When Focus on the Family announced that “Love Won Out” — its one-sided program promoting ex-gay ministries and antigay therapies — would come to Nashville, the Vanderbilt Divinity School responded with a program featuring credentialed experts in psychiatry, psychotherapy, and faith.
The Vanderbilt program, which included gay-tolerant Christians and at least one former ex-gay, put ex-gay activist Mike Haley on the defensive.
Haley is the chairman of Exodus and the manager of Focus’ antigay activism. XGW has quoted him many times.
From coverage in the Vanderbilt student newspaper:
“I would like to apologize on behalf of the church for not being educated on this issue,” said self-proclaimed ex-gay Mike Haley, manager of the gender issues department for Focus on the Family. “It is not a hateful message, we are not saying you don’t have a right to be gay, but some people don’t want to be gay.”
“We are not saying you don’t have a right to be gay.” Haley is speaking a half-truth: he fails to mention that if someone chooses to be gay, then (Haley has argued in the past) they should be denied countless other basic rights.
Haley, who was raised in the church, said his church taught that there was one place for homosexuals, and that was Hell. He stopped going to church and found acceptance in the gay community for 12 years, until he met a man who challenged his beliefs. He is now married with two children.
Haley said a person can be gay and a Christian, because salvation doesn’t have anything to do with sexual orientation.
“It’s not a person’s sexuality that sends them to Hell,” he said. “We believe homosexuality is not what God intended, but that’s not going to keep them from Jesus Christ.”
What Haley does not say is that he has a well-established public record of anger and contempt toward gay Christians, toward homosexuals as a class, and toward what he oddly defines as “liberals.” The body of his public statements suggests that he believes one can be gay and Christian only if the individual is celibate, conservative and opposed to the outward expression of “homosexuality.”
The article closes out its coverage of Haley with one more contradiction:
Haley admitted that reparative therapy has not worked for everyone and that he is still tempted by homosexuality.
“I will never be as though I never was,” he said. “But I had an unmet emotional need that was sexualized, now my needs are met appropriately.”
If he is still sexually attracted to the same gender, then his sexual orientation is — by definition — bisexual. Yet he claims in his public statements to be heterosexual.
Postscript: Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas has posted photos of “Love Won Out” in Nashville.