I don’t believe I said that evangelicals promote a cycle of repentance and sin; I said that Metanoia did, and that ex-gay ministries tend to do so. This blog, the ex-ex-gay movement, and the various online ex-gay message boards have documented this fact.
As for dependence on God, again, I see a distinction between mature evangelicals, born-again Christians, and celibate same-sex-attracted persons, and those “some” or “many” people whose testimonies of redemption blanket the blame for their own past behaviors upon Satan or upon homosexuals as a class (often equating Satan with the latter). Or, whose testimonies reflect a form of emotional dependence on spiritual highs that don’t hang around when the church choir stops singing and the daily grind resumes.
I don’t see where I blame people’s problems on their faith; I criticize the twisting of Christianity into a hybrid faith of either zero self-esteem or maximum political ideology.
Or, to put it more simply, I criticize efforts to base one’s faith or sexual identity in what one is not rather than what one is, especially when one falsely accuses everyone else of believing or doing exactly what one formerly believed or did.
Jesus of Nazareth did not boast from street corners (or biplanes) that he was an ex-Jew. Nor did he falsely accuse “liberal” prostitutes or “conservative” Pharisees of belonging to vast, united, and inseparable conspiracies.
To me, a healthy conservative dependence upon God means taking responsibility for one’s own actions, praying or meditating through challenges and temptations, and choosing to moderate one’s own behavior toward abstinence and charity.
I wish more ex-gay ministry leaders would set that simple, positive example — but very few do.
Instead, as I have regularly documented, there is a frequent distribution of blame for past and present temptations and choices. The blame is shifted to feminists, homosexuals, parents, “liberals,” and a “lifestyle” myth that twists homosexuality into an all-consuming cult of sexual liberation.
A sizable proportion of ex-gay activists need to take responsibility for what they say.
If they don’t really blame vast feminist or homosexual conspiracies for their own (or society’s) poor moral choices, then they need to not only stop the blame, but also stop their colleagues when the scapegoat game begins.[text about Ron B. of Courage Seattle deleted, with apologies]
If they believe premarital sex, divorce, remarriage, contraception, and childless marriages are immoral, then they need to make these practices just as illegal as they wish homosexuality to be.
If they generally oppose discrimination, then they need to stop supporting taxpayer subsidies for those who discriminate, and they need to stop opposing very simple antidiscrimination measures that already exempt religious institutions.
If they claim to support self-determination, freedom of choice, and freedom of speech, then they need to do so for gays as well as ex-gays.
If they oppose violence in the New York City schools, then they need to stop opposing all antibullying programs as a class, and ex-gay youth outreach programs need to start launching antibullying programs that they can live with.
If they oppose the sort of mis-dependence on God that leads lost souls to surrender responsibility when the spiritual highs of church are replaced by the knawing loneliness of a life in depression without friends or self-esteem, then some leading ex-gay webforums need to stop encouraging lost souls in their isolation, lack of medical treatment, and fear of other people.
Returning to my basic point: While I don’t believe that all evangelicals or 12-Steppers abandon self-responsibility in their “dependence” on God, many ex-gay activists arguably do so — as this blog frequently documents.
Here is an anonymous individual, recovering from same-sex attraction (his words), who thoughtfully and constructively examines his options without the counterproductive ideological baggage or co-dependence described above. I wish him well, and I applaud his constructive attitude.
Thank you, Johanna, for giving me an opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings.