Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ex-gay leader renounces reparative therapy, says Christians should not single out gays for negative attention


Erik Eckholm has an important story on p. A9 of the Saturday New York Times, “Rift forms in movement as belief in gay ‘cure’ is renounced”.  Alan Chambers, 40, the leader of Exodus, renounced many of the group’s beliefs, when he said that active gays could be “saved” and when he denounced the claims made about “reparative therapy” by Exodus and decried the “ex-gay myth”. Chambers declared bluntly that “there is no cure for homosexuality”.  The continuation of  (Orlando-based) Exodus International (whose site is marked as red by MyWOT on Mozilla, but is green according to McAfee) would seem to be in question.

The link for the story is here.

One particular quote from Mr. Chambers deserves special note. While saying that any experience of sexuality outside of heterosexual monogamous marriage is “sinful”, he added “But we’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else.”

I’ve wondered for decades why homosexuality had been singled out for “blanket condemnation”, as with my own experiences at William and Mary and NIH in the early 1960s.  It has seemed that some people looked at it as an existential threat to the family and civilization that some members would have access to sexuality with absolutely no participation in the risks and responsibilities of procreation, which they believe must be shared by every competent adult in a community (otherwise the community itself would be “violated”).   Of course, in practice, “heterosexuals” usually have the same access.  Yet, in the world of the 50s, it appeared to me that homosexuality was dreaded even more than heterosexual adultery.  Perhaps this was a matter of visible perspective. After all, I am an only child, and since I didn’t reproduce, the lineage that could have grown (into infinity) out of my parents’ marriage died.

Poorer cultures today, as in Uganda, sometimes think this way.  It’s a notion that “social conservatives” can exploit for political purposes.   

The exploding problem of eldercare has the potential to turn the “childlessness” debate on its head, however. 

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