For the past few decades conservative evangelical leaders have become increasingly focused on politics. And while there are some from this branch of Christianity are starting to question why the election of politicians should take priority over feeding the hungry or caring for the sick, the ex-gay movement remains at the forefront of anti-gay political activism.
This is currently being demonstrated by anti-gay religious activists in New Jersey. They are not happy that the Supreme Court of that state determined that their constitution requires that rights and benefits cannot be denied to citizens based solely on their sexual orientation. The Court stated that the legislature devise a scheme – either marriage or by another name – that would allow same-sex coupled citizens the same access to the protections and requirements of the government as opposite-sex coupled citizens.
Opposition to civil rights or civil equality for gay people is supposedly based on the idea that many evangelicals view gay people as willful sinners.
However, there is no logical reason why gay sinners should have less rights than Tony Soprano (or any other philandering non-fictional heterosexuals). But the culture war mentality of many conservative evangelicals requires that gays and lesbians be viewed as enemies of Christianity. So churches in New Jersey have banded together to decry the court’s decision and to raise as much dissent and discord as possible.
This is not – as anti-gay activists like to claim – an attack on Christian faith or on religious individuals or institutions.
…several major faith groups have backed gay marriage, including the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association. About 251 clergy members signed a petition in favor of gay marriage.
Newark Episcopal Bishop John P. Croneberger said the court didn’t go far enough.
“In my view, the marriage of two men or two women in no way diminishes the marriage of one man and one woman,” Croneberger said in a statement. “I pray that one day all of God’s people could have the opportunity to name as well as claim the benefits of marriage.”
All sides agree that there is little to no chance of an anti-gay constitutional amendment getting much traction in the state. Polls indicate that civil unions have significant support and by the time such an amendment could be initiated they will already be well established. Nonetheless they will do what they can to stir up anti-gay animus. And Focus on the Family has pledged support.
As reported by NorthJersey.com, their tool of choice for getting out the anti-gay message is ex-gay Greg Quinlan.
Several area churches recently hosted Greg Quinlan, an Ohio-based conservative activist and self-described former homosexual.
“My mission is to explain that homosexuality is a changeable behavior,” Quinlan said in an interview. “It shouldn’t be the policy of the state to enable a changeable behavior.”
Quinlan is a lobbyist through his Pro-Family Network (which seems to be Greg’s personal show) and one of the more extreme anti-gay ex-gays and has made claims that go far beyond reason. He also was featured on Dr. Throckmorton’s video I Do Exist.
It is not possible for Quinlan to actually believe the things he claims. One of his more hateful screeds includes:
There is quantitative scientific research on the subject and thousands of individual case studies that proves that persons with homosexual ideation’s can and have changed through clinical therapy and counseling. There is no biologic evidence, not one repeatable study, not a single genetic test that gives any validity to homosexual behavior as a “born” trait. Homosexuality is a emotional disorder, a pathology that can be effectively changed.
Well, it hardly needs to be said, but:
* There is not quantitative (or qualitative) scientific research on reorientation that has ever proved that all persons (as he implies) can change their orientation through any manner. That’s simply a false statement.
* No mental health organization (not even NARTH) claims that homosexuality is a pathology. That’s simply a false statement.
Earlier this fall, Quinlan put himself under the guidance of his “master”… Stephen Bennett and went to Jerusalem with him on an “evangelical outreach” to protest Jerusalem WorldPride in August.
Quinlan is not a good man or a nice man. He claims that his reorientation was due to his Christianity, but his “witness” appeals only to the hateful and extreme (he favors the enforcement of sodomy laws) or to the vicious (see his catty exchange).
Sadly, Quinlan is not an exception. It seems that the only remaining public function of Exodus and other ex-gays is their role as the face of anti-gay activism. They have sacrificed any message of compassion or care on the alter of partisan politics.