In November of 2006 a one Ted Haggard was outed by a male prostitute whom Haggard apparently frequented.
So the man was gay. Big deal, right? Well, not for Haggard, who at the time was the leader of the not-so-much-with-the-friendliness-towards-gays National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella organization for evangelical denominations in the U.S. Oops.
The big deal wasn’t simply that he was having an affair. Instead, everyone obviously focused on the homosexual nature of his extra-marrital activities.
As many good little fundamentalist Christians in this situation do, Haggard went to pray out the gay during weeks of intensive counselling.
At the beginning of February, Rev. Tim Ralph, one of the ministers who oversaw Haggard’s counselling, told the Associated Press, “He is completely heterosexual . . . That is something he discovered.” Really? He makes it sound like Haggard realized he had a hidden $50 in his coat pocket. “Hey would you look at that. I’m straight!”
Cue the colourful (but not too colourful) balloons and confetti.
Unfortunately for Mr. Haggard, and anybody else who believes that nonsense, it doesn’t work that way.
Haggard is not only hurting himself and his family, he is harming anyone else struggling with their sexual orientation, especially teenagers, who think if they pray hard enough they can be “normal”.
The underlying assumption of course is that being gay isn’t.
Several organizations have been built on the promise that they can cure your gayness. This is the case with National Association for Research & Therapy on Homosexuality (NARTH). The scientific name almost makes it seem like it’s not a sham. According to the NARTH website, “. none of these factors mean that homosexuality is normal and a part of human design, or that it is inevitable in such people, or that it is unchangeable. Numerous examples exist of people who have successfully modified their sexual behavior, identity, and arousal or fantasies.” Give me one example of a person who has “changed” their sexual orientation who does not seem like they’ve been brainwashed.
NARTH proposes intensive counselling for gay men and women, to help them turn to the “true path” of heterosexuality. I would insert a joke here, but it seems something this ridiculous doesn’t need one.
Another golden tidbit from the NARTH website states, “From the secular therapies he will come to understand what the true nature of his longings are, that they are not really about sex, and that he is not defined by his sexual appetites.” Of course! We all know that being gay isn’t about sex. It’s about the Air Miles you receive every time you convert someone.
How well do these “therapies” work? Take a look at ex-gay poster boy John Paulk. As a director of Exodus, another what-would-Jesus-do?-be-straight-of-course group, he professed the shedding of his homosexuality through faith, prayer and all that gooey stuff. Here’s the punch. In 2000 he was photographed in a gay bar in Washington, D.C.
After initially denying he was there, he admitted it but still maintained he was not there for any sexual purposes. He must have been there for the killer Amaretto Sour.
Because there isn’t any evidence that homosexuality is due to any specific gene, groups such as NARTH and Exodus affirm that you can change your dirty ways and become heterosexual through faith and intensive counseling.
Groups like these prey on confused, unhappy individuals and promote the dimwitted view that a gay person is a deviant human being.
These nutcases are not only in the States either.
At New Direction they believe that “Now is the time for the Christian community in Canada to be proactive in reaching out and ministering the love, grace, and power of Christ in the lives of same-gender attracted people.” Thank goodness, because we all know gay people are a loveless, klutzy, godless species.
To quote Stanley Kramer, it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.