Don’t Be So Sure Of What You Think You’re Sure Of

Image result for zealotryAnti-Gay Crusader for Conversion Therapy Admits: I’m Gay. Should we be surprised?

‘Twas always this: What we don’t accept in ourselves we lash out against in others. How many, angry and anti-gay, have later come out themselves? Beyond hypocrisy, this is pathological, inflicting on individuals and society personal, unresolved inner conflicts.

McKrae Game wants people to know that his views were in error. As the founder of Hope for Wholeness Network, a faith-based conversion therapy program that sought to rid people of their LGBTQ identities, he admits it was wrong to do that. And wrong to create a slogan promoting “freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ.” And wrong to tell people they were doomed for all eternity if they didn’t change their ways. Smug self-assuredness along with unexamined demons is a potent combination–harmful to its promoter and its audience.

I was a religious zealot that hurt people. People said they attempted suicide over me and the things I said to them. People, I know, are in therapy because of me.

Indeed, we should all be concerned about the amount of harm such policies produce. How much damage they cause–especially to children–when they are blithely publicized as  universal pronouncements about what is good and bad, right and wrong. Twenty states/territories now ban gay conversion therapy, as do 55 municipalities/communities. The American Psychiatric Association has come out against such treatment since 1998, expanding its opinion thus in 2013:

[The APA] does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed, and efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change. No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed.

Game, 51, is among a number of leaders of conversion therapy programs to disavow the practice.  In 2014, nine former “ex-gay” leaders signed an open letter denouncing conversion therapy as “ineffective and harmful” and called for an end to it. A Latter-day Saint counselor who practiced conversion therapy said in January that he is gay and that he “unequivocally renounces” ex-gay ministries. 

Game acknowledges, “I was a religious zealot that hurt people. People said they attempted suicide over me and the things I said to them. People, I know, are in therapy because of me.” His wife, he says, has been “ridiculously understanding.” The couple has two children. 

Politics is never far away from issues of homosexuality. The College Republican Federation of Virginia is calling for a Republican Party chair in Central Virginia to apologize or resign over a Facebook post in which he claimed homosexuality was linked to pedophilia and largely caused by trauma. The chair claimed last week that the majority of people “trapped” in homosexuality were abused by men as children, had dominant mothers, or were severely bullied. “What is so shocking and sad to me is how this behavior is now being normalized and even experimentation is being encouraged right in our schools,” he wrote.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves. 

The most smug individuals and groups, sure of themselves about moral standards, are often the ones who violate the very norms they purport to believe in and advocate. Today the former Moral Majority is a laughingstock because it overlooks all of the President’s moral failings.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves. 

To the extent that fault is even the issue, it behooves us to be more modest, more self-effacing, less sure of ourselves in ways that prompt us to judge others rashly and harshly. The implications of such a rush to judgment serve no purpose.  Such hubris does not normally end well for anyone.

 

 

 



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