Excellent responses and spiritual insight from Debbie Thurman, founder of The Formers website. She refutes weak arguments by Anthony Venn-Brown, who we’ve also taken to task over his spreading fear about the overcoming process. The following is from The Formers discussion forum:
[Venn-Brown]: Before you invest the time, money, emotional energy and possibly years of your life trying to go from gay to straight, ask the ex-gay leaders what guarantee they can give you that it will work. If they are honest with you, the best they will be able to offer you is a degree of ‘heterosexual functionality’, but the gay never actually goes away. Then ask yourself what would be the best way to spend your life, time, money and emotional energy…..rejecting yourself or accepting yourself. Obviously loving yourself is far healthier emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, than self-loathing. After 22 years of trying to change including ex-gay programs, exorcisms and 16 years of marriage, I came to the realization that, in order to live a truly fulfilling life, the latter is a far better option than the former. Like 1,000’s of others today, I finally discovered I can live a wonderfully rewarding, moral life as an openly gay man and …………still have my faith. …
I want to address some fallacies in Venn-Brown’s argument:
It should also be noted that some people suffering from sexual abuse or addiction gain support and relief through some “ex-gay” organisations. We need to understand though, that heterosexuals who have experienced sexual abuse don’t say it made them heterosexual. Also heterosexuals with a sexual addiction never blame their sexual orientation or try to reject it. They understand that the addiction and their orientation are two separate things.
1. That the only alternative to being gay is being straight or fully heterosexual. This leaves out the perfectly legitimate option of choosing celibacy, even if all same-sex feelings are not eradicated. Why should we believe God would eliminate this temptation, which goes to deeply rooted psychological and spiritual brokenness, when He doesn’t eliminate others, like heterosexual temptation, pride, greed and other lusts of the flesh? Did God eliminate Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”? He did not. He merely said, “My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). This is a truth Christian gay activists (or “ambassadors,” to use Venn-Brown’s self-moniker) choose to ignore, at the peril of judgment.
2. That the gay never goes away. The gay can and does go away. “Gay” is a social, political and now a religious identity. That can disappear when one decides to stop belonging to that community. Same-sex attraction or homosexual thoughts may not ever fully go away. What if they don’t? See the above. That’s no excuse.
3. That you must reject or hate yourself if you eschew homosexuality or a gay identity. What we are all called to do, when we come to Christ, is to deny our right to ourselves–to take up our cross and follow him. We are no longer ours but his. What we must reject is our sin nature, realizing, as Paul did, that we will still want to do the very things we hate from time to time (see Romans 7:15-25). The world and its ruler pull at us nonstop, but we are not defenseless. We have spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6). Note, they are not carnal weapons. There is no self-actualization in Christianity. That is idolatry. If you love God (the first commandment), you will naturally come to love and be at peace with yourself. Enthrone yourself above Him, and you get chaos.
4. That affirming or accepting yourself as a homosexual is consistent with faith in Christ. You may choose to live as openly gay and still have “your” faith. The question is: faith in what or whom? You are saying you believe God can do many things, but changing you is not one of them. This is too hard for the God of the universe? Please! It is too hard for you. Many things are too hard for us. We don’t give in to them all.
The second paragraph I quoted from Venn-Brown is about the most ludicrous thing I have ever seen. Childhood sexual abuse causes one to be disordered in several predictable ways. Heterosexual abuse (that’s mostly a male abusing a female) may lead to a hyper-sexualized personality that is basically heterosexual. It also can lead to a rejection of the feminine (i.e., an identification with the masculine in order to be stronger) in girls, which also closely correlates with same-sex attraction. In boys abused by males, the abuse can lead to a fear of the loss of masculinity, and a conventional theory is that homosexual coupling is a means of meshing with or seeking the masculine. Other family or environmental dynamics can add to the confusion or brokenness. This is all widely available in the psychiatric literature and certainly not my theory or pontificating.
The straw man argument that sexual abuse doesn’t make one heterosexual is meaningless. It makes one heterosexually disordered, the same as it can make one homosexually disordered. But we don’t have a movement trying to normalize sexual addictions of the straight variety (except by NAMBLA and the like) because it is obvious to most that they are not a good thing. They are self-destructive behaviors, often leading to a cycle of abuse. We know about the “bad” gays. But gays setting up house just like straight couples are increasingly viewed as normal. Few want to address the soul-destructiveness of even these “good” relationships. Physical and emotional dependency (a sort of psychic cannibalism) where there is no natural gender complementarity is unhealthy, no matter how lovely it appears. It’s fool’s gold. And Satan is an angel of light, as well as the father of lies.