I know that this post is going to set off the usual round of screamers, bring it!
I desperately “prayed the gay away”, I wanted to rid myself of the demons (thoughts) that consumed me. No one would willingly subject themselves to a lifestyle of social condemnation. This after a battle with friends and most definitely family who were less than accepting of my “in the closet lifestyle.”
Now I know where my parents failed. They didn’t want me to be a gay and asked me if I could simply be asexual. Not involved with anyone.
What they really wanted me to do was pray. Read the Bible. Study scripture. Find God and embrace him. They often reminded me of, Leviticus. Chapter 18, Verse 20, to be exact: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”
Christians respond to the challenge of homosexuality:
“Repent.” When they get no results, they chalk it up to the homosexual’s unwillingness to make the right “choice.”
Then you’ve got my Pentecostal brothers and sisters. They’ll slap you on the forehead and proclaim you healed, then usher you back to your seat to the beat of a thumping gospel tune. Funny, hardly anyone ever asks anymore if your healing has actually manifested. They don’t ask, because they don’t want to know.
I wonder if any of this has worked for Ted Haggard? I mean, it didn’t help him being the head of a ministry, but maybe all those men on their knees at the alter were too much pressure?
If a bunch of Christian fundamentalists want to believe that you can deny sexual feelings by immersing yourself in prayer, then I applaud them. Personally, I don’t see the point but I am not going to condemn them.
I have to admit that it really gets me fired up when the faith based community don’t think about what kind of shame they are filling these young people with. Do they take responsibility for the attempted suicides and successful suicides of young LGBT youth? I believe that there are other behaviors happening in the world that deserve far more prayer and attention than someone’s sexuality and dating preference.
My only conclusion is this. While the debate on whether this is a learned trait or that which is innate, the cure for the common homosexual isn’t going to be prayed away for the mass majority. If a person has a commitment and special dedication to want to suppress these feelings and feels that a deeper connection to God will do this, it is only a testimate to the power the Church has in people’s lives.
For all others, it’s a constant journey and the ultimate decision lies within. But while suppressing who you are to help you move freely throughout the church, I doubt it will do much for your soul and spiritual journey to keep up the facade.
I’m old enough now to laugh off ridiculous, illegitimate studies done by people trying to prove their own point. I read the fine print, see the methodology used. Every time I read one of these studies, I vow to be as out, as available and as open of a role model as I can possibly be.