The ‘martyrdom’ faction of Christianity in the US — Oklahoman Sally Kern who thinks the gays are out to kill her or Rick Perry’s wife who thinks he’s been unfairly attacked just because he’s Christian — got a boost on October 15 when in the dead of night, a couple of bricks were thrown through a church window.
The church is the Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, IL. It hosted that night a banquet and award ceremony for Scott Lively, organised by Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH).
Both AFTAH and Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries are designated as ‘hate groups’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Lively was a principal proponent of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Anti-Homosexuality bill and describes killing gays as “the lesser of two evils.”
The bricks were accompanied by a message on Chicago’s Indymedia website which said they were thrown:
“To show that there is a consequence for hatred and homophobia in our community and to directly cause this event to be shut down. If this event is not shut down, and the homophobic day trainings do not end, the Christian liberty academy will continue to be under constant attack.”
The links between a 2009 conference organized by Lively in Uganda, “Exposing the Truth About Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda”, and the ‘Kill gays’ bill have been well documented by Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin and Warren Throckmorton.
Lively has said he doesn’t support the death penalty, but instead he has advised the Ugandan government to set up national gay rehab programs.
He told WND this as well:
My advice to the MPs regarding the law they were contemplating but had not yet drafted was to focus on rehabilitation and not punishment. I urged them to become the first government in the world to develop a state-sponsored recovery system for homosexuality on the model we have in the United States for alcoholism.
However, the far Christian right may be suffering some frustration, given, as Michelle Goldberg explains at the Daily Beast, that they are facing the End of the Ex-gay Movement.
A 21 year veteran of the primary ex-gay group Exodus International, with 11 years on the board of directors, John Smid just wrote that:
I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.
Says Throckmorton: “[Smid] has credibility to make that statement seem shocking.”
Smid’s group, Love in Action (LIA), is one of the largest and oldest ex-gay ministries in existence, founded in 1973, the same year the American Psychiatric Association decided that homosexuality was no longer a mental illness.
Smid’s disclosures may not bring the end of the ex-gay movement, but it is one of many indicators of decline. Unquestionably one of the biggest hits was the revelation that former NARTH board member George Rekers had taken a European vacation with a young “rent boy” hired from a gay escort service. Then the case of Kyle Murphy revealed that Rekers scientific work on preventing homosexuality was built on significantly distorted research. More recently, Edification, a Christian journal affiliated with the American Association of Christian Counselors published research from Mark Yarhouse’s lab showing that gay and bisexual people in mixed orientation marriages change behavior but not orientation, despite being heterosexually married.
Even the study touted as hopeful by change paradigm proponents — the Jones and Yarhouse longitudical study — found a small percentage of people who claimed change. When inspected closer, the change reported could also be considered shifts within an essentially bisexual orientation since most of the participants still report same-sex attraction.
Throckmorton notes that the sole Christian groups left still promoting the ‘change paradigm’ “are those which are also heavily involved in political activities opposing gay rights.”
As one who was once associated with the ex-gay movement, I look at the trends and wonder if we are nearing the end of the ex-gay movement as we know (knew) it. If it is, I feel fine.
As Lively’s comments show, though, the ‘change paradigm’ has been strongly transferred into Africa. Only last week a Kenyan friend was telling me about how it was an annoying theme on a Kenyan FM radio show.
Picture by Atheist