the cause of HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases. Homosexuality is not the equivalent of murder.

Are you following me? Let’s continue, then. You cannot be recruited into homosexuality. You cannot be converted to homosexuality. Rape and other forms of molestation cannot make you homosexual. You cannot choose to be homosexual. Neither can you choose not to be homosexual.

Homosexuality does not float through the air or fester on drinking glass rims and toilet seats like bacteria! Homosexuality cannot be transmitted through touch. Homosexuality will not “rub off” on you through friendship, or cohabitation, or close association.

Having homosexual relatives isn’t enough to make you homosexual. Having homoerotic dreams isn’t enough to make you homosexual. If you have one or even several erotic encounters with a person of the same gender, that’s not enough to make you homosexual, either! Sometimes even partnering sexually with a person of the same gender isn’t enough to make you homosexual (just ask Ellen DeGeneres’s ex-girlfriend Anne Heche)!

Please take notes if you haven’t started to do so already. The Oxford Modern English Dictionary defines the word “homosexual” this way:

Feeling or involving sexual attraction to persons of the same sex (or) concerning homosexual relations or people.

I wouldn’t call this an inaccurate definition, but I daresay it’s rather superficial. My description of this term has a bit more depth. I define a homosexual man or woman (and in my opinion, the word should always be used as an adjective, never as a noun) as someone who is emotionally and sexually attracted exclusively to persons of the same (physical) gender. If the attraction isn't exclusive, then the person is Pansexual. There’s more to my definition, as you already know if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, but for the purposes of this essay, I’m going to try to keep it simple.

Towards that end, I’m going to draw a distinction between homosexual conduct and homosexual status. People constantly talk about them as if they were the same thing, but they’re not. Conduct is what you do; status is what you are. Now, pay attention, because this next part is very important: If you’ve ever felt physical attraction to someone of the opposite gender, you are not homosexual! If you can’t imagine yourself sexually partnered with someone of the same gender, you are not homosexual! If you believe in your heart that homosexuality is only about sex, you are not homosexual!

Those who claim to be homosexual aren’t always credible. I know that statement seems to support “ex-Gay” doctrine, but it’s the truth! Some people do claim homosexual status falsely. Others deny being homosexual, but are. Confused yet? Wait, it gets worse! What people actually do sexually is sometimes as misleading as what they say they do. You can’t always know if a person is homosexual by knowing who that person is married to and/or or sleeping with. Hard as it may be to believe, men and women of all sexual orientations have occasion to engage in sexual activity that’s unnatural to them.

Sometimes it's because they’re addicted to sex. Sometimes it’s because they engage in sex for money. Sometimes it’s because they indulge in situational sex, as often happens in prison settings. Sometimes it’s because they’re "experimenting" with their sexuality. Sometimes it’s because they’re hiding their sexuality. Sometimes, it’s because they’re just plain confused!

What makes some people confused about their sexuality? What makes others hide their sexual orientation? I’m no authority on the subject, but I’d be willing to bet that the manner in which sexuality is talked about (or not) and taught (or not) has a lot to do with it. In most places in the world, the teaching of sex education is deliberately corrupted! It’s loaded down with sexism, heterosexism, racism and other kinds of bias, as well as with stigma, shame and fear. Sex education isn’t taught at all in many parts of the world (including large parts of the United States)!!!

As a result of this persistent corrupting and withholding of important health information, some people feel trapped between what they want to do sexually and what they’re expected to do. There are those who deny knowing what they want, because they’re afraid of their feelings. Others know, but feel ashamed of themselves every time they have sex. Still others rebel against expectations, but instead of doing what they truly find satisfying, they use sexuality to fill emotional voids and/or make socio-political statements.

Here's an example of the latter situation: I‘ll never forget reading a blog comment left by a lady who identified herself as a “radical d*ke.” She said, in all seriousness, “I prefer men, but because I’m a committed feminist, I only sleep with women“. Say what?  This kind of absurd behavior only leads to more confusion! Frankly, it amazes me that a great many more people aren’t confused about their sexuality than are.

"Homosexuality 101" continues with Part Two.

11 October 2006

Homosexuality 101 (Part Two)

The teaching and discussion of homosexuality in particular is heavily laden with stigma, shame and fear. The worst thing about it is the way many Lesbians and Gay men internalize these feelings.

Some of us buy into the myth that a “homosexual lifestyle” exists which necessarily involves drug abuse, alcoholism and promiscuity. “Ex-Gay” organizations like Exodus International exploit this idea ruthlessly! Some of us buy into the myth that, because we’re Gay, we’re at greater risk of committing sex crimes like pederasty and pedophilia. This canard gets trotted out whenever a clergyman or elected official is caught victimizing young boys.

Some of us buy into the myth that risky sexual behavior and sex in public is part of “Gay culture.” This is hedonism in disguise! Some Lesbians buy into the myth that their butch/femme unions must needs reflect the worst aspects of gender role-playing, such as spousal abuse. This is self-hatred in disguise!

Many Gay men buy into the myth that they’re incapable of maintaining long-term, monogamous relationships. This is nothing but a silly attempt to blame immaturity on sexual orientation. A truly appalling number of us buy into the myth that we can “empower” ourselves by embracing the sexual slurs our enemies sling at us. I could go on, but you surely get the idea by now.

Gay people are guilty of allowing those who hate us to define who we are! We seem only too eager to swallow the lies they force down our throats. It’s time for us to step out from behind the lies! We’re none of these awful things we’re told we are. We’re not potential predators. We’re not inherently immoral. We’re not uncontrollably sexual. We’re not psychologically twisted. And we’re so much more than who we desire to sleep with!

Those of us who choose not to express our sexuality are as homosexual as those of us who do. Mere sexual classification isn't sufficent to describe who and what we are. We enrich the fields of music, literature, visual and performing art with our presence in them. We make many other valuable contributions to society. However, the widespread practice of heterosexual supremacy makes it hard for us to contribute freely.

All too frequently, superstition and religious bias govern how society treats us. If you want to know exactly how bad we’ve been treated over time, check out a web page called A History of Homophobia . . .


. . . and British scholar Rictor Norton will fill you in on the grisly details. Now, as in centuries past, our very existence is condemned. We are the most hated minority group in the world, because we are hated all over the world! We can’t escape persecution anywhere, not even in our own ethnic communities. Bigotry assaults many of us from inside our own families. We’re attacked by a limitless variety of people, from classmates and co-workers to preachers, teachers and law enforcement officials, from raving mad streetcorner prophets screaming our “sin” through loudspeakers to Papal spokesmen denouncing our “debauchery” with proclamations from Vatican City.

Even the President of the United States (currently, one George W. Bush) sometimes feels forced to say derogatory things about us. This kind of abuse is directed exclusively at Lesbians and Gay men, and it can be absolutely overwhelming. If a lot of Gay people enter therapy, and quite a few of us do, it should come as no surprise. That some folks try to blame our mental health issues on sexual orientation is chutzpah at its most brazen! It's the equivalent of bashing someone over the head with a baseball bat and then saying: "Damn! You don't look so good, dude. Why don't you go see a doctor?"

True, we‘ve come a long way since the days when homosexual folk were burned at the stake, but we still face an unbearable amount of oppression. Often, we find ourselves needing a shoulder to cry on. At other times, we seek something to strengthen us as we struggle under the heavy burden of intolerance. And why on Earth wouldn't we?

There are all kinds of inappropriate ways to cope with persecution, and Gay people have tried them all. I’ve found that the best way to cope is faith in God through Jesus Christ. (We’ve arrived at the religion segment of my class. You knew this was going to be an inter-disciplinary course, didn't you?)

Most Christians seek God by going to church and/or studying Bible scripture. However, Gay Christians have ample reason to avoid these traditional pathways to faith. On his web pages, Rictor Norton documents how the church adopted heterosexual supremacy as credo long ago. Ancient ideologues mined Scripture with their loathsome tenets. This tragic perversion of the Gospel made Christianity anathema to the very people who stood to benefit most from it.

How, then, can a homosexual person find God through Jesus Christ? Fortunately, Lesbians and Gay men are blessed in a very special way. We have a means of accessing the Lord that doesn‘t involve studying any text. God has written a Scripture directly on our souls! Bits and pieces of that Scripture do appear at various places in the Bible, though; here's one example:

MATTHEW 19: 4-6, 10-12
(Jesus Christ said)“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh"? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.

His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry!” But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept (this teaching), let him accept it.”

I've reproduced the text here for your convenience; but if you are a Lesbian woman or Gay man, you already know the truth it tells.  All you need do in order to read and understand it is know yourself for what you really are, instead of believing what others say you are. You are one of the blessed eunuchs of which Jesus Christ spoke! You are a "two-spirited" soul whose legend is known and respected in most Native-American traditions; and there've been many other names for your kind throughout world history.

How can you doubt it? Can you deny the uniqueness you've felt inside yourself since childhood? A uniqueness that involves more than just your sexuality? The inner Gospel we possess can't help but make us understand that God is real, because only God has the power to create amazing, gifted people like us!

When a Gay man knows he’s a child of God, no misinterpreted Scriptural citation can intimidate him. When a Lesbian knows she belongs to Jesus Christ, no “ex-Gay” ministry can deceive her about her true identity. There’s no longer any reason to question the diversity of nature, so regardless of how poorly we've been taught about sexuality, the stigma, the shame and the fear begin to fade away. That's what happened for me when the Lord opened my eyes to the true meaning of Matthew 19, and what a thrill it was to finally feel free!  I can't begin to tell you.

I know what some of you are thinking: Believing in God is just buying into another myth! But is it really? Is it irrational to believe that nobody but God could design sexuality that appears to defy the laws of nature? That nobody but God could put homosexual desire into dogs, cats, sheep, whales, giraffes, birds, insects, and other animals, creatures that we know are governed by instinct? That nobody but God could fashion a subspecies of humanity that links every nation and culture on Earth? People have been convinced of God’s existence with much weaker evidence.

I don’t want to come across like a televangelist; since my main purpose in offering this course was clarification and not (dare I say it?) recruitment, I’ll cool it with the Christian conversion talk. However, let me make one more point: Accepting God as our creator and our refuge from hatred is far and away a more rational act than accepting outrageously false, insulting and hateful definitions of homosexuality. It's a far more rational act than committing suicide, too!

Speaking of outrageously false definitions, check out this definition of sin, taken from a book called God’s Grace and The Homosexual (sic) Next Door. The author is Alan Chambers, president and chief spokesman for that infamous branch of the Church of the Poisoned Mind, Exodus International:

. . . I believe that it is so important to clarify that just living a celibate Gay life is just as sinful as living a sexually promiscuous one.

Talk about corrupted teaching! This dubious morsel of wisdom confirms that the “ex-Gay” movement is exactly what I’ve always believed it was: A cheerleading section and procurement center for heterosexual intercourse (as if such a thing were needed).

What shameless arrogance! How dare Alan Chambers presume to declare celibacy sinful? Celibacy is a means by which some people get in touch with their spirituality. It’s also a legitimate response to sexual addiction. It’s only sinful when it’s imposed on someone against his or her will.

These anti-Gay ideologues who claim Christian identity are nothing but fakers! Con artists!  Peddlers of BS!  But they're running out of fools.  Despite what they say, they’re not concerned with matters of the soul; they’re obsessed with matters of the flesh! Our flesh! They only pretend to worship God. What they truly worship is the penis and the vagina, or more accurately, the penis inside the vagina. It's a friggin' fertility cult!  What they do is akin to recruitment into temple prostitution of the sort that was practiced in Biblical times. Somebody needs to tell them that God doesn't like being worshipped in that way! They really do need to realize that truth, before it's too late.

The Savior said it best: What God has joined together, let not man separate.  When the Lord joins male with female, man cannot separate them, no matter how hard he may try!  And that statement is never more true than when God blends male with female in a single soul.  Born eunuch status and the unique sexuality that's attached to it is the result of that blending.  It's a Divine blessing, a gift of androgynous gender that mirrors God's own (see the first chapter of Genesis for confirmation), and the gift is absolutely non-returnable! 

Gay identity is here to stay!  The same goes for Pansexual and Transsexual identity.  Human gender and sexual orientation have always been and will always be under God's control; human manipulations won't ever loosen His grip on them.  Willful ignorance and "faith-based" bigotry won't, either!  The world will be a much wiser place when its inhabitants finally accept that fact.


Class dismissed! Don’t forget your homework! You must practice saying these words to yourself: I am not a f*ggot. I am not a d*ke. I am not a pervert. I am not a queer. My sexuality is a blessing from God. Say the words over and over until you believe them. You will be tested!

For more information about the ancient concept of born eunuchs,
visit the website of Faris Malik:

http://www.well.com/user/aquarius/contents.htm

See a new film about two-spirited Native-American people:

http://twospirits.org/?page_id=47