Friday, December 28, 2018

Ask Arthur 2018, Part 5: About conversion therapy

As we near the end of this year’s “Ask Arthur” series, the remaining questions were thought-provoking for me, and today’s question from Roger Green, was that, and also about a controversial topic:

Did you see this story about "gay conversion"? [video below] CAN you see it in NZ? If you can, what did you think of it? Regardless, were you, or anyone you know, subjected to it?

Before answering, I need to make a point of personal privilege: The video from CBS Sunday Morning, was introduced by Jane Pauley. I first saw her many years ago hosting Chicago’s local TV news. Same place I saw many others, like Lester Holt, for example.

That out of the way, yes, I was able to see it. After a long period in which we were geoblocked from being able to see such videos, that’s becoming more rare as time passes. I have no idea why that is, but at least now more often than not I can see what people are talking about.

Speaking of which, the video Roger was talking about:

I’ve heard many of these sorts of stories many times, including, as this time, whenever the mainstream media exposes the lie of “ex-gay” torture programmes. It was appropriate that the report mentioned the film Boy Erased, which I talked about a couple months ago, because that’s what the movie was about. I think it’s good and important for the lie that is this “therapy” be exposed as much as possible, so this report was good, if short.

I say this because it’s a subject on which I won’t concede anything: The practice of “gay conversion” is disgusting and evil. It should be outlawed altogether. I’m not the least bit interested in any “middle ground” on this issue because I will not compromise now or ever.

Here’s why I’m so unalterably opposed to the “ex-gay” torture program fundamentalist “Christians” love: It doesn’t work—at all—and it’s immoral and sick to even try. The main reason everyone should oppose it, though, is that it kills.

Being gay is not a “sin”. I’m well aware that fundamentalist “Christians” think it is, but that’s just plain stupid, and they need to get over that delusion. I could give them the scriptural and theological reasons why they’re wrong, but they’d never listen to or believe me, especially considering I’m one of the people they’d like to erase through their torture programme.

That aside, the reality is that being gay is no more “sinful” than being lefthanded—though once upon a time “Christians” used to beat kids who used their left hands because they believed it was of their devil. They now realise how sick and stupid that was, and some day they’ll realise the same thing about their persecution of gay people.

The biggest problem is that the “ex-gay” scam does actual, serious harm to people. It gives people dealing with prejudice of the people in their lives they most trust—parents, preachers—the false hope they can stop being gay. But because that’s not possible, and they will fail, far too many will see suicide as the only way out.

Moreover, it carries the presumption that the gay person is “broken” and needs to be “fixed” (they’re not and don’t), and it carries the delusion that there’s something inherently wrong with being gay when there isn’t. When someone is dealing with what the fake “Christians” love to call “same sex attraction”, it causes harm to tell them to constantly tell them that they’re “broken”, and/or that they’re “defying” the fundamentalists’ god, and/or that they’re doomed if they don’t stop being gay. This, too, can lead the victims of the fake “Christians” to see suicide as the only way out.

Even when the victims of the scam don’t choose suicide, they will carry mental and emotion scars from the abuse that will haunt them for years, and take a lot of time and work to undo.

This scam is so dangerous and even deadly that all real professional mental health organisations ban the fake therapy. The potential for severe harm to children and adolescents is the reason more and more jurisdictions are banning the use of the torture programme on children and young adults (hopefully New Zealand will soon ban it, too). In my view, this doesn’t go far enough and it ought to be outlawed altogether for all people, regardless of age. It’s that dangerous.

Religion is the driver of the crusade against gay people, but it has to be enabled by non-religious people cooperating, even if it’s just for the money. For example, there was an App to promote “ex-gay” torture, and when Apple was made aware of it, they banned it. As of today, Google and Amazon have not banned the “ex-gay” App. They must do so.

I was never a victim of the scam, but I never had the chance to come out to my parents, so that could never happen to happen to me. Moreover, it also wouldn’t have happened because Lutherans are Mainline Protestants and most of us rejected the bizarre beliefs that fundamentalists clung to. So, there was never any risk that I’d be subjected to that torture scam for that and other reasons. Lutherans were never at the forefront of the fight for the human and civil rights of LGBT+ people, but neither were they lighting the torches and sharpening the pitchforks.

I was trying to remember if anyone I knew told a story of any form of “ex-gay” torture, religious or not, and I can’t remember any. That doesn’t mean that none did, just that they weren’t close enough to me for me to remember it clearly. I certainly don’t remember any close friends telling me they’d been victimised, but that could just be because of my ageing memory—though I don’t think so, because my hunch is none did.

Thanks to Roger for these questions! Now, go ask him a question!

It’s not too late to ask a question—though it’s getting close: Simply leave a comment on this post (anonymous comments are allowed). Or, you can also email me your question (and you can even tell me to keep your name secret, although, why not pick a nom du question?). You can also ask questions on the AmeriNZ Facebook page, though some people may want to keep in mind that all Facebook Pages are public, just like this blog. If you’re on Facebook, you can send me a private message through the AmeriNZ Page.

All posts in this series are tagged “AAA-18”. All previous posts from every “Ask Arthur” series are tagged, appropriately enough, "Ask Arthur”.


Let the 2018 asking begin – The first post in this year’s series.
Ask Arthur 2018, Part 1: Perfect place
Ask Arthur 2018, Part 2: Living where?
Ask Arthur 2018, Part 3: About religious stuff
Ask Arthur 2018, Part 4: About what I like


rogerogreen said...

Great answer! OK, then, a follow-up question, because I deal with... certain people a LOT... "I could give them the scriptural and theological reasons why they’re wrong..."

I'd actually like you to write THAT, essentially, why they are wrong from a theological and especially scriptural basis. (This is what happens when you let people know you're a PK AND taught Sunday school). You can write it next year, if you need to... ;-)

rogerogreen said...

Yeah, I'm obsessing: 359 with 3 DAYS TO GO.
► December (52)
► November (58)
► October (32)
► September (28)
► August (45)
► July (39)
► June (25)
► May (21)
► April (16)
► March (9)
► February (17)
► January (17)

Sherry Schultz said...

I was waiting for you to say, being gay, "I was born this way." :-) That is how we raised our children. I simply told them, my sister is gay, and she was born this way. God does not make mistakes. She can't change any more than I can.

My kids have grown up with a very healthy attitude towards the LGBTQ community. In fact, it's like they have no attitude. There is no difference in their eyes. They make no distinction. We are all one...the human race.

It's the parenting I'm most proud of. They are both high school teachers, and practice and preach tolerance. They also have a handicapped sister, which gives them even more opportunities to "educate" about the beauty of differences.

I love the diversity of humans on our planet. It makes life so interesting. However, being a blond-haired, white, straight woman, there is very little bias sent my way. But I am still empathetic to my fellow humans who do have that prejudice thrust upon them. I do my best to live life the way I raised my kids to live. I stand up to injustice. I vote to promote my beliefs, I march, I educate, I write letters, financially support causes and candidates, and belong to groups like HRC.

I shouldn't have to do all that, especially in America, where supposedly we are "all created equal." But the reality is, not everyone believes that. And so I fight.

In the meantime, I know and love many in the LGBTQ community, and thank God for who they are. I wouldn't want them to have to be any other way.

rogerogreen said...

OK, ANOTHER followup: is there an anti-gay backlash in New Zealand (and Australia, since you seem to keep track ) as there is in Germany? https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/578653/

rogerogreen said...

And since it was linked in the previous article, Is it time to drop the ‘LGBT’ From ‘LGBTQ’? //www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/dont-call-me-lgbtq/576388/

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

As you know, I think you're awesome, and that you have such a kind heart. You always make me smile. It's almost cliche to say, but if all Christians shared your attitudes, the world would be a much better place. But I didn't talk about being "born this way" because it's so obvious! 😉

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Thanks—but I think I will move that follow-up to next year because it's a very big subject, and deserves the attention!

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

And, since you left that comment, 361 total posts (out of 365 minimum) and 54 posts in December. The tension builds, the crowd murmurs with excitement…

Sherry Schultz said...

Awwww, gee thanks. I feel the same way about you.