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British Church Trying to Cure Gays Thinks It’s Doing Nothing Wrong

British Church Trying to Cure Gays Thinks It’s Doing Nothing Wrong
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The Frontline Church of Liverpool, England, has been condemned for offering a service to cure homosexuality that it says has helped to reorient some of its members.

The Church, which describes itself as a non-denominational Christian church which is part of the Evangelical Alliance, is based in a former army barracks in Wavertree and has an average congregation of between 800 and 1,000 people. While its work with the homeless has been praised, its “Dark Ages” approach to gay people has been widely criticized by LGBT rights groups.

Of particular objection has been the Church’s “Homosexuality Fact Sheet”, a leaflet which offers guidance on how a concerned devotee might spot someone struggling with homosexuality. The fact sheet, now gone from the Frontline Church website though it can be seen in its entirety here, says the Church “does not believe that people are born homosexual but that it is the result of dealing with pain from childhood.”

The fact sheet then explains, “Homosexual relationships are characterised by emotional dependency. An all consuming, unhealthy attachment is made with the other person.” Arrogantly, the section continues: “The relationship is not based on love but on finding security in another person.”

The Frontline Church “Homosexuality Fact Sheet” then offers a series of ways one might spot “someone struggling with homosexuality.”

These include:

  • Spends an inordinate amount of time with one particular person.
  • Puts much less effort into other relationships.
  • Has feelings of jealousy and rejection when x spends time with other friends
  • Has underlying low self-esteem
  • Feels different to other people

Lest you think that Frontline is actually trying to cure adolescence, the fact sheet adds (emphasis theirs):

  • Women may appear and dress in a more masculine way. Men may appear somewhat effeminate. However, this is not always the case.

The fact sheet goes on to offer advice on how to help a someone “struggling” with homosexuality, warning readers that they should not try and “deliver a ‘demon’ of homosexuality out of the person” — which in most circles would not need to be said — but instead that they should talk to that person, listen to them and then if further help is wanted, direct them to L.I.F.E. counselling which, as mentioned above, they say has a considerable success rate and that, based on earlier statements, could apparently offer complete reorientation within two to three years.

The comment about demonic possession is interesting however. Frontline Church leaders have said they have a “positive, ongoing friendship” with their founders over at the American L.I.F.E. Ministry.  Leader of L.I.F.E. Joanne Highley once said in an interview (click for video), “Why wouldn’t it be reasonable that if people crawl around on the floor of bars and have homosexual sex, that they would pick up demonic powers?” She has also claimed to exorcise people’s genitals and anal canals to rid them of demonic powers. While Frontline admits it adapts L.I.F.E. materials, they are quick to point out they are not officially affiliated and that L.I.F.E. has no direct influence over Frontline. There is at present no suggestion that Frontline itself has ever engaged in the above practices. Still, even a friendly association is enough to give pause.

According to reports, Frontline received Home Office funds in 2010 to run projects helping at risk youths. Its staff have also enjoyed a visit from Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg who were there to discuss Liverpool’s grassroots issues.

Following earlier revelations about Frontline’s attitude to gay people, several organizations previously linked to the Frontline were quick to distance themselves. With this fresh wave of media attention have come similar remarks.

From the Telegraph:

Liverpool council, which is listed on the Church’s accounts as a ‘donor’, said it had not funded any activities for five years.

A spokesman added: “We would not fund an organisation or its activities where they contradicted our equalities and cohesion policy in the way alleged in this case.”

Council Liberal group leader Cllr Steve Radford said: “I think it would be entirely inappropriate to fund them just as it would be to fund fundamentalists of any faith”

A spokesman for Merseyside Police, which in recent years was voted Second Most Gay Friendly Force in the UK and holds neighbourhood meetings in the Church, said: “We would not regard any church as an ‘official partner’ and the religious beliefs of the churches whose buildings we use are entirely separate to and independent of the views and policies of Merseyside Police.”

A number of local charities who have in the past used the church’s facilities have also been keen to show they are do not condone the Church’s practices.

Frontline Church leaders have strongly rejected allegations of homophobia, saying in a statement that while they accept that the “Homosexuality Fact Sheet” is “simplistic” they would defend themselves by pointing out that they are not forcing anyone to change or take up the therapy service they offer to church goers.

Next Page: Read Frontline Church’s statement.

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to brainchildvn.

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67 comments

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10:52AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

I find it very sad that people who profess to follow the man who taught, above all else, the meaning and importance of LOVE, should be taking a stance that shows anything but love. What are they so afraid of?
Thank you, Steve, for bringing this to our attention and stimulating such interesting debate.
In reply to Thom L I have to say that anything that encourages acceptance, understanding and greater compassion in our word - as so many of Steve's posts do - can by no stretch of the imagination be called a "molehill". And to the people who are subjected to the kind of hatred and intolerance described in Steve's article the issue is perhaps even more than just a "mountain" - it's a hurtful, undermining, destructive attitude. I can only hope that you will have someone like Steve on your side if ever you need support and encouragement over any matter in your life

11:53AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

Although I'm an atheist and don't have nothing to do with the church but they point out some interesting stuff that I would have not expected them to say. "These include:

Spends an inordinate amount of time with one particular person.
Puts much less effort into other relationships.
Has feelings of jealousy and rejection when x spends time with other friends
Has underlying low self-esteem
Feels different to other people"

They are quite true in an amount . Anybody will say anything in order the get stuff as they want. How about the right to murder? That would be the case for KKK and others... but let's be honest. It's all about some leaders that seek power and take sides or influence others for their benefit. I have nothing against gays (although I really don't find it ok to change your sex...) but we should not forget that we are animals and we are trying to tame ourselves like the circus does.

2:07AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

At first I thought I was reading about some church in Texas or Arkansas, but to my surprise it was in England. I didn't know that such evangelical Christian lunacy had reached that far from our shores. Crazy ideas like this have hurt so many people and continue to cause so much pain. People are born gay, just as they are born straight. Sexual preference is not a choice and anyone that thinks that way is either very ignorant or brainwashed by some crazy fundamentalist religion. No matter which one it is. Fortunately this kind of thinking is not as common as it once was and I have hope we are making progress. In the meantime, churches like this will continue to ruin lives and somehow think they are saving them.

11:38PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

Well, Roger,

If you follow C2C, you will notice a pattern of denigrating Christians and Christianity, while letting Islam off scott-free, UNLESS READERS POINT OUT THE DOUBLE STANDARDS.

Then perhaps a C2C writer here or there will write a story about a relatively small thing the Muslims do that are bad and the VICTIMS ARE ALWAYS MUSLIM (and ignore the widespread, large-scale horrible things that are done to non-Muslims).

So, in the hope of trying to get some sense of the real disparity between how Christians deal with things like LGBT problems (albeit flawed) versus how Islam deals with it, which is usually FATALLY, I bring this up. And I will continue to do so, because Care2's editorial policy is very dishonest.

I hope that helps answer the question.

11:01PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

And while we're about it.....

Holly, are you referring to the War of Independence? Only I fail to see the connection between a loony Christian church in Liverpool, which virtually none of us British people would endorse, and a war from hundreds of years ago.

Perhaps you could enlighten us?

10:55PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

What do Muslims have to do with this story, Beth? This concerns a Christian church.

10:48PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

It's a stupid idea, but it sure beat HANGING and STONING GAYS TO DEATH LIKE THE MUSLIMS DO!

12:59PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

Heartbreaking. Always makes me think they are struggling with their own gender identity and feelings

4:38AM PST on Nov 19, 2011

The truth of the matter is that the church is doing nothing right.

11:51AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

And England wonders WHY we won the war against them????

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