‘Ex-gay’ movement loses momentum, is the black church far behind?
Like many children of the rainbow running from the natural order in a fit of Christian-induced confusion, I prayed relentlessly that Jesus would deliver me from my attraction to then Janet Jackson dancer Omar Lopez.
Ultimately, I wised up and came to the conclusion that no matter how many times I said, “Take it, Jesus!” and clutched to a rosary, I would continue to end up obsessed with Beyoncé in a way much differently than the other black men around me. It takes some far longer than others to realize that religion cannot “cure” one of their sexual orientation; thus, while they’re about 40 years behind common sense, kudos to Exodus International for finally joining the right side of logic.
The ex-gay ministry, which was launched in 1976 and went on to amass more than 200 branches, churches and counselors in the United States and Canada, is not only acknowledging the error of its ways, but earnestly apologizing for the pain which it has caused thousands of people.
The truth will set you free
In a statement realized on its website, Exodus president Alan Chambers writes: “Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.”
Somewhere members of The American Psychological Association are doing a variation of the Holy Ghost stomp given they noted 15 years ago that reparative therapy was a crock that caused depression, anxiety, and self-depressive behavior in patients. You see, “ex-gays” and the tricksters who suckered you in, suppressing your natural urges is not the same as decimating them. Chambers himself now acknowledges this by noting that his “ongoing same-sex attractions” are “parts of my life that will always be there.”
Well bless your soul, you can fool a few; I know the truth, now so do you.
Can I get an amen? Well, actually, not until Chambers back peddles completely from all of the work he’s done in the name of stopping marriage equality.
Murkowski makes the right move
Meanwhile, slow handclaps for Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for being the third Republican senator to endorse marriage equality.
In an op-ed published her own site, Murkowski says: “I support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: it keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of people’s lives — while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another.”
In other words, “I’d like to remain in the Senate for many decades to come, so now that the coast is clear and the polls are favorable, shout out to the gays who are crazy in love.”
I appreciate Murkowski for letting her conscience come out of the closet, but I’m downright giddy that Chambers has taken one giant step in the name of not trying to irrationally force people into foolishly trying to con themselves out of who they are and how they are supposed to live by design.
Now I wonder whether or not the black champions of reparative therapy will soon follow suit.
Black church still has a long way to go
In 2009, I was deeply troubled by comments made by self-described “ex-gay” Donnie McClurkin. He despicably described gay youth as “broken and feminine” while ironically pursing his lips and wailing his wrists to say that Jesus “cured” him of homosexuality and that others are being fooled because God “didn’t create this perversion.” McClurkin has repeatedly tried to use his personal experiences as a victim of molestation to paint the entire gay community under the brush of perverts. He’s often noted that his involvement in homosexuality was “hell” on Earth for him.
As a result, he’s encouraged and promoted similar “conversion therapy” efforts that simply do not work. There have been other gospel artists like Kirk Franklin who have used their platforms to speak of the LGBT community negatively.
And of course there are select black pastors – as in some, not all – who wave the flag of reductiveness and continue to pick and choose when to be Biblical literalists and when to dismiss text as simply an idiom of the time.
White evangelists passed much of this drivel on to us so now that they’re beginning to abandoning this line of thinking, hopefully their black contemporaries follow suit…quickly.
Follow Michael Arceneaux on Twitter @youngsinick