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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Anti-gay Industry, Part 2: Sources of Deception

The Anti-gay Industry is just that, an industry. It is an admixture of various parachurch ministries, churches, academics, and psychological practitioners that are organized around one mission: to stop the advancement of gay rights in America. It has enormous power in the Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christian world, and its spokespeople are the most evident in the mainstream media. They are "the voice and face" of what purports to be Christianity in America. (Remember how Jerry Falwell seemed to be on every channel at once?) They occupy high offices in Congress, fill various federal and state legislatures and agencies, and are found on school boards in every district. And, yes, they are mostly Republicans, a condition that worries not only the more moderate Republicans, but Democrats who understand the need for a two-party political system that actually works for the good of the whole.

Their ant-gay bias is a combination of many factors, chief among them being a literal understanding of the Bible. It's important to state at the outset that EVEN A LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE does not support the notion that homosexuality is a sin or that God despises LGBTs. (For a complete analysis of all the Bible passages that are used to support anti-gay bias, see the chapter "But My Bible Says..." in my book, Marriage Equality. Clicking on the icon book cover on the left of this page will take you to Amazon.) That said, many people are led to believe the worst, and they do. Most of them are genuinely sincere and their motivations are pure; they simply are convinced that homosexuals are a menace to America by the Anti-gay Industry, which exploits their biblical naivety, and feeds them propaganda on a daily basis through their radio and TV shows, websites, emails and fundraising letters.

Another factor that supports the Industry in its subtrafuge is the exploitation of human's natural fear of "the other." Differences can be exploited to pit people against people as we have seen in race-baiting politics, the "Huns" of World War I, the "atheistic communists" of the Cold War, and LGBTs of today. If you are continually subjected to messages from your pastor, legislators, and people you trust that the greatest menace to your family and your children is gay rights, you naturally will be inclined to believe it without access to evidence to the contrary. How easily some people were convinced of this is in how many actually believe that same-sex marriage is a threat to heterosexual marriage. No credible evidence of any kind has been submitted to substantiate this. It's simply taken as a given. Good grief!

Pseudoscience and pseudopsychology supply the intellectual backdrop for the Industry. The technical name for the theory that gays can change their orientation is Reparative Therapy. It is repudiated by every substantial psychological and medical professional group across the board in America. In order for there to be such a therapy, it first must be established that there is a strong need for such.  Here is where the onslaught of propaganda enters the picture that creates the impression that gays are abnormal, deviant, psychologically disturbed, pedophiles, disease ridden, short lived, promiscuous and (you fill in the blank). 

Then there are the "studies" that purport to show a very dark side to life in the gay community. Whenever they are peer reviewedwhich is seldom, because they know they can't withstand that kind of scrutinythey are universally shown to be fallacious, if not wholly made up. 

Over the next several postings we will examine these and other sources that the Industry draws upon to shape their arguments and mislead their constituents. We will look at the journals, associations,  ministries,  institutions, and leaders that subvert the truth and make life miserable for millions of LGBTs who otherwise would be free to live their lives as unencumbered as the rest of us.   

In the meantime, I leave you with this apology that John Paulke, a longtime advocate against gay rights, recently gave to the gay community at large. He was once the chairman of Exodus International and the organizer of Focus on the Family's, Love One Out program.
For the better part of ten years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what's known as the "ex-gay movement," where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination. At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not….Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.
 Finally, I know there are still accounts of my "ex-gay" testimony out there being publicized by various groups, including two books that I wrote about my journey. I don't get any royalties from these publications, and haven't since I left the ministry nearly ten years ago. I discourage anyone from purchasing and selling these books or promoting my "ex-gay" story because they do not reflect who I am now or what I believe today.
The full text of the apology can be found here: http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2013/04/24/john-paulk-formally-renounces-apologizes-harmful-ex-gay-movement

One final thought. Although for many months Mr. Paulk has repudiated his books, repeatedly requested they be ignored, and called on his former allies to stop using his now rejected testimony, the Anti-gay Industry continues to use them. Such is the nature of the forces we are up against.

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