I am FURIOUS … again. With the advent of the new film, Boy Erased, and renewed attention to the “business” of conversion therapy, I am reminded once again of the arrogance displayed by the evangelical Christian community in thinking that, because Yahweh condemned men for loving other men and women for loving other women, that it was somehow incumbent on them to attempt to correct this supposed flaw in their personalities. Also reminding me of this issue was CBS News Sunday Morning’s opening piece on 11 November, 2018, about conversion therapy, which of course referred to the movie, and two stories of a man and a woman who were subjected to a “therapy” which has been universally discredited by the physical and psychological medicine communities.

What was even more infuriating about the Sunday Morning piece were the interviews with two men who had actively participated and supervised such attempts at rerouting the natural inclinations of gay men and Lesbian women to the dictated norms prescribed by the bible. Both interviewees spoke in even, unemotional terms of what they had inflicted on members of their own congregations. One of these men, having been through the process himself, confessed that he had never seen it work and that, even in the face of a straight, 21-year marriage, he continued to be attracted to men.

Meanwhile, Jeff Johnson of Focus on the Family wants to insist that: “I have met dozens and dozens of people who have had deep change and deep transformation, and that's why we continue to advocate for their freedom.” Mr. Johnson, first of all, I would like to see some specific case studies where there has been an actual change in sexual orientation as a result of the procedures you wish to endorse. Second and far more importantly, when Christian gay and Lesbian people seek out conversion therapy, is it because they feel as though what they are doing is genuinely wrong, or is it because they want to conform to a community that will not accept them otherwise? To me, therein lies the real tragedy: Christian fellowship is what these people know, possibly all that they know, they don’t want to lose that sense of belonging, and they are so dependent on that environment that they are willing to attempt to alter a foundational part of themselves in order to continue to fit in. Prplfox’s words in his YouTube video were never truer: “Christianity alters your identity to insure the survival of ITSELF.”

In the case of the two people featured in the story, the ending is a happy one. The gay man and his mother are now reconciled to each other, and the Lesbian woman has some closure with her family and now shares an apartment with her girlfriend. Two stories … out of how many thousands of others which have less than ideal resolutions. In each of their journeys, both of these people attempted to end their own lives to resolve the conflict, obviously unsuccessfully. What is the count of those whose story ends in tragedy rather than in the far more positive outcome presented here? The fact is that we continue to permit such bogus treatment because we continue to treat religion and its practices as a separate case, somehow deserving of separate consideration, when it clearly hasn’t earned it.

And that has to change. For the sake of the victims, it must.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on November 12, 2018 at 5:57pm

OH Yes! Compartmentalization! What contortions our minds endure as we learn the stories that tell us who we are, when in fact, the truth lies within us. 
It is our work, our developmental task, our vocation to define ourselves, create our stories, compose our songs, write our books, build our bridges, carve our wood, tell our stories of who we each are. I'll tell you my story, you tell me yours. Through communication, we define our world as co-travelers on Earth, the Spaceship. 

There is a new, to me, political force growing called Yang 2020; his description of a government of the future reminded me a bit about living as those on Star Trek. I watched those videos and wondered how Star Trekkers managed their financial matters. Did they work for a living? Did they pay for their room, board, health care, education, and retirement? What did they do with their elderly? Did they get wages? Did they need a union? How did they decide who was the leader and his/her responsibilities? Was there a hierarchy as I know it? 

In our modern life, with production being sent offshore, much of the workforce will be replaced by robots, How will people learn to survive with these changes. Will there be a mass genocide to rid ourselves of excess workers and plan the economy in a way that allows the numbers of humans to match the numbers of jobs? Ye Gads! This is getting serious! 

"By 2030, the researchers estimated, the demand for office support workers in the U.S. will drop by 20 percent. That includes secretaries, paralegals and anyone in charge of administrative tasks.

"During the same period, the need for people doing “predictable physical work” — construction equipment installation and repair, card dealing, security guarding, dishwashing and food preparation, for example — will fall by 30 percent."

~ Robots could replace nearly a third of the U.S. workforce by 2030

Comment by Loren Miller on November 12, 2018 at 3:56pm

VERY good point, GC.

Comment by Grinning Cat on November 12, 2018 at 3:52pm

That quote of Riane Eisler's--"Many cultural stories worldwide present the domination system as the only human alternative. Fairy tales romanticize the rule of kings and queens over 'common people'"--got me thinking:

Millions of people live in modern democracies, and are quick to proclaim those systems' virtues over absolute monarchies and other authoritarian systems. We're / they're proud of having thrown off kings and tyrants in their national histories.

Yet many of those same people also subscribe to religions that teach the "fact" and inevitability and goodness and desirability of a divine king over everyone. Abrahamic religions speak of the "kingship" or "kingdom of God", sometimes as the present state, sometimes as an ideal to be realized in the end times.

They must be doing some serious compartmentalization!

("Compartmentalization" by E.K. Weaver, bigbigtruck at DeviantArt)

Comment by Loren Miller on November 12, 2018 at 3:10pm

Joan, you are BRILLIANT all by yourself, and you require nothing other than yourself to express that brilliance.  Certainly having a friend or companion or mate can add to your experience, but none of those things are mandatory or even necessary.  They are YOUR CHOICE to consider or not.

As a bisexual man, I count myself lucky to have known love with both women and men.  Those experiences have added to my life after a fashion I'm not sure words can fully express.  I just hope I've enriched their lives to the degree they have enriched mine.

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 12, 2018 at 3:03pm

Just as I had to learn how to love being female, homosexuals can learn how to love being gay.  Celebrate our true nature, create festivals in honor of being whole. 

I was told, as a young wife, that I was the yoke and my new husband was the egg white; I was not complete without him. BULL PUCKEY! I learned that I was whole in myself, I was not deficient, not incomplete. If truth is known, the egg yolk plays an important part in being a chicken, what would the white do without the yolk? 

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 12, 2018 at 2:57pm

Eisler writes about domination over women and her words can be included in attitudes about homosexuals. 

“Many cultural stories worldwide present the domination system as the only human alternative. Fairy tales romanticize the rule of kings and queens over “common people.” Classics such as Homers Illiad and Shakespeare’s kings trilogy romanticize “Heroic violence.” Many religious stories present men’s control, even ownership, of women as normal and moral.

"These stories came out of the times that oriented much more closely to a “pure” domination system. Along with newer stories that perpetuate these limited beliefs about human nature, they play a major role in how we view our world and how we live in it. But precisely because stories are so important in shaping values, new narratives can help change unhealthy values.

"Of particular importance are new stories about human nature. We need new narratives that give us a more complete and accurate picture of who we are and who we can be - stories that show that our enormous capacities for consciousness, creativity and caring are integral to human evolution, that these capacities are what make us distinctively human.”
Riane Eisler, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 12, 2018 at 2:53pm

Yes, the evangelical churches perpetuate the crimes against homosexuals and they should be charged with a crime. If there is no crime, there should be. Being born a homosexual is like being born with blue eyes, to extinguish blue-eyed people is a crime against humanity and so is conversion therapy. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 12, 2018 at 2:44pm

Eisler describes the evolution of the Dominator society, pitting men against women, men against other men, men against "other" or those who do not fit into their definition of what is acceptable and what is not. Dominators hated Homosexuality, specifically, and sexuality, generally, in addition to all the other "hated" humans in their midst.  

“All over the ancient world populations were now set against populations, as men were set against women and against other men. Wandering over the width and breadth of this disintegrating world, masses of refugees were everywhere fleeing their homelands, desperately searching for a haven, for a safe place to go.

"But there was no such place left in their new world. For this was now a world where, having violently deprived the Goddess and the female half of humanity of all power, gods and men of war ruled. It was a world in which the Blade, and not the Chalice, would henceforth be supreme, a world in which peace and harmony would be found only in the myths and legends of a long lost past.”
Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future

Comment by Loren Miller on November 12, 2018 at 9:34am

Actually, as it comes to the harms (and subsequent apologies) of the Catholic Church, the 2009 Intelligence Squared debate on the topic: "Is the Catholic Church a Force for Good in the World?" is an excellent resource for material, if admittedly limited to the RCC.  Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry frankly embarrassed their opponents in this set-to, not that I'm surprised.

The fact is that it is more the evangelical churches which have indulged in this specious form of therapy and need to be confronted not just with its inefficacy but the almost universal harm it inflicts on those subjected to it.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on November 12, 2018 at 6:40am

i have advocated an encyclopedia of harms caused by religion....but who the hell am i?

The impact on the lives of gay people is just one strand in a web of poisonous influence but it is highly significant.

So just be a blind "patriot" and tow the party line in church and for country and we will all be free...especially white people who are wealthy and heterosexual

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