Watch the video above. It’s short. It starts out with Spitzer, a famous ex-gay researcher, recanting his research that showed gay pepole can change their orientation. Then it follows with a former lesbian who says people can change.
Try to identify the major problems with the discussion, especially from the lady who is a former lesbian.
Here’s what I identify:
1. She says, “homosexuality is a sin.” I would have said engaging in same-sex sexual behavior is a sin but same-sex attraction is not. The phrase “homosexuality is a sin” or “being gay is a sin” should never be said in the same sentence because people who are same-sex attracted may interpret this as “you are sinning because you are same-sex attracted” and since they don’t have control over this, it is extremely distressing to hear. (As a side note, I don’t think this TV interview is an appropriate venue to be talking about its morality anyway; the point of her interview is to explain that change is possible. Plus, this is not really the message that Christians need to be emphasizing; people know where most of us stand.)
2. She frames change as going from completely gay to straight. As we’ve mentioned, it is extremely rare for anyone to do a 180 and go entirely from gay attractions to heterosexual attractions. Those who experience change generally move along the spectrum, and many, even if gaining some heterosexual attraction, will still maintain homosexual attraction.
3. She talks about how her intervention was Jesus Christ and that this made change possible. By all means, this is true; Jesus Christ could change someone’s sexual orientation; Jesus Christ could also choose to heal someone from cancer. He may not. Whether she meant it or not, the way she comes across is that “if you trust in Jesus Christ, then you will change.” What bothers me the most is that she follows this with “homosexuality is a sin” — effectively saying, “if you are gay [same-sex attracted], then you are sinning, and you need to turn to Jesus and be changed.” And since she’s defined change as “being heterosexual,” this means becoming completely straight if you’ve met Jesus.
This message is damaging, and it isn’t helpful because there is no subtlety in it. There are people out there who have met Jesus and who have experienced complete change. But to say that people will change if they meet Jesus is to make gay people feel excluded from Jesus because many of them, by no choice of their own, will continue to be attracted to the same-sex, even if they come to know Jesus. Gay people know that being same-sex attracted is not something they are choosing. So if the message is that they must give this up in order to follow Jesus, then they aren’t going to follow Jesus because they know it is impossible to give something up that one has no control over.
People who spread this lady’s message without subtlety is partly why people’s salvation is sometimes questioned when they tell other Christians they’re gay (such as in Jordan’s case with his parents). So many people in the Church unconscoiusly believe the lie that if someone is same-sex attracted, it must mean they haven’t met Jesus. And this is partly why, my friends, I am still sometimes afraid to open up to my Christian friends and why some gay Christians fake a heterosexual life while they waste away inside, feeling disgusted about themselves and hating themselves.
We have to continue to challenge this harmful rhetoric.
PS — As a disclaimer, I don’t know if this lady’s interview was edited in a certain way to maker her come across how I saw her come across. But with what I was shown, those were the problems I identified.