Republicans win with trickery
Many will be discussing the results of the midterm elections today, including Tony Perkins, president of the evangelical Family Research Council. Perkins, along with Jim DeMint, senator of South Carolina and Steve King, the republican congressman of Iowa, will weigh in on the results and most likely the number of victories for their party during a webcast on their website www.frcaction.org.
These men won’t be focusing just on the election results — they’ll be focusing on what it means for their agenda.
Perkins and the FRC are promoters of the ex-gay movement. It is a movement that claims that homosexuals can change their orientation, and that it is healthy to do so. In an article published in the Washington Post, Perkins wrote that the gay movement is responsible for the depression and suicides of homosexuals because they tell them that they cannot change their orientation.
“There’s no correlation between inacceptance of homosexuality and depression and suicide,” said Perkins, in an interview given to NPR. “This — and not society’s disapproval — may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.”
So, how exactly would one go about changing their orientation? They could begin by consulting Exodus International. Exodus International is the premier ex-gay factory. Exodus retains this status even though former Exodus leaders have renounced the organization and returned to the homosexual lifestyle. This should raise some serious questions about the validity of ex-gay therapy.
Early into my college career I attended “Love Won Out,” an Exodus-sponsored conference. The event was meant to be an informational and motivational seminar on how to change your orientation. While attending the conference, I came to the realization that the ex-gay movement was a total joke.
The catalyst for my transition into accepting and embracing my orientation came in the form of a speech given by an ex-lesbian at the conference. Upon walking onto the stage, the ex-lesbian made a joke about how she was still getting used to wearing heels and dresses. It would have been funny if she hadn’t seemed so serious when she said it.
Her statement revealed a lot about what the ex-gay movement is really trying to accomplish.
They don’t want to just get individuals to change their orientation; they want them to accept traditional gender roles. The FRC believes that the inability of a man or woman to fill their traditional gender role is what causes them to become a homosexual.
They are not only trying to change the orientation of a person, but also trying to change the person’s personality. This is very dangerous.
And people at the FRC and Exodus wonder why many of the homosexuals who seek their treatment are depressed. Perkins and the FRC are sending the message to gay Christians that in order to be considered a part of the church they must not only change their orientation, but start acting like the men and women of that congregation.
The majority of the people who decide to try ex-gay therapy are really just trying to reconnect with their families and churches, churches that have rejected them and families who have assigned them to a separate but equal status.
We have learned from the past that separate is by no means equal. The “love the sinner, hate the sin,” mentality leads to a lot of confusion on the part of the sinner — who has to complete the difficult task of figuring out how they are being loved, while an integral part of who they are is being hated at the same time.
The FRC, Exodus and similar groups claim to be the promoters of family values, yet they are the ones who are destroying many families. They are the ones that tell parents that it’s okay for them to refuse to let their child’s partner sit at their Thanksgiving table, or that it is okay for them to send their child to ex-gay therapy.
Perkins and his affiliates couldn’t be more wrong. The unnacceptance of homosexuality does have a correlation with depression and suicide.
It is fortunate that the gay community is a close-nit family.
It is a family that accepts gay men who enjoy watching football, and gay men who enjoy watching “Sex and the City.”
It is a family that accepts lesbians who enjoy baking petit fours in high heels, and lesbians who enjoy barbequing in combat boots. The gay and lesbian community embraces diversity, a true family value. Perkins, his organization and their affiliates should follow the true example.
Daniel Renfrow is an anthropology junior and may be reached at [email protected].