• RSS Queering the Church

    • For English Catholics, a “Request for Testimony”. November 15, 2014
      In preparation for the next phase of the family synod, bishops around the world are expected to consult with the wider church. In England and Wales, this will include every parish, and includes a “request for testimony” – in which…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
    • Christian “Teaching of Contempt”: Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, November 15, 2014
      At the Reformation Project recent conference in Washington DC, one of the keynote speakers was Dr David P. Gushee, an expert on Christian Jewish relations, who made some pertinent observations on how for centuries, Christians routinely taught and practised contempt…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • Where Are You? October 26, 2011
      Greetings to all others who grace these pages! Thank you for stopping by. If you still have a reader pointed here, this blog no longer publishes in this location, but can be found at this new link. Please subscribe to the new feed, get the new blog via email or read us by liking us on Facebook or by following me on Twitter.If you want more, please feel free […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Fran)
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Quote of the Day November 21, 2014
      How did [the] collapse [of the National Organization for Marriage] occur so quickly? I have three theories. The first is that casual donors grew weary of NOM’s execrably hateful campaigns and craven refusal to face public censure. In 2013, the group’s anti-gay rhetoric sounded barbaric and, at a fundamental level, simply impolite. Even if you didn’t like gay […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • The Source is Within You November 20, 2014
      Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same.Every wonderful sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade,but do not be disheartened,the source they come from is eternal, growing,branching out, giving new life and new joy.Why do you weep?The source is within you,and this whole world is springing […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

    • NOM's Economic Collapse: Mark Joseph Stern on Whys and Wherefores November 20, 2014
      At Slate, Mark Joseph Stern offers three possible explanations for why the donor base of "the viciously anti-gay National Organization for Marriage" (his words) may have collapsed. NOM just released its 2103 tax filings, two days late (in direct violation of federal law). They show the organization in the red by some $2.5 million.Stern's three […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • Readers Write: At Vatican Colloquium on Gender Complementarity, Where Was the Socioeconomic Analysis of What It Takes to Sustain a Family? November 20, 2014
      Two very valuable pieces of commentary in the last two days by readers here, about who was in the control seat at the Vatican colloquium on male-female complementarity (despite reminders from those who were actually in the driver's seat about how it takes two to tango). Both of these pieces of commentary note that the analysis of the ideal family offere […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
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  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Still alive and kicking November 11, 2014
      Prague Noir on a Wintery NightI'm still alive and kicking, as the saying goes. But I've been putting a lot of time into my new book review blog, Crime Scene Reviews. Check it out if crime novels are your cup of arsenic laced tea. And if you want to help out, please vote in the book poll on the site. Both books up for a vote are based on true life i […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
    • GAY MYSTIC CONNECTICUT November 2, 2014
      Pequot Woods ParkAnd now for a bit of whimsy:One of the results that pops up for Gay Mystic on Google is one called Gay Mystic Map Listings.I-95 Rest AreaAnd here we can find all of the gay cruising areas in Mystic, Connecticut. I never knew there was such a place. Who knew?  To be honest, I've never indulged in this kind of naturistic activity, though […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • 借入しすぎを防ぎたい February 26, 2014
      自分でこれ以上借りないと思っていても、ついつい借りてしまう浪費癖が治らないそれならいっそのこと、借りれなくしてしまえばいいのです。日本貸金業協会の貸付自粛制度とは貸付自粛制度とは、資金需要者が、自らに浪費の習癖があることその他の理由により、自らを自粛対象者とする旨又は親族のうち一定の範囲の者が、金銭貸付による債務者を自粛対象者とする旨を日本貸金業協会に対して申告することにより、日本貸金業協会が、これに対応する情報を個人信用情報機関に登録し、一定期間、当該個人信用情報機関の会員に対して提供する制度です。登録手数料等の費用はかかりません。貸付自粛情報の登録内容氏名 性別 生年月日 住所 自宅電話番号(または携帯電話番号) 勤務先名 勤務先電話番号 貸付自粛情報の登録内容 氏名 性別 生年月日 住所 自宅電話番号(ま […]
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Joel Baden and Candida Moss on a married Jesus November 20, 2014
      In the news again, the possibility of Jesus having been married .Two biblical scholars, Joel Baden and Candida Moss, have an article about it in The Atlantic, The Curious Case of Jesus’s Wife. The article begins with a review of the Karen King Gospel of Jesus' Wife event, but then it goes on to discuss the real impact of the idea of whether Jesus was ma […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Prop 8 trial reveals abuses of reparative therapy

If you haven’t heard, a civil trial is underway in California contesting the constitutionality of Prop 8.  If you don’t know about Prop 8, it was a California referendum that passed by a slight majority in the 2008 election, and its effect was to preclude same gender marriage in California.

This is a much ballyhooed trial, not merely for its subject but also for its participants.  The two main attorneys that are pursuing the case are the same who opposed each other in Gore v Bush, the 2000 presidential election Florida recount case, who now join in common cause to have Prop 8 overturned as unconstitutional.   One of these is well known Republican and conservative attorney Theodore Olson, formerly of the Bush and Reagan administrations.

Attorney Olson explains his views in a Newsweek article, entitled The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.

My involvement in this case has generated a certain degree of consternation among conservatives. How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the “traditional” definition of marriage and press for an “activist” interpretation of the Constitution to create another “new” constitutional right?

My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights.

Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one’s own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.

Pastor Candice Chellew-Hodge is “the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, S.C.”  A religious progressive, her blog post today carries the subtitle, “testimony shows the ugly side of religion”.  The subject is the discredited and abusive practice of reparative therapy—the misguided attempt to turn gay persons straight.  (See my prior blog post about reparative therapy here.)

The testimony, as reported by Pastor Chellew-Hodge, is compelling and heart wrenching.

I’m gay. I’m short and half Hispanic those things aren’t going to change.”

Those are the words Ryan Kendall uttered in a federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday as the trial over whether or not to overturn Proposition 8 that stripped gays and lesbians of their right to marry in California, got into its second week.

Kendall took the stand to recount his harsh treatment in an “ex-gay ministry.” His deeply religious parents forced him into so-called “reparative therapy” after finding a note that Kendall had written to himself confessing his sexual orientation at the age of 13. Kendall said his parents “flipped out, (they were) very upset, yelling. I don’t remember a lot of what they said, but it was pretty scary the level of their reaction. I remember my mother telling me I was going to burn in hell.”

Read the rest of the blog post and more testimony here.

2 Responses

  1. Obie, this is a valuable summary of what’s coming to light re: the ugly side of religion in the prop 8 trial–about the demonic face some people of faith show to their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

    I have just read your essay in tandem with Lisa Leff’s article at Huffington Post today, about the testimony of Hak-Shing William Tam at the prop 8 trial. Tam is one of the five California citizens who signed on as official proponents of the prop 8 ban, to get it onto the ballot.

    In his testimony yesterday, Tam repeated statements he has published on a Chinese Christian website, which claim that gays are far more likely to be pedophiles than are the rest of the population, and that permitting gay marriage will open the door to polygamy and incest.

    When pressed on his reason for believing that gays are pedophiles, when strong empirical evidence shows over 90% of cases of child abuse involving heterosexual men, he simply said that he “believes” this is true.

    When pressed about his false claim that the Netherlands instituted polygamy after permitting same-sex marriage, he stated that “it’s on the internet.”

    My question is why some people of faith seem to imagine that they have free rein to tell ugly and dangerous lies about their gay brothers and sisters, while claiming that they have the moral high road. And why some churches seem so intent on promoting these lies that they take up funds and organize politically to remove the right of civil marriage from their gay brothers and sisters–as the prop 8 documents show the LDS and Catholic church did in California.

  2. Bill,

    Twenty five years ago, when my small town ELCA congregation was in danger of being swallowed up by “the ugly side of religion”, a perversion of the good news into a battering ram, I faced a decision whether to leave my church or stay and fight. My wife and I chose to fight, and we prevailed on that day.

    I guess that is my answer to those who ask why I’m in this fight at this time since I’m not gay nor do I have any gay family members. To walk away from this struggle is to walk away from my church and allow “the ugly side of religion” to hold sway.

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