July 25th, 2009 by M. French

World Net Daily did a a story on GBW last night entitled Opposing rally has ‘pridefest’ fans enraged, notice some of the quotes from gay activist websites we have been talking about :

Homosexuals planning for tomorrow’s Pride Charlotte festival in Charlotte, N.C., are enraged because the Coalition of Conscience has set up a Christian event, called “God Has a Better Way” nearby at the same time.

Michael Brown, who is director of the Charlotte-based coalition, said hundreds of people from area churches are coordinating the rally that will be unique.

“Nothing like this has ever been done in conjunction with a gay pride event in any city before, and those who join together on this day will be part of history in the making,” he said.

Brown told WND that when his ministry moved into Charlotte several years ago, his goal was to reach out to individuals with compassion and resist homosexual activism with courage.

[CLICK HERE TO READ MORE…]

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July 24th, 2009 by M. French

Charisma put out a story on God Has a Better Way, providing a good overview of the event, including an interview with Dr. Brown:

In what is being called the largest outreach of its kind in Charlotte, N.C., more than 1,000 Christians are expected to pray and evangelize at the city’s annual gay pride event Saturday to proclaim that “God has a better way.”

“Our statement is that God has a better way,” said organizer Michael L. Brown, a former Brownsville Revival leader and president of the FIRE School of Ministry, which relocated to the Charlotte area in 2004.

“We won’t be yelling at people through loudspeakers,” added Brown, who leads the citywide Coalition of Conscience that is behind Saturday’s outreach. “We’ll be praying, worshiping, believing that the presence of God will touch hearts and will make a difference in the city.”

[CLICK HERE TO READ MORE…]

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July 23rd, 2009 by M. French

A note for those interested in the God Has a Better Way event on July 25th that are unable to attend: Voice of Revolution will be live-tweeting the event.  To get live updates, simply follow our twitter account here: http://twitter.com/V_O_R.  Feel free to send us any questions leading up to or during the event via our twitter account or via email: editor@voiceofrevolution.com.

This rally is a Spirit-birthed response to Charlotte’s annual gay pride event. More than one thousand believers will be gathering to worship the Lord, intercede in prayer, and proclaim that “God Has a Better Way”! Nothing like this has ever been done in conjunction with a gay pride event in any city before, and those who join together on this day will be part of history in the making.

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July 23rd, 2009 by M. French

Announcement of Massive Christian Rally Draws Angry Responses from the Gay Community

1,000+ Christians to Gather at Charlotte Gay Pride Event and Declare that “God Has a Better Way”

Contact: For Dr. Michael Brown, Eric McCoy: 704-701-2886; eric@icnministries.org; for Lou Engle, Thomas Hall: 615-260-0917 Thomashall@thecall.com.

July 23, 2009, Charlotte, North Carolina

On Saturday, July 25th, at least 1,000 Christians will join together next to Pride Charlotte, the city’s annual gay pride event, to conduct their own “God Has a Better Way” rally. Participants are expected from numerous churches in the greater Charlotte area as well as from other states.

According to Dr. Michael Brown, director of the Charlotte-based Coalition of Conscience and the organizer of the event, “Nothing like this has ever been done in conjunction with a gay pride event in any city before, and those who join together on this day will be part of history in the making.”

Brown’s event is being actively supported by Lou Engle, national director of TheCall to Action. Engle, who advocates bringing about cultural change through prayer and fasting, believes that the “God Has a Better Way” rally could be a national flash point, with the goal that homosexual activism “stops here.”

Other national family ministries are looking to Charlotte as well. In January, 2009, Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine carried a story called, “Something New in Charlotte,” highlighting the work that has been in done in Charlotte by Brown and his coalition and pointing to it as a model for other cities.

The scope of this event has drawn sharp criticism from GLBT leaders, with a spate of concerned articles appearing on major gay websites, despite the assurances of the rally organizers that their event will be entirely peaceful and non-harassing.

Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend wrote, “I don’t know what kind of radical right magnet is located in Charlotte, NC, but some of the worst homobigots . . . and religious extremists embed themselves there,” noting that “Brown will put his brand of anti-gay activism on display in Charlotte on July 25.”

According to the JoeMyGod website, “Anti-gay preachers Lou Engle . . . and Michael Brown plan to bring a thousand protesters to Charlotte Pride this weekend to scream . . . at attendees about Jeebus. Engle and Brown plan for the Charlotte event to launch a new national movement to oppress gay people.”

Brown points out that everyone participating in the “God Has a Better Way” rally must comply with the Terms of Involvement, which include: I will not engage in hate speech, name-calling, or angry rhetoric; I will seek to befriend those who oppose me; I will seek to overcome bad attitudes with good attitudes; I will seek to be a living example of Jesus; I will not violate the law.

“We have great love for the gay and lesbian community” Brown states, “and have always treated them with dignity and respect; at the same time, we take strong exception to the gay activist agenda and will be sending a message to the city and the nation that God Has a Better Way.”

Rally participants will meet at First Baptist Church, at 301 S. Davidson St., at 12:00, noon, and then will walk together to the Pride Charlotte rally, held at Gateway Village, located at Fifth and Trade Streets, where they will worship and pray until 3:00 PM.

For more information, see www.godhasabetterway.com, where Dr. Brown’s 7 ½ minute video invitation is also posted, highlighting what he refers to the as “the urgency of the hour.”

The Coalition of Conscience is a network of church and ministry leaders, business and education leaders, and Christians from every walk of life, based in the greater Charlotte area, working together for moral and cultural change through the gospel. www.coalitionofconscience.org

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July 21st, 2009 by M. French

Editor’s Note: Matt Comer, editor of the gay newspaper Q-Notes, and one of the authors attacking GBW and its leaders, will be appearing on Dr. Brown’s Line of Fire radio show on Thursday July 23rd from 3-4 PM EST to air his concerns.

The God Has a Better Way event has seen a new wave of backlash over the last few weeks, following the July 5th event with Lou Engle and our subsequent interview with him concerning his vision for the event and a proposed house of prayer in Charlotte.  While the recent wave of articles, primarily on gay activist websites, is in many ways inaccurate, containing blatant falsehoods and gross misrepresentations that we will hopefully be able to respond to as time allows (I’ve purposefully left out quotes from or links to these articles so we can deal with them on an individual basis), they do point to the fact that a nerve has been hit with this event and with the personalities that are leading it.

With accusations being made toward those affiliated with the God Has a Better Way event surfacing in numerous venues, I thought it would be important to take a look at the Terms of Involvement that are on the event’s website:

TERMS OF INVOLVEMENT

As a representative of the Lord Jesus and His Church at God Has a Better Way on July 25th, 2009, I make this commitment before God:

1) I will not engage in hate speech, name-calling, or angry rhetoric

2) I will speak the truth in love

3) I will seek to befriend those who oppose me

4) I will seek to overcome bad attitudes with good attitudes

5) I will seek to be a living example of Jesus

6) I will not compromise biblical standards or convictions

7) I will not violate the law

Name _____________________________________________________________________

Signed ____________________________________________________________________

Date ______________________________________________________________________

Remember: Our battle is not with people but with spiritual forces.

Remember: We are called to bless those who curse us.

Remember: We must reach out to homosexual men and women with kindness, and sensitivity.

Remember: God had mercy on us when we were in darkness, calling us to repentance when we had no interest in Him at all. Let us extend the same grace to others.

Remember: Our compassion must be louder than our confrontation.

Clearly, those affiliated with this event will NOT be mean-spirited or violent, and rather than a den of lions, anyone from the Pride event that comes to the God Has a Better Way rally will find themselves in a den of lambs.

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July 16th, 2009 by M. French

Lou Engle has spent the last few years laboring to see the end of abortion in America through prayer & fasting, launching, among other things, the Bound4Life movement and the Justice Houses of Prayer. He now believes it’s time to launch a similar movement to contend with gay activism in our nation, and he believes this movement will be birthed out of Charlotte, NC, starting with the God Has a Better Way event on July 25th.

After casting vision for this house of prayer movement at FIRE Church on July 5th (click here to listen to the message he delivered), I sat down with him to ask a few questions:

VOR: You said at the meeting on July 5th that you have a prophetic word for this region, could you explain in a few words what that is?

Lou Engle: Well I felt like I had a prophetic word for Charlotte and Dr. Brown and the community here that was, I received a prayer assignment five years ago to raise up a house of prayer, to contend with the ideological house of abortion and the homosexual agenda.  We’ve raised it up for abortion, but I felt like the other day as I was praying, it just came upon me so strongly reading Alan Sears’ book on the homosexual agenda, and it suddenly came upon me, I need to call Mike Brown.  I believe that out of Charlotte, a house of prayer contending with the homosexual agenda and ideology could be birthed actually creating a nationwide movement, similar to what took place in Bound 4 Life, in Washington DC five years ago, and I believe it’s a word of the Lord, I believe it’s an invitation being given to Charlotte to raise up a contending house of prayer, that contends not with people, but with spiritual principalities and powers, and actually will resist and be the high watermark, so to speak, of the homosexual agenda.  It stops here.

VOR: Do you believe the July 25th “God Has a Better Way” rally in downtown Charlotte will be an important event? If so, why?

Lou Engle: I believe with the 21 day fast, that we’re calling, that breakthroughs could  take place, in the community, people getting saved on that day, a divine favor shift in the high places of the government could take place, because in 21 days of fasting and prayer, because as you know with Daniel, everything shifted over the king of Persia, an archangel now had influence over the king of Persia, rather than the demonic prince of Persia.  Why can’t we believe for the same kind of shifts to take place in this season of time?  So I think the 25th is a flash point, at the ending of 21 days.

VOR: Why Charlotte?

Lou Engle: Because Michael Brown’s here.  God uses men and raises up leaders with voices, and places them in the right places.  I believe it’s also significant that Charlotte would not be like a San Francisco or an Atlanta but is actually takeable, not that Atlanta or San Francisco can’t be, but you take your lion and your bear, and you can take Goliath.  I think this could be a staging ground for the beginnings of a victory of the church getting its influence in this realm.

VOR: A local journalist from a gay publication that heard you speak on Sunday was concerned by your use of what he termed “violent rhetoric” in your speaking.  How do you respond to concerns such as these?

Lou Engle: Jesus Himself used ..  the rhetoric of violence.  He said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” He’s not talking about human weapons, but a spiritual intensity and violence against ideologies and unseen forces and powers of darkness.  Jesus said, “if I by the finger of God drive out demons, the Kingdom of God has come upon you,” and he talks about attacking the spiritual strongman, which is a spirit being, attacking and overcoming them, and taking the spoil.  That means that you break through the ideology, and the demonic spirit that rules that ideology, you actually see people liberated out of that ideology, homosexuals can come to Christ, be freed from their issues, be liberated, and it is a spiritual battle for the souls of the people.  But never have we ever said “take up [physical] violence” and used rhetoric that Jesus uses, “I’ve not come to bring peace but a sword”.  And so, that would be my answer.

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July 10th, 2009 by M. French

Video from Dr. Brown concerning God Has a Better Way: [Link to Video]

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June 30th, 2009 by M. French

Leading up to the God Has a Better Way event on July 25th (see reaction to the event here), Lou Engle will be casting vision at a meeting on July 5th in Charlotte:

Special Meeting with Lou Engle

Please join us at FIRE Church for a special, city-wide rally with Lou Engle this Sunday night, July 5th, at 6:00 PM. The Lord has deeply burdened Lou to stand with us in prayer and fasting to help turn back the tide of homosexual activism in America, beginning right here in Charlotte, so plan to join us on Sunday. We will have a powerful time of worship and then Lou will bring a message to raise our faith and vision as we launch a season of prayer and fasting leading up to our God Has a Better Way rally in Charlotte on July 25th.

So, mark your calendars for Sunday night, July 5th, at 6:00 PM for a special meeting with Lou Engle, and then plan to join us as we make history together from 12:00-3:00 PM on July 25th and be part of our God Has a Better Way, when we will literally surround Charlotte’s gay pride event with worship, intercession, the Word of God, the love of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Your presence will make a difference!

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Dr. Michael L. Brown


Location: 4323 Concord Pkwy S. Concord, NC 28027 [map]

Time: July 5th at 6:00 PM

Speaker: Lou Engle

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June 5th, 2009 by M. French

We’ve launched the God Has a Better Way website in preparation for the event in Uptown Charlotte on July 25th. Backlash has already come in via Jeremy Hooper of Good As You. This is what he had to say this morning regarding the event on his blog:

Pride & Prejudice

On July 25th, Charlotte, NC, will hold its annual gay pride parade. So what are the good Christians who simply want religious freedom and nothing more (ha!) doing in protest of the event? Well, check this out:

JOIN US FOR A HISTORIC RALLY IN UPTOWN CHARLOTTE ON JULY 25TH!

GOD HAS A BETTER WAY!

What
This rally is a Spirit-birthed response to Charlotte’s annual gay pride event. More than one thousand believers will be gathering to worship the Lord, intercede in prayer, and proclaim that “God Has a Better Way”! Nothing like this has ever been done in conjunction with a gay pride event in any city before, and those who join together on this day will be part of history in the making.

Who
Everyone can be involved! If you love Jesus and are walking with Him, then you qualify. We need worshipers, intercessors, musicians, soul-winners, walkers, talkers, and believers of every age, color, and size to stand together as a prophetic witness to our society. Everything we do will be law-abiding, safe, and honoring to the Lord in spirit and in word.
“God Has A Better Way”

Yes, that’s right: Because, apparently, gay is “anti-God” and every last pride parade attendee is in need of a “better way” to conduct their own affairs, a group of self-appointed moral authoritarians are taking time out of their day to do little more than pester LGBT attendees. If “live and let live” were a concept in need of a suitable antonym, then this event would be it.

But, of course: You have to “love Jesus” in order to be involved. You can’t just be in like with the son. You can’t be anti-gay yet agnostic. And you CERTAINLY can’t be involved in a faith that doesn’t accept Jesus as the messiah. Because in this myopic world of anti-gay evangelism, “everyone can be involved” can and will be followed by “if you love Jesus” without either irony or concern for the narrow purview that this blinder-wearing mindset places on the world and its people.

Oh, God. Please show your most vocal that there truly is a “better way.” Because honestly, dude — these nonstop attacks are making there way look nothing short of “bitter.”

**SEE ALSO: The event’s Facebook page (where please, by all means, go leave your own plans to NOT attend) includes this comment:

Picture 1-275

“Wash the gay away”? What sort of loofah do you use for that?

Here are a few comments that have come in on the facebook event page since this post went up:

What an ugly event. You should all be ashamed. Just more people who use their interpretation of faith to mask what is nothing more than personal prejudice and fear of people who are different. Silly people. Being gay is a natural normal beautiful variation. Why else would they get excited about parts of the Bible which support their bigotry but blatantly ignore the parts which go against all human decency: slavery, genocide, executing people for trivial matters, etc. When it comes to the Bible, these people surely know how to use it as a weapon. Fred Phelps would be proud of them and surely welcome them in to his Westboro Baptist Church. This immoral, supremacist, deceitful event is not in any way about faith. It’s about arrogance, pride, scapegoating and supremacist ideology. Get used to keeping company with other marginalized religious extremists in America ranting about the coming race wars, oops, in your case it would be sexuality wars, right? (rolling my eyes)

What a wonderfully transparent display of hate and misinformation. Keep it up so everyone can see how very non-christ-like you all are.

Since when did ‘God’ become the opposite of ‘Gay’? I promise to “love [my] neighbor” instead of hate everyone that doesn’t prescribe to a narrow interpitation of the world; perhaps you could do the same.

If you have a moment and believe in this event, please go to the facebook event page we’ve set up and either mark as “Attending” if you know you can come, “Maybe Attending” if you think you might be able to make it, or write on the wall in support of what we’re doing.  Our friends in the LGBT community think we’re filled with bigotry and hate. Let’s overcome their wrong assumptions and judgments with the love of God!

Posted in News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: , , , , ,

February 25th, 2009 by M. French

On February 19, 2009, CRANE hosted Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight and leader of Truth Wins Out, for a presentation entitled “Pray Away the Gay.” Besen’s lecture attempted to expose what they call the “Ex-Gay Myth,” in response to Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conference in Charlotte which occurred two days later.  About fifty people gathered to hear Besen’s presentation, which was laden with humor at the expense of the Ex-Gay Ministries (including Focus on the Family, Exodus International, NARTH, and PFOX), which he attempted to expose as hypocritical, backward, political, and unloving.

The presentation opened with a newspaper editorial by Focus on the Family leader Melissa Fryrear regarding the Love Won Out conference. In the article, she made clear that they are bringing a message of “hope, not hatred” to those who are seeking help to address their unwanted same sex attractions.  Besen then presented other quotes from Focus on the Family to show the supposed contradiction between their “real” attitude and the “nice” statement they gave to the media. The clip highlighted the ideas put forth from Focus on the Family that homosexuality reflects “bondage and sexual brokenness,” and that homosexuality causes pain to both the homosexual and his or her family.  “That’s not the kind of love I grew up with,” said Besen in response (a phrase which he repeated several times throughout the night).

His next point amounted to nothing more than the ridicule of the former president of PFOX, Richard Cohen, as Besen showed a segment of the Daily Show featuring both himself and Cohen in which Cohen and his therapies were made to look ridiculous and ineffective, even counterproductive.  It should be noted that recently, a number of leading Ex-Gay Ministries have disassociated themselves from Cohen.

Besen then proceeded to address the so-called “Ex-Gay Myth,” and attempted to prove that the therapies that the Ex-Gay Ministries use have been “discredited,” including self-talk and prayer, and that none of these ministries have any effect whatsoever on a person’s homosexual orientation, implying that rather than helping people, these therapies supposedly cause the depression and condemnation that often accompany unwanted same-sex attractions.

Interestingly, Besen condemned the Ex-Gay Ministries for “targeting children” by making information available at schools for children struggling with gender and sexual identity issues, as well as NARTH’s alleged offer of providing therapy to 3 year olds at conferences, implying that these ministries were abusive and/or harmful to developing children as they attempted to help them identify mentally and emotionally with their physical characteristics.  One wonders, however, who is really “targeting children” in a harmful manner, homosexual activists and their allies or these Ex-Gay ministries? Here is some food for thought from Dr. Brown’s recent lecture at Love Won Out:

At the Park Day School in Oakland, teachers are taught a gender-neutral vocabulary and are urged to line up students by sneaker color rather than by gender. “We are careful not to create a situation where students are being boxed in,” said Tom Little, the school’s director. “We allow them to move back and forth until something feels right.” — NY Times 12-1-06

California State Senator Sheila Kuehl has introduced legislation [Bill SB 777] that will ban textbooks and teachers from any instruction that reflects adversely upon homosexuality, transgenders, bisexuals or those with perceived gender issues.

“. . . we must dishonour the prevailing belief that heterosexuality is the only acceptable orientation even though that would mean dishonouring the religious beliefs of Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.” — from a teachers manual in British Columbia

Children’s Book: One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads.  From the book’s dedication:   “To Jacob, who has only one mom and one dad. But don’t feel sorry for him. They’re both great parents.”

Children’s book: Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls: The antithesis of the “Dick and Jane” coloring book, this is a funny, playful and provocative deconstruction of traditional gender roles. The activist authors use drawings as well as images taken from old children’s books to show how completely silly and unnecessary most common gender assumptions are

Another accusation that Besen brought against the Ex-Gay Ministries was that they were almost exclusively  concerned with politics, rather than sincerely helping and caring for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, as they claim, and that the ministries’ “concern” for these people is essentially a front for their political goals, referring to these ministries as “desperate” because the GLBT community is now “winning” on most political and ideological fronts.  During the Q&A time at the end of the night, I was able to ask Besen the question “What criteria do you use to judge the privately held motivations of … these [ex-gay ministry] leaders?”  Besen responded by saying:

I believe that Ex-Gay Ministries are very sincere people… And I think they’d have a lot more credibility if they were not in Washington… Many of these organizations have little puny organizations that are starving to death, and all this money’s going on these political roadshows and big ads… If James Dobson really thought there was a cure for this, you’d see millions poured out, but we see a roadshow… But I will say that many of the people are sincere… I don’t know if they’re sincere about trying to change gay people, but nobody should ever question that they’re sincere in their beliefs. That’s what makes them very tough opponents.

While one wonders how Besen was able to draw such a matter-of-fact personal judgment from such scant evidence, it is encouraging to see his acknowledgment of the fact that these ministry leaders are “sincere,” a judgment he also stated later in the Q&A period in response to a comment from the audience that the ex-gay ministries were simply “moneymakers,” a statement which Besen disagreed with when it comes to the main ministry leaders, saying “if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Dobson is that he’s very sincere” and “Allan Chambers from Exodus International, I think he’s sincere.”

Following his analysis of the political motivations of the ministries, he went on to give a light-hearted presentation of the fall of a number of former Ex-Gay Ministry leaders who fell back into homosexuality, including whom Besen claimed were the co-founders of Exodus International who left their wives for one another, one of Focus on the Family’s first Ex-Gay leaders, John Paulk, who Besen photographed at a gay bar, and Jerry Falwell’s former Ex-Gay ministry leader.  The implication of this was that there are no true Ex-Gays, and despite everything they proclaim, the ex-gay leaders of these groups remain homosexuals.  Besen called for the Ex-Gay ministries to acknowledge the failures of their leaders, not to get involved in  politics, and not to use phrases that seem to promise to turn gays straight with no more struggles, because even many of the Ex-Gay leaders will acknowledge that change isn’t always complete, and some of the desires may still exist.  (Besen’s point that we should not gloss over these failures and the self evident hypocrisy that arises in some of the ex-gay leaders is a fair one, though it is not a subject to be laughed at or taken lightly).

Besen next argued that the statistics and studies the Ex-Gay ministries use to build a foundation for their case are either old and outdated, conducted by phony scientists, or grossly distort the conclusions of real scientists, who are very unhappy with their work being taken out of context.  He used the example of Allan Chamber’s changing the numbers of ex-gays in existence drastically each year (which can quite easily be explained by the fact that he is not specifying an exact number when he says “thousands”), and James Dobson’s quoting of two researchers offended that their studies were used in a way that they didn’t intend them to be used (a charge which again can easily be explained by the fact that facts are facts, and can be used in various ways the original researcher didn’t originally intend).

A video was played of one researcher’s response to Dobson’s statements, stating that his conclusions from her study were “caricatures” and an oversimplification of her work, that shouldn’t have been used “against” homosexuality, and then Besen made this statement:  “In fact, we’re going to really ramp up this campaign next year, we’re going to make it really hard to lie, in fact, we’re going to make it very painful to lie over the next couple of years … they’re actually going to have to rely on quacks again, and not distort real researchers.” (Emphasis added).

Besen’s apparent threat of ex-gay ministries and conservative organizations rings hollow.  Clearly studies shouldn’t be used in a false or misleading way, but Besen seemed to be going one step further when in his attempt to prove that research had been distorted, he asked researchers questions like “Is this what you meant? Did you really back James Dobson?”  Should not the question be asked in a way that removes politics, religious beliefs, and personal likes and dislikes from the equation? Should it not have been phrased in a more neutral fashion such as “Your research was said to have proved X, did your research really prove X?”

In addition, while Besen emphasized how wrong it is to take quotes out of context so they indicate something other than what was meant, he clearly participated in the same behavior in his own presentation.  Take for instance a quote he had on the screen by Melissa Fryrear that referenced homosexuals  “I never met one woman who had not been sexually violated or sexually threatened in her life. I never met one woman. And I never met one man either, that had not been sexually violated or sexually seduced in his life.” Besen responded to the quote he displayed by saying, “Not one? How honest is that? I mean, okay, you know what? [raises hand] One! So I hope we never hear that again, because I’m, as they say, living proof that’s not true.” Was Fryrear really stating that every gay and lesbian has been abused? Clearly not! At the Love Won Out conference the following Saturday, she said essentially the same thing, but made it abundantly clear that it was in the context of her own personal experience as she was working with a ministry where these people had come for help and counseling, and that she certainly didn’t mean that all people struggling with homosexuality had been abused, threatened, or seduced.  Other examples of Besen’s misquoting or misusing people to prove his point happened throughout the night.

The next set of points Besen made painted a picture of Ex-Gay ministries as sinister, “playing on the fears of people,” again blaming all unpleasant feelings that accompany unwanted same-sex attractions many people have on the “backward” and “oppressive” idea held by some parents, conservatives, and ministries like these, that they can and/or should want to change from gay to straight.  He said that every accredited association, such as the American Psychiatric Association, states that trying to change one’s sexual orientation is inherently unhealthy (and possibly immoral), and that the rejection homosexuals experience from people not fully accepting and condoning their lifestyle can make them suicidal.

He then gave a call to be involved in legal action that he is in the process of building against these ministries:

I have to deal all the time with the victims of these ministries who have had their lives shattered, they’ve been destroyed, they’re hurt … we worked with Lambda Legal on an exciting new booklet called ‘Ex-Gay and the Law…’   We’re going to go around the country and ask people this, [and] if anybody here has been through these ministries, and you’ve been harmed, you’ve been hurt, you’ve had your life upended because of this, because you received fake information, because you received bad science, or you were abused sexually … in a lot of cases we see this b/c they have these repressed therapists who are still gay acting out, if this has happened to you, you need to read this … you may have legal options, you may have legal recourse, and we want you to take a look at this, this will refer you to some of the best attorneys in the United States of America … this will be a great addition to our efforts to counter the Ex-Gay industry.

Besen then moved on to talking about “bizarre techniques” used by Ex-Gay Ministries, introducing the subject by using a video clip of a woman talking about casting demons out of various parts of the body (the woman was not associated with the main Ex-Gay organizations), which then colored all the quotes that he showed from leaders of Exodus International, Focus on the Family, etc. regarding the spiritual roots of issues and the concept that Satan is involved in the bondage of people struggling with homosexuality (which were simply phrased with standard Orthodox Christian language).  He called the idea of self-denial therapy “cultlike,” and listed several methods used by some ministries or therapies that appeared very odd, without context, and talked about Ex-Gay conferences being full of pressure and coercion.  Besen also said all these ministries are increasing the divorce problem, as people divorce their husbands or wives after “trying to be ex-gay.”

He concluded the presentation by saying that the Ex-Gay ministries actually SEPARATE people from God, because they get a negative view of God through the emotional trauma they experience by having their homosexual lifestyle called sin, and being called/expected to change their behavior and hopefully, their attractions.  His summary remarks are as follows:

The ex gay ministries are like actors playing a role.  Some of the people are very sincere … they read the lines they’ve been given, and if you read it hard enough and you’re under enough pressure, you can even believe the line, and get so into the role, you can believe you have changed.  The human mind is capable of amazing things for periods of time, but like all plays, all theatrical productions, the final curtain has to come crashing down … even these people who are in it for many years, the final curtain of reality comes crashing down.

With this quote in mind, I asked the last question of the night during the Q&A session: “The final part there you said that basically the final curtain will fall upon these leaders and were implying also people that were affected by the leaders…  my question is, are you stating that everyone who at one point in their life is gay or lesbian will eventually return to that lifestyle, and if so, how do you know that?”

In reply, Besen stated that while it is theoretically possible for people to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual (citing Dr. Lisa Diamond’s research), that “There is no organization out there that can sexually engineer you to go from one sexuality to another, either gay to straight or straight to gay,” and again emphasized the unhealthy nature of repressing homosexual desires, stating “Alan Chambers said … and I’m paraphrasing …  ‘every day i get up and do what’s not natural for me,’ and if people want to do that, get up and do what they don’t feel is natural, they may have the willpower to do that for an entire lifetime,  but that’s very few people. I think … [it would] cause a lot of psychological problems [for most people].”

While Besen and other ex-gay protesters are busy demonizing these ministries, the reality is that there is a real outcry from people that are not happy with their same-sex attraction and want to change, and these ministries are simply answering that call as best as they know how. And with God’s anointing and guidance gracing these ministries, they are seeing success, whether people like Besen and CRANE (who held up signs protesting the Love Won Out conference on Saturday) want to admit it or not.

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