In a piece called “Ministry to Gay Students,” Shawn Harrison of Exodus Youth goes the extra mile to portray condescension and religious supremacism as compassion. He also believes that the Bible is inerrant.
First we get the compassion part:
There is no question that high schools and middle schools across this nation are ground zero for students who face peer pressure, bullying, low self-esteem, depression, and the like. One of the most disturbing of these is bullying… …and occasionally ends with students getting beat up, receiving death threats, missing school, changing schools, and in some cases, even attempting suicide.
On his 611 ministries website/blog, he even shares that he attempted suicide:
I hated my high school years… …walking through the halls and enduring my new lifestyle was enough to bring me to suicide – which was attempted a few times.
Back to the EY article:
This article is not calling to accept behavior that clashes with Biblical beliefs, rather it’s calling for Christians (especially those who are youth workers) to take a stand against bullying, and start teaching the truth about sharing God’s unconditional love with those who think they are undeserving of such love.
The way that sentence is written, it seems unclear as to whether he thinks it’s the bullies who don’t feel they are worthy of God’s love, or gay students, or both. But as evidenced throughout the article, it becomes clear that it’s gay students who supposedly think they are “undeserving” of God’s unconditional love.
Mr. Harrison then lifts two quotes—without giving credit or link—from of all places, GLSEN’S 2007 National School Climate Survey (PDF):
[Shawn Harrison:] Read what two students write about their current school experience:
Male Student – 11th grade
“I have learned that harassment in schools is a norm. Kids would scream the term ‘faggot’ as they saw me in the halls. None of the teachers said a word, and that is what scared me. I don’t feel safe at my school because I’m gay.”
Female Student – 12th grade[Shawn Harrison:] As a gay teen in high school, I can clearly identify with both students.
“I stayed home because everyone hated me so much that it made me hate myself, and I thought there was something completely wrong with me. I missed almost three weeks in a row to avoid seeing the other students.”
We then get the “all bullying is equal” canard:
Whether students are gay, have braces, wear glasses, or do not act manly/feminine enough, bullying (harassment) of any kind is wrong and damaging.
Last I checked, there wasn’t a concerted religious effort to define the wearing of braces and/or glasses as a “behavior that clashes with Biblical beliefs”.
This very article of his encourages youth workers to see gay students as prodigals:
“most gay teens have unhealthy relationships”
“same-sex attraction is mainly about broken relationships between the sexes”.
And what anti-gay sentiment would be complete without the balancing effect of the ever innocuous “Truth in love”:
I fully believe we are to love in truth… …just as Jesus exemplified. This type of authentic love goes beyond the cliché: “hate the sin, love the sinner.”
Besides, whenever Christians use the cliché: “hate the sin, love the sinner,” the only thing the gay community hears is HATE. That is not the message of the gospel – LOVE is.
There is good reason why many of us only hear the word “HATE,” Mr. Harrison. Your slanderous assertions above are one example. But perhaps one of the better reasons is that you and your anti-gay affiliates are willing to overlook the sin of bullying and harassment, for the sake of highlighting what you consider to be the sin of identifying as LGB or T.
Authentic love looks past the person’s faults, and looks into their hearts.
The subtext here, whether intentional or not, is that same-gender attraction is not of the heart. Thus, our human-sexuality is merely a superfluous “fault” to be looked past. This, Mr. Harrison, would have us believe is authentic love.
As the Bible says:
Matthew 7:4: How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
Seeing a non-existent fault, is a fault.
Onto the proselytization of gay youth:
The most important issue is this: does the [gay] student have a relationship with Christ?
The next important issue, once the student has accepted Christ, is this: how are they nurturing their relationship with Christ?
If he/they were serious about saving the supposedly unrepentant lost, they would start by attempting to convert the bullies, not their victims.
Further, youth workers are to “teach about all sin, not just the-gay-verses; God hates all sin, and no sin is higher than another.”
If he, et al, really believed that, then the eradication of homosexuality wouldn’t be at the top of their list.
And finally, under the heading of “The Student,” we get several examples of the whole “The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality, it’s holiness” song and dance. Here’s just one example:
Let me first say, the overall result is not to become a manly/womanly heterosexual, getting married, or having kids. The overall result is simply this: to seek after God’s identity.
Oh, and btw:
Nothing creates more damage to one’s soul than a peer constantly referring to you as an adjective (faggot) rather than as a person. Just because a student is gay or lesbian does not mean that they have to be constantly reminded of it.
Unless you’re defining LGBT youth as unrepentant sinners. Then you can write articles to influence others to remind them of it every Christian chance they get.
There are reasons why we have age of consent laws, to protect the vulnerable. Choosing to live a physically and emotionally chaste life is one thing, but unnecessarily foisting, what amounts to be the priesthood, onto the dependant, impressionable, and powerless among us, is nothing short of ABUSE.
And calling it religion doesn’t make it any less criminal.