Musings of an antipodean contrarian

Archive for the category “homosexuality”

On the demise of Exodus International

I heard overnight of the decision by Exodus International to wind up its operations and cease ministering to people wishing to be rid of same sex attraction (see, for example, here and here).  The spiritual and pastoral needs of the LGBTI community have never been greater.  People of same sex attraction are often misunderstood and at times unjustly treated by Christians, and they deserve better.  Those who take a hard line on a complex and controversial issue, especially one relating to human sexuality, without careful consideration of developments in science and psychology, as well as the clinical and pastoral implications for individuals and groups, can expect trouble sooner or later.

On the other hand, the demise of Exodus International should have no direct impact on the good work done by similar organisations here, such as Living Waters, and by countless pastors, ministers and priests who deal with these issues in the course of their professional duties.  The church needs such organisations, and such specialised ministry, in order to fully manifest the grace of Christ and to ensure the effective discipleship and mentoring of people who experience same sex attraction and desire sexual purity.

Exodus International President Alan Chambers claims he was part of a “system of ignorance.”  Such sentiments should not be transferred to others who seek to reach out in genuine Christian love and compassion to same sex attracted women and men while remaining fully convinced of the authoritative biblical teaching on sexual purity, marriage and family.  Further, news of the demise of Exodus International should not be used by Christians who support gay rights to shame or ridicule their more conservative brothers and sisters seeking to do gospel ministry with people battling sexual addictions, spiritual oppression and other issues relating to sexuality.

Cancel the NSW Proud Schools program

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, Sunday 27 Jan 2013.

The mainstream media have largely ignored it, and the Department of Education has fobbed off enquiries, but the NSW “Proud Schools” program appears to misrepresent the clear teaching of the Bible on homosexuality, accuses Christians of inciting “homophobia,” and represents a waste of taxpayer money which could be better spent on numeracy and literacy in economically disadvantaged communities.

Material associated with a similar program operating in over 70 schools in Victoria claims that Bible teaching about homosexual behaviour is a key cause of “homophobia,” and seeks to convince students that “modern” biblical interpretation considers homosexual acts as normal.

If NSW politicians and the Education Department receive too few complaints, the Proud Schools program is likely to be rolled out to every NSW state school, and it may not be long before such a program is incorporated in the compulsory national curriculum, with Christian schools also compelled to teach it.

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

Don’t blame the church for gay suicides

Gay activists sometimes accuse advocates of marriage and traditional family values of contributing to increased suicide rates among young homosexuals by what they say.  It’s a tactic designed to silence critics of same sex marriage and the so-called “normalisation” of homosexuality.

But research by Professor Rob Cover from the University of Western Australia has found that neither legalising same sex marriage nor implementing anti-bullying policies will prevent the high rate of suicide among young gay people.  He says that while same sex marriage may gain political legitimacy, there is no clear indication that it will legitimise gay people in the minds of others.

There are many reasons why young people encounter depression and attempt suicide, and it’s ridiculous to assert that the expression of valid Christian arguments against same sex marriage leads to suicide among young Australians.  In some cases the same sex attraction may be a symptom of other underlying psychological problems that need to be addressed by health professionals.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 29 Jul 2012.

Christians and same-sex attraction

Freelance writer Eve Tushnet, the daughter of a liberal Harvard law professor and a former civil rights activist, “came out” as a lesbian as a young teenager.

She went off to Yale University, where she attended a meeting of a conservative student group, intending to laugh and ridicule.  Instead, their thinking impressed her, and the degree to which they lived out what they believed, even when it required sacrifice, left a deep impact.

Many of those in the group were Christians, and within a year Tushnet was baptized and welcomed into the church.  Her sexuality has not changed, but she has embraced celibacy, and works to convince gay and lesbian people to take seriously the moral teaching of the church.

Life is far from easy for people like Eve Tushnet.  It’s my prayer that God, who is rich in mercy and grace, will richly bless her, and all who live with same-sex attraction, aware that the Bible does not condone homosexual practice.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 8 July 2012.

Gay men and surrogate mothers

My attention was drawn this week to an article by Michael Cook in BioEdge which linked the same sex marriage debate with the controversial issue of surrogate motherhood.

If lesbian couples want children, all they need is a sperm donor and possibly IVF. But if gay couples want children, they need a womb. In the United States, the UK or Australia, these do not come cheap.  In countries like India, they do.

Click on the website and you’ll see how babies are effectively being sold as a product.  More demand will drive the price of surrogacy down, especially in countries where women are in desperate financial straits.  Large numbers of women are already open to exploitation by unethical customers.

Michael Cook asks whether gay couples are ready to face the ethical consequences of getting outsourced and exploited surrogate mothers to bear their children.  This is an essential element in the same-sex marriage debate which is being completely ignored.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 3 June 2012.

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