The Journal, at Webster University near St. Louis, profiled exgay Dan Colombo on April 7 following his campus visit.

Dan Colombo used to be gay, but after choosing a Christian life, he decided to put all aspects of his life, including his sexuality, in the hands of God.

So do gay-tolerant Christians.

Colombo, who said he was sexually abused by his male neighbor as a child, is now married to a woman and has a daughter. He said his life began to change when he became friends with a Christian while in the Army.

Colombo is only 24 now, and the article does not explain how Colombo defines “gay” or why, exactly, he considered himself gay.

“God gave me the courage to overcome my sin and brokenness,” said Colombo, who was invited to the university by the Baptist Student Union.

Gay-tolerant Christians might say the same thing — but they do not necessarily equate same-sex attraction with sexual abuse and sin.

His attraction toward women came naturally and when it happened it was exciting, he said.

I congratulate Colombo, but still question the nature and extent of his same-sex attraction, given his apparent association between that and sexual abuse.

Colombo said that true Christians do not make judgments about someone’s sexuality. He also apologized for the way some groups are treated by Christians.

“Gays are persecuted and wrongly treated,” he said. “Jesus was treated much in the same way. As a Christian I’m sorry for the way many groups are treated.”

I applaud Colombo’s tolerant gestures. Some of Exodus’ leaders once spoke similar words. But they were later found to support antigay censorship, discrimination and imprisonment. I’d have welcomed Colombo’s views on equality, free speech, and nondiscrimination.

In any case, I’m glad (but not surprised) to see that advocates for gay tolerance were (for the most part) civil in response to Colombo:

“He made it very clear that he was relying on a personal revelation,” said Steve Houldsworth, the faculty adviser of Webster Pride. “I feel like he’s being sincere, and I totally respect that, but that doesn’t mean that anyone else is obligated to the revelation. God may have revealed to others that He is gay.”

In an op-ed published April 14, Houldsworth recalls antigay stereotypes that he says Colombo voiced:

For example, Colombo said “there is no such thing as a healthy gay relationship,” “same-gender desires are a weakness” and “gays & lesbians cannot be good parents.”

Imagine a talk sponsored by a non-Christian group called “The Christianity Box” where an ex-Christian said that there was no such thing as a healthy Christian relationship, that Christian belief is a weakness, and that Christians can not be good parents. I doubt a room full of devout Christians would sit politely through such a talk as did all but one of the 60 or so lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals who attended BSU’s event.

Families were told that they were not real, according to Houldsworth; longtime committed gay couples were told they could not possibly be healthy.

So it seems that Colombo spoiled a promising opportunity for exgays to advance their own concerns without insulting and threatening their listeners.

Nevertheless, Houldsworth says he is pleased that Webster Pride had begun a dialogue on gay/exgay issues.

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