Queer Action Coalition

Monday, June 05, 2006

ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY PROTEST...

People from all over the country gathered this morning at Love In Action, chanting "It's ok to be Gay", and "This is what Love In Action Looks Like" to celebrate the one year anniversary of the protests at LIA's headquarters a year ago surrounding the controversy of their treatment of teenagers. Make no mistake, this isn't "the gay community" out there...these are all sorts of indivduals, of all sorts of belief systems, orientations, and genders...parents, children, former Love In Action clients, Memphians, and people who travelled up to 14 hours to show their support.
Lance Carroll, who last summer was forced into the teen program, REFUGE, traveled from Missouri with several friends to attend the protest. Lance, now 18, returning to Memphis for the first time in a year, read the following statement to the press:

In January of 2005, I came out to my parents as being gay. After an initial positive and supporting reaction they began to change their minds…I was sent to several different counselors, the last of which worked for a fundamentalist Christian church. This “counselor” informed me that I was not Gay, in fact, he said no one was really Gay…and anyone who claimed to be gay was living a lie. This pastor recommended to my parents that I be sent to Love In Action’s REFUGE program for teens.

On June 6, 2005 I left Jackson, Missouri at five o’clock in the morning to make the long trip to Memphis, Tennessee. The first things I saw at the Love in Action campus were the protesters. I spent the entire summer between my junior and senior year of highschool in Memphis, against my will, at Refuge, where I underwent many forms of “therapy” that were supposed to turn me away from being gay. These so-called “therapies” included group activities where one person was singled out and made to be ashamed of very personal occurrences in their lives. I had to participate in this activity many times. Other “therapies” included isolation, where you wouldn’t be allowed to communicate—we were not even allowed to make eye contact, with any of the other participants; making the women wear skirts and makeup to help them become more feminine; and making the men play sports in an attempt to help them become more masculine.

These are just a couple of examples of the type of “program” they use to turn people straight. Though while I was there, it just seemed to make people more depressed and self-loathing than they already were. I, myself, went through several of these depressive periods. After enduring this time in Memphis I returned home, unchanged.

My parents were very disappointed and didn’t know what to do next, feeling that they had tried everything. My mom took it upon herself to somehow change me. This began with daily bouts of verbal abuse, her telling me how ashamed she was of me. After a few months of this, the verbal abuse escalated into small episodes of physical abuse, with her cornering me and slapping me, while telling me what an abomination I was.
This type of behavior continued until I could no longer stand to live at home. One day I packed up all of my belongings into my car, and told my parents that I was moving out right that minute. My mother got so angry when I told her this that she exploded and beat me into a corner, ripping my shirt and giving me scratches and bruises in the process. My dad had to pull her off of me so that I could get to my car to leave.

Fortunately I am now living with a wonderful, and supportive family who are very empathetic toward my situation. They have taken me in, and made me their son-in-spirit.
Now that I am in a much-improved situation, I feel that I need to speak-out against the things that I went through. Parents should not be able to force their children to attend any type of program like the one I went to. When a child comes out to their parents as gay, lesbian, or bisexual they need the love and support of their parents. They don’t need to be made to feel that there is something wrong with them, something that needs to be fixed.



We commend Lance for speaking up, as it is the personal concern of so many concerned citizens that Love In Action is openly preying upon vunerable youth, and their parents through tactics of manipulation including an upholding of social bias and pervasive myths. As Love In Action makes the following statement on their newly designed REFUGE website:

God has admonished us to respect our parents. God has given them to us as vessels of His choosing to bring us into His world. Whether or not our parents are worthy of respect.

As concerned individuals, we feel that it is deeply dangerous for ANY organization to support a parents wishes to change their children through so-called therapies which have been widely discredited by every major medical and mental health organization. We worry about every child that enters Love In Action’s doors, and ask the important question...where is THE Love In Action when their therapies don’t work? When the miracle doesn’t work, what are the families left with? Shame? Fear that their child will fulfill the untrue stereotypes that LIA taught them? Where does this lead? In Lance's case it lead to physical abuse, putting him in the extremely dangerous and vunerable position of having to leave home in order to feel safe...where, we ask...was the LOVE IN ACTION then? Luckily Lance had people who cared for him who he could turn to, and now is able to live happily in a safe, welcoming space. We should also note that neither John Smid, or any other counselor came to ask Lance how he was, or greet him in any manner as he stood outside their facilities for an hour and a half this morning.

More to come after the 4:00pm demonstration.

47 Comments:

  • Morgan and Co. I am so proud of you. You know that I wish I was there right along with you. My time in Memphis I will not soon forget.

    By Blogger Hopespringseternal, at 1:30 PM  

  • Wish I had been there today, but I am happy I was able to provide assistance yesterday. My prayers are with this protest and the important message that is being conveyed. Peace.

    By Anonymous Skip, at 2:23 PM  

  • I've been praying for of you all too and hope that this protest will bring change, acceptance and safety for young people like Lance. Thanks everybody.

    Tiga in China.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM  

  • Morgan,

    I saw the news tonight about our efforts during the day. As you know, we had heard that a parent had already shared her pro-LiA story with the Channel 5 News crew. Tonight her interview was aired, and I was VERY surprised to see Diana ____. (She chose not to reveal her last name identity on TV.)

    Why was I surprised? Because Diana is on staff with LiA...The apple hasn't fallen far from the tree: in fact, I think it's still attached.

    Diana was a volunteer with the program when I was still associated with it and later was offered a job with the organization.

    Diana Hoaglan's title with LiA is Family & Ministry Support Coordinator. I think there may be more to her story than she shared on air, but I'm waiting for that information to be confirmed.

    You've probably put all of this together already, but if not, I knew you'd be interested...

    BOB

    By Blogger Bob Painter, at 9:51 PM  

  • Bob, we appreciate you coming out today, it shows great strength on your behalf. It is interesting that they would provide a staff member as representation of "a parent" who can vouch for the program. Lance came forth, with alot of courage, stated his full name, and stood to tell his story. I think people will see and understand what strength that took on his behalf.

    Thanks again for coming out there today.

    By Blogger Fighting Homophobia, at 10:15 PM  

  • You guys rock! All day I have been aware of this protest and all the loving care I know you take to do it right. I respect and value you all so much. Your inegrity and passion give me so much hope.

    Thank you!!!

    By Blogger Peterson Toscano, at 10:44 PM  

  • Yeah, Morgan, I felt the same way: why use an LiA staff member to vouch for the solidity of the program? Isn't it obvious that she agrees with their stance from her employment with them?

    And why did she not want to use her last name on TV? I mean she has her name, title, email address and testimony on LiA's "international" website so what's the problem with a little local news coverage?

    I personally believe it was manipulation from LiA. If we don't use a last name, who among the protesters will be smart enough to connect Diana with us?

    Uh...that would be me.

    By Blogger Bob Painter, at 2:29 PM  

  • I wonder if she declared her interest to the television crew.

    Tiga.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:14 PM  

  • again, the issue is not about gay or straight here, but about following the Lord Jesus Christ or not...That was the issue for me when I struggled and then when I left the homosexual lifestyle to serve God.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:22 PM  

  • Anonymous, I'm sorry you felt you had to deny your sexual orientation in order to serve God. I'm so happy that God loves me the way I was created -- as a lesbian -- and that I can serve God fully in my life, love, relationship, family and church. I hope that you are equally happy with your life.

    Blessings,
    Lorian

    By Anonymous Lorian, at 6:37 PM  

  • Hi Lorian,
    I did not have to deny any orientation in the sense you refer to...But Jesus does say, "if any man follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
    It's not a question of "being happy with my life", but rather a question of submission and obedience to God. And yes, I am unspeakably joyful in that, although there is a sense of sorrow at what this world is. But be of good cheer, He has overcome the world.
    Tim

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:28 AM  

  • Tim,

    Thanks for your comments and your willingness to share your first name.

    For me, I've come to realize that denying myself includes my desire to please the majority of Christians who hold that I must conform my sexuality to their perception of God's will for my life so that I can be truly happy.

    And choosing to embrace my homosexuality as a Christian is definitely a daily cross bearing. Most gays hate the church; the church, as a whole, denounces homosexuality, including ex-gays; ex-gays think I've "backslidden." Sometimes all I've got is Jesus...and He is all I need.

    By Blogger Bob Painter, at 6:57 AM  

  • Yeah, Morgan, I felt the same way: why use an LiA staff member to vouch for the solidity of the program?

    Was this the same lady who told Morgan on the picket line the other day that there were no teenagers currently in Refuge?

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 7:41 AM  

  • Bob, we appreciate you coming out today, it shows great strength on your behalf.

    I just want to second this. Thank you. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to talk. I was the guy running around with the big ponytail and the digital SLR.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 7:54 AM  

  • To: God's "creations"

    It is a great comfort for a "real Christian" to know that we are all individuals that God loved enough to let his Son take the punishment for our sins. It is a not true that God "created" us with any nature to sin, whether it be sexually or otherwise. We inherit a nature to sin. It is not God's fault. His Word does promise that for every temptation there is a way of escape. Man's problem is that his or her sin creates separation from the true fellowship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The first step in obtaining forgiveness is to ask for forgiveness. The notion that any aspect of our lives that we enjoy (sex outside of marraige, drugs, alcohol, etc. etc.) has God's blessing, because that is the way we were "created";
    is simply denying the truth of God's word.

    I know that when my life is over, I will spend eternity in heaven with my Lord. Who is your lord:
    yourself or Jesus?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 AM  

  • Dear Tim:

    ON BEHALF OF QAC...After a few of us attended the LIA open meeting the other night, one thing I learned from their meeting, which I find to be very beneficial, is one of the points listed in their "Group Norms"..."Don't preach". We will not deleate your comments in our blog, but perhaps you should stick closely to this group norm, and I encourage others to do so. We all choose different paths, but claiming to be all-knowing, and that you will go on to spend eternity in heaven, but that others here may not...is both errogant, and conceited. Be as you are, Tim, as it certainly takes courage for all of us to be who we are by whatever means, HOWEVER, for any of us to claim that we are the only one doing it right, takes no courage.,,this goes for EVERYONE HERE, we must all allow ourselved space for questions, and self-reflection. Otherwise, we are blind. Please be respectful.


    To answer your question, Bruce...No, that was not the same woman who came and talked to us. The woman who talked to us was very kind and was merely concerned for Lance. She also expressed more concern at the open meeting, HOWEVER, she NEVER ONCE...NOT ONCE asked "if he'd fallen back into the lifestyle" or anything like that...she merely wanted to know if he was ok...this is why I trusted her not to do any further hurt to Lance...she wasn't attempting to preach.

    As far as the open meeting goes, I'm sure some of you have questions about what went on, however-out of respect, we cannot talk about that experience. All we can say is that, as many former clients can testify, all the LIA staff, etc are very inviting, and kind when you meet them. Of course, there are other issues beneathe that that we disagree with, but that's why we stand and demonstrate when we do. I recieved an email from John today inviting us back anytime.

    -Morgan

    By Blogger Fighting Homophobia, at 4:55 PM  

  • Hi Morgan,
    I, Tim Warner, did not write the comment you referred to above, but I do agree with much of what anonymous wrote. I don't have the heart to "preach" but I will never stop talking about what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in my life, and what He continues to do as I give myself to Him, according to Romans 12:1,2 which indicates that we (Christians) should present ourselves to HIM as a living sacrifice....so that we may prove in our hearts what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God. When I did that after 17 years of active homosexuality, He led me out of it through what has been at various times an extremely painful process. But the cross itself implies extreme pain, (that's where we get the word 'excruciating': out of the cross) but on the other side of the death on the cross which is mine to participate in, is the resurection life of Jesus, which Ephesians says is mine in which to participate as well.
    Thanks for letting me share,
    Tim W.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 PM  

  • Tim said: "Hi Lorian,
    I did not have to deny any orientation in the sense you refer to...But Jesus does say, "if any man follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
    It's not a question of "being happy with my life", but rather a question of submission and obedience to God.


    Thanks for your response, Tim.

    God and I have a relationship, and God has never once told me that the life I live with the woman and children He gave me is displeasing to Him. You have decided, based upon your reading of translations of scriptures, that who I am and my life and my family are intrinsically displeasing to God. But there are a lot of people, including many, many theologians, scholars, ministers and every-day Christians, who disagree with your interpretation.

    I realize you have said that your decision was not made in order to further your own happiness, but I hope that your are happy with the decision you have made. It's unfortunate that you are not able to understand that other people who believe differently than you, and who have drawn different conclusions from yours regarding how God feels towards His homosexual creations, are just as much in a position of loving obedience to our Creator as you believe yourself to be. I'm sorry that you have had to put yourself through such a miserable and difficult struggle in order to stand in opposition to the loving and fulfilling relationship that I believe would be God's gift to you in the context of your own God-given sexual orientation.

    Blessings.

    By Blogger Lorian, at 12:04 AM  

  • the scripture references I meant to give and inaccurately wrote were from Ephesians, are actually from II Corinthians 4:11,12 which, in the Amplified Bible state that we are constantly being given over to death in order that the resurrection life of Jesus may be shown to be in our bodies.
    Tim Warner

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:46 AM  

  • To: QAC

    It is a strange situation, when people "preach" a life style that is supposed to be acceptable to mankind and God, and yet are afraid
    of the controversy stirred by a preacher of God's word. Does that not make you "biblephobic".

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:59 AM  

  • Preacher said: "It is a strange situation, when people "preach" a life style that is supposed to be acceptable to mankind and God, and yet are afraid
    of the controversy stirred by a preacher of God's word. Does that not make you "biblephobic".

    The "anonymous" preacher"


    Do you know what the difference is between those you accuse of "preaching" homosexuality vs. those who preach against it? I'll point it out:

    Those you accuse of "preaching" homosexuality are, in fact, not. Do you know why? Because none of us, not one, is encouraging anyone to "become" homosexual. We ARE homosexual. We are simply defending our rights to exist and to enjoy the same civil rights and liberties as the rest of society.

    Those who preach against us ARE preaching, because they are attempting to "convert" us to a "heterosexual lifestyle," rather than simply accepting that we know who we are and love who we love.

    Preaching is an activity aimed at conversion. No one is attempting to "make" you "be gay." Many people are attempting to "make" us "be straight." If you want to be "ex-gay," then be "ex-gay." I have no problem with you choosing to live a celibate life. You do, though, apparently have a problem with my choice to live a fulfilled, happy, responsible life in the context of the sexual orientation God gave me, with the loving partner and family who are God's gifts in my life.

    That's the difference.

    By Blogger Lorian, at 10:42 AM  

  • It is a strange situation, when people "preach" a life style that is...

    Okay...stop right there. I don't have a life style pal...I have a life.

    My Lifestyle: Work. Eat. Sleep. Work. Eat. Pay some bills. Sleep. Work. Do some laundry. Eat. Sleep. Work. Clean the house. Eat. Sleep. Work. My heterosexual neighbors, I kid you not, know more about the gay club scene downtown then I do. I'm such a damn wall flower that some of them, married and with children, have actually offered to take me clubbing with them someday. Bless their hearts.

    You want to preach to people? Or just at them?

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 2:26 PM  

  • "To: QAC

    It is a strange situation, when people "preach" a life style that is supposed to be acceptable to mankind and God, and yet are afraid
    of the controversy stirred by a preacher of God's word. Does that not make you "biblephobic".

    The "anonymous" preacher"


    Who's afraid? ...."biblephobic"???? What sort of accusations are these. I personally, am certainly not afraid, rather enjoy, and encourage dialogue with those of all sorts of personal faith convinctions, and read the bible plenty.

    I'm not sure if you live in Memphis, anonymous, but jsut as I've sat down for a long meeting with John Smid, and as I, and other QAC members attend LIA open meetings to both broaden our understandings, and meet people we may not other wise have the grace to meet...I'd be honored to have a sit-down with you...share some coffee, or tea, and just talk. We both have differing ideas, and what better reason to sit and share our thoughts with one another.

    Feel free to send an email our way(listed on the blog here).

    By Blogger Fighting Homophobia, at 12:32 AM  

  • To: QAC or others

    I would love to meet with you and talk openly.

    I do not "preach" to try and change someone's sexual identity.
    I would like to see many more people coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Bible says God chose the "foolishness of preaching" to call people to Christ.

    The problem is that in our freedom to make choices wrong choices are made. If someone does not put their faith in the whole Bible, what is their faith based on. When I hear about the love of God and yet denial of the truth of the Bible, it seems their is really nothing to put your faith in. You can not shorten the Bible to simply: God is love. God is also Holy and He will judge us for our sins. To say something is not sin, when God clearly says it is; is calling God a liar.

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:01 AM  

  • Preacher, the problem is that you assume that because I (and others) differ from you in our understanding of what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, that this somehow implies that we do not believe the Bible and do not have a relationship with God.

    Surely you are aware that there are any number of doctrinal issues in the Bible about which Christians disagree? Let's see... How about these:

    1. The Rapture.
    2. Pre- or post-tribulation Rapture.
    3. Head-coverings for women.
    4. Divorce and remarriage.
    5. Tithing.
    6. Manner of keeping the Sabbath.
    7. Day of the week upon which the Sabbath is actually supposed to be kept.
    8. Literal 7-solar-day creation vs. figurative longer period for creation.
    9. Watching movies.
    10. Watching television.
    11. Dancing.
    12. Driving automobiles.
    13. Symbolic communion vs. "Real Presence" doctrine vs. Transubstantiation.
    14. Prayer to Saints.
    15. Papal/Episcopal (Bishop)/Presbyteral (priest or local minister) authority structure.
    16. Allowability of personal study and interpretation of scripture.
    17. Liturgical format for worship.
    18. Confession and absolution to and by a priest or minister vs. solely individual confession to God alone.
    19. Women being permitted or not permitted to minister, and at what level (i.e., preach, teach Sunday School, be ordained, become Bishops, be allowed to even speak in church at all, etc.).
    20. Instrumental music in worship.
    21. "Part-singing" in worship.
    22. Wearing garments with short sleeves or short skirts/pantlegs.
    23. Wearing garments with mixed fibers.
    24. Eating meat.

    I could go on and on if I wanted to stay up all night.

    Some of the above are quite clearly addressed in scripture. Others are not. Regardless, most Christians are willing to accept the fact that other Christians believe differently, according to how the Spirit has led them with respect to these issues. We may believe that this or that person is mistaken, but we do not question their relationship with God or their eternal salvation.

    So, why is this same level of personal respect not accorded to GLBT Christians? Why do some folks, like you, Preacher, assume that, because a person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, this automatically implies that such a person has no relationship with God, is not saved, is "denying the truth of the Bible?"

    I'm not denying the truth of the Bible. I am denying your interpretation of that truth. See the difference?

    By Blogger Lorian, at 12:22 AM  

  • When I hear about the love of God and yet denial of the truth of the Bible, it seems their is really nothing to put your faith in.

    How about...in God? See...what you're doing is putting the Bible first, and God second.

    To say something is not sin, when God clearly says it is; is calling God a liar.

    But God does not clearly say it is, or all homosexual relationships would turn out miserable and unfulfilling and that patently is not the case. Many gay couples, I would say most in my experience, find joy and peace and fulfillment in each other and that is God talking or God is not our maker. You don't take a wonderous gift like that and throw it back in your maker's face and call it dirty, if you love your maker.

    But you love the Bible more then God. Problem is that even the Bible is not clear on this point, unless you embrace the whole of the Leviticus purity code, and given how much the south seems to like its pork bar-b-que I strongly doubt that the pulpits down there really care all that much about Leviticus. But never mind. What you're doing here is putting the Bible before God. That isn't putting your faith in God. It's a kind of idolatry. You are worshiping an object, not your maker.

    Our maker gave us this possibility of whole, body and soul love, in a slightly different way from the majority of our neighbors. But it is still our blessing. In embracing it, we are not calling God a liar. In trying to deny it to us, you are.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 5:23 AM  

  • And actually...regarding what Lorian said to you...you're putting yourself first, since you think your reading of the Bible is perfect and everyone else who disagrees with yours isn't. So the order of precedence here is: You-Bible-God. And God, only if God agrees with the first two.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 5:36 AM  

  • To: Lorian

    Because I do not see reasons to argue about the 24 issues you list, maybe we are in agreement that somethings that are preached in various denominations simply are not very important. Eternal life is very very important.

    I do not believe homosexual emotions are wrong of and in themselves. It is not my business what consenting adults do behind closed doors. The Bible clearly call homosexual behavior and "abomination". The Bible clearly says homosexual behavior will keep you out of Heaven. Jesus said that when He returns it will be like the days of Sodom and Gommarah, which were destroyed because of their behavior.

    When we face our creator, the question could arise "Why should I l let you in?". My answer would be.
    "Lord I Believed your Word; I asked for forgiveness of all my sins; I trusted in Jesus as my Savior."

    If God did not approve of homosexual behavior in what He has revealed in the Bible, how can you say the behavior (not the emotions)
    is not sin?

    God does not create sin. We inherit the nature that tempts us to sin. If we say "Lord I can not resist my temptations, please forgive me for my weakness, please give me more and more strength to control my flesh, resist this world and the Devil who operates in it".

    God bless you,
    Brother James

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:31 AM  

  • To: Bruce

    The fact that you have declared previously, that you are not a Christian means you are "spiritually dead" even today.

    My hope and prayer is that you will become a Christian. There really is eternal life available. The alternative is eternal judgement in Hell. The only thing keepping you out of Heaven is your unbelief.

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:38 AM  

  • Brother James said: "The Bible clearly says homosexual behavior will keep you out of Heaven. Jesus said that when He returns it will be like the days of Sodom and Gommarah, which were destroyed because of their behavior.

    "When we face our creator, the question could arise "Why should I l let you in?". My answer would be.
    "Lord I Believed your Word; I asked for forgiveness of all my sins; I trusted in Jesus as my Savior."

    "If God did not approve of homosexual behavior in what He has revealed in the Bible, how can you say the behavior (not the emotions)
    is not sin?"


    James, you remain stuck in your same presumptuous preconception: that your interpretation of eight or nine passages in the Old and New Testaments is more accurate than mine.

    We'll take your example of Sodom and Gomorrah. Are you aware that the book of Ezekiel clearly states that the "Sin of Sodom" was in the mistreatment of and lack of hospitality towards strangers? Here, read it:

    Ezekiel 16:49
    This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.


    The story of Lot, his daughters and the angelic strangers was not about homosexuality, but about a group of townsmen who, rather than offering the traditional desert-dweller's hospitality to strangers visiting the town, tried, instead to do violence to those strangers.

    The Gospel passages you mention where Jesus comments on Sodom make absolutely no reference to homosexuality. Jesus did not mention homosexuality even once in all four of the canonical Gospels. There are a total of four references to Sodom in the Gospels: two in Matthew and two in Luke. None of those four references by Jesus to Sodom relates to homosexuality. In fact, two of the references, Matthew 10:15 and Luke 10:12, clearly relate to the reception and hospitality extended to the apostles by the towns they visit. Jesus said that if a town did not receive the apostles with hospitality, they should leave and shake the dust of the town off of their sandals. He said that "it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town."

    Interesting, isn't it?

    Just because a "traditional" interpretation has evolved that a particular passage means a certain thing, does not mean that this "traditional" interpretation is the correct one. Just as passages from the Bible that were "traditionally" interpreted to mean that God endorsed and supported the institution of slavery have since been reinterpreted with vastly different understandings, reinterpretation of scriptural passages in the light of deeper and more scholarly study can bring greater understanding of the real meanings of those passages, and in no way invalidates the truth of the Bible.

    Basing the condemnation of an entire class of people upon a knee-jerk recital of a past generation's misreading of a Biblical text can lead to gross miscarriage of justice, as it did in the case of the thousands of slaves held in this country with the approval and support of the Church.

    You and I may never agree about the interpretation of the 8 or 9 passages in the Bible that are used to condemn GLBT people, but perhaps you can accord me (and other GLBT Christians) the courtesy not maligning our relationships with God.

    Lorian

    By Blogger Lorian, at 9:37 AM  

  • The fact that you have declared previously, that you are not a Christian means you are "spiritually dead" even today.

    See...you have not clue one about my inner spiritual life or how deeply or how passionately it lifts and sustains me, and yet you can self assuredly make that kind of grandiose pronouncement about the degree of spiritual aliveness within me...As If You Were God Almighty. You know my spirit not only better then I do, but at least as well as God does. Except...you don't. And I strongly doubt you're much on speaking terms with your own inner self either.

    Thank you for proving my point. It isn't God or Christ you're trying to bring everyone to. It's you. You really do think you're sitting on God's own throne...looking at your neighbors with God's own eyes. But...you're not.

    I am not spiritually dead, but you'd like me to be. The moments I spent in the arms of a man I loved were the most wonderful, life affirming, Spiritual moments of my life. I'd have to be spiritually dead to throw moments like those back into my maker's face and call them dirty. Yet that is what places like Love In Action want to do to gay people, to gay teens. Gut that capacity for spiritual awe and wonder out of us like it was some kind of cancer, and leave in its place an empty wasteland that can only see God in printed words on a page, but not in the rainbow, or the singing of birds, or a warm summer breeze or the glittering blazing stars in the heavens, and especially not in a lover's smile.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 10:22 AM  

  • To: Lorian and Bruce

    How did God communicate to you that He does not consider sex outside of marraige between a man and a woman, sin?

    I do not believe emotions of love and other emotions are sin. What we do with our emotions may or may not lead to sin.

    Spiritual death refers to being separated from a relationship with God. Jesus said you must be born again (spiritually). Without this new birth you can not be a Christian and you have no assurance of being saved from your
    sins. You can not come up with your own plan of salvation as people all over this world try to do. God gave His Son. What else can He or you do?

    Brother James
    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 AM  

  • James, how do you know that driving a car is not a sin? How do you know that swimming is not a sin? How do you know that having a manicure, or singing four-part harmony in a choir, or keeping a pet cat are not sins?

    There are a myriad of things that are not specifically addressed in scripture (loving, committed, monogamous gay relationships being one of them) which we take for granted are not sinful. We don't need an audible voice from on high or an angelic visitation to know that God approves of us and of the good things in our lives given to us by God.

    I know as surely as I know my own gender that God gave me the wonderful woman I committed my life to over 15 years ago, and I know that God blessed us with the two beautiful little girls he helped us create.

    Once you get past the misconception that the Bible addresses the topic of committed, loving relationships between same-gender-oriented people, there really is no need to question whether God approves of my relationship to my spouse. Of course he does.

    Lorian

    By Blogger Lorian, at 12:13 PM  

  • To: Lorian

    I believe I have a responsibility to share biblical truth. I am in a sense a "fisherman" or a "harvester". My goal is to lead "whosoever will" to a saving faith in Christ. Your committment to your partner and to your children is admirable. I here you and others make reference to your God but I do not here "Jesus is Lord". Jesus is God. He declared himself to be so. He died for you, yours, and yes, even me.

    Matthew 7:13,14
    Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat;
    Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    Despite what modern thinking may believe, God appears to be "narrow minded" rather than "broad minded".

    God bless you and yours,

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 PM  

  • How did God communicate to you that He does not consider sex outside of marraige between a man and a woman, sin?

    I know sex within love cannot be sin for its beauty and dignity, its ecstatic joy, its profound peace and contentment, its wholeness. Before I fell in love with my first boyfriend, back in my teen years, before I ever laid down with him, I'd thought that love and sex were stupid boring mindless things that only jocks and dweebs bothered with. I was planning to be above all that mindless hormone stuff. Then I fell in love too, and I saw that what I'd considered boring and stupid, was just a form of love I was being pushed into, that I'd not been made for. It wasn't me. But when my first boyfriend smiled at me, and when he took me into his arms, it was a revelation. The closest I've seen to what I experienced in words were written by Annie Dillard in "Pilgrim At Tinker Creek". She captured some of the spiritual sense of it in her passage about suddenly witnessing the rainbow light in ice shrouded trees and grass one day...

    "...one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The lights of the fire abated, but I'm still spending the power. Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had my whole life been a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck. I have since only rarely seen the tree with the lights in it. The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam."

    Yeah...it was like that.

    But God speaks to us in other ways besides rapture. There is also the reality we live in, the reality that is the handwriting of God. After that first love affair I spent years researching everything I could about homosexuality and found nothing, Nothing, to indicate that there was any harm to it at all whatsoever; only that it was a rare but benign sexual variation. The only potential harm to me was in the prejudices and mindless hatreds of others, but not in the act of loving another man itself. For all the propaganda that it was militant homosexuals who forced the APA to remove homosexuality from its diagnosis manual, it was in fact the science that compelled the change. There is nothing wrong with us. If you believe that God created this world, then that is what God says.

    And there is another way God speaks to us. Over the years I have watched while one ostensibly good and decent person has dragged themselves and their word and their good name into the gutter, deliberately spreading one transparent stupid, pathetic lie after another about homosexuals...lies they know full well are lies, like lying has become for them some kind of addiction and they just can't stop themselves, no matter what it does to their reputation, no matter what it does to them inside. I have watched passionate anti-gay activism slowly take from people their good word, all their honor, all their decency and self respect, and you cannot look into that Pit without hearing a small, still, quiet voice inside of you saying "Here is what comes of denying love and wholeness to your neighbor...here is what comes of not loving your neighbor as yourself...it can happen to you too if you let it...don't go there...don't go there..."

    Spiritual death refers to being separated from a relationship with God. Jesus said you must be born again (spiritually). Without this new birth you can not be a Christian and you have no assurance of being saved from your sins.

    Are Jews spiritually dead?

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 3:15 PM  

  • Thanks, James, but I must remind you that your idea of what constitutes the "straight gate" and "narrow way" may be entirely different from what Christ actually intended when he said these words.

    Let's put your quote into context, shall we?

    Matthew 7
    Judging Others
    1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

    6"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

    Ask, Seek, Knock
    7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
    9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    The Narrow and Wide Gates
    13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
    A Tree and Its Fruit
    15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
    21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

    The Wise and Foolish Builders
    24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
    28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (NIV)


    Several interesting points jump out as we read the above passage (I've bolded a few of them).

    One is Jesus' firm insistence that we have no right to judge eachother, and that such judgmentalism will lead only to our own judgment by God.

    Another interesting point is that God is a good parent and gives us what is good for us, and that if we sincerely ask God for good things, he will not trick us, give us bad things, or lead us astray. Has it occurred to you, James, that many, many gay Christians have asked God sincerely for His will in their lives, and have honestly with all of their hearts found that He led them to their loving, same-gendered spouses? If I ask God for guidance, I trust that where my life takes me, as long as I have a willing heart and spirit, is where God wishes for me to be. God is a good father. He will not give me a stone when I ask Him for bread.

    The parable of the good tree and its fruit is another wonderful point of this set of teachings. A "bad tree" is incapable of bearing "good fruit." Likewise, a "good tree" will be known by the "good fruit" which it bears. Millions of gay Christians across the globe are living lives devoted to loving God and serving others. We are raising loving families and faithful children. We are committed to helping our fellow humans through projects such as Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross and many other service organizations, in addition to our commitments to our local churches and communities. We give of our money, time and talents to serve God and our fellow human beings, and by this fruit you may know us. A "bad tree" cannot bear "good fruit."

    Please do not continue to make the error of assuming that because a poster does not mouth a particular phrase -- "Jesus is Lord," for instance -- that they do not believe it and are not standing as witness to the truth of Christ's message to the world. Remember the passage above, where Jesus says that our words are not as important as our hearts: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." By their fruits shall you know them, James. As Paul says, "22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23 - NIV)"

    Let's be at peace as children of God, shall we?

    By Blogger Lorian, at 5:45 PM  

  • I do not believe there is any sin that God is unwilling to forgive. If so then none of us would have the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God does not forgive sin without confession. There needs to be a sincere Godly sorrow for our short comings. 1 John 1:9 says "IF we CONFESS our sins, HE is faithful and just to FORGIVE US our sins, and to CLEANSE US from all unrighteousness".
    The Bible clearly teaches that sex between members of the same sex is sin. I did not write the message, I am just the delivery boy.

    God Bless

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:12 AM  

  • James, the Bible teaches no such thing. The "message" you are attempting to deliver to people is false. Those who spread the "message" you are attempting to spread cause untold hurt, harm, misery and alienation among young gay people, as well as providing those who hate gays with spurious "support" for their platform of bigotry and discrimination.

    Instead of reconciling God's children with their Creator, you are alienating and hurting those children, driving them away with the false message that their Creator made a horrible mistake, and demands they sacrifice true love and fulfillment in their lives to the "cause" of internalized homophobia and self-hatred.

    By Blogger Lorian, at 5:22 PM  

  • The Bible clearly teaches that sex between members of the same sex is sin.

    You can interpret some of it to mean that, but that's your reading of it. Others read it differently. It is not so clear on that point as you may imagine, and in any case, it's not the Bible saying it, it is you saying that the Bible says it. And what the Bible may or may not say about the wholesomeness of a thing, ranks well after what nature says about it. Since God made the natural world, the natural world, is God's word.

    Homosexuality is not, in and of itself, harmful to a person, or damaging to their families, their community, or their country. Loving same sex relationships give joy and fulfillment to homosexual people. That is God's word, because that is the reality of it.

    I can appreciate how fundamentalism is seeing itself increasingly at odds with what science says about our world and ourselves. I am well aware that science alone cannot give us much in the way of moral guidance, except in a general sense: that we must respect the evidence, and tell the truth about it. But morality cannot become completely disconnected from reality, and that is where fundamentalism is going. In these times, more then ever, religion cannot keep insisting that we split ourselves in two; our material selves, from our spiritual selves. The human family needs a spirituality that makes us whole, not one that keeps us divided within ourselves, and within our communities, and our families.

    As the girl with the sign said a couple Monday's ago: Stop It.

    Are you a Christian? Then perhaps for you, it can start here: Love God with all your heart, and love thy neighbor as thyself...

    I did not write the message, I am just the delivery boy.

    Since when did protestants need a delivery boy?

    And...let me rephrase my question: Are Jews spiritually dead?

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 6:56 PM  

  • Those of you that are under the impression that I have something against other people are greatly mistaken. There is nothing wrong with anyone defending their faith.
    It is our responsibility as Christians to teach others and to try and get as many as will into the kingdom. (It is called "the great commission".)

    There are many sincere people that believe they are okay in their own beliefs about God and eternity: muslims, buddists, jews, Christians, non-believers. Reality is that none of us know all we will know when we die.

    My belief is that God has a wonderful plan to save sinners like me. I accept every word of the Bible and expect the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to me. You can have the same expectations and hope. In order to be saved from God's wrath against sin, you have to believe that what God says is sin is sin. God is not concerned with man's rules, traditions, etc.
    He is however very much concerned about sin. Jesus died for our sins.
    He was buried. He arose from the dead. He is alive. He sits at the right hand of the Father. Someday He is coming back. Why? As Judge and King of this world. The devil, his demons, and all those who rejected the truth will be cast into the lake of fire. I can not make you believe and if you believe somethings and reject others, that will be between you and God. When I became a Christian,
    after I asked to be forgiven for "all" my sin, after I trusted Jesus as my savior, I picked up the Bible and made a decision to believe God.

    I would be glad to discuss the whole Bible with anyone. If your source of information is from anything or anyone other than the Bible there is no way to have a discussion. It is evidence you do not believe the Bible.

    My sincere prayer is that we all make it to Heaven. If at death we find that we are not accepted, It will be our fault not God's.

    Yes, we are all "spiritually dead", without being "born again" and becoming a "new creation".
    Read John 3 and Eph 2

    I love you in Christ,

    Brother James
    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:04 PM  

  • It is our responsibility as Christians to teach others and to try and get as many as will into the kingdom. (It is called "the great commission".)

    Okay...but...

    I would be glad to discuss the whole Bible with anyone. If your source of information is from anything or anyone other than the Bible there is no way to have a discussion. It is evidence you do not believe the Bible.

    Okay...I'm a little fuzzy... If you're having a discussion about the bible with someone who already believes in it the way you do, then I guess they've already been saved...right? And if you won't with anyone who doesn't, then who are you bringing into the Kingdom?

    I know...I know... You just want to preach at people, but you don't want them preaching back at you. And that's fine...you have every right to walk away from an attempt to proselytize that you don't like, that offends your own deeply held beliefs, that intrudes into that intimate space where its only you and your maker. But what kind of religion is it, that has to force its way into a teen's head with shame and self loathing, in a situation where they are not allowed to just walk away?

    Tell me something...you've been here speaking out for LIA's views of homosexuality and sin...you must believe that God can be fooled, or duped, or lied to, if you think that God won't notice that a teen has been compelled to speak against the truth in their heart of hearts. There is no two ways about it: forcing your way into a teen's heart, means forcing God out.

    Are there any Baptists down there, that still believe in Soul Competency...?

    Soul Competency. - Since the 1600's. Baptists have closely related the priesthood of all believers to soul competency. a concept carefully interwoven with the Baptist stress on religious freedom. The Second London Confession of 1677. one of the most important of all Baptist confessions, especially since it was adopted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742, contained a lengthy article entitled "Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience.” Soul competency means that Baptists are willing to trust the competency of the individual soul in matters of religion. Each individual is competent to relate directly to God for salvation. Each individual is competent to interpret Scripture according to the dictates of conscience and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each individual is free to live out Christian faith without coercion or interference from the state.
    -From mercer.edu/baptiststudies

    ...without coercion or interference from the state. Can you believe that Baptists once upon a time believed in that? Hard to imagine nowadays isn't it? But that used to be bedrock.

    What happened? When did it become acceptable to drag an unwilling teenager into a place like LIA, control every little aspect of their days from the kind of underwear they're allowed to put on to the total number of minutes they're allowed to spend in a bathroom, and simply strong-arm them into a confession of faith that the folks at LIA either mockingly assume God will be utterly bamboozled by, or if not that at least make the kid so ashamed and disgusted with themselves that they'll hopefully avoid sinning in the future. That is not a soul brought to God, that is a soul annihilated.

    I strongly doubt that Jesus meant for the Great Commission to license the use of force when all else fails. You have to believe that a vow of faith that is coerced, that isn't made whole heartedly, is no different from one made by whole hearted open armed choice. You have to believe that God can be fooled. You have to believe that it's all right to lie to God. I don't think that's what Jesus meant.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 3:44 PM  

  • Bruce,

    I know very little about the daily life of those going through the LIA programs.

    I know you can not coerse anyone into believing anything. Preachers can not force anyone to become Christians. Salvation is a free gift of God, but it is conditioned upon acceptance. God wants to save us and He has done all He is going to do to accomplish that end. To think there is some other way to Heaven other than through faith in Jesus Christ is simply not the truth. For myself, I accepted Christ on my knees with tears. The tears came from a Godly sorrow for my sins. Yes people tried to convince me and convert me, But years later it was the Holy Spirit that called me to believing in what Jesus Christ would do to change my heart, mind and life.

    There is nothing worse about homosexual acts than heterosexual acts, outside of marraige. Both are sin. There are many many other sins, obviously. When I sin, the Holy Spirit admonishes me. I confess my sins and I am forgiven and cleansed. (1 John 1:9) It is the idea that someone has, that they either have no sin or God forgives sin without confession, that is not Biblical.

    When homosexuals give up their homosexual acts and in many cases actually adopt heterosexual behaviors, it is proof that they can change. People caught up in out of marraige relationships can change whether homosexual or heterosexual. What keeps them the way they are is that they love the pleasure of their own sin.

    The military changes the way young men and women behave. Parents have a responsibility to attempt to teach their children God's laws. It is referred to bringing them up in the "nurture and admonishine of the Lord".

    God does not want anyone to perish and I do not either. God, through Jesus Christ, can justify each of us, that put our faith in Christ. We can not justify our own actions.

    Jesus accepts us as we are, but being "born again" changes the way we were.

    Brother James
    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:52 AM  

  • lance, ive known you since we went to ICS together (ur brother alex is a grade below me) and i'm so proud of you for standing up for yourself and not taking your parents BS!! i'll keep you in my prayers! god bless*

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:11 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 6:33 PM  

  • Hey Lance,
    I read your article and your story and hope that you have not totally given up on all of your family. You have supporters & family here in Kansas city that love you. I hope you remember us from the reunion in Cairo, Mo. You can holla anytime at us at urendak@hotmail.com.
    god bless.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 6:49 PM  

  • Lance's aunt and uncle in Wichita would like to get in touch with him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:06 PM  

  • The answers to all the questions you had about Christianity but were afraid to ask can be found in the Koran (or Qur'an)

    By Anonymous UmAlawi, at 11:15 AM  

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