Following on the Mohler piece, the ex-gay movement recently held a conference in Phoenix. Story here from NPR.
The piece cites this group (which I had never heard of specifically before but was aware of such groups) Exodus International.
The site says:
Exodus is a nonprofit, interdenominational Christian organization promoting the message of Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.On the one hand I respect, as they describe, the right for individuals to choose for themselves. It is a free country and I think such ideas, if one finds them wrong, must be fought on the battlefield of advocacy and not through legislation of hate crime initiatives, which for me generally confuse discrimination (a public illegal act that must be criminialized, say targeting gay persons or their property) with prejudice/homophobia (an interior worldview that the government should not mess with).
On the other hand, I find the teaching pretty ugly. Morally and theologically.
I do find it interesting that (here) they communicate a message of liberation from homosexuality. Liberation there is meant as a shot across the bow of both liberation theologies--including queer ones--and secular political liberation movements.
Theologically it is the same issue Mohler struggles with: how can God's will, i.e heterosexuality (or is heteronormativity?) be thwarted by the existence of homosexual orientations? Liberation is from bondage as opposed to cure which has too much the ring of sickness, disease.
Interestingly, the group also employs therapy which seems to conflict with its belief in liberation only from confession of Jesus Christ as Lord through God's grace.
I have no idea, since I have never met any such persons, but generally I take people at their word, or at least assume they are often wisest when it comes to their own best insights. So some people must actually be "liberated" however much that may offend others. The question is liberated from what to what?
And how many are truly liberated, whatever that means, and how many others are placing themselves within a new vicious form of bondage and sin--namely a de-humanizing conflict between what is taught as Biblical truth versus inner conscience?
This line from a question on whether gays stay together is tough for me to read:
Homosexuality does not become a factor in a person’s life due to a deficit in sexual activity; it becomes a factor due to a deficit in emotional intimacy. Homosexuality may fill the gap with sexual activity but it does not fulfill the need for the self-identity, emotional affirmation, and acceptance designed by God to give each of us a sense of preference and well-being.
In other words since God (according to this view) created us to be either masculine or feminine in gender identity, then moving away from such reality is concupiscence, i.e. the self-contraction of sin. The sin of pride, desiring to decide one's own life instead of following God's program, as it were.
Hence the assertion that homosexuality is meant to fill the emotional void of being disconnected to God. No of course, as with anything, for many people sexual encounters, sinful and anonymous ones especially, do act as a false substitute for God. Our hearts are restless until they rest in you said Augustine. That would include gays and lesbians but certainly is in no way monopolized by such individuals, as even EI would admit.
The idea that such love could come out of fullness, out of the free covenantal gift of self, mirroring to the degree possible the God of Christianity, is never examined. I'm not denying the steps outlined by EI do not occur in some people. But the idea that all such individuals follow that series of steps does not accord with the experience and moral reflections mediated to me by (some) gay and lesbian friends and associates.
This is not to say I'm on board with all proposals laid out by members/groups within the more secular GLBT communities (those promoting the so-called homosexual agenda).
I think we need liberation from many things: that sex is about us and our needs primarily. That freedom means freedom from interference and an ability to act immorally. That monogamous same-sex relationships represent some threat to the American family. On and on.